Nope. Never heard that combo.
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Hi again, Scott.
I've been delayed with the audition but will try to do so this weekend at a family members home. I spoke with Bobby today via email and plan on purchasing the latest MMi in the very near future.
Oddly, I've been following your posts on the Naim website.
P.s. Since I originally posted in April I had the Naim 5i-2 but have since purchased the Naim XS w/ Flatcap 2XS power supply.
The stars and moon aligned and I can finally say that I have heard this pair together. The equipment prior to my connecting the Naim XS was a Cary SLI80 (yes, tubes...) and a Cambridge Audio CDP; a superb digital transport and processor. I selected material I was intimately familiar with crossing various musical genres to include material from Anna Netrebko, Pavorotti, Sting, Dominic Miller; Marcin Wasilewski Trio; John Mayer; and Melody Gardot. My primary listening material always consisting of vocal; jazz combos; and acoustic material.
The quick and dirty: a superb match; that bettered my McIntosh based separates; Bel Canto separates; and hybrid to include a tube based pre and SS amplification.
There was plenty of details in all ranges; a non-fatiguing sound at all frequency ranges. Natural and never artificial or colored. A somewhat stuffy mid-bass section but easily attributable to some of my source material etc. What some would say was missing in low frequency extension; was made up for in tight low frequency reproduction and not bloaty-boomy' bass notes.
Vocals were clean and clear; but no one frequency range called attention to itself over another. If an album or artist performance was your desire; this speaker was made to deliver. Songs felt like intimate performances; and scale was appropriate (and expectations far exceeded) for an in integrated unit of 60 WPC and ideal for near listening fields.
Recommended highly... w/o reservation.
Before the next question arises... the Cary/Merlin combination sounded BETTER to me; but lets face it tubes will be tubes... and the decision of owning SS is a convenience that having owned both SS and some tube gear; that I am more than happy to live with. Gone is the warmth of tubes in sound reproduction- but what I missed was easily made for as a whole with Naim and Merlin together as an incredible combination.
Good to hear from you! Thanks very much for taking the time to post your impressions.
Well, your description of the Merlin/Naim pairing has me very interested. I'm not totally surprised that it would sound good. I'm getting good sound at the moment with budget NAD gear.
Although the Naim XS w/Flatcap 2XS PS would be way out of my budget I bet the Merlin/Naim XS would be a pleasant step up from my NAD 325BEE. My Naim dealer is about an hour away. Looks like I'll have to pay him a visit soon.
Thanks again for your reply. It has been very informative and helpful. If you can please keep me posted when you receive you TSM-mmi's.