Merlin Music Systems VSM MXR Floorstanding Speakers


Merlin Music VSM MXR with Master Bam and Master RC

User Reviews (1)

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JPE   AudioPhile [Nov 23, 2010]

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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