Review: Merlin Music Systems vsm-mx Speaker

Category: Speakers

This is a review of Merlin Music's VSM-MX loudspeaker.First
let me say that i have have know Bobby Palkovic for almost 20 years.I worked for him at Merlin Music from 86 to 96 before moving to northern virginia.I respect him very much as a person and as an engineer/designer.His dedication to building the best speaker systems at any price is something to behold and i thank him for it.

My system is made up of a pair of stunning piano black VSM-MX's,a Music Reference RM9 MK2 amp,Joule Electra LA-150 line stage,Cardas Golden Reference interconnects and speaker cables and a Rega Jupiter 2000 cd player( soon to be used as a transport only.The MX's have been in my system for about a month now and they replaced the M version of the speaker. My room measures 19'L x 13'W x 13'H.The speakers are placed 42.5" from the side walls to the center of the woofers and are 57.5" from the back wall to the front of the speaker. They are 5'10" apart measured to the center of the woofers.

My taste in music runs from jazz,rock,classical to progressive.The recordings i use for testing are just ones that iam most familar with.I use Chris Isaak,Norah Jones,Moya Brennan,Mark Knopfler,Clannad, Sarah McLachlan and others.

The Merlin VSM-MX's are a speaker that has not a hint of glare. It is not bright sounding nor wiry sounding.It has a glorious midrange that is rich and full and the highs are silky smooth and extended.The imaging and staging are fantastic.The speaker justs disappears within the music.The listener is treated to tremendous resolution and layering of the music. The bass is very well defined and fast never ponderous or bloated sounding. So do not let a 6.5 inch woofer scare you off.It offers plenty of punch down to 28 hz.The music is never forced and it is presented in a relaxed way never fatiguing. You will find yourself listening for hours on end to old cd's that you thought where unlistenable in the past.This speaker justs reaches out and grabs you and will not let go from low volumes to high ones.It never sounds stressed.What this speaker offers is a neutral tonal balance.You hear the music just as it was intended to heard and isn't that what it is all about?

Thanks Bobby for making listening to music enjoyable again!!!

Rob walters.
I agree with your assessment having had the opportunity to listen to the VSM's before and after the upgrade. They must be one of the best buys out there. Plus, looks to die for. It's almost unbelievable how they will fill a large room with extreme SPL's without a hint of breakup. Your comment about so-so source material is spot on too.
Congrats, Rob. As another VSM-MX owner, I certainly appreciate your comments.
One question for you regarding placement: Have you tried them a bit further apart(~ 7ft)? Seems like you've got enough room width to do this. Without doing the math on the room modes, it seems like a tad more space between speakers might be a good thing.
I have the VSM-MMs, which incorporate most of the mods found in MXs, and are finished in studio (ash) black rather than glossy (piano) black.

My speakers are about a foot farther apart than yours are, Rob, and I have to concur with Spencer that something closer to 7 feet seems to yield the best results. Your mileage may vary, of course. But perhaps it's worth a shot?

hi guys,
i think rob is correct in his spacing as adding another foot or so would get the side wall distance dangerously close to the the distance that the woofer is off the floor. this would be a square and cancel bass plus activate the side wall reflections to a greater degree.
the speakers don't need to be pulled appart a lot because their horizontal dispersion is so broad. they work more like a pulsating sphere would. this type of set up would make for a sense of depth that equals the width and produce a more dense image and music envelope.
just mho.