Tube amplifiers that really drive MBL 101E's

There may be no interested in re-starting this seven-month-old thread but I thought I'd give it a shot.

1. The CAT JL-3s seem to be a reasonably sure bet.
Has anyone actually compared these CATs to any of the big MBL 9000 series amps in terms of bass performance?

2. I've heard great things about the Berning ZH270 as well (yup, 70 watts).
Consider the Serious VTL Mb450's or the ARC monos
A friend has an early pair of 101b's. He's driving them with the CJ Premier 11A's.

We have found that this particular speaker likes lots of tube watts to open up. I have no experience with the later models.


Paul :-)
"He's driving them with the CJ Premier 11A's."

How many?
Oh oh! My bad!

So sorry......his amps are Premier 8A's.

Sorry for the typo.


Paul :-)
Ken Stevens says the mbl 101E's are stunning when paired with the CAT JL-3s. I am sure it is a heavenly combination. I would be leary of trying to drive those power-hungry speakers with any other tube amp.
The CAT JL-3's seem to be the choice for those who want to drive the 101's with tubes. I just switched from a Rowland 302 on top and 501"s on the bottom to a pair of MBL 9008 monoblocks to drive my 101'E's. As good as the Rowland amps were, the 9008's are a big improverment. I think MBL has done a great job of designing the 9000 series amps just for the 101's. I personally would not want to deal with the heat of any tube amps in my room. I think it would be a great matchup to compare the 9008's with the CAT JL-3.
I had assumed that I would eventually have to get the 9008s but I'm in the market for something much less expensive right now. Thanks for the feedback on the Rowlands.
Yes, it would be great to hear the CATs and the 9008s in the
same system.
I've been listening to a pair of H2O M250 signature monoblocks (solid state, class D) amplifiers for about a week now. I'm very pleased with what I'm hearing and have decided to keep them. I no longer feel the need to get the 9008s but at some point I do look forward to hearing David Berning's OTLs in my system.
Exlibris, please post more on what you are hearing with the H250s and the MBL 101Es! If the H250 can do a really good job with these speakers, it will be something of a revelation...normally the only amps that get recommended are the super-pricey ones, as I'm sure you know.

What other amps have you heard on the 101Es, if any?
Calanctus, the only other amps that I've heard with these speakers are the MBL 9008s. Having said that, I heard them in a completely different system in a completely different room. What I took away from that experience was a sense of: effortlessness, realism, transparency, speed, and incredible macrodynamics (especially below the midrange).
I'm getting all of those qualities in my system with the M250 signatures. Right now I am limited by the size of my room: 18' x 12' x 7'-4" and the fact that it has no acoustic treatments and a bunch of furniture in it. I'll know much more in about 3 months when I move into a dedicated listening room.
My Vac Phi 300 did a very nice job makeing music on the MBL 111e. In my short audition I prefered it to the MBL's biggest badest amp. I liked it better for all the reasons I like tube sound.
I'm currently using a pair of Atma-Sphere MA-2 mkIIIs.
They are best I've heard so far with my 101Es.
We are have been designing and currently building a pair of mono blocks with the intention of having great capabilities of driving MBL's, these will be 250 watts per channel, 450 watt peak, the first pair will be delivered to vetterone shortly.
These amps will have much improved ZH technology, along with new inventions.


Berning Co
Hi Allan,
Congratulations on the new amps!
Do you know if vetterone has tried the big Atmas or the big Joules with his 111s?
I'm not sure if he's tried those other amps, I know he's tried the big MBL amps, Krell and many other solid state amps, I would think the impedance swing on these speakers would give some regular OTL's a challenge, especially for accuracy.

As well, the ease of use and maintenance, low heat, long tube life is something that vetterone is use too.
My understanding is that the MBL 101E presents a pretty flat 4 ohm impedance curve. It dips just below 4 ohms in the midrange and then rises in the lowest frequencies (good for OTLs).
There aren't any big impedance swings on the graphs that I've seen.
The Atma-Spheres are incredibly easy to use and they are bullet-proof. Heat can, however, be a concern.
Oh, I thought they dropped off somewhat in the lower frequencies in the 20hz and lower region but I could be wrong. Depending on the output impedance of the OTL, the flatter the speaker impedance, the better for the amp, any swings can cause some OTL's to act like a tone control, in more difficult loads, cause them to oscillate, which the Bernings are not prone too.

Ease of use of course is subject to interpretation, true auto bias (60 times a second), brown out, surge, short and DC protection, all auto correcting and not to mention decades on tubes.

We had a gentleman send us back a amp we made in 1975 just for a check up, still with the original tubes, checked out fine and shipped back with the same tubes, that's our interpretation of bullet proof :)

Vetterone should have his amps in the next couple months, keep in touch with him and see what happens, maybe you can fly out to his place.
The MA-2 is full power to 1 Hz. The impedance curve of the MBL has no severe dips and is actually an easy load as far as the MA-2 is concerned.