Do you have the model that was designed to work with Solid state or the model designed to work with tube amps? I know he offers both.
11 responses Add your response
I use the Joule-Electra LA-100 mk. 3 preamp and Joule-Electra Stargate monoblocks with Merlin VSM-SE bBAM and the combination is absolutely fabulous!
Merlin always seem to exhibit with Joule-Electra (typically, they use the their very expensive VZN-100 monoblocks, but the Stargates apparently are very close in sound to their monoblocks and it's 30 wpc SET is plenty to provide superbly extended and taut bass and much more than adequete sound levels).
I suggest you talk with Bobby Palkovic at Merlin Music. He knows his speakers very well!
Merlin and Joule Electra are probably the best combination assuming your VSM-M were designed for tubes. The Merlins ("tube" model) seem to optimized for OTLs, so I would focus, primarly, on that design for the power amp. The Joule OTL's are one of the best amps made, but are very expensive. Transcendent and Berning make very good OTLs that don't cost as much as the Joules and both are a great "match" with the VSM-M. I use the Joule Electra LA100 MkIII preamp and the Berning ZH270 OTL power amp -- it is a stunning combination!
But, the very best advise is to talk with Merlin's Bobby Palkovic; he knows his speakers and can guide you in your choice depending upon your budget.
I can't help with the Home Theater end of it, but I would strongly second fishinfool's recommendations for Berning 270 (which I have), Joule ELectra, or Transcendent (which i also have) for amplification for two channel. ALso don't forget Atma-sphere; most of the Merlin owners I know and/or see post here or on AA use Berning, Joule, or Transcendent, but Atma-sphere is certainly in the same league, and I think there's an M-60 up for sale right now here on Audiogon.
This may be a dumb question, but since I know NOTHING about home theater, were you going to use the same amp for home theater and two channel?
Thanks for the responses. Tireguy, to answer your question I have the tube harness on my pair of Merlin's. I was going to use the Berning ZH-270 but I have concerns about using it in a HT setup. Ideally I would set up two complete systems but space in the media room and the budget for both are negatives. Feel the new Krell HT Standard 7.1 coupled with a couple of Bryston amps would work well for both. I would change the harness to a SS one.
Jrinkerptdnet, I am also looking at the Sim Audio equipment.
Oneprof, yes I want to use the same amp for both as I mentioned space limitations and budget are limiting factors.
Have no fear using the Berning Zh-270 in a home theater setup. I'm using mine with Rosinante Dulcinea speakers 91dB/ 8 ohm, with great success. Prior to the Dulcinea's, I was driving Aerial 7B's with the Berning. Again, no problems, even though the Aerials were significantly less efficient at 86dB/6 ohm. The Berning is a gutsy tube amp that's able to handle a variety of speaker loads.
Hi, I have the same speakers and have used them in combination with a Theta Casa Nova preamp processor for almost a year now. My home theater amps are B&K reference and for just 2 channel music I use Joule Electra 160 monoblocks. I do not use the Merlins for home theater, only music. I know what you are trying to do and tried the same thing. I wanted the best combination for both home theater and music. I wish you luck , after a few years I found that home theater is much easier to get right that 2 channel music. I would suggest you just start there. The whole family can enjoy it together and it gives you a great place to send the mistakes you make while putting together your own personal 2 channel system. There is alot of trial and error in this. The Theta preamp\processor has stood the test of time and has been here for about 5 years. I would buy it again. The Merlins work best with Joule Electra OTL amps so thats your goal and most would agree with that . I would buy a 3 or 5 channel solid state amp for home theater . I have tried a few and the B&K's have worked perfectly for years. I would looks for some good monitor sized speakers to finish off the rest of a 5.1 setup and buy a great sub to match. Hope this helps.
I am now going throught the saem thing. I have the Merlins paired with Rogue 99 Pre and Rogue M120 Mono's. I like this combo a lot musically, but quite frankly have not heard much else with the Merlins. Im afraid to hear them with Joule Electra.
But I did find that this setup is lacking in the HT, blow yer socks off Dept.
My next steps would be to add another sub, and setup a seperate amp system for HT. I was looking at some old Aragon stuff, 8008x3 and (2) 8002x2 amps. Per Bobby, the dampining factor on thoses should be ok to use with the tube harness.
i used to own a belles 350a which was a nice amp, but the CTC BBQ (reborn as the parasound JC1s) just ate it for breakfast. do take a look at these world class SS monoblocks---they are incredible.
also, i used to own joule la100mk2---slow and thick in the lower mids, no freq extremes. makes for a nice match w/ harsh SS gear, but for good SS / tube gear, it will be too much.