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mbl Radialstrahler speakers

10898 Views 33 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  mmiles
Anyone here own Radialstrahler speakers?

I'm interested in looking into the mbl 111 E or mbl 116 (front) and the mbl 111 RC (center) for my HT, but I'd have to schlep up to NJ to actually hear them.

I've read glowing show reviews about the mbl 101 E (their reference speaker), and a AVS search I did found a couple of people who have "heard" them -- but is there anyone who actually owns any of the Radialstrahler models, or has spent a significant amount of time listening to them?

I'd be driving them with Krell 450 Mcx monoblocks and HTS 7.1 processor.

Any informed comments will be appreciated. Thanks.
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IMO the 101E is an exceptional speaker for the price. In fact the MBL room at CES every year is one of the best at Alexis Park. The 101E is truly holographic. The soundstage is as good behind it as in front of it.
Originally Posted by oneobgyn
IMO the 101E is an exceptional speaker for the price. In fact the MBL room at CES every year is one of the best at Alexis Park. The 101E is truly holographic. The soundstage is as good behind it as in front of it.

Is it also an exceptional speaker regardless of price? Aside from the holographic quality (which is what I'm looking for), any other comments you could make about the sound? Their "petal" driver design of vertical lamellas around an axis is radically different from all other speakers (piston-driven cones or planar elements) -- does it re-create sound with convincing realism? Does it impart any undesirable or artificial qualities to the sound? Thanks.
I have no comments about the sound but think they may just be the most beautiful speakers ever created.
as I stated, the sound is exceptional and yes dramatically different than any other speaker you have ever seen or heard.

No artificial coloration IMO

At CES they play it with the MBL preamp, amps and front end gear. The value of this alone approaches $300K. It is always a show stopper at CES
They really are exceptional to see. I agree with QQQ on this one. This is a speaker that you listen to with the lights on as it is such a conversation piece
BTW, at CES every year the demo 101E is always for sale by the distibutor at the end of the show at an incredible saving off MSRP
I heard the 101E's, I believe it was, at CES a few years ago. It's been a while, but I do remember a few things.

First, they can play LOUD. Painfully loud with very little distortion. They have killer bass, and look fantastic. The imaging and soundstaging seemed very natural. I didn't feel like it was pinpoint precise like you'd expect from Wilson or other high-end companies, but I've never felt that imaging that precise was natural to begin with, personally.

My only complaint about the speakers was that they seemed to have a metallic twinge to the sound. Reading the review posted over on Stereophile.com, you'll see that JA noticed the same thing and solved it by removing the metal cages. It didn't seem to be a problem (in my mind) except at high volumes, and even then it is apparently easily solved.

So go, audition them, buy them, and let people come over and wonder where you got those weird modern Japanese floor lamps from.

It was indeed 2 years ago at CES that you heard the 101E's when you were with me and my friends. We kept coming back to that room to hear it over and over. Loud is putting it mildly.

They kept playing a track from an album by The Blue Man Group. Bear in mind that their amps which were used were exceptional at $90K
Well my interest is definitely piqued -- if they sound as good as everyone says, I think these might be the speakers for me. I'll have to get up and audition them soon.

So.... I guess my question is: why doesn't anyone (at least here) own them? Many people here spend a lot more than $47K for a pr of speakers, and as oneobgyn said, they're "an exceptional speaker for the price." Is the sound a little "too" different for people's tastes? Or is it just that not many people have actually heard them? Or is no one into the 'Japanese floor lamp' look? ;)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with their sound. It is exceptional. Bear in mind that it is a German made company and hence not a mainstream product here in this country as there aren't as many dealers. You could do a whole lot worse with other choices for the money.
TOO bright sounding for my taste. Sound alot like horn loaded tweeters. And the same for the MBL amps/preamps. I find most German electronics/speakers to sound heavily on the analytical side.

They were at CEDIA and were chasing away as many as they were attracting. Myself and those with me were cringing as we were trying to get out of the room. way too loud and metallic.
at this years CES, the MBL room was the only room where after every demo of the 101s, the audience clapped. in terms of speakers at CES, my top two were the mbls and the new quads.
I remember hearing the MBL room at CES last year, and also was impressed by the quality of the sound. I remember listening to the Blue Man Group CD, from which I recall sharp attack, prodigious bass and overall well balanced presentation of the sound. Very different experience than the 2 ch conventional speaker sound. Not sure if after some number of hours of listening whether I would fatigue with the MBL sound or not.
Originally Posted by tzucc
Not sure if after some number of hours of listening whether I would fatigue with the MBL sound or not.
Unless you have cast iron ears, I think you'd fatigue from listening to the Blue Man Group "after some number of hours of listening" regardless of the speakers.... :cool:
I have the MBL set up for home theater system. I use Theta Digital surround processor Casablanca III with extreme dacs and for main channels I use Generation VIII. I don't have the MBL101D, their flagship speaker as I felt MBL111E sounded good enough. MBL101D requires huge current to drive as they are very inefficient. For MBL101D to sound good you need their gidzillion dollar MBl 9011 amplifier(One huge chassis with two amplifiers built in). I went with MBL9007 amplifier and it does a good job with MBL111E. Perhaps MBL9008 would have been a better choice but price difference was too much. The key with these speakers is amplfiers ability to delivery current at 4 ohm load of these 84db spl/1 watt inefficient loads. More power you can deliver, better these speakers sound. My friend has MBL111E as his main audio system with Wolcott refernce tube amplfiers and that combo rocks as well.

I completely disagree with Allen who posted these speakers and electronics sound too bright(perhaps the electronics were not broken in). If anything, high frequency is a tad bit dull for my taste. These speakers are diffinitely not on the cold side nor warm at least with MBL9007 that I feel is as neutral as you can get. I suppose if you throw some tube or McIntosh amps at it, it might sound on the warm side and if you throw something like Parasound JC1, it would make it sound on the cold side.

One thing for sure is that given good amplification, these speakers endow you with wonderful dynamics, gorgeous midrange clarity, huge soundstage and rock solid imaging. You can walk away from the center sweet spot in either direction and placement of sound sources on the stage will not shift as if you are in the live performance environment. Male and femal vocals just float in the air and you can picture the performer on the stage. Omni directional nature of these speakers for surround sound makes for an unbelievable sounding home theater. You defimitely need good pair of subwoofers with MBL111E as it is a bit shy on the very low octave bass response. I use pair of Martin Logan Descent subwoofers that seems to match well due to its well controlled fast and tight bass.

For my main audio system iin a seperate room, I use Dynaudio Evidence Temptation which I consider to suit my taste better for dedicated stereo listening which tends to be strictly classical music. These speakers have amazing ability to portray strings which I do not hear with MBL111Es when I compared them. However, I consider MBL111E to be better suited for home theater application due to the omni directional nature of the speakers which solidly places images of the surround tracks and its uncanny realism in everything but the extremes of the audio frequency range which is not that important in home theater.
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Well, I've got the MBL 101e's. I used to have Dynaudio Temptations. If you want an open discussion, I'm glad to post my impressions. If you want to PM me, that's fine too.

David Shapiro
Originally Posted by David Shapiro
Well, I've got the MBL 101e's. I used to have Dynaudio Temptations. If you want an open discussion, I'm glad to post my impressions. If you want to PM me, that's fine too.

David Shapiro
Just curious, what amps are you using to drive the MBL101E's with? My friend who also has MBL111E said that to his ears, MBL111E sounded better than flagship MBL101E with the same MBL9008 amplifier if you discount the bass. Have you heard MBL111E and how do you characterize the difference in sound besides the obvious deeper bass of the MBL101E.

How do you characterize the difference between your MBL101E and Evidence Temptation you had?
I've heard the 101's several times and always found them to very intriguing. As has already been stated, they are amazing at throwing up three dimensional images and the bass is incredibly powerful.

My question for the owners is, how hard are they to place?

Given that they are omnidirectional, how important are the absorptive/reflective elements behind and beside the speakers? Each demo I've heard them in, they were very far out into the room with the sidewalls at least 15-20' away.


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