How much power for Merlin VSM speakers?

I bought a pair of Merlin VSM-MMs and am driving them with a Cary SS amp. While it sounds pretty good I am thinking of switching to a tube amp. I am familiar with the usual OTL suspects most people use like the Berning and Joule. I was wondering if there is anyone out there driving these speaker with a less powerful SET amp. How powerful does the amp have to be in order to not clip? Is the speaker efficient enough and its impedence curve benign enough for low powered amps? Is 30 watts enough? Am I asking the right questions?
At one point, I ran my VSM Milleniums with a WAVAC 572 SET, certainly not your classic flea-power SET, it put out about 50 watts. I seem to recall seeing threads here or on Audio Asylum where people used lower powered amps on VSM's, but I can't remember for certain, so no link.
Just e-mail Bobby at Merlin, he will steer you in the right direction.
in a 12x20x9 ft room my 18wpc wellborne amps were excellent. now i have a 14x30x10ft room and i likely need atleast 150wpc.
From powerful[Counterpoint,Ayre] down to 40 a side Rega,the sound is excellent in this 13x22 room.Great,un-demanding speakers,lots of fun , experimenting,everything is working with these so far....keep on truckin,Bob.....and,yes,I am extremely biased,hard not to be,good luck,Bob
how about letting us in on the size of the room, music taste and listening volume. the more complex the material the more power you will need. 75 watts will play complex music at any level but i also have 4 quad IIs at 12 watts each on them at home (in a vertical bi-amp). the speakers have a flat and moderately high impedance which is great for tube amps. they do not go below 6.5 ohms so they are really easy on delicate tube designs too.
The room is around 14 x 25. Listen mostly to jazz, rock and classical. Lots of vocals. I am waiting for a 30 watt pair of Dehavilland 845G monos and am hoping that they will suffice. I bought it based on a conversation I had with a couple of dealers that carried Joule and Dehavilland and preferred the Dehavs on Merlins. I sure hope they were right. I also spoke with Kara the designer of the Dehavs and she said that she had listened to the amps with Merlins(minus the BAM) and it sounded great. Will let you know how it goes.
i would be most interested myself.
but use the bam.

Personally, I would rather trust the opinions of the Merlin owners in the discussion forums...I think their opinions are worth more than the dealers..many threads and posts here and on Audioasylum concerning the info you are looking for....

It seems that at least 70w seems to be a safe "working wattage" for the VSMs.Less can also work well of course,depending on the character of the amp,a 35w can actually sound more dynamic and in a sense more powerful than a 200w power amp...the Merlins do not present a difficult load to an amp,with the 6.5 ohm minimum impedance,so you dont need high power for control of the speakers...

Do not even think about using the Merlins without the BAM !!! Sorry,it does not work....sounds much better with the BAM as it is intended to be used,you can however play around with the positioning of the BAM in the system ie.Between source and pre,pre and power or tape loop (if possible)Will be interesting what you find to be the differences...perhaps you can post it at a later stage on this forum.

You can follow Bobby's recommendations regarding cables...very difficult to prove the man wrong,he knows his speakers very well....

Hope you are very happy with your De Havilland amps..I use a Pathos Logos for my VSM-MMs and couldnt be happier !

My new preamp does'nt have a tspe loop. How much degredation will i have?
Use it between the pre and power or source and pre.Degradation ? What degradation ? (Take that as an answer)
how many sources howard?
Just one.
I have read some threads about the BAM possibly stressing low powered set amps. Is there any truth to it?
a 5 db energy boost at 35 hz can bother all low power sets but i think this is more an issue of pilot error than a problem with the bam. generally out of band energy (below the fs of the woofer, 28 hz) is as big a power drain as the boost at 35. therefore i have found that it is a wash and the only time it becomes an issue is when an individual tries to get more out of the amp than its wattage would suggest and when the bottom end of a particular recording is over produced.
you don't buy low powered sets to blast large scale orchestral pieces, you buy them for their liquid finessed sound. i use a 12 watt amp at home with the bam and the sound is much much better with the bam in the system than without it. never forget that the bam is also a dual out of band filter and in most cases not having the filter will affect the sound in a more adverse manner than the boost used incorrectly.
and howard, use the bam between your cd and the pre, not between the pre and power amp. use the line output stage of you pre to buffer the output of the bam.
Thanx brudda!
I use a 10 Watt SET Berning Sigfried to drive the VSM-MM in a 13x18x9 living room. My friend is using a 70 Watt push-pull to drive the VSM. With the very quiet background of the Berning, I like the microdynamic and inner details that I can elicit from the low-powered SET, delicate indeed, especially for vocal music. I just love to wait for the beginning of the next music selection when the background is so quiet and then music begins.
good post!
the finesse of a low powered set can be breathtaking and berning amps are remarkable designs.
the uniformity of the vsm mm and the q circuit in the hf network make this low level resolution very audible.
the sparation of mass voices and tiny ambient cues are my favorite things to listen for. i love coral music and it is in fact, my favorite.
I know this is an old thread, but has anyone tried a First Watt J2 with the VSM's? I am having a hard time find the right speaker for this amp. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that it goes down to 13 watts at 4 ohms.
e, the vsm is impedance corrected and does not dip below 6.5 ohms. it is for the most part an 8 to 9 ohm load.
you will be able to generate a little over 103 db sound pressure. they are not the most efficient of speakers but the impedance correction makes them an easy load to drive. i know of a few people using them with 8 to 12 watts per, myself included. this combination is not for everyone but it is possible depending on how demanding you are. you never mentioned your thoughts in that regard. depending on the version of the vsm, you will notice a little more efficiency and room filling nature.
best regards,
bobby at merlin
Bobby thanks for responding, it is much appreciated.

To give more insight into my listening environment habits:

My room is 22 long, 12 wide, and 9 high. I have the speaker along the short wall (which there is no way around that do french windows). The room is not lively, but it is not treated.

I rarely listen to music over 85db, at the most reaching 90db rarely.

I most listen to everything, with a lot of acoustic folk, 70's rock, soul and electronic (my friends tell me that I was born in the 70's and I'll die in the 70's :) I do listen jazz as well ranging from Ellington to Jacuzzi Jazz but mostly 60's bop and spiritual.

I listen to a lot of vinyl.

I forgot to mention before that I run my J2 with a TVC.

Any further insight much appreciated.
...and apparently I never read through what I write for necessary corrections :(

After a decade and a half, I still have my VSMs mated to Cary 300 SET mono blocks in a room much like yours, except with a cathedral ceiling that hits 20 feet. Not the FW, but the Cary monos are <15 wpc SET designs that need a friendly match. FWIW, this system sounds great at the moderately loud levels I run.