Review: Merlin Music Systems VSM-mx Master Speaker

Category: Speakers

This is a review of the Merlin VSM-MX master's.

i'll start off by saying i've owned at least 4 iterations of the merlin VSM's. i've dutifully sent my merlins back for periodic upgrades over the past 8 years, as bobby has improved the VSM design, internal components and wiring. each upgrade has been satisfying, after the appropriate break-in period revealing a more refined speaker, a definite if sometime subtle incremental improvement over its predecessor.

so it was with no (ok, maybe a little, i hate being without my merlins) hesitation that i sent my MX-r's back to merlin to be upgraded to the MX-m's, expecting what i had gotten before with prior upgrades. long story short, when i got the merlins back with their Master designation, i was STUNNED. right out of the box they were WAY WAY more authoritative and dramatic, more energetic with a MUCH bigger sound and stage. to my ear, the speakers were "faster" and more dynamic, no more fizzle or boom. i listen in a large wide open living room with a vaulted ceiling, and the speakers now energize and fill the entirety of my listening space.

where prior VSM-mx's sounded "more continuous," the Masters now sound tonally complete. "more neutral" has transformed into utterly transparent. the artifice of speaker has vanished. the Masters completely disappear in the room. the masters better all prior merlin designations by a LARGE margin. i've not heard it's equal PERIOD.

the merlin VSM-mx's have come a long way over the years, through bobby's tireless efforts and refinements. the jump from the mx-r to the mx-master is the most profound incremental improvement yet IMO. the end of the road for the VSM's? it's hard to imagine what else is left to extract.


Associated gear
ARS sonus filarmonia integrated amp
Audio Aero capitole classic SE cdp
cardas clear ic's, single-wire speaker cables, and pc's
VPI TNT-6 hotrod TT with cardas myrtle heart cartridge
joule electra OPS-I phono pre-amp

Similar products
merlin VSM-mx r
Well! I have been using the Master TSM for a year now. I like it - even though I admit I am expecting the Master VSM's now; so I guess I do expect some more ;-)
But having had the SF Guarneris and earlier iterations of the TSM I must admit they are at the top.
I use them daily for my professional use. The VSM's will go home. I am very much looking forward to mine! Expect an answer..