I try to make a trip to the MBL room at audio shows whenever possible. Thankfully, the German company makes the rounds with some frequency thanks to US representative Jeremy Bryan at the helm of North American operations. The setup at this year’s Florida Audio Expo was actually my favorite combination of speakers, amps and source, even though I have bore witness to their upstream flagship and statement pieces over the years. The 360 degree radiating design really allows for a more even distribution of sound in the hotel rooms, one that is shockingly responsive and balanced, even as you walk around.
Words and Photos by Brian Hunter
On active display was the MBL 101 E MKII loudspeaker ($91k/pair) tied to the MBL 9011 Monos ($64k each) and 6010 D Preamplifier ($32.4k). It has always been one of those unattainable cost rooms for me (and likely many of our readers) but a must stop regardless as the sounds in the room are uniquely one-of-a-kind and consistently a top performer. I would also go so far as to say that Jeremy and his crew have a reliable knack for nailing down the sound with constancy from show to show, a hurdle that any show presenter must overcome in one form or another.
Also contributing to the amazing mix of gear was a United Home Audio reel-to-reel source and proprietor Greg Beron’s personal collection of amazing tapes. The sound from this combination is some of the most organic and intimate music I have ever heard, even from some of the more traditionally dodgy recordings of the Beatles. While those old recordings are limited in resolution by the technology of the day, the presentation through the MBL+UHA = a “right there” texture with a nearly perfect, huge soundstage to play on.
While the big MBL 101 E MkII does impress, there are some other 360 radiating products that MBL makes that are slightly more obtainable. They actually make a more conservative priced stand mount version called the Radialstrahler mbl 126 (starts at $14.8k/pair) that I have been itching to get my hands on for review for a while now.
But all-in-all the MBL+UHA room was one of my favorite sounds of the show, and actually, my nomination for best sounding room overall. Very well done once again, Jeremy and Greg!