I'm at the nine year mark with no facelift or upgrades of any kind. I guess I just like my MM's as they are.
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Since the 80's. My first pair was the 1B's. Bobby will correct me if the model is wrong. Then I went to the Excaliburs and since then many different VSM's and TSM's. I go to the CES and always find the Merlin really musical without the hi-fi sound. I listen mostly to classical and jazz. These speakers have never disappointed me. Usual declamations. I have no commercial connections with Merlin and their customer support is beyond reproach.
I've owned Merlins off and on since 2001, so I have a decade of owning and listening intently to several variations of both the TSM and VSM. I've owned the VSM-MXe since 2007 and recently upgraded to the Master BAM and RCs. I have no intention to upgrade any further. I've tried other speakers during the past ten years but always came back to the Merlins. The list of contenders that I owned which were ultimately TKO'd by the Merlins included Gershman Avante Garde 20's, Sound Labs Dynastats, JM Reynaud Trente and Evolution 3's, Triangle Zays, Joseph Audio RM25II, and four models from Tyler Acoustics (Taylo, Linbrook Monitors, Ref 3 two-piece system, and Linbrook Signatures). The Merlins I've owned include the TSM-SE, TSM-M, VSM-SE, VSM-M, and now the VSM-MXe.
Well...I don't really qualify for this thread since my TSM's are quite new, but I will say that I can't imagine a better small monitor (nor have I heard one) after more than 20 years in this hobby.
I do think that some people change speakers just to try something different and I've certainly sold off wonderful gear for change alone. Please stand by for 7-8 years and I'll post a follow-up!
I currently own Merlins, Verity Parsifal P/Es, SF Cremonas, Maggie MMGs w/subs, Ohm 100s (w/the same subs) and a few other speakers that you might know. Some are in different rooms, other get rotated thru my main system. I've flipped thru ownership of many other well regarded designs over the years, too.
I consider myself a hobbyist and a million miles from a cult member dedicated to single brand, design, or philosophy. Indeed, I appreciate the strengths and openly acknowledge the shortcomings of each design that I own. In my book, none is perfect. (Hence, the collection.)
Your sweeping pronouncement says much more about you than it does about the VSM or the people who own them.
Feeding the troll here, but...
Okay, Jimbo2. Over the 25 odd years I've been in seriously into this hobby I've owned:
Ohm Micro Walsh Tall's and 100 S-3's
Silverline Preludes (briefly)
Ascend Sierra 1's (very briefly)
PSB Synchrony 1B's (briefly)
LSA1 Statements (twice!)
Green Mountain Audio Rios
So I've had more than a few highly regarded loudspeakers in and out of my rig, and the Merlin TSM-mmi's (which I've now had for just over a year and which I just upgraded to Master RC's) are wonderful. They are resolving, musical, coherent, and create musical beauty. That's not to say that I don't continue to be fascinated with loudspeakers of various designs... I'll be at RMAF this year listening to all the goodies on display. But to trash the Merlin brand wholesale, as well as its talented designer, is patently unfair and uncalled for.
Merlin may or may not be your cup of tea, but it's a quality product made with love and integrity... no doubt in my mind about that.
And here I thought I was a tough as nails retired old sea capt. only to have jumbo set me straight. Started the journey 20 yrs. ago w/3 way merlin sig. 4`s. I've had the immense pleasure of listening to music through the tsm/mme`s for the past few years and wouldn't trade them for any other monitor on the market.
My take is a bit different Pubul. I think Jimbo was just bored and wanted to troll a bit to see where it went knowing full well the passion that Merlin owner's have. The real clue was attacking Bobby to add a bit of spice. Maybe he has an ax to grind for other reasons only he can chime in on, who knows, but of course we know he won't, he got his desired result, really not worth further comments or attention IMO.
I'm the guy referenced above with 1988 Merlin 3B+ 3-ways. I bought them sight unseen at the recommendation of a dealer. In a phone conversation with Bobby at the time, he recommended the 3B+ over the smaller size speaker I was considering. I remember him telling me "These speakers are good enough that they could last you 15 years". That was 23 years ago.....
Nothing else in my system has lasted anywhere near as long.
I've wandered around RMAF a couple of different seasons to see what attracted my attention and I kept coming back to Bobby's room and the VSMs. If I was in a position to upgrade, they would be my #1 pick. As a former college piano technician and stage manager with fussy ears, Bobby's designs come closest for me to providing pleasing music reproduction.
I would like to support the idea that you can own Merlin speakers for good:
I am a professional violinist
(you will find me, if necessary); i have not personal affiliation to the producer.
I own VSMs now for quite some years. They are good.
and (this is now directed at that dissenting voice)
I have started using TSM MXM's (let me use them a little more, before i explain what i hear) in my living room -
Going in and out of studios with what-ever-you-want speakers i feel this is THE speaker to have.
Cult it will be, lets hope!!
Not only interesting how long folks own their Merlins, but how many people stopped looking to change speaker once having Merlins in the fold. I owned many speaker before, but once I got on to the Merlin trail, I simply don't think about other speakers anymore - and those that own them understand why.
Great story about Merlin and Bobby!
I hope he's not turning red from the comments, but that's what you get when handling customers properly. Pabul, I too have pretty much ended the endless wheel of auditioning stuff after buying the TSM's. I do on occasion listen to a BIG speaker and I plan on VSM's soon.
My take is that bigger can be better but it then becomes a much more ambitious project and is extraordinarily difficult to achieve. There are too many considerations and most folks don't have them all (read room) to even start considering them all. The true advantage of large systems is their potential dynamic capability and bass. Having said that I find the VAST majority of the large cone based systems I've heard bring too much attention to themselves instead of the music to consider, electrostatics excepted but can be even more ambitious an undertaking. I have only personally heard ONE exception but view it due as much to the talent and hearing acuity of the guy that put it together as much as the speaker itself. The point is that Merlins are a speaker that can enamour the most jaded audiophile but like all things in audio they will not appeal to everyone, what they do well they do very very well. Audiophiles have different objectives and aspirations as to what is ideal and my observations, based on my opinion of course, is that they often have nothing to do with fidelity as much as taste.
I agree. And I don"t think I ever had a room that would really be optimal for large, multi-driver speakers - though of course they could "work" - it just seems large speakers really need large rooms to sound coherent across the spectrum like the Merlins and Quad 57/63 electrostatics do - in an odd way, they seem more alike than you would think given how different they are in "driver" technology.
imho, what works well/sounds right in a more normal living environment (up to 4000 cubic feet) is very different than what works well in much large rooms at greater listening distances. merlin speaker systems are designed to be very qualitative and dynamic for smaller/more normal sized rooms. they are also very linear with great axial dispersion. not for everyone but that is why we have a substantial following and people tend to stick with them. what also helps is the upgrade potential rather than being forced to buy new with each model change.
again not for everyone but for those that want to follow developments more closely, they have the opportunity at a reduced cost.
Can't help but wonder what our national economy and overall corporate status would be like if everyone had Bobby's passion for his work and desire to provide a quality product at a fair price (along with the upgrade path). Of course smaller companies like Merlin have the ability to be more engaging with their customers, but that's hardly the norm...
I don't know how motivated Bobby is to design a sub. There are already some excellent choices out there that blend well. My TSM's are currently running with an MJ Acoustics 150, which is a small sealed 10" with a remote. The remote and digital displays make the sub very easy to tune, even on the fly when tweaking for specific recordings. Sadly at around 1800.00 I wouldn't call it a bargain.
Sub is set to 47 hz roll-off.
They were produced from 87-92 and cost over $2000 back then and were highly regarded. If they are mint I would jump on them and if you don't let me know so I can. They're made about 50 minutes from my house yet I've never heard or seen them and $500 is a small price to pay to find out. They're tall and heavy speakers.