Testpilot: Not to get into a pissing contest, or anything, but I don't care if you find my comments "credible" or not. I don't expect anyone to take my word for anything. I assume that anyone reading what I write about my subjective experience understands that it's just that: my subjective experience.
No, the latest upgrade is not a complete overhaul, because the basic things that the VSM's got right and made me appreciate them in the first place are still absolutely there. It's that to my ears, the latest upgrade had made a surprising improvement to a speaker system that I already thought was awesome.
You're right in suggesting that I have joined the ranks of Merlin fans, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First, there is something fundamentally "right" to me about how VSM's portray the most basic element of music, and that is tone and timber. I had a lot of speakers pass through my listening room until I discovered the VSM's. To my ears, they just made more realistic music than any of the others. I certainly don't expect everyone to hear the same way that I do. It's just what my ears and my brain have experienced.
Second, I truly appreciate the fact that research and development at Merlin is channelled toward upgrades that can, for the most part, be applied to the already existing product line. It's not about planned obsolescence. I don't need to sell last year's model in order to get this year's model.
Third, Merlin is a small American company, and separate for all other considerations, I feel good about supporting it. Although, to be honest, I think that if Samsung made the VSM's, my money would be leaving the country for that South Korean multinational conglomerate.
Call me a brainwashed cult member. Merlin has earned my "gushing."