why no recent Merlin speaker reviews?


why haven't Merlin speakers been reviewed for years?
bwc55
they have account balance past due with professional reviewers unpaid.
Perhaps it is because both reviewers and consumer cannot make out which model is the most current. Go to Merlin website and you will be more confused than ever.

Merlin’s current price list shows VSM-MMM and VSM-MXM speakers, but the Notes section indicates VSM-MXr and VM-MMi speakers. Go Merlin’s “The Evolution of the Merlin VSM Loudspeaker” page and it indicates VSM-MM & VSM-MX (Produced from Spring 2004 to Present) as their current model. Now go to Merlin Product new and it indicates that the VSM MMe has been replaced by the VSM MMi and the VSM MXe by the VSM MXr. Why not just label their speakers series 1, 2, 3 etc.
It could be they had their day in the sun and other, new-kid-on-the-block products are crowding them out. It's a big playing field out there and only so many refs.

All the best,
Nonoise
It used to be when anyone here posted anything negative about them, there would be a many quick to post in their defense . I have owned a pair of their speakers and I never got them to sound to my liking., but kept that to myself during this period.

It does make you wonder .
Justlisten,

It doesn't seem to me that the environment to which you refer is a thing of the past.
Recently Stereomojo (Malcolm Gnomes) did a review on the latest VSM MXR with the Dueland caps and Cardas Clear wire. The BAM has been completely redesigned with a more powerful switch mode power supply.
"Why not just label their speakers series 1, 2, 3 etc"

Because we would be on series 493, or some stupid s^&t like that......

Shakey
My new Merlin Master TSM's are being completed as I type this.
If you wish, when they arrive, I'd be happy to share my
initial impression followed eventually by a more studied
impression after I've lived with them awhile. This won't be a
formal review, though. (Note, FWIW: I've never heard any of
Merlin Music's speakers.)

rx7audio
I laughed right out loud to read Testpilot's post. When I've looked at the Merlin site, it's always seemed so odd, so needlessly confusing -- is the Merlin TSM QWERTY the newer model, or is it the Merlin TSM ASDFG? It need not be this hard.
-- Howard
Marakanetz is probably correct but you need to hear them for yourself and not what you read in a mag. If you knew some of the reviewers, their systems and rooms, you probably would wonder why you are reading their reviews.
I want to know why I always see so many of them for sale (if they are so darned to die for imaging etc).
I heard Merlin speakers multiple times at the shows, and could never understand what all the fuss is all about.
They are clearly very light in the bass department and that disqualifies them as realistic sounding with majority of recordings, short of maybe very simple vocal material and such.
There are no miracles, you cannot get realistic bass from this size of a woofer, BAM, or no BAM.
Just my personal opinion
The few times I've seen them at shows I appreciated Bobby letting the speakers "speak" for themselves, and thought they sounded solid.

I don't base much on "no recent reviews." The review business is geared to selling new products with the bias that new is better then old, and everything matters. It serves consumerism and wordsmithed lust, which is a product I partake in and enjoy.
An irrelevant manufacturer. Dozens like it.
Move on.
Booby P probably couldn't afford to pay for an honest and objective review.

That's how it works.
Had the MXe for a while... Sounds great through the mids and the highs, but as Maril555 mentions above, they are light in the bass. Setup in just the right room, dialed in with a sub they can sound pretty damn good... but you will always miss the bass dynamics compared to others that are more robust from the mid-bass down
to all, we have a couple of reviews in the works at this time.
we are also working on a new site and it will be up shortly. i am sorry for any confusion, hopefully we will clear it up soon.
kitchen, today there are 5 pairs of merlin speakers for sale on audiogon. this is not a large amount when you consider how many years they have been in production and the thousands of pairs in the field. people tend to keep them or get them upgraded. and goat, if you still have them you should give me a call because i have a few suggestions to make them sound much fuller and more relaxed.
bobby at merlin
My new Merlin TSM MXM's arrived yesterday afternoon. Earlier in this thread I promised to report my initial impressions.

The speakers arrived extremely well-packaged and included clear instructions (which specified a recommended break-in period). Right away I connected them and began playing CD's, at low volume, while I busied myself with household chores.

I actually had never before heard Merlin speakers, and I determined to avoid listening carefully to my TSM's until after they had played the recommended break-in hours and I had set them up per recommendations. Nevertheless, I was immediately captivated by their clean, neutral, coherent, beautiful sound, and played CD after CD as I futzed around the house. Coltrane, Take 6, Eva Cassidy, Kenny Rankin, Michael Franks, Joshua Redman, Joni, Janis Ian, and others (including NPR/PRI news and classical music from my local university radio station) all played amazing through these TSM's!

Also, aesthetics are important to me, and these "Ruby Heart Red" speakers are quite beautiful to behold--almost jewel-like. The underexposed flash photos on my system page do not do them justice.

Upshot: I am looking forward to spending many, many hours listening to my music through what seem to be very special speakers, indeed, as they continue their break-in.

rx7audio
Enjoy, rx7audio! They are outstanding speakers and you're in for more fun in a few more hours of playing time as they settle in.
I suppose there are two ways of looking at the relatively large number of new versions Bobby has come out with over the years. One viewpoint has already been expressed in this thread, and another would be that he continues to refine and improve on concepts that have obviously stood the test of time.

Duke
duke, your words mean a lot to me, and i thank you! :)

to the rest, consider that the tsm and vsm have been built for close to 20 years. i do not think that 7 versions during that time is excessive when compared to new car models each and every year.

maril, i do not dispute what you say because all of this is about personal taste. but never forget that the vsm even with the bam is a "floor standing mini monitor." i never called it a full range or big room speaker. when you consider its bass quantity and extension in comparison to other mini monitors, it has incredible bass when used in
recommended rooms.

thank you.
bobby at merlin
Maril555 I would agree that the VSM will certainly not "burn down the house" with bass output but it might surprise you the depths it can reach with proper system matching, particularly using a proper source, cabling and amplifier. I have had more than one ask where the sub was. No, its not going to satisfy bass aficionadios but that little woofer can certainly move some air, more than you might think. It is most satisfying for my taste on the wide variety of the music I listen to including rock taking into account the rest of what it does so well. I have been listening to the VSM-M, updated from SE, for 12 of the 13 years I've owned the speaker, deliberating shipping it off again for all the upgrades available for this model and other options as well. The Merlin's aren't perfect in all areas to me but always open to improvement and tough to beat on some types of music I cherish. They are really a great choice for the vast majority of real world rooms and of course you get that greatest of resources, a committed manufacturer that will always level with you even when you don't always agree. Thanks for that Bobby, it is appreciated more than you might know.
I just added to my system page, a brief description of the surprising change (seems to be an improvement) in SQ I experienced today when I removed the Master RC network from my TSM's.
call spectral to see if your amp is terminated with a zobel.
if it is, then what you are experiencing makes sense.
:)
bobby
So many valid reasons...
I have never owned Merlins but have followed Bobby and his speakers since the beginning and I make sure I listen to the VSM when I go to audio shows. They are always among the best sounding, and I know how difficult it is to get consistently good sound in hotel rooms. This should be no surprise since Bobby started with a good combination: a two-way with great drivers (the Esotar D330 is probably the best tweeter ever), and keeps improving the system with the goal of natural sound in a small to medium room. Unless you're looking for the best of the month, very difficult to beat that.
I too, have owned and very much enjoyed the Merlin speaker. I have owned both the monitors and floorstanders. Their display of resolution and detail was simply uncanny. There ability to distinguish between various amplifiers and CDP's was reason enough for a few changes. I always felt something missing in the Merlin's. it was not due to the associated equipment, room placement or anything to do with their lack of the lower the regions. The Merlin's seem to meet all of the Audiophile requirements. All of the "words" of analytical discription (that we find in the reviews) they easily meet with flying colors. However.... The one thing that I wanted from them, I could not pull out. It is something that the speaker, that I now own does with a stunning array of emotional fulfillment. What the Merlin's did with their high degree and amount of accuracy, detail and resolve, is the work of unrelenting dedication to a craft. I have moved on since then, to a speaker more involved with the musical emotions and passion from the performers. I have found that (IMHO) the Reference 3a MM DeCapo (with the new Beryllium tweeter) packs a greater (true to life) musical presentation in the areas of emotional involvement and intricate sound-staging. They lock onto my listening area like the Merlin's never could and involve me with their sound. I think of my times with the Merlin's, but I don't look back with any degree of remorse. The DeCapos are there for music, but for me, the Merlin's just never got there.

Amps used with the Merlin's: Edge, Rowland, Kora, Cary
Having owned a TSM MMe for more than 6 years with several amps they are one of the most revealing and enjoyable speakers i have heard with very impressive bass considering it is a Stand mount.
Although my main rig is now Tannoy prestige (5 times its price) , the imaging size/depth and the quality of the presentation of the TSM is still striking. From my limited experience, it is one of the few speakers which does not add any obvious color to the sound and hence the different views as per the personal preferences.

Given the right Placement, amplification and cables they really shine through. IMHO the fact that Merlin has never changed its models but only focused on incrementally tweaking and improving is a big plus in my books. Not to mention the instant support and clarifications given by bobby irrespective of the model or the year of buying.

BTW I paired it with a leben and preferred it without the RC as well
I've spent more time with my TSM's sans Master RC network.
At this point I am quite certain my system's sound quality
has improved significantly (after the RC network was
removed).

A couple of my favorite cuts are complicated/complex pieces
with a lot going on, and I've never heard the detail in
these pieces as I heard it last evening. I don't have the
CD's in front of me at the moment, but the cuts are on the
Yellowjackets "Live" CD (second to last cut), a
Cassandra Wilson piece replete with hard-driving,
polyrhythmic percussion, and a couple of cuts from one of
Paul Simon's African music-themed CD's (maybe "Rhythm
of the Saints").

My god! These are amazing speakers! Loved them before.
Love them much more now. Whatever the underlying reason,
they're now firing on all cylinders, um, humming on all
rotors, in my system in my room, and I couldn't be more
pleased.

rx7audio
rx, i am sure you will find that your spectral amp is terminated with a zobel or there may be some sort of a network in your mit cables.
arj, find out if the amp from leben is terminated with a zobel as well.
personal taste is involved here and what the rest of the system sounds like has an effect as well. that is why we make the rcs removable so "you" can find your preference and use them or not. for unterminated amps in high res systems the rcs are a must imho.
tubeears, more than anyone i am happy for you. it would have been interesting to hear your thoughts about our latest versions wired with cardas clear.
best,
bobby
Merlin & Spectral? That's different.

Bobby,

I wonder how the latest Blue Circle gear would sound with the MXM?
i think it would be excellent!
Hello,

I'm going to through in a name that a lot of us old folks will remember well. It is Audio Analogue. The Puccini Int. Amp. It was a cult piece years ago. A bit more money than the cult Nads and Creeks, but rightfully so. It had the SS grunt but also the tube bloom. Long since forgot about here in the US, but still strong in most other countries, Audio Analogue has a great line up of gorgeous amps. The reviews are spectacular and owners very dedicated. They are meant to work well with high efficacy speakers, but their 70 watt Maestro Settanta will drive Apogee Scintillas (reviewed). I own that amp in the rev2 model. It does things with my DeCapos that will just stun you. There are just too many good things to say about this amp. I would like, and will listen to it on the Merlin's. I have a friend that is quite rabid about keeping his Merlin VSM's current. He is always slobbering over every word about a little change. I will bring my Audio Analogue Maesrto Settanta rev2 over and listen. I would truly like to hear what the newer version VSM'S are capable of, and my amp will do it. I think that what the VSM'S cry for at night is an SET sounding amp with balls. I have just today thrown a new PS Audio AC12 power cord at it, so it is ready to go for a ride (after a period of burn in of course). It sounds pretty good out of the box, but I'm certain that it needs a bit of time in the electricity sauna to get its little electrons in proper order. However, after all that happens, I will jerk the mess out of the wall and run it over for a listen on my friends Merlin's. I will report back on my findings and give you my humble opinion.
Hello,

I'm going to through in a name that a lot of us old folks will remember well. It is Audio Analogue. The Puccini Int. Amp. It was a cult piece years ago. A bit more money than the cult Nads and Creeks, but rightfully so. It had the SS grunt but also the tube bloom. Long since forgot about here in the US, but still strong in most other countries, Audio Analogue has a great line up of gorgeous amps. The reviews are spectacular and owners very dedicated. They are meant to work well with high efficacy speakers, but their 70 watt Maestro Settanta will drive Apogee Scintillas (reviewed). I own that amp in the rev2 model. It does things with my DeCapos that will just stun you. There are just too many good things to say about this amp. I would like, and will listen to it on the Merlin's. I have a friend that is quite rabid about keeping his Merlin VSM's current. He is always slobbering over every word about a little change. I will bring my Audio Analogue Maesrto Settanta rev2 over and listen. I would truly like to hear what the newer version VSM'S are capable of, and my amp will do it. I think that what the VSM'S cry for at night is an SET sounding amp with balls. I have just today thrown a new PS Audio AC12 power cord at it, so it is ready to go for a ride (after a period of burn in of course). It sounds pretty good out of the box, but I'm certain that it needs a bit of time in the electricity sauna to get its little electrons in proper order. However, after all that happens, I will jerk the mess out of the wall and run it over for a listen on my friends Merlin's. I will report back on my findings and give you my humble opinion.
Am I repeating myself ? Myself ?
tubears, make sure they are the vsm mmm or mxm versions wired with clear as well as master bam and master rc's.
thank you.
b
Bobby killed himself in 2015
You dug up a three year old thread to post that? Why?
Bobby was a victim of suicide. Very sad. 

@tpreaves - I was thinking the same thing!
Still running my Merlins, now with Pass Labs.  Too bad Bobby's not around.  I'd love to tell him how good they sound with solid state.

A tragic loss, but Bobby's legacy lives on, in my listening room and many others' as well.  I too wish Bobby could hear how good my VSMs are sounding these days with my recent switch to a Shindo Monbrison preamp and Sophia Electric 845 monoblocks.  Bobby upgraded my VSMs to the Black Magic edition just a few months before he died, and all the time I spent on the phone and over email with him (man could he talk!) makes my speakers even more special to me.


And they sound great!

To find information about Merlin Music for a friend, I went looking yesterday for the the Web page—only to learn of Bobby's death last year.  I can never listen to my TSM's, which I continue to thoroughly enjoy, without recalling the lengthy, illuminating exchanges I had with Bobby when I was looking to purchase new monitors and several times after I had made my purchase.  I was hoping my friend could benefit from similar exchanges with Bobby.  Alas, never to be.  So sad.  RIP, Bobby Palcovic.
I own what I believe are one of the last pair of TSM's that were produced. Very long journey with Bobby to finally get them which after finding out the troubles the company was having were towards the end made sense.

The really strange twist to my story is the following - my Audible Illusion preamp had a electrical malfunction and sent a surge throught the system that burned out a voice coil in one woofer. To say I was devastated is putting it mildly. I spoke to Bobby and we agreed I could install a new woofer on my own. I sent him the bad woofer as a exchange along with a check and waited, and waited, and waited. Emails and phone calls were not answered. My gut told me something wasn't right here. 

I left for an extended business trip and read on a website about Bobby's death, I was stunned and besides feeling horrible about the circumstances now had a useless set of speakers.

Two days later my wife calls to tell me a box from Merlin just arrived. I told her to open it and inside was my woofer, with solder. The post date was the day he passed. He went to the post office to send me my woofer before he passed.

To say I was freaked out is putting it mildly.

I installed my woofer and have been enjoying these great speakers ever since. My problem now is I don't feel it's right to ever sell these because of personal connection to Bobby. Weird I know.

RIP Bobby.






@ssand1 , 

Wow.  every time I read a story like this it brings back the profound sadness I feel at Bobby's loss.   It hartens me to know that so many people still own and enjoy the speakers. 

 I have just started a group on Facebook for folks who own or have enjoyed in the past Merlin  speakers. The URL is https://www.facebook.com/groups/1712629472383990/ or  just search for Merlin Music Systems Speakers Owners/Fans group.  Hopefully I set it up right so that people can click or message me their request to join the group.  
I miss Bobby after reading all this
I have the  Black Magic VSM & All clear
Wire  Everywhere.  Just installed 2 black fuse.  That Damn fuse actually works