RMAF 2018: Seeing Stars with Manger, MoFi

MoFi Distribution brings Manger, Primare, Dr. Feickert, Isotek and more

I always love discovering new gear that is musical.  One of the new to me products presented itself in the MoFi Distribution room.  Norbert Schmied and Jonathan Derda outdid themselves with a beautiful sounding pair of Manger S1 Active Loudspeakers ($24,995) paired with a debuting Primare Pre35 Prisma ($4,995) Primare R32 phono stage.  On analog duty was a Dr. Feickert Volare turntable with Origin Live Silver tonearm ($3,495), a new price point for excellent Feickert sound.  Cartridge was the My Sonic Lab Eminent EX MC cartridge ($3,995) and a Little Fwend Automatic Tonearm Lifter High ($249).  MoFi also had two debuts from Isotek, the Nova power generator at $7,995 and the Genesis One power regenerator at $3,495.  Gear rested on a SolidSteel HP-4 rack at $6,999 and Finite Elemente footers were in play including Ceraballs ($299 for set of four), Cerabase Compact for ($799 for a set of four), and Cerapucs ($399 for set of three). Cardas Clear cables and Isotek power cables connected it all together.

There’s one word that comes to mind in describing this system: coherent.

The sound was seamless from bottom to top.  Let’s talk about the Manger speakers.  You see, the Manger has a full range transducer that is based on a lot of research on the human ear and how it perceives sound.  Dr. Josef Manger did a lot of research into how to use a mylar driver to produce impulse responses that match how the human ear works.  Dr. Manger believes that accurate transient response is critical for realism and localization of instruments.  As a result of this academic research, he designed the transducer to offer transient response, good directivity, and uniform frequency response as accurately as possible.  This results, in Jonathan’s words, in no time smearing thereby creating a very coherent, natural sound.  Because of the wide range of the Manger driver, the speaker’s crossover can be more efficient as well.

Unlike most speaker drivers, the Manger creates sound waves in a new fashion.  As described on the firm’s website,

Over most of the wide working frequency range, the vibrations of the coil launch travelling waves in the diaphragm which propagate radially outwards until they are terminated in the star-shaped damping assembly which is visible at the perimeter. The propagation of transients down the basilar membrane in the inner ear occurs in exactly the same way.

Remarkably, the Manger transducer covers 80hz to 40khz of frequency range.  In the S1 “system” shown in the Mofi room, there is an active woofer covering bass down to 30hz.  The speaker enclosure is solid with each tower weighing approximately 107 lbs.  180 watt built-in Class AB amps cover the high frequency range and 250 watt built-in Class AB amps cover the low frequency range.

Supporting this was the Primare Pre35 Prisma, a new product which is pretty modern in that it is modular and you can add in a DAC card and a streaming card as this was configured.  It’s a fully balanced analog preamp that handles Airplay, Bluetooth, and ChromeCast.  Jonathan and team were able to control the Pre with an iPad app.

Also on display was a new generation of products from IsoTek.  The Nova power conditioner was holding down the noise floor as a fully passive 12 outlet solution.  In the company’s words:

The EVO3 Nova is a state of the art passive power cleaning system incorporating full DC cancellation. The system offers 12 independently filtered power outlets, eight rated at 10A and four rated at 16A, these designed for high current electronics, for example power amplifiers, active loudspeakers or subwoofers. These also feature a slightly paired down version of the Titan’s unique Direct-Coupled© circuit. Nova is a fully system solution, full system upgrade incorporating 12 independent filter networks, each supporting its own output socket.

Also present was IsoTek’s Genesis One power regenerator which claims to offer 85db of noise reduction.

But most importantly, this system was one of the best sounding rooms at the show with an absolutely beautiful midrange.  We cued up Bill Evan’s Live at the Village Vanguard “One Step” Mobile Fidelity LP.  This was just gorgeous sounding with very realistic piano and bass.  Evans was present and detailed in.  I was hearing much better bass than expected and I think the full range Manger transducer was helping the refinement on the midrange and the top to bottom coherency.  The Feickert Volare appears to be a bit of a steal at this price based on what I was hearing.  Digital was also impressive via the Primare DAC and streaming board.  A bit of a “Scandinavian Army Knife” of control components.

The Manger driver is in a unique star shape which is appropriate as I believe MoFi has a “sonic star” on their hands.

About Lee Scoggins 118 Articles
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area. Lee's current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Wilson Audio speakers.

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