MBL's New Noble Line

"For Unto Us a Boy is Born" was playing when I looked into MBL’s suite at the Venetian and the sound—open, spacious, uncolored, full-range, musically communicative—on MBL's unique 101E omnidirectional speakers was so appealing, I settled down in the hot set for the rest of the piece from Handel's Messiah. The speakers were being bi-amped by preproduction samples—US availability is scheduled for March—of new models from the German company’s Noble line: N51 integrated amplifier ($17,600), N22 stereo power amplifier ($16,500), with the source the N31 CD player/digital processor ($15,400), all controlled by an elegant motion-sensitive remote. Monoblock amplifiers and a stereo preamplifier will follow.

The N31 features three stages of jitter reduction, with two phase-locked loops for external data: a digital PLL with a corner frequency of 10kHz to give a fast initial lock followed by an analog PLL with a corner frequency of 1Hz to eliminate jitter. There are three digital filter choices for the ESS DAC chip with PCM data, one for DSD data.

I auditioned the 24-bit/88.2k master file for my recent recording of Eric Whitacre's Water Night, performed by the Portland State Chamber Choir conducted by Ethan Sperry, on this system and was astounded at how effortlessly I was transported back into the supportive acoustic of St. Stephen's Catholic Church on Portland’s East Side. One of the best-sounding systems I heard at the 2016 CES.

Anton's picture

If you were to graph the price of the 101 from introduction to present, you would also see a very representative price arc of what we now call "the high end!"

Bkhuna's picture

For Unto Us a Child is Born.

John Atkinson's picture
Bkhuna wrote:
For Unto Us a Child is Born.

I made my performing debut as a boy soprano in The Messiah in December 1959. I should have known better :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

K.Reid's picture

Always an enjoyable time in the MBL Suite. The hosts are gracious and accommodating and the music an experience unlike any other. Just Wonderful.