Merlin Music Systems VSM-MMe Floorstanding Speakers

5/5 (4 Reviews)


Product Description

Two-way floorstanding speaker with outboard bass augmentation module.


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jim third a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 5, 2011

Bottom Line:   
I purchased the master BAM and RC upgrade for my VSM MME's not really expecting too much but the clarity I had already experienced from these speakers left me wanting more. I'd read the great reviews of the newer MXR and MXM Merlin speaker versions but my only recourse at this time was this relatively inexpensive upgrade path. I had already tried many speaker cables, interconnects and amplifiers to reach the level of sound I was looking for.


In a word I was amazed at the improvement and I'm at a loss as to how Bobby was able to do this with only relatively small changes. I could go on and on about the increased clarity but the greatest improvement was in the soundstage, depth and cohesion of everything I played.


Maybe someday I'll be able to spring for a newer version of these speakers but today I am content and enjoying the music on my MMe's. My recommendation is to try this upgrade path before trying other components or other system upgrades. This is in my opinion by far the best bang for the buck.”


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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2009



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by gemma3313 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 14, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I have to admit, I didn't believe that my Merlin VSMs would improve substantially but I opted to upgrade them from VSM to VSM-MMe anyway. I only live around ninety miles west from Merlin so I loaded them in the car and my wife and I took a ride to the factory. I also decided to have the BAM upgraded so it joined us for the journey as well. First off I want to comment on the wonderful treatment my wife and I experienced. We were given a complete tour of the factory, had all our questions answered, met all the employees and generally took up Bobby's (the owner) time a lot more than we should have. I can be forgiven for this however because he's just a flat out wonderful guy to meet. He has a passion for his products and incredible knowledge which is verified by the quality of the products. He also is the kind of merchant who isn't satisfied until you are satisfied and in this day and age, that speaks volumns. Anyway while I was on the tour I saw a pallet filled with Dynaudio Esotar tweeters. I refrained from drooling on them but I think these help set these speakiers apart from any other speakers I've ever heard. If there is a better tweeter out there, I have yet to hear it. When used in conjunction with the Scan-Speak woofers, musical passages have a three dimensional property to them. If you have never experienced this then you should find a dealer, take a drive and hear it for yourself. It's just incredible. Back to the review. I left the speakers and returned about three or four weeks later, picked them up and transported them back home. Using Bobby's recommdation's I set them up differently than I had before due to the square-shaped room I listen it. (12' X12' X 12). The new setup has one corner of the room in the middle instead of the normal square set-up. I also put up four corner tunes and some sound panels at several spots in the room. These helped deaden the reflections but didn't over-damp the room so anyone not sitting in the "sweet-spot" would be able to enjoy the sound also.

Strenghts:

The main sonic differences between the VSMs and the VSM-MMEs is a new found bass which you will immediately notice and a seamless crossover. I was always hoping that Merlin would make a subwoofer but now I no longer need one. While EXTREMELY low-frequency bass is lacking it is certainly not missed. The bass has power and provides a very rythmic presentation. Detail, clarity with wider and deeper soundstage combined with these dynamics will leave you staying up long after your bedtime. Old recordings will sound new because you will hear things you never heard before. I really loved the VSMs and I was skeptical that these would be a lot better. Boy, was I wrong.

Weaknesses:

EXTREMELY low-frequency bass is lacking. BAM batteries don't seem to last as long as the old ones did.

Conclusion:

These speakers have no competitors at their price point. Someday I hope to own a pair of VSM-MMXs but until then, these are the best speakers I have ever heard. (and I've heard a lot)

Rest of my system:

VPI Extended Aries turntable with the 12.6 tonearm
Audioquest 7000 fe5 low-output moving coil cartridge
Atma-sphere MA-1 monoblocks (modded by Jena Labs)
Atma-sphere MP-3 Pre-amp
Sony playstation CD player (modded by Frank Grover)
Cardas Golden Cross bi-wire speaker cable.
Various inter-connects
SDS power conditioner for the Aries motor
Tice power bloc for the monoblocks

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2008



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

Date Reviewed: September 4, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I decided to recently sell my beautiful pair of refurbished Quad 57 ESL's. I have had a few pairs and have had a love affair with these speakers but the warmth began to grate on me after a few years. I always thought of my room as bright so I gravitated to warm speakers, Quads, Spendor, Harbeth. Once I sold the Quads I was not sure what to do. I did not want the speakers already mentioned and I had tried Martin Logans and Proacs and was not going back there although I really liked the Proacs. I did not know what to do but while cruising the Audiogon I saw a pair of Merlin VSM MMe speakers for sale very close to my house. I had never heard these speakers but I bought them and set them up in my room. What I heard just blew me away. I have always loved monitor speakers and these were the best I ever heard. Come to think of it these are the best speakers the I have ever heard. Anyone who thinks that the Quad 57 is the best ever has never heard Merlins. They far surpass the Quads in all areas. The sound is so clear. No added anything, just music. I now understand neutrality. I have some good equipment and use a Nottingham Dais turntable. I finally am hearing the real beauty of this table. The interesting thing is that I have not got all the cables matched up yet. I am using some old Goertz speaker cables. It sounds so good that I am afraid of messing with the system. I am using VTL TT 25 amps, Rogue 99 Magnum pre, the Nott. and a Cary 303/300 CD player. The Merlins have made this nice system really first class. This is one outstanding product.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2007



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

Date Reviewed: September 29, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I just wanted to share a happy rant about my experience with a new pair of VSM MMe's. I've been into serious hi-fi (and a music lover) for many years and I just didn't think speakers could change a system this much.

There are no Merlin dealers over here and I originally came across VSMs back in 2004, when my boss (an American working in the UK) was planning to move back to the US and convinced me to buy his VSM SEs. I took a bit of persuading, as I loved my KEF Reference Model 2.2s. But the SEs were in a different league to my KEFs - shockingly un-coloured, much more detailed but sweet and very spacious with great soundstage.

In terms of making music sound like music, the SEs made my KEFs look silly. They played so much more of what was going on - atmosphere, space, emotion. And this was the first time I had ever heard bass that truly played tunes - remarkably deep for relatively small speakers and unfeasibly tight, fast and controlled. So I was hooked.

OK, back to the present. After reading a lot about how much VSMs had moved on since the SEs, I took the plunge and ordered a new pair of MMe's (MMe's rather than MMx's as I have solid state amps). When they arrived, I knew they would need burning in, but the difference over the old SEs was dramatic even in the first hour. Much bigger, weightier sound, wider, more detailed, and so, so sweet.

I now have well over 300 hours on the speakers and they have improved enormously on what I was hearing in the first week. I should add here that I listen to an unusually wide range of music: from classical through Jazz, singer-songwriter, folk, pop, electronic, dance, R&B and hip-hop. If there are good musicians behind the music, I usually like it.

The MMes seem to break all the rules by sounding breathtakingly detailed and airy, while also sounding incredibly sweet. Words really just don’t do the sound justice – I’ve heard top-end Spendor electrostatics and the MMes are right up there for delicacy and air. And if it's your thing, the soundstage is about 30% wider and much deeper. Now it's a believable place that's with you in the room, not just some impressive hi-fi artefact

You know that over-used hi-fi mag phrase about speakers disappearing? When the music plays, the MMe's really do just disappear. The music has nothing to do with the speakers - it's just there in the room. Wall to wall, 3-dimensional and palpable.

But it's what MME's do for music, rather than hi-fi, that really strikes me after living with them for a few weeks. Music I know well suddenly has a new piano line, plain as day. And it's not just any old piano line, but piano being played with incredible emotion that just wasn't there before. Same goes for a favourite vocal at the beginning of a song - now there's a second voice quietly harmonizing, and very beautifully. I always thought you had to change your front end to get these kinds of changes.

I've always loved listening to the voices of talented female singers and, where the SEs were already remarkable, the MMe's take texture emotion and 'there-ness' to new levels. This is the kind of texture that is touchable and addictive.

I was told to expect deeper and more tuneful bass. It turns out this was a big understatement. Yes, the bass really is deeper, bigger, more tuneful and controlled than before, but now my system has rhythm and drive that it never had (I always thought my ageing CD player was the problem here). Suddenly, music makes sense as music - it all hangs together rhythmically and in every other way. It just sounds right and it makes you smile.

As for bass extension, there's a lot of talk online about a slight lack of weight at the bottom end. I'm probably using very different amps to most VSM owners, where fine valve amps are common. I use two big Meridian 557 amps running bridged mono and I guess they may play a part in this, with practically endless current and control. In my system the MMes go deeper than they should – very deep indeed and with absolute weight and conviction. This is all the scale I could want.

Anyway, time to stop ranting and sign off. If you have an older set of VSMs, get them upgraded! Or just take the plunge and buy the latest version. These speakers tick all the 'Hi-Fi' check boxes, but it's the way they play music that will make you happy and keep you up late at night.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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