MBL Radialstrahler 120 Speakers and C41 Player

Now, before we return to Montreal, here's more from the Southwest Audio Fest.

You won't mistake an MBL speaker for any other. No matter what size MBL speakers you buy, you will get the same unique 360-degree dispersion in the highs and mids.

MBL's smallest and most affordable loudspeaker offering is the Radialstrahler 120 ($26,500/pair), which was demoed in Dallas (footnote 1).

MBL also made the electronics running the speakers, specifically the new C41 network player/DAC ($11,100), which also served preamp duties, and two MBL N15 monoblock amplifiers ($20,800 each), each specified at 560W into 4 ohms. Cabling was from Audioquest.

The MBL demo got going with Jeff Cascaro's live track "Tripping Out," which sounded genuinely live via the MBL system. After that came Nouela's ethereal cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence." An attendee listening to the same demo remarked that the speakers truly disappeared: One could not locate them; the illusion of the performer in the room with you is that convincing. Soundstage and imaging were superb.

Next came the uptempo, percussive "Day Is Done" by the Charlie Hunter Quartet. I could close my eyes and imagine I was at a live concert in a jazz club.

Watch the video for a demo of the system in action. For the best experience, use high-quality, full-range headphones.

Footnote 1: See Julie Mullins's review.