Merlin Music Systems VSM MX-R Floorstanding Speakers

5/5 (8 Reviews) MSRP : $11000.00


Product Description

2 way floor standing speaker


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Reviews 1 - 5 (8 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: November 24, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I have decided to write a review of the Merlin Music MXR speakers with Master Bam and Master RC`s. The reason for this is that I have over the last couple of months experienced more musical pleasure than ever before. Some background info is in order to understand my enthusiasm for the speaker and my present system.
I have been an audiophile and music lover for the last 25 years, at least. I have like many other tried a lot of different equipment. Tubes, solid state, big speakers, small speakers and not to mention xxx brands of cables. If you then add room treatments, AC filters and other accessories you will understand that I have done it all.
Enter the Merlins; In 2009 I decided to change my system. There were two reasons for this: First I got very tired of changing equipment and plan new purchases instantly after the latest investments. Call it Audiophilia Nevrosia, grade 3!
My room is app 4,5 m wide and 5,5 m long. Last year I reached my peak with a preamp and amp ( 2 x 300 W/ 8 Ohm) combination with a total price of app. $ 50.000,-. In front of these speakers for $ 20.000,-. Too much hifi for a smallish room, but at that time bigger was better! Last fall I decided to change my focus completely and reduce the size of my system, but maintain high end sound. So, what to do? Fellow music lovers had Merlin VSM MXE and the little miracle integrated amp from Spain, the Ars Sonum Filarmonia. When I heard these systems I thought that they produced a sound I didn`t have even though my system was about $ 70.000,- or so more. What I didn`t have was the contact to the music. My system performed very well, but it did not connect me to the performers and their music in the way the Merlin systems did.
So I sold my heavy gear and bought the Ars Sonum and Merlin VSM MXE with the Super BAM. This combination is quite frankly unbelievable performers. One thing is that they are excellent products in their own right, but together they perform on a level far, far above their price range. I can say that from experience based on previously owned high end products. The bass reaches down to app. 30 Hz and is well defined, accurate and full. The midrange (where about 70 % of the music is) is like on the best planar speakers. See-through quality, extremely good on voices and piano, clean and free from distortions. The treble is extremely airy and well extended without being up front or fatiguing. This modified Esotar driver is far better than any ceramic or diamond driver I have heard. The quality of the Merlins is a result of 20 years of speaker making and the knowledge of Mr. Palkovich, no detail is forgotten when designing this speaker. Both the Ars Sonum and the Merlins are hand made by artisans, they are in short a pleasure to own because they have soul in the lack of a better word. Remarkable performers and they form with a synergy not heard by me before. They cannot fill a very big room, but for my average sized listening room they are perfect. And one of the most important issues in the high end is finding the right system for your own taste AND your room.
Could it be any better? Yes, it could. In the quest for getting very good speakers to sound even better Bobby at Merlin came up with the Master versions of the BAM and the RC networks. I won`t go into details about the design of the Bam etc. because I can`t. But I can mention the use of very expensive Duelund capacitors and a new battery solution for the Bam. So, I sent the BAM to Merlin in order to get the latest upgrades and spent the next weeks waiting.
I did not know what to expect from the upgrade. It is quite costly due to the Duelund parts, so my expectations were high. After a few weeks the Bam came back from Bobby P. I connected everything and spent the next couple of hours playing music, but no critical listening was done. Then I sat down and was blown away. What happened was that the sound I was used to was there, but much more of the good thing. The bass was fuller, instruments were even better placed and the background was more silent than before letting every little detail shine. All these details are what makes the music interesting and now it was better than ever before. The soundstage has opened up and the sound does not come from to speakers, but from a 4.5 meter wide stage in front of me. On good recordings like some from AM Recordings you can actually “see” the church in which the recording took place, marvelous depth and hight.
For owners of Merlin speakers all I can say: The Master upgrade is money very well spent, it`s a no brainer really. If you have invested a couple of thousand $$$ on Merlin speakers do yourself a favor and spend a little more. You won`t be sorry, take my word for it. The VSM MXR with the Master Upgrades, the Ars Sonum and a good vinyl playback system will take you back to the glory days of jazz in that you can almost smell the clubs they played in. It`s that realistic, no less.

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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 Malcolm_McAvoy a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 2, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I decided it was necessary to write a review about my new speakers because of the revelation they have caused for me. It's important that I add my voice to the praise these speakers have already received. I have owned two pairs of Merlin speakers...my first pair purchased about 2 years ago were the second to latest model the floorstanding VSM-Mme in flat black. When I first set them up I ended up spending hours popping in cd after cd of well known music hearing more and more detail and additional information that I was completely unaware of.

I spent a completely satisfying 2.5 years with them and had no inclination to upgrade speakers at all. This in and of itself was a strange experience as I generally have my eye on new purchases shortly after acquiring the current model. Not this time, my system changed around the speakers but the speakers remained a constant joy to listen to.

In early 2010 I saw that there was a new upgrade available for the VSM series of speakers. Bobby at Merlin had made revisions to the BAM(Bass augmentation module) a custom equalizer that goes with every set of speakers and the RC networks with are basically a Zobel network. From what I understand the main capacitors were replaced with VERY expensive Duelund variety and initial reviews were exceptional.

So I decided that I would send Bobby at Merlin my BAM and RC Networks for upgrading. This is what started the road to my new purchase of a whole new set of speakers. I had always wanted a pair in Ruby heart red and after rolling around the idea in my head decided that if I could sell my speakers before the parts came in for the upgrade that I would buy my self a brand new set of VSM-MXr in beautiful Ruby Heart Red. I honestly wasn't expecting that much of an improvement as the Mme's were nearly perfect in my estimation. They could occasionally stray into the slightly bright range on recordings that leaned in that direction and while they had great dynamics there wasn't a lot of impact. I mean you would never think you could get bass like that from a 6.5" woofer but it didn't hit very hard.

Well, I was able to find a buyer for my Mme speakers so I placed an order with Bobby and began the painful wait...

Finally they arrived in Canada and I began to set them up with the help of a friend. Damn these things are heavy! For small floorstanders they must have the highest size to weight ratio in the audio world. If they had any more mass they would collapse into their own baby black hole.

The first thing I noticed is how amazing the finish on these speakers is. It's much more beautiful than you can ever tell from looking at the pictures on the internet. It's deep and glossy and has a mirror like quality.

After setting them up, luckily I had marked the positions of my old ones so I knew exactly where to place them for optimal sound, I warmed up the EAR 834 50w class A tube amp and sat down for a listen. I listen to many different kinds of music from Guns and Roses and Pearl Jam to Eva Cassidy and Rebecca Pidgeon. I want a speaker that can make them all sound like they should.

The first thing I noticed was how loud I could play them and still be completely comfortable with the sound. I perceive this as a lack of distortion or coloration that typically increases with volume. It didn't SEEM all that loud but I couldn't hear myself talk( I realized this when I said Wow out loud).

I also noticed that these speakers hit a lot harder than my old Mme's the dynamic impact was up about 20%. The bass is fuller and more prevalent. It almost defies belief that this level of bass can come from a 6.5 driver. I have a large room and I never feel the need for more.

When pushed, on certain recordings the Mme's could start to be a bit bright...this seems to have been totally cured. From top to bottom they now present a unified sound. I would guess that the new capacitors should get a lot of the credit here.

Another thing I noticed was the image stability...there is still a definite sweet spot but the strange thing is that when you move towards the speakers the image stays in place.

I think I stayed up until 2 or 3 am that first night just listening to different music. Everything I listened to was clearly better than I remembered it. From top frequencies to bottom they are better speakers. It's almost inevitable that some part of your body starts tapping or twitching to the music.

The Merlins have always been masters of detail retrieval and these are no different. There might be a slight increase as compared to the Mme as if a thin curtain was pulled back. The nuances of a singers intake of breath or the rattle inside a snare drum are both reproduced perfectly. There is a real sense that if it's there in the recording you will hear it.

I haven't yet gotten to the point where I was fatigued listening to these speakers. On some speakers and systems there is nothing to point a finger directly at that you can say is off but there is that itchy annoying feeling on the back of your neck after a while. I have spent hours and hours listening to these speakers and never had that feeling.

When I listen to this speaker I get the sense that I am hearing all that there is to hear and exactly how it was recorded. I don't imagine that I will ever feel like upgrading speakers again, a bold statement I know. They are just that good.


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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 rxsive a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 6, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I enjoyed an older version of this speaker which I subsequently gifted to my brother. However,the fond memories of the presentation brought me back to the current version with latest rc's and Master bam. I use an EL-34 based Integrated amp in a very simple system. How anyone could not be thrilled with this speaker would be a mystery. Top to bottom linearity and accuracy of timbre come to mind. Quick on its feet with a very authoritative low end. A thoroughly engrossing speaker without need for a subwoofer. This is what listening to music is all about. Highest recommendation. Just listen!

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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 angelramirez a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 21, 2010

Bottom Line:   
The emotion aroused by the new Merlin Music master bam and rc's in considerable. In early 2010 I purchased the new VSM's MXR with the super bam and standard rc's. The upgrades were purchased step by step, first the rc's and later the master bam. The original results were really good, but Merlin Music was able to modify and improve to a new level the sonority of the speaker:

1- The uniformity of sound level of each driver
2- Timbre (quality of sound)
3- Response and sensitivity
4- The attack of the sound
5- Contrast of tones
6- Color of tones
7- Dynamic range
8- The degree of clarity from the top to bottom of frequency range

My ear quickly confirms that the results are superior to the previous design. The speaker now works as a complete harmonic instrument, the all important midrange has a absolutely beautiful sound with piano clarity. The complete master bam upgrade will add a new level of precise balance, a very clear lyrical and voice like sound and the base more deep rooted and warm. One of the advantages of this speaker is that in view of its easy load and high sensitivity a single ended amplfier with a high quality 211 or 845 output tube will provide you with fantastic results if your room is not to large.

The finish applied to a vibrating musical instrument has a dramatic effect on sound quality. I finish my classical guitars with the technique of french polish (shellac) by hand application, slowly layers upon layers in a period of six to eight months for the best sound. I put all my heart and soul on this important process.

I feel that Bobby Palkovich also creates speakers with much passion, like a luthier, with a youthful energy that controls his creative ideas to reach the goal for better sound. The new sound has a modern sense of power, emotional impact, projection and beauty of sound that should become a trademark of the Merlin sound.

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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 sanjosehan a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: August 31, 2010

Bottom Line:   
This is my first time to have Merlin speakers , and ,I 'm lucky person to have Merlin VSM MXR with Master BAM. I has been told a lot of positive review about VSM , so I has been interest in it, and finally I got them. My listening room is small to medium (14 x 20). and I have children , so I do not prefer big size amp / speakers , which I can not lift myself alone .
My amp is EAR 859 SE (13 Watt) , and CDP is Bow ZZ-8 (v2009) , and cables are Cardas GR .
I was worrying that my amp is too small for Merlin VSM.
But I was wrong . After 50~70 HRs of break in , I 'm 100% satisfied with the music from Merlin.
Even bass is enough for me. So I determined to sell REL Sub , which I used with previous EOS HD speakers. After 200~300HRs later , I'm curious what the sounds will be ?.
My review for the speakers is " I really like the music from Merlin VSM MXR".

I could say "My long time journey for speakers is over , and I'm expecting Merlin VSM MXRs will be my last speakers".
The only open item may be "whether to upgrade Amp to ARS Fila ?". "Whether to upgrade to OTL Amp ?" "Do I have to upgrade my Amp?"
It will be an open item for the time being.
I also ppreciated great help from Bobby . Strongly recommend to try Merlin VSM MXR with Master BAM.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2010




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