MBL 101E

jek -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 10:05

Apart from expensive MBL amplification what would be the best mid-priced amps to drive the MBLs , ASR  Emiitter 2 for example?

Tom Martin -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 11:29

This isn't a full survey, but you might read my review of several amps under $10k, which I listened to on the 101e's:
 
http://www.avguide.com/comparative-review/audio-research-3002-class%C3%A...
 
If we're talking cost, though, let's define terms. What is less than "expensive" or "mid-priced"?

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

CH (not verified) -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 11:23

JEK,
    The ASR Emitter 2 is a great start but I would also take a look at the Tidal Impact amplifier, Sovereign Glory and the Soulution 710 power amp. The Soulution I believe is the most expensive out of those but JV gave them a great review. I think the Sovereign has the most power and drive though. The Tidal has a warmth that is very appealing and musical. Hope that helped.

jek -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 13:19

Thanks Tom,
coincidentally I had that issue of The AS to hand and re-read it, it seems that the AR did the job quite well!! Enjoyed the detailed and thoughtful article, especially the matrices. It does seem however that the acid test is prolonged listening to ascertain the most "enjoyable" amp to listen to.
This is what I am going to try to emulate.
CH thanks for your comments, I have since done further research, including HP's essays on the ASR, which I had heard in another context and been impressed. I will be auditioning the new Emitter 2 Exlusive with gold boards and battery pack next week with both the Nola Baby Grands and the MBls. I understand the Soulutions are quite expensive which would probably preclude them, the Tidal Impact is a new one on me. I will attempt to find someone who sells them in the UK.
 
john

jek -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 13:19

Thanks Tom,
coincidentally I had that issue of The AS to hand and re-read it, it seems that the AR did the job quite well!! Enjoyed the detailed and thoughtful article, especially the matrices. It does seem however that the acid test is prolonged listening to ascertain the most "enjoyable" amp to listen to.
This is what I am going to try to emulate.
CH thanks for your comments, I have since done further research, including HP's essays on the ASR, which I had heard in another context and been impressed. I will be auditioning the new Emitter 2 Exlusive with gold boards and battery pack next week with both the Nola Baby Grands and the MBls. I understand the Soulutions are quite expensive which would probably preclude them, the Tidal Impact is a new one on me. I will attempt to find someone who sells them in the UK.
 
john

Tom Martin -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 14:30

I hate to say it, but you will find that the mbl amps do something with the bass that most other amps don't do (obviously I haven't tried them all). The 101e in the bass seems to be very difficult (or revealing?).
 
In the "modestly" priced camp, I would look hard at the Parasound A21 and the Classe M400. Since you're in the UK, I don't know about pricing, but I don't think the ASR's are a trifle. Compare their price to the mbl 9008 (you don't have to have the 9011s, though I don't know your room size and how the 9008 would work in stereo mode) and listen to them both if you can.

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

jek -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 15:23

Hi Tom, I listened to the 101e with the baby MBL monoblocks and the Noble line CD DAC and pre. Very fast accurate but a bit light in the mids and highs. The dealer also had other German CD playback and amplification called Restek, the CD player uses a very old chip and has a remarkably smooth analogue sound, extremely engaging but the big surprise was the minature (almost) 300 watt monos. They drove the 101s easily with very rich mids and highs, strong base and extremely dynamically. All in all a great audi bargain, at least over here, and a presentation every bit as good as the MBL and one which i preferred by no small margin. Sometime this week I will try the ASR Emitter 2 with Akku power supply, having re-read HPs eulogistic essay I am expecting great things!!
cheers
 
john
 

Tom Martin -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 16:03

I'll be interested to hear what you find about the ASR. I've listened to it extensively in HP's system and another, and I'm curious about how its special attributes will work with the 101s. And whether you like them or not, you have the Restek to fall back on (fall up to?).

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

TOGA -- Thu, 02/19/2009 - 12:53

I am also thinking to drive the 101 Mk II with Levinson 436 mono blocks, which produce 700w/ch 4ohm.
Will the Levinsons has enough power to make Mk II sing ?
 
 

Tom Martin -- Fri, 02/27/2009 - 18:09

My experience is the power per se doesn't predict the amp-101e match very well. That is to say, I've used 500 wpc amps that sounded less coherent with the 101s than 200 wpc amps. I would be speculating to suggest what mechanism is at work here. My conclusion is that the Levinson's power is almost certainly adequate if your room is domestically sized, but that you have to hear the amp with the 101es to know if they really work ideally together.

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

jek -- Fri, 02/27/2009 - 17:17

I have now had the ASR Emitter Exclusive with Akku at hope now for 2 days, they have been playing continuously for  that time through my 101E's.
The ASR was my amp of choice over the follwing pre and power combinations. MBL pre 6010D with Tenor HP300 monoblocks, MBL pre with MBL mono's and with Restek mono's ( the runners up) the aSR is harder hitting, faster, more accurate timbrally and temporally with a much deeper and wider soundstage with great separation of instruments and voice. I am told after the initial burn in period of 200 hours it will continue to improve for one year.
While having a very extended top end there is no harshness or sibilance even on the most demanding material played very loudly, bass is fast and tight and very deep.
Put it this way, for the first time I have just listened to 2 Mahler symphonies in a row (4 &2), now I am on TB Sheets, yes it even makes this CD listenable, even enjoyable.
 
This is an exciting and involving amp, I do not posses the vocabulary or talent to adequately express myself in the way TM or JV do so well except to say I have been round the hifi track a few times and have just put the baton down!
 
if anyone is looking for a suitable amp for the 101E's the ASR is, IMHO, a must audition.

Cemil Gandur -- Sat, 02/28/2009 - 05:15

I've heard the 101s beautifully driven by Jeff Rowland amplification a couple of years ago. I later heard the same pair driven by mbl's own amplification and much preferred them with the Jeff Rowland electronics. These were not the Class D ones he is doing now, but heavyweight amps. I don't remember the model though.

curious1 (not verified) -- Sat, 02/28/2009 - 11:59

Any chance of auditioning the 101Es through ASR Emitter II monoblocks? over 2000 watts into 4 ohms... now that should make Mahler sound good!!!

ScottB (not verified) -- Sun, 03/01/2009 - 11:09

 If you take a look at these measurements of the 101e from, uh, some magazine :)
 
http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/1004mbl/index4.html
 
You'll see that the 101e requires not only a lot of power per se, but the ability to deliver a lot of <i>current</i>, out-of-phase, in the bass region. This makes them, overall, about as tough a load as any high-end speaker out there. I auditioned the 101e at length at the dealer where I eventually bought my 116s, and that dealer refused to demo the 101 with anything less than the 1200w/channel McIntosh monoblocks - not for the power rating, but for the current delivery. Many of the less expensive solid state amps aren't particularly strong in current delivery. The Parasound Jc-1s are an exception, as are the Macs, and a few others. Some folks on Audiogon have reported good results using the class D Spectron amps, also.

jek -- Sun, 03/01/2009 - 18:39

I agree Scott, current is the key, this is why ASR is often the amplifier of choice to drive the 101's and Extremes in Germany, the home of both products, a combination of superb sound, current delivery and cost. The ASR is finally my amp of choice, the sound with the 101 is addictive and the power is more than adequate to drive my 30ft x 30ft listening room. I suppose there is always the option of mono blocking them but its not really required and would use up too much space. The 101e is a very special speaker and is the only one that, for me at least, is on a par with Quad ESLs AND MAGGIE 20.1s in terms of openness in the mids and treble, the results are definitely worth the trouble finding the right amp for them.

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