After years in the wilderness it looks as though vinyl is finally coming in from the cold. Vinyl sales are higher than they’ve been since 1997 when Britpop ruled the world and many people are universally shunning poor quality downloads and streams in favour of the black stuff. You see, there’s nothing quite like the routine of removing an LP from its sleeve, placing it onto a turntable and then putting the needle into the groove and sitting back to enjoy your music as it really should be heard. But what’s that, you don’t own a decent record player? We might just be able to help you out with that...  

Our good friends at Musical Fidelity have very kindly provided us with the very special £1,300 Merlin 1 system to give away to one very lucky reader. Reviewed in last month’s issue, this gorgeous slice of eye candy blew us away with its winning combination of stunning goods looks, beguiling build quality and impressive features – oh, and it sounds pretty good too.

Described as “a multi-format digital system designed with vinyl at heart”, the setup consists of the Merlin digital amplifier and Bluetooth aptX streamer, the Round Table turntable and the unique Merlin 1 elliptical speakers, which can be stood horizontally or vertically depending on your mood.

The amplifier offers a claimed 50W of power into 4ohms and has inputs for the turntable, USB, aptX Bluetooth and digital or analogue line in. The USB input is primarily for updating the system’s firmware, but can also play music from a computer. The turntable comes equipped with a high-quality tonearm, that feels smooth to use and is fitted with an Audio-Technica AT95E moving magnet cartridge. And the speakers come with what Musical Fidelity calls a “diffraction multiplier system” designed to give a larger soundstage from their compact cabinets.

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