MBL 101E Mk II Speaker

Over a year ago, I profiled the amazing 101 X-treme speaker system from MBL. If you don't have a quarter-million dollars or a floor capable of supporting its 3600-pound bulk, consider the newly refined 101E Mk II.

Like the 101 X-treme, the 101E Mk II is based on MBL's Radialstrahler design, in which the drivers are segmented ovoids that vibrate in and out, sending sound waves in all directions. In the 101E Mk II, the high, mid, and mid-low frequencies are reproduced by three separate ovoids as shown here, while a 12-inch cone subwoofer handles the deep bass in a ported cabinet that forms the base of the speaker, resulting frequency range from 24Hz to 40kHz. Among its refinements are new bass drivers that offer more control, an improved upper midrange, a new subwoofer cabinet design, and new crossover technology.

As Michael Fremer wrote in his review of the original 101E for Stereophile, "The 101Es are tricky to set up, and when everything's not right, they're not fun to listen to...But when they and all of the associated equipment were right, the sound—and it's a big sound—floated effortlessly in three-dimensional space as with no other speaker in my experience." I have no doubt that the Mk II is no less impressive—and probably even more so—as it should be for $67,200/pair.

Lester Greenberg's picture

I remember walking into a wonderful Department store in Berlin - yes, a department store - and seeing an entire MBL system set up but connected. But there were prices (of course) and I believe the system ran around 175,000 Euro. But you could not listen to it!

Norm's picture

This is the only loudspeaker system I've ever heard (and I've listened to the best from Wilson, Mar tin Logan, Apogee, B&W, Cello, etc.) where the three dimensional space never broke down as you moved from the sweet spot. If one wants more than one listener at a time to hear the soundstage in their own environment, this is the only game in town.

Rolando Cordero's picture

I have heard several versions of the 101, the first time during WCES 1995, the last time during WCES 2000, and as of today I have not heard any speakers as impresive, by far, as these ones. Also, during 1999 I saw but not heard the MBL system at department store, I think it was call Galeria Kaufhof. I think the next best speakers are Magneplanars from Magnepan.