Martin Logan Aeon i vs Merlin Music VSE vs Dynaudio Contour 3.0 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : Martin Logan Aeon i vs Merlin Music VSE vs Dynaudio Contour 3.0

11-23-2003, 06:13 PM
I need your opinions on the following three speakers - Martin Logan Aeon i, Merlin VSM Millennium and the Dynaudio Contour 3.0.. I had the opportunity to hear the Logans, but I haven't heard the Merlins or the Dynaudios. It seems the latter two dealers are far and few between. I have read several articles and reviews and the Merlin and Dynaudio get high reviews. The Logans get good reviews for their openess. I will probably be buying second hand so all three of the speakers basically fall into the same prices range. I have a Rotel Amp RMB 1095, a B&K Ref 50 Pre/pro and a Rel Stadium III Sub. I was wondering which speaker will A) sound better with my system and B) give the best realistic sound with depth, detail and good soundstage. I listen to mostly vocals, jazz and classical. No hard rock or heavy metal. I also do not want a speaker that is on the bright side that is why I am trying to pick speakers with soft dome tweeters. I will be using speakers for both music and HT so they have to perform well with both. Any help on these selections will be appreciated.


11-23-2003, 08:09 PM
Well going with the electrostats will be costly when you go the home theater route.

Otherwise you simply have to listen - everything will get a good review by somebody. If looks are not vital I would add Audio Note speakers to your list - espeically for classical music and are one of the best at also reproducing amplified music. A good speaker should do it all. Whether you listen to it or not.

The review discusses several of your musical tastes directly against speakers costing up to 5 times as much money and considered by many to be some of the greatest speakers in history(Namely the Klipshhorn) with the same gear in the same room. My dealer has dumped ML because they can't sell em against AN. If there is a dealer nearby they are at least worth your time.

This is a review in a blind listening panel of reviewers.

The speaker was used as reference product for measuring amplifiers in Stereophile magazine.

They are geared more for low powered class A SS amps and/or tubes and won't need a sub. Still, for <$2500.00US I doubt you'll find better. I have not heard a 5kUS standmount as good as the 2k AN Spe...which is why I bought it. Actually the AN E is a standmount so technically...

The other thing I like is that the speaker keeps selling. No need to fix things or have a totally new design...good speakers were are and always will be good. Unlike many companies that bring out their new thing to sell just to sell.(and add a lot of marketing hype).

Jimmy C
11-24-2003, 04:01 PM
... I mean, the baby Logan is roughly $3K, the mid-level Dyn hovers a bit over $5K and the (hopefully) magical Merlin in about $7K! Did you mean the ($3200ish) "TSM" from Merlin? any rate, I have not heard that speaker. If you are looking for info on the TSM (or the VSM, for that matter) I would post a query at Audio Asylum.. I know "Jonbee" has the TSMs. By the way, he feels they (the TSMs) are intrinsically bright - but, not necessarily a bad word... they're one of his favorites. The VSM is supposedly another animal... Battery Bam is an additional grand or so.

O.K., .. you heard the MLs... what did you think? I like them for the same reasons you do... mainly, "transparency". I have a problems with the bass integration (many do not) and, at the Merlin price level, you can get a bigger, badder Logan... soundstaging will be huge, but I actually prefer the smaller MLs for bass integration.

I'm sure the new 3.0 is very fine... I have not heard that speaker yet, but really like what Dyn offers in general ...VERY good - a bit pricey with their lower-end stuff (IMO), but quality. A very good all-rounder. I would bet the 3.0 can make all the the most jaded audiophile happy.

Soft-dome? Yes, they do (IMO, again!) have some inherent advantages, but don't discount the Revel M20s (I have these). I can still get that warm, plummy feel with the detail and resolution many crave. Not the best for a delicate (like a Thiel, for eg.) presentation, but there are always trade-offs. I would also give the Reference 3A de Capo a whirl, if possible.

You must listen to everything you can, and report back!

Mr Peabody
11-28-2003, 08:43 AM
I personally think the older ML's sounded smoother on the higher frequencies. For your type of music the ML's would be great and you have a very good sub for music. The large soundstage is nice on classical and strings have a nice presentation. A couple things to think about. When you listen to a live classical or other concert the word :warm" doesn't come to mind. How can a true cymbal crash or trumpet be warm? I personally go for a true or natural sound. I own Dynaudio Contour t2.5's and found them to be even more detailed than the ML. The ML need a lot of room and they aren't as nice when not in the sweet spot. The real thing that made me go to Dyn rather than ML is with ML's you don't get the physical feel of the music like you do with dynamic speakers. The electrostats energize the air but don't move it physically like a mechanical driver. With Krell driving my t2.5's I can really feel it when a kettle drum is used. I really enjoyed the ML's and if you can find a tube amp that will drive them, that is a killer match for presence. ML's & tubes aren't what I call natural but it has something that draws you in a pleases my senses. Dynaudio is the best value I have found in speakers. Some feel they are pricy but the performance you get for that price is unmatched. Now that I say that, I have to admit I have not heard the Merlins. I know they were all the rave at the CES show a couple years ago. I think they come with some type of EQ for the bass. That puts me off right there. But that's me. I also listen to classical, jazz, rock & HT, I have been thoroughly pleased with my Dyn's with all of these. I have heard the new Contour S series but not done side by side with my t2.5's. The new Contours are said to be better and easier to drive. The Dyn's are very neutral, seemingly no inherent sound of their own, so how the Dyn's sound depends on your system electronics. Our local Dynaudio dealer: (314) 961-5747. They actually carry both ML and Dynaudio and may be able to give you some more insight on your decision. I know they have sold several pair of ML to our local Symphony members.