Merlin Fan's-What VSM is best bang for buck????

Folks just get rapturous about the speaker in general with fan devotion only approached by Quads and Maggies but go me wondering when speaking to friend about coherent tube friendly 2 ways good for near field and large(er) room use so they came up.Got me wondering of all their incarnations which of them offers most quality for least amount of money.Agan it's touch to decipher because folks seem to like each upgrade but to me $10.5K for solder-less/Super Bam is tough to think of used at $5K impossible right now or any time soon new.So where would best jump off point be?
Can't understand from your writing if near-field listening is or is not desireable for you. In any case, the VSM wants at least 9' to the listening position.
I recently upgraded a late production VSM SE ( more similar to the MM/MX than earlier SEs ). I really liked the speakers prior to the upgrade and certainly prefer them now. All the VSMs I've heard share a very strong family sound. It's funny that you should mention Quad/Maggie because that's the family I'm thinking about. Although Quads and Maggies (and, for that matter Sound Labs, etc) sound different from one another, IMHO they share cetain sonic traits that set them apart from most dynamics.

I suspect that -to the extent you see split opinions on Merlin in these threads - it reflects the split opinion on such planars. In many ways, all VSMs sound "planar like" to me. The most recent iteration adds very "un-planar-like" (how's THAT for a word!) bass impact.

If I were trying to conserve cash, I think

1) I'd try to find the least expensive VSMs out there

2) Contact Merlin to determine ultimate upgradability (as well as any other info/issues attendant to that particular series) in the future.

3) Do the S-BAM upgrade straight away.

Best of luck with the search.

I agree with Martykl's comments and recommendation. You must start with at least the SE or later. The Millenium might be you best bang for the busk and then upgrade to the S-BAM.
a late se has the same cabinet and port alignment as the millennium. so a late se or a millennium can be upgraded all the way up to the present models.
good luck,