The Merlin Super-BAM
The Merlin Super-BAM (S-BAM) is a dedicated outboard module designed to optimize the low bass performance , lower distortion, increase power handling , increase output and decrease ultra-sonic noise. When implemented in a system with any VSM series loudspeaker the bass response is extended by 10Hz without affecting the rest of the speaker's exceptional sonic characteristics. The S-BAM does this by applying a carefully contoured boost (5.2dB) centered on 35Hz in conjunction with a built in subsonic filter below 28 Hz. The boost acts to extend the [flat] bass response of the speaker in an amplitude and phase correct manner to 4dB down at 30Hz. The S–BAM's built in filter prevents subsonic energy from reaching the amplifier and the speaker. Now that the speaker is not required to reproduce this out of band energy (at potentially high distortion levels), Doppler and IM distortion artifacts are significantly reduced throughout the operating range of the speaker. Sound wise, this translates into a more accurate bass , mid-range and high frequency presentation, which directly improves soundstage and imaging characteristics.
The S-BAM uses the same high quality parts (Cardas Rhodium connectors, Cardas Crossfield wiring, Caddock resistors, Hovland Musicaps, etc.) as found in the Merlin VSM speaker system.
The S-BAM is available in a single ended (RCA), balanced (XLR) and a dual operation version. The balanced S–BAM contains double the circuitry found in the single ended S– BAM. These circuits are connected in a fully differential manner for optimal balanced performance.
The S-BAM is battery-powered and includes a self-contained rechargeable battery system. The battery S-BAM allows you to operate the unit in AC or battery modes. In the battery mode, the last vestiges of AC related noises are removed to allow the speaker system to exhibit its maximum resolution. Fully charged batteries will allow the S-BAM to operate for up to 10 hours in full battery operation.
S-BAM CONNECTION & OPERATION
The S-BAM is a line level component and should be connected with high quality interconnects. We recommended that the S-BAM be connected between your source and the preamp's appropriate line level input. If you use multiple sources, you should use the S-BAM in a tape loop, this will also, allow you switch it in and out of the signal path for comparative purposes. Due to the buffering provided by your preamp's line output stage, you may find that the sound is "juicier" when connected between your source and preamp or in a tape loop. If the afore mentioned set-ups are not an option, connecting the S-BAM between your preamp and power amplifier will still give you better performance than not using it at all. Experiment for yourself and choose the setup you prefer.
Integrated amplifier based systems require that the S-BAM be connected into a tape loop when multiple sources are used. If there is only one line level source, the S-BAM can be connected between the source and the integrated amp. Plug the S-BAM into a wall socket or line conditioner.
The S-BAM has no on/off switch so that it is always powered when it is plugged in. The S-BAM's 100-ohm output impedance is usually lower than most preamps but there is always the exception. If a long cable is used to feed your amp insert this cable after the unit with the lowest output impedance. We strongly recommend that you use high quality interconnects, preferably the same brand you use throughout the entire system. Using same brand/model cables will ensure that a good ground plane is maintained and related RFI issues are controlled. Contact Merlin for recommendations of brands of interconnects that work especially well with the S-BAM and your Merlin speakers. The S-BAM does not have a ground and derives its ground plane from the cables that precede and follow it. It is imperative that cable plugs are seated correctly into the input jacks, failure to do so can cause buzzing or popping in the sound.
AC POWERED S-BAM USE AND OPERATION
The S-BAM was designed for continuous use, it should be plugged in at all times, except in battery operation. This insures that it will deliver the best sound quality, with no time needed for warm up. The S-BAM draws as much power as a typical night-light; the impact on your power bill will be negligible.
S-BAM USE AND OPERATION
As long as your S-BAM is plugged in and switched to the AC mode the batteries in your S-BAM are being charged. The AC/Battery switch is located on the rear panel of your S-BAM, just above where the cable to the outboard power supply/charger exits the chassis. There are two ways to operate your S-BAM:
CARING FOR YOUR S-BAM
The S-BAM does not contain any user serviceable parts. The outer case is aluminum and has a black powder coat finish. Clean with a soft cloth or a paper towel lightly sprayed with mild all-purpose cleaner.