What new amp for my Merlins

Would like you Merlin people to tell me what you have in the way of an amp for your Merlins. I have the upgrade fever and want a change from my MC 240 & C 22.
Thanks, Jay
Take a look at the Ars Sonum Filarmonia integrated. This is what Merlin would recommend. Also consider Manley, Blue Circle, or VAC.

Depending on Merlin model, room size, listening volumes, etc. - you may want to audition some SET amps. On paper, it looks marginal, but my VSM SEs sounded great with Cary 300B monos. Vocal reproduction and dynamics! were amazing. Overall warm, but rolled off bass. A Krell KSA 50s (unsurprisingly) punched up the deepest bass but lost some of the SET sparkle. At present, a Dyna Stereo 70 provides very good reults with the speakers backed up a bit toward the wall behind them.

If you can audition in your room, try a bunch of different amps. Moving the speakers toward/away from the rear wall reinforcement will yield many possible combos of warmth vs. bottom end extension vs. max imaging vs. dynamics, etc. Depending on your temperment, you'll find this process either fun, rewarding and educational or a hellish pain in the ass.

Good luck and happy listening!
Give us more parameters- cost, pre-amp, music types, tube or SS, etc.
Am I missing something? Which model do you have?
Talk to Bobby on the phone and describe what you're trying to accomplish. There are certainly many threads on this already if you'd rather wade through it. Many here have Joule Electra VZN80 stereo, VZN100 mono's (I do), VZN160 mono's, and the Berning ZH270 which all match well with the VSM's. If you must have solid state try Ayre.
What I have is the VSM-SE with Battery BAM. I want tube. Like classical and jaz. Cost up to $20,000 for amp and pre.
Jay, I appreciate that you are asking about which amp to use but besides that, you really should send your speakers for the "MM" and Super Bam upgrade. I just got my SE speakers back and the improvement is astounding. They are head and shoulders better than the SE.

With that said, I have the Joule VZN80 amp and just got a Joule LAP150 pre. Very pleased. If an OTL like that is not practical for you then the Berning is also very good. I haven't heard the ARS integrated but I'm sure it's worth a listen.

If you have $20K, then I would strongly suggest you upgrade the speakers to current MM status with SuperBAM. Significant improvement in the BAM alone. Then you would still have plenty left over for Joule or Berning or (My current favorite, but its a bit contrarian) Atma amp. Mine M-60 monoblocks sound great with a VAC pre; Bobby likes the sound of the Joule pre with the Joule amps. If you are in the northeast, feel free to drop me a line to hear the Joule and the Atma amps.
I have to join the others in suggesting that you upgrade your speakers before considering anything else.
Get the Dodd Audio 120's, save a ton of $$$$, and fughettaboutit, SERIOUSLY, I have been thru over 35 amos in the past few years, including Joule, berning, lamm, et, JMHO.
Does anyne have a pic of the Filarmonia in their system?
hi jay,
i have to agree with the people that suggested you have the speakers and bam upgraded. imho, you will get a 50 to 60% improvement in every aspect of the speaker/bam sound. then you can consider the amp and pre amp combination. the wonderful sonic qualities of my recommendations would be more audible too because the speaker system would have less of its own character.
i like the joule la or lap 150 pre and their otls, the vzn 100s. a very organic sound, superb tonality and relaxed yet specific spacial quality.
in a sligtly different vein, the cat pre and jl 2's. this is a more energetic sound but still relaxed and very spacious. you get the best of both worlds here. with the joule the wonderful otl sound and with the cat the best of the transformer coupled style. either is exceptional and i am sure would captivate you.
one more to consider is the ma 1 or 2 from atmasphere. i have heard this amp too and it is very realistic too. so now you have 3 to consider.
bobby at merlin
music reference amps are a great match, i used the RM9 series2 with my merlins past.. great match.. get upgrade first... call bobby, easy to deal with...good luck...
I was looking at the ARS Sonum but the word is the Berning ZH-270 is better...

However like the previous guy said before the Dodd audio 120's are what people are upgrading to, from Bernings!
The Berning ZH-270 may not be everyone's cupa tea but it's neutral and remains so on whatever speaker, it was designed to be extremely reliable (Not one has failed), easy maintenance (decades on tubes, cool running), light weight (10lbs), environmentally friendly (Power smart) and accurate.
It also has a high resale value and is currently used by two well known European speaker manufacturers to design their speakers and they having 3 or 4 speakers on the current Stereophile Class A recommend components.
I have just ordered a set of the VSM MM TODAY!(6 weeks and counting).

I have also just purchased a pair of Antique Sound Lab Hurricanes and will be using a CJ PV15

Your opinions on this match would be appreciated.
I have been enjoying the new Gran Filarmonia (60w) last month with my speakers and sounds pretty good...

Has anybody some feedback from this integrated?
where do you live?
this is a rare piece here in the usa.
pretty good? is that an understatement?
Were do you live?
this is a rare piece here in the usa.

Pojuojuo lives in Spain, home of Ars Sonum. I've listened to the less powerful Filarmonia and liked it very much. I hear that the Gran Filarmonia is a significant step up.
yes it is, in bandwidth, expanse and just plain authenticity of sound. copper foil v caps were used and 45 watts class a.
which fila did you hear the se? the sj sounds more like a gran. both direct coupled now.
merry christmas.
Bobby, Brf is right, I live in Spain. As contributing editor of Hifilive eMagazine I have had the Gran Filarmonia one month and I was very satisfied with his sonic results in my system.

The main reason of my post was I would like get some feedback from others, as I wrote in the review I have heard the standard Filarmonia (A, Se and Sxj) with your Merlins (Tsm and Vsm models) always with amazing results.
Hm... I also wrote it, if you have some time you can check the magazine.

i cannot read spanish!
Sovereign or Aaron would be my pick.Check out the website and trust in German engineering.I did and am in SS heaven,cheers,B
Oops sorry, Bobby you should learn ;-D

At least you can see some beautiful pictures.
Congrats for your good job with your speakers, I also have heard your last VSM update in the house of my friend Álvaro.
Good news Bobby, in less than a month we will have our last ten reviews translated ;-D

These are really good news for the eMagazine
USblues please share with us more of what you heard with the Merlins and which Merlins. I am looking for a new integrated for my TSMs, latest model. Thanks.
Which one do you actualy have?
Pojuojuo: If the question is directed to me, I am using a T+A Power Plant. Nice but the soundstage can get a bit flat and a bit of the class d sound. I can't go to a tube amp as I have the amp in a built in.
I love TSMs sound amplified by the 102 model from Jeff Rowland. If you have the opportunity of hearing it don't let it pass. Amazing how this ICEpower amp sounds through these Merlins...
Here you have the translated review:

Enjoy all