Merlin TSM-MM vs. Tyler Reference Monitor

I am looking to upgrade my Soliloquy 5.0 monitors and am interested in the Merlin and Tyler monitors. Both have excellent reviews and a loyal following, but I have not had the opportunity to hear either one. Has anyone had a chance to compare these two monitors? Also, how would these monitors compare with the comparably priced offerings from Proac?

FYI, my system consists of a Cary SLI-80 tube integrated producing 40w in triode mode/ 80w in UL, a Cary 308T cdp, and Acoustic Zen and VH Audio cabling. I have an 11 X 20 room, but have to place the system on the short wall and would prefer to stay with a monitor speaker as opposed to a floor stander. I listen to a wide range of music from jazz, alt. country, bluegrass, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Very nice system. I own a Cary SLI-80 Sig as well. I used to own the Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors and they took about all the SLI-80 would muster in the Triode Mode which is what I prefer to listen to. The speakers did not seem as efficient as they were rated.

Needless to say. I sold them. If I am correct, the Merlins are around 87dB as well. I would email Bobby at Merlin and ask his advice. I would also suggest you look at some other speakers in the 89-90dB range if you plan on running your amp in triode mode as I do.

My 2 cents would be that you check out the Reference 3A monitors, the Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor, or even one of JM Labs higer serious monitors.

Good Luck!

Kid, thanks for your input. I'm curious, how big is your listening room? I have previously e-mailed Bobby at Merlin and he felt the SLI-80 would drive the TSM fine in my room. I am intrigued by the Merlin, but they are at the high end of my budget, so I am looking for a few other options before I make a decision.


You are very welcome. My listening room is about the same size as yours. I would trust Bobby's advice 100% if he said it will be fine. I think the Merlin Speakers will be heads above the Tylers. As they cost more.

Like I mentioned, I don't think the Tylers are rated accurately. I was in our old house which I had a smaller listening room at the time and they just ate the SLI-80 up in triode mode. I would say they are closer to 84dB than the 87dB they are rated.

Enough so that I sold them. I now run a pair of Sonus Faber Grand Pianos which the Cary Powers effortlessly. You might also want to look at the Totem Model 1 Signatures. They sound amazing and would work well in your size room.

I have also owned both Sonus Faber Concertino and Concerto home monitors and really liked the Concertino. I wanted more bass so I upgraded to the Concerto but could never get the "magic" I got out of the smaller Concertino. The Concertinos with SLI-80 really sound nice. They will just be a little shy in the bass department but so will the Merlins.

If you want to email me and tell me what you really want to spend, I will be happy to give this more thought. I use to run a high end store when I was younger and have heard about everything out there. Well, almost everything. Good Luck!

BTW: I really like your setup. I just upgraded from a Cary 308 CD player to a SONY SCDXA777ES. I was looking for a 308T but could not find one in my price point when it was time to buy. However, no regrets with the Sony.

Chris' comments on the Taylos sensitivity ratings are rather interesting... I have a room of similar volume (14X16), and when I was running them as my fronts they could easily be powered by even a Sonic Impact T-amp that puts out about 10 watts into 8 ohms... I guess it depends on how loud you play the music (in my case about 85db)... I would say the claimed 88db efficiency rating by Tyler was spot-on accurate, and that the Taylos are about an average speaker load to drive. Just a differing opinion for what it is worth...

As for how Merlins compare against the Taylos... I would say it is a difficult call... I love them both, and would be quite happy with either (so it would probably come down to cost and looks). It really is a matter of personal taste... I would recommend you audition them both and make your own decision... As an aside, now that Tyler has home auitions, it is a lot easier to give their speakers a try before commiting to purchase.

BTW: Loved the sound of those GPHs when I heard them recently Chris... Very nice indeed. :-)

There was a thread at one point here about the Tylos' bass being "missing in action", you might want to search. Many sing the praises of the Tylers, but for whatever reason, I never got them to work well in my system. Totem Model Ones sounded much nicer in my room, I could never quite get away from the alloy cone sound signature from the Tylers. (At least thats what I thought I was hearing.) This is just my experience and as you know lots of listeners love the Tylers so take it with the prerequisite grain of salt. As for the Totems which I really love, although I found they wanted lots of power my friend who has them now gets great results with his Bedini 25x25.
Good luck Cruz.

That is great that you are getting better results with the Tylers. Thanks for the Kudos on my speakers as well. I think I have read some of your posts. I started with great results with my Taylos as I had an Electrocompaniet ECI-3 integrated amp (70WPC). Then upgrading to the SLI-80 just did not do the trick with Tylers where I thought it would.

The 40WPC of the Cary was just not enough. I listen at medium to medium loud volumes, not terribly loud. I do turn it up on occasion when the mood strikes me but you would just tell it did have enough juice. Well, being the Audio/Music Addict I am, I sold them and went back to the Sonus Faber and have not looked back.

The Tylers are nice speakers and Ty is certainly a gentleman. However, with the SLI-80, I would suggest going another route speaker wise.

Cruz123, I have Taylo Refs on the way that will be used with a 40W Primaluna. I'll post comments and room dimensions/info if you would like. The speakers on the way are used and broken in. I do not believe the idea that any speaker must be better because it costs more is sound advice but maybe I am wrong.

Sorry if I made the point that the Merlins were better because they cost more as that was not my intention. I was just stating that they were more expensive for his budgetary concerns.

The Taylos are wonderful speakers in the right application. I would personally prefer the Merlins if given the choice between the two. I have owned a pair of Taylos and did enjoy my short time with them.


Thanks for everyones input, including the private e-mails. Looks like I have a lot more research to do. I have had a couple of recommendations to try the Green Mountain Callistos and I find them intriging in this price range. Has anyone compared the Merlins to the Callistos?

Kid, thanks for your comments. I have just recently upgraded to the 308T from a Jolida JD100. I was frankly surprised at how much more detail the 308T has over the Jolida. The Jolida is very good for the money, but so far I am thrilled with the 308T.

I would not think twice .....go for the Merlins.TSM-MM or MX choice depending on your current amp and future amps.Have a friend with TSM-MXs in his office system.Has had excellent results with both a Jadis Orchestra Reference and a Bel Canto SETi 40 int amp.Can give you his mail address if you are interested.

As for myself,I use Merlin VSM-MMs with a Pathos Logos amp.