VAC 452 iQ review in Stereophile

An extremely enthusiastic subjective review by Michael Fremer - the kind of review that makes people say "I want them!" - followed by a measurement sections showing disappointing very poor measurements of signal to noise ratio by John Atkinson. Should we conclude that poor SNR improves sound quality? ;) The recent review of the new Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum HD line preamplifier also shows a similar behavior - much improved sonics compared to the previous version, but extremely poor measurements of signal to noise ratio, much worst than the ones of the previous model.
 

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bonzo75

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And some people just have to trow tubes at anything indiscriminately :rolleyes:
They are too opinionated and biased. It is not about the actual sound they hear
 
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May 30, 2010
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always enjoyed MBL 101's. my only quibble seemed to be that they were not happy at moderate SPL's, and needed to be played just slightly louder than my comfort level to get traction. i have never been the one with the remote in my hand in those cases, so likely living with them is different.

easy to understand their attraction.
Very true. I had to get rid of them because at that time I lived in a condo and neighbors would not appreciate them! The other great sounding speaker I owned that had this problem was the Sonus Faber Extrema (original model). Every time an used pair shows at our distributor I feel tempted, but wisdom wins!
 
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Yes, and add to that a metallic "sheen" to the sound that once heard cannot be unheard. So despite their apparent transparency and room filling soundstage they simply have this coloration that I could not live with.
Only in inappropriate systems or rooms. That characteristic sheen is really horrible, but once we managed to get rid of it they sound magnificent. I once was trying amplifiers with the 101b with the help of a friend and, for example, at that time in my room a Krell sounded metallic, but a french amplifier that was not very expensive sounded sweet and full bodied with plenty of presence. Apologies I can't remember the brand.
I must say that I never listened to a decent show demo of them - the best I listened was in an acquaintance room completely paneled with natural wood.

Cables were also very important - the old Straightwire Virtuoso SS was my choice at that time.
 
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bonzo75

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YBA?
 

Lagonda

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Only in inappropriate systems or rooms. That characteristic sheen is really horrible, but once we managed to get rid of it they sound magnificent. I once was trying amplifiers with the 101b with the help of a friend and, for example, at that time in my room a Krell sounded metallic, but a french amplifier that was not very expensive sounded sweet and full bodied with plenty of presence. Apologies I can't remember the brand.
I must say that I never listened to a decent show demo of them - the best I listened was in an acquaintance room completely paneled with natural wood.

Cables were also very important - the old Straightwire Virtuoso SS was my choice at that time.
I have used Virtuoso too, but prefer Crescendo 2, even the Original Crescendo are a little tame in my system. Older Krell amps have a metallic sheen in the treble that you don’t hear on electrostatics like Martin Logan, but need taming on MBL’s.
 
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Lagonda

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Ha, funny...except I have ONLY heard them with the big MBL monos...:rolleyes:
You where just missing your tubes, if Ron’s car ran out of battery he would insist they used a tube device to charge it. You would insist they use a SET charger ;)
 
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You where just missing your tubes, if Ron’s car ran out of battery he would insist they used a tube device to charge it. You would insist they use a SET charger ;)
Well, there is a well known turntable that uses tubes to drive the motor ... ;)
 

cjfrbw

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You where just missing your tubes, if Ron’s car ran out of battery he would insist they used a tube device to charge it. You would insist they use a SET charger ;)
Where do I buy this device?
 

Lagonda

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Well, there is a well known turntable that uses tubes to drive the motor ... ;)
One of my phono stages even uses tubes in the power supplies ! It’s being repaired again :rolleyes:
 

Lagonda

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caesar

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I have had these speakers for years and never heard any metallical coloration. Don’t even know what it is.

get great transparency to musical performance, electrostatic clarity in the midrange, but better on the extremes... near horn dynamics... just pure joy

They do need a room with a lot of absorptive and reflective surfaces. If the room is not up to par, it’s bad news... a lot of guys use SMT wings to delay the waves that come from alll over and help with imaging ...

amp-wise, if someone doesn’t use MBL amps because of Ss allergies, cost, or something else, the consensus best is symphonic line kraft, which is the least ss sounding amp ever...may be used with a tube preamp, which is a great thing to many.., the others amps sound soft and can’t get the melon to sound right.. most amps sound like a pussy....and I’ve lifted a lot of amps before , screwed over my back, cut my hands... just knocked off the toe nail on the big toe... hurts like a b!tch, ouch!!!

like everything else , it’s about personal preference in this hobby. Things move you or don’t.
 

Lagonda

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I have had these speakers for years and never heard any metallical coloration. Don’t even know what it is.

get great transparency to musical performance, electrostatic clarity in the midrange, but better on the extremes... near horn dynamics... just pure joy

They do need a room with a lot of absorptive and reflective surfaces. If the room is not up to par, it’s bad news... a lot of guys use SMT wings to delay the waves that come from alll over and help with imaging ...

amp-wise, if someone doesn’t use MBL amps because of Ss allergies, cost, or something else, the consensus best is symphonic line kraft, which is the least ss sounding amp ever...may be used with a tube preamp, which is a great thing to many.., the others amps sound soft and can’t get the melon to sound right.. most amps sound like a pussy....and I’ve lifted a lot of amps before , screwed over my back, cut my hands... just knocked off the toe nail on the big toe... hurts like a b!tch, ouch!!!

like everything else , it’s about personal preference in this hobby. Things move you or don’t.
Wait mine are starting to sound metallic ! No it’s just the lifelike shimmer of cymbals from the 2 drummers playing on Willie Nelson’s “Teatro” ;)
 

bonzo75

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Wait mine are starting to sound metallic ! No it’s just the lifelike shimmer of cymbals from the 2 drummers playing on Willie Nelson’s “Teatro” ;)
Maybe try SETs and play at 70 db instead it might sound like the violin Brad had recorded
 

cjfrbw

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Maybe some OTL amps with 300 separate 45 tubes per channel will make those MBLs sing with tube-a-ciousness!

The first MBL demo I ever heard was with Jadis tube amps. It sounded OK. MBL is hit or miss at shows, but I did hear a magnificent demo at CAS several years ago with the full bore MBL array of amps and components.
 
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the sound of Tao

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And some people just have to trow tubes at anything indiscriminately :rolleyes:
I do usually try to aim for the less vulnerable bits when I’m in a tube throwing fit ;)
 
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Ron Resnick

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. . . MBL is hit or miss at shows . . .
I have had a different experience. I think that Jeremy Bryan's demos in Los Angeles (with Greg Beron's amazing UHA tape machine and SMT acoustic treatment) are extremely consistent and always fantastic (if a bit too loud).
 
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adyc

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All depends on speaker choice ..Efficiency and impedance curve / dip .
I ve said it 10000 times what you wanna see is a graph of the impedance related to freq , 20 hz - 20 khz .nominal doesnt tell shit
Plus a honest measured efficiency , i d rather trust the stereophile measurements .
I believe lagonda has the mbl radialstrahlers which are a prime example .
Efficiency of 81 db and a impedance dip to 3.8 ohms which is not too bad actually
To get reasonable dynamics out of such a design is extremely hard and requires enourmous amounts of power .
And even then it will not have the dynamics of a good designed high eff. Speaker .
My listening sessions lately of magico Q 5 only confirmed that
Slow speaker constrained dynamics .


Ps i am aware the radiastrahlers can obviously do things a standard cone cant , im not dismissing anything
MBL 101E is the most dynamic speaker I ever
Yes that’s what happens when i underdrive them with most tube amps, or place them in a to small room ;)
I agree. My room is a bit small. So MBL 101 does not work quite well. But still to me, MBL is the best speaker I ever owned. I will definitely get a pair of MBL speaker when I got a larger room in the future.
 
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