All Merlin family members.

Do you prefer your equipment behind(not between)or to the side of your speakers? have you had it both ways and noticed a difference
I would also like some answers to this question.
i prefer a dead wall behind the speakers and gear on a rack to the side, not between or even behind.
I have my amp between the speakers and all the rest of the system about six or eight feet away, on the side. I like this set up A LOT!
for what it's worth, if i could i would have nothing in between the speakers except for the amp on the floor. i would treat the front wall as necessary. in reality i have a low, wide 22" high cabinet with a plasma tv on the wall. i'm having a cover made from the same material as our curtains to put over the plasma (it's for my wife, of course, not the sound). this setup is because of the room in which the speakers are placed. it may not be *ideal* from a sound standpoint but i actually prefer it this way in some respects to even a dedicated room. i used to have a *dedicated* space in our other house but i am listening to them much more now. they are in the room where we spend most of our time. i'm able to enjoy them almost everyday along with my wife (i'm one of those crazy guys that likes spending time with his wife). so although perhaps the setup is not ideal from a sound standpoint (i don't really think I am giving up much) i am actually enjoying them much more and am finding much more value in the $$$ i've invested. just something to keep in mind as you make decisions about these things.
I agree with Bobby. Ideally there would be nothing between or behind the speakers but dead space. Does it make a difference? You bet!
While I agree that its better to have nothing between or behind the speakers, I've had less negative impact in a larger room, with speakers positioned relatively further into the room. IOW, if there's still plenty of air between and behind the speakers, it isn't quite as problematic as the same setup in a smaller room.
One point worth addressing when you place gear on a side wall; don't place a turntable at the primary reflection point, or you risk creating a feedback problem. Ideally, you would want room treatments at that spot anyway. Cheers,
I recently relocated several equipment racks that had been in between and 1' behind my VSM-MXs, to remote locations away from the speakers. Now the opening between the speakers is 8' wide and about 3' deep to the front wall, with only the amp on the floor. Imaging improved, the soundstage expanded vertically and horizontally, but surprising I'm not getting much greater depth than before.

In my room the Merlins are better than the Wilson W3/P2s they replaced by any measure except for depth of soundstage. The Wilsons produced great depth when placed in nearfield positions well out into the room. Merlin VSMs don't work well in the nearfield.

Next step is to treat the cleared front wall.

that will help dave as i am sure you have a lot of reflected energy conflicting with the direct radiated information. this will obscure the contrast potential.
none of my designs are nearfield monitors. they are too uniform for that and are designed with their power response rather than nearfield on axis.
hope it works.
Are there some front wall treatments that work better than others? ie....cloth wrapped insulation, heavy carpet, drapes etc. Does one really have to go to this extent?

I suppose ideally, if your wall is 13 ft. wide, you should cover the whole thing, right?

Is 8' width between the speakers too wide?

You raise a big topic of its own in a few concise questions.
Indeed some treatments work better than others. It depends on what your room needs(e.g. relief from echo, bass absorption, etc.) In most cases, covering a whole wall is not a good idea.
I'd suggest reading up on basics of room acoustics on either the or websites. With a cheap radio shack sound meter and a Stereophile test CD you can get a useful(though not perfect) read that will help point you in the right direction; that is you'll have a better idea what ails your room. Then you can post more specific questions or read up here on how others have attacked their room issues.
FWIW, I've spent much effort recently treating a very challenging room, and the results exceeded most component upgrades. It's usually worth the trouble. Cheers,
Thanks for the links, Spencer. I`ll do some research. On reflection of my question, I guess there isn`t one easy answer. Lots of variables involved. I`ll work at it.
DG's speaker position is about 1.5 feet too much according to the instructions. When I had my SE's, I listened at 7 feet and enjoyed the heck out of them(room was 13 x 11). Most of the time, I was either lost in the music or asleep(2am sessions).
kyyuan, I think 8' is too wide. I used to think 8' was great - great width, depth,..... but I then moved them to 6' width, and moved my listening chair to 10' back with the alignment to the ears via the alignment gig/tool; wow........ The stage increased all around, width, depth, height, - in fact the soundstage is the widest it has ever been (depending on the recording - say a good symphony, let alone Miles KOB, a 13'-15' wide stage is regular here). With the older SE's no less (not MX's). the air of the soundstage engulfs me as well (not like a wall of sound you are seperate from, but rather included in). Better bass this way too, with centerfill, palpable players well outside the speakers, great rear corner depth(with the seating position moved back to 10') Now, I use a Joule Pre and Blue Circle amps, both through huge soundstages as well (in addition the Merlins setup well and room treated with RoomTunes). I couldn't believe it, but what the Merlins seem to do is throw a circular sound bubble - 6' apart with your seat 8-10' back, allows the stage to come together in a more complete manner, walls dissappear, as well as allows the sound to become more full/complete as well. They are not nearfield small room speakers imho.
Bobby told me that VSMs should ideally be 7.5' or more apart and at least 9.5' from the listening position. I have tried them in other positions and conclude that in my room, pinpoint imaging is still possible and embodiment is improved when the speakers are 8' apart. My room is 16'x16'x8'H; I believe this is about the smallest room that allows you to adhere to the above guidelines, while bringing the speakers out from the front wall as needed to produce a reasonably deep soundstage. But I'm sure the VSMs sound good in smaller rooms as well.

Maybe different rules for different room size.
hi gentlemen,
i prefer the speakers at 6 to 6.5 feet apart and listened to at 9 1/2 feet or more. you can listen wider apart or closer to them but they respond best not too far apart and listened to further away. they are designed with their power response, not nearfield on axis. dave is getting away with a farther distance apart because of his electronic's perspective and silver cabling. if he wants more depth the perceived width must equal the perceived depth and that won't happen at 8 feet. i like drapes on the wall behind them but that is my taste. corner tunes and damping the immediate and primary reflection points for a smallish room too.
Thanks Bobby...that answered all of my questions.
Do you have the same gauge wires on the tweeters and woofers?

Right now I have the VSMs single-wired using DIY Audio Consulting silver wire. I'm in the process of building some copper foil cables in several thicknesses to try out for biwiring.


Thanks for further clarifications regarding placement. I will try repositioning them once more... and report back.

Last night, without mentioning the change to my wife, I moved the VSMs together from 8' to 6.5' apart (maintaining a constant 9.5' to the listening position). As we sat on the couch reading and listening to music, she mentioned she felt "cramped and compressed." I moved the speakers apart to 7.5' and she said it felt much better. If only all such problems could be solved with an audio tweak...

In my system, moving the VSMs together to 6.5' produced a slight improvement in perceived depth (that is, of depth unchanged but perceptually increased relative to diminished width and height). There was also an increased concentration of sonic energy and excitement(like a nuclear fusion reaction floated inside a magnetic containment field). Moving the speakers to 7.5' liberated the entire front wall and produced a much more relaxed, lifelife presention. The larger presentation also revealed more inner detail and precise imaging.

All things being equal, I think a larger presentation with the speakers farther apart is always more impressive. Perhaps some factor in my electronics enables this: the silver Audio Consulting speaker wire in natural cotton sleeves, my modified BBAM running on 55AH SLA batteries with no voltage regulation stage and 5000uf capacitance, the BAT VK75SE. In any case, the improvement of moving the VSMs wider apart is greater than can be accounted for as a subjective opinion.


hi dave,
you and i spoke of your specific situation a number of times. with silver cable and bat gear in particular, the presense range will be enhanced and enable you to move the speakers farther apart. a more continuous sounding set of cables and electronics would benefit from my suggestions and show more depth of field due to the contrast potential being heightened. it sounds like you are not trying to get as much depth out of them anyway but a wider presentation. the wilson would have benefitted from your ancillaries due to the way they sound. the merlins are more continuous and therefore like other things for them to show their true potential.
have fun.
b at merlin
Has 7.5 feet been an improvement over 8?

As a newbie, I have much to learn. It does appear to me that speaker placement is system and room dependant. When I get my tsm based system together, it will be fun to experiment.

How far from the front wall have you placed the speakers?

btw....I`d also like to apologize to Tab for taking his thread off topic, but as merlin family members, perhaps we can discuss all things merlin and make Tab`s thread the official merlin forum.

Possibly a tad more energy & better focus at 7.5'.

I have a 16'x16'x 8.25'H room, with a fireplace/chimney protruding at front wall center. The speakers are about 3' out from the front of the fireplace, and there are cavities to the sides of the chimney which effectively extend the distance directly behind the speakers to 5'. I listen on a couch against the rear wall. So the distance behind the speakers is pretty good, but the listening position against the rear wall is suboptimal but necessary in order to position the VSMs the desired 9.5' from the listener.

I experimented with acoustic treatment between the speakers, and found that 80% results can be obtained by hanging a 1.5'H x 5'L band of sound absorbent material on the front wall at ear level between W & T. I used a Navajo rug covering some Cornertunes (IMO never much good when placed in the corners for which they are designed). Hanging a blanket floor-to-shoulder height added just a bit more clarity, or "contrast" as Bobby said.

Finally, on a spectrum analyzer in this room I have measured flat bass response on the VSM-MX +/-3db down to around 30hz., with audible bass all the way to 27hz. But the bass is so clean that sometimes you don't realize it's there, relative to the warm, distorted bass of some other designs.

I also have a TSM-MX used in another system as a CC speaker. It is a damned nice CC!

My apologies as well for moving off topic.

Thanks Dave,

My room is 14`x17`, however, one end of the room (along the long wall) opens to the dining room about half way up. I`ll have some experimenting to do.

I think I`ll try one of those sponge mattress toppers on the front wall to begin with. If I don`t like the effect, I`ll throw it on the bed.

Talking about speaker placement in general.Many people just have their speakers too far apart.Artificial hi fi terminology are then introduced... images better,the depth of the soundstage improved,layers better etc.Unfortuanately, the music loses body,naturalness and rightness of sound ....

Merlins ...rather too close together,better than too far apart.Also beware too much toe in.

I have a plasma , a hi fi rack and components between my Merlins.Its also close to the wall behind them.I also use silver cables and a ss amp ... and despite all of this they sound simply magnificent ... !!