Two years ago when my toddler was born, I crated my MBL amps, Dali Megaline speakers, etc., and stored the numerous crates and boxes in our extra room awaiting the time when I could safely reassemble the system with a child old enough to appreciate the care that must be taken around such special valuable equipment. Now that I've seen a toddler in action, I realize that time may not be reached until she is 8 or 10, and I don't want to store the equipment until then. As a result, I am selling my MBL 9008A amplifiers. I offer this background to answer in advance the question as to why I am selling the amps if they are so great.
I have had the opportunity to own many of the finest pieces of audio equipment ever produced, and when I purchased the MBL 9008A amplifiers, my search for the "best" audio amplification ended. Each time I turned on the system, I felt happy and satisfied, and to my surprise, this sense of audio perfection continued until the time I disassembled the system 2 years ago.
As shown in the pictures, this pair of MBL 9008A amps are in the piano black finish with gold front plate accents. Both amps are in mint condition with no marks, dings or scratches. I am located in Los Angeles, so a Southern California sale would be preferable, but the amps can be shipped in the lower 48 states at a reasonable cost. Due to the price of these amplifiers, we will need to make special payment arrangements at the time of sale. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
The following observations are taken from Marshall Nack's product review of the MBL 9008A amps in Positive Feedback ISSUE 59, january/february 2012 https://positive-feedback.com/Issue59/mbl.htm
Last night I swapped out the Tenor 175S stereo amp for the mbl 9008A Reference monos. Expectations were two-fold: 1) the specs told a story of vastly more power than the Tenor; 2) I couldn't imagine the solid-state 9008A approaching the hybrid Tenor's tone, not to mention its timbre, which is simply gorgeous. The latter is where I expected a big falloff.
The 9008As were virgin: we broke the seal on the flight case. I figured I wouldn't pay them much mind for a couple of days. But lo, the major
burn-in happened overnight and by the next morning I couldn't help tuning in because the seduction had begun.
In my listening room, the 9008A is smooth and grainless—it doesn't even exhibit a solid-state grain structure. It sounds warmish-neutral and wonderfully full-bodied, with trendsetting, controlled bass that's quite a bit different from most, and sweet, articulated treble. And so quiet—there is virtually no noise floor. Behind it all, you can't fail to note an unmistakable sense of overwhelming power just waiting to express itself.
The 9008A sounds wonderful—no surprise there. It is one of the top three amps I've auditioned, right up there alongside the Tenor 175S and the Soulution 710. OK, now that I've established its pedigree, what I'd like to do is compare the 9008A to its classmates. I figure this will give you maximum insight on how things differ at the top of this price range. (The 9008A MSRP is $60,600; the Tenor is $55,000; the Soulution is $50,000.)
Let's start with item one. Where the Tenor had noticeably more dynamic headroom than the Soulution, I expected the MBL to be another dramatic leap up. My hunch was on the mark, but it turned out to be overstated. Go ahead—put on the big stuff. Let me suggest Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8, a new recording with Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Naxos 8.572392). If you like Shostakovich, you must check out what Petrenko is doing. The unlikely combination of a young Russian at the helm of a second-tier British orchestra has produced what many are considering a “must have” Shostakovich symphony cycle. mbl
Go ahead—crank it up loud. Symphony No. 8 has extended tutti passages. Rather than the occasional whack on the bass drum, it features sustained tympani and bass drum rolls that go on for nearly half a minute at peak SPLs. Try that with your current amp. I'll bet it whimps out, exhausted in short order under this kind of demand. With the 9008A you won't hear dynamic compression or a change in quality. It's the difference between a V8 and a V6 automobile engine. One car may go as fast as the other, but the passengers' experience of the ride is not the same. There is no rattling this amp—it is confident and authoritative. If your thing is massive symphonic forces, the 9008A is what you've been waiting for.
There is no question the 9008A moves ahead of the Tenor. The loudest crescendo fills my room with a quality of dynamic room engagement I have not experienced before. Even though it wasn't the doubling I was anticipating we were cresting at unheard of heights.
The 9008A is not only über powerful, but the quality of these dynamic events is immaculate. Let me explain. I've been listening to a lot of chamber music lately in my quest to discover the desert island recordings of Dvorak's chamber works. One of the things I'm learning about in the process is how variably dynamic markings can be interpreted at the loud end. On many recordings, especially those with younger musicians, they pull out all the stops and go for broke when they see a crescendo marking. The results can be exhilarating, true, but also markedly different in quality from when they play medium or softly. Why can't they just play louder without going nuts?
My current favorite groups, the Leipzig and Prazak quartets, play with a consistency of tone, regardless of the dynamic marking. That means there is no break in quality over the length of the piece.
The 9008A does this, too. When a crescendo is called for, it plays louder; it doesn't change and start to sound like a different amplifier. And within the crescendo, some instruments get louder, while other ones remain at the same dynamic, all per the dictates of the score. It's not like you've turned up the volume and had an across-the-board increase. Loud or soft, there is no hint of stress at any SPL. The 9008A is the ultimate in composed.
The 9008A played games with time. I'm listening to Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire on the CD SALZBURG (DG 477 8570), a live concert recording of their 2009 Salzburg Festival duo piano recital.
Martha lays out the principal theme on Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn by Brahms. The second piano starts up a counterpoint. Both of these events are so discretely elucidated and each instrument's image so isolated on the soundstage as to give the distinct impression of notes coming and going entirely independent of one another. The expanded space between the image artifacts instills a sense of expanded temporal space.
Somehow, time is stretched. They're playing at the appropriate tempo. Decay is fully expressed—the amp is not clipping the tail of the note. What enables this phenomenon?
A big factor may be the 9008A's heavy and consistent application of damping. Any good amp will sufficiently damp the mids on up—I'm used to this in the treble and midrange. What the 9008A does is extend that to the low register, so it is consistent from top to bottom. The 9008A has just as much control over the low end as it has over the midband. In fact, it is 100% in control. There is no smearing and no frequency overhang. This clarity in the low end, in turn, impacts visibility throughout the frequency spectrum. And the damping does wonders for soundstaging.
From the first push of the ON button, it didn't even occur to me to get up and fiddle around with the sound. Fiddle with what? The 9008A satisfies. I stayed put in the listening seat and the 9008A remained as it began, placed alongside each speaker, directly on the carpet, surrounded by Kubala-Sosna cabling, without a third-party footer, an amp stand or power conditioning. The mbl 9008A is truly plug-n-play.
I've been on a roll with a succession of world-class amplifiers. The mbl 9008A Reference joins that group as one of the three best amps I've auditioned. It's been quite a ride. These solid-state mono-blocks are on the accurate side of the fence, but it's an accuracy tempered by many tube-like qualities. The 9008A is in total control. There are no runaway events—consistent damping across the frequency spectrum takes care of that. This does wonders for soundstaging: it is unwavering, ultra precise and clear as a bell. For macro dynamics—the headroom required to pull off symphonic reproduction—the 9008A can't be bettered at this price point. Whatever the signal demand, the mbl 9008A scales magnificently. Its dynamic range was so expansive, the limiting factor became my room. The takeaway is no surprise. The 9008A's voicing was just my cup of tea: everything was happening on an exceedingly high plane and my YG Anat Studio speakers just loved them. Warm and clear—these contradictory adjectives describe the 9008A. With this amp, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Marshall Nack