MBL 121 to full range speaker

Would like to receive recommendations on possible upgrade to full range speakers. I am living in an apartment so speaker selection would have to fit this constraint. The MBL 116 is an obvious selection keeping to the MBL sound which I certainly enjoy but I would like to especially hear from others who have found other speaker makes that I should consider.

BTW, I have Rowland electronics (synergy 2i/501/PC1) with MBL 1511/1521 DAC&Transport.

Sound different than MBL, but in the same "neighborhood". Depending on budget and room size - you might consider their floorstanders or sub/sats. Both types available direct from Ohm Acoustics with money back in-home trial.

Good Luck

Yeah, I've heard mbls and can honestly say the OHMs are certainly competitive at a minimum and do a lot of the same things for a fraction of the cost.
I too own the 121 monitors, and am likely going to get one or two subwoofers to go with them. If you are keen on getting full range speakers, you might consider German Physiks. They seem really interesting. The driver used is similar to the one used by Walsh, but seems more advanced (although the speakers are far more expensive than Walsh).
We were just recently informed that OHM now has a distributor in Germany and seems ready to take on MBL and German Physiks in their home turf.

OHM uses the omnidirectional Walsh driver for most of the audio range except the very top end.

German Physiks uses their variation of the omni Walsh driver (DDD) primarily for the top end and leave the low end to more conventional drivers in most models. MBL is similar I believe using their own proprietary omni driver technology. The very expensive 101s use the unique MBL bass driver.

Blue Circle's new Penny loudspeaker is using the OHM Walsh driver for all but the low end.

The original OHM A and F is still the only speaker that used a single Walsh driver for the entire range, but that design was problematic from a reliability perspective in that the driver was easily damaged if overdriven. That is a shortcoming that nobody has ever been able to overcome, it seems.

OHM elected to elimitate the delicate part of the Walsh driver that delivered the top end.

German Physiks elected to keep the Walsh design for the top end but move the low end to other conventional drivers so as not to expose the DDD to the same stress as was problematic in the original full range OHM Walsh drivers.

Another unique thing about the OHMs is their scalability to different room sizes. The same basic design is used throughout the line and larger models for larger rooms use a larger driver. The sound does not change much though from model to model fitted properly to room size. That's quite a trick!

Prices start at about $1000/pair and go up to $6000 or so for the largest models.

Full range MBLs or GErman Physics are in the $30000 range and up new I believe.

These guys are new and have their own design based on the Ohm A and F:

I haven't heard OHM, but I can say MBLs are amongst the best speakers I've heard. I love that omnidirectional sound! Just the wide, holographic expanse of the soundstage is phenomenal. I'm definitely interested in hearing an OHM demo myself, now, if they can provide similar performance for a "fraction of the cost".

OHm provides a generous in-home audition program, which is the best way to evaluate speakers.

When I heard the mbl 111s, I was actually expecting to hear a bigger difference than I did.

That's not to say that the sound was the same, because there were clear differences just terms of the listening room, setup, and associated electronics with the MBLs I heard versus my OHMs in my house. Also, nobody will mistake OHMs for MBLs in regards to appearance.

In terms of imaging, detail, and soundstage, they sound more alike than different. In terms of timbre, there are clear differences that I could attribute a good portion of to room configuration and acoustics and associated eletronics.

Also, off the cuff, I would give the edge to the OHMs in terms of tight, clear bass and dynamics and impact over the 111s. Against the 101s? That might be a different story. I've have never heard 101s.

I would say the MBLs were set up at the dealer in a near optimal configuration with only the best electronics huge SS MBL monoblocks) and source units (reel to reel, vinyl, and CD) driving them.

If you look at my system, you will see it is considerably more modest and ordinary in setup, still, what I hear at home on my OHM 5s in that room is more similar than not to what I heard with the MBLs, and I do not feel handicapped at all. To the contrary, I feel very delighted that my modest system can even compete with what I heard in the dealer's listening room.
To my ear, 101s and 111s sound vastly different (as do 116s and 121s with a sub). Before I bought Ohms, I auditioned all of the MBL models at 2 different dealers. I don't have space for 101s and their tonal balance isn't precisely what I'm seeking and the price tag is daunting, ...but they truly induce LUST! The 101s may have certain issues, but they are a singular sounding product.


Did you find the tonal balance of the 101s much different than 111s?

I found the 111s tonally different from teh OHMs but I was not sure how much of that to attribute to the difference between the 800w/ch MBL SS monoblocks and SS pre-amp used with the 111s and the electronics in my system using an ARC tube pre-amp and tube DAC. My system has more midrange presence and warmth yet the 111s had as balanced a SS delivery overall as I have heard. The bass may have been just a tad fatter though on the 111s. I would expect the low end to be radically different on the 101s as a result of the unique MBL bass driver used on those compared to more conventional woofers on the 111s.

To my ear the biggest differences between the MBL 101s and the rest of the line are 1)midrange presence, 2)bass balance, and 3)dynamics.

I assume that #1 is likely due to the extra radial driver in the 101 which crosses in low enough to cover the whole midrange. That is, however, speculation on my part.

#2 is a design choice which "voices" the speaker for a natural bass balance in a larger room than the other models (except the 121s which are rolled off at - I think -80ish hz and utilize a subwoofer to determine bass balance.)

Don't know what causes #3, but the 101 is a monster dynamically - in a different league than the lesser models (and just about everything else I've ever heard, too).

"Don't know what causes #3, but the 101 is a monster dynamically"

I suspect it is a combo of the radial woofer + sub that is unique to that model (and apparently also a major contributor to the cost relative to other models)
agree with ohms...the not so fluffy mbl.
Yes, the 101E is wonderful. This is the only MBL I've heard actually. I've never heard a speaker that projected instrumentation that sounded like it "floated in air" quite like the 101E did.

Has anyone ever heard the 101X? They look basically like two 101Es stacked on top of each other, but they also come with these giant subwoofer towers. You really need a gigantic room for these babies! I've only seen them in a showroom, but never heard them. Anyone have any experience with them?
"I've never heard a speaker that projected instrumentation that sounded like it "floated in air" quite like the 101E did."

Actually, the 111 setup I heard did this exceptionally well also, I thought. In particular with a reference reel-to-reel recording playing, the orchestra was pretty much in the room spread before you. Vinyl and CD were no slouches either.
Yes, I would love to hear the 111s as well. They seem like they would be more suitable to the size of my own smaller listening room, as I really think the 101s need a large space to breathe and project well.

Going back to the OHM comparison, as I've not familiar with their brand, how are they priced compared to similar performing MBL models? Also, do they have a stand-out signature model like the 101?
"Going back to the OHM comparison, as I've not familiar with their brand, how are they priced compared to similar performing MBL models? "

~ $1000-$6000 depending mostly on target room size.

"Also, do they have a stand-out signature model like the 101?"

Not really. All OHM Walsh models use a similar driver configuration. The more expensive models use a larger driver configuration for better dynamics in larger rooms.

The OHM Walsh 300 series 3 or Walsh 5 series 3 or perhaps the latest Walsh 5000 are for large rooms and therefore would be the closest thing to the 101s. 300s and 5's are similar except 5's have 4 level adjustment switches per speaker for cusomizing to room acoustics. 5000s are brand spanking new (haven't heard these) but tout next generation Walsh drivers with better magnets and assemblies and associated higher sensitivity.
Hi, I would also like to hear from you who have experience with more conventional design speakers especially in comparison with MBL's or omni's for that matter.