HE2006: An MBL Romance

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by Josh Ray on June 07 '06

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Remember that time you met that woman who was wild and exotic and stunningly beautiful and you began this wild love-affair but deep down you wondered if it would all work out and whether it was love or lust but you said to hell with it and just threw inhibitions to the wind and made love like rabid wolverines? Remember that time? Me neither, but the way Daniel Steele describes it, I'm reminded of my brief moments in the MBL room.

Yes, MBL gives me goose bumps like nothing else. Kinda weird, kinda amazing. Kinda like I need to spend some serious time with these sexy Germans to see if, well, we could get past the physical and connect on the mental, if you know what I'm saying. Is it love? Hey, I'm willing to have my heart broken to find out. Seems someone else is in the throws of unrequited love.

Pictured above is the tweeter and midrange contraption handling frequencies above 600Hz. The world's only spherical drivers, they send sound in every direction. The model above is the 121 "bookshelf" model, using the same mid/high drivers as the big and famous 101s, which were the speakers being demoed. $10k for the 121 models and around $46,900 for the big 101s.

So what does it sound like? It sounds like sitting in front a real concert. I know that's trite and cliche to say, but, well, that's the only way to describe it. Sound comes from everywhere with force and clarity and just so much power. It's truly wild. Wild and scary and just freakin' awesome.

In addition to other-worldly speakers, MBL also makes a full line components. Those amps in the pic below are the reference 9011 monos with 440 watts of juice, priced at $36,740 each. Ferrari or new MBL system? Sadly, I don't have that choice to make. But with the 121s and the 7008 integrated, you're looking at a full MBL omni system for under $20k. Bicycle-riding environmentalism is suddenly looking much more attractive.

Read the rest of the article for more pics of the incredible machinery and hit the web to try and find your local MBL retailer to hear these titans for yourself.

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Just looking at the pictures, it struck me that the speakers are toed in. Why would omnis be toed in? Something to do with the bass ports?
More importantly: why is there a Billy Joel CD in the player?
It's true, I'm super fan #1.
Josh, why the dysfunctional/unrequited/impossible romantic love analogy? What's holding you back from declaring these as the best speakers ever? Is it the price? How do the Wilsons compare?
How do Wilsons compare. That's funny. I didn't get to play my own music, nor have I ever had an actual chance to listen to these guys outside of a show. You hear 'em and you think they could be just magical, but it's really impossible to tell.
This was definitely the best room I heard at the show. More importantly, it was "the" only set of speakers where one could roam around the room and not lose the sound stage presentation. Every room suffered from the same problem; one seat stereo. With the MBL's, you could actually have friends over to enjoy the experience.