Merlin Owners - Opinions?

What are the differences between TSMs and VSMs in sound quality? I presume, of course, the bass response is much deeper and stronger with the VSM but is there a family resemblance and if so, what would that be? Any indications of peakiness, hardness, fatiguing resolution or hyper-detailing? What are the differences between the various iterations (M, MM, etc). In a small room (11 x 13.5 x 8ft high) would the VSM fit or would it overpower? How SET freindly are both speakers? Thanks in advance, people!!
As a Merlin owner, I think the best contribution I can make to this thread is to give you the e-mail address of the manufacturer, Bobby Palkovic. He can be reached at Bobby is exceptionally good to work with, and I know he'll be able to quickly and comprehensively answer all your questions.

P.S.--I am a very satisfied VSM-MM owner.
I've heard nothing but good things about Mr. Palkovic and will definitely contact him but am also interested in hearing from owners in this regard. Primarily interested in differences between the two models and what kind of sonic signature they have.

On another note, why oh why do so many designers make hyper-detailed, fatiguing speakers? I just recently "home auditioned" a well know and well regarded model which my wife immediately declared "cold sounding" and later said it was so transparent and detailed that it sounded harsh and tiring . I had to admit that the sound of these beautiful to look at speakers could be a bit hard and etched, especially (as usual) brass, female vocals, piano, etc. And this with a 300B amp!! By the way, the designer of the speaker personally informed me the model would "work great with your amp" and was an SET friendly design as regards sensitivity, impedance, phase angle. What is the purpose of this sound concept?
Tomyran, increasing resolution in speaker designs is, for me, a welcome evolution. But as you point out, it is a two-edged, if not multi-edged, dilemna because increasing the resolution of the speaker puts huge pressure on all the rest of the system feeding that speaker. Higher resolution designs will expose any problems further back in the reproducing chain, thus challenging all of us who chose higher resolution speakers to be very careful about how we assemble the rest of our systems to obtain the value of that higher resolution.

While some speaker designs seeking higher resolution do so at the expense of musicality, I think every owner of Merlin speakers will assure you that Bobby Palkovic has created a line of speakers that are incredibly resolving but highly musical. The VSM-MM/MX speakers (that I'm most familiar with) will allow you to hear everything going on in the recording, follow every musical line, accurately reproduce the subtle difference in the timbre of instruments, accurately recreate the tonal beauty of well engineered recordinga and throw an incredible soundstage in both width and depth - PROVIDED the rest of your system is similarly up to that challenge.

The Merlins will NOT introduce articifial definition / resolution, but they will very accurately and very truthfully tell you exactly what is going on elsewhere in your system and (more importantly) in the music and on the recording. If you hear hard, etched or edgy sound with Merlins, look elsewhere in your system or the source material for the cause: it will not be the Merlins.

I am not an owner of Merlin speakers, but I'm a fan in their price range. The Merlin VSM-MX is an incredible speaker, particularly when matched with excellent tube electronics, such as Atma-Sphere, Joule, Berning, Viva...

Bobby will be the best person to talk with about the particular match of your amp and his speakers.

And I realize I've not answered your specific question about the sonic differences between the different Merlin speaker models, TSM vs. VSM and MM/MX. As Thedautch suggests, Bobby will give you the best and most accurate summary description of those differences, but hopefully others will chime in to help answer these questions.
I've been reading so much about the Merlin/OTL combinations that I'm feeling the NEED to hear it. Does anyone in Northern California run this combination? Or even the Merlins with a different type of amp? If so, and you don't mind me coming over for a listen, I'd appreciate it if you contacted me directly.
Thank you so much.
hi howard,
the vsm ms are great but if someone contacts you with the opportunity to hear the mm or mxs, that would be better yet.
The VSM should work fine in your room. I'm currently using VSM-M's in a room that's a tad smaller than your's. Their top end is exemplary and the mid range has electrostatic clarity. Compared to other fast detailed speakers I've owned in recent years (e.g., Martin Logan requests, aerius i's, Dunlavy, Khorus, 10Ts), the VSM's are brighter, but their top end is so refined I've never found them to be fatiguing, etched or hard.

At the same time, as with other revealing speakers, the VSM's won't smooth over bad recordings. Still, I've found bad recordings tend to be more listenable through VSM's than, say, Martin Logans.

Another characteristic I've noticed of fast detailed speakers is that they can sound a bit lean compared to "warmer" or "lusher" speakers that suffer from driver overhang and extraneous overtones. The VSM's are no exception - depending on gear, they can sound a bit lean. A bit of a trade-off and matter of taste. Some like their music more meaty at the expense of some detail loss. Nothing wrong with that. I happen to favor clarity.

I guess what I'm getting at is you should probably try to audition the VSMs if you can (then again, I haven't talked to anyone who didn't like the sound of the VSM's). The VSM-MX and MM purportedly have a somewhat fuller sound and the VSM-M, though I haven't heard those models and can't confirm. I'm currently using an Aloia PST 11.01 inductive preamp which has a cogent midrange with good presence and makes the VSM-M's sound satisfyingly full (at least in my system with Cary V12 and ECD1).

I would also suggest contacting Bobby for any questions and recommendations. He knows the speaker line better than anyone. And I've found him to be very responsive, knowledgeable and supportive.
I have not heard the TSM's, just an owner of the VSM-SE, VSM-M, and soon the VSM-MM. Djjd has expressed very well my experience. Case in point: I had a Sonic Frontier Line 2 SE preamp and found that with the Merlins, the sound was, I suppose, "lean". To incorrectly compensate for this, I bought a REL Storm III subwoofer, EVEN THOUGH the Merlins with the SF preamp went strong to 30 Hz. I decided after a couple of months to go with the many suggestions of a Joule preamp (LA 100 MKIII) and a different speaker emerged. I sold my REL and SF preamp. This is one highly resolving, musical speaker.

Long story short and to directly answer your question about room size - no, your room is OK especially as Bobby suggests that the speakers be no more than 7' apart. In addition, as there is nothing boomy about this speakers' bass, it will not "overpower" your room as other speakers could.
david's post is a very good one because it is totally indicative of how resolving the speakers are and the effects of the ancillaries tonal balance on the sound of the system. i have said for many years that the speakers have a full extended sound but if you use wires or amps that sound lean, that is the way the system will sound. the speakers use many forms of damping to remove distortion and resonance. that being said they have a minimum of their own color. using them with equipment that offers a neutral tonal balance will get the most out of them as david has found.