Zu Definition 1.5 vs Merlin VSM-MXe


My first post...i am looking for what may be my last speaker purchase for a while.

I wonder if someone has been able to compare the sound of these speakers?

I know the Merlin VSM-MM sound and have heard it with the Berning Otl..i like it a lot but wondered about the Zu and like its design.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

I can't imagine two more different sounding loudspeakers.

Your preference will largely depend on your musical tastes, room size and associated gear.
I don'tthink the Zus are as good with classical,but blues/rock is fine.
Tpsonic, on what experience do you base your post? Please list the associated equipment and where you've heard them. I'm very interested.
Thanks in advance; much appreciated.
I only listen tomclassical so the ZU's could never be my speaker.
never heard of a speaker that limits itself to only certain music. Whats this world comming to???
If its not ideal for classical then obviously it has issues with all other music as well.
Or am i wrong?
Lets get real here.

My music is eclectic but i listen mostly to electronic, rock, jazz and vocals. Not so much classical.

I just wondered after reading the 6moons review...it would be nice to drive the Zu's with flea power digital amps.

I also read about the PMC AML1 active monitors..they seem nice too.

Its going to be a tough choice!

Thank you for your comment so far.

>I only listen tomclassical<

Talk about limiting......

As an owner of Def. Pro's, I completely disagree with the classical music "limitation".

Between two such different speakers, I certainly would make any and all efforts, including traveling, to hear both before buying. Give the Def's some time, as some people find their ears don't "get it" immediately. Some people don't get them ever. But, if you ending up liking them you probably will love them.

I've used mine with tiny digital amps and SET tubes, both to great effect.

I'm not going to get into a long discussion here, it's all been said before. Search the archives for previous discussion. I don't know how much is left but I'm sure it's plenty to get both sides of the discussion.
>>Lets get real here<<

Deal!! You first.
hi patrick,
it would be helpful to inform the group what sized room you would be listening to the speakers in as they would sound their best in different volumes. it appears that you are willing to try different amps to better suit the speakers you choose which is a very good thing. they will both sound their best with very different ancillaries because of their particular design concept.
thank you,
bobby at merlin
I don'tthink the Zus are as good with classical,but blues/rock is fine.
Tpsonic (System | Threads | Answers)

How did you come by this information? I also own Definition Pros and I would dispute your assertion. In my experience, they aren't limited in any way.

Speakers are transducers, just like microphones and phono cartridges. All they do is convert energy from one form to another. None of these devices distinguishes one kind of music from another. They don't even differentiate between music and other noises, like rap.

By the way, the Definition 1.5 that you asked about is basically the same design as the Definition Pro. The principle difference between the two models is the 1.5 has powered woofers and the Pro is set up for biamplification and equalized bass response. The cabinet and driver configuration are indentical.
Conspicuous by its' absence is Tpsonics' response to the questions I asked. I also sent a private email and received nothing.
Hmm.. Well this is interesting.. I do have to go on record, you can call me nuts, but if in anyway the Zu's with a total of 12, 10" drivers cannot reproduce the explosive transients of a classical recording with ease, over a sytem with a total of 2, 6.5" drivers than there are serious problems here. Anyhow, fact is the Definition's soundstage suffers due to the super stiff drivers for the first 300 hours.. Okay maybe 200 hours. This is the only reason anyone would think they don't grasp the sound or something is funny in the begining. They sound a bit compressed and disconnected, virtually like if you were to hook a standard dynamic drive speaker like the merlin up out of phase on accident. There is nothing to get use to in the Zu's sound, they do no miracles they sound just like any speaker and mostly better once they open up and are matched correctly to the right front end.

Beyond that I agree with the above that you could not pick a more different design, but not necessarily a more different sounding speaker.. Only thing they have in common is the price point. Which one represents better value and realistic sound? Well that will be up to you to get a hold of a pair of each. You say that you have heard the merlins lower tier, well my suggestion is take advantage of Zu's 90 day trial, cause you are spending a lot of money, and if you feel they are a step in the right direction over what you remember in the merlins, than make a decision based on your likes and dislikes.. Bottom line they will not totally open up without a good 2 weeks of at least 8 hours a day of music signal. Just run them at a normal level while your out to work or something, this is the only advise I can give.
All new Zu Definitions leave the factory with 150 hours of break-in. This takes a lot of pressure off the buyer during his evaluation period. Undertow is correct, however, about the need to loosen up the new drivers.
I suggest you try the Definitions with a Red Wine Audio Signature 30 amplifier and no preamp. It is the best combination I have ever heard.
This notion that Definitions are somehow not suitable for classical music and are instead a "rock and blues" speaker is unfounded. The speaker is remarkably neutral in tonal balance, can lay out a highly-scalable soundstage macro to micro, has sensational dynamic range with real-world amplifiers, and is among the best speakers at any price for maintaining clarity of the many simultaneous sound events in a full symphonic crescendo -- owing of course to superior resolution in part due to lack of crossovers.

I lived in Boston for a decade and had a share of season tickets for the BSO in Symphony Hall. That hall is its own instrument and distinctive in its acoustic signature. The sound of the hall is more readily apparent through Zu Definitions on recordings made there, than with any other home hifi speaker I can recall. Chamber music is realistically scaled and transient and dynamic delicacy is preserved. Opera is fully emotive. Yet the explosive power of expression of a full orchestra is vividly projected into your listening space.

These qualities simply support high fidelity regardless of music genre. The same qualities in the Zu Definition that render it effective at communicating the energy and emotion of rock or blues, also work to same advantage on classical music, but with this speaker nothing is given up in terms of downscaling and resolution on smaller works.

Ok guys,

Err...well i havent decided yet. My room is 15 x 15ft with high ceilings. It may well be that we buy another home soon however.

Music is very eclectic but i've been spoilt by the best of the best bits of other speakers, now i want to combine them into a speaker which scores VERY highly in every category....and for the price one shouldnt ask otherwise.

I am in europe.

>My room is 15 x 15ft with high ceilings. It may well be that we buy another home soon however<

Tough room. Buying a new house might be your best bet.

you really should consider a diagonal set up, it will work extremely well and surprize you in that room. any conventional set up in your room will be problematic. i have used one at many shows with superb results.
even the vsm mme or mxe will over power that room easily.
you have just over 2000 feet in volume.
bobby at merlin
listen up the new Se Odyssey lorilei is superb and in some ways better than the Merlins especially in the Bass -even with the Bam, the merlin may be a hair better in resolution only, and at $2995 in Se form keep the 5k+
in your pocket, 6 moons did a review of these with a $2000
amp preamp combination and was very respectable
this is before any upgrades. or with top notch equipment
on even ground be ready to be floored ,these are a lilttle fuller sounding actually more natural sounding ,check em out ,I would say these are one of the best buys of all
time ,this same speaker was sold by Symposium for over $ 7k
only a few years ago !