Merlin Music Systems TSM Bookshelf Speakers

4.97/5 (67 Reviews)


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 5 (67 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sheldon a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 29, 2015

Bottom Line:   
I have been a long time Magnepan user and really felt I would never use anything else. Based on a change in my listening area even the MG12's that I was now using were just too big.

I had heard a Totem Hawks at a audio show and really liked them and started looking for a used pair. As I am a voracious reader of audio sites I had read a lot of very positive comments on Merlin speakers so when an older pair of TSM's became available I reached out to Bobby at Merlin for more info. To say Bobby is helpful and loves and knows what he is talking about is doing him a disservice, the man is a terrific owner of his company and a great audiophile person to speak to about our hobby.

After several conversations he gave me a great deal on his new TSM speakers and told me they would outperform anything used I would pick up, he convinced me they would satisfy me even more than my beloved Maggies.

I quickly sold my Maggies and waited throught a long, cold and snowy winter for my new TSM's to arrive. In the months it took them to be manufactured Bobby and I spoke many times and taking his advice I upgraded all my cables to Cardas Clear light which he quoted me great prices on.

Finally I got the email that the speakers were on there way..I could not have been more excited, I was like a kid coming down to the best Xmas morning ever.

After getting them hooked up and playing it took me a while to get them dialed in correctly. The simple wooden device Bobby provides is a great help but I still did a lot of fiddling. To say I was impressed out of the box would not be correct, they sounded really good but felt a little tight and too polite to me. After an email exchange with Bobby he told me the cables needed to burn in and just keep playing them, and that's exactly what I did.

Fast forward to three more months and I am in listening heaven, these are just great speakers. My system is made up of a McCormack DNA 225 amp that has been modded by Bob Backert and an Audiable Illustions M3A preamp also very heavily modded by Bob. Bob is local to me and if you have never heard of his work look him up, the man is a magical with tubes. I mostly listen to only vinly throught my VPI Scoutmaster table. The sound I am getting truly makes me feel I am center row at a concert. The warmth, soundstage, clarity and sense of everything being just right is there with these speakers. My listening area is small and these really fill it with sound, bass is more than enought for what I listen to which is classic 50's and 60's jazz and acoustic guitar music. Male and female vocals are outstanding, with every breath they take being heard.

If you on the market for an outstanding small footprint speaker do yourself a favor and give these a listen. I am looking forward to hearing the VSM speaker one day but can't imagine I will want to make the jump (I say that now).

Have I forgotten my Maggies, there was real magic when I had the 3.5's in my system but they were overwhelming for my listening area. The new version of the TSM speaker is outstanding and gives me everything I could ask and want from a high quality speaker.

I am one happy new member of the Merlin clan and can now see why his speakers have such a devoted fan base. As I write this Larry Carlton feels Ike he is performing live in my man cave, I love this hobby.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jayson a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 9, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I went from Focal tower speakers/Sony 5400es cdp to Merlin TSM-MMM / Marantz sa-8004 combo and i could not be happier.
Even with a cheapo dvd player the Merlins were good right out of the box. For my listening taste they are SPOT ON. I was looking for balance and focus on vocals. No glare or brightness which contributes to no listening fatigue. Their ability to play live music is just great. If you love music and shopping for speakers give these a try. High end audio can be very frustrating at times...money does not equal good always. If you read about products and see them described as "musical"...i believe this is what they are talking about.
I believe they are very revealing of components up stream so they deserve good company.
My current system:
-Marantz sa-8004 sacdp
-Thor TA-1000 tube linestage
-H/K Citation amp (150wpc)
-Merlin TSM-MMM
Nothing speacial as far as IC's and speaker cables.
On top of being a great product...the owner Bobby is a easy to reach and a true enthusiast.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mosa gary a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 18, 2012

Bottom Line:   
Just upgraded my 2006 tsm's.Called bobby up to talk about possible upgrades. He
recommended sending them back to him and upgrading my tsm's.So Glad he did. I got the upgraded tsm's back about 1 week ago. After setting them up and burning them in about 5 hours I sat down to give them a listen.WOW they sound far better than they did before the upgrade. The thing I noticed most is the amazing clarity I hear, you can actually hear the reverberation of the strings on the guitar.I am now going to need to upgrade the other parts of my system because these speakers reveal every weakness in the audio chain. Thanks bobby.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2006



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by willimusk a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2011

Bottom Line:   

Back in January, I initiated a thread on Audio Asylum about the viability of using Merlin TSM-Mmi speakers in a wall unit. I had just ordered a Manley Stingray II at the time. Based on feedback from Inmates there and conversations with Bobby P, I went ahead with the purchase of the Mmi with Master RCs. I'm extremely glad I did.

The TSM/Stingray combo, as others have reported, has excellent. But most important for my installation, the Merlins sound remarkably good in my wall unit, despite being placed on their sides and only 8 inches from the front wall. I was primarily concerned about two things: humpy midbass because of the close wall, and excessive HF energy because my large living room is untreated, with many hard surfaces (hardwood floors, 18 feet of stonework along a side wall, 60 sq ft of picture window on the short wall opposite the speakers). At first, right out of the box, I did have a midbass hump and the sound was a bit bright. But after 120 hours or so of break-in (the manual says 60 but don't believe it), the bass smoothed out and the brightness almost completely disappeared.

The Mmi integrate beautifully with my little sealed-cab Von Schwiekert sub at 50 Hz, providing full range, even bass response with no humps. Playing CDs and SACDs through a Marantz SA11S2, HFs are sweet, detailed, extended. Overall tonality is very natural and transparent. I am still getting a touch of midrange glare or brightness, probably because I'm using silver speaker cables, which are not recommended. I've ordered some Cardas copper cables; I expect them to cure this slight hardness in the mids. Imaging is surprisingly good if just slightly diffuse--better than I expected, given the speaker placement--creating a decent soundstage in width and articulation of players, though the depth definitely suffers from placement. I really couldn't ask for more and was expecting much less.

I have a couple of other systems in the house, including one that's fully tricked out in a dedicated room. This TSM/Stingray combo gets pretty close to that one in musical satisfaction, at a fraction of the cost, and in a truly challenging context.

Over the 12 years or so that I've been an Inmate here, I've read with some skepticism all the exuberant fan postings about Merlin speakers, finding them at once intriguing and a little off-putting. Now I get it. I have to say, the TSM-Mmi really are excellent and very versatile. Just thought I'd pass it along for the benefit of anyone trying to get good sound out of bad placement. Kudos, Bobby P.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by innhitman a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 6, 2011

Bottom Line:   
I must start off by revealing I have owned several pair of Merlin speakers over the past 10 years... Both VSM's and TSM's... I have not been an owner of ultra high end gear for a few years now. Cashed out about 7 years ago for no good reason.

Over the past 7 years I couldn't listen to music. None of my friends were into high end audio.. so I couldn't listen to their systems for more than 5 seconds before begging them to turn it off. I couldn't listen in the car, because I gave up spending 5-10K on a car system back in '99 ( the last time I had a full Macintosh system in my car - later sold that car with the system in it)... I know... wasted money... story of my life.

When I decided to assemble a system for my living room, I made my first call to Bobby to see what was new. He told me about the new mmi version of the TSM's. It didn't take much for him to sell me on his product because I knew he and I shared the same taste in audio reproduction. However, when he told me how much of an improvement his speakers had undergone over the past 7 years, I was all-in.

This review didn't leave me a choice to state it is a 2011 product, but it is... I even got the first pair with mirror matched front face plates....

Now to the sound... improved in every way you can ask for.... deeper bass... richer, fuller presentation, all while retaining the purity and top notch refinement I had come to expect from Merlin. Bobby loves his speakers on tubed gear, but I am using them on the Luxman 550 integrated along with the Luxman CD/SACD player, D-05... I don't regret using SS on these speakers one bit. NO listening fatigue whatsoever... I haven't turned the system off for 10 days now..... I even slept on the couch a couple of nights because i couldn't tear myself away from listening.

Although I listen at moderate to low levels normally, I can't get over how much louder I can play this version than I could in the past.... and it still sounds first class... If these aren't a class A+ recommended speaker system, then something fishy is going on.

I have heard 6-8K monitors that don't match the wide refinement achieved here.... If you think $3500 (got the master networks) is too much to spend on speakers, you have to listen to the competition and see the crazy coin they want for their gear.... just amortize the cost over the 20 years you could own these.

This is a great starting place if you want true state of the art music reproduction... choose your front end and amp according to your taste....

Very happy customer!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010




Reviews 1 - 5 (67 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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Merlin TSM-MX-r Review

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