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Merlin Music



Merlin has been making 2-way speakers for the last 30 years. They have won best in show. Stereophile has given them a “Class A” rating every time they’ve been reviewed. They have a cult-like following. And now, with the Master VSM and TSM, they’re new again.

Reviewers said 

'' the Master is even more rich, liquid, smooth and focused on that all-important mid range than ever before...  Female vocals have an immediacy, liquidity and richness that will leave you wondering if they’re going to melt all over your lap  '' from PartimeAudiophile

'' Merlin is easily one of the most consistent, high quality designers in the industry. No hype. No new models just for marketing sake like many speaker makers. No inflated, gouging prices. You hardly ever see Merlin speakers for sale on Audiogon or Ebay and there's a reason for that. It doesn't get better.  '' From  Stereomojo.



Who is Merlin

  • Merlin Music Systems has been a manufacturer of high quality loudspeakers since 1982. Bobby A. Palkovic and Bill Hooper combined over 60 years of experiences. They are both professional ex-musicians with recording studio experience. Between the two of them, they have worked in all facets of sound reproduction.
  • Merlin products are sold in 16 countries worldwide. Although our speakers are sold at a premium price (due to destination charges etc.), consumers around the world still find our products an excellent value and well worth the added expense.
  • Since showing the first VSM at the Chicago CES in 1994, Merlin speaker systems have received in excess of 70 "Best of Show" accolades from different conventions around the world.
  • The VSM and TSM have been reviewed more than 20 times world wide.Over 30 reviewers, editors, and publishers have purchased Merlin speakers.
  • Merlin speakers systems are also used in more than 32 recording studios and music production facilities worldwide.
  • Merlin has an excellent reputation for customer service 





Philosophy.  '' They have been there and will be there for many years because they are simply good ''

It is Merlin’s contention that to make a world class product it takes years of refinement. Therefore, we do not share the industry’s enthusiasm for the "what’s new" syndrome. Most products hit the market far too early in their development and subsequently use the consumer as its testing ground. We refer to this as production prototyping.

At Merlin Music Systems we manufacture two speaker systems. They have been developed and then refined over a nine year period. Our goal is to manufacture benchmark designs that YOU can trust for their integrity. To be a benchmark, a speaker must sit on the fence of neutrality. It must possess exceptional test performance so it does not impose its will on the products connected to it. Once this is achieved, a lengthy refinement process is begun which massages the sound into a final product. Merlin Music Systems chooses to manufacture cost no object designs which allows us to utilize advancing technologies. Remember: to attain exceptional sound the product must possess exceptional performance potential.

Why Should You Buy Our Product?

Our appearance is not trendy. Our speakers will look as fresh in twenty years as they do today. Our technical design and sound are so advanced that it will take other manufacturers years to catch up to us (if ever) because they are governed by price points and we are not.

A truly great design does not come with an expiration date!

...Merlin Music Systems







Review in Taiwan:
Hifi Monthly ( Traditional Chinese) IMPORTANT The review is about MXM !
Translation in english


Specification:


VSM

Enclosure:

  • Vented (front) and tuned to 37 Hz
  • Super strong glued Pan Fiber construction
  • 1 1/2"  thick front baffle
  • Mass loaded
  • Internal and external resonance damping
  • Floor standing with dynamic coupling feet
  • Low diffraction
  • High durability three step textured black finish standard on VSM-MM
  • Premium high-gloss color finishes standard on VSM-MX
  • Brass tuning rods on front and top of cabinet
  • Hand-crafted speaker grills included

Woofer:

  • 6.5 inch paper carbon-fiber cone
  • Cast aluminum basket
  • Low diffraction rubber surround
  • Large motor, rear vented
  • Specifically manufactured for Merlin Music Systems by ScanSpeak

Tweeter:

  • 1 inch soft dome
  • Dynaudio t330d hand made in matched pairs & modified at the face plates to get rid of diffraction components !

Crossover:

  • Highly optimized 12 dB per octave
  • Crossover point at 2200 Hz
  • Both drivers wired in electrical phase
  • Fixed output (no level controls)
  • Impedance corrected
  • Electronic circuit damping
  • Proprietary ultra-low loss inductors by Hovland
  • Hovland Aluminum foil and polypropylene capacitors
  • Caddock Micronox® Film resistors
  • Wired with Cardas wire
  • Bi-wireable via Cardas "low stress" binding posts
  • Removable outboard RC Networks
  • EMI/RFI filtering networks
  • Point-to-point hand wired
  • Easily removable for upgrades/repairs

Bass Augmentation Module (BAM):

  • 5.2dB of boost at 35 Hz
  • Subsonic bass roll-off below 27Hz
  • Outboard power supply
  • Optional rechargeable battery power supply
  • Single ended (RCA) or fully balanced (XLR) models available
  • Cardas Cross internal wiring
  • Caddock Micronox® Film resistors
  • Hovland Aluminum foil and polypropylene capacitors
  • Input impedance: 40k ohms
  • Output impedance: 100 ohms
  • THD: < 0.005%
  • Maximum output voltage: 9.5Vrms
  • Power requirements: 50/60Hz 110VAC to 117VAC

Frequency Response:

  • 33-22 kHz +/- 2dB, 1 meter on axis
  • 4dB down at 30Hz with BAM in circuit
  • 36-20kHz +/- 1.75 dB, 1 meter on axis
  • 36-20kHz +/- 1.5 dB at 10° off axis (optimum listening axis)

Acoustic phase shift:

  • Less than 10°

Impedance:

  • 8 ohms nominal
  • 6.5 ohms minimum
  • 15.6 ohms at crossover point

Sensitivity:

  • 89 dB, 1W/1M (2.83V)
  • Excellent tube amplifier compatibility

Power Handling:

  • 200 watts (program)
  • Maximum output 111 dB (program)

Power requirements suggested:

  • 17 watts minimum (tube)
  • 25 watts minimum (solid state)
  • 200 watts maximum

Dimensions and Weight:

  • Speakers: 8-5/8 inches wide by 10-1/2 inches deep by 42-7/8 inches high
  • 84.5 lbs. each
  • BAM: 6-3/4 inches wide by 8-3/4 inches deep by 2-1/4 inches high
  • 195 lbs. in packaging (one pair in carton with BAM)

Warranty:

  • 10 years parts and labor

Options:

  • Fully balanced (XLR input/output) Battery BAM. Includes a self contained, rechargeable battery power supply.
  • Single ended/Balanced BAM unit with self contained rechargeable power supply available.
  • Premium high-gloss finishes include: Piano Black, Ruby Heart Red, Ice Black Blue. Moss Green, and Eggplant.
  • Custom color high-gloss premium finishes are also available.




TSM

Enclosure:

  • Super strong glued MDF Construction
  • Air suspension enclosure
  • 1 ½" thick front baffle, heavily braced
  • Internal and external resonance damping
  • Low diffraction, rounded corners & edges
  • High durability three step textured black finish standard
  • Optional premium high-gloss color finishes available at extra cost
  • Brass tuning rods on front of cabinet
  • Hand-crafted speaker grills included

Woofer:

  • Morel MW 164
  • 6.25 inch damped pulp cone
  • Cast Aluminum basket
  • Low diffraction Neoprene rubber surround
  • 3 inch voice coil, rear vented motor

Tweeter:

  • Rennaissance mst 30.5. Merlin have them hand made in matched pairs like the 330. Then Merlin modifies the face plates to get rid of diffraction components
  • 1 inch soft dome
  • Liquid cooled

Crossover:

  • Highly optimized 12dB per octave
  • Crossover point at 2150 Hz
  • Both drivers wired in electrical phase
  • Fixed output (no level controls)
  • Impedance corrected
  • Electronic circuit damping
  • Hovland Aluminum foil and polypropylene capacitors
  • Caddock Micronix® Film resistors (impedance corrected)
  • Hand-wound and potted inductors
  • New Cardas Crossfield internal wiring
  • Bi-wireable via Cardas "no-stress" binding posts
  • Removable outboard RC networks
  • Point-to-point hand wired
  • Easily removable for upgrades/repairs

Recommended Stand Height:

  • 24 to 28 inches depending on listening height
  • Higher mass - high quality stand with carpet piercing spikes

Frequency Response:

  • 55-20kHz +/- 2 dB, 1 meter on axis.
  • 10dB down at 35 Hz

Acoustic phase shift:

  • Less than 10º

Impedance:

  • 8 ohms nominal
  • 6.5 ohms minimum
  • 14 ohms at crossover point

Sensitivity:

  • 87 dB, 1W/1m (2.83V)
  • Excellent tube amplifier compatibility

Power Handling:

  • 80 watts (program)
  • Maximum output 104 dB (peak)

Power Requirements Suggested:

  • 20 watts minimum (tube)
  • 20 watts minimum (solid state)
  • 120 watts maximum

Dimensions and Weight:

  • 8 inches wide by 10-1/2 inches deep by 16 inches high
  • 26 lbs. each
  • 63 lbs. in packaging (one pair in carton)

Warranty:

  • 5 years parts and labor


What are the difference?

It is not clear for everybody what are the difference between the MXM ( master series) MXr and the MMi.  It is higly recommended to visit the website of Merlin for detailled information.

TSM: small one (monitor speaker)

VSM: tall one (floor standing speaker)

Three main models: MASTER (MXM), MX-R and MM-i

All of them ( MXM, MXR and MMI) use new cabinet material and TSM uses hand made matched pairs of the renaissance mst 30.5 tweeter for which Merlin modifies the face plate to get rid of diffraction components.

So you have: 
TSM-MXM    VSM-MXM    TSM-MXr    VSM-MXr    TSM-MMi   VSM-MMi

MXM Series features:  

  • new Cardas Clear based internal wiring,
  • Master RCs and Master Jumpers
  • Premium Clear Coat finish all standard.  
  • Master BAM ( for the VSM)

The Master Bam is a further development of the lead free Super BAM. This piece uses a switching power supply that is 50 times quieter than the one used in the standard unit. As well, the Q of the bass EQ circuit in the Master BAM has been optimized to provide better definition and a more uniform bass character. It also has a circuit board revision to ensure trouble free shipment of the large and heavy Duelund copper foil capacitors. Four of them are used in a Master Bam hence there are $900 worth of these proprietary copper foil capacitors in this unit, alone. Since all of the line level signal goes through the Master BAM, its effects are even greater than the Master RC’s. Both used in the same system produce an exceptional sonic event. One that is extremely relaxed and realistic in nature, showing a fuller more room filling character, with increased pitch definition in the bass, increased micro and macro dynamics, a more expansive portrayal with considerably more contrast potential. All in all, a way more realistic picture is created.


The MXM is the Master Series.
It use the premium finish which is much more expensive.
The Masters are wired with specially made cadras clear.
The Masters use duelund copper foil capacitors
The VSM Master used the MASTER BAM ( see above)


MXR SERIES:

The MXr and master (MXM) speakers have more resolution and sound more real and expansive. MXr  and MXM are better suited to tube gear.


MMI SERIES:

The MMi versions are the best value and a good match with tubes or solid state.
The mmi version are just in the studio black finish.



OPTION:

 

FOR TSM ( Monitor):

You have option of  Standard RC’ or  Master RC’s

FOR VSM ( FloorStanding):

-       Super BAM with RCA

-       Super BAM with XLR

-       Dual Ops (XLR & RCA) Super Bam

-       Master Bam ( RCA) and Master RC’s



Explanation of the Option:

RC Devise : it is actually a capacitor and resistor in series, the purpose is to smooth out the frequency response of the amp and speaker connection. 

Merlin Master RC Networks - The Master RC network should be used when the amplifier in question is not terminated with a Zobel network. Since all speaker systems are open circuits, the use of this network will apply a 10 ohm load at 100 kHz which will allow the amp to settle and sound as good as it possibly can.

The RC network will also provide a high frequency filter to rid the system of EMI and RFI in heavily populated areas.

The Master RC uses a combination of cryoed and non-cryoed components soldered lead-free to tinned copper o-ring connectors. They are relatively delicate and pre-shaped so it is important not to bend or twist them.

Master RC’s  use Proprietary Duelund VSF copper foil capacitors. VSF style capacitors retail in North America for $225 each, hence the high cost.

Standard RC is made with the yellow music cap.

Copper foil capacitors sound very different than aluminum foil parts. You will notice a more relaxed and natural sound, wider bandwidth, a blacker background, increased micro/macro dynamics and a bigger more expansive room filling sound. It is our opinion the improvement is substantial and easily heard.

These networks are recommended for in particular with TSM MMi/MXr and VSM MMi/MXr speaker systems. 

Master Bam:  Bring more bass

Merlin Bass Augmentation Module (BAM).

The Merlin BAM improves the already impressive bass capabilities of the VSM loudspeaker, adding new levels of low-end weight and depth.

It extends the low-frequency response of the VSM in a phase and amplitude correct manner to –4 dB at 30Hz with no alteration to the rest of the speaker’s exceptionally flat frequency response or musical characteristics. The BAM has the same exceptional internal parts found in the VSMs themselves, further ensuring that the qualities of the VSM will not be harmed in any way. It also includes a battery based power supply, which removes the last vestiges of any electronic signature from the BAM’s performance. The BAM is easily inserted in the signal path between preamp and power amp or in any suitable tape loop.

A RCA bam has rcs input and output jacks on the rear.

A balanced bam has xlr inputs and outouts on the rear.

Dual ops has RCA and balanced inputs and outputs on the rear so the customer can use the bam either way depending on his electronics and needs.

The BAM is connected to the ac but it works in the line level signal to boost bass and filter the extreme highs and out of pass bass energy to remove distortion from the sound.

The BAM only uses 16 volts on it own


MORE:

The TSM is the culmination of product development and improvement since the TSM's introduction in 1996.

The TSM is a very easy speaker to drive. Its flat impedance plot and nominal 8 ohm load allows any amplifier (tube or solid state) to unleash its full potential.

The spectral balance is superb, bringing all aspect's of the sound together in an absolutely natural manner.

The TSM has an uncanny ability to untangle complex images. It removes the final veil between you and your music.

 

 


What they said: 


‘’ Not only do the MXM’s make beautiful music, crystal clear and non-fatiguing. They create a palpable illusion of being in the presence of the musicians  ‘’

‘’ well-recorded, non- compressed pop will sound deep and rich  ‘’

‘’ What I find most amazing is piano attack and decay; as a violinist I hear my instrument very critically, so I can use this speaker as a professional monitor; there are others that could do that; I know of none other that can give me such pleasure to listen to Piano - and mark my words, this instrument is a real task to reproduce.   ‘’






Awards and Recognition
  • Merlin VSM-MXe, Bound for Sound 2009 Special Products Award
  • Merlin VSM-MXe, Fedelta del Suono 2009 Speaker of the Year Award
  • Merlin VSM, April 2007 through October 2009 Stereophile Class A Recommended Component
  • Merlin VSM, 2005 AudioReview.com Choice Award Winner
  • Merlin TSM, 2005 AudioReview.com Choice Award 
  • Winner
  • VSM-MM/MX - 2005 Bound for Sound award as a Component of Exceptional Merit
  • TSM-MM/MX - 2005 Bound for Sound award as a Component of Merit
  • TSM-MM Awarded an 2004 Positive Feedback Online's Writers Choice Award from Gary Beard
  • Merlin VSM, 2004 Enjoy TheMusic.com Best of 2004 Blue Note Equipment Award - Loudspeakers
  • Merlin VSM, 2003 AudioReview.com Choice Award Winner
  • Merlin TSM, 2003 AudioReview.com Choice Award 
  • Winner
  • VSM-Millennium is a Stereophile Magazine"Class A" Recommended Compoment
  • SoundStage! Reviewers' Choice Hall-of-Fame Award 1999
  • SoundStage! Reviewers' Choice 1998
  • Winner of the CEA "Design and Engineering Award Innovations 1995"
  • VSM Basic, Speaker of Exceptional Merit, Bound for Sound, 6/98
  • VSM SE, Speaker of Exceptional Merit, Bound for Sound, 7/98