Merlin VSM or Revel Performa F52

I am currently in the market for a set of 5 speakers for my new condo apartment. For my budget, the two main contenders are:

* Merlin VSM-MXe fronts + VSM-CCe center + TSM-MXe surrounds
* Revel Performa F52 fronts + C52 center + M22 surrounds

From the old system I am keeping:
* 2 Martin Logan Depth subwoofers
* Anthem Statement D1 pre/pro
* Anthem Statement A5 amp
* Denon 3910 DVD player
* home made GW12 copper speaker cables, single wire

Which set do you think is best, Merlin or Revel?
Are there any other contenders worth looking at?
Thank you
these two products sound very different so it would be best for you to describe the room and the possible set up.
the electronics i recommend all the time and the speakers cables (if stranded) with my jumpers on the e-versions will be a great match.
if you need any other information on the merlin product feel free to call me at 585 367 2390 during business hours, est.
just back from the ces show so getting in a little later than usual.
bobby at merlin
So I take it I have one vote in Merlin's favor. Any others?
i did not cast a vote for one or the other.
as i said they both sound different and i know the merlin will sound really good with what you have (if the wire is sranded copper) and if i know more about the room and set up i could be of greater help. it is possible that the revel (which are very fine speakers) may even be better suited to your set up and that is why i asked the questions. feel free to call and discuss this matter.

The wire is chinese-made, high purity, very fine stranded copper 12AWG. Now, given that all copper is equal - given to us billions of years ago by some supernova explosion - I will stick with what I have, and discard any claims lik e "long-crystal copper" etc. as snake-oil.

The only place where there is an difference, is when you are using low inductance, high capacitance wires. In that specific case, you will have to lower your typical 10K Zobel resistor, as outlined by the Goertz MI-2 example at

Given your reputation and legendary dedication to customers, I will call you in the near future to discuss details.
Okay, here's a vote for Merlins. I've owned them for a few years, and they never disappoint. I've tried them w/various components and they let the attributes of each shine through. I think they'll be fine w/your gear, and you will find yourself falling in love w/2 channel music again. If you ever decide to upgrade electronics, you'll be able to hear the benefit of your investment.
Bobby's support and advice is second to none.
FWIW, I've heard Revels at shows and dealers. They are dynamic but a little cold and analytical for my tastes. They are made by what was once a high end company, that now has been bought/managed by the Harman conglomerate. Much has been written here about issues with Madrigal/Revel ownership now vs. when they were run more independently. Read the archives before you buy their stuff. I've never owned their stuff, so take this criticism w/grain of salt. YMMV. Cheers,
Have not heard the Revel line.That being said the Merlins are a sure bet in this house.Trust they will make you very happy also,good luck,Bob
I've auditioned many speakers, including Revel Studios. I definitely prefer Merlins. Very musical and pure. Listen to both if you can. Only you can decide.
My expereince with Merlins (just the TSM MXs) and 4 different amps - they need tubes with beauty and musicality, i.e. Air Tight, Joule Electra, and probably EAR 890 (my current amp). I've heard Revels once, some years ago, and also thought them cool and clinical. But, isn't Revel now advertising the new line as more musical and warm sounding, or am I thinking of someone else?
to all,
the e versions of merlin speakers are much fuller and more complete sounding than ever before. many of their owners love their sound on ss amps too. that is why i do not worry about this mans anthem gear and i have heard the anthem and think it sounds wonderful. i recommend it all the time and with his fine stranded copper wires and my jumpers there is no proplem here. the man will also use subs for video and that will fill in the bass to his taste.
regards to all,
another vote here for Merlins , i have the VSM mm and the big EXL-4 . I love them both. what you put into them is what you get out!
I`ve owned the e version of the tsm mm`s for several months and am still in awe of the "realness" of the music, whether it`s jazz, vocals, full orchestra etc.

For me it`s a genuine "you are there" experience. I love `em.

One thing that may be of interest, is that I`m getting this wonderful music through relatively inexpensive components. aa prima int. amp...aa prima cdp...reality cables ic`s and speaker cables.

Have fun.
Yet another vote for the Merlins. They do all the detailed audiophile stuff but their best trait in my opinion is to weave it all into a believable whole. People keep saying, the music just sounds right, real, etc... and I didn't really appreciate what the heck that meant until I bought a pair. Highly recommended and I can only imagine how a 5ch system of them would sound. I'm sure you'd be pleased with the merlins but best of luck whatever your decision.

Another vote for the Merlin's. I have the VSM-MX's with the Merlin center channel and I could not be happier. Fantastic presentation, a fanatical attention to detail and the best customer service in the business. Let your ears decide and the choice should be clear (pardon the pun).
Alright, by popular vote (7-0), Merlin it is. I can only imagine how those SACD's will sound on a 5 speakers Merlin system.

Maybe I will even switch to copper foil speaker cable, like Goertz MI-2. The foil trick dramatically lowers the cable impedance at the expense of capacitance.

Many say that with these kind of cables your ears don't need break-in anymore. However, the Zobel network at the speaker end has to be adjusted accordingly. Apparently Goertz's free Zobel network uses two 5.1 ohm resistors in series with a 0.1uF capacitor, which is not correct.
If you're happy w/ the ML subs and can get them to integrate well, I can't imagine choosing the Revels. From 50ish hz on up, the VSM strike me as damn near SOTA. Below that threshold, their performance is much more dependant on the room. The revels are finw speakers, but their primary advantage (in some rooms) is more energy in the bottom octave and a half. With subs in the system, that becomes moot. If you're going to kill the subs for 2 channel use then you have a more meaninful choice and auditioning would quickly highlight the differences between the speakers in "full range mode".

Best of luck,

before you do anything about cables, listen to what you have on them and or, speak to me please...
make no assumptions about what will work because you may end up making a mistake and costing you time and money.
all merlin speakers come with an rc network specially designed for the speaker and its specific needs. it is to be used only if the amp is not terminated with a zobel. i also suggest that you use the supplied jumpers made of crossfield litz, copper o ring connectors and lead free construction for best results with my rc on afterwards.
if you use the speakers the way they were designed to be used you can expect an easy time of it with the appropriate results but once you start changing critical things, i can no longer guarantee the results.
call me please.