Speakers Like Merlin VSM?


I once owned a pair of VSM-M's and regretably sold them. At the time I owned them I spent a good amount on my system and although it wasn't perfect I was never let down by these speakers. Actually they are the best I have heard to date. I once heard my Merlins hooked up to a Berning ZH-270 and it knocked me out.

I'm not real sure I could amass a system like that again but I was wondering..... Who's the new Merlin? I may just have to save up and go for it.

The Merlins with the BAM are just awesome especially if your into vinyl. If any of you live in Texas or nearby there and want to sell your Merlins please send me an e-mail.
avivey
I have had the tsm-mm, tsm-mx, and now the vsm-mm as well as numerous B&W nautilus/signatures and must say I prefer the vsm-mm. As you stated they require a good setup, but customer support can point you in the right direction. If you were happy with the vsm, try the new mm.
"I'm not real sure I could amass a system like that again but I was wondering..... Who's the new Merlin?"

Not exactly sure from your post what you mean but if you are asking if there is another speaker like the Merlin or one that might be a good alternative in a similar package offering the same virtues, in the same price range well, I am not familiar with this "New Merlin". This is a special product in its price range in that it offers certain performance parameters that cut the edge of what can be had at any price, IMO. Others will disagree but if they didn't, those of us in the market for 10K speakers would all be buying Merlins, right? ;^)

Well guys thats what I figured. Have either of you heard them with the Berning amp? The other thing about the Merlins is what they can do in a smallish room... damn I miss mine. I'm moving to a smallish room and well... I'm hoping to have some extra money. I guess the ZH270 is about 5K now and the Merlins are prolly still about 8K. Man looking back it's hard to believe I had the system I did in college. OTOH, when thats all I spent my money on I guess it should be understandable.

I guess what the post should have really said was "Man I miss my Merlins"... heh anyway, It's gonna be tough but I'll try and get a used pair around Dallas. I wish I had kept the guys number I sold mine to.

Well I'll keep my eye out. I guess this post was a bit of a troll... how can someone want a sound like a Merlin and expect there to be alternatives. Those speakers are unforgetable 0_o!

I used to hang out here quiet a bit and now im trying to get my system straightened back out. I thought maybe someone could suggest a two way that even got close to the Merlins.
I have used a zh270 with the Merlins for over 4 years.
My son has a pair of Rosewood N.E.A.R. 50Me II's for sale. One amateur reviewer on the net favorably compared these to Merlin VSM's at one time, actually preferring the N.E.A.R.'s over the Merlin's. These speakers previously belonged to me and sounded fabulous with Atma-Sphere OTL's. Unfortunately I've never heard the Merlin's myself to give you a personal comparison between the two.
Okay im going to see what the nears sell for!

TubeGroover.... Man I'm jealous as hell of you man!
Merlins are definitely a speaker "of choice". I found the TSM-MXs a bit fatiguing and rather uninteresting. Tried three different amps (an Air Tight 300B actually worked the best) and still could not get interested in listening to music through them. Since selling them over 1 1/2 years ago (and I had 4 Audiogon buyers in 2 days!) I've been contacted by 3 other previous Merlin owners, TSMs and VSMs alike, with the same experiences.

However, based on statements from other owners, lots of people love these speakers. They just weren't my cup of tea.

However, Avivey, if you liked the Merlin sound you may want to check out Dynaudio. My experience with them is that some of their models sound similarily detailed and open, but with genuine musicality.
>> I once heard my Merlins hooked up to a Berning ZH-270
>> and it knocked me out.

I've heard this exact combination (VSM-MM with the ZH-270) & I cannot say anything good about it!!
All I can say is that it had good sound but zero music. Good amp to use if you are debugging a speaker problem.

I did like the VSM-MM sound. I have not heard the TSM speakers.
If you like the VSM-MM sound, then I think that you will like Green Mountain Audio speakers even more! No kidding & not trying to do a sell job on you.
when I heard the VSM-MM speakers I felt that they were 2-way versions of my 3-way Green Mountain audio speakers. My Green Mountain speakers have more vibrancy, more transparency, more bass (expected from a 3-way) & more coherency.
From the Green Mountain website http://www.greenmountainaudio.com you can find out the nearest dealer near you to audition these speakers. Listen to the stand-mounted Callisto - they will knock you out IMHO. Also search the archives of this forum for other users' opinions of this speaker.
The 3-way Callisto is also reputed to be very good sounding but I have not heard it as yet.
The flagship C-3 was demo'd at the Rock Mountain Audio Fest in 2004 & AFAIK, it was a hit at the show.
IMHO you will be very pleased with the Green Mountain speakers.
well tom,
if i had a buck for every odd comment (imho) describing the sound of the vsm and tsm in the past ten years, i would own a lear jet. i've heard them described as dull/bass heavy to lean and bright. this is what a neutral piece does, it brings your attention to the rest of the system and its character. if the speakers are used the way they they were designed to be used, the odds are better than 95% that you will have found a keeper. still, (and i would be the first to say this) these speakers are not for everyone. we have thousands of each model in the field and an extremely high satisfaction rate.
the speakers are exceptionally linear and continuous sounding. they are not bright imho, just resolved with maximum resolution and contrast potential.
you would probably really like the new e versions (lead free) which are way more room filling and relaxed sounding again. i describe them as just more complete sounding.
those who have received them are really really happy with them and know the difference, immediately.
regards,
b
bombay,
if you heard an earlier version of the 270 you might have felt very differently about the amp. they were more relaxed and more music like. later ones were even more continuous but damped sounding.
i know the system that you heard and the man who owns it. he invited you as a guest into his home and allowed you to have a listen. is this how you repay him? i also know that he was at your home to hear your system. he told me exactly what he thought of it. he is and was, (by comparison) very pleased with his system. each to his own i guess! but he has not not made any such comments on the web, anywhere. what does that tell you?
regards,
bobby at merlin
Bobby,

>> is this how you repay him?
you are needlessly trying to go down a path that is dangerous & slippery!! I would strongly urge you to stop that right here!
My comments on the Berning amp have NOTHING to do w/ the gentleman who invited me over to listen to it. It is NOT a personal attack on him. It NEVER was & it NEVER will be. He & I have invited each other to our resp homes to listen & audition gear. IMHO this does not mean that I must compliment the gear I listen to. I compliment the person who invited me & he is very well aware of this. So, I re-paid him well, I feel.
The comments on the gear pertain to as I heard it. Nothing more & nothing less. I expect the same from people who come over & listen to my system: a 2-way street.
So, please, stop this guilt-trip thing. I know that you are capable of better behaviour. Thanks!
"Good amp to use if you are debugging a speaker problem."

Yes, Bombaywalla, the Berning is on the neutral side of things and I don't mean to go off on a tangent but one of the absolute most musical systems, that is systems that I can count on one hand as being the closest to the event I have heard had a prototype Berning using the same design topology as the zh270 in the mix, in other words, there was no mistaking the design. Unfortunately my system doesn't measure up to that standard for a number of reasons, least of all the Berning/VSM combo. I respect your choices but I would suggest folks viewing this thread might heed what Bobby is saying. In a system with these two components in the mix it is imperative that it be matched with the proper balance of components. This is not to say at the end of the day there may be other preferences.

My comments are pertaining specifically to the Berning. I have heard this amp with numerous speakers with fine results in ALL cases. I don't know exactly what you heard Bombaywalla but my guess is that something might have been out of kilter somewhere along the chain. I hate p....g contests and don't want this to turn into one, it isn't my point or intent. What is is that I have broad experience with both products and know what is possible.
bombay,
do not be concerned with my behavior...as i am a gentleman as everyone knows. and i am not worried what you think of my product and am truly glad that you like your gmas. i hope you have years of pleasure with them. your comments on the 270 are unfortunate but non the less they are your opinion. guilt trip...hooey! what you expect people to do when you invite them over for a listen has nothing to do with what others may think or expect you to do. one does not make the other right.
thanks,
bobby
Bobbyapalkovic: bombay, if you heard an earlier version of the 270 you might have felt very differently about the amp. they were more relaxed and more music like. later ones were even more continuous but damped sounding. i know the system that you heard and the man who owns it. he invited you as a guest into his home and allowed you to have a listen. is this how you repay him? i also know that he was at your home to hear your system. he told me exactly what he thought of it. he is and was, (by comparison) very pleased with his system. each to his own i guess! but he has not not made any such comments on the web, anywhere. what does that tell you?

I think this post is a good example of why dealers, manufacturers, etc., should participate in such forums only if they are able to deal with honest opinions w/o getting personally offended. It is difficult to exchange opinions and expereinces if people take it personally and respond as such. Just my .02 of course.
aktchi,
off the mark, bigtime!
i did not take it personally. why would i about someone else's product? i even told him that i do not care what he thinks about mine. if this man is lucky enough to live in a totally black and white world and deal with things as absolutes, then more power to him...i guess. i said in a later post "your comments on the 270 are unfortunate but none the less this is your opinion." but for most of us there is this thing called gray...and we would look for other issues that may have affected the sound.
so, what about credibility?
if someone has the right to say something about the performance of an item, i have every right to say my piece too. it does not matter if i am a manufacturer or not. if you knew how many superb manufacturers use that amp as a reference, you would see my point.
my reaction would be the same if this type of thing happened to many products i respect.
regards,
bobby
Bobbyapalkovic,

why are you & I getting into an offensive??????????
(the offensive is started BY YOU, A MANUFACTURER - REMEMBER THAT!, OK?)

>> and i am not worried what you think of my product
did you read my original post wherein I wrote that I liked the VSM-MM sound?
If not, read it again!!

>> i am a gentleman as everyone knows.
then, these series of posts are VERY MUCH not becoming of your gentlemanly behaviour!
My respect for you has dropped a notch. While you might not care whether it has or not, it certainly does say something about your inate/latent character.

Why in the world are you defending the ZH270 sound???? Vested interest? Personal agenda?

>> your comments on the 270 are unfortunate but non the
>> less they are your opinion.
My comments on the ZH270 are *not* unfortunate! They are as I heard it. If you can't deal w/ it then don't read my posts & don't bother to reply to them.
Audio forums are MEANT to discuss opinions on audio products & to share this info w/ others. That's one of the major reasons for participating in audio forums. Agree?

>> 07-21-06: Aktchi
>> I think this post is a good example of why dealers,
>> manufacturers, etc., should participate in such forums
>> only if they are able to deal with honest opinions w/o
>> getting personally offended. It is difficult to
>> exchange opinions and expereinces if people take it
>> personally and respond as such. Just my .02 of course.

well written, Aktchi! I fully agree!
If manufacturers begin to get personal about the gear they sell OR gear that others sell, they are going to stifle the audio forums wherein honest opinons will not be shared. That defeats the purpose of the having the audio forum & being subscribed to it!! Do the audio manufacturers want us to blindly buy what they make? Any non-positive comments made are taken personally & they start crying bloody murder!
Tubegroover,

thanks for the feedback & the level-headed post. It is much appreciated. you & I have discussed this in another thread.
Yes, neither do I want a p****g contest & I have no knowledge why Bobby P took the offensive route?

If Bobby P stops posting provking posts, I will agree to not post any further rebuttals in this thread.

The 1st post I made in this thread exactly addressed the question posed by the originator "Avivey", which was "speakers like Merlin VSM?".
It's Bobby P who drove this thread awry.
I really like manufacturer input on audio discussion forums and feel that they should be given exactly the same latitude of expression as regulars are given.
Bobbyapalkovic:

You are rationalizing, but no cigar. Statements like "I know the guy you visited", "By not liking my product you are being unfair to the host" and "I know what he thinks of *your* gear" do not constitute the kind of "information" we want or require from manufacturers.

It changes the atmosphere of a discussion group when a manufacturer is always around sounding offended and responding that way, worse yet if he is too involved to notice it and thinks he is being normal.

You are only human and I don't want or expect you to admit anything, but I do hope you will think about it and modify your behavior. However, the more you defend those statements the more immature you would appear. Let it go,
bombay,
you seem to think that because i am a manufacturer i should have different rules governing my behavior or somehow act accordingly. i am afraid that this is a free country and if you say something offensive (imho) and i take exception to it, i will respond, manufacturer or not.
i care not of what you think of me personally because "to thine own self be true." a great motto that i live by.
i have met david berning only once and he was one of the quietest, softest and kindest gentleman that i have ever met. he is also absolutely brilliant as all of his designs indicate and someone to be respected. he is so soft spoken that he would never stick up for himself on this forum. so because i care for his work and for what is right and wrong, i will. vested interests? personal agenda? hooey again!!!
what is your agenda and vested interest? and why could you not start you commentery with, imho? but you were so black and white and spewing venom that i reacted. no, there is seemingly, nothing humble about you. do you realize that there is a variable feedback control on the amp so you can change its sound to maximize its performance to the speakers in question. do you realize that the next person who tried the amp may have exactly the opposite reaction to it that you did? there are no absolutes here. could it have been his cables or cdp? who knows? but you were able to point your finger right at the amp...wow you are good! maybe it was the speakers and not the amp. that is why i reacted to your comments. when you are not 100% sure, as you could not be, it is better to say that or nothing at all. yup, imho says it all.
i am also glad you find aktchi's comments to your liking. of couse you would...it backs you up.
and if i was truly on the offensive and attacking you, you would know it!
remember, its nice to be nice. just look at the state of the world and you'll get my drift.
now perhaps i may be a little more sensitive because i lost two great friends 8 days apart. but you know what, i still feel the same way.
have a nice weekend bombay.
b
Wellfed:

Information is welcome and can be provided without personal taunts in response to opinions. Comments like "I know the guy you visited", "By not liking my product you are being unfair to the host" and "I know what he thinks of *your* gear" hardly constitute the kind of "information" I desire or require from manufacturers.

A'gon provides hot link to manufacturers' websites, emails, phone numbers, etc. I have nothing against manufacturers posting an informational post (clarifying data, parameters, etc) without stifling the exchange of opinions. However, most simply do not have the maturity and temperament to play this role and their attempts don't work out. Recently one manufacturer (not Bobby) started a new thread and began by telling the readers he feels like saying "screw you all"; A'gon wisely deleted the entire thread. I have great respect for people like Salk, Tyler, etc who use various channels to provide any information you wish thoroughly and promptly but stay away from these discussions.

Every person who selects a speaker does so because he prefers it to ten others. We can hardly expect a healthy discussion group if it included owners or paid employees from those ten companies ready to pounce on any expression of this preference.
aktchi,
my comments were really down played and far more fair minded than his pointed ones were. and i never made any comment about him not liking my product. i clearly told him i do not care.
if you think that a person should just be able to say what they want...period then you should not react to the comments made to the contrary. if you don't like it, don't read it or get involved. it matters not that i am whatever because we do not have different rules governing our behavior.
knowing the difference between right and wrong is not immature. i strongly suggest that you read my last two posts many times over and think about the fact that if 100 people read them, over 85% of the people would agee with me. if you want it to rest, please initiate!
bobby
Bobbyapalkovic: You seem to think that because i am a manufacturer i should have different rules governing my behavior or somehow act accordingly.

We may have an honest difference of perspective, but precisely, in fact I actually do think so. Apparenty so do most manufacturers you and I might respect, because they provide information but do not participate in these exchanges.

I am afraid that this is a free country and if you say something offensive (imho) and i take exception to it, i will respond, manufacturer or not.

Freedom does not force maturity or wisdom. Those are still optional. From saints to sinners and everyone in between, they all have the same freedoms, but use them differently.

i have met david berning only once and he was one of the quietest, softest and kindest gentleman that i have ever met. he is also absolutely brilliant as all of his designs indicate and someone to be respected. he is so soft spoken that he would never stick up for himself on this forum..

Have you considered the possibility that besides being soft and kind, he is simply a wiser and more mature person, who knows when to talk and when to stay quiet? That he lets his product speak for itself and gives everyone trying them their personal space to think and go back and forth without interference? That you could learn something from people like him?
Aktchi is hitting the nail on the head time and again!! However, the Bobby P is really being extremely immature in this thread. He didn't learn anything from Berning! I hope that all viewing this thread can easily this!!

Bobby P: it would really be best if you terminated posting on this thread. You are making a fool of yourself in spades!
My opinion of the amp remains what it was & your strong-arming me will not change it. Yes, it is my opinion & it remains different from yours. I am entitled it to & you are entitled to yours. if I say something bad about the amp, you DO NOT NEED TO GO ON THE OFFENSIVE AGAINST ME. What you need to do is consider my opinion contrary to yours & move on with your life.

You very little about that listening session & so DON'T TELL ME WHAT I HEARD that day. OK?!

You have a good weekend too.
aktchi,
agreed!
most manufacturers do offer information only, 99.9% of the time i do too. and what you see as a lack of maturity and wisdom i see as a defense of what is right and wrong and a nice way of being. we agree to disagree on that one too!
your last point is exactly is exactly what concerned me about bombay. nothing of any substance is to be taken from black and white comments that have no substance. and if you can't see that, you are just a buffoon trying to provoke this further.
if you don't like it...don't read it.
bobby
Wow. This is a first. I've never seen a manufacturer unshill. Very effective.
I am a fan of merlin products and have owned several versions. Aside from being pro merlin, bobby has provided me the BEST support of ANY company from which I have done business. He is very fair in his critiques and will openly admit when his product isn't right for somenone. That being said, WE ALL take offense when someone gives a poor critique of a product we are "close to." Read the forums on most speakers, amps, cdp and if it has enough time someone takes a comment personally for the above reason the race starts. So, don't hold bobby to a different standard than each of us. Give bobby a break, he is a great guy who has given countless hours of audio enjoyment to us via his speakers.
This thread reminds me of another heated thread where an owner of an excellent high $$$ speaker insisted that another very similarly designed high $$$ brand of speaker made his "ears bleed".

I respect opinions. I also respect people's ability to form their own judgement based on what they read. I believe most readers know all to well the true value of these kind of comments...

(Disclaimer: I own none of the products being discussed in this thread. I am not a manufacturer)
Bobby, I have never responded to any of your threads since I am not a Merlin owner. However, I have always been amazed at your graciousness as a manufacturer and the gentlemanly manner in how you have conducted yourself, both here and on AA. I see your participation in this thread no differently.

Bombaywalla has banged on the Berning for some time and he continues to do so. Just take it all with a grain of salt. Obviously, something was amiss in the system in which he heard the Berning. Do a search and look at all of the raves for the Berning and then look at all of the knocks on the Berning. It's no contest. The knocks are miniscule to the point of almost being non-existent.

As an example, another prolific poster on the 'Gon said he could never rid his Berning of high-frequency glare so he sold his ZH270. I had the same problem with my ZH270 and was beginning to think he was right. On a whim, I decided to try new IC's that I had seen advertised a lot. Lo and behold the glare vanished and my system took a huge leap forward overall. I never would have believed it because my old IC's were $$$ and very highly regarded. After changing my IC's, I clearly get why everyone raves about the ZH270.

But more importantly, the poster who ragged on the Berning and continues to do so was using the EXACT SAME IC's as my old IC's! The high-frequency glare wasn't from the ZH270, but rather from the IC's that we both had been using. To this day the guy is clueless because he sold the Berning before SELLING HIS IC's.

Bobby, the way I see it is if 99 people out of 100 love something and I am the only one who doesn't, then that leaves me with two choices. I can continue to be a moron and say that I am right and everyone else is wrong or I can step back and ask myself if I could be wrong. (And I usually am, BTW :)
I second Jamesw20 on all levels.Though this thread is about sound,loyalty counts in the arena of satisfaction and thanks to Bobby,many of us are enjoying daily his brand of thinking,thanks,Bob
I generally try to stay out of these kinds of threads as it appears there are those who make a sport over provoking and aggravating others. It's just fun for them. Clearly, everyone is entitled to their opinion when it comes to equipment.
I enjoy people stating why they have one preference or another for a product or combination of products. There is no one size fits all. And, of course there are always various types of constraints whether they be financial, room dimensions, or even the types of music one enjoys. (Remember it's really about the music, folks).
What I find troubling is is when people attack each other personally. To state that someone has a "vested interest" or "personal agenda" just because he he is defending an amplifier of another manufacturer that he respects (and that many people use with his product)and which generally has received universal praise is just plain old provocation. It is not meant to further the discussion in any productive way. Furthermore, for another person then to imply that manufacturers should not get invoved in the threads if they will be "offended" is yet another provocation. The manufacturer who got involved in this thread was defending another product (the Berning), not his product. Certainly, he has the right to do so.
The fact that he later stated that he met David Berning only once further illustrates that the implication by Bombaywalla was entirely without merit. I do believe that Bobby is owed an apology by Bombaywalla for making such an assertion.
Finally, I must state that I am a Merlin owner. I do not own the Berning although I have heard it and I found it to be very "alive" and musical. The amp I currently own with the Merlins are Cary Sixpacs (upgraded and tuberolled) and my preamp is a Joule LAP 150. I like the combination very much. (I would never say that it is "the best" combination for everyone --- although I would recommend it an one avenue one might take if looking in it's price range.)
I have dealt with Bobby and I have had the opportunity to speak with him many times over the past year. He has been very helpful and his level of service extraordinary. He is passionate about music and the product he sells. He calls it as he sees it. He will tell you what other speakers he likes and will advise on other products as well, especially as they relate to his speakers. Ultimately though everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Stating "there is nothing good I can say about it (the Berning amp)" or that it has "zero music" does not tell us anything. What it does do is indicate that the person posting either does not have the ability or inclination to make a compelling case for or against the Berning --- or that his true purpose is to invite discord.
I hope that in the future everyone will be more respectful of this hobby which we all love (and each other) and be more concrete with respect to comments they make on a various product.
I believe Fiddler's comments hit the nail DIRECTLY on the head. There are WAY too many variables involved in our pursuit to allow for reliable black and white assessments MOST of the time.

I feel deeply for every manufacturer that has had their livelyhood affected by erroneous conclusions aired irresponsibly. I'm not saying that audiophiles shouldn't voice their impressions, I just feel that we need to do so in a highly sensitive and responsible manner.
Bobbyapalkovic: ...nothing of any substance is to be taken from black and white comments that have no substance. and if you can't see that, you are just a buffoon trying to provoke this further. if you don't like it...don't read it.

Who is going to decide what is black, white, has substance or lacks it, if not everyone for themselves? OTOH you seem to know just what is what and whoever sees it differently is a baffoon? (To those who have rushed to talk about your graciousness, I can only suggest that a little explanation is called for.)

Now the second part: "If others don't like it, they don't have to read." Communities don't work that way. I can't walk into a church or concert or a museum, behave disuptively, use foul language, and claim that whoever doesn't like it can just ignore me.

A'gon is a community for many and whoever disrupts the atmosphere deserves to be called on that. Your conduct in this thread has gone beyond just expressing your own opinions. You have sought to impose your opinions and judgements on others, and tried to bully them with personal taunts and foul language. That is quite simply not acceptable.

Fiddler; If 99 people out of 100 love something and I am the only one who doesn't, then that leaves me with two choices. I can continue to be a moron and say that I am right and everyone else is wrong or I can step back and ask myself if I could be wrong.

Considering that most people love mass-market junk, I would suggest a little more confidence in your own taste. :) Mercifully, there is no audio product on which 99% people agree, and you probably don't face this dilemma very often.

Wellfed: I feel deeply for every manufacturer that has had their livelyhood affected by erroneous conclusions...

You obviously have a good heart and I appreciate that. However, if you are buying one pair of speakers, no matter who you choose or how, there are hundred others who didn't get chosen and they all need to make a living. Similarly, once we declare something to be "erroneous" it sounds undesirable but who decides what is erroneous? Let people make their own decisions and these things tend to work out on the average.
"I've heard this exact combination (VSM-MM with the ZH-270) & I cannot say anything good about it!!
All I can say is that it had good sound but zero music."

Bombaywalla this comment is what elicited Bobby's response and mine as well. Read it once read it twice. You wrote the same thing before in another thread with similar responses from myself and others. The thing about "good sound" vs "zero music" is the thing that jumps right off the page. Your comments are not measured, they do not provide any further information or insight as to what may have been the problem with what you were hearing. What type of music, the room, the set-up etc.

"Zero music" read it Bombaywalla, what do you mean when you write this? It sounds like some audiophile way of offering the ultimate insult to get across your message that you didn't like the combo in no uncertain terms without any other considerations as to why. This aside from the fact that it still may not be your particular cup of tea. It is absolute in its context, there is no redemption possible, it is contrary to the experience of many others.

As far as immaturity goes, I think that maybe YOU might look at your own comments overall. It seems you relish being absolute in your assessments without offering a bit of insight which seems arrogant to me. My rebuttal to your comments are not to change your mind but to make others that are reading yours to realize that there are other perspectives with deeper experience with these products. One that knows that a system with either of these calipre components requires careful balancing to bring it all together. This was Bobby's point clearly. A highly resolving component matched with the wrong component can make things much worse in a given system than would be noticed in a more forgiving system. Fiddler's post points this out clearly. Things ARE NOT always as black and white as you have painted it.

So far as the GMA's go, I heard a pair years ago mated with VAC electronics and it was a very engaging system.
Aktchi

I have enjoyed reading your posts in this thread. You have made some valid points concerning manufacturer's and their roles in participating in a thread. Having said that, I don't know too many that put their heart and soul into their products the way Bobby does.

To compare David Berning's demeanor based on Bobby's description as an example of how Bobby might behave himself is kind of like asking a parrot to act like a dove, they're two different animals. Bobby will give you the time of day any time any day. That is, if you call him he is always accessible regardless of whether you own his product or not. Yes, he does engage in threads more than many manufacturers but in most cases to set the record straight or clarify issues.

In this case it seems he was quite offended by the comments of Bombaywalla clearly for the reasons he gave. Think about it, someone invites you over for a listen and you then publicly insult the system in a very obtuse manner. It reminds me of all the "Bose sucks" threads, very smug with nary anything of value. Yes, I'm sure most of the readers of the thread can read between the lines and come to their own conclusions but this is clearly not always true. Many audiophiles, audiophiles in particular, are influenced by what others think especially when it is written down for all to see. I see nothing wrong with a manufacturer interjecting when he sees a foul. You can see from many of the posters in this thread that there is a loyalty here. It isn't just about the product it is about the man. I doubt you know Bobby but I do believe you would have a different conclusion if you called him and discovered what you are missing here. He is a man of strong passion in what he is doing, one who clearly has an interest in the satisfaction of the end user of his products. But he is also realistic in knowing that not everyone will like it and end up with something different, thats ok too he'll help you towards that end.
To All:
This is the second time I have had to comment on comments about my amp. I am the owner of the Berning amp BW is criticizing. I demo'd it in my home for him and we compared it to his Symphonic Line monos as well as my Sixpac monos. BW thinks the Berning is bright. OK, we each are entitled to our opinion. In my opinion it is not bright. I am very sensitive to brightness. The Berning makes most amps, including the Symphonic Lines and my own Sixpacs sound veiled. It is the most open, clear, and detailed amp I have owned or auditioned. I am speaking from 20+ years in this hobby. As I have stated before, the Berning and Sixpacs both offer excellent musical reproduction. The Sixpacs offer a warmer, fuller sound. Some will not like them for that reason. The Berning offers a more pristine, resolved, leaner sound. Some will not like it for that reason. I like both sounds. That's why I still own and enjoy both amps. Does the Berning sound musical? Yes. Down right awesome (again my opinion) but you have to feed it right. If anything upstream is amiss the Berning will let you know in a hurry. Amps like the Sixpacs and Symphonic Line are more "forgiving" because they don't resolve the details as well. I have heard Bombaywalla's system. I will offer a couple observations from the comparison of the two systems. Bombaywalla's system possesses a lot of mid-bass heavyness (some would call it bloat or box coloration) that initially gives the impression of more bass but tends to make every song sound similar. Not a trait I have, or want, in my system, but some like that sound and should enjoy it. "If we all liked the same thing there would be only one flavor of ice cream." In contrast, the Merlin VSM MX provides much more bass impact without the perpetual heavyness (observed by playing the song called Gaia on the James Taylor Hourglass CD). He likes his system and that is all that should matter to him. I point out these traits in Bombaywalla's system, not to be critical, but to emphasize the difference in listening preferences and environments we each come from. I like the sound I'm getting with my system, he likes the sound he is getting with his system. That's how it should be. It's hard to criticize another's system without criticizing their listening preferences. When we communicate with others in forums like this we should be mindful of our differences and listening preferences enough to realize we cannot make statements that convey to someone else what THEY will like. There are too many variables. You can state your opinion based on your own listening bias (which we should also include in the text) to serve as a "guide" to others contemplating a change to their system. But to convey your opinion as an absolute fact is not a good thing.
As for the Berning amp, some will love it, some will prefer something else. Fair enough. Regarding manufacturers posting on these boards I say: Why not? I welcome all manufacturers (not just those who's gear I've purchased and/or admire). I want to hear from all of them. Their opinions are as good as any, but that's just my opinion. :)
Aktchi,

You obviously missed the point or avoided the point. Your response is like comparing apples and screwdrivers.

We are talking about peoples experience with EXACTLY the same product, the Berning. The 99% remark I made is in reference to people who have heard or who own the ZH270.

But it's easier to obfuscate than to address the specifics, huh?

I read one thread were an audiophile was reviewing some world class studio speakers at the manufacturer. The audiophile claimed that there was no bass and that something had been wired up incorrectly out of phase. The audiophile even argued vehemently with the manufacturer...insisting something was wrong.

The unfortunate reality is that heavy resonant bass (with all that harmonic distortion) is cheaper to manufacture and sells better than lean accurate bass. Sadly it has become so widespread in the speaker industry that many listeners have actually come to regard this as "normal correct sound".
aktchi,
i owe you nor anyone else an explanation!
personal taunts and foul language?
what are you reading?
and i have expressed no personal opinions on anything audio but a few people's behavior and chioce of words.
you have repeatedly twisted the statements i have made and you and bombay have called me names which is truly sad and only damages your standing.
a buffoon (a clown) you certainly are! you were the one who used the word baffoon. there is a difference you know.
the only thought i would like to impose on people is that it is nice to be kind and fair and if you don't get that, there is no helping you.
twist away!
bobby
There are differences between a statement that is an opinion, to one that is supposed to be taken as fact, Bombaywalla has had this dance before with exactly the same results.
I think the last time he called the ZH-270 junk, now it's great for debugging a speaker!

I have no problem whatsoever with anyone not liking the Berning ZH-270, it's not an amp for every "SYSTEM" or everyone's perception.

However the Berning is accurate without the coloration of output transformers, it's capable of matching speaker impedances (sophisticated patented RF impedance device), therefore remains accurate on varying loads, which are all speakers, it is true auto bias, taking a electrical picture every 1/60th of a second, it has brownout protection, short protection, DC sensing protection, spike protection, unmatched efficiency, 15-20 year tube life, cool running, light weight, high resale value and unparallel reliability, this is the complete package that is unbeatable by any other tube amplifier ever made.

All this ends up being is a extremely transparent product that does not hide nor colors anything and this is why the amp is used by so many manufacturers.

FYI, you can still get the ZH-270 without any upgrades exactly like the older model.

Bobby, I would like to thank you for doing the right thing, that is what gentlemen do.

Allan
Berning Co.
ok...since we have both parties here...Bobby & Allan...and I assume that you guys are gonna be checking back on this thread.

oh...BTW...I'm not even part of the above fight...

however...with regards to Merlin...I dig the looks...hear pretty much only good things about them...and with regards to Berning...I have a friend who's opinion I highly trust...a real tube guru who has the MicroZotl (that is one of yours right?) that I believe he has hooked up in his restored VW westfalia.

anyhow...I know that people say that you guys are easily accessible by phone but I can also appreciate that you are busy.

So...in a nutshell...I'm a 2 channel HT/stereo in one kind of guy...my system needs updating as I'm back to the Bryston Integrated and in a different house. Although some of the music that I listen to I'm sure would sound good through the pairing...some I am not so sure of. Such as something that hits rather hard and has "tweaked" electronic/synth etc. (Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Beck etc)...not to mention movie soundtracks.

Would this combination give me the "zing" factor that is actually part of the recordings and not just the SS brightness or am I just being wishful here thinking that this would be an option in the future?

Hope my question doesn't confuse you.

Thanks

Ellery
Ellery,

Perhaps it would be best to contact Bobby personally.

www.merlinmusic.com

I received my new TSM MMe`s two days ago and even tho they aren`t broken in yet, I can tell that they are special and I am thrilled with them. For their price, or any price for that matter, they are stupid good. Eva Cassidy is in my listening room singing to me.

Merlin speakers didn`t win the Audio Review award for the most 5 star customer reviews for nothing.
Since hi fi has been my hobby for the past 34 years I have become acquainted with a number of speakers/pre/amps etc...Bobby has been the most help to me of any manufacturer/dealer that I have had the good fortune to deal with...Extemely knowledgable...personable and driven to produce at an excellent product at a fair market price...Am I a happy Merlin owner? That might be an understatement...Thank you Bobby
hi ellery,
to really answer your fair question properly, i need to know more about the direction the whole system would go in, the room and set up possiblities. all these will factor into the outcome.
perhaps you could call the factory and speak to me for 5 or 10 minutes and i would have all the information i need.
be glad to help.
585 367 2390, i'll even be there sunday for 4 or 5 hours later on, est.
regards,
bobby
"Who is going to decide what is black, white, has substance or lacks it, if not everyone for themselves? OTOH you seem to know just what is what and whoever sees it differently is a baffoon? (To those who have rushed to talk about your graciousness, I can only suggest that a little explanation is called for.)"

Very unfortunate Aktchi, you are continuing the argument without acknowledging the offensive comment. It seems your true intent has been confirmed. I thought you were initially trying to be fair minded but it really seems you are just intent on further provocation for whatever reasons you may have. I suggested you give Bobby a call and you MIGHT come to a different conclusion but no, it seems you want to keep the barrage going calling into question AGAIN, his motivations and graciousness. I'm really disappointed in you!

Thanks Sburton for adding the insight. It offers much value for those that would be interested after all.

Hi Ellery, the microZOTL is one of ours and many people have found it's outperforms mega amps in high efficiency speakers, we have several Europeans using the mZ with Avantgardes and it's awfully inexpensive, sadly however, they are lost leaders per say and will be discontinued most likely this year.

To personally find the answer to your questions, we'll be more than happy to give a 30 day money back guarantee on a ZH-270 with a small return and shipping charge, there is of course, a waiting list.
One unfortunate thing of having a Merlin VSM-MM / Joule setup, as I do, is that you sometimes miss out on all the fun - like this thread - because you are not surfing audiogon 24/7 looking for that missing piece of magic that your system needs. Yes, you know who you are. I am prone to being obsessive about my hobbies (I have a serious car problem) and it takes a lot for me to be content, unfortunately. I am content. I have heard the Berning, with VSMs, and it is excellent. If I hadn't purchased the VZN80 for the price I paid I would probably own the Berning.

Will, you should come over for a listen. And you can leave those audiovox cables at your house, thank you very much. I'm off my meds and I don't need any temptation...

Jim
I have a thing for watches and finally purchased the patek phillipe I'd been pursuing for the past decade. I am now officially off the merry go round with regards to watches.

The same can now be said of me for audio. I had Merlin TSM's and just bought a pair of VSM'Mxe's along with an ARS filharmonia integrated. I have been buying and selling audio components for the past 15 years and again I am finally satisified. I am no longer pursuing my next component. This is it. Thank you Bobby P.

Now cars . . . that is another story. :)

troy
Having been away from my computer for a number of days, this thread has caught my attention, and apparently wandered far from the original question.
Hey Avivey, the answer is that Merlin is "the new Merlin", and that the VSM-MX with Super-BAM continues to take the product to new heights.
Before you plunk down your coin for an older pair, I'd seriously recommend that you try to get a listen to the latest version. If not possible, try to talk w/some who have heard both. You might conclude that the new ones are worth it. My guess is that you'd be happy having made the extra effort. Cheers,
Spencer
Avivey, to Sbank's point, it's actually not a bad thing that you sold the VSM-Ms because the MM or MX are a huge step up. They play bigger / louder, yet don't get strained like the SE when you push them a bit. Much more ease. I could not believe the difference from the SE upgraded to MM. Or even from the M to the MM. I've read all of the comments about the improvement but I was still a little skeptical about the magnitude. With the BAM upgrades and the MM mod, it is in fact a different speaker, IMHO. Given how good the speaker already is in SE and M form I think that can be a little unbelievable to some owners. I wish I had had the upgrade done long ago. If you do purchase an older pair just have them shipped directly to Bobby for the upgrade, "trust me".

Ferraris are constantly being improved as well.

Jim