Opinions on MBL 121's

Just had my first audition of these awesome speakers, but want to know audiogoner's experiences long term. Any problems or issues? What is the best suited amplification and cabling?

Thanks for any input.

82 db sensitivity. These things need BIG power. Keep this in mind. Amp choices will be limited. Great sounding speakers though. Omni speakers sound best out in the room. An MBL rep told me the designer uses Wireworld cables and MBL amps which are HUGE for a reason.
I recently heard an all MBL system that was very, very expensive, and very, very bad. It sounded big, and heavy - much like a Panzer tank. It was the antithesis of music in real time and space. Yuk
MBL is certainly not for every taste, but they do some things amazingly well. The 2 strange things about the product line:

1) Do you choose the 121 with the MBL sub or the entry floorstander (116?)? My local dealer emphatically prefers the floorstander. On short audition, I'm not so sure, because

2) Mid bass in the full range systems seems balanced for very large rooms. OTOH, deep bass rolls off at a surprisingly high frequency on all but the biggest floorstanders and systems with their sub.

IMHO, in addition to amp matching, room matching (think very large) is a real challenge with MBL

Good Luck,


Thanks for your input. I heard the 121's powered with 70 tube watts which seemed to do the trick in a fairly good size room. My room is large opening into even a larger space in a post and beam home. I guess for me the extensive detail and soundstage coupled with the lack of a centralized sweet spot sold me on these speakers.


Thanks for your responce. I also heard the 116's and for me the 121's sounded less heavy and more open. Even at between 12,000 to more then 15,000 list without their MBL stands, they are not cheap.


Thanks for your responce. I am not a huge bass lover although it is certainly nice to have it when the passage calls for it without becomming muddy. I can not afford a sub at this time a my current sub is not of suitable quality to even consider, but I can see the advantages in the future. I believe the tube amp I auditioned the sspeakers with enhanced the quality of this speaker making it more alive whereas the MBL amp seemed sterile.

I think my room with it cathederal ceilings and the space opening up to 40' x 24' would be an OK fit.
Hi Conservi:
I just received my MBL 121 speakers this week and am very happy with them. As mentioned above though, they need oodles of power, which I do not have just now. I will be upgrading amplifier shortly though. I have a key candidate in mind, but I'd prefer to keep my choice under wraps until I receive it (hopefully used, if/when one comes up).

I heard the full MBL 101E system at THE show in LA at the end of '06 and was blown away. I couldn't agree less with Stringreen - these speakers breathe so much life. My friend and I were literally laughing at how good the sound was - effortless, open, everything I could want. It was one of the three best rooms in the show for me, if not the best.

I like the idea of adding a sub or two later. This is likely not easily done, having experimented with subs in previous years. But I suspect two Fathom F112s or 113s could work very well, perhaps with an outboard crossover like the Bryston. I intend to try that eventually.

Good luck with the 121s if you get them - they are a treat and so beautiful, but like all aspects of MBL - beauty is in the eye/ear of the beholder. Happy listening
Hi Outlier:

Just to let you know, I heard the 121's on a moded Jolida 801 intergrated, but my choice will be the Jolida JD 1000 RC for that extra power and the EL 34 tubes which should enhance the detail and soundstage even more. I am just trying to figure out how to pay for it while I am salivating at the idea of listen to Pink Floyd and when that gets old a little Diana Krall or Miles.

I have MBL 111e's; powered by MBL 8011 monoblock amps. I also have a DD15 sub; and my system sounds great. clear; open; fantastic base on both the main speakers; but the sub helps with home theater presense. The mbl sound is a matter of taste; but in the right set up they are truly magical. If you check on the virtual system links here on the 'gon; there are several owner's comments on the mbl systems; their demand for power is overblown; many people are running them with good tubes; but I think they sound better with ss. They are worth considering for evaluation of high end systems.

I have MBL111 in the study room 1/3 the size of your 40'x24'. Your room is not small and I would say too big for 121 with pink floyd. You need a 111 or better 101 to fill the room with good quality bass.

I listen to rock and classical to volume tend to be larger than normal.

Find a retailer that allow you to test drive it and exchange for upper model within the test drive period. That will be safer.


Your room sounds like a good space for MBLs of any stripe.

If you're going to pass on the sub, I would only note that the 121 is very expensive for a speaker with that low-end rolloff point. That seems like it may not be very important to you, though.

Funny thing is that I heard the MBL line in the same LA demo room as Outlier and can see why he loved 'em and why Stringreen hated 'em. A crushing loud electric guitar solo sounded as 3D, reach out and touch it, in the room real as I've ever heard from a stereo. OTOH, mid-bass was considerably overblown to my ear. The classic 2 sides of the coin.

Thanks for all your comments; they are helpfull in arriving at the next stage of my addiction. I am considering an MBL intergrated amp 7006 or 7008 since there are some deals to be had and they maybe more capable of handling the current needs of the 121's.

Jeff, the real listen area is only 24'x14' which I feel the 121's should fill sufficiently with the ambient sound adequate for the remaining area.

Happy listening

24x14' - then 121 should do but do watch out for later desire to upgrade to full tower.

I know many 121 owner eventually do that and taking a small lose to sell their 121. There are 3 pairs of 121 show up in my city recently because of this reasons.