I've heard them on several occasions at the CES in Las Vegas. Admittedly this probably wasn't an ideal setting, but they do some things extremely well. The sweet spot is huge, the presentation is smooth and velvety - maybe even creamy. They have very realistic timbre and articulation. They do not excel at recreating dynamic contrasts, but they do not sound like boxes.
Now, one thing I do remember is the big amplifiers they were driving these beasts with. The amplfiers were about 1/3 the size of a twin bed mattress, and as I recall were rated at around 800 watts per channel into the Radialstrahler's 4-ohm load. I believe these speakers are somewhat less efficient than even the notorious Sound Labs.
I think MBL has recently introduced a new version of the Radialstrahler, so older models ought to be showing up from time to time at a good price.
Different people are sensitive to different inadequacies, so until somebody builds the perfect loudspeaker, it's a matter of picking your poison; that is, picking the speaker that not only makes the magic happen for you, but also whose inadequacies are relatively benign to your ears. The MBL's make a lot of magic happen for me - the textures are rich and creamy; the presentation is like being wrapped up in velvet; and they sound great from anywhere in the room. On the other hand, I would like a bit more dynamic contrast. That being said, the Radialstrahlers are a very easy and relaxing speaker to listen to, and I suspect that Radialstrahler owners spend a more time than most to music.
In addition to what Duke said, they also tend to give more body to images, more of a 3-D effect, as compared to the paper-thin variety that many audiophile speakers present. To me, that's a nice quality. As Duke also intimated they are not very sensitive and are quite power hungry!
Try German Physiks with a sub. More dynamics better sound and less amplifier. They sound most beautiful. I heard the MBL at ces 2k and I prefered the German Physiks. I like dynamic music with realistic highs realistic spl's.
1. The latest version is 101E, which looks very similar to 101D, except the bass unit is shorter and squatter making the speaker looks fatter. Soundwise, it is said to be an improvement, but no chance to do an a/b yet.
2. Disagree 101D lacks dynamic contrasts. It can go from being eerily silent to earth-shattering bass, on top of its other attributes like deep and wide soundstage, realistic presentation etc (although in my view it does not produce the deep deep bass some are used to or expect from buying such expensive speakers).
3. yes its very power hungry, the more juice the better. i recall an old review of 101D in the absolute sound where they teamed it up with a not so powerful amp resulting in not so great result.
it sounds great with mbl amps and you can really turn it up and hear it go. dont have much chance to hear it paired up with other amps.
4. hope there would be many used 101D in the market but i dont see that many in the 1st place. i see an old 101C on audiogon still unsold. plus those puppies weigh a ton in their crates and its not easy to ship or deliver.
Absolutely, I agree with Ckp!!!
I have a MBL 111 B (latest version) with 9010 c (MBL amplifier) and the sound is marvellous!!! the dynamic contrasts are incredible!!!
care to share your accompanying equipment? cd player? preamp? thanks.
audio aero capitole mk II
pre MBL 6010 D (TOP)
power amp 9010 C
speakers 111B S1
speaker cables FADEL ART GOLDLINE
great system. as you can adjust your gain settings, your 6010D would be perfect if you have another amp for biamping or monoblocks.
I understand MBL recommend wireworld cables, have you tried them? I am using them, but I always felt another brand of cables, can make the mbls sound even better.
IMHO, what they do well, they do VERY well. Unfortunately, the bass is seriously out of sync with the rest of the sound. Damn shame, as from the midrange on up they may be the best speakers I've ever heard.
Kelton - which model of German Physiks did you listen to, the Gaudi, Loreley, Carbon, Borderland, Unlimited, Legato or Unicorn? What do these speakers retail for?
The "Dick's Dipole Driver" theory sounds interesting in that his design excites the air molecules horizontally to its motion, claiming to eliminate diaphragm warping, phase distortion, transient behavior and a tendency of radiating sound directionally, all of which are found in electrostatic and cone driven designs. I've never heard a driver that yields a radiation pattern that covers the whole angle of 360 degrees over the complete audio range of frequencies.
I always thought musical instruments radiated sound waves directionally, but maybe they are omnidirectional. In the recording process it may be possible for the DDD system to reproduce fuller sounds coming from each instrument based on this theory. I really don't know! I guess my question is whether this omnidirectional DDD system is like listening to music in 5 channel; and secondly, if all of the frequencies are being excited horizontally in phase, how do they keep the music from sounding muddy?
I used WW only as pc and they are great!!!
Unsound, about your opinion
"the bass is seriously out of sync with the rest of the sound". Sorry but I have find this problem only on Martin logan speakers.
The bass of MBL is natural and wide. MBL don't want a innatural bass. :-)))
Thanks for all the reponses. Does anyone know of any dealers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Midwest, or anywhere is the USA? Thanks again.
I agree- no shortage of dynamics here.. I just heard the new 101e's at HES in NY city- MY GOD - these things were absolutely DIVINE- but yes, they are extraordinarily inneficient- 81db / 4ohm - nevertheless, they present (as someone else said) in one of the most wide-open sweetest ways - the presentation is crystal clear, even at ear-bleed, and that big, open natural sound is just so addictive- I wanted to keep throwing discs in over and over. I would be really curious to know how they'll sound on the soon-to-come super-beast single-ended from conrad johnson. Supposedly a killer, yours for only about 37 grand a pop.. BAT makes the 150's too- they can be double-paired into Triode, to make 300 w mono (single ended no less) and I reckon the speaker would sound un-F-IN-believeable!
good luck in your quest- the 101's are an investment in happiness!
To those who have heard MBLs: How well do you think they do at LOW volumes? The usual knock on highly insensitive speakers, like MBLs or ATC, is that they are not very involving at low volumes and have to be turned up to sound their best.