I'm demoing this exact combo (I actually own the Merlin TSM-MXs). I just placed an order for the ARS Sonum Filarmonia today. Fit and finish is just superb. A beautiful looking and sounding amp. A side note, I just ordered a Audio Aero Prima CD player to go with it. IMHO, a very tonally balanced combo. For only 30 watts, it has no problem driving the Merlins in my 26" x 26" room. Excellent highs, midrange and bottom end. I think the best part for me is that I feel like I'm listening to the music "live". At this time, I do not feel I need to add a sub, but that is a matter of personal taste. The balanced tone doesn't leave me wanting for more base. It just sounds right. Anyway that's my opinion. Hope this helps! Good luck.
Thank you for for your response. More and more, I'm leaning towards the Ars Sonum choice. I'm pretty sures they're special, otherwise, Bobby would not be importing them. I was also concerned about their moderate 30 watts, but was assured they would have no problem driving my TSM-MX.
Bass hasn't been an issue for me, since I mostly listen to jazz.
How long is the wait, once you placed the order?
Before I demoed the ARS Sonum Filarmonia, I certainly shared your concern on the 30 watts, however IMO, it's plenty IMO. I was just watching a DVD movie (Mr & Mrs. Smith) with the ARS Sonum Filarmonia and I was pretty blown away how well it did, and we had it very loud. Sounded simply awesome.
You really need to check with Bobby on the waiting period. Length of time is still being confirmed.
Thank you for everything, Ed.
Interesting thread as I have ordered some Merlin TSM-MX speakers and have been considering either Joule, CAT, Dehavilland or Audiopax amps. However, I had also seen mention of this ARS sonum amp - sounds interesting. Have any of you auditioned other amps?? I think it is either the Audiopax or Joule for me now.
Vicks7, I have not auditioned a great deal of amps with the Merlin TSM-MXs. I have listened to the Cary SLI-80 and the AR Vsi-55. Without getting into the details of the others, I preferred the balanced tone and "live" presentation of the ARS Sonum integrated with the Merlin TSMs. Hope this helps.
Vicks7, I own a Joule LA-150 MKII and CAT JL2 (also used CAT SL1 Ultimate, Lamm LL2, and Placette Active). While the Joule and CAT are better overall with all sorts of speakers, with the Merlins, the ARS is as good as it gets.
Pubul57, I've heard the ARS with Merlins, and while it's very good indeed, it's not as good as it gets, even with Merlins. What ever is?
Dgarretson, I agree, it is not as good as it gets, and there are several excellent choices - CAT, Joule, Atmasphere, Ayre (SS) etc. But for $4,000, the fact that is is on the same playing field as some of the top separates is saying something. But your right, I'm not selling the CAT.
Agreed, when value is factored in, I don't think there's any pre/amp/speaker that approaches ARS/Merlin VSM-MX.
dave, i think what paul was really trying to say was that the fila amp is ideal/as good as it gets in many respects.
the amp has less than a 20 damping factor and less than 6 degrees of feedback which are both right on the money for the vsm needs. there is no doubt that there are bigger more powerful amps that will portray large scale/complicated ochestral works in a more convincing manner but on smaller works and less complicated recordings or at lower levels, the fila will be hard to beat because of its electrical properties and the selection of many parts used in or on the amp that match the vsm so well.
just my (and paul's) two cents.
Manley Labs should also be mentioned here. I've had quite a few experiences running different Manley amps with my TSM-MX. Using seperates like, 100/200 mono-blocks, Snappers, to the mighty Stingray, well not necessarily in that order, but you get my point, the presentation was juicy, punchy, and well balanced.
But that is all in the past now, for I sold everything, and placed an order for the Filarmonia.
Hearing the Ars/ VSM-MXe combo at the past CES show here in NY, only confirmed that I'm in for a treat.
Can't wait for the Ars to get here.