MBL (link) is arguably the most well-known ultra-high-end audio brand in the world. MBL is often seen in the homes and apartments of ultra-high-net-worth individuals. MBL is the premiere one-stop-shop for complete, gorgeous, preconfigured systems, not unlike Warwick Acoustics, albeit at a larger scale with a more posh, bespoke touch (previously reported here), that wouldn’t feel at all out of place in the main living room of a Central Park South penthouse.
Reporting by Jameson Mourafetis
This year, MBL brought their preconfigured RL-03 Reference Line system consisting of the Radialstrahler 101 E MkII loudspeakers, 9011 Monoblock amplifiers, 1621 A CD transport, 1611 F D/A Converter, and the piece they’re arguably most well-known for in the audiophile world on the electronics side, the 6010 D preamplifier. The system also featured a reel-to-reel player from United Home Audio, a D.C. area based dealer of MBL and manufacturer of high-end reel-to-reel decks.
The MBL 101 E MkII loudspeaker chosen for this year’s exhibit fared even better in this medium sized room than the larger flagship 101 X-Treme based system that was demoed last year in a room that I suspect was significantly smaller than it’d typically be placed in. Last year’s system was a tough act to follow, but MBL North America have accomplished just that, and even placed themselves among the audiophile press as a “best-in-show contender.” While imaging is always more diffusive with omnidirectional speakers such as the Radialstrahler, MBL’s imaging is diffusive in a uniquely pleasant, all-enveloping way which combined with their extreme dynamics makes every listening session feel like a top-notch live performance.
Between the meticulous paint finishes on their electronics that could easily be mistaken as the work of Bentley’s Mulliner division and their unique, omnidirectional, Radialstrahler speakers’ drivers (the shiny petal-like bits) are as eye-catching as a Jacob and Co. gyrotourbillon complication. The overall fit, finish, and design aesthetics of the aforementioned perfectly fit into MBL’s fully comprehensive luxury experience which by the way carries through from the initial ordering process all the way to delivery and setup.