Merlin Master Bam Alert

My buddy just received his dual mono dual ops bam.The first one sold.He has VSM MXE's.Thought you would like to see his reaction:"There is an uncanny sense of realism.
I was listening in the dark with my eyes closed.
The sense of being in a concert hall was so great that my brain created a seemingly real visual image of where it thought it was.
After the piece ended I just shut the system down. I did not want to take a chance of diminishing the impact of what I had just experienced.
Quite an accomplishment."
I will be receiving my single ended Master Bam shortly and will report my findings in more detail.
I am glad I never bought into Merlin speakers when I was in need of new speakers years ago. The upgrades from going lead free to all the other ME MX MX2 Z over T is way over the Moon for me.

Every time I head the Merlin speakers @ RMAF they were outstanding. I would say in two more year this upgrade stuff might be over and then I would buy to try.

Kind of like Synergistic Research $$$ upgrades. Move a wire to the right and bingo it is the latest new wire. Triple Q tunnel $$$$$$$ LOL.
It's all about perspectives. The upgrade path is one of the big reasons I wanted my Merlin TSMs. As they (Merlin) continue to refine their speakers I just send them to the shop and have my speakers improved.

I really like the Focal 1007Be. If I would have gone with the 1007Be a few months later I would have been a bit disappointed to see the new and improved 1008Be come out. I got a feeling if I asked Focal to upgrade the 1007s to the 1008s I'd be out of luck.
glory, we are near the end of development of the vsm project. after sixteen years and six new versions of it i have gone through the whole thing numerous times. nothing newly developed is ever a long way down the refinement path. and because i have elected to finish my work and not proliferate designs, i think you heard the benefit to that end. plus the cost of merlin upgrades are very inexpensive for what you get in the end. imho, the master bam and master rc's are a perfect example of this.
best regards, bobby at merlin

Nothing like a well sorted product with incremental refinement over the long run - think 3ASigs, VSMs, M60s, HL5s SL1s - you know the type of product I'm talking about. No major changes, but constant improvements over the original (good) idea. I do understand the frustration you might feel with the "upgrade" path, but for the most part you can follow it, rather than be thrown the brick wall of a completely different model replacing an older one. In the case of the Master Bam evolution, nothing could have been easier to make my VSMs "better".

You are right to say that the upgrade path is better than a whole new design.

Merelin @ EXPONA this spring?
Merlin not coming to the Dagogo show in CA. Bummer.
glory and tab,
sorry no, not until the rmaf show this fall.
taking it easy due to a health issue, bp.
doing lots of walking and doing better.

Go Raw foods by Garden of Life and enjoy the restoration of your body to perfect health.
Glory, one size does not fit all.
Raw living food fits all people and with it unlocks the door to good health.

Glory Master Go Raw Food Alert.
All I know is that if I went all out with Raw foods I'd need a huge bottle of Beano and people would not enjoy my company. Not that they necessarily do now.


Scott- LOL. My wife agrees w you on that!
Glory, different strokes for different folks. Having been in the health business for nearly 30 years I have seen people wither away and die on raw food diets -- while others did well -- especially for detoxification. I was vegetarian for 20 years. One size does not fit all. A lot of it depends on individual genetic heritage that goes back thousands of years. What worked for your ancestors will usually work for you. For instance, most people do well on vegetarian diets in India where it has been in the genes for thousands of years and their biochemistry is made for it. You can't parachute people from a very different genetic background into a radically different dietary system such as all raw food and expect the same results. You won't get the same results. It just does not work that way in the real world -- no matter how good it sounds in theory, no matter how good it is for karma, no matter how good it is for detoxification. I have had friends die trying to fit into a "new dietary paradigm". Universal law is greater than the strength of humans who are determined to change it. Some people pay a very steep price trying to make the square peg fit into the round hole. Been there, done that. Bobby should listen to everyone -- then make up his own mind what is best for him.
yeah great post Sabai. We are bombarded with health marketing. It can be confusing, even for someone like me who was a dietetics major!
I know this is to deep for you boys and girls but pure air/water and organic live living raw foods build up the immune system to ward off disease and sickness. It fits every living human with no exceptions. Nothing wrong with cooked organic foods but raw will go farther with the Immune System.

Do you want to go deeper? Get rid of hate/unforgiveness/bittereness and this also will build up the immune system.


You fit in with the Amarican diet and should never leave it.


Health marketing? Wow, where is this happening?

Keep walking B and if you want more info shoot me an E-mail. Over and out on this thought on health for me.

All you beer drinkers/trash eaters have @ it LOL =8^D
So the Master Bam is pretty good?
to all of you thanks.
blood pressure running a little high but that is hereditary due to my roots and lots of smoking and drinking when younger.
thanks for the concern.
the walking every other day is magic.
gets the heart rate elevated for an hour and i feel a lot better. helps the mind toooooooooooo!
Walk every day and you can continue the VSM for another 16 years.
17 years! It's true, walking is a real blessing. Have a colleague with high blood pressure, high sugar, high cholesterol. Walks 10,000 steps a day - lost 60 lbs, and all numbers "normal" - no medicines, just walking and watching his diet.
You're right. Forgot it was 2011. How did you discover Merlin? For me, it
was in S.F. at the S'phile show and some guy was fawning over "B" about the TSM. I inquired about the cost(VSM) and he said $4k.

As I stared at the speaker, I thought to myself, "I'm not paying that much for that!". The rest is history.
Stereophile Shown in NYC 2002 or so. Walked in and I knew they were going to be my next speaker. Joule gear, Louis Armstrong recording, found it hard to leave the room. I liked the idea that my ultimate speaker did not need 8 drivers and tower over me to feel I had what I wanted and as good as it gets.
Hmmm, we might've been at the same show, Paul. My first exposure to the VSMs. hooda thunk it?
Crowded? Hilton? That's the one:) Or was it the Grand Hyatt?
No, that's when I heard the Ars Sonum - it's a blur.

You guys are just still babes-in-the-woods concerning the speakers. Too bad you never heard them with the Blue Circle BC-3 pre and BC-6 amp.q
Yep, I heard the VSMs at the NYC 2002 and 2004 shows (the Hilton) and always thought they were among best of show.
How long you must wait for your Master RC upgrade?
My check was sent Nov 16 last year and now Mar 21 2011 still no sign from B.
That's 4 long months and counting for just swapping 6 Duelund caps
Bobby said part supply is limited - I start losing interest
How can you bear to wait 1 full year for the ARS is beyond my thought :-)
PS: Bobby, can you give me update on my order :-)
Yup, it took several months. And yes, well worth it. In the nature of handmade things - both ARS and Dueland.
Thuah98, you're kidding right? My payment was over two full months before yours and I'm still waiting so get in line :-)

My secret is to pay and try to forget about it, not easy and rarely works but in my experience the wait is usually worth it.

Bhoage, good strategy - if you can do it:)
bryan your goods will be shipped back next week and thuan i am not at the factory to check the waiting list.
these parts are hand made in limited quantities and the people that pay first get supplied their modifications first.
do you realize that these caps are worth $300 each and you need 6? then think about what you paid and understand i make little when you consider what is done. please be patient and if you have questions, please contact me at the factory.
thank you.
Bobby has no control about ARS, but Merlin is in-house build.
Unless Bobby treat this line of business as his hobby :-) Would it better to have more resources/labor to speed up production - Only B. can answer :-)
Then the speakers would be more expensive:(
thuan the duelund caps are hand wound in germany and shipped to and finshed in denmark. all these processes are done by hand in limited quantities. i have no control over the fila and i have no control over the duelunds.
i mailed you today regarding the time left before your modifications are done.
a hobby? :-| please! resources and labor will not help.
please be patient...
Yikes, I was just being a smart alec and not intending to stir anything up.

Thuan98, even if more staff resulted in some things being turned around quicker, (not the situation here as explained by Bobby), I believe it would impact cost and I know it would impact the level of access we have to Bobby which I would definitely put above getting my hands on something a little quicker.

At the end of the day, all this equipment we spend so much time obsessing over are all just expensive toys and if the worst thing we have to worry about is waiting a little longer than we might like for our toys, life ain't that bad. And when I think about it that way, any wait I may have is a little easier :-)

You can get Bose pretty fast.
b, i certainly understand about delays and feel badly but that is the nature of the business i am in. and when you use rare handmade parts, it is to be expected. these caps only come from one maker and are not available anywhere else. you know what they say about single sourcing. a lot of people are used to production line gear and we have never made that sort of thing. what makes it even worst is that we have now sold hundreds of these modifications. people who have them done, love them and rarely give them up. no problems byan, we are fine.
Hi Glory

For your information I still have the VSM-M which was upgraded from the SE back in 2001 by Merlin. While I have gone back and forth on doing further upgrades I can honestly say that over the past 10 years I have been tempted to change speakers only one time. Of course it would have cost me considerably more to do so but I think even Bobby might have forgiven me if he knew what that speaker was and at double the cost of his. He mentioned it to me many years ago as being one he admired. Even then I'm not sure what the end result would have been, and no, it isn't the Pearl mentioned below.

I was also at the NYC Stereophile show at the Hilton in 2002 and heard the Merlin/Joule combo for the first time at that show and objectively speaking ;^) found it among the best of show along with perhaps the Joseph Audio Pearls. But the problem I had with the Pearl room was it was a sit down demo with scheduled times. Playback was a Clearaudio tt and vinyl selection was the legendary 45 RPM of Louis Armstrong "St James Infirmiry" a truly jaw dropping recording. I bought a copy at the show. Great playback system, good speakers and a spectacular recording = a lot of buzz and resulting "best sound of show". Too controlled for my tastes but quite an enjoyable experience.

Having said that what was really refreshing about the Merlin room was the relaxed manner and the fact that Bobby would play anything and everything. It really gave you a good idea of what the speakers could do when properly set-up. Unfortunately I only had one day to try and see everything and couldn't spend more time there but I really wanted to. I'm sure you know what I'm saying. Since I already had the VSM and the Berning ZH-270, still do, my main objective at the time was to hear the differences between the Joule and Berning.

Well here it is almost 9 years later and while I haven't done any of the factory upgrades since I first converted from the VSM-SE to the Millenium I DO plan to. I for one have never felt an absolute compulsion to do so because I was so throughly enjoying the system and felt there were other areas that needed improvement, least of all the speakers as they always stepped up to positive changes.

The bottom line is that if you heard the speakers at the show and really liked them there is little reason to be concerned about upgrades and improvements, it will still be the same speaker. These upgrades are to refine what was from the beginning a great design. All you have to do is follow the advice of Bobby, you may not feel the need to worry about the latest upgrade, you'll probably be too busy enjoying the music.

P.S. Bobby, I hope all is well with you my friend.


Have Bobby send your check back and resend it and see how long the wait will now be. Patience.
Dueland should proabably do a better job of giving Bobby accurate timelines for production so he can pass that on to his customers. I don't mind waiting 9 months if I am told 9 months, but I do mind if I am told 4 months. Why in the Restaurant business they are trained to tell you wait will be 30 minutes when they think it will be 15, but if they told you 5....same wait, different feeling. By the way, the Duelands are well waiting for, don't fret.
paul, they have been really good about their projections of shipping dates but things happen, shows, illnesses etc.
what we didn't realize is that so many would want this done and that has the waiting time long and there is nothing i can do because the parts a rare, handmade and they will only build so many at a time.
patience is what is needed and you will get something very special.
Hi Brian,
Base on your time line - My turn is in 2 months
Bobby, I understand your situation - I just post here for chit chat to kill time :-)
I agree with Paul on time line projection
Anyway, is that you Paul that try TAD Hibachi with your Merlin ? I just bought a pair to try out. Nowhere near the Fila. I hook them up with my Cary SLP05
Yield stronger bottom note, but smear top and mid range.
Anyone try with SET 300B or 845 ? I bought a Dared 845 to try but it was damage in transit before get to me, bummer!
How about Cary 300C ?
Thanks for all advices and responses
I did not try the Hibachi, though it was recommended that I do, as I was looking for an SS amp that I might throw into the mix. I did have the Fila and it is super with the Merlins, and proabably with other speakers that can be driven by 30 watts. If I were sane, I would proabably just have kept the Fila, sold off all my seperates and just enjoyed the music. Not that it was the best (I prefer the Atma combo), but a nice "simple" integrated that makes the Merlins sing is not a bad way to calm the audiophile compulsion and get off the equipment merry-go-round -- it is a great pairing; I think of it as a great end-game amp when you are done "playing".
Oh, it was Marty who vouch for Hibachi + Merlin
Thanks Paul
Just to be clear as well, I certainly wasn't complaining about the wait at all, just having fun giving another Merlin owner a hard time telling him to wait his turn :-) I shoot Bobby an email every so often to follow-up but it's not a huge deal by any means.

I too wonder about solid state. I have a Fila and it's great. It's more that I'd like to try something a little cooler for the summer I suppose. I've mentioned Luxman before and would love to hear about that pairing. There is a recent review with Merlin and a class A Luxman integrated that was glowing, (the review not the amp), but I think that class A solid state wouldn't do much to provide a cool summer alternative. I guess one of the Luxman AB integrateds is what I'm most curious about.... Anyone?
Have had VSM-MM's since 04 with several SS amps but not the Luxman.I will try one hopefully but I can say I have never had a bad-sounding amp with these speakers.I have a feeling its going to be a good combo,cheers,B

Received my Master Bam about 3 weeks ago and have been breaking it in.Cold right out of the box it was a major improvement over the previous version.But after 3 weeks it's just unbelievable.This is a sophisticated sound.What I mean is that not only do you experience more detail texture and transparency but you do so in a way that makes it fall very easy on the ears.For example,violins have a silky relaxed true to life quality,that makes you just want to listen forever.There is additional texture and definition to every voice and instrument that gives you a sense of "you are there" realism on good recordings.Even ordinary recordings sound remarkable.Saving the best for last is the soundstage.Talk about width,this to me defines what people mean by expansive sound.The spread of sound across my room is uncanny as the speakers dissappear and the music extends way beyond the physical speakers.Absolutely wall to wall.The sense of depth and 3 dimensionality are the real magic that makes you get sucked into every recording.There's such a spooky sense of presence that it's hard to describe and with hi-res recordings the sound can actually wrap around you.You can luxuriate in this sound all day and never get fatigued.To me the Master Bam is a landmark product and is a must for all late model VSM owners.
Ditto on Master BAM. Speaking of tweaking for that last 5%, has anyone had their Cardas cables (assuming you went that route)cold-forged making for a solid connection between cable and connector. Sounds good in theory....
I'm going to be sending Golden Reference speaker cables to Cardas next week for the cold-forge upgrade. Will report on my findings.