amps for MBL 121's, help please

Hi there

After researching and reading quite so many from internet I am getting insane , the more I read the more I am confused.

Some says MBL's work best with MBL amps, other says there are many available options besides MBL.

I read several long threads about amps for MBL's at audiogon and other sites, then found a MBL gent suggested 250wpc 8ohm amps matching with the speakers. However, there are many say they use valve/amps with around 3-100wpc to drive MBL's and results are still amazing.

At the moment I'm quite dead on MBL 8011AM but after reading a long review about those amps, this make me wondering, shame on me when I have never listened to them. Other amps like Chord 1400E and Leema Altair are very very good IMHO...
Also I have been suggested using ASR Emiter 2 integrated amp to drive my 121's as many MBL users match this amp with their speakers. If you know about this amp and how they work with MBL's please provide me some information. But this amp is very fatiguing with other 3 boxes of battery and psu, lots of boxes.

Regarding the watts and ohm, do you think which amp is suitable to drive difficult speakers like MBL's? the founder of CAT said his JL-1 100wpc can let the spks sound like a 1000wpc amp - check from audiogon. Another guy told me he is using Unison 845 amp to drive the speakers and sound is amazing. Many uses class A amps from around 35-100wpc drive MBL's and they said great as well.

There are also many many more debates and discussions about matching low sensitivity speakers with amps and there is no final agreement about a best solution. As I cannot go anywhere with my speakers thus asking for advices from audiogon-ers is a best option at the moment for me. I hope you could help me to find a good one then stop swapping boxes . I am in no rush to buy new amps until I move into the new house this July, therefore all of your advices and contributions are highly appreciated.

many thanks
I used 8011AM amps with my 121s and thought them under-powered for those speakers. Switched to Parasound JC1s and it is much better, sound quality and power, IMO. Only $7000 for the amps, too!

Good luck with your search...
Thanks Nsirkin

I'm in the UK and the price would be in pounds :(. there was a pair of Parasound JC1 but sold very quickly last month. When I did not have money, there were so many choices, and now I save up a bit then...

any other suggestion?

Since the 121s are about 82 dB efficiency and need current, I do not think that there is competition for the JC-1s. 400w@8ohms, 800w@4ohms, 130 amps.

The 121s are great though, otherwise get other speakers that give more lower-powered amp choices.

Hi Sonrock, welcome! I noticed you just recently joined.

Below are some helpful pointers to assist

There is already lots of info. in relation to this, endless reading and in the end only personal opinions and yours might differ.

Click onto my "threads and Answers" and you will be able to find lots of info in relation to such, when you read other members comments you can do the same also and again read info. within.

It's endless, you can also go to the main page of Audiogon

Beside SEARCH type in MBL and click search.
Page will come up with MBL items for sale, scrow down the page to the lower part and you will see;

"mbl" in the Discussion Forums

and below that

"mbl" in the Virtual Systems

click on either and there is endless info.

You referred to CAT product, been there and done that and if you want to know more you can PM by clicking onto my member name and then you will see (send email) this is a personal email off site.

My system;

-MBL 101E's
-VAC Sig. MK2a pre w/phono
-VAC Statement 450 mono blocks
-TW Acustic Black Knight table placed upon a custom made Minus-K platform with a couple of arms/cart combos
The most extraordinary sound I heard with MBL 101 driven by Joule-Electra VZN-300. I am sure that '121" ia a bit easier to srive.

if you don;t want to deal with OTL amplifier's heat then second best, IMO, is the pair of Spectron Musician III monoblocks. Much better then JC-1 (as per reviewers) and less expensive too.

Plus, as you live in England, Musician III is a modular amp and if something going wrong you ship plug-in module(s) by air and in a few days get them back repaired, plug them into amplifier and enjoy the music again. Moreover, they increased warranty to 7 yrs I believe.

Finally, BAT VK600SE-M, Plinius Reference and Pass Labs XA 200.5 will drive these speakers very well too but $$$
Sonrock: You really should consider the Sanders Sound Systems Magtech amplifier. Check out the website at The amplifier is rated 500 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 900 watts into 4 ohms and sells for US dollars $5000 and comes with a lifetime warranty and a free 30 day trial. I have owned many high-priced well-known amps and the Magtech is the most satifying amp that I have ever owned. Try it and I really think you'll buy it. It also runs cool and only weighs 54 lbs. Check it out. Cheers and happy listening.
Sonrock, as you can already see from reading the few threads posted above even more amps are thrown into the ring, there is no best just different and unfortuantly you will have to be the one who decides what you prefer and the only real way to do this is to have such within your own set-up and live with for a while.

There's allot more going on than just changing your amps, your room, rest of associated gear and set-up.

My personal flavour when I used solid state amps is to have them paired up with a tube pre-amp.

Good luck and have fun!

Hey Dob, hows it going he doesn't have 101E speakers.

Spectron mono blocks with both upgrades, I had the opportunity to hear a pair within another members set-up who raves about his system as a whole, I was not impressed and without getting into a debate I was not familiar with the system as a whole so who knows what was contributing to this but now I bipass this persons threads posted because the credibilty just isn't there.

The prices of these amps sure have dropped, only a few years ago they were listed with both upgrades for close to $21K and now you can get them for .... substantially less.

Joule, I had the opportunity hear their mono blocks paired up with the MBL 101E's and it was very nice indeed. I was looking at purchasing a pair but then a opportunity came earlier this year "had to book a flight" to hear the 101's paired up with the VAC Statement 450 mono's.

I was there for three days, for me I have never heard anything like this before so I pulled the trigger.

Any changes within your set-up?


Hi, would you mind posting some links to comparisons between the Spectron and JC-1, not being snarky just missed this in my research.

hi guys

thank you so much for your inputs. i am sorry as I cannot reply earlier due to my personal business and quite busy at the moment.

some of you mentioned i am completely not familiar with and i doubt i can easily get them in the UK with the right price, as i am after s/h or ex-demo product only. i cannot support for brand new sparkling kits.

at the moment i am using combo chord 1200C and cpa 3000, source is esoteric x-03se, interconnect cables are 2 pairs of KS1036, and speaker cables are heavens gate audio ultra silence mk2 (i made a big mistake on this one due to my silly english - not mother tongue - then have to spend alot more than i was expected to).

whats i am looking at the moment might be goldmund telos 200, linn klimax 500, perreaux 750, audionote p4, mcintosh mac1000. they are the only available at the moment with affordable prices which i can find in the market here. I have also been offered for MBL 9007 - but single amp - and use it as a stereo, not mono blocks. one audiophile friend suggested me to use Belles amps but I cannot afford as well due to buying new only, no s/h or ex-demo

to be honest, i am quite interested in chord 1400e and leema acoustic altair. but it is hard to find them, and the price is very very high for me (the altair ones). regarding passlabs and other brands, it is also very difficult to find one in the market at the moment.

so in case I cannot find mono blocks which I want to go for, I might sell up my current combo then go for a decent intergrated amp.

all of your contributions are deeply appriciated. please give me more advices and suggestions if you think neccessary.

best regards,


p.s: I have registed with gon very long ago and just going here to read and check classified. sometime I am very tempted to buy something, but worried too much as I have never anything outside the UK, besides importing tax and delivery. as suggestion or help to make me confident tod deal with oversea business and taxes?
any one heard DartZeeL or Goldmund with MBL's? please give some infos and reviews about those matching.

also any idea about Krell KAS-2 monoblocks?
I'm currently using the Parasound JC1 with my MBL 121. The drive is great! Before with JC1, I was using the Ayre V1x and it was a bad match - lifeless and slow. I need to crank up the volume all the up to squeeze out some activity from the speakers. That explains much. When I changed to the JC1, the speakers seem to be awaken from the slumber with the Ayre.
thanks Shsohis :) for the inputs. at the moment I cannot find any pair of JC1 in the UK. I am thinking going for a decent integrated amp like ASR Emiter2 or Dartzeel as well. any advices?