MBL 111F or 101E ????

Hi experts :)

I am looking to get a new system and I want to hear your input.

I am currently have a Devialet Expert 1000 Pro, my room is 4 meters wide, 9 meters in length because joining with dinning area and an open kitchen next to the dinning area, so it’s like a L shape opened space. I haven’t done any acoustic treatment to it yet.

i have a long tv bench, so the speaker going be about less than half meter away from side walls and may be about half meter away from back walls, this is the limitation I can’t change and will never change unless I move house.

i wondering according to my room space and current equipment, should I get a MBL 111F or 101E???? If 101E will performs better, how much better? Distinctly??? The 101E is quite a bit more expensive than 111F.

I can change my current amp to the MBL N51 integrated amp but that’s it. I cannot afford their 9008 amps and pre-amp combinations, and probably not in any soon future. I am not sure if the single N51(350wpc) will perform better than the Devialet 1000 Pro(1000wpc).

Can any MBL Expert give me some input?

Thanks a lot!!!

I certainly wouldn't consider myself an MBL "expert" but I did have an MBL obsession for many years, and was able to hear the majority of their speakers, often in very good set ups.  I had always lusted after the 101s but they were too much money, and I lost out on a once in lifetime second hand pair bid, which always haunted me.

I've ended up with a pair of the MBL 121 stand mounted speakers, which use the omni mid and tweeters.

As for the comparison between the 111F and the 101E...

For some reason, to my ears, the 111F somehow lacked the signature tonal balance of the rest of the MBL speakers, especially the 101E.
The 101E has to my ears, in a good set up, a truly gorgeous tone that sparkles with a rainbow of timbral colors - from the "woody" quality of a guitar body, to the brassy tones of a trumpet, etc.

Whereas the 111F didn't seem to have the same voice.   It certainly did the spacious omni-directional imaging thing we expect from MBL, but tonally it just seemed more subdued, darker, less believable.

I never figured out why, but it was a consistent impression whenever I heard them and I wrote them off my list.  YMMV of course, and there certainly are happy owners of the 111s.

It's doubly puzzling because my 121 monitors actually DO share much of the tonal quality I loved in the 101Es.

I question whether you'll lose a lot of the omni magic that you get from mbl speakers if you're going to have them as close to the sidewalls.and rear wall as you indicte.  Whenever I have heard them, they have had a lot of space around them, and that's when they have had that amazing soundstage.  Maybe someone who owns them can comment, but you might be better off getting speakers that work better with your room placement constraints.
Thanks for your comments.

i only heard the 101E mk2, and really love the sound but it’s price tag is way too expensive! So I go one step down to the 111F, nearly half price, but I also worry I might get far less quality from the 101E....

Careful about putting too much stock into my comments.

I've heard several people who own various MBLs mention, including reviewers, that the stand mounted 121s and 120 MBLs, despite only having the mid/tweeter of the 101s, nonetheless have essentially the same characteristic in the mids upward.

And I can say my 121s do indeed have that magic sound I heard from the 101s. (101E being the last version I heard).

It stands to reason that the 111 SHOULD produce the same mid/high voice.  Which is why it confused me when I didn't hear it on the 111s.

I've heard the 111s probably 2 or three times, but never at my place and not for a number of years.  So as I say, take what I report with a grain of salt.

This is the load v -phase graph of the 101E

This is the load v -phase graph of the 111F even though it says 101 on the graph which is a typo.

Both are very very hard to drive in the low bass, with the impedance and -phase angle, the 101E again at 200hz to 500hz and again at 10khz.
The 111F is also hard at 1khz and again at 10khz.
You should take the Devialet to the shop to put it on both speakers. and listen compared to the big MBL amp I'm sure they have on hand.
Myself I would look at amps such as MBL own big ones, and also the bigger Gryphon's, big Krells and Agostino's big amp..

Cheers George
Hi Prof, the big melon in 101 also does low-mid range, so the mid is not the same between the two in my opinion.

George, I can’t take the amp to the dealer as there is no dealer in my city. And I can’t find any resource about Devialet and MBL on internet. When you said both are very hard to drive, in relative 111F should be slightly easier??? Because it doesn’t has the biggest melon to drive, the bass are handled by traditional drivers. Right?


MBL are wonderful speakers. And not as hard to drive as may be thought. Go see this thread and read the comments by Atmasphere. Also, in that thread I talk about the MBL models I've heard and you can get some ideas there. Prof also provides some great detailed comments as well.

@pokey77 in your post you said even 126 sounds so close to the 101e mk2, can you give a bit more details? Like which aspects sounds similar? 

what about the soundstage, 126 as wide as 101e? And what about the tonal? As real as 101e?

When you said both are very hard to drive, in relative 111F should be slightly easier???

Hah, nothing to to with the midrange melon.
On the 111F it’s where the -phase (dotted line) meets the low impedance at 1khz and again more severe at 40hz again impedance only at 10khz that makes it a hard load.
On the 101E it’s where the -phase and low impedance again meet at 40hz also just the low impedance at 10khz and again between 200hz and 500hz.

Both are hard but in different areas, so it’s hard to say which is easier.

Also both are very low efficiency tested at 81db for the 101E and 80db for the 111F so they both need a lot of watts as well as good current from an amp, your Devialet may work?? but I have a thing against Class-D and have never heard one that makes me settle into the music, that why I suggested the MBL or big Krells for this job.

I've listened to the 101E's for 1/2 a day on different amps, they love to be driven hard, and they will impress big time.
The amp is very important for these speakers, just imagine this is the speaker cable and a wrong amp being sucked up by the speaker.

Cheers George

Thanks for your info.

I heard many amp have problem driving speakers lower than 4ohm, the MBL looks like never fall below 4ohm, I hope it will be fine otherwise I need to trade in for the MBL N51 integrated amp.

have you listened to both 111f and 101e mk2? Any thoughts?
I'm sorry, but feel I have to raise it again--does anyone here who has heard the mbls (and I have heard them sound wonderful placed out in a room) think that they will work essentially placed in the corners of a room as the OP states (1/2 meter from both side and rear walls)?  I fear that the OP will be sorely disappointed with their performance in such a position, no matter what amplification he chooses, and that's a lot of money he's thinking of putting into those speakers.  Do you think the smaller 121s would work, Prof?
Honestly, I would not want to place MBLs, incuding my 121s, that close to the side/rear walls.  I wouldn't place any speaker (with few exceptions)
that way. 

My 121s are well out into my room - I tend to like almost nearfield listening. But I also had them further away, probably about 3 feet from the back wall, and they sounded excellent then too.  I just prefer less room sound no matter what speaker I'm using.
MBL looks like never fall below 4ohm

Pepa, you need to look at the whole picture, ohms and -phase angle combined, which is call EPDR (equivalent peak dissipation resistance).

 EG: a Wilson Alexia, is specified as a 4ohm speaker, but it has a dip at 60hz-80hz of 3.6ohms and a negative phase angle of -43 degrees, this presents to the amplifier a load of .9ohm!!!!! (Yes that's point nine of an ohm.)
This is enough to ruin any amps bass performance save for the very best that can deliver both big current and watts.

My friend (reviewer) has these Alexia speakers, and they sounded great with the Parasound Halo JC1 Monoblocks (designed by John Curl) we thought it doesn't get better that this, massive current and watts with high bias Class-A switch.
Then he reviewed the massive Gryphon Antillion Evo's and he owns it now instead. 

Cheers George   
Thanks for joining the discussion.

i have a friend he owns a 101E MK2 and placed at the corner like my situation, but it sounds amazing, it possibly will do better in a better position but the current result isn’t bad at all.

If anyone has experience with the 101E and 111F can you please share your thoughts about the difference between them?
Only the 101 in a massive room with the sadly now discontinued MF bad boy 100 w amp the size of a small refrigerator- grorious but diffuse image



"in your post you said even 126 sounds so close to the 101e mk2, can you give a bit more details? Like which aspects sounds similar? what about the soundstage, 126 as wide as 101e? And what about the tonal? As real as 101e?"

What I was trying to say is that MBL house sound is the same across the range of speakers. As the speaker gets larger the sound becomes more expansive; it scales up. I can't really name aspects that are similar except to say that they sound fairly similar, all with great timber and tone. 

The difference between  the 101E and 111F is mostly scale as I remember, a bigger soundstage. Either will provide a very nice listening experience, especially with the MBL electronics, at least in the Noble Line range of gear. 

I have no idea if they'll work in the corner but most any speaker is better when placed out into the room. Maybe you should call Jeremy @ MBL. He can tell you and he is a standup guy. Give him a ring.

I don't quite go along the idea the MBLs necessarily have a diffuse image.  Mine certainly don't (and I have decidedly non-diffuse Thiel speakers to compare them to).  Though I have a fairly well damped room.
I've also heard the 101D/Es in set ups where I found the imaging dense and focused.
To me I am ok with the MBL image,  sounds so live.

I wonder if you'd be better off with the stand-mounted 121s rather than the larger mbls.  That way, perhaps, you could more easily move them out into the room for serious listening and get the full benefit of their omni-directional presentation, to which I also am partial.  I honestly think that you'll never get to hear what they are best at with them close to the side and rear walls.  You should take pokey77's suggestion and call mbl, maybe they can make a recommendation for you.

And I agree with prof, while I would not call imaging with the mbls I've heard to be "pinpoint" (which I find to be unnatural, by the way), they do present a very natural placement of stable and three-dimensional images in a soundstage, certainly not diffuse. 

I feel the MBL sound really natural and live than conventional speakers.

in regarding to the distance to wall may be putting a diffuser on the wall may help?