Merlin vsm mme owners, Cardas cabling Question.

HI, just purchased an used pair of merlin vsm mme,replaced my Von swheikert VR3, my Question is, why cardas cables are so critical for this speakers, had cardas cables before, speakers and interconnect, and heated the sound of those cables, very muddy and slow, bass all over the place,coulnt'pull them out fas enough,
my preamp is joulet electra 150mk11, and I'm really scare to spend $3000,or more on used cardas GR,cables,now I'm using KCI silk worm with analysis solo cristal I/C, sounds good, but a little thin, great midrange, but not full body sound, that I'm acustom to, what will cardas bring to the table , in this situation.

your coments wil be apreciated;


I don’t own any Merlin speakers however I have two friends that do. For some reason (which I don’t know) I’m sure there are people on this site that could explain why, Cardes Golden cables do sound very good when used with the Merlin speakers. I’ve witnessed this myself. You might want to just try the speaker cables and continue to use the interconnects you currently have.
j, cable performance and sound quality is relative to the speakers and system used. therefore your present cables and their thin sound complemented the vr but does not the merlin. the fuller, muddy and slow sound as you call it, will be better suited to the merlin. get some to try first and by all means, be open minded because a great revelation may be at hand. and by the way, cardas sounds nothing like what you decribed. what is that telling you?
best, b
Juancgenao: The Cardas cables will provide precisely the not-so-subtle tone control element that the Merlins need. You'll be amazed.
9rw, you never surprize me. you have not listened to any of the latest vsms yet you comment. all from the se you owned at least 12 years ago. wow, you are good! if quad, soundlabs, roland, avalon, joseph audio, ayre, running springs, merlin and even joule use it at shows or internally and many others use it or wire their products with it, i would say your comment has little fact in it. i would also suggest you take a really close listen to the clear. my comment above stands with the addition of, imho.
best, b
It's the same speaker with some tweaks and TONS of marketing. Same basic cabinet, same woofer, same tweeter, same basic crossover design. To you it may sound way different but blindfold a dozen audiophiles and let them hear all 15 versions of your speaker and they'd be hard-pressed to hear much if any difference. I love your passion, though.
Another proven cable that works well with Merlins is the Audience Au24.
Wow, I'think I'opened a can of worm here, will follow Bobby's advice, after all he was the one who recommended the MMe to me a few months ago, very skeptical must admit, but will take the plunge,and get some cardas GR speaker cables, and one set of interconnect first,and if get satisfactory sound will follow up with two more sets for the Bam, and DAC, Silkworm sounds preatty good from DAC to preamp, but not from pre to amp, very thin and bleached out sound, phenomenal soundstage and immaging,
this speakers scared the crap out of me when firt played a
track of (Jacques Loussier)Plays Bach, never heared clarity
and coherency the way this speakers portrays it,
if I'can get them to sound a little fuller will be very happy with them:

I followed Bobby's advice and bought Cardas Golden Cross speaker cables and interconnects and the Merlins did indeed sound way better; however, when I got a pair of Dunlavy SC-IV/A's and then switched from Cardas to Acoustic Zen it was actually startling. The speakers just got a whole lot quicker, more revealing and the soundstage improved by about 100 percent.

And, oh, by the way, John Dunlavy knew a little about speaker design. His speakers were among the best when it came to measured and perceived performance. He just wasn't the best at marketing his product, which were big and looked pretty ordinary -- not what many audiophiles who care about looks instead of performance are seeking. Good luck, Juancgenao.

I own VSMs. They sound very good with a wide variety of cables/amps/sources. However, ownership of this particular product puts you in a circle of folks who are so passionate that some embrace certain cult-like rituals, among them strict adherence to system matching commandments. Bobby P, the owner of the company is enthusiastic, vocal, and a frequent poster here. He has his preferences (naturally enough), but these seem to take on great philosophical weight and meaning among the coverted. My advice: experiment away. Some very unorthodox combos work very well, including (GASP!, oh no!) solid state amps. I am sure that Bobby's annointed components work well with VSMs, I'm also sure that they are not the only such components. Just don't limit yourself to the dogma.

Can't go wrong with Cardas cables,also Anti-cables,YMMV,Bob
will follow Bobbys's advice, not just because he is the designer, but because those speakers, managed to win over 60 best of show, witch is no easy feast, using recomended cabling, will be foolish not to follow thru with recomendation:
I was recommended to use Cardas with my Ayre components....after all, Cardas even manufactures the Ayre cables. As it turned out, Cardas cables were absolutely awful - closed in, grainy, dead sounding. You absolutely MUST try all cables in your own system to hear what they do or don't do....they all sound different in different systems.

By all means, follow away.
I, too, think highly of Bobby's advice.
I just don't always agree with him. Doesn't make me right, but it also doesn't make me wrong. I've lived with the speakers for about 10 years now and have earned the right to form my own opinion. I'd encourage you to experiment in order to do the same, but, hey.....whatever floats yer boat.

I also think Bobby provides great advice and I used the AU24 speaker cables as a result when I couldn't afford the GR's. I used and still use some GR in my system but for my tastes I really have been very happy with Stealth cables and am moving more of my cables to that brand.

I think the Cardas Golden Reference are a good fit but by all means there are personal preferences at play as well and you don't have to use GR's and even if you do, you might find one day YOU prefer something else and that's OK.

HI, Boage, how do you compare the sealth MLT,with the GR?
do you get full body sound as cardas, what's the sonic diference there is a pair for sell I'just may grab, no cardas spkrs cables available and also been intrigued about the MLT,please explain:

Maybe I am one of those cult-like followers, but I can say first hand that each improvement to the VSM's that I've personally experienced was not at all subtle. I went from upgraded VSM-MMe with leaded Super BAM to a lead-free Super BAM and it was a significant improvement. Then I want from lead-free Super BAM and RC's to the Master versions with Duelund caps and the improvement was stunning.

The fact that the basic design hasn't changed and yet the sound has dramatically improved with each upgrade only proves that the basic design was good to start with.

I will say that set-up is critical with the VSM's. An inch makes a difference. By the way, I'm using Cardas GR speaker cable and Cardas Clear interconnects and I find them to be tonally neutral, yet highly musical. I haven't tried a lot of different of cables, but that's because I'm actually satisfied.
Let me clarify:

No offense was intended by the "cult" reference. I was merely trying to explain how some people have concluded that the VSM won't work properly unless paired with "insert Bobby's choice here". If you search these threads, the product has been criticized for this, as in:
You know, if you buy VSMs, you'll have to ditch the rest of your system and replace it with "insert Bobby's choices here".

I've seen that one and I know that Bobby has, too.
I find it outright silly. I've used more than a dozen different amps with mine, ranging from 300B SETs to high powered SS monoblocks and the speaker sounded terrific (although a bit different) with each.
Sorry if I offended, but I was merely advising the OP that Cardas cables weren't his only choice for the VSM.
I intended nothing more and apologize to any who felt slighted by my choice of words.

Hi Juancgenao. Just to be clear, I didn't have the GR speaker cables, just the interconnects along with AU24 speaker cables. That being said, with the Stealth cables I find that they do the neat trick of sounding more detailed, fuller, (is that a word... more full?), and relaxed/natural all at the same time.

I never got the term relaxed as it related to music reproduction but when I put my Stealth hyperphono cable, (the first Stealth cable in my system), into my system that was exactly the first word that popped into my head. Relaxed.

There is a nice relaxed natural quality that I find with Stealth cables that I personally like. It reminds me of what I hear when I go to the symphony. I find them to be detailed and full sounding at the same time.

I remember when I changed from my AU24's to Hybrid MLT's a buddy of main with very good ears commented that everything sounded fuller.

I'm very happy with them and for my tastes they're a winner but as with anything in this crazy hobby, YMMV.

Best of luck with whatever you choose.
Marty, no offense taken at all. My comments were more directed at the complaint that the basic design of the VSM's hadn't changed.

Here's a possible explanation of the "cult" phenomenon: I think that some of us appreciate the recommendations of designers because we don't have the resources or the desire to experiment with lots of different pieces. We want to get the most music out of our system, and it's nice to be able to trust someone like Bobby P.'s recommendations. cheers, Glenn
It's funny to see how kooky people get about this stuff. With over 30 years of the dreaded and often incurable Audioselpalitis, I've learned to take every opinion with a grain of salt.

However, I have a pair of TSM-XMr's on order and Bobby has been careful in explaining why he recommends one item over another, including the Cardas cable. His suggestions are well supported by a good number of owners.

Does this mean no other wire or amp or speaker stand works well with the Merlins? Of course not. Bobby has his favorites and others will sometimes not agree with his. As I told Bobby when we initially spoke, I first heard an older set of Merlin TSM's with a very old Creek integrated amp. It was connected with monster cable from bestbuy and fed by a Marantz DVD player. The sound was utterly musical. But Bobby hopes we all would get even more from our speakers and that kind of passion is always welcome.


stingreen, sounds like the cardas cables were either not broken in or a bad combination with your speakers, which are? i have a feeling i know what is going on. in fact i would bet you on the outcome.
bhoage, i like the stealth cables too. finely stranded silver works very well. much better than bigger strands or solid core on merlins. i personally like copper litz a little more. personal preference is what this is all about in the end.
marty, i have said what "i like personally" on the speakers and why. i like cable that can play a lot of music well and not ones that play a few pieces incredibly at the expense of the rest. i never said that cardas or audience was the only cable to use. this is someone's interpretation of these recommendations.
lots of great and fair comments here.
except for the one who got involved for no reason other than to disrupt or to make himself feel superior.
in closing, there is not one product that we can all agree on being the best. too many variables in systems, personal taste, room acounstics etc. it is always best to experiment to come up with your own perceptions.
i actually have a great many personal favorites in the way of ancillaries to use with my speakers.
best, b
i actually have a great many personal favorites in the way of ancillaries to use with my speakers.
best, b>>>

Bobby, the above statement is a good one. But then, as many Merlin owners (and future owners) would like to know...what other cables do you like with your speakers? What other associated gear to you feel mates well?
I wonder if it would be sane and sound for a designer to list his or her favorites and post such a list, even if it's far from complete?

On a related note, I've never heard a "bad" speaker cable. I've only heard better ones, which is to say that my Magnepans sounded fantastic with Monster Cable and then even better with Audioquest wire, MIT and Anti. None of it sounded bad, truncated, smeared, bloated or anything dramatic in spite of warnings that my Maggies could only sing with a few types of wire, amps and CD players.

Still, you're the man behind a highly regarded speaker and what YOU like is going to carry weight as most buyers don't know 1/10th of what you do about audio. And some will even be annoyed at the none-too-subtle assertions by some owners that they are doing their gear a grand disservice by not using/liking what they do.

The audiophile life is hell!



Don't misunderstand. I only said that you have your preferences (to be expected) and I have mine and sometimes they are the same and other times they are not. No foul there.

I was further pointing out that your recommendations become "gospel" to some folks and spread the idea that the speakers only work properly with the ancillaries you mention. I KNOW that you've seen that type of thing posted in these forums, because we've both contributed to at least one thread where that (silly IMO) point of view was mentioned more than once. I was only trying to dispel the idea. The VSM works well with many, many partners - whether amps, cables (I use mostly Hovland), or sources.

For the record, I had all Cardas cables (Golden Cross and Neutral Reference) -- this was mandated at the time by Bobby and my dealer. The associated equipment consisted of a Levinson 37 transport, Levinson 360S processor, Audio Research LS25 and ARC VT100 (original and MKII versions) -- hardly mid-fi.

Bobby said the amp and preamp were the reasons my VSM SEs sounded mediocre and incoherent. He said they were definitely not the preamp and amp he would recommend for his speakers. That's kind of funny seeing that those particular ARC products have always been fairly highly regarded in the Audiogon community and beyond and are both pretty neutral.

So all I'm really pointing out is that if you decide to go with Merlin you launch yourself on a path that can easily result in replacing everything. If that's what makes you happy, by all means do it. But you might want to do yourself a favor and listen to a pair of, say, Totems -- at a fraction of the price. Or, better yet, find a pair of Dunlavy SC-II's and something like a REL Stadium III.

In the end, though, a lot of people have to spend a lot of money before they can accept that they didn't really have to spend all that much to get great sound.

Meanwhile, I, too, would like to hear what else Bobby recommends -- and how many times he recommends those choices vs. Joule and Cardas.
marty, i agree with all you have said, there is no problem between us.
what i find equally as foolish is when someone hears cardas on merlin speakers, does not like the sound for one reason or another and says "that is bobby's fav and i do not like the sound so both the speaker and wire are not to my liking." then they do not give either a chance with other gear, how foolish is that? that is the other side of the coin and happens often.
once again, nothing suits everyone's needs/preferences and we should be big enough to understand this. owning audio gear is not a contact sport and what we own is not the best because we own it.
best, b
9rw, you are again talking about products that were made 12 to 13 years ago, are out of production and have no bearing on what we are talking about. juancgenao asked about vsm mmes which you have never even heard and your se's sounded nothing like. since you have nothing relevant to add because your comments are based on dated assumption, why even get involved or do you just want to disrupt.
i think we should all just ignore you from this day forward.
best, b
9rw, you sound like someone with an axe to grind. You owned Merlin speakers a LONG time ago it seems and the product has been reviewed quite recently with strong observations that the evolution has been more than subtle.
Bobby and others have reported that they like certain associated gear, but I have spoken to quite a few owners of Merlin speakers and learned that they are enjoyed when mated to a wide variety of gear. You speak of a "path" that you suggest is more problematic than it's worth. Clearly a HUGE amount of owners and reviewers don't agree.
Interesting that you mention the Totem, a lovely speaker that is quite colored compared to the Merlins.

Robbob: No ax to grind at all. In fact, I've repeatedly praised Bobby for his passion and commitment to customers. Also, I really wanted to like my Merlins. His enthusiasm is contagious and he uses top-notch components.

Unfortunately, he made his best speakers in the early 1990s. The Merlin VSM represents a poor value. Also, note that Bobby failed to answer my question about Joule and Cardas. There's something inherently wrong with a speaker that requires tuning to compensate for spectral balance deficiencies. And of course he thinks people should ignore my posts. If I were him I would want that, too.

As for the alleged night-and-day sonic differences he's achieved by taking the lead out and through other tweaks, please provide me with even one example of another speaker that uses the same drivers, cabinet and crossover design yet sounds nothing like its predecessor. Perhaps, though, he's doing all of this with that equalizer. It is possible, I suppose.

9rw, a quick look on-line reveals positive professional reviews with such amps as...

ARS Sonum, (my fave)
Musical Fidelity
and of course Joule

didn't bother to look too hard for more examples...

and if you look through systems here at Agon, you'll see what I can only assume are happy users with...

Joule, Atma and ARS Sonum, (the usual suspects), but also...
Conrad Johnson
Musical Design
Music Reference
Pass Labs

and others but I can't be bothered to type anymore.

The point is, there doesn't appear to be one or two or ten for that matter, ways to musical bliss with Merlin speakers. Sure, there may be more common matchings with some brands with others but that's the case with every speaker/amp combo.

I think the "problem" is that Bobby is just free in offering his opinion of what he feels works well and I appreciate it. Sometimes I take him up on it, (ARS Sonum), and sometimes I go my own way, (Stealth cables). I think some people misinterpret this as, "You must use Joule and Cardas or your system will suck". A cursory review of what people are using would indicate that's not the case, or at least the people using today's version of the speakers certainly don't seem to think so.

The only "tuning" as you put it, that appears to be going on is to each individuals perception of what they want out of their systems and there appears to be many ways to achieve it.

Unfortunately, he made his best speakers in the early 1990s.>>>

I'm afraid you do have an axe to grind with the above statement. I've had the chance to listen to an "old" set of Merlin TSM speakers vs. the quite recent MMe version. Right away the MMe was a better speaker, more coherent and flatter sounding. Both sets were powered by Rogue gear.

Are you even aware that he's changed the tweeters and altered cabinet construction?

But it is your comment about spectral balance deficiencies that rings truly false. EVERY speaker suffers from these and everyone tunes their system to THEIR taste. As I said, the Totems are COLORED far beyond the Merlins. It is the Merlins quest for tonal accuracy, transparency and resolution that drive owners to further tweak their systems. I understood this very well when I recently compared a pair of Focal Diablos to the Merlins. The Merlins were more balanced by a clear margin, though the Focals "impressed" more initially with their presentation. It was the Merlins that sounded more like real instruments in the room.

Finally you speak of value. High end audio has very little to do with value. It's a pursuit of arguably ever diminishing returns relative to cost. Since the majority of reviewers and owners don't seem to agree with you, perhaps you should let it go. The comment about his speakers being at their best may only be your opinion, but it's patently absurd. Your only defense of your position is that everyone is caught up in some sort of audiophilic religious fever over the Merlins. Yet virtually every review is in awe of these designs used with a wide variety of gear. My friend recently auditioned Merlin VSM's in LI and said they were in the top 10 speakers he's heard at any price.

You should consider letting this go. Bobby makes a high end niche product that is highly respected. Who exactly are you? Just one guy with an opinion and that's all. I know people who prefer Canton to Snell. And they're entitled to say that. But when you say that Bobby built his best speakers 15 years ago it begins to sound like you have an issue with HIM and not the product.

As for the alleged night-and-day sonic differences he's achieved by taking the lead out and through other tweaks, please provide me with even one example of another speaker that uses the same drivers>>>

Frankly, I'm SHOCKED that you asked this. My previous speakers, Magnepan 1.6's were altered quite completely by changes in the fuses!
Improving the bracing in Spica TC60's made the speaker utterly world class...same drivers.
Heck, even my old Heybrook's sang better with the wiring changed. Same drivers and cabinet.

There is a big industry built around this. Fine speakers respond better to small changes because they are more revealing. On the other hand I don't worry that much about cables and associated gear for my Definitive Technology home theater system.

When I get the Merlin TSM-MXrs I will have the chance to put a older pair on the same stands with the same amp and CD player. The new version has a lot of changes. Do actually think they'll sound the same? Ridiculous.

I will post a full and detailed review with photos when they arrive.

Bobby do you have any customers running your speakers with audio valve challanger monoblocks;if so do you know their cable of choice?I may be moving in that direction for a second system.
Any Merlin VSM MXe owner experienced Ridge Street Audio Poiema interconnects (Audio Aero/SuperBAM/ARS)?
I am also looking for (less costlier) alternatives to Cardas GR interconnects.
rleff, this amp looks very interesting to me. i love el34s and class "a" ops, even more so. unless the damping is too high or there is a lot of feedback it should be a fantastic piece. it should be very natural sounding with good bass punch and control, imho.
logically it will have a slightly low output impedance (because of the 3 pairs of 34's) which causes a slightly high damping potential. but the proof in in the listening. all in all i like what i see.
i have heard of none of my customers with it so i do not have an idea of what people are using for cables.
best, b
stalwar, look for used cardas golden presence and audience au24e.
Bobby-Thanks I run transparent music wave super;any words of wisdom of this cable?
rleff, newer merlins sound a lot more robust in my opinon. the mmi and mx-r sound great with ss or tubes. but the vsm mx-r with a master bam and master rcs will be a fantastic match with your cables. not to worry.
the transparent sounds a hair damped and a hair forward because it sits on the fence so you can use it easily with damped or lesser damped speakers systems. with the master bam and master rc's more robust sound, it is a great fit.
best, b
Robbob: I wasn't referring to the TSM. I believe they were called Excalibur -- or something like that. They were tower-type speakers and looked something like Mirage or big Vandersteens.

It's your opinion that the Totems -- you don't even say which ones -- are more colored than the Merlin. Are all of the Totems more colored? And what measurements have you performed? I notice in previous posts that you're predominantly a home theater kind of guy. That's nice.

Also, I'm certainly not saying cables don't make a difference. That's exactly opposite of what I'm saying, and that's why Bobby recommends Cardas probably 90 percent of the time. Plus I'm saying that removing lead and tightening the screws that hold tweeters in place a quarter turn do not result in sonic differences. But, hey, if I spent tens of thousands on speakers and associated gear I'd want to believe all of this and more, too. Happy listening.
robbob, isn't it great being talked down to by a guy who hasn't got a clue because he hasn't listened to anything current. who thinks measurments say everything and has many important facts, wrong? he resurfaces with the same nonsense every so often and i have tried many times to explain things to him which is very tiresome, wastes time and energy. so...i have stopped.
as i said, ignore him. he is prolonging this.
best, b
Thank you Bobby.
I notice in previous posts that you're predominantly a home theater kind of guy. That's nice.>>>

Yup. I surely is! Hee Haw! Let's all watch Top Gun and Showgirlz!

Good grief, dude. I've got a dedicated theater with a 10 foot wide screen. But that doesn't have anything to do with the refined speakers I've used...from Canton and Fried TL to Royd, Heybrook and B&W. I'm new to tubes, but I've heard and owned a lot of gear.

If you don't know that Totems and MOST speakers are colored, then I suggest you attend some live concerts and recordings. Then try actually recording a live piano or cello and play it back on Totems, Revel, Focal, ML, and a lot of other speakers out there. They're all colored to varying extents.

The Merlin and a few others are among the most neutral speakers I've heard. You're free to disagree, but maybe it's in bad taste to bad mouth Bobby's efforts, especially since no one is really agreeing with you. Since you are not in agreement with most experts and experienced audiophiles, why push the envelope?

I don't care for Bryston amps, but I don't run around bashing them because I KNOW plenty of people enjoy their products. In audio, dead weight finds it's own level. If a product is smoke and mirrors people usually figure it out. With loudspeakers you can't fool anyone. And few speakers on the planet have the universal acclaim as do the Merlins. That's amazing since he is up against companies like B&W who have advertising budgets just as big as their R&D budgets. And yet the little TSM's are superior to every B&W monitor I've heard.

You simply sound frustrated with Merlin or Bobby or the world. Still worse, you don't own the product, which everyone agrees has seen many changes.
This is my last response to you on this matter.


Right you are, Bobby! I made my LAST comment...and being a "home theater kinda guy" I will now use my new Manley Stingray as a center channel stand while I watch Rambo III.

Bobby thanks for the input on the Transparent cables.
Bobbyapalkovic.... I have an all Ayre system with balanced interconnects including LP...V1xe, K1xe, C5xemp, VPI Superscoutmaster/rim drive/Benz LP, into Vandersteen 5A's. I had Ayre and Cardas cables in my system for over 5 months each. I thought that's the way the system supposed to sound until a friend came over with some high end Purist cables. The difference was absolutely stunning. This prompted me to audition lots and lots of cables. The best sounding ones for my system was Audioquest Sky/Everest, and Anti-Cables. These sounded very similar, so I got the Anti -Cables because of the price difference. In truth, no one could tell me which cables were better when I swapped out one for the other.
i was wrong stingreen in two respects, with the breakin and about your speakers. vandy's imho, are going to be aided by the purist or a cable that slightly constricts, so i see why you liked what you had. the ayre/cardas was too full and relaxed to interface properly. this thinning or lightness would make the 5a's sound quicker and more finessed. this doesn't make the ayre/cardas wrong, just inappropriate for you and your speaker. there are plenty of speakers that these wires sound better on than other types. this is not one size fits all.
and in general, speakers with tweeters that are crossed over lower tend to like these litz wires more than ones that are crossed over higher. this has to do with the amount of fullness in the treble itself.
thanks s,
best, b
I have a pair of VSM MMe with the most recent lead free upgrade, and I'm still waiting in the queue for the BAM upgrade. I too have known and admired Bobby's speakers since I first heard the Excaliburs in the 80's, but this has nothing to do with the cable question.

When I first purchased the VSMs I did as Bobby suggested: Cardas Golden Ref. bi-wire and Golden Ref. ICs. This worked for a long time, until I purchased the Ars and got the lead out. Either my hearing has changed, which is quite possible, or the "highly linear sound" (as Bobby refers to it) was both too high and linear for my musical taste. I sold the Ars, went back to the Berning, bought the Cardas Golden Ref. single wire and use Bobby's jumpers. Still I was having some issues. Recently I auditioned the AU24 "e" which was a joy to work with compared to the Cardas garden hoses, but yet they didn't improve the sound any, and if anything I felt that the micro dynamics of the AU24 exacerbated the issue. Finally, and as a surprise to the naysayers, I've settled on the Cardas Neutral Ref. single wire. These cables give me a little more warmth and mid-range at the expense of highly resolved top and bottom details. I've also had a parade of amps coming through the door and I love the laid back 300b sound over the OTL or the EL34. I have a huge room to fill, so a low powered 300b amp isn't enough oomph for symphonic or rock. I use the Berning instead for that type of music.

Bottom line: go with what your ears tell you. Not everyone hears or listens for the same sound that you do. For example I'm personally not as sensitive to coloration as I am to bright and edgy sound; thus I've never met a ribbon tweeter that didn't give me tinnitus.

Stay tune I could have two Golden Ref. speaker cables, as well as a pair of TG Audio HSR with jumpers listed on Audiogon soon.
Robbobby: Whoa! Most speakers are colored? Slow down before you spring such radical concepts on me. I just hate that you've made your last post to this thread. I could learn so much from you.

I had no idea that most "experts" and "experienced audiophiles" (like yourself) agree that the Merlin is the best speaker on the planet. All the audiophiles and music lovers I know listened and left my dedicated listening room unimpressed. Speakers I've owned that easily outperformed the Merlin include Dunlavy SC-IV/A, Dunlavy SC-II, Von Schweikert VR-4Jr., Von Schweikert VR-4Sr. and Quad 988. As for Totem, I just think speakers like the tiny Arro are a lot of fun. It's hardly my reference. I'm sorry to have interrupted "Top Gun."
Bobby, are audience au24 "e" version recommended over older au24? Wonder if it is an upgrade worth considering.
Has anybody compared the older au24 with "e" version with merlins?
Thanks again.

Thus far the speaker wire I've got on hand to try....

1) Audioquest type 4 3.5 meters
2) Anti cables 3 meters
3) Audioquest rocket 44 3.5 meters

I'm trying to borrow some Cardas stuff as well, but I really want the speakers & amp to be broken in before I dish out for cable. Based on what I've heard from some owners I have some hope for the anti cable. What do you have to say about the Anti Cable stuff?

Thanks as usual...

Sstalwar, I had AU24 speaker cables and had them upgraded to "e" status. I found the upgrade to be a good value. Definitely provided more detail and texture. Eventually I moved on to Cardas GR, which I find provides improved frequency extension and openness while maintaining similar tonal neutrality to the AU24"e".