Merlin speakers. The system sounded flat and dull.
OK, I admit it, I used to think these speakers were OK - but now I
realize there are a lot of comparably priced, and even less expensive,
speakers that are much more better.
CES 2006 Follow
Because this review has gotten some
attention, I will be more specific about the sonic signature of the
systems with these speakers both at HE 2005 and CES 2006. In some sense
the shorter description is less accurate but more kind.
These two systems sounded:
1) Compressed, on a macro
and midi scale, such that the music seemed to run-out-of-steam on very
dynamic passages, even on moderate volumes, even when driven by powerful
2) A lack of harmonics resulting in a kind
of dry, lean sound, not differentiating very much between similar tones,
and somewhat tending to cluster around a woodish / box frequency (this
wood-like character to much of the upper-bass, low-midrange, is common
to speakers like this, such as the similarly-sized Sonus Faber Pianos,
and most of the other Sonus Fabers which also have this but to a lesser
3) A lack of trailing edge to individual
notes, resulting in a sense of lots of short, 'truncated' sounds to the
music. This kind of ruins the continuousness of the music, the notes
unable to flow into the next in a natural manner.
all speakers in this price category sound like this, especially when
driven by large, luscioussss tube amps like this.
you own these speakers and are happy with them, then fine.
If you do not, you may also want to consider the
following speakers, which we feel are a little closer to type of sound
which it is our goal to achieve here and for our customers; a sound
found in the current top-flight audio reproduction technologies of
numerous brands of equipment; a sound closer to the
These speakers are:
Von Schweikert Vr-4
Intuitive Design (for smaller sized rooms)
Star Sound's Caravelle speakers (for smaller sized
Acapella* Fidelio 2 (for smaller sized rooms)
Marten Design* Mingus II
The point is not that the Merlins speakers suck, but
that over the last few years some new speakers have come out that we
feel are a better value, and we can no longer recommend these speakers
to people as we once did in show reports a few years ago.