MBL 101 X-Tremes

Mar 8, 2018
21
24
10
Houston, TX
www.youtube.com
#1
I've heard countless speakers over 35 years in the hobby and going to shows. However, I've never had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with the MBL Extremes (rarely even see them at shows). Recently, my local dealer in Houston qualified to get them, so they invited me to come watch the delivery, installation and setup. It was a fun and memorable experience.

I documented as much as possible on video, so some of you may appreciate the experience as much as I did. Here is the video playlist. Everything you see is "first take" stuff with almost no editing other than piecing together clips and adding some captions. Nothing was pre-planned or coordinated as you will see. All the challenges encountered are documented on the fly.

I'll have more clips with audio this weekend. I wanted to give them time to dial everything in...plus I was exhausted after being there until 1am.


https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPt7qoWWa8yjGKClUCQF6hSMA7jqjnclZ
 

Tango

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Mar 12, 2017
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#3
I thought the whole system cost more than half a million. How much Is each component?

@Lagonda Why are you not using MBL subs and pre?
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#4
fun videos, thanks.

i scanned through all the videos (did not watch them completely) but it was none the less fascinating to see the process and all the details worked through.
 
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Lagonda

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Feb 4, 2014
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#5
I thought the whole system cost more than half a million. How much Is each component?

@Lagonda Why are you not using MBL subs and pre?
Because i’m a poor country boy these days Tang, my poor mans X-treme has 6 extra 12 inch drivers though. My pre has a very good phono section and a volume built with matched resistors and a dial with the feel of a old safe tumbler that i really like. :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:
Mar 8, 2018
21
24
10
Houston, TX
www.youtube.com
#6
Because i’m a poor country boy these days Tang, my poor mans X-treme has 6 extra 12 inch drivers though My pre has a very good phono section and a volume built with matched resistors and a dial with the feel of a old safe tumbler that i really like. :rolleyes:
I'll have a new video soon with more details on pricing and model numbers. In short, yes...it can get over a half million dollars with all the electronics, cabling, and stands. The video titles saying "half million dollars" was just an efficient way to describe things until an exact tally could be run.

I know that there is a tendency to jump ahead in the videos to the finale, but there are some tidbits in each video that shine a light on certain things many people don't know about the MBL X-Tremes. For example, there is a part in one video where we discuss the ambient tweeter you can't see on the top modules. There is another part where the unusual amp design is discussed (dual power cords, but it's not dual mono...it has 3 transformers and unique design).

The president of MBL North America was there, and he chimed in at certain times during the installation when he could. Most of the time, he was getting his hands dirty lifting and setting up, so kudos to him for being there until 1am. I wish I could have video'd more of the calibration and setup, but I'll have more in the future on that.

Thanks for the feedback. Glad people liked getting a behind the scenes view.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#7
I assumed Jeremy would be in attendance. He is fantastic, and truly dedicated to MBL, and a wonderful spokesman for and representative of the company! He's also a nice, fun guy to hang out with and talk music with!
 
Likes: speshal
Mar 8, 2018
21
24
10
Houston, TX
www.youtube.com
#8
I assumed Jeremy would be in attendance. He is fantastic, and truly dedicated to MBL, and a wonderful spokesman for and representative of the company! He's also a nice, fun guy to hang out with and talk music with!
Agree...he worked hard until 1am...probably later (that's when I tapped out).

This next video features demo clips and refers to Jeremy's calibrations in several areas.

For the few that know me and/or my channel, I try to extoll the virtues of DSP (when done right). It was great seeing Jeremy implement DSP with the MBL X-Tremes and hearing the tremendous difference it made from night one. I use Dirac, but the product Jeremy used is featured in this video.

 
Likes: Lagonda

Lagonda

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Feb 4, 2014
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#9
Agree...he worked hard until 1am...probably later (that's when I tapped out).

This next video features demo clips and refers to Jeremy's calibrations in several areas.

For the few that know me and/or my channel, I try to extoll the virtues of DSP (when done right). It was great seeing Jeremy implement DSP with the MBL X-Tremes and hearing the tremendous difference it made from night one. I use Dirac, but the product Jeremy used is featured in this video.

Was Jeremy using DSP on the sub -stacks only ? Hopefully not on the main speaker signal :eek: Did you notice the setting of the delay dial on the sub amps, how many milliseconds ? Nice report, thank you !:)
 
Likes: speshal
Mar 8, 2018
21
24
10
Houston, TX
www.youtube.com
#10
That DSP is strictly for the sub bass. I didn't look at the delay dial since night one, but I assume he dialed that in too.

The demo room is not ideal, but it's not horrible either. I expect even more improvements in the upcoming days. There is a slight tilt of the soundstage to the right due to the room being asymetrical, so that will be addressed soon.

It sounds phenomenal regardless and better than anything else I've heard in that same room.

I'm told someone did a review of these speakers in a 14x16 room (as you might have heard Carl at 3mA mention in the video)...that's insane!
 
Likes: Lagonda

Lagonda

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#11
That DSP is strictly for the sub bass. I didn't look at the delay dial since night one, but I assume he dialed that in too.

The demo room is not ideal, but it's not horrible either. I expect even more improvements in the upcoming days. There is a slight tilt of the soundstage to the right due to the room being asymetrical, so that will be addressed soon.

It sounds phenomenal regardless and better than anything else I've heard in that same room.

I'm told someone did a review of these speakers in a 14x16 room (as you might have heard Carl at 3mA mention in the video)...that's insane!
Here is a rendering of the ideal room for these speaker, that MBL Germany supplied me when i was considering building a dedicated building that could house such a system. Smaller is doable of course as the system is very adaptable. 66E6BC2A-2306-4116-A847-3581CD9F40E4.jpeg
 
Likes: speshal
Mar 8, 2018
21
24
10
Houston, TX
www.youtube.com
#12
Here is a rendering of the ideal room for these speaker, that MBL Germany supplied me when i was considering building a dedicated building that could house such a system. Smaller is doable of course as the system is very adaptable. View attachment 70462
Thanks for the rendering. I found the 7 degree slant to the back wall very intriguing. It's something I will have to experiment recreating with my own room and treatments, since I use open baffle line sources that are somewhat in the same realm as the MBL omni dispersion design.

One thing I'm wondering based on my personal demo is the distance of the listening position to the speaker and listening height. Neither of those seem to be specified on the rendering, but I found both quite important in the demo I did at the dealer.

The first night...both Jeremy and I noticed that the Extremes sounded better in that room with the listening position moved back. It appeared that if you are too close, there is a point where the drivers don't integrate fully (as with all speakers other than single driver types). I'm guessing 8 feet minimum based on the primitive demo chair movement we did, but it would be good to get MBL's take on that.

Also, listening height seems to be a noticeable factor too. In the video demo tracks I showed above, I sometimes moved the camera above and below my ear height to show the delta in tonality. A cell phone mic is obviously very primitive, but when I moved my own ears up and down the vertical axis, we found one particular chair too low for optimal results and changed it out with a different chair.

Again, these are calibrations at the super neurotic level. The speakers sounded phenomenal regardless of the room issues and seating compared to anything else I've heard in that same space...including many mega dollar speakers from YG, Rockport, Sonus Faber, Paradigm, etc.

That room needs a few more treatments for the upper frequencies and a slight maneuvering to fix a minor balance issue, but it's ready for prime time now.
 
Likes: Lagonda

adyc

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Jan 6, 2013
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#13
Here is a rendering of the ideal room for these speaker, that MBL Germany supplied me when i was considering building a dedicated building that could house such a system. Smaller is doable of course as the system is very adaptable. View attachment 70462
It is interesting to see that MBL recommend long wall setup. It suggests they prefer longer delay from side wall reflections. I doubt many 101X setups are on the long wall. Side wall diffusers should be installed on the side walls.
 

Lagonda

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Feb 4, 2014
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#14
Thanks for the rendering. I found the 7 degree slant to the back wall very intriguing. It's something I will have to experiment recreating with my own room and treatments, since I use open baffle line sources that are somewhat in the same realm as the MBL omni dispersion design.

One thing I'm wondering based on my personal demo is the distance of the listening position to the speaker and listening height. Neither of those seem to be specified on the rendering, but I found both quite important in the demo I did at the dealer.

The first night...both Jeremy and I noticed that the Extremes sounded better in that room with the listening position moved back. It appeared that if you are too close, there is a point where the drivers don't integrate fully (as with all speakers other than single driver types). I'm guessing 8 feet minimum based on the primitive demo chair movement we did, but it would be good to get MBL's take on that.

Also, listening height seems to be a noticeable factor too. In the video demo tracks I showed above, I sometimes moved the camera above and below my ear height to show the delta in tonality. A cell phone mic is obviously very primitive, but when I moved my own ears up and down the vertical axis, we found one particular chair too low for optimal results and changed it out with a different chair.

Again, these are calibrations at the super neurotic level. The speakers sounded phenomenal regardless of the room issues and seating compared to anything else I've heard in that same space...including many mega dollar speakers from YG, Rockport, Sonus Faber, Paradigm, etc.

That room needs a few more treatments for the upper frequencies and a slight maneuvering to fix a minor balance issue, but it's ready for prime time now.
The ideal listening position changed for me too when i added the subwoofer stacks to the 101E’s, nearfield was best without subs, far field is much better when subs need to be integrated properly. The listening hight is important on regular 101E’s, i know they lowered the midrange/tweeter position on the E2 version. In some rooms i had to place my listening chair on a little pedestal, the stacked modules of the X-streme probably make best position even more crucial. You will get a decent stereo image from a larger area than with more traditional speakers, but best position is almost as specific as with electrostatic speakers.
 
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Lagonda

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#15
It is interesting to see that MBL recommend long wall setup. It suggests they prefer longer delay from side wall reflections. I doubt many 101X setups are on the long wall. Side wall diffusers should be installed on the side walls.
The manual for the 101E’s also recommends placing them on the long wall, i have always had best results with at least 1 meter to sidewall preferably more. But don’t dampen the sidewall to close to the speakers, it will give them a dark tone and stifle dynamics, only diffusers in the first third of the room. I have never heard them in a massive room, but my current room 21 feet wide and 39 feet long.
 

adyc

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Jan 6, 2013
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#16
The manual for the 101E’s also recommends placing them on the long wall, i have always had best results with at least 1 meter to sidewall preferably more. But don’t dampen the sidewall to close to the speakers, it will give them a dark tone and stifle dynamics, only diffusers in the first third of the room. I have never heard them in a massive room, but my current room 21 feet wide and 39 feet long.
Are you placing them on long wall?

Height of 101x main tower is around 1.8m. Mid point is around 0.9m. 101x tweeters are definitely more height sitting friendly than 101E. I used to have 101E in a small room and distance to side walls is less than 1m. The treble sound is more aggressive. I really think 101E/X needs a large room to shine. But the sound from 101E is memorable. The best sound I have ever heard.
 
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Lagonda

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#17
Are you placing them on long wall?

Height of 101x main tower is around 1.8m. Mid point is around 0.9m. 101x tweeters are definitely more height sitting friendly than 101E. I used to have 101E in a small room and distance to side walls is less than 1m. The treble sound is more aggressive. I really think 101E/X needs a large room to shine. But the sound from 101E is memorable. The best sound I have ever heard.
No, mine are on the short wall now, they were on the long wall before i knocked down a brick wall to get a larger room ;) I have 1,7 m to the sidewalls in a symmetrical front room now.
 

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