mbl N31 DAC – CD player, N11 stereo preamplifier, N15 monoblocks, 120 Radialstrahler hybrid loudspeaker with Wireworld Eclipse Series 8 cabling

Ah, mbl. This time, making music not in its usual large room, but rather in an 11-foot wide space. Mbl North America’s Jeremy Bryan had asked for a larger exhibit room, but none was available. After hearing the havoc wrought by air wall subdividers in many of the Hilton Long Beach’s conference rooms, I think Bryan is lucky to have been refused.

Even with mbl’s second smallest speaker, the 120 Radialstrahler hybrid ($21,400/pair), placed closer to the sidewalls than optimal, this Noble line system sounded great. Timbres were lovely and balance from top to bottom was ideal on an out-take from American Bach Soloist’s recording of Handel’s Messiah. Due to placement constrictions, imagining wasn’t ideal on Cyrus Chestnut and Anita Baker’s “My Favorite Things,” but color and balance were perfection itself. Depth was more palpable on Jane Monheit and Peter Eldrige’s “It’s Only Smoke”—what a fabulous track!—and we really got up close and personal, as well as highly detailed, with Nat King Cole’s “After Midnight.” Impeccable musical selections, superb musicianship, and wonderful sound. Under difficult circumstances, another triumph for mbl.

Doing the honors, with the word “honors” underlined: mbl N31 DAC – CD player ($15,400) , N11 stereo preamplifier ($14,600), and N15 monoblocks ($17,800/each), all connected by Wire2orld Eclipse Series 8 cabling.

RH's picture

Love the MBL stuff.

I always wished for the MBL 101 model but it was waaay out of my price range. Years ago I happened upon a too-good-to-pass-up deal on a pair of MBL radialstrahler 121 monitors. They give me a large helping of the MBL magic.

The MBLs are well know to be beasts to drive, with sensitivity down around 81dB and a fairly challenging impedance curve.

And yet I love the way they sound when paired with my old Eico HF-81 14W tube integrated! Talk about improbable pairings of gear! But that's part of the fun in this hobby, trying things out for yourself.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

How about a Stereophile review of mbl 120 Radialstrahler speakers? :-) ........

RH's picture

I've had my eye on the 120 speakers, which are supposed to be a nice update (and have greater extension) over the previous 121 model.

Would love to see a Stereophile review.

rschryer's picture

"...imagining wasn’t ideal."

Then you need to work on your imagination, Jason. ;-)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Constricted imagination? :-) ........

Graham Luke's picture

...time for a trip to Imagination Land (best South Park song ever)