Scansonic MB 3.5 review and interesting background info.

So I scored a set of these beauties for a fantastic price and have been enjoying their tremendous speed and thunderous low end. For a small set of floor standers, these really pack a punch! They replaced my Sonetto bookshelves and are now the new, happy partner of my NAD M10 streamer / amp. What a great combo!

Loving the look of my new setup and the full bodied and sharp sound. I love the treble on these, it's sharp and resolving, without any hint of fatigue (just like the Sonus Fabers). Imaging is great and surprisingly, placement hasn't been as much of an issue as I expected from all the reviews. Love the flexibility to position these with side firing woofers facing in/out to better suit my space.  Since I bought these used, I assume that all the breaking-in is behind me.

Naturally I have been researching these speakers well before I bought them and noticed that they seem to be quite controversial. I have the older, non B version and I have been especially interested in the difference between the old and new versions. There is scant detail about the real world performance differences so some of you may find my findings quite interesting.

So allegedly their creator, Michael Borrensen got let-go/quit Scansonic / Raidho for failing to produce speaker designs fast enough and because of his disagreements with the management about their upgrade policy. Borrensen went on to form his own namesake company Borrensen Acoustics ( I would love to own a pair of these! Maybe someday... )

Meanwhile, Scansonic released a new version of the MB line with the suffix B. Allegedly this new version is much better than the original, with better "low loss spiders" and new, ported speaker design. How much better? Well not exactly clear. I did find a lab report here though:

According to the report the new B series have up to 4 less db in efficiency than the originals and are VERY challenging to drive with resistance dipping to below 2 ohms... The bass response is actually LESS POWERFUL than the original (albeit digs deeper) and as a result the highs have a noticeable, shelved up response! True, this makes the new version "easier to place" because of the reduced (bass) efficiency. But is that really an improvement? What gives?

So the devil is in the details. 

The previous design seems to have been an APERIODIC design. To those who are unfamiliar, aperiodic design is basically the amalgamation of a sealed and ported design. Where the port is constricted. This allows the cabinet to be much smaller than a traditional ported design while still enjoying greater bass response than a sealed enclosure and faster / tighter than a ported design ( Sonus Faber Olympica series uses the same principle ). 

So this brings us back to the lab report I linked to above. The new B series Scansonic appears to be a flawed design in a half-hearted attempt to improve the work of a master. The issue with the new design is: while they converted the enclosure to ported, they didn't actually increase the cabinet size to provide the needed internal volume. Which naturally reduces the efficiency of the bass drivers. Hence the loss of 4db in efficiency and shelved up treble. This also conveniently increases "ease of placement" (reduced bass duh) and "reduced break-in time" -  ( less damping duh ). 

In closing. I'm not sure that the MBB series of Scansonic speakers are an improvement over the original. To those who are interested in snagging a set, give the older MB model a consideration.

I am really enjoying mine!
I have a pair of MB5B'S. I cannot comment on the originals from experience. But my understanding from what I have read is that the B's have a bit more of a neutral response. I would love to get more people talking about them as there is such a small amount of information from owners.