Cables for Merlin VSM-MXe speakers

Hi guys,

Ordered new MXe's and wondered about speaker cable.

Currently have Synergistic Research Signature no.1 (old!) and wondered about new cable.

I know Audience AU24 is recommended but what else is good?


Golden Reference
TG Audio

are 2 more that work with Merlins, but everything has to do with what the rest of your system is; ss, tubes, etc.
I have both the Berning ZH270 and soon hopefully the ARS sonum.

Technics SP10 mk3 TT
Can't speak for MXe, but I have the VSM-Ms and use Luminous Synchestra Signatures. I couldn't afford to get up to the Cardas line to the recommended Golden Reference or even the Golden Cross (because I need 12' runs). I did have Cardas Cross, however, and the Luminous beat it in my system with a Primaluna Four amp and Mapletree Audio Ultra tube preamp. Cables are very system dependent (isn't everything) but I find the Luminous to be a good cable and a good value. Qutie musical.
I know that Bobby has also recommended the Cardas SE-9 in the past if one could not afford the GR.
Cardas Golden Cross bi wire but anything Cardas will work. Not TG, nothing silver. I think the speakers are voiced to work with Cardas and you can tell that the "House Sound" of Cardas agrees with Merlins.
I have the new tsm mme`s and am having terrific results with Gregg Straley`s Reality cables. Less than $500 for a pair of his sp. cables and ic`s combined. They`re made of seven strand, oxygen free copper which the merlins like.
I have all Cardas Golden Reference including bi-wired speaker cables on my VSM-MX's. I recently substituted Gregg Straley's Reality Cables for both the speaker wires and I/C's with great results - faster and more focused. Bass was even better articulated. Definitely more "up front" presentation which you may or may not like depending on your taste. They are a bargain ($225 and up) assuming they work well with your components like they did with mine. If you don't like them they usually re-sell instantly.
I highly recommnend the use of Purist Cables with the Merlin VSMs - particularly the Aqueous Annniversary (although I am pretty sure Dominus would also work well, if you have the $$$). In my system, it outperformed, among others, Cardas Golden Reference by a significant degree.

Yes, TG. Not all silver is as you think. Many can vouch for the pairing of TG and Merlins, including me. It is what I currently use.
I agree with TG audio as well, I a have 4-5' of both TG and Golden Ref here. The TG has a bigger stage, better bass soundstaging, more rear hall info,...... on most amps with my Merlins it isn't really that close.

The Golden Ref seems more upfront, with a slightly deeper stage (but less focused rear of stage too vs TG), a little less soundstage height with the Cardas, very similar soundwise/tonality, with the TG being a bit more musical and really bringing 19th and 20th century symphonies home in a big way (see Bob Neill's review on positive feedback it's pretty accurate, just note Bob isn't a big soundstaging guy though). The TG goes better with my older Blue Circle BC2 and Joule amps. but the non-phase inverted lastest Blue Circle amps (with balanced amp output stages ie current on both + and - vs most regular amps having signal on + only with the - being a return only) the non-directionality on Cardas Golden Ref seems to work better. The very directional Tg Audio wires on the latest Blue Circle amps seems a bit more "phasey" as the Black or - return in the Tg audio is as highly directional as the + Red. It is the ONLY amp I have heard where the Cardas Golden Ref Biwire beat the TG - barely (as I am very phase sensitive).
How much money do you want to spend? I'd recommend Stereovox Reference, that is what I'm using with my MX's, although I know that it is not Bobby's favorite. It is a good bit more expensive than the other cables mentioned here, I think. I'd agree with Mattybumpkin that not all silver is created equal.
I agree the Golden Refs are very synergistic with the Merlins (at least with the interconnects and reportedly the speaker cables as well). I am currently using the Synergistic Signature 10 (top copper cable in Synergistic lineup, single run with the Cardas jumpers). These give a very lively sound, very detailed as well, really don't lose much here to the Synergistic Resolution Reference (silver wire). However, I agree that silver cables may not work with the Merlins, all the Synergistic top of the line and the Ridge Street Poiemas were a little cool/analytical in my system.
I have tried both the PAD Venustas and Dominus (still use the Dominus digital cable) interconects in my system, for whatever its worth I prefered the Cardas Golden Ref, just a little more continuous sounding.
Another contender at a relatively low price is the DIY VH Audio CheLa speaker cable, a multi stranded copper cable as Bobby recommends. These are a bit warmer than the Synergistic 10's, mucho detail, organic and rich sounding, I'm still breaking in and evaluating the sound on these.
TG. Glad to hear it works with Merlins. I have Bob's power cords and bybee sucker and have been a big fan. I have the Golden Cross speaker cable and interconnect. Bobby had warned me off of TG in favor of Cardas. Bet TG is more affordable and if it works better, that is great news.

Bob Crump. Great guy. RIP.
Just as a side note to the TG Audio suggestion, and since I recommended Luminous cables, Bob Crump would get his wire from Luminous, at least for a time. Luminous and Mr. Crump had a close relationship. I once asked Luminous why they didn't make power cords and was told that it was because they felt that Bob got it "right"; they could never improve on what Bob had done so there was never any reason to do it. Not sure I can articulate why, but I thought that was interesting.
no question: cardas golden reference all the way.
Au-24s were a little leaner with my VSM-MMs than the GRs. FWIW.
What's the verdict? Peak Consults or Merlin?
Well, the Peaks are far from broken in, at least 100 hours to go, but....there will probably be a pair of VSM-MX up here on Audiogon in the relatively near future.
Stereovox make open and dynamic cables. Cardas are grey and slow. Try them for yourself.
grey and slow.....I love this channel!And I thought I was the only one.Nr9, could you please describe what your hearing when your traveling at the speed of light and you roll down your window?Maybe something like airy,yet slightly rolled off on the top.....your killing me and I love it.Some hobby,cheers,Bob
A little late with this post, but I also highly recommend the TG Audio cables. I have Merlin VSM-M and use them with an Alta Vista Audio NP100 amp (totally rebuilt Counterpoint SA-100). I used Cardas Golden Refs for a few years and liked them, but found other cables to be better overall and much cheaper. I originally compared them to Luminous Renaissance wire. The Luminous were much much cheaper. They were perhaps a little edgier sounding and not as refined, but they did seem to pass more low level detail than the Cardas (I still use them for my TV/Movie set-up). I tried Audience AU24 wires next and enjoyed them very much. They were extrememly musical and involving, with lots of low level detail (which doesn't mean tipped up treble, like it often can). I compared them directly with the TG Audio, ending up selling my Cardas Golden Refs, and went with TG Audio. Both Audeince and TG Audio were both extremely musical and involving - one being and excellent copper desing and the other being an excellent silver design - but the TG Audio truly disappered in my system. I had also read Bobby's warnings about silver wire and in most cases I think those warnings are very wise, considering the VSM's very revealing tweeter, but there were no such side-affects with the TG Audio wire. I was able to hear many more details in all frequencies, with no noticeable boost in any of them. Compared to the Cardas, sounds throughout the entire spectrum sounded more real and lifelike with the TG Audio (and Audience AU24 as well). My system sounds like whatever source I'm playing...for better, or for worse. I haven't changed my amp, preamp, speakers, or speaker cable for more than five years now. I think that says something.

I believe much of the "sound" of Bob Crump's silver TG Audio wires was due to his terminating methods and detailed burn-in process. I heard one other brand of silver interconnect and didn't find its sound anywhere near as smooth or enjoyable. The Merlin VSM/TG Audio combo is highly recommend (try searching some old threads here and at, but I would be wary of mating them with other silver wire.

As far as the Cardas Golden Refs are concerned, they really do sound fantastic with the Merlins. You probably won't know what you're missing unless you compare them to the TG Audio or another better cable. If you do compare them, I think you'll find that the TG Audio wires really take advantage of Bob's amazing design and the excellent tweeter. The price difference is also nice. No matter which route you go, I highly recommend taking Bob's advice (is it still his advice? I haven't checked for a few years) and skip bi-wired cable. Buy single wire and use jumpers. I switched from bi-wired Cardas Golden Refs to single wire with Bob's jumpers (made from Cardas wire and used to cost something like $50) and found it to be a huge improvement in sound. Everything sounded much more coherent and "right" to my ears. I auditioned the Audience AU24 with jumpers as well and settled on the TG Audio with TG audio jumpers.


P.S. The two interconnects between my source/pre and pre/amp are copper. The first is is a Luminous Sychestra Synch Ref with bullet plugs and the other is either an older, single-ended Coincident interconnect or Luminous Synchestra Sig balanced.

i had all cardas GR....was never happy.... one day i thoughti will sell my Merlins....then a friend came by with SILTECH 25 classic anversary 330i interconnects.....Its amzing with merlins....tears came out of my eyes.......its $900....then i realised merlins are world class speakers..... i do not know how other cables are...all the people i know who sold merlins were unsatisfied....they said its totally hyped up speakers....merlins are the best speakers provided u use right cables....please do not blindly follow BOBBYS advice....follow your i dont think i will ever sell my merlins....