The Extreme MBL X-Treme

At the previous Shows where I had auditioned it, MBL's extravagantly excessive (or should that be excessively extravagant) X-Treme system had been set-up in inappropriate rooms, Finally, at the 2012 CES, this 4-enclosure system, which basically comprises two of the true omnidirectional upper-frequency modules of the Berlin-based company's 101E Mk.2 speaker (to be reviewed by Mikey Fremer in the April 2012 issue) with two man-sized powered subwoofers, each using six 12" drivers mounted three on each side to cancel mechanically induced vibrations, was set up in a room worthy of it. (The Venetian room was 31' by 22' with a 10' ceiling.) Bi-amped with four file-cabinet–sized MBL 9011 monoblocks—the total system cost was $565,000!—the X-Treme produced a big-bottomed sound that was indeed extreme when required but also delicate when appropriate. Oh my!

K.Reid's picture

First - Let me thank Jeremy Bryan, CEO of MBL North America, Inc., for bringing this outstanding and "unique" system to CES. Participants, who made their way up to MBL's suite on the 34th floor of The Venetian hotel, were certainly treated to an aural experience unlike any other in the Venetian. Everyone who walked into this suite and saw the Xtreme for the first time uttered comments such as  "Wow!", "Awesome!". Some just stood looking with mouths gaped open or big smiles on their faces.  I know I did.  Pictures simply do not do enough justice to this system. It must be seen and musical artist's expression heard through it.

Second - Let me thank Jürgen Reiss, Chief Engineer at MBL, for devoting much of his career to creating this system. Not only is the system beautifully designed and impeccably built, it was obvious that disciplined audiophile ears tuned the sound of the Xtreme. It is indeed world class.

Third - I indicated in the first paragraph that listening to this system is akin to experiencing the artist's expression - as if they were performing in front of me. I meant it. The scale, resolution, unrestricted frequency response, macro and micro dynamics were all there. This is what audiophiles aspire to hear.

Fourth - I played a 24/96 track by Steven Rochlin called Digging Deep. Let's just say that after the track was over - utter silence in the suite. Everyone just sat there in amazement trying to contemplate what they just experienced. For me, it was easy to articulate. It was about as close to the live performance as I have heard.

Fifth - I have one simple recommendation. Jeremy Bryan should approach the MBL Board of Directors and suggest changing company's slogan from "Unique High End Audio" to "The Conduit for Musical Expression" - that's what the MBL Xtreme is.

Jaques Fish's picture

talk about mud flaps, my MBL's got 'em.

tmsorosk's picture

They may sound grand but I can't think of a less atractive looking system.

soulful.terrain's picture


....the MBL 111's in Arctic silver. They would fill my modest space beautifully with sound and looks! They are amazing!

Not to mention the exquisite gear MBL designs.

jdcapshew's picture

I have not heard the X-Treme system yet, cannot afford it and would not have the space for it but I have little doubt it's the best of the best.

I do have MBL 101E's and digital front end at my home, have been through several iterations of 101E's and probably will never go with another brand as long as MBL maintains it's position at or near the top of high end audio gear. 

For years when I was younger I would constantly experiment, be happy for a while and then want to try new gear.  Not anymore.