Merlin TSM Introduction – Please Read
– Due to the passing of my close friend, Bobby A Plakovic, Owner/President of Merlin Music System in August of 2015, Merlin Music Systems has ceased business operations shortly thereafter and is now closed. Without Bobby (who pretty much was Merlin) and the dire straits the company was left in, the company was not able to continue. There are no more new Merlin speakers available.
I have purposely left the info below as it was some years before that (the information and pricing here is actually circa around 2010 and does not discuss the later MMM/MXM and Black Magic Edition speaker versions as I did not get around to making updates to this page in the following years) to provide some reference information on Merlin’s speakers. I am working on resurrecting the Merlin Music Systems Website as a source of information for current and future owners of VSM and TSM speakers and as a tribute to my departed friend. For those of you (like me) who still own and love or are interested in Merlin speakers, Signature Sound is offering repair, upgrades (exactly as Bobby P would have done them), and support services for Merlin TSM, and VSM models (including repairs and upgrades on the Merlin BAM which I have been manufacturing, repairing, and upgrading for Merlin since 2014). I have spares parts, drivers, etc on hand to perform this work. Please contact me directly via phone or e-mail with any Merlin questions.
Owner, Signature Sound
Merlin Music Systems TSM Loudspeaker System (from $3,000 US Retail to $4,600 US Retail depending on model & options). The stand mounted Merlin TSM speaker system has been in production over 15 years, during which time Merlin’s designer/president Bobby Palkovic has continued to refine and improve the speakers making numerous improvements and additions. Over the years, the speaker have received many rave reviews from owners, reviewers, and show goers that have heard them. Except for the Master TSM (which you can read about here), I have outlined the current TSM models below. Numerous upgrades are available for older models as well, so you can keep your speakers current if you wish.
General Overview: The TSM is basically a highly developed/refined two-way shelf or stand mounted sealed box speaker system, that uses a 2nd order crossover design made from state of the art components connected to Morel treated paper cone woofer and custom made soft dome tweeter (based on a Morel design). Then this stuff is placed into a highly optimized & rigid (high Q) sealed enclosure which and is finished in either Studio Black finish (on TSM-MMi’s) or the much more elaborate Premium Clear-Coat finish (on the TSM-MXr’s and Master TSMs). The Merlin BAM is NOT used with the TSM Speaker System.
RC Networks: All Merlin TSMs come with a pair of RC Networks. What are RC Networks? They are simple a resistor capacitor network (sometimes referred to as a Zobel Network in design circles) that mounts across your speaker terminals. The network acts to terminate the speakers load out past the audio band up into RF regions (this keeps amplifiers a bit more happy) and they also act a shunt or load for RFI energy that appears at the speakers terminals (whether picked up by the speaker, the speaker cables, are fed from further up the line in your HiFi system). The result is a cleaner and more uniform sound from the speaker/amplifier system. Merlin has learned over the years that the quality and type of parts used to make the RC Network are very important and do have a impact on the sound. The Standard RC Networks are made with a Cryogenically treated Hovland capacitor and a Caddock Metal Film deposition resistor and Cardas wiring. The Master RC Networks use the (very good & expensive) hand made Deuland capacitors (see BAM Differences above for the impact these caps have in the Master BAM – they do much the same thing here) and cost much more than the Standard RC’s.
Finish Differences: Due to the nature of the design of the cabinet, its radii and their impact on the sound/performance of the enclosure, the TSMs are NOT available in wood veneer finishes. Two different high quality painted finishes are available though! Because the two different painted finishes do sound different and have very different costs associated with them, the TSM is separated into two versions/models – each model comes with a specific finish type which is described below.
The TSM-MMi is ONLY available in a finish Merlin calls Studio Black. It is a black low gloss finish with a light satin like texture. The paint is a very durable latex type finish (Poulene) that looks good and is cost effective to apply. Its water based nature means the finish is also able to be applied in-house (where automotive solvent based finishes require much more elaborate equipment and ventilation systems). It is also easy to repair & touch up this finish if a scratch or a ding happens. The finish damps the cabinet reasonable well and breaths well with pan-fiver MDF based wood enclosure (no cracking from shrinkage etc).
The TSM-MXr (and the Master TSM) only come in a Premium Clear Coat finish. It is a automotive type base coat clear coat type finish. It does require more work to prep the cabinet for this sort of finish to enure it stays looking good for many years. After the enclosures is sealed/pre-primed, then Merlin sends the cabinets off to a custom automotive paint shop for application of the primer, base coat, then clear coat finish. This vendor has been doing all Merlin clear coat finish’s for more than 10 years – each pair of cabinets is wet sanded by hand, allowed to cure for several weeks, then polished out to beautiful finish. Needless to say, this adds considerable cost to each pair of speakers. This finish does damp the cabinets to a better degree than the studio black finish. As a result, the premium finish speakers do sound different than the studio black finish models – clearly better. The Clear Coat finish TSMs sound more dynamic and clear with a quieter blacker background. While the difference is not huge, it is clearly audible and as a bonus – the care & quality that goes into the clear coat finish is awfully good looking (scroll down and take a look at the picture gallery below too see some examples of the various finish’s).
Merlin TSM Speaker System USA Retail Pricing:
- TSM-MXr WITH MASTER RC Networks: $4,630 US Retail
- TSM-MXr WITH STANDARD RC Networks: $4,180 US Retail
- TSM-MMi WITH MASTER RC Networks: $3,530 US Retail
- TSM-MMi WITH STANDARD RC Networks: $3,080 US Retail