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Thread: MBL North America/United Home Audio -- Los Angeles Audio Show 2017

  1. #1
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    MBL North America/United Home Audio -- Los Angeles Audio Show 2017

    One of my favorite events at an audio show is the after-hours tape listening sessions hosted by Jeremy and Tara Bryan of MBL North America and Greg Beron of United Home Audio. My wife and I dropped by on Friday night, and I visited the room again on Sunday morning.


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    Jeremy was displaying the MBL 101E MKII ($70,500), the new Noble N11 Line Stereo Preamplifier ($14,600) and the new Noble N15 mono amplifiers ($17,800 each). Greg was playing the latest and best iteration of his UHA tape deck -- the Ultima 2 with OPS-DC (outboard power supply-direct current) ($28,000).


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    I found last year at The Show Newport in Irvine, CA, that for some reason I preferred the sound of the MBL Noble amplifiers over the sound of the larger and more powerful and more expensive MBL Reference amplifiers. I liked the sound of the new Noble mono amplifiers very much.

    The MBL system is always a thrill ride! My wife has auditioned with me several state-of-the-art high-end systems in Europe and in California, and she knows how good these systems can sound. She really enjoyed the 101E MK IIs. She liked, especially, the dynamics of the system and the “everywhere” nature of the sound of the omni-directional Radialstrahler drivers.

    I thought that, as usual, the system sounded great: thrilling dynamics, great transparency and a realistic recreation of musicians on a stage. Jeremy is a master at solving show room acoustics deficiencies. This time he used a mattress to fill up a cavity behind the thin room divider wall behind the rows of chairs.

    I find that the MBL system generates a somewhat more diffuse center image than dipole speakers or dynamic driver speakers. While I personally like a clearly delineated center image on my home stereo, I think the MBL’s somewhat more diffuse presentation is closer to what I hear in live music, and thus is more realistic.

    Greg’s tape deck performed perfectly, as usual. Since an earlier version of an UHA tape deck was not there for comparison, we cannot know exactly how Greg’s recent perfectionistic improvements have improved the sound of the deck. Utilizing a new discrete component, Class A tape head amplifier I am sure the Ultima 2 is Greg’s best sounding machine ever!

    If you are looking to join the reel-to-reel tape renaissance and find daunting the prospect of buying and reconditioned a vintage tape machine, then buying a UHA tape deck is an easy, turn-key solution which comes with a warranty and offers the ability to upgrade to the specs of a more expensive UHA deck in the future as funds permit.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000 (ordered) tonearm: SME 3012R (to come); cartridge: ZYX Universe Premium X-SB2 or Koetsu Coralstone (TBD)
    tape: Studer A820 Mk II
    phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse with 2 power supplies; amplifier: VTL MB-750s
    speakers: Gryphon Pendragons
    cables: MasterBuilt Ultra or Cardas Clear Beyond (TBD); power: Benjamin Electric subpanel; Torus AVR60BAL; JPS in-wall wire; Furutech NCF outlets; room: 20' wide X 25' long X 15' tall; treatment: ASC Tube Traps and Tower Slims; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks (Kedar to place)

  2. #2
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    [Technical Expert] Bruce B's Avatar
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    Greg and Bryan's room has always been an oasis for me at the shows. I just sit there and let the music transport me to the live event!!
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  3. #3
    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
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    I've followed Jeremy and MBL going back 12-15 years when THE Show took place same time as CES and they were off The Strip at Alexis Park. It was the first time I ever heard the speaker and their electronics together as a system. I was mesmerized by the sound as well as the holographic image and must have returned to the room 5-6 times while I was at the show. Since then MBL has always IMO had an amazing room with sound in the top tier. Adding Greg Beron's UHA to the mix along with the amazing tape is spell binding. Last year BruceB and I were sitting beside one another ion the room enjoying the tape. After the tape was over a gentleman in the front row stands up and turns around and tells us that he is a professional drummer who has played with a lot of renown groups. He felt compelled to comment because in his opinion the sound was to his ears so real

    As I was entering the room Jeremy was walking in before me carrying the mattress that you described. Kudos to Jeremy for having this line for so long and to have done so well
    Steve Williams
    aka oneobgyn
    There's ALWAYS another Steve Williams BUT there's only "oneobgyn"
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