Merlin VSM-MM v. VSM-MX

I've searched the Merlin webpage, the Agon archives and Google for the answer to this question, but couldn't find one. So if you know of a thread, please direct me to it.

Otherwise, my question is (and forgive me for my ignorance):

Besides the premium gloss finish, what are the differences between the VSM-MX and the VSM-MM? I'm interested in hearing about both technical/engineering differences and noticeable audio differences.

Also, I've heard that the different wiring harnesses optimized for tubes or for SS (as discussed in a footnote on the Merlin price list page) is no longer an issue with the MM/MX. Is that true?

Thanks much.
There is only one type of harness installed in the new models. Because of the finish, the MM/MX sound different(as did the premium Millenium and Se's). A premium finish allows the the MX to take advantage of extra technology that complents the stiffer enclosure. If you can afford it, get the MX and you won't have to wonder any longer.
I'm a non-owner but I have interest in this particular brand of speakers. Needless to say, I stand corrected by the manuf & any other Merlin owner.
For 1 thing, the MM cabinet is less damped (lower Q) than the MX cabinet (which is higher Q). Thus, the VSM-MM is more forgiving & tends to match w/ a wider range of power amps (vs. the VSM-MX).
The MX has improved crossover as well as the improved cabinet. New speakers also come w/the Super BAM. This is a no-brainer upgrade for current owners!
I would think that your amp would mate well with the either one, but I would probably not recommend going w/used pair that includes the solidstate wiring harness.
Key point is that the MX provides much improved bass performance, more explosive dynamics, and an uncanny amount of transparency.
Calling Bobby at Merlin would be a good idea for you. One question to ask him is regarding use of the passive preamp vs. your SP-8. My understanding is that you ideally want the BAM to run via the tape loop of an active preamp. With the BAM, you might find the SP-8 preferrable to the Placette. Cheers,
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Bank. Call Bobby.
Ya gotta post some pics of your speakers. I went to the local "Benz" dealership for color choices. When a bunch of women iI work with couln't decide what color to get, I chose the standard "Champagne". I think I should've tried BMW or Lexus.
Thanks all for the helpful information.

Since I'm looking in the used market, I'm trying to gather as much information as I can from sources other than Bobby himself. I realize he has a great reputation for helping folks even if they are not buying directly from him, but out of respect for his time, I thought I'd exhaust all other avenues of getting the info before contacting him.

I will contact him to ask about the passive v. active preamp issue to see what he recommends. Thanks Spencer for that observation.

I'm leaning toward the MM right now only because of budget constraints. However, I am trying to get a feel for how much difference there is between the MM and the MX.

I am hopeful and confident that even the MM will be a significant upgrade from my current speakers (Audes Blues).

Again, thanks.
FWIW, superBAM has much better bass extension than the older BAM.
CN: I've owned my VSM SE speakers for about 7 years now and should have them back this week from Bobby after doing the MM upgrade. There may very well be some performance difference between the standard and premium finish (I don't know for myself), but I think in the grand scheme of things you'll be better off taking that $1,000 and upgrading some other component. The VSM, regardless of finish, will be one of that last places you'll need to look for enhanced performance. The SE version was already better than the other components I own - and I've got Joule stuff. I've considered getting a premium finish pair but only for it's aesthetics. Don't go into the purchase thinking you are giving something up or *settling* by not getting the MX. If the speakers were *that* fundamentally different with one being much better, I doubt Bobby would offer the lesser version. Think about it, you don't tweak and refine a speaker for more than 10 years only to allow an inferior product to go out the door. Whatever the case, you will be tweaking the sound to taste with cables.

Piano black is what I was considering. Whichever you choose, if you like them, they may be the last speakers you'll ever buy.

hi coffee,
the ss and tube wiring harnesses went with the millennium models. the crossfield litz harness used now sounds much better on tubes or ss than either of the versions available in the millennium.
jim is correct, both versions of the vsm are ferraris. but the mx version has more cabinet damping due to the extra coats of finish. this centers the mids a little harder which makes the speaker sound a touch more continuous. the more continuous a speaker sounds, the greater the resolution potential so we can cryo two extra parts in the network and change the q circuit value in the hf to take out a hair more noise. the torque setting on the fasteners are then changed to be in better tune with the altered mechanical and electrical damping. for the mx, you will require a more absolute best matching system with a more fleshed out and relaxed character because the speakers have a touch more damping.
the mm version is capable of great sound with a lesser system and the mx is capable of a little better sound but you need a more thoughtful approach to reap its benefits.
thanks b

OK, my take on things after owning the VSM-SE,VSM-M, VSM-MM, and now the VSM-MX (piano black): the sound difference between the VSM-MM and the VSM-MX is not huge. In other words, practically speaking, pick the MX version if you really want the premium cabinet (which is outstanding, by the way). If you do not, the standard studio black (VSM-MM)has a great "pebbley" finish. Note that one benefit of the studio black version is that it is more forgiving of hiding slight scratches, fingerprints, etc.
I finally chose the MX version because I was able to put them in a locked, dedicated room away from the prying, sticky fingers of 2 young boys!

Bobby's answers as usual are spot-on and with regards to the VSM-MM's,I would like to add,they are the best speakers I have had.Cheers,Bob
I'll add my 2 cents as a new owner. I had a pair of MM's on order and ended up changing my mind at the last second and ordering MX's. From everything I read I was under the impression that the differences weren't huge. That being said, I know me and big or small, I knew I would always wonder what the MX's would be like.

Taking that into account along with the fact that I would like these to be my last speakers, I'm glad I went with the MX's, (piano black). It was the right choice for me. I'm listening to them right now and they are absolutely wonderful and I'm sure you'll be happy with either choice.


I had my original VSM-SE pair upgraded to MM (tube harness) several years ago and the difference was worthwhile. I haven't heard the MX. If you're buying used I'd recommend the MM. I've had my Merlins for five years (maybe more?) and have felt no urge to upgrade. They're amazing speakers and I always feel like I hear what goes in with very little alteration. They make all recordings enjoyable, but they disappear completely on high quality recordings. Highly recommended.

I'm sure you meant to say that you had your SE's upgraded to Milleniums.
agreed tab110, millenniums have ss or tube harnesses and the mm and mx share the same crossfield litz harness that is quite superior in sound on both ss and tube.
You're right Tabl10s...I meant plain old "M".

See...I'm so content with my Merlins that I don't even know what upgrades are out there anymore. :-)

I'll add my 3 cents to the mix also...over the past 32 years in this hobby I too have owned an awful lot of varied speaker brands...With my new MM's (2005)..the hunt is finally done...Bobby is a great guy to work with and gives spot on honest advice...very appreciated for this hobby...thanks for the great speakers b.....