Review: Merlin Music Systems TSM-mme Monitor

Category: Speakers

Merlin TSM-mme, although well reviewed and a superb product there is more to the Merlin story you should know.

Over the last 25 years I have owned many speakers and combinations of equipment. Many of the systems were cool on their outset but ultimately disappointed. I won't go into names or models but rest assured there were many of the names that are well recognized on this site.

I finally built a dedicated audio room for listening. I put my home theater/TV in a separate room. This room is nothing but music. Unfortunately the dimensions and location were way out of the norm and caused many of the famous high end speakers to sound lifeless and generally undesirable. I won't mention the other brands because I prefer not to badmouth.

I had large speakers, planar speakers, monitors of various makes. None of them provided the wow factor that pulled me into the music, and made me want to hang out with the system. Many of these were sold or traded.

I bought a pair of Merlin TSM's (original iteration). I dialed them in and was amazed with their musicality, soundstage, musical timbre and bass performance. The bass was amazing for such a small speaker but not the deepest I had heard. But I will take correct tuneful bass over deeper muddy bass any day. The Merlins were amazing.

I planned on keeping them and began contemplating the new upgrades done at Merlin. But alas, it was not to be. The Merlins were given to my son who had to have a pair, and wanted a set for XMAS. I gave him the Merlins and went back to another pair of famous planar speakers I had on hand. They were disappointing to say the least compared to the Merlins.

Now, the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would so famously say)..
I broke down and contacted a Merlin dealer on the east coast and purchased a new pair of Merlin TSM-MME's. The dealer sent me the speakers however they arrived with the tweeters completely smashed in. In short and in substance the dealer had improperly repacked the 'new' speakers leaving out the tweeter protectors that Merlin is normally shipped with. The dealer was less than responsive.

I called Merlin and spoke with both Bobby Palkovic (owner) and Bill (owner). They were wonderful, responsive, and helpful. I shipped the damaged, new TSM-mme's back to Merlin. They immediately fixed them, tested them, repacked them as new, and sent them back to me at Merlin's expense. Bobby and Bill constantly called me and emailed me keeping me informed every step of the way. They shipped them back quickly too. Merlin's willingness to stand behind their product is a testament to their quality and qualities.

"Merlin's service was phenomenal!" Merlin is a rare bird in this day and age. The customer service was fantastic and definitely sets the standard in the Hi-Fi business. More importantly Bobby Palkovic and Bill's integrity are beyond reproach. This level of service and care for their customers is enough for me.

I received the Merlin TSM-MME's back. I have had them on nonstop. The sound is amazing. The bass on the new TSM-MME is noticeably deeper and more powerful than the TSM. I do not plan on using a subwoofer. On the new Pink Martini "Splendor in the Grass" CD I could hear percussion intruments that were absent on other speakers. Also China Forbes voice just floats center stage with instruments in layers behind her and the width of the stage.

I'm not giving these Merlins away!

If you would like more info on this topic I will gladly respond to your questions.


Associated gear
McIntosh C-2300 / McIntosh MC-402 / McIntosh MCD861 / Vpi Soutmaster with AT 150MXL / Nordost and Supra Cables / Dynaudio Stand 4.

Similar products
Magneplanar 3.6 / Avalon NP2 / Dynaudio Special 25 / Magnepan 1.6qr / Klipsch Cornwall / Audio Physic tempo
I also had a really good experience with Merlin's customer service and it involved something I bought used.
I had my VSM's and BAM upgraded and the round trip to the factory was trouble free. Bobby's speakers do a great job and so does he. Buy with confidence.

What else are you using to feed the TSM's? I use the Joule Electra tubes. I wonder how the TSM's would sound with Naim electronics.