MBL 101 X-Tremes

User211

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Is this the room the X-stremes are going into ? What size is it ? He is doing REL subs instead of MBL sub stacks, why ? Limited space ? Cost ? I am looking forward to this install ! :) Did the tubes in the Ayon's blow when they started using them on the MBL's ? I have heard of that happening with even the most powerful tube amps, when trying to drive 101E's.
The Orthos are advanced for tube amps in that they run power on self checks. They will shut down if they fail that.

They also run seriously cool for such huge amps, with 10 KT150 per channel. The KT150s barely get warm.

The trouble is, if you tax them with bass transients, they shut themselves down. In my opinion this happens below the supposed power outputs in triode mode. I spoke to an Ayon technician at Munich about this and he wouldn't say anything about it. That smelt a bit to me.

I think they probably will stay up in 4 Ohm pentode mode if used as I described in my earlier post. In that mode they are 88DB 4 Ohm speakers. Duettas are 86 DB 4 Ohm. Loud in triode mode they might not. Only one way to find out.

They do sound very pleasant but they are not the most dynamic and lively of amps.
 
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caesar

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I think the X-tremes are 250$K with subwoofer stacks, i did not hear about buying them without until today. MBL have demoed them with just a single 9011 per side at their factory before. In theory a single powerful amp like your Dartz can handle each main speaker side, they only have passive crossovers, and are adjustable after the amps. I just checked, Absolute Sound listed the price at $263 K for a complete setup, subs and main speakers.
Hi Lagonda,
What do you think your speakers sound like vs. if one were to add the MBL stacks to them? And also, how do your 101s sound with and without the ML subwoofer panels? Thanks in advance
 

caesar

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i never wrote or inferred that the MBL101's suffered from any buyer's fears about lack of an exit strategy. not at all. it's not the easiest speaker to drive, but not the only speaker like that. plenty buy it and easily sell it. maybe the big MBL amps are a challenge to sell easily......as they are not much sought after by non MBL owners.

OTOH the x-treme's are not only over $200k, but then there are the $100k subwoofers, 4 amps that have to be stout, instead of two, then double speaker and interconnect cables.

it's just a bridge too far for many it seems. the evidence is that we see lots of positives about the performance, but few people talking about owning, and few systems known that use it......compared to other $200k speaker systems.

one has to be thinking $500k retail (whatever that means) to fully optimize them.
Yeah, I hear you... The whole reference system is just shy of $600K, I believe, if one sticks to all MBL. (I use symphonic line and CAT, as I find that combination more organic -sounding and SET-like.)

I find tremendous benefits of bi-amping the 101s: greater transparency, separation, resolution, micro-dynamics, etc., and I would tend to think the Xtremes (about $265K)also need to be bi-amped to bring them to full potential (about $220K new). Their DAC and transport are still incredible and compete with everything our there today (guys who are used to the MBL house sound actually prefer it to the latest dCS, MSB, etc.), even after being out for 10 years or so (about $60K), and so is their preamp (about $30K).

And, of course there are cables, which could also cost over $100K
 
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caesar

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Even I am skeptical/concerned that even the most powerful all tube amps may not be a great choice for the X-Treme.

I don't think one needs to use MBL amps necessarily, but I do think that a solid-state output stage is required or is virtually required. That is why my favorite amps for MBLs are high-power hybrid amps.
Yes, I would tend to agree. I heard a few tubes on the 101s, including the mighty and legendary VTL 750s, and tubes just can't cut it. One may as well get a Soundlab for that type of sound...

Even Ken S. from CAT, whose amps can drive the toughest box speakers well, seems to have quit on the MBL 101... and each X- treme is like a doubled-up 101.
 

adyc

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Yes, I would tend to agree. I heard a few tubes on the 101s, including the mighty and legendary VTL 750s, and tubes just can't cut it. One may as well get a Soundlab for that type of sound...

Even Ken S. from CAT, whose amps can drive the toughest box speakers well, seems to have quit on the MBL 101... and each X- treme is like a doubled-up 101.
I had driven 101e with VAC450 before. Glorious sound. Much better than 9011. It is a myth that 101s require MBL amps to fulfil their potential.
 

caesar

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I had driven 101e with VAC450 before. Glorious sound. Much better than 9011. It is a myth that 101s require MBL amps to fulfil their potential.
Yes, I would love to hear that combo
 

Lagonda

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Hi Lagonda,
What do you think your speakers sound like vs. if one were to add the MBL stacks to them? And also, how do your 101s sound with and without the ML subwoofer panels? Thanks in advance
Regretfully i have not heard the X-treme yet, anything i say is speculation. The MBL subwoofer stacks are tuned to the main speakers, both in driver material and crossover point, i am somewhat confused about their choice of porting the subs, it should not be necessary with the amount of driver surface and amplification available, the mains are not ported, if you use their sub towers with regular 101E's i would recommend disconnecting the 12" drivers in the main speakers. I don't think the difference between a regular 101E and the X-treme main tower will be large at low level, but playing loud, the added midbass surface area will probably mean better dynamics and precision and using more amplifier power will also enhance this effect. The double tweeter/ midrange setup will probably make your seating hight even more crucial than it already is on the regular 101E. I run my sub-towers crossed over at 100Hz without having the sub part of the 101 E's connected, my sub-towers have 16 12" drivers instead of the 12 12 inch drivers MBL are using, but the output level is probably comparable as my towers are sealed enclosures. When i added subs, imaging improved substantially, mid-bass dynamics improved and the db level where the speaker "comes alive' dropped 5-10 db, i now rarely play louder than 83 db C, with average of under 80 db C. This of course is partly because of the added dedicated channels of amplification. Without sub-towers the speakers are harder to drive and need 85-90 db C to really sound good, and the sound is a little brighter and leaner. The sub-tower also add a lot of recording venue information not available without, you hear everything that was accidentally recorded too, like trucks passing on the street outside the venue if it was captured. :)
 
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adyc

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Regretfully i have not heard the X-treme yet, anything i say is speculation. The MBL subwoofer stacks are tuned to the main speakers, both in driver material and crossover point, i am somewhat confused about their choice of porting the subs, it should not be necessary with the amount of driver surface and amplification available, the mains are not ported, if you use their sub towers with regular 101E's i would recommend disconnecting the 12" drivers in the main speakers. I don't think the difference between a regular 101E and the X-treme main tower will be large at low level, but playing loud, the added midbass surface area will probably mean better dynamics and precision and using more amplifier power will also enhance this effect. The double tweeter/ midrange setup will probably make your seating hight even more crucial than it already is on the regular 101E. I run my sub-towers crossed over at 100Hz without having the sub part of the 101 E's connected, my sub-towers have 16 12" drivers instead of the 12 12 inch drivers MBL are using, but the output level is probably comparable as my towers are sealed enclosures. When i added subs, imaging improved substantially, mid-bass dynamics improved and the db level where the speaker "comes alive' dropped 5-10 db, i now rarely play louder than 83 db C, with average of under 80 db C. This of course is partly because of the added dedicated channels of amplification. Without sub-towers the speakers are harder to drive and need 85-90 db C to really sound good, and the sound is a little brighter and leaner. The sub-tower also add a lot of recording venue information not available without, you hear everything that was accidentally recorded too, like trucks passing on the street outside the venue if it was captured. :)
If one looks at the 101X more carefully, midpoint of the tweeters are around 1.0m. It is about the same ear height for a normal sofa. I would say 101X tweeter height is much more friendly than 101e which is quite high.
 

Lagonda

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If one looks at the 101X more carefully, midpoint of the tweeters are around 1.0m. It is about the same ear height for a normal sofa. I would say 101X tweeter height is much more friendly than 101e which is quite high.
I agree, the mid point of the midrange is high on the 101E, to high in near field setting, but once you get above that point, you are OK. The X-treme are more specific because of the double tweeter/midrange setup, if you are seated to high, or standing, the mid-bass will be radiating at you instead.
 

caesar

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Regretfully i have not heard the X-treme yet, anything i say is speculation. The MBL subwoofer stacks are tuned to the main speakers, both in driver material and crossover point, i am somewhat confused about their choice of porting the subs, it should not be necessary with the amount of driver surface and amplification available, the mains are not ported, if you use their sub towers with regular 101E's i would recommend disconnecting the 12" drivers in the main speakers. I don't think the difference between a regular 101E and the X-treme main tower will be large at low level, but playing loud, the added midbass surface area will probably mean better dynamics and precision and using more amplifier power will also enhance this effect. The double tweeter/ midrange setup will probably make your seating hight even more crucial than it already is on the regular 101E. I run my sub-towers crossed over at 100Hz without having the sub part of the 101 E's connected, my sub-towers have 16 12" drivers instead of the 12 12 inch drivers MBL are using, but the output level is probably comparable as my towers are sealed enclosures. When i added subs, imaging improved substantially, mid-bass dynamics improved and the db level where the speaker "comes alive' dropped 5-10 db, i now rarely play louder than 83 db C, with average of under 80 db C. This of course is partly because of the added dedicated channels of amplification. Without sub-towers the speakers are harder to drive and need 85-90 db C to really sound good, and the sound is a little brighter and leaner. The sub-tower also add a lot of recording venue information not available without, you hear everything that was accidentally recorded too, like trucks passing on the street outside the venue if it was captured. :)

Thank you. Amazingly creative solution! Seems like the subwoofer towers are allowing you reduce the required amplifier power, with all of the benefits, and simultaneously excite the proper room nodes for better cancellation of the standing waves in the room so the speakers can really do their thing. I can only wonder what would happen if you bi-amped the speakers.
 

Lagonda

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Thank you. Amazingly creative solution! Seems like the subwoofer towers are allowing you reduce the required amplifier power, with all of the benefits, and simultaneously excite the proper room nodes for better cancellation of the standing waves in the room so the speakers can really do their thing. I can only wonder what would happen if you bi-amped the speakers.
Bi -amping is no longer a option, as the sub-bass part of the passive crossover on the 101 E's and its connections are no longer used. Strangely the connection pins for the low output adjusment(smooth/attack) is working and gives you some adjustability in the midbass of the main speaker.
 

caesar

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Bi -amping is no longer a option, as the sub-bass part of the passive crossover on the 101 E's and its connections are no longer used. Strangely the connection pins for the low output adjusment(smooth/attack) is working and gives you some adjustability in the midbass of the main speaker.
Ahh, I see...

And also, how much did you need to move the bass towers around to find the right placement?
 
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Lagonda

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Ahh, I see...

And also, how much did you need to move the bass towers around to find the right placement?
The crossover i use has phase adjustments, making integration easier, but placement is still very important, and becomes a compromise of minimizing the physical impact that the large towers have on the radiation pattern of the main speaker, and still having the sound of one coherent system, bass at 100HZ is directional and using amplification with the same characteristics on subs and main definitely makes things easier too.
 
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HughP3

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from a random FB feed. says its located in vietnam
 

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spiritofmusic

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FOUR tape machines?!
 

Lagonda

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FOUR tape machines?!
Looks more like 5 or six R2R's o_O You gotta love those people with money in dictatorships and old communists regimes, they really have money and don't shareo_O
 
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spiritofmusic

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I've heard of multi track, but that's ridiculous Lol.
Someone tell Mike Lavigne.
 
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HughP3

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its an itch that wont go away. my wife and i are going to 3ma in Houston for an audition Feb 18. i am so intrigued by this non-traditional design. can they really be as good as Valin says... and my wife asked what if they are
 

Lagonda

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its an itch that wont go away. my wife and i are going to 3ma in Houston for an audition Feb 18. i am so intrigued by this non-traditional design. can they really be as good as Valin says... and my wife asked what if they are
At least you already have a great room that can accommodate them ! :)
 
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