mbl - is there a problem?

For a while now I've been planning on purchasing the new Magnepan 20.7's when they become available.
However I've always been intrigued by the idea of the MBL's - partly because they are so pretty and partly because it would be nice to have a speaker with a larger sweet spot.(I've owned and listened to Maggies for about 35 years but have never had the opportunity to hear the MBL's)
Since I've already purchased mongo electronics to power my new Maggies I think they would likely also power the MBL's.
And with the new discounts on the MBL's, they become more price competitive with the Maggies.
So I was thinking of flying somewhere to actually hear the MBL's.
But the website for MBL was disconcerting. Partly is is because the discounts are so large. Partly it is because they say that and warranty work now has to be arranged from Germany. As an experiment I tried to see what to do if I had an MBL speaker that needed to work and what would I do and I did not find an easy answer.
I have a fear of purchasing an expensive set of speakers and being unable to fix a problem.
From everything I've read on Audiogon these seem like wonderful speakers and maybe I should buy a cheap airplane ticket to where I can hear them. But I worry about the service. Maybe I'm just better off purchasing speakers from Magnepan - this company must be so succesful that even if the whole town was destroyed by a large meteor somebody else would pick it up.
Does anybody know if MBL is a safe speaker to purchase?
The problem with any speaker (or any stereo stuff) made in another country is the distributor.
The company may be great, but if a distributor has issues, then it does not matter.
(sending a big 100lb plus component back and forth to Europe is really expensive)
Then maybe a new distributor will not fix stuff not bought from them?
So for MBL, I have no idea what is going on. Just comments in general.
((And I love the look of the MBL 111e speakers.. But i OWN magnepan 3.6s.. And I too might go for a pair of 20.7s.))
In general I will not buy any expensive product that does not have a solid support system behind it.

Personally, prefer the sound of the Maggie. The dozen or so times I've listened to the MBL it never connected to me musically.

Every time I hear Maggies I'm impressed and enjoy their natural presentation. The 20.1 was the other speaker I was considering when I purchased my Megalines. The 20.7 should be nothing short of amazing.

Good luck with your search.
Yes MBL speakers are a safe speaker to purchase!

What model of speaker are you actually referring to?

MBL 101E's

Huge discounts, possibly when dealers were being dropped and unloading theirs.

Reliability, I am not aware of anyone having issues to date and I communicate with many owners and I have owned mine for a few years now.

Like any speaker if you have an issue and they are large will cost you if you send directly to the manufacture, personally if something happens thats the only place I would want to send mine anyways.

The crating is tops, for my model anyways. Shipping wouldn't be all that bad if you work with the manufacture. They ship all over the word and get great rates.

It really is going to come down to a personal preference, I owned Magie 20.1's years ago and they are very nice but no way in comparison, I prefer the 101E's by far.

Most if not all have only heard MBL's set-up in not so ideal situations, that being at shows playing way too loud and with solid state electronics or at the most in showrooms so comments made above to me are not relavent and did not see the OP asking such.

My speakers are way more engaging than my Maggies,I owned the Maggies for years, did I say they are a great speaker? but sorry no way in the same league as the MBL's and I have owned both.

When I read such statements in relation to sound of MBL's tells me only one thing.

Haven't heard a proper set-up in a real world situation or possibly you just don't like them which is okay.

In the end it's all about music, so do enjoy!

Albert you are a dealer for Megalines right?

With all due respect, the question here is, 'Should I buy MBL?', not which speaker does one like the best.
Personally, I prefer the MBL, but can fully understand, given the variability of sound at shows, that one might, 'not have connected with their sound.'
Call...you remember phone calls right? That's what we had before the internet, and web sites...you know, 'Hi, My name is Bob...I'm thinking about purchasing your speakers, but wondering about service in the United States.'
Really simple.
I have spoken to the folks at MBL, they're unfailingly helpful.
I don't think I'd have any compunction about purchasing, but then I haven't researched them diligently--recently.
Do that, find out what THEY, not we have to say about warranty and subsequent service...that should give you your answer.
Good luck...them's mighty fine speakers, my favorites.


When I read such statements in relation to sound of MBL's tells me only one thing.

Haven't heard a proper set-up in a real world situation or possibly you just don't like them which is okay.

In the end it's all about music, so do enjoy!

Albert you are a dealer for Megalines right?

No, never represented Dali, Maggie or any other speaker line. Not except when I was the factory rep for JBL many, years ago. Probably before you were into Hi Fi.

Yes, I've heard NBL in many situations both in private systems and at dozens of shows. Not my cup of tea as they say.
Hi Albert,

thanks for clarification but I thought I recalled you mentioning such in a discusion of your specific Dali speakers you own.

What's NBL? Most likly a error on your part as I have done many times in pushing of the wrong key and suppose to be MBL right.

I wish they would allow us to edit.

You mention you have heard in private "systems" and dozen shows; shows as mentiond and you know are far from ideal but you mention listening in "private systems".

"Systems" meaning more than one, I'm very curious please share some more information, who's systems were these and how long ago? Were they when you were that JBL rep that you made mention of many years ago and before I was into HiFi, Ha! Ha!

What was the associated electronics because what you wrote above saying "The dozen or so times I've listened to the MBL it never connected to me musically." totally contradicts my own exsperience so something must have been wronge.

I can fully appreciate it's your own opinion but most defiantly not their characteristcs so others reading specifically the OP who is possibly interested needs to read another members opinion who has actually owned the Maggies mentioned and continues to own MBL's, obviously the OP needs to listen to make up their own mind.

but none of this was apart of the OP's question and getting of topic but due to you saying such I feel it's important to offer another opinion.

Also when one sugests "not their cup of tea" is a polite way of saying they don't like which is okay just like when I made mention a while back that the Durand Talea arm wasn't my cup of tea and others whom I know since using it feel the same way right?
omni sound in general and mbl specifically done well is radically different. IT can take some time to get it. But I I believe once you do many will never look back at anything else.

It's almost like throwing a switch in teh way you are trained to listen, once you get it, which can take some time. Once thrown, its hard to go back.

I owned OHM Walsh speakers since ~ 1982. Also, Maggies and various more conventional designs. WHen I upgraded to the newer Walshes recently, it took me several months to tune in properly and be able to hear what the newer and more refined Walshes were doing, despite all those years of exposure. Once the lightbulb went off, that was it though, save for tuning the system to maximize the performance of what I was hearing further. Its an apples and oranges kind of thing.

I've heard mbl sound very good in a proper dealer setup (10-12 feet of space behind the speakers and not a typical rectangular room configuration back there, rather the width tapered down further back)) and also sound very mediocre at shows in more conventional setups. THere can be a huge difference. WHen they sounded good, the soudstage and imaging overall was practically in a league of its own, especially in terms of soundstage depth and precise location of musicians or recording elements within the large and deep soundstage. I think that is the mbl sound's unique claim to fame. The extent to which this is realized is largely what will separate mbl from others soundwise. Otherwise, there are many ways to skin the cat out there, many of which are no slouches in the imaging and soundstage departments either, just not to the extent of the best mbl setup I have heard.

Heavy stuff! Expensive too. My mbl demos have been brief so I cannot comment based on extended exposure, but it is a quite unique experience that could take some time to process.

If one had to ship large mbls to GErmany for support, that would be deal breaker for me especially in conjunction with the overall cost of ownership for mbl gear. There appears to be a lot of technology that goes into the mbls. Maybe they are relatively low maintenance in general though. Dunno.

"Partly it is because they say that and warranty work now has to be arranged from Germany. As an experiment I tried to see what to do if I had an MBL speaker that needed to work and what would I do and I did not find an easy answer."

Does this mean that all repair work is done in Germany? I wouldn't read it that way, certainly warrants a deeper investigation.
What Lrsky said - Call 'em up.
Okay, it appears to be a bit more complicated than anyone here has addressed, but here's what (I think) is going on:

Audiogon links you to the web site of the former American MBL distributor (MBL North America, evidently an independent company) which is unloading inventory at 50% (or more) off. I'm guessing that these serial #s won't be serviced by the new (parent company owned) distributor MBL-USA.

As Larry advised, make some phoe calls....but be sure to call both firms.

Good Luck


BTW, I like both MBLs and Maggies very much...different strengths. The Maggies might be more neutral, but - if you can get the bottom two octaves reasonably balanced in your listening room, the 101s are showstoppers (IMHO).
WOW! I just went onto the site, I was not privy.

I would most defiantly be in conatact with both USA and Germany to confirm prior to purchase what the heck is going on.

This whole situation is not good for the actual manufacture.

I don't know why there would be any service issues due to a new distributor coming into play, MBL Germany should still be reinbursing whom ever deals with any warranty issue, in the end it is MBL's product.

If they don't then I would not buy such product period.
Dev, your comment:
What's NBL? Most likly a error on your part as I have done many times in pushing of the wrong key and suppose to be MBL right.

Is your comment directed at me? The only line I can find that could be mistaken as a mistype of MBL is:
I was the factory rep for JBL many, years ago.

That text is correct, JBL is not intended to be MBL.

"Systems" meaning more than one, I'm very curious please share some more information, who's systems were these and how long ago? Were they when you were that JBL rep that you made mention of many years ago and before I was into HiFi, Ha! Ha!

MBL was not around when I was rep for JBL, as I said it was a long time ago. The auditions were during the Stereophile show in NYC at a private residence and also when I was on location doing photography several years ago for Southwest Airlines. I've attended many audio shows in the past 29 years. MBL has been prominent at multiple locations over the years.

What was the associated electronics because what you wrote above saying "The dozen or so times I've listened to the MBL it never connected to me musically."

Mostly with MBL electronics which is the obvious pairing for their speaker.

Also when one sugests "not their cup of tea" is a polite way of saying they don't like which is okay

Everyone here have preferences and when providing a response it's obvious the statement represents ones own feelings. Silly to have to state the obvious every time.

The opening post of this forum Nottop stated that he had owned and enjoyed Magneplanar for 35 years. It's not out of line for me to suggest his satisfaction is well deserved.

As for others feelings about MBL performance their opinion is as valid as mine and all of us should feel welcome to state such in the forums as long as we are respectful of each other.
I don't like MBL either.... I've heard a few of their models a few times, and they never sounded like real music in real time..... A friend has them with their amps and preamp...sounds too hifi for me. If I loved them I wouldn't buy them...how do you get service if you need it.
Shoot -

I was not trying to start a thread - are Maggie or MBL speakers the better choice?

I love the Maggies but have never heard the MBL's so it was be arrogant of me to state an opinion.

But I've put a lot into my room - not just stereo. New carpeting, new paint, new sofa, new artwork. I have incredible new electronics from Sanders and I'm passing on my old M. Levinsons to my son.

Now everything is ready but I'm sitting around for the new Maggies to be realeased. The dealer thinks sometime in March - but new products sometimes don't come out exactly on schedule

So it seemed to me that while I am waiting -
just in case -
might I consider a speaker other than the Maggie?

I greatly respect the comments from the people at Audiogon. I have no respect for the magazines.

From what I've read it looks like MBL might be a rational different choice from Maggie - but due to the issues of service I should just keep on with "Plan A"

Seems like anytime MBL is brought up this is just where it goes.

Stringreen doesn't sound like real music in real time ... sounds too hifi, now I've read everything.

What a joke! but it's your opinion but now I no to just bi-pass any of your posting.

You have Vandersteen 5A please ...
and it's products do NOT sound Hi-Fi...with all due respect, anyone hearing this is not hearing these products set up with any semblance of normalcy.
These are the standard bearers in the industry.
One can only wonder what's up when we read posts so foreign to the reality of audio.

Sorry to disagree Stringreen.

You can disagree all you want but to me, they sound like German tanks coming down the Rhine. If you need service what do you do??
Hello Lrsky,

I was not bashing MBL. I said I've never heard them. As it is not easy for me to hear them locally I was just wondering if it would be worth the trip to hear them since the idea of servicing them in Germany is not a happy thought.

I said I thought they looked beaufitul and the idea of a whole room sweet spot is appealing.

I can bash things I've heard -

I think Levinson electronics are over rated and over priced.
I don't think having dimmable lights detracts at all from the sound quality of my stereo.
I think moderately priced cables appropriate to the equipment work about as well as very expensive ones I've heard.
I think big Maggies in a small room don't sound good.

These are all things I've heard and so I can express an opinion.
But I was not expressing an opinion about the MBL's - just a query.
Synopsis...MBL Problem?
Buy with confidence...
International distribution works.

WHen I heard a good mbl demo, it sounded like an orchestra playing in the dealers showroom more so than any other demo I've ever heard.

Not hifi. Real sounding! That demo set one of the highest bars I've heard.

In that demo, the vinyl bested the CD and the RtR bested the vinyl and sounded more realistic.

I'll suggest that if an mbl system does not sound good, its not because of what the speakers are capable of. IT may take more time and expense than many are prepared for though to really get to the point where one can push them to their absolute potential. These are exceptional speakers that require exceptional setup and equipment (and expense) up front to do what they are capable of doing.

It's all too much for me. I'll happily stick with my OHMs for now.

THe smaller mbl monitors might be more manageable than the larger full range floorstanders. I need to hear those sometime.

Can you elaborate a bit on how the German Tanks sounded?

DId you detect very accurate location of the tanks within a large and deep soundstage?

IF not, then something was not right.

mbl done right is a unique experience. It might take time to retrain your ears to hear what's happening if not used to it. That has been my experience with omnis in general.

mbl done poorly sounds like an unimpressive hifi system. That is what I have heard at shows even when done by the same dealer that did it right in their showroom. That tells me that it is very hard to get the setup right in most rooms.
German tanks now, wow! don't hold back now.

I see you have a hidden adgenda.

Sorry but you have "O" credibility with your statements made so far.

this audio business is so personal & subjective. people will say their stuff is the best and I don't blame them. you will get alot of opions and that just that OPIONS. bottom line is, you really need to have a listen for yourself and see if you like it or not. for me, I value not just the sound, but the LOOK also and MBL is it for me. It give me chill and memerize their look every time i listen to it. as for warranty stuff, yes, mbl use to have distributor issue, but they have resolve that problem. their new distributor is MBL of North America in New York. Jeremy is their new distributor here in the US and he is very nice guy. I met him for the first time at the 2012 CES and listen to their 101 x-treme and was very very please. I'm sure they will take care of any problems you may have and thats go for every manufactures. what I'm trying to say is, don't worry about the gears breaking down before you even own it. find out what you like first then go from there. MBL being around for a long time now and they are not going anywhere. if you keep worry like that, you will never own any nice stuff/gears.

BTW, I'm about 40 minute away from Mr. Albert Porter and I have listen to his system before. He have a very nice system and he is very nice guy to boot. he is very knowledgable and really informative. I do have high respect for him but his taste is just different then my. again, it all come down to personal taste & preferences. if you ever in Dallas/Fort Worth, shoot us an email and you can listen to both system. good luck in your journey and decisions and please let us know what you end up.
Perfect response Mapman.
Any audiophile worth his/her salt knows that the act of 'just moving' a system creates a different sound than the system had 'before' the move. Further, that it takes a while for things to settle in, so that the sound is back to its normal self.
Why...I don't know.
Some people think it's the wires that have to get back to whatever.
I've never heard a plausible engineering explanation...but this brings us to the 'show experience.'
Having done more than a couple of shows as an exhibitor, I can say this...the show experience is usually a shadow of what any given system can do under what I'd have to call typical circumstances.
The MBL's being omni polar create one extra issue.
Generally the bi polars and omnis sound less than they are in show settings.
Maggies never, at least to me, sound as good as I have heard them.
The MBL's can sound downright awful...and seem to suffer more than other, traditional dynamic loudspeakers.
In Munich, if memory serves, I heard them, and they were something to behold.
They are simply the best speakers I've personally heard..not in all ways, but over all.
One time, after buying a pair of CS5 THIEL loudspeakers...breaking them in, enjoying them...subsequently selling more than any other dealer on the planet...(bragging), Jim Thiel and I were having dinner and wine.
I asked, 'Jim, how could you improve the CS5?'
Without hesitation he said, 'I'd put another pair back to back, making them sort of omni polar.'
Funny, that, at the time sounded like heresy...it wasn't 'til I heard the omni MBL's set up correctly, that I got it.
I do now.

i will chime in with my opinion as I have heard MBL many times and only at my local dealer and I am amazed every time I hear them! And the room has never been optimal.

I have considered going MBL and at some point might go that way. My only reservation thus far has been the expense and not having my room right yet....which I am doing now. If you can afford an mbl system I say go for it! Obviously YMMV.
..let me explain more fully... In the home system I have heard these, (MBL amp and preamp, Ortofon cartridge,) the bass is very boomy with no depth or space at all. If indeed it is the room, then it very well may be a design flaw if this expensive equipment also needs a special room. If I can compare it to video.... if you take your color intensity control and turn it way up so that the picture looks like a cartoon, you have what this stereo sounds like. Somneone made fun of my Vandersteen 5A's on these posts. Well one of the very important attributes of this speaker is that it can be made to sound excellent in any room. ...not to say it sounds exactly the same in every room I've heard it, but it always sounds good. Someone spending this amount of money for sound, should factor all attributes of any component, car, plane, wine, etc. including support.
You CAN edit your post:
You log in above, then the site returns you to the post. Do not try to click the "keep me logged in" box, it no longer works.. then IF your post is the very last one, you will see an 'edit my post' clickable on the bottom of your post. The moment a post is made after yours, you can no longer edit.
As long as no post is made after yours, you can re-edit over and over.
((And I just did it to add this message.))
I've heard mbl sound quite decent, but IMO if you want that to happen you have to spend some time and money with them. They are not as hard to drive as you might think- 200 watts will suit most of the time. But your room had better have some good treatment, and the amp had better be pretty nimble else they will sound stilted. The speaker is plenty revealing to show off the front end of the system as well.

But for the money I think I would go with the Maggies. The two speakers have similar bandwidth and probably room issues, as well as drive-ability (I suspect the Maggies are a tad easier to drive). But Maggies are simply going to give you more bang for the buck, which is to say that they (IMO) will sound as good or better for a fraction of the price.
"the bass is very boomy with no depth or space at all. If indeed it is the room, then it very well may be a design flaw if this expensive equipment also needs a special room.

Speakers always have to be rightsized and integrated properly into the room for best results. omnis are no exception except having distance from the rear wall in particular is generally more important with omnis.

If the bass is boomy and undefined more likely a design flaw by whoever integrated the system into the room, not with the speakers.
Mapman...the system was set up by the dealer. Don't you think that an outlay of this much money would be designed so that the room or speakers aren't that critical of each other?..or could it be that the bass is boomy and undefined and the right room can suck up these flaws??

"Don't you think that an outlay of this much money would be designed so that the room or speakers aren't that critical of each other?"

No clue.

What dealer?

The good mbl demo I heard (mbl 111s) was at United Home Audio in Annapolis Junction, MD. in a good sized showroom. Bass was not boomy.

"or could it be that the bass is boomy and undefined and the right room can suck up these flaws??"

Not sure any room can make a bad sounding speaker that is inherently boomy and undefined into one that isn't?

Rather, a good setup is key to bringing out the best in whatever is played in it. Results are usually only as good as the weakest link in the chain.
Anyone making fun of Vandy5's has no idea what he or she is talking about.
They are excellent, excellent speakers.
I've heard the MBL's sound less than stellar but they never sound 'design flawed' which is kinda the description of what you heard, from your posting.
Again, the omni thing makes for difficult set up...but I can't explain the bass you're hearing...it's just not something I've experienced.

Why is it so difficult for some people to accept that someone somewhere heard an MBL speaker and didn't like it? Odds are, it will happen again.
I have NO difficulty believing that someone heard MBL's not sounding great.
Personally, I've heard them not sound great.
I think the issue was, that the inference was that these are 'flawed designs'...that being the case, they cannot sound good.
Neither is true.
They are wonderfully engineered...but can sound bad when not set up correctly.
If they sound bad and the dealer set them up, he did a poor job...THAT is very possible.
I followed some hot shot into a home in which a rather well thought of 'sound guy' set up a system, but the owner was unhappy. He had every right to be...the system sounded really bad.
This guy had used calculations, yada, yada, yada...no, I"m not discounting those calculations, but whatever math he used it didn't work.
I spent 15 minutes listening and moving speakers and it sounded great.
The sad part is, my friend had payed this so called expert a lot of money.
So...dealer set up is not equal to correct necessarily.
The MBL's in my experience can, CAN sound good...they don't always, but then no speaker ALWAYS sounds good.
I heard Sound Labs sound really bad...and that seems impossible, but it happened.
Again, the issue was one of the tenor of the comment...the implication being that they are inherently flawed.

People are certainly going to have mixed opinions on any product. Further (to String's point), I have heard the big MBL sound boomy on a couple of different occasions. I've always thought that they need a very large room for the bass to sound natural and, even when that is optimized, I still find the bottom 2 octaves the speaker's greatest weakness. However,....

IME, the holographic 3D effect that the 101s reproduce is just stunning. It really is in a different league (in this respect) than anything else that I've ever heard, and I've heard a fair number of mega$ loudspeaker systems. (The only meaningful challenge that I recall came from an audition of the original Wilson WAMM, back in the day, and - if memory serves - that wasn't the equal of the 101).

When set-up well, the MBL can really produce a "reach out and touch it" illusion, and I specifically recall an electric guitar (at very high SPL) just hanging in space way in front of the accompanying rhythm section at the LA Stereophile show some years back. Like 'em or not, I have a very hard time believing that anyone could fail to be impressed by that specific aspect of the 101s performance.

The comment regarding "no depth or space at all" suggests to me that there was a real problem with the set-up that String heard.

Echoing Marty's words--the MBL's have that holographic presentation when set up correctly, sounding, to my ears, like real music...


I only see one mention of your Vandies and that was mine, so who made fun of them. A little sensitive are we.

Lrsky, I have heard Vandies and they are okay but that's it, would I own a pair as my reference speakers? no. I could get into it but why, that's not what this thread is about, but if an owner such as Stringreen making silly remarks as he has noted towards the MBL's clearly demonstrates to me lack of his credibitly period. All one needs to do is read his silly postings, be it his opinion or not just isn't factual, anyone who has actually heard the MBL's knows this is far from what their sound characteristics and some have already posted above.

It really gets tirersome reading such nonsence.

Hi Ericngo1,

so Albert is referring to listening to your set-up then when he says blah! blah!

My communication back and forth with Albert is exactly that and nothing else, there is nothing wrong to agree to disagree.

But if Albert is hearing what he mentioned and relating to listening to listening to your set-up then something is wrong.

I have to say firstly my preference is not to have these wonderful speakers paired up with MBL amplification, I've been there and done that. You had asked some questions in another thread posted in relation the the 6010d pre which I also owned for numerous years so you can refer to such.

You obviously have heard Albert's system, kindly provide a description listing areas and the differences you hear in comparison to assist.

MBL's paired up with VAC's Sig. MK2a pre and Statement 450 mono blocks is the ultimate combo, nothing I have owned and heard comes close and I have heard and owned allot.

From Boulder 2050's, Karan 1200's, MBL 9008's and 9011's, CAT JL3 Sig MK2's, Bryston Squared 28's just to name a few. I don't know of anyone else who has gone to such extent.

Actually I prefered the Squared 28's over both the 9008's and 9011's BUT paired up with a tube phono, Ref3 is a great match with Bryston. I'm aware of several individuals whom after providing my thoughts tried and agreed and in the end sold off their MBL amps and using that money eslewhere. Most either have a REF3 paired up with the 28's or even some are using the Vac pre.


This thread is to help nottop to find his next speaker. I don't want to go into mr. Albert system discussion. When I was on my quest to find my sonic taste, he was kind enough to let me listen to his reference system and help me out with my turntable issues. Btw, mr. Albert have never listen to my system. Maybe he have listen to the older model of MBL and that is why he have that kind of opions toward MBL. You see, my system is doing double duty. I listen to musics and watch movies 50/50 and that is why I can't go with tubes gears. I really like my all MBL gears and thats just me.
Holographic presentation is the unique strength of mbl. If that is important to you, definitely do not buy until you audition mbl. Otherwise, you may not care so much.

Having heard a lot of top notch systems over the years, I'd say without question mbl is the champ at doing holography on a large scale. "On a large scale" is key. You have to have a large and well set up room though I think, at least for the larger floor standing models.

Other aspects of their performance compared to the competition is more debatable in my mind. I would say they are very solid in most every other regard as well assuming proper setup and matching to room, but other lines might easily be preferred in certain regards depending on personal tastes.

I can see where the larger mbls would easily overpower smaller rooms which does not make them a good choice for many.
Anybody know how the mbl 121s perform in smaller rooms in comparison to the larger floorstanding mbls in larger rooms?

I have Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkII monitors tuned in very nicely currently in a 12X12 listening room. I often wonder if mbl 121s could work well in a room like that. I think I have the amp needed to drive them (Bel Canto Ref 1000m monoblocks) in that I understand they are extremely inefficient.

The little MBLs are funny animals. They're designed with a low end roll-off that is supposed to match certain characteristics of the MBL subwoofer, making them a tough match for other subwoofer brands (according to my local MBL dealer, anyway - so maybe a grain of salt should be added to that statement). I don't know if the MBL subs are available anymore (I didn't see any on the web site last I looked), so I'm not sure where the 121/newer versions fit these days. The 121s that I've heard (in a small to medium sized room) on a couple of occasions lacked bottom end power (surprise!) as a stand-alone and (IIRC) the MBL subs they were paired with were too much for the room (to my ear, as set up by that dealer, anyway).

The "in-between" floor standers (111,116) seem to be the better choices for medium sized rooms. However, like the 121, these do not feature the radial midrange driver of the 101. I thought that the 121 w/sub, the 116, and the 111 each sounded pretty good in its own way - and shared a definite "family resemblance" to each other. However, at the end of the day, the 101 strikes me as a fundamentally different (and much more fun) animal than the less expensive models in the MBL line.


Caveat: All observations from a couple of years back when I was seriously thinking about buying MBL speakers and auditioning the various models with some frequency. The model line-up has since changed a bit and I can't be sure that these observations are applicable to the current line.

Thanks for the info.

I'd love to try smaller mbls sometime in comparison to my Dynaudio monitors in the smaller room. It would probably require a significant additional investment to do it though, so it may be awhile with two kids to still send to college and all.
I heard the smaller floor standing models (don't remember the model #) in Steve Dobbins room with his "Beat" turntable at RMAF 2010. It was an outstanding sounding room. I think he had Allnic electronics. I kept going back to that room because the music just sounded right. It was a smallish hotel room and the MBL speakers were great. Perhaps you could contact Steve for his opinion.
Whenever I try to read anything about MBL speakers here on audiogon I stumble on this Dev character attacking people, making fun of their systems, repeating over and over than nothing compares to the sound of HIS MBL based set-up ... I am not quite sure what his agenda is. Is he trying to convince people that MBL are SOTA speakers or is he trying to prevent people to get any useful information about these speakers ...

Coming back to the original questions. MBL is a very serious company and I find it very hard to believe it will not stand behind its products irrespectively whether they were bought form the previous or current MBL official distributor. The new distributor should provide support also for the older MBL models (at least this is how thing usually work here in Europe). Of course, as already suggested it is best to call MBL in Germany (speaking English with them should not be a problem).

Regarding differences between Magnepan and MBL speakers, it is definitively worth mentioning that because the MBLs are omnidirectional they need tons of power (they are literally the opposite of horn speakers), larger rooms than the Magnepans, and are even more tricker to set up than dipoles.

Regarding the reports above about not very positive experiences with MBL set-ups, I should say that I too often heard MBL set-ups sounded unimpressive even though the MBL representative (a big typical geman guy) seemed every time quite happy with the sound. A few times, though, I was very impressed by the sound stage and the purity of their midrange and high frequencies. I should also say that I was never impressed with their imaging capability. I am not saying that they are incapable of imaging with pin point accuracy, just that because of the omnidirectional nature it is very difficult to achieve this - one needs a nearly perfect room.
If you want to know how important a good distributor is,
talk to any Halcro owner, or ex Halcro dealer.
Remember all the great rewiews & "Best Of Show" systems?
It all evaporated when the U.S. distributor got sloppy with dealer support, product support & advertising.......
Nvp, are you for real? I'm not attacking but providing my own opinion so get you facts straight before you start to push those keys endlessly becuase doing so only demonstrates your own character.

If you want to debate I have no problem with such but be constructive because YAWN it really is boring!

You obviously lack knowledge in MBL's and another one who just likes to lead others a stray.

1. MBL's nor Manepan or horn speakers so what's your point above, makes no sence.

2. Which MBL'd are you making reference to, I can only make reference to 101E's. If you are making reference to such it's not tons of power as you write above. It's current, big difference.

3. can't follow the rest of your bable because it makes no sence when you write "larger rooms than the Magnepans, and are even more tricker to set up than dipoles."

4. one needs a nearly perfect room, don't agree with this statement either.

You clearly have no clue of 101E speakers and only going by show or dealer set-ups, please go back to your own set-up because abviously you are the one with the adgenda.

Mvp, Dev's last response illustrates your point.
Wonder why he doesn't post pix of his system?
It would improve his credibility.

Dev, great system. Love to see it.
Khrys, so I need to post pictures to improve my credibility, are you for real?

I'm not shocked with your round about reply above because we have crossed paths in disagreement before.

The thread isn't about my system, why again do you and others seem to have issues with reading and not staying on topic by being constructive and replying to the the OP's posting, pretty simple unless you have a hidden adgenda?
You know...without wanting to become embroiled in sophomoric nonsense....a few years ago we had this kind of contentious attitude and posts...it became tiresome, so I went away.
We all have different opinions. Why is that a formula for something beyond civil debate?
Personal attacks and vitriolic responses are uncalled for...I know, because I've been incited to do that at times.
Let's just try to stay on topic and not be confrontational.

Peace Dev. I'd just really like to see pictures of your system which seems absolutely top drawer.

Only heard MBL 101Es with MBL electronics in a suboptimal setup but could tell they were pretty special.

I'd love to hear them with the VAC Sig Mk2a pre and Statement 450 Monos that Dev runs.

The big Maggies are hard to beat but if you can get a great deal out of MBL's conundrum, I'd go for it.