Time with the Big Boys #1: PBN, MR!777 loudspeaker, PBN Olympia amplification, PBN Olympia DX DAC, Kimber Kable

I almost lost my hearing in the PBN room. Well, not quite the room itself. I was approaching the large entranceway to this huge air-walled PBN room on the ground floor when my guardian angels, somewhat like the guardians of the temple in Mozart's The Magic Flute, declared "Zurück! This music is too loud for you to enter."

As I backed away, a huge bass explosion came at me with a force that caused my eardrums to shudder. Within a minute, one of the people in charge of T.H.E. Show arrived to angrily declare that the blast had shaken glass doors all the way around the corner, and that dB limits had to be obeyed. Peter Noerbaek, PBN President, smiled demonically as he proclaimed his innocence, as in a potential customer asked me to do it. Something like that. I was still catching my breath.

The music, it seems, was Roger Waters' Amused to Death. We were not. PBN's 95dB sensitive, 6 ohms nominal impedance MR!777 speakers ($85,000/pair) seem capable of blasts forceful enough to part the Red Sea . . . without distortion. Perfect for a mega mansion on a hill, or an Evangelist trying to cow his flock into submission. Especially if you add in the four optional active bass towers, each with 18" woofers and ICE class-D modules.

Electronics were also PBN's: Olympia Amplification, Olympia phono preamp, and Olympia DX DAC, which uses eight Burr-Brown chips and handles PCM up to 192kHz. Kable was Kimber, which certainly shows what it can do. As for the system as a whole, it imaged surprisingly well, given the huge concrete pillar in the room's center (covered up in the photo by the PBN banner). In addition, dynamics on a 16/44.1 file of Renée Fleming singing Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" were startling, and Jodie DeVos's voice on her rendition of Freddie Mercury's "You Take my Breath Away" was quite beautiful. That the system did so well on smaller fare, and distorted not on the big stuff says a lot.

Anton's picture

We have become our parents.

remlab's picture


All kidding aside, Peter Noerbaek is a brilliant designer

Ortofan's picture

... his new Elac Uni-Fi Reference speakers?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Andrew is presumably at home.

ajones's picture

ELAC had not booked to exhibit at the show. Times were too uncertain when we looked at doing so. It was felt to be too risky given that the exhibitor (me!) is locked in the room all day long with iffy air conditioning and maximum exposure to a large number of folks. I wasn't willing to risk my families health right now. We will see how it goes later in the year. I was however sad I wasn't able to get there and renew friendships in person. Hopefully soon.

Anton's picture

Looks like it wasn’t Jason’s day to watch him!

rt66indierock's picture

Will I be listening to more noise on recordings or can I find some rooms with better recordings?

JenniferMartin's picture

sounded sublime in this room.