The Good & The Great speakers!

Cont’d from my last initial thoughts of these new TSM MMM BME (black magic edition) monitors…..

The TSM have averaged close to 300 hours emerging truthfully and sonically superior. I’ve not heard a more honest speaker such as these. When I listen to the music coming out of these monitors, my only thoughts are of memories, times and places of my life. Its funny how certain moments in life are summed up by various music/songs. That’s what happens when you have a good pair of speakers – you no longer listen to the equipment but drawn by the music. The speakers are so uncolored and true that it allows me to emotionally connect with simply the music and the artist. The new TSM black magic are like a candle in the darkness, it leaves nothing unhidden.

I’ve put this monitor into ring fights against ‘the great’ Sonus Faber Auditor, Devore Fidelity 3XL and Joseph Audio Pulsar. The TSM MMM Black Magic KO’d them all. There are 2 truths at play here: One is that many people do not know what instruments sound like in real life – hence confirming their lack of knowledge to listening since they have been so used to artificial sweeteners (colored sounding speakers) in their daily life. Secondly, most audiophiles will simply abandon and blame the truthfulness of the TSM because it reveals too much of the users faulty upstream components.

Perhaps the TSM black magic edition may still not appease to everyone as their cup of tea…not everyone is a musician who can hear true tones, attacks, decays and pitches of music from live instruments. Otherwise all other speaker manufacturers would have folded years ago. But to those who accept nothing but the truth, I gladly applaud and announce the Merlin TSM MMM Black Magic. It is the good speaker. After so many hours with this pair of TSM, the search is over. Yes Captain Kirk and the crew of the enterprise can come home now and begin a new voyage. The time now is to search out new music, different genres and perhaps make new memories with music as opposed to jumping on Agon or Ebay to rotate audio equipment. Time to get off the merry-go-round folks! And the new TSM is the ticket off that merry-go-round. Time to wake up from the Matrix and realize…the truth.

Please note that in my review of these newly acquired speakers of mine, I don’t talk about what the lows, mids or highs are doing. Why? Because everything the speakers do are musically correct! Who has time to dissect and regurgitate what others have stated already? Not me. Just listen!

Good speakers will leave you hungry for more music because it has subconsciously touched you at an emotional level. That’s what the TSM do! Great speakers (those the TSM KO’d) will grab your attention for a few minutes and then kick you out of the room. Maybe subconsciously making you want to go do something else altogether. Great speakers will fuel that wicked cycle of going through dozens of pairs of speakers and equipment throughout your lifetime here on earth.

Where do I go from here? I’m not sure. I guess I’m done? Like the alcoholic audio trader who’s come out of Agon rehab (from constantly trading audio equipment for years), like the convict exiting the cells from a 20yrs sentence…what to do now??? The TSM MMM BME has been my ticket out from that wicked cycle of audio trading. For those that are willing to listen they are wise. Only the fool, will say otherwise and to them they re-enter that merry-go-round madness still constantly searching….fast asleep within the Matrix.

Sophia Electric 126S, Merlin TSM MMM BME (Black Magic Edition), Grover Huffman ZX, Shunyata, Sound Anchors, Well Tempered Record Player, Nagaoka MP-50, Heed Audio Quasar, ASI resonators & sugar cubes
You might like earth once you return. They might sound good, but nothing made is the (be all, end all) as you describe. Even BP can't be completely thrilled with height of the pedestal you've placed his speakers on. On an another note, you've done a nice job of insinuating that non-owners of Merlins don't have a clue what real instruments sound like and we are all content with massive colorations in our systems because YOU FOUND THE TRUTH through Merlin ownership.
I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to communicate here.

I become skeptical when I hear assertions that one thing is the true way and everything else isn't, or that one thing does everything perfectly and everything else doesn't. Life is a series of trade-offs, and audio is no exception. Some speakers have an incredible dynamic range, others can hit very low bass notes in a realistic way, others have very well etched high frequencies that can accurately illustrate the shimmer of a cymbal, while yet others present the individual instruments as if they are properly arranged in three dimensions. So when I hear your assertion that "everything the speakers do are musically correct", it gives me pause.

I've heard Merlins, and thought they were very nice speakers. But the be-all-end-all, of course not. Nothing is.

I'm happy that you've found your speaker Nirvana, but I think in the future it would be more useful to fellow audiophiles to list different music that you've played through it and how its response compares with others that you've heard, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of this speaker vs some others.

Just my 2 cents.

Fritz LS 5/R or 7/R (both 3500.00). I have a prototype that uses ScanSpeak 9700 tweeters instead of Ring Radiators...with Quicksilver 90 watt Silver monos and Quicksilver pre, in 12x15 room. I doubt you would prefer the Merlins.
Fritz LS 5/R or 7/R (both 3500.00). I have a prototype that uses ScanSpeak 9700 tweeters instead of Ring Radiators...with Quicksilver 90 watt Silver monos and Quicksilver pre, in 12x15 room. I doubt you would prefer the Merlins.
@Sufentanil - thanks for your response.

I appreciate maturity over immaturity. I listen to electronic, jazz and vocal. In the write up i wanted to skip over the usual repetoire of discussion that of other reviewers who go on to discuss little sparkles here or there…the more natural timbre here in that passage/song etc.. or the the highs were better in this or that way… because not everyone listens or will go out of their way to get that master track and listen for the same thing. Nor would they even know what that particular passage really sounds like in real life thats the truth. In reality, I would even dare to say that 50% of audiophiles out there haven't a clue as to knowing how real instruments such as drums, bass, cello, piano etc sounds like in real life - when in reality they just think they know - they really haven't a clue. You'll have to message me for that music list.

Most audiophiles been brought up their whole life listening to colored speakers that to them have become the norm - the standard - then upon hearing something with correct tones, pitches, attacks, they question it as "wrong" or that something is "missing". Granted the TSMs are not going to harness deep into the sub 40-50hz regions but well enough to differentiate the different tones therein accurately. Hearing this new speaker is believing! And to me, accuracy is very important (as opposed to a mere boom boom down to 35hz - I'll leave that to the un-trained ear), enough that when I hear drum kicks and brushes - being able to discern a nylon string from steel strings - the pitch of an artists voice - to me this and more... the TSM did all those very well. When a trio plays together, you can hear them individually playing together not merely as one note. I was simply listening to the music washing over me as opposed to listening with the eyes. To all the nayers out there, they can go challenge themselves with blind listening tests - a guaranty of failure for many. So for me, of all the speakers I've come across, none has been more truer in musical display than this one.

Unlearning bad habits is tough but once done, one can simply search for the truest and leave the mere hifi to those still in search of rumbling bass that rattles the picture frames or the high frequencies that only animals can hear.

Like you said, of course it's not the "be-all" speaker - of course not, but if this speaker fulfills up to 90% of correctly played music (which I am sure of) I can happily live with it. Granted it is not going to do subsonic base and earth shattering theatre surround because that is for the mere hifi audiophile.

I've owned a good half of and auditioned others of the following speaker brands in the past 5 years of this hobby: (owned) Harbeth C7 & P3, (owned) ProAc 1SC, (owned) Sonus Faber Auditor, Dynaudio Special 25, (owned) Totem Model 1, (owned) Devore Fidelity Gibbon 3, 3XL, and Nines, (owned) Reference 3A De Capo, Von Schweikert (model predecessor to VR5), (owned) Vienna Acoustic Haydn, Tannoy Kensington, Joseph Audio Pulsar and finally Studio Electric Monitor SE.

Please message me for specifics as to what I thought about each one - this response is long enough. Kudos to you if you've read this far - some have already skipped this with a laugh or as waste of their insignificant knowledge. Every kind of tires out there for everybody as you can see, but for me I've picked my all seasons and have come to call it quits. As I've stated, no more merry-go-round.
Just in your statement that 50% of audiophiles don't know what real instruments sound like makes you sound very presumptuous! So now that you insulted many of us,your review should be taken with a grain of salt! I think I will join Dekay with a morning puke!
Vangstr, very well done sir, both OP and response seem to do an excellent job of displaying how truly pompous and arrogant you are. I'm sure that you need no further compliments, as it is very evident that you already think more highly of yourself than any of us mere mortals who are graced by your truly infinite wisdom on all things audio. We humbly bow before your almighty's infinite musical wisdom, and beg for you to spare us any more insults to just how truly ignorant we all are inside your superior mind. ;)
There is really only one truth at play here -- all speakers (and systems/rooms) are colored to some degree. Congrats that you found a pair of speakers that are colored to your liking, but just because you love them doesn't make them the most uncolored or superior for other listeners.

Here's an example. Both I and a bandmate of mine have very nice systems. We are both obviously musicians know what instuments sound like in real life, but we listen for and value different things in sound reproduction. He listens more like a musician and his system does a better job painting more complete pictures of individual instruments, but I listen more like an audiophile and my system does a better job clearly placing and displaying elements within a dimensional space. Is one of us wrong? Don't think so. There are just no absolutes in this ridiculous hobby (assuming a piece of gear isn't designed or built like crap of course) -- just too many variables for that.

Agree with others that this would've been a lot more useful had you added at least some cursory info on how the TSMs KO'd some of these other fine speakers -- that would not have taken up that much more space in the review. People are good at grasping relatives, but your absolutes don't really tell us much as your tastes and ears are yours and yours alone so there's no way we can interpret your assessments. Personally I'd be very interested in how the TSMs compared to the Pulsars, and did you hear them in direct comparison to the Merlins in your system? If you listened to some of these speakers in different systems and rooms or not in direct comparison to the TSMs it greatly affects the usefulness and validity of your comparisons.

All that said, obviously the TSMs are very good speakers and I'm glad you found what a lot of audiophiles never attain.
I own Merlins (VSM) and think very highly of them. In fact, I've owned them for almost 15 years now and liked them enough to spend on an upgrade several years ago. They still impress me every time I sit down to listen to them.

I can also be found with an acoustic guitar in my hands +/- 4 hours a day, (although I won't make any particular claims regarding special evaluative skills related thereto). I have recorded my own playing and listened back thru the Merlins to (primarily to evaluate my technique) and there's little doubt in my mind that they're excellent speakers.

All that said, this review is hilariously presumptuous.
I would say 75% of Audiophiles have little to no knowledge of
what acoustic instruments sound like, esp. bowed string ones.
Sir, I'm not really sure what/who you are really in love with. Is it the Merlin speakers or yourself????
@Martykl: I can't hilariously presume why you've stuck with the VSM for this long if it wasn't doing something for you. On the other hand, even this new TSM MMM black magic will out sing your old VSM - ask Bobby.
@Zoot45: Congratulations you can continue to listen to equipment. I'm listening to music!
@Mr_m: I'm in love with the music thru the assistance of these new speakers in my system as a whole.
@Soix: yes I agree that everyone speaker has its own signature/amount of coloration and will never be ideal. But if you've read my post carefully, I stated that this speaker is doing 90% (IMHO) Ideal to me.

The Pulsar's were auditioned twice and found again to be less transparent than the TSM MMM BME. Vocals in the midrange were dull with no sense of space. The lower freq of the Pulsar's were boomy and couldn't differentiate correctly bass notes and their different tones. These were auditioned in my same room with no changes other than speakers.
@Jmcgrogan2: There was or is no intent on my part to imply what you called me to be. If you've taken offense at that - I am quite sorry. But then again, you're the one who's calling names first.
@Schubert: Valid statement! There are many other instruments as well that many will not know about - myself included.
"The Pulsar's were auditioned twice and found again to be less transparent than the TSM MMM BME. Vocals in the midrange were dull with no sense of space. The lower freq of the Pulsar's were boomy and couldn't differentiate correctly bass notes and their different tones."


All I can say is... WOW!!! AND DOUBLE WOW!!! Scotty,beam this guy back up please!!!

PS...Congrats on your recently acquired position with Merlin Loudspeakers.

@Mt10425: Well said! coming from someone who's not heard the new TSMs! BP doesn't build stands - he builds speakers, you can ask him.

For a guy who claims to have only paid $525 for his amplifier, you sound very humble.
@shakeydeal: who would've guessed... Your avatar name really speaks volume for the majority of your system. Gone are the Veenas, next in line are the Cornhuskers... What's next in rotation? The only thing you got right is your turntable - I'll give you that much :)
@Aolmrd1241: A lot more individual creativity is required instead of re-quoting my texts.
"But if you've read my post carefully, I stated that this speaker is doing 90% (IMHO) Ideal to me."

That was precisely my point. We know why the Merlins are ideal to you from your review, but it didn't provide the rest of us with anything useful to go on since we are not you. And since you evaluated several well-regarded speakers I just wanted to share that it would be most helpful to hear what your impressions were of those other speakers relative to the TSMs. Thank you for providing your findings of the TSMs vs. the Pulsars. Frankly I found that more helpful than the rest of your review because I'm considering them and now have another point of reference and something to listen for. I would note, however, that the regions you experienced issues with the Pulsars could very well be room and/or system related. And since the Pulsars likely go quite a bit lower than the TSMs (I'm just guessing here) that could be an issue. Regardless, your impressions are helpful and something I will listen for as I audition going forward. I'm sure if you provided similar findings regarding some of the other speakers it would be very useful to others as well. Again, congrats on finding "the one," and enjoy.
@Soix: As I've told "Sufentanil" (5th post from top of thread) I'd be more than happy to share musical passages I used in evaluating and my findings of speakers owned/auditioned to form my basis - off this thread in a private message.

Simply for the fact that there are too many cats lounging around wanting to just make immature howls and comments instead of any real constructive rebuttals.
I briefly owned Merlin speakers and didn't like them so I punted them from my system. I've heard newer models in audio shops that I liked even less than the ones I owned. I can only conclude that the other speakers you owned in your five years in this hobby must have sounded really bad.

Special thanks to you for not using the word "kudos" thus far in this thread.

It's the little things in life that count.
You can now expect a post from someone telling you that

a)You didn't have the right amp

b)You didn't have the right preamp

c)You didn't have them positioned correctly

d)The new ones make the old ones sound like hammered dog s&*t

Shakey, you forgot the most important one:

e) He doesn't know what real instruments sound like.
I think he tried to insult me by referring to money spent and sounding 'humble'. :). However, I just stopped laughing at his defense of BP not making speaker stands in reference of my initial post.
Bumping this "review" as the embarrassment factor may spare us from future versions of such.
I think we've all seen someone get a new piece of equipment and gone a little over the top a bit too prematurely, albeit it not to this extent. I'll admit to gushing over my Viva amp when I first got it, but I still own it 5 years later and I still think it is that good. But this guy has owned 6-7 speakers over the past 5 years, so my prediction is that his "beloved" Merlins will be "reluctantly" sold within a few months due to "moving in a different direction", "moving", "downsizing", "used to finance a (whatever)" or whatever other reasons people seem to feel they need to justify a sale of something they once raved about.

Of course, the OP may have found his nirvana and I hope he did. Let's revisit this thread in a year and see. The time goes fast. To the OP - I truly hope you have found that speaker that magically clicks with everything you think a speaker should be. It's hard to find one.
well said Chayro. My guess is that the OP is relatively new to the hobby. The problem is that he seemingly is unwilling to acknowledge his insulting comment "One is that many people do not know what instruments sound like in real life – hence confirming their lack of knowledge to listening since they have been so used to artificial sweeteners (colored sounding speakers) in their daily life." the result of which are the unfavorable and negative comments directed towards him, certainly not his speaker choice.

Someday he will learn that NO LOUDSPEAKER sounds like real music and that the tradeoffs we all make in our choices may be valid for some but not for others. The Merlins are fine loudspeakers Vangstr and I am pleased that you have found the emotional connection to the music we all seek and desire but like all loudspeakers and audio systems they are YOUR choice, not everyone's, enjoy!
Chayro and Tubegroover: I was going to add another entry to this thread but you both expressed very eloquently what I had wanted to say.
Hard to know which is most annoying; the over the top, gushing review or the vitriolic piling on that it has inspired.
I think it was the several insults more than the gushing review that prompted the tone of several of the replies.
"I think it was the several insults more than the gushing review that prompted the tone of several of the replies."

Yep, looking back at the replies by the OP, I see he trashed my system. "Cornhuskers" indeed. I will put these "Cornhuskers" up against the best speaker Bobby can make and feel confident that I made the right choice.

I wonder if the Merlin's sound better than a pair of Bose 901's? Hmmmmmm.
everyone is entitled to say what they think.
lousy post. lousy opinion. good match.
When a financial interest is involved, that opinion should be taken as having no credibility. It's strictly a promotional tool.
Lousy ethics, lousy marketing. Good match.
Who are you and what have you done with BP? The Bobby we all know here, there and around is defensive and comes to the rescue of customers. He has called some of us names and been intellectually arrogant. Where's the fun in reasonableness?
mt, i strive to be a gentleman and reasonable at all times. showing restraint is very difficult with some of the crap i have seen. we are, what we are in the end. :) i used to be a terrier that pounced on the slightest provocation. now that i am older and have done this for some time, i find there is no need to be defensive. you either like my work or not. the sad part is that some here offer opinions about things they know nothing about. what financial interest can i have in saying that the the bose 901 definitely sounds better than my own product? you guys take yourselves too seriously at times!
bobby at merlin