|The MBL 101X|
A single malt scotch -- Lagavulin, if I recall correctly -- and a $500,000 stereo conjuring Neil Young: Heart of Gold as if he were playing, live, right there in the room.
Oh baby, can it possibly get any better than this? I don't think so.
The geniuses at Berlin-based MBL Akustikgerate GmbH have just unleashed a powerful new two-channel integrated reference component sound system (more on pricing and features below). I was dumb-lucky enough to catch the world premiere of the system in a private suite in the Venetian Hotel here on the Strip. My verdict? Get ready to part with that holiday bonus, because this thing is the best damn two-channel stereo sound system I have ever heard. And that's considering rating and purchasing professional and home audio equipment for the better part of three decades. The MBL is just that good. The system's statement pieces are the new 101X reference speakers, which run approximately $180,000-$200,000 per pair. That is not a typo: These speakers run one hundred thousand dollars each. MBL uses a unique radial speaker design that mounts spherical, flexible metallic elements on a base sitting mostly in open space. The end result looks like little flying metal blimps docked in a speaker-cabinet framework. These metallic elements expand and contract due to changes in electrical current sent down by the power amplifiers and audio signal processors. Louder sounds move the elements more; lesser sounds move the elements less. The effect is a speaker that radiates sound in all directions rather than simply projecting sound forward or backward as in traditional models. Here,
The Price of PerfectionYes, the 101X is ridiculously expensive. With the components, we are talking about half a million dollars. But the setup is also ridiculously good. I could go on and on about the system's clarity, transparency and theatricality. I could talk about the sheer power of the system, or its resale value, or its quality. But it is really this simple: The MBL reference sound system brings your favorite artists into your life -- live. The people who make the music you love are right there, making the music you love. How much would it cost to bring John Legend, Ry Cooder, The Berlin Philharmonic and Prince
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