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'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.
Again, I am agreeing with Pubul57. Immediately prior to my ARS, I had the Joule Electra LA 150 / VZN 100 in musicwood. The ARS is a simple 'plug and play' integrated amp compared to the Joules. I've had the ARS for over a year and have not regreted the decision once. The sound, in my opinion, is darn near on par with my previous setup and it costs much less with no hassles whatsoever.
I have been happy with Ayre and Counterpoint,must be those shoes.....thanks again Bobby and Happy Holidays....sorry for the hijack....