My apologies for the no response, I've been busy and haven't had much time for head-fi. I don't own the SE535 and actually went out to a store today I know that has them available for demo, however they were closed so unfortunately I was unable to do a direct comparison. Like Project, I'm not confident in comparing the two especially because I never owned them, only a brief demo in store. From memory, the SE535's midrange is more forward than the 8.A but both have lush mids with the 8.A being fuller. The SE535 has less bass than the 8.A and I do feel that the 8.A is also a tad warmer overall. Take my impressions of the SE535 with a pinch of salt. Project is spot on in his comparison between the Merlin and 8.A though and if you think the Merlin has too much sub bass, I think you'll really love the 8.A.
No worries kckc, really appreciate that you went the extra mile to do a comparison for me.
I'll be putting in my order today. I don't have a working printer right now and wonders if I need to have a hard copy of the completed order form to send along with my impression or I'll just only need to send the impression along with the confirmation email that I'll recieve.