Ah, mbl. This time, making music not in its usual large room, but rather in an 11-foot wide space. Mbl North America’s Jeremy Bryan had asked for a larger exhibit room, but none was available. After hearing the havoc wrought by air wall subdividers in many of the Hilton Long Beach’s conference rooms, I think Bryan is lucky to have been refused.
Even with mbl’s second smallest speaker, the 120 Radialstrahler hybrid ($21,400/pair), placed closer to the sidewalls than optimal, this Noble line system sounded great. Timbres were lovely and balance from top to bottom was ideal on an out-take from American Bach Soloist’s recording of Handel’s Messiah. Due to placement constrictions, imagining wasn’t ideal on Cyrus Chestnut and Anita Baker’s “My Favorite Things,” but color and balance were perfection itself. Depth was more palpable on Jane Monheit and Peter Eldrige’s “It’s Only Smoke”—what a fabulous track!—and we really got up close and personal, as well as highly detailed, with Nat King Cole’s “After Midnight.” Impeccable musical selections, superb musicianship, and wonderful sound. Under difficult circumstances, another triumph for mbl.
Doing the honors, with the word “honors” underlined: mbl N31 DAC – CD player ($15,400) , N11 stereo preamplifier ($14,600), and N15 monoblocks ($17,800/each), all connected by Wire2orld Eclipse Series 8 cabling.
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