My Merlin's are the last speaker I will every buy. I have tried many speakers out there over the years and when I found the Merlin's my search was over. The are AMAZING and just keep getting better. Thanks Bobby and keep doing what you do so well.
Not only do you need to get the source right - you need to get the source
material right. I still feel that, with really good source material, the current
VSM is the best I've heard. Unfortunately, the speaker has also revealed just
how much poorly recorded music I own.
I recently added a QSonix server to my system. With 7,000 tracks (so far)
available via touch screen - I find myself bouncing around my collection much
more frequently than before. (I'm pretty sure that most listeners will fall into
this mode when they first set up a server like this). The net effect is that you
hear different recording technique from track to track. Via the Merlins, the
good ones just jump out at you.
For comparison's sake, I just subbed my Verity Parsifal Encores back into the
system. On one hand, there is an "homogenation" -if that's a
word - in that the track to track differences are not nearly as apparent via the
P/Es. OTOH, a lot of the crappy recordings in my collection are harder to take
on the VSMs. I guess it's a bit of "pick your poison", but there's
little doubt to me that the Merlins are amazing - and amazingly revealing -
what cables? power cords and electronics? any power conditioners?
i find them revealing but not critical in this manner.
perhaps a more middle of the road approach would make them seem a little more forgiving.
with a lot of gear i have on hand they play poor recordings in a musical manner. but they sure are clear so i know what you mean.
Hi Pedrillo: What tweaks did you do?
I'm rotating 4 different amps - ss, kt88/kt66/el 34, 6550, and 211/845 SET with Hovland cables. A bit different sound with each amp (or even each tube in the same amp), but pretty consistent results. The other speaker that I've found this phenomenon with is the original Quad. Part of it is me, I'm sure, but the other part is poor recordings.
For instance, I've always loved the Impulse RVGs and wondered about those who found them thin sounding. I still love the recordings, but I get the criticism. I just hear a lot more through the VSMs - for better and worse. Also, I really love Todd Rundgren - he's probably my favorite songwriter of the last 50 years. His records are generally awful sounding - and the VSMs show that plainly. It's a bit less obvious on the Verities and less obvious still on the S/F Cremonas.
You should understand that my criticism is of the recordings, NOT the reproduction through the VSMs. The other side of the coin is that my best records sound better through the VSMs. I just need to learn to love better sounding records.
My tweeks are displayed in my virtual system.
The last tweek I performed which I have not posted any pictures of yet is having installed acoustical foam to the side walls of my merlins. I may be looking for a different sound though? When I posted earlier here on gon that I suspended my merlins from the ceiling no one chimed in to say it worked for them as well, so either no one has done it before or it didn't work.
To me it makes sense to decouple the speaker from the room. In fact I think it would be an interesting manufacturing feat. Everyone has a different listening room, from floor to dimensions to furniture there are no two rooms that will be alike. So if a speaker is designed suspended that can be one consistency from drawing board to actual application. But how many nuts I mean audiophiles will be willing to do that or get their wife to agree? But then if thousands are spent for the sake of getting life-like sound there must be some willing to go the extra step. I wanted to post earlier this concept to the forum and probably will now that I am so content with my efforts. The merlins are total killers, thank you Bobby!!
i'll bet you the most organic sounding is the el34. 88s and 66s sound a little pushed in the lower treble.
the 6550s perhaps fuller but a little sparkley.
try an eqitech power conditioner on the amp, you may be amazed. 2q or sone of q.
i think the hovland cable is perhaps a better interface with the sfs and the verity than the mxe. try cardas golden ref just for comparison sake. it will sound fuller and more relaxed. nothing against the hovland but i really think it is better for the other 2.
I use Equitech conditioners.
Your characterization of the tube sounds is spot on-I would have written it exactly the same way. I'd only add that the el-34 benefits come at the cost of a little bass impact.
I've never tried the Cardas cables because I screw around so much with other stuff that the Hovlands have been a happy constant in my otherwise ever-evolving equation.
Maybe one day I'll ratchet the disease up another level and give the Cardas a shot.
What brand of bungee cord and eyehook's do you use? When you say the speaker's are killer's, do you mean before or after the mod's? have you compared them to later model's?
have you tried suspended speaker's with non-suspended ancilliaries and vise-versa?
i have a dealer friend that would loan you some to try.
it would be a reasonable comparison i supose. certainly for the sf the hovland is the cable of choice but the verity you may or may not prefer the golden ref but on the merlin i would think it a sure thing unless i have misjudged you.
what power cables are you using on the equitechs.
and which equis do you have.
i like copper litz like golden ref on line level equi and jps ac+ on power amp equi.
on power amps.
I have recently had a few "philes" come over to listen to my system using a Joule LA150 MKII and either a CAT JL2, Music Reference RM9 SE, or my Ars Sonum through my VSM-MXes; I can say, and I hope they were not just being flattering, that they consistently said the VSMs were best speakers they have ever heard. I don't know, I have not heard them all, but the speaker is truly a work of art and with the cohesiveness and dynamic impact combination that is only possible with two very high quality drivers.
I can't believe that you placed both the Ars and CAT up for sale...Shocking!
I will keep whichever doesn't sell first, if I could only keep one amp it would be the Music Reference, not becuase it sounds better than the CAT (that is a matter of taste at this level, though I give the edge to the CAT), but it is much lighter, taks up less room and puts out less heat. If I were on the budget, the Ars is a perfect match with the Merlins - in fact if I simply wanted to enjoy music and wasn't so much of an "audiophile", the Ars is really the no brainer. I think the Stereophile review got it right regarding the Ars, you either start with it becuase of the price point, or you end with it when you are done with the equipment merry-go-round.