I am considering purchasing the new amps coming out soon and I wanted to know how people would describe the sound. I have Cary sixpacs that I like very much with my Merlins (and a Joule LAP 150). How does the Filarmonia compare to the Berning or the Joule Amp? Any comparisons with the Sixpacs or the Cary V12R? Any assistance would be appreciated.
I have one on order. Bobby P. states that it would take 10k in amp/preamp to beat it. Claims that it would embarrass my Plinius SA100 MkIII / Joule LA100 MkIII combo. Price is going up soon and the wait is long but hey.....

i've owned the filarmonia-merlin VSM-MX combo for about 6 months now. also, i just received the amp back from bobby following an upgrade he suggested. the amp before was relaxed, neutral, tonally complete, and pristine in clarity. a perfect sonic match for the merlins IMHO. while i'm early in the upgrade burn-in, the amp now seems more continous through its lower mid and bass response. the bass pitch seems more sharply defined, with a more audible and natural bass note decay, IMHO. overall, the filarmonia has exceeded my expectations. you can trust bobby on this one.

i have no reference for comparison though, as i didn't do an AB comparison with either the cary or berning.
In terms of price, and in some ways in absolute terms, you cannot beat the Ars Sonum with the Merlins. I switch between my Joule/CAT and the Ars Sonum and enjoy both immensely. If you can get yourself to only spend $4000, you won't regret it. If you are thinking of going Joule, you have enough money to get the Ars for the summer months, if you know what I mean.