One single MBL 111B Omni Directional loudspeaker single this is a virtually perfect center channel speaker perfect with conventional or with other MBL speakers:
One owner, Grill missing one mounting pin but works with the condition being a 6/10 and the speaker being a 7/10 in very nice pre owned condition and/ready for you to enjoy and a great opportunity to own MBL and a Omni directional speaker in your system.
Sidebar 1: Specifications
omnidirectional, floor standing loudspeaker.
carbon-fiber omnidirectional bending-mode tweeter; 12-segment
carbon-fiber omnidirectional bending-mode upper-midrange unit; two 5"
(130mm) alloy-cone lower-midrange units; 12" (300mm) metal-cone woofer
in separate bandpass enclosure.
Crossover frequencies: 105Hz, 600Hz,
Crossover slopes: fourth-order Linkwitz-Riley. Acoustic center:
43" (1090mm) from floor.
Frequency range: 20Hz-40kHz. Sensitivity:
81dB/W/m. Nominal impedance: 4 ohms.
Maximum power handling: 320W
continuous, 500W peak. Maximum SPL: 106dB (conditions not specified).
Dimensions: 45.7" (1160mm) H (51.2", 1300mm with cover) by 16" (400mm) W by 16" (400mm) D. Weight: 132 lbs (50kg) each.
Finishes: Standard: satin black, satin silver, satin beech. Available at extra cost: piano black gloss, diamond arctic silver gloss.
Price: $17,000/pair. Approximate number of dealers: 8.
Einemstrasse 20A, 10785 Berlin, Germany. Tel: (49) 030-8518074. Fax:
(49) 030-8518062. US distributor: MBL North America, Inc., 263 West End
Avenue, Suite 2F, New York, NY 10023. Tel: (212) 724-4870. Email: [email protected]. Web: www.mbl-northamerica.com.
Stereophile John said:
MBL 111B loudspeaker
John Atkinson | Aug 18, 2002
It was almost five years ago that I first spent some serious
auditioning time with an omnidirectional two-piece speaker from German
manufacturer MBL: the four-way MBL 111. When I reviewed the 111 in the
April 1998 Stereophile, I had been extremely impressed with the
speaker's stereo imaging, which was superbly stable and well-defined,
with images that floated completely free of the speaker positions. The
tonal balance was also excellent, with a rich midrange, superbly clean
highs, and extended lows. "This Radialstrahler is one of the best
tweeters I have experienced," I wrote. In fact, the 111 was let down
only by bass frequencies that tended to lag behind the music slightly.
in all, the original 111 was a favorite speaker of mine, so when MBL of
America's Peter Alexander contacted me about reviewing its successor, I
needed little persuading.
Doing it differently
The very strange-looking MBL 111B features upper-frequency drive-units resembling an array of orange segments. Each Radialstrahler
uses a magnet/voice-coil "motor," but this is arranged vertically
rather than horizontally. The voice-coil is fastened to the ends of a
number of vertical petallike elements, these arranged in a circle around
a central sphere. Each "petal" is fixed to a cap at its other end. As
the coil moves up and down in response to the electrical signal, the
petals are forced to bend in and out, producing sound in a manner
analogous to the ideal "pulsating sphere." Because of the circular array
of petals, there is no preferred axis, implying an omnidirectional
To complement the omnidirectional radiation
pattern in the high frequencies, the original 111 used a single midrange
driver firing upward into a conical diffuser. This has been replaced in
the 111B by a pair of 5" units placed on the sides of the cabinet. (All
that can be seen on the front, where you'd expect to see a drive-unit,
is a brass styling disc.) While this placement may seem perverse, the
small radiating diameter of these units and the low frequency at which
they hand over to the upper-midrange Radialstrahler mean that they still radiate a full complement of midrange frequencies to the front of the speaker.
As in the 1997 version, low frequencies are handled by a separate
woofer enclosure housing a 12" metal-cone unit made by MBL. This
energizes an internal cavity that in turn radiates sound from two
2"-diameter flared ports at the unit's base. Because the wavelengths of
sound below are enormous compared with the size of the radiating
ports—greater than 10' vs 2"—the 111's low-frequency driver is inherently omnidirectional.
Electrical connection is via two pairs of binding posts. As I've come
to expect from MBL, the 111B's fit and finish are superb (the review
samples had a gloss-black finish). The 111 had featured an array of four
rods that continued the pyramidal styling upward to meet at a
gold-plated metal diffuser. The 111B replaces the rods with a
substantial perforated metal hood or grille that clips into place over
the bending-wave driver. Sturdy spikes are supplied to couple the
speaker to the floor.
The upper-frequency enclosure is also
available as a center-speaker version, the MBL 111RC, for $5800 each.
The passive bandpass woofer enclosure can be replaced by a less
expensive active woofer.
Jürgen Reis, had warned me that the 111B sounded its best with the
spikes fitted and without the grille. But to get a baseline on the
speaker's performance, I did my preliminary auditioning with the grilles
in place and the speakers' broad feet resting directly on the carpet.
The listening axis recommended by MBL's informative handbook is a quite
high 43" from the floor. However, I didn't notice much change in tonal
balance as long as my ears were somewhere around the height of the
higher-frequency omnidirectional drive-units.
Setup was a little
problematic: the exact balance between the low treble and the top two
octaves was very dependent on both the room acoustics and the distance
between the omni drivers and the room boundaries. In a sparsely
furnished room with lively acoustics, it's possible that the 111Bs might
sound tilted-up. After some experimentation, I ended up with a
high-frequency balance that sounded neutral, if rather laidback, but the
sound got distinctly brighter when I moved to the speakers' sides—which
emphasizes the need for the sidewalls in the vicinity of the speakers
to be fairly well-damped.
Once I'd got the speakers optimally positioned in my room, the most
immediately obvious difference between the MBLs and the Wilson Audio
Sophias that had preceded them (review in last month's issue)
was how insensitive they were. The volume control of my Mark Levinson
No.380S preamplifier had to be set around 10dB higher than it had with
the Wilsons to get the same listening level. I wouldn't use less than a
100Wpc amplifier with the 111Bs.
Bass was obviously well-extended,
but without the spikes, the 111B's low frequencies again lagged a bit
behind the music's pulse. On piano, for example, the left-hand register
had a somewhat "hummy" quality—not unpleasant, but not realistic.
Fitting the spikes did a lot to cure this problem, the leading edges of
bass piano notes coming into better balance with the body of their tone.
But with the spikes cleaning up the low-frequency register, I became
more bothered by the MBL's behavior at the other end of the spectrum.
While the level of the high frequencies seemed natural, their quality
was a little hashy. Without being balanced by the hummy pre-spike lows,
this hashy quality became irritating.
Visiting friends were
commenting on this problem, so it seemed an ideal opportunity to remove
the grilles. We were listening to "Mexico," from James Taylor's superb
1993 Live album (Columbia C2K 47056), and to say our jaws dropped when I took the Nu-Vista CD player
out of Pause is no exaggeration. Not only did the hashy quality vanish
with the 111B au naturel, but there was now an airy freedom to the upper
octaves that was pure magic. The speaker looks distinctly unfinished
without its grille, but that's a price I willingly pay to get such
And with spikes and without a grille, the MBL 111B's
balance was seamless from bottom to top, with no sense of any
discontinuities between the four different drive-units. At Home
Entertainment 2002, Stereophile columnist John Marks had pressed a CD of Morten Lauridsen's luminous work for chorus and orchestra, Lux Aeterna
(RCM 19705), into my hands. As John described in his "Records To Die
For" entry last February (pp.71-72), the work begins with an orchestral D
chord "six octaves tall." Via the MBLs, the depth of that chord in both
pitch and spatial dimensions raised the hairs on the back of my neck,
just as John had predicted it would.
The clarity of the grilleless 111Bs was addictive. During the review period, I was listening to some trial mixes for Against the Dying of the Light,
the new CD from choral group Cantus, scheduled to be released in the
fall (footnote 1). As I have in all of my two-channel recordings, I used
two different pairs of mikes for this project: spaced omnis for natural
tonal balance and a feeling of envelopment, and ORTF cardioids for
imaging precision. The trick in post-production is to balance the levels
of the two pairs and bring them into time alignment to preserve all
three aspects of sound quality. When the 111Bs had their grilles on, the
time alignment didn't work the magic I was expecting from my experience
with past recording projects. With the grilles off, and when the time
alignment was just right, the sense of focus was unambiguous.
Despite the reputations some omnis omnidirectional speakers have for
unstable stereo imaging, the 111Bs' soundstage was well-defined. Yes,
although James Taylor's voice in the live CD mentioned earlier hung in
the space between the speakers in a most palpable manner, I could hear
slight changes in the exact position of his voice depending on the pitch
of the notes being sung, presumably because of the different
contributions of room reflections at different frequencies. But on the
solo disc of Bob Dylan's The Bootleg Series Volume 4: Live 1966
(Columbia C2K 65759), the opening up of the soundstage as the mono Nagra
recording of "Desolation Row" is spliced into the three-track stereo
recording for the last verse was easily audible.
low sensitivity, the MBLs played loud without strain, the dynamic limit
set by some graininess creeping in in the upper mids rather than any
feeling that the speaker was running out of headroom. And like some
other Class A speakers, not only did loud instruments get louder when I
turned up the volume (Duh!), but the dynamic contrast between those loud
instruments and the softer ones also increased. In "The Division Bell"
from Pink Floyd's live Pulse set (Columbia C2K 67064), the song
opens with a tolling bell at stage left and another, quieter bell closer
to the center. As the song builds in intensity and loudness, the bells
become masked, but after the post-cathartic climax, they re-emerge. Via
the MBLs—compared with the Sophias or the Revel Studios—I
could swear the bells took longer to become inaudible at the start of
the song, and reappeared earlier. Extra treble energy in the room, or
simply superb resolving power? Hard to say, but I liked what I heard.
"Doing It Differently," I wrote for this month's main cover line. But
even as it does it differently, the MBL 111B's goal is the same as that
of all high-quality loudspeakers: wide dynamic range; superb extension
at both frequency extremes; a neutral, musically communicative midrange;
clean, grain-free highs; and stable, accurately defined imaging. These
German speakers can certainly reach those goals—providing you drive them
with a powerful amplifier and stow their grilles well away from the
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