Is 40w int. tube amp enough to feed MerlinVSM

Hi all,

I am happy user of the older version Merlin VSMse, where lately I just have an gear change of a German Made integrated tube amp made from LUA Sinfonietta and German Made CDP LUA Appassionato with Cardas Golden Reference cable all around. After the setup of the new system and run-in, I felt the sound is still rather thin, where now I am wonder that 40w per channel power is not enough to feed the Merlin. Any comments will be greatly appreciated.


Reference link for amp spec
Reference link for cd spec
to get to the bottom of what the issue may be i need more information from you. is it possible that you could call me at the factory between 11 am and 5 pm during the week at 585 367 2390? this is eastern standard time.
i have many questions about the speaker placement, the bam placement, the wires and i am sure i can help. older vsms like your se (and i need to ask you a few questions about them too to find out exactly which ones you have) liked to be used with certain types of amps much more so than the vsm mm or mx we make today.
please give me a call.
bobby at merlin
I have run the VSM SE very successfully with 15 watts of Cary SET amplification and 40ish watts of Dynaco triode amplification. If the bottom end sounds a bit thin with your amp, gradually walk the speaker closer to the wall behind it. You may lose a bit of imaging drama, but the bass will begin to flesh out in a very obvious manner. If your amp is typical of the breed (and in good working order) you should be able to find a pleasing tonal balance this way.

Best of luck.


PS All of the above is subject to room related issues. If your listening area is unusually large, you may not be able to generate sufficient bass from the VSM SE, regardless of your amplifier.
How big is your room?
Call Bobby! Call Bobby! Call Bob-by!!!
I agree with Martykl, VSM SE is a thin sounding speaker on its own and hence the introduction of BAM. Even if you have them sitting against the back wall, lower mid is still thin unless you hook up some older Conrad Johnson amps to them.

My suggestion is to add BAM.
If you do not have teh BAM, then you will find it is the best/only way to find out what the speakers are capable of.
Before I seeking help and advise from Bobby, I would first like to thanks all for your comment. To give a little more information of my system, my listening room is a 11' wide by 13' long feet room, and my speaker placement is about 1.5 feet behind and side wall so it is about 6 feet apart toe-in. I do have a older version of A/C bam with transformer from 220v to 110v (due to I am living in the far east 15 timezone away from you guy) just put it beside by my CD player on my glass top rack. Please note that I do not have the RC networks and the Z feet.

I am sure is it my personal preference problem of favoring thicker sound or what, as the system itself perform very musical with a very wide soundstage, however I just feel that it is not human enough with the touch sort of feeling.
i have a lot of things for you to do and try that will help you. rcs will make the sound more continuos and smooth if the amp is not terminated with a zobel. the feet will also make a big difference as will the sixth toe mod to change the footer position. the instructions could be sent to you where ever you live. you may also need the proper jumpers and an lignment tool. the distance from the side walls, rear wall and seating position would also help. what kind of wire, single run or internal bi-wire or shotgun?? what interconnects?
you are the best in help for all Merlin User.

Equipment List
Lua Apassionato CDP w/ TwinLink Powercord >>
Golden Reference 1m IC >>
A/C Bam (1000w down voltage transformer) >>
Golden Reference 1m IC >>
LUA Sinfonietta Tube AMP w/ Golden Reference Powercard >>
Golden Reference 2.5m Single Run Fork to Fork speaker cable >>
Merlin VSMse (Serial No. 3921) w/ Merlin Jumpers/No RC/No Z feet

Please see link on diagram below:
Sorry here is the correct link
hi michael,
i would move the speakers in to 5 feet 6 inches apart (center to center) to reduce side wall reflections. do you have the alignment tool to set the speakers toe angle?
check on the termination of the amp with zobel or not.
the side walls will reflect much energy and i would damp the immediate and primary reflection points along with the rear wall with a wall hanging or hanging rug. most of what i see are room issues. and i would sit at 9 feet away or more if possible. is the floor carpeted? please also describe the jumpers as you may have an older pair and the new ones are very superior. are the terminals on the speaker edison price music posts or cardas patented binding posts with a single knob.
so in question, rcs, feet, jumpers, listening distance, side wall/rear wall reflections, alignment tool and where you have the bam hooked up. the bam will sound much fuller and more right in a tape loop or between a cdp and pre amp.
the bam has a capacitive input and will sound much better hooked up as i suggest.
let me know please.
Will test again as you are suggested.

I do have the newer version of your Merlin jumpers. And the speakers binding post is the single knob Cardas version as well. I have also already have the alignment tools and hook up the bam loop between the CDP to my integrated amp.

I had just see a fairly good deal on a pair of the Atma-Sphere MA-1 (the first version 100w mono block come across, is it a good match to the VSM, if so, what pre-amp will make a good match? or should I just start look for a pair of vintage Quad II, as there is no Joule overhere.

Thanks a lot for your help!!

well i love the ma1 and keep looking for a joule pre...what a system that would be. i have a customer in ca with the same system and he really loves it.
would certainly make me happy anyway.
a few good powercords on the amp and pre and you would be all set imho.
warmest regards,
bobby at merlin