B&W Signature 805s v. Merlin TSM-Ms ?

I am looking for small, monitor-type high-end speakers to sit on end-tables in a 18x20 foot room. Wife doesn't want large and loud; I like clarity. I have a sub if necessary. I've heard the 805Sigs. and liked them, haven't heard the Merlins, though recommended to me. Suggestions/comments re these and/or others most welcome.
I've got the 805s and love them. MHO, if you like the sound of the sigs. after hearing and haven't heard the Merlins, go with the Sigs. You know what your getting.

I have the Sig 805's and really enjoy them.
I did hear the Merlins on one occasion recently and
thought they were good as well. Adding a sub to
the Sig 805's does provide a lot more flexibilty. I
plan on adding a sub once I have the space for it.

Good luck
The sigs require good stands to get the most from them. Time to get some custom made end tables made from rock maple with 100lbs of lead buried in them. That way you can get the most from you speakers and appease the wife at the same time.

Good luck,
I have owned the 805 sigs. Really depends on what type of music you listen to, I thought the sigs did a poor job on old rock and rock in general...this is probably because they are so accurate, their sound on rock is very separated, no real PRAT...on the other hand the sigs do a great job on classical and jazz...

The tsm-m sound is more for tube amps, they do not do as well with some solid state amplification...

Hope this helps
You really should check out all the user reviews of these on audioreview.com. I've seen comments there from happy TSM owners, who had previously owned 805s.
Although I agree with Italy71's comments, the TSMs do mate well with many solid state amps. If you call Bobby at Merlin and talk with him, I bet he will be happy to personally make some recommendations to you, based on your needs, preferences and budget. Personally, I'd always recommend going with tubes, but the TSM can work well either way. Cheers,
They're both excellent speakers, but telling us something about the rest of your system would help a lot in giving advice. The "sitting on end-tables" part of the equation doesn't sound too promising. And, there are less expensive speakers that are also very good, like Spendor S3/5's. It's like, if you're going to stick them on end tables, why buy such expensive speakers?
Get a new wife. Why'd you marry someone that won't let you enjoy your hobby?
Based on my experience with the Merlin VSM-MMs and B&W Nautilus 801, 802, 805s, I'd recommend the Merlin TSM-MM or MX. Note, the TSM (and VSM) have been upgraded to either the TSM-MM or TSM-MX (premium) status. I personally found my merlin VSM-MMs greatly outperformed the B&W 801, 802, and especially 805 except for the last bit of bass extension that the 801 provided. (That being said the VSM's bass was much cleaner). The MM and MX versions or upgrades are SIGNIFICANT improvements over the TSM-m or vsm-m. In fact, Bobby Palkovic (the designer/owner of merlin music) stated the TSM-MX outperforms the VSM-m floorstander, which is amazing. The MM and MX upgrades or new speakers improve upon the previous M version in all areas, such as bass response, imaging, soundstaging, smooth highs, defined lows, etc., AND they mate, much, much better with solid state gear. Even if you decide to go with the TSM-Ms, these will IMHO still outperform the sig 805s by a fairly large margin. You can always upgrade them at a later date.

Having heard most of the nautilus series, I feel that the merlin TSM-M/MM/MXs are the way to go. You can always call Bobby P. at merlin, and he can give you advice about equipment selection, setup, room treatment, etc. even if you are buying used speakers or decide to go with the B&Ws. No matter what your pricerange is, if you decide you want to upgrade your gear, bobby can give you tons of advice. He is so accessable and friendly, you really should consider giving him a call. I'd strongly suggest trying to demo the Merlins, as I think if you do, you won't give the sig 805s much more thought. Also, as has been mentioned, check out audioreview for the ~60 5/5 ratings for the VSMs and ~ 40 5/5 ratings for the TSMs, including several people who switched from sig 805s to tsms.

Last review is good for the Merlin versus the nautilus line, however, nautilus and signature are VERY different. Nautilus is a good speaker, the reason I use them for surrounds, while the signature is a fantastic speaker, why I use them for fronts. I don't disagree with Jwells review about the nautilus, but it doesn't speak to the sig. Apples and oranges really.

No half decent speaker should be treated to table tops! The two you mention are a considerable degree more capable. Too bad your wife isnt more understanding, but if you are inflicting your "hobby" on a public area of your home then it is only right to consider and respect her thoughts on the matter. Prpixel may have the closest suggestion to the right sort of compromise.Maybe you could bribe her into allowing for a proper set up?
Jamesw20. While I haven't heard the sig 805s, I have a hard time believing they outperform the Nautilus 801s, and I felt the merlins handily outperformed the 801s. Take that for what it's worth, but the choice for me was easy. I think the best advice would be for the original poster to listen to BOTH speakers. If this is done, I'm sure the answer, whichever he prefers, will be obvious.

Couldn't agree more Jwells, as my original post states. Unfortunately, it sounds like he cannot demo the two side by side. My suggestion was that if he likes the sig. and can't demo the two together then why not go with the sigs? Better to have what you like than buy the unknown.

If the spouse who won't allow speaker stands gets a vote, she'll probably like the Merlins much better than the "eyeball" tweeter array on the B&Ws.
I'm sure if Mgoldmd posted an "Any Merlin owners near X" post, he'd find a place to check them out pretty easily...
Cheers, Spencer
I have not heard Merlin speakers, so my input may not directly help the posters question, but I wanted to address one response. Someone said that the S805's don't do old rock and roll and have no real PRaT, I take issue with both these statements. I have no problems with PRaT nor would I expect a company like B&W to send out a speaker, especially from their Signature line, to lack this, just my opinion.

It has been awhile since I have spun some old rock and roll, with exeption to Segar and Elvis a couple times when checking things. This led me to dig out the few r&r cd's I still have and I actually have to thank the poster for making the comments because I heard these better than I have before. Being R&R, would it be more 'fun' with some bigger woofers? Yes, but what it did it did better than I've heard these CD's before, not that these recordings are anything to write home about.

All that said, if B&W speakers aren't for you, so be it, they are for me. Just remember that the more juice you give them, the happier they are.
Agreed, B&W does rock just fine. Maybe his other end needs to be replaced.
You might want to do a word search on the Focus Audio FS688 speaker posts. A current post "What is the best mini monitor?" has a post by one who owns the FS688.

He owns the FS688, B&W Sig. 805, Green Mountain Europa, Dynaudio 1.3SE and a Quad bookshelf.

He does a comparison between the 5. The FS688 is the same speaker that was listed as #1 in a article entitled "Best sounding stand mount speakers ever" in a Hong Kong Audiophile publication.

Much higher WAF then the Merlin or B&W IMO. Much smaller (13x7x10) then the Merlin or B&W and better finished.

Probably a little biased since I own a pair.
"Maybe his other end needs to be replaced"
I have had 4 other sets of speakers hooked up to the EXACT same system, IMO the sigs were one of the less involving speakers.

That is what is great about audio...what good for one person may not please another

I agree with Maxxc focus audio f688 is an awesome speaker
Must be heard

Hi Carlo, I know your last post wasnt't directed to me but I would like to address it. I am not doubting that you found your system uninvolving, and I don't want to speak for James but he didn't say it wasn't either, but rather was wondering if it was more of an issue of a system that didn't match.

Here is an example of an experience I had. I had N803's and they were originally connected to a Levinson No383 and this setup was ok; I also used a BAT VK200 with a VK30 and again ok, but then I switched to a Rowland Concentra II and this transformed the N803's and I understood to a much greater degree the positive comments on those speakers.

Anyway, as I stated before, I don't find the S805's uninvolving in the least and I don't think it is a personal taste issue, that said, someone may prefer another speaker.

I am enjoying my system more than any setup I've owned. I also have two friends, that I have met thru a-gon, that also have the S805's and these two have had more speakers that I can count in just the last two years, they also are enjoying them, fwiw.
The Merlins are only 8 inches wide by 10-1/2 inches deep by 16 inches high. Certainly not much difference in size from the B&Ws in question, or the other speaker you mentioned.
Cheers, Spencer
Sorry if my comments seemed pointed. I'm not saying the forward gear was lacking; instead it might not complement the sigs. as well as another setup. Apples and oranges really. One not better than the other, simply different.

To each their own!!! Thats why audio is a beautiful thing!!!A system can go from cold and clinical to warm and inviting in a change of a IC or power cord. I hope everyone find the sound they are looking for...I am almost completely there!!
My system

I-5 sim audio (I have a limited edition on order as we speak
sony 9000es CDP (next item to be upgraded)
90 lb each four post sylan stands (24")
prosilaway II IC
Homemade power cords

For the record, I do like b&w and there products...just not my cup of tea

Hi Spencer, I would agree not much difference when one is looking at a 45" vs. 42" but it really is notable when talking small monitors.

I know in my own case I own some PSB alpha mini and Aperion 502b along with the FS688's. The Alphas are 10.5x6.5x9.5. Stand them next to the 688's and its suprising how much difference there is in size.

This really became obvious when I took the speakers with me to demo a amp. The speakers at the dealer where Jungson Beauty Deity 2 which where 16x8x12 and they dwarfed the 688's.

Trust me women would notice the difference in an instant.

Best Wishes Maxx