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Thread: Anyone heard the MBL 116F?

  1. #1
    WBF Founding Member ack's Avatar
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    Anyone heard the MBL 116F?

    Another $20-30K range contender... anyone have any experience with it?
    System link WBF

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    Hi. I listened to it at RMAF in 2009 and really liked it. When I upgraded from my Martin Logans to the WP8s I could just as well gone with the MBLs. I think it's a great speaker.
    Regards,
    Steve

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    Hi ack,

    I just joined this forum and will be taking possession of the 116E in a couple of weeks.

    Will provide my thoughts if you want some feedback.

    Hi Steve.

    GG

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    Welcome Gordon, good to see you here.
    Regards,
    Steve

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    WBF Founding Member ack's Avatar
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    Hey Gordon,

    welcome. Peter here, aka 'spectral' on MLOC... I got your PM the other day. Looks like MBL representation is the US is currently questionable. Still interested in your thoughts vs the Summit, as you also listen to mostly classical. I gotta say again, though, the Summit X next to the Magico Q5 was really on par (you'll find another mini thread by me on this); and as I write this, I realize I forgot to mention that the X actually excelled the Q5 in other areas, like the timpani sounded more realistic on it (same recordings, of course).

    You'll have fun on this site...
    System link WBF

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    Hi Peter,

    Looks like a really good site. I will check in and hopefully provide some good comments.

    Gordon

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    Impressions after 14 months

    HI all,

    Just cruising the site and came upon this thread. Thank you Moderator for your gentle prodding. This really is a great site with some folks I already know.

    Thought I would share my impressions on the legacy 116, which was replaced by the "F" model a couple of years ago. The legacy model is ported. The "F" version is not. I was told that there were not any major changes but who knows. Information regarding the MBL line is very difficult to come by. One would certainly expect the current version to have improved bass pitch definition. Since my last speaker was the Martin Logan Summits, my comparisons will be related to that speaker as well as the the other three ML speakers I've owned over some 23 plus years.

    First off, I tend to be a bit slow in finding final speaker location and working with room treatments to convince myself I have finally optimized what I can. My method is to make a small change, say in speaker position, and then listen to that for an extended period of time, with all musical genres but biased towards jazz and classical, to become familiar with what that change has affected.

    When I first got the speaker, in February 2011, I was surprised at the difference between the Summit and the 116, within the context of how the speaker "loaded" the room. Suffice to say that it did this in a more uniform manner but with a dominance in the lower bass that I found distracting. At first it was "Wow, more bass" but as we all know, too much low end compromises the musicality of all frequencies above that narrow band.

    So I purchased some new speaker cones and acoustic panels to tame the beast. They were partially successful but I continued to have this feeling that things were still a bit slow and loose in the bottom octaves. And I continued to adjust room treatments and speaker placement.

    I had my Cary CDP modded over Christmas and have been using the latest iteration of Ron's optical disc mat, which brought some tangible / positive results but also provided more energy to the mid / low bass region.

    Fast forward to last month. I kept pulling the speakers further out into the room and finally found a place that seems to project a "balanced" frequency presentation accompanied by very good imaging, dimensionality, and tonality.

    Then I tried one more thing that, as the Dude said in the Big Lebowski, "tied the room together". No it wasn't a rug but some lead strips, with adhesive backing, sold by Marigo Audio. Per Marigo, what these strips do is absorb heat created by the vibration transmitted through the spokes of the driver. Absorb heat, kill vibrations. Pretty simple concept and actually grounded in defensible science.

    So I installed on all four bass drivers and listened. After a few minutes, I realized that the bass "bump" I was hearing was significantly attenuated. More space, more dimensionality, better overall body, and definitely more musical.

    Comparing the Summit to the 116's, I'd say the lower bass in the ML was tighter and better defined. The 116, in its current state, is fuller and creates a better overall foundation to the music. The immersive quality of the Summits (the proverbial disappearing act that stats do so well) is equaled and improved upon given the "omni" tweeter and midrange, at least in my room.

    I like to sit off axis and the MBL's are one of the few speakers that allow one to do so without the soundstage collapsing. Yes, imaging is better in the sweet spot but sitting off to the side does not compromise the sense of space and dimensionality as is often the case with most transducers.

    One of the things that was difficult was determining the amount of toe in. You not only have the omnis, operating above 2K or so but also two side firing woofers and mid bass drivers per speaker. Suffice to say that I think I found the correct amount that maximizes imaging and depth along with a tonal balance that is full bodied and very easy to listen to. In fact, I would say the top end is a bit on the "soft" side of the equation without sacrificing any of the spatial cues of the musical picture.

    So there's the update. I apologize for the delay in posting, although given what I've done over the past 14 months or so, the absence of comment was probably a good thing given the "moving target" I've been trying to nail down.

    I do look forward to posting more on this site in addition to my activity on the Martin Logan Owners site.

    Happy listening to all.

    Gordon
    Last edited by thedudeabides; 04-11-2012 at 03:03 PM.

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    Nice post. How close is the 116 to the much more expensive 101 E?

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    Hi Caesar,

    I think current list prices for the 101E MKII and the 116F are $70K and $30K respectively.

    GG

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    Quote Originally Posted by thedudeabides View Post
    Hi Caesar,

    I think current list prices for the 101E MKII and the 116F are $70K and $30K respectively.

    GG
    Thanks. Soundwise, how much of the MBL essence and MBL experience does the 116 capture?

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