I just last week purchased the 101e's replacing the Alto Be's I had. Thought it would be fun to show the start of a major upgrade, and then as I am adding room treatments, changing the decor, and changing equipment, to show the changes and the thought processes behind it. I have an open architecture house, with glass along one side, and as this is our living room, a way to figure out the aestetics. Challenges await! Comments or suggestions welcome. I got the MBLs primarily because the kitchen, family room, and dining area are all pretty much open, and I want great sound whatever we are doing in the primary listening space. To me, the best music should be for all my family to enjoy, even my daughter with her AFI fetish. The sweet spot matters, but more important to me is when we are having dinner, or hanging out, everybody gets to enjoy the music. The MBLs are worlds bettter than the Alto's in this regard from the first time I fired them up. I had a very very nice, clean system with the EmmLabs direct to the MC2000 and then the Altos, but I felt I was missing alot, and there is a ton of slap echo in the house. So here's the start. As I add, subtract and change, pix will follow. Thanks for looking.

Components Toggle details

    • MBL 101E
    My open architecture house mates well with omnis. My number one reason for purchase
    • HRS mrx 1921-3v
    two shelf, in real curly maple. Visually stunning, and works well at vibration control
    • EMM Labs dcc-2, cdsd
    non-SE units. The best I have had in my system but I have a problem giving somebody 5000 usd for an upgrade 6 months after I buy a unit.
    • Symposium Series 2 RollerBlocks
    under the 101e's. Better inner dynamics than the bigger ones by far, and much better than spikes on hardwood floor, the bass locks in and is more tuneful, three under each speaker
    • MBL 6010d bal/w/mc
    Preamp is about worlds better than running the Meitner direct to amp... I got it balanced, with MC cartridge module, it is just a fantastic pre-amp in every way, plus it adds the ability to quad-amp.. so I am trying tubes on top and solid state on da bottom!
    • MBL 9011
    Monoblock amplifiers, I have tried, Halcro DM-88, MBL 9008, Accuphase, McIntosh MC200(still my fave amp of all time) AR vt100mkII, ref210... and the winner was... the big monos. They visually overpower the room, they are bulky, my wife says they look like coffins, but, Houston we have ignition
    • Tara Power Screen
    replaced Shunyata Hydra. Instruments sound like instruments now
    • Tara The One bi-wired
    After trying a ton of cables, this was the best. I still want to try 0.8s though.
    • Tara 0.8
    As the Meitner sounds better balanced, but the preamp has less circuitry single-ended, I am trying both.. the balanced is punchier, more dynamic, the single ended is fuller, more harmonically rich, still can;t decide
    • Transrotor Tourbillon
    3 motor, 3 arm potential turntable,
    I bought a used version, so it does not have the magnetic conversion
    • Graham Engineering Phantom
    tonearm. why? I don't know, had to start somewhere
    • Transfiguration Orpheus
    so far, I like it, very smooth, but I have to do something with the bass. I am just letting it run in right now

Comments 83

Very nice system. I too am a x-Alto Be owner, but upgraded to Venture speakers. Awesome house, location also. Enjoy!


Very nice system. With this level of expendature, how about a dedicated room to go with it.


I was just kidding around with you. Your house, system and "appurtenances" look magifico! Well done!


Hey Mr Bender... how the heck are you?


How funny the above post. With an open architecture house, I wanted something that filled the house with good sound, omnidirections do that well. The MBls do wonderfully off-axis. Things like Wattpuppies not so well. Simply a comment on a decision to use omnis.

Some people....


Your note on your speakers: "My open architecture house mates well with omnis. My number one reason for purchase".

I understand that you bought the speakers to match the house but what if you already had the speakers before buying the house? What sort of house would you need to buy to compliment the MBL's? I would think that your house with the beach front view would be a fine compliment to your speakers. The bean counter and mini collie on the balcony add a great decorative flair as well. Since I am sure that the function of the bean counter and pooch have little or nothing to do with sound absorption, I am guessing that they might best be thought of as tuning devices.

This brings me to my own pair of speakers-my trusty Klipsch KG-4's. What sort of house would I need to compliment these babies? I'm thinking maybe a double wide trailer along a tree line looking out over a cotton field in the Mississippi delta. As for tuning devices to go along with my rig, I am envisioning my gal sitting on one of those imitation leather sofas complete with console and cupholders with a pit bull at her feet. Add curlers to her hair and I should be all set.

Oh my, I so need to upgrade my speakers!


Hey ex-neighbor,

geez no Hotel California. Been at least a year since I
heard you play it. BTW your 101e's sound great even a
1/4 mile away [from the next hill over].



geez. European stuff my wife likes, Amy Winehouse... always Diana Krall...Vanilla Sky soundtrack gets a lot of play


Yes I am here now..staying in Birdrock. What are you listening to these days?


well its summeer blueskipod, you in La Jolla?


Nice house with great view. I am thinking of buying the house in that area. Thanks


Chris...I live on the east coast but will be in La Jolla for the summer. Would be available for a listening test !
Nice ....very nice.


Chrisa, If you are getting rid of the Emm Labs, I think you should take a look at the Playback Designs CDP.


to lohjanimal, never tried the Boulders.. I can say definitively though, that in my house, the 9008s would have been enough. I usually only turn on one of the three transformers. Sometimes two, never ever three. THe sound degragation is quite noticeable, wonder why none of the reviewers ever mentioned it? SO save 30 grand.

Hi Bigamp.. still evolving, getting rid of the emm labs, i have had three repairs in three years. grrrr... don't know what to get... tried Burmester, pretty damn nice. I should post an update soon I guess.


Hey Chris. Hope all is well. Just noticed your system is still in ever evolving. Your system is the definition of "all out assault" dude!


I am a major MBL fan - they're one of two speakers that I want to try/have - the others being apogee scintillas.

MBL's - closest thing to live musical imaging. Authentic sound dispersion - and that was my opinion after hearing them at a couple of shows.

I spoke to the MBL designer who I joked with over a 30% discount - he's promised me that if I get the whole system! - here's wishing.

BTW did you try out the Boulders? I quite like the MBL amps - HP of absolute sounds took the view that they were the best match for the speakers.


The MBL's are obscene!


Hi Gabisiauk... I am very happy with what I have... not really looking to upgrade anything right now. I suffer not from audi nervosa... probably gonna start a music server and that is it!!


For a good preamp have you ever tried the Ypsilon Electronics from Greece. I tried many different Preamplifier including the MBL before stumbling onto the Ypsilon and all I can say is WOW. Not cheap, but the performance you gain will shock you. I am currently auditioning their CDT-100 now and just like I expected, absolutely wonderful. I am not one to have an entire system by one company like you but if this keeps up I will have the entire Ypsilon system.


Great system and Nice home. Great view of the Pacific ocean. Cheers Carl Flowers


Its either corner or rear wall, no choice. Glass on one side, couch on the other, my wife is only so forgiving ;)


Do you still have the equipment located in the rear corner of the room. That could be an issue with bass loading in that area and putting unwanted vibrations in the gear. I am a big fan of getting the gear on a side wall away from the rear wall at a point the room does not interact with the lower frequencies.


As far as a "deal" on 101s. It is my experience that some guys will spend a ton of time with you, and want to get paid accordingly. Some guys want to move the box and go away. They tend to be cheaper. Some guys will sell you from a million miles away. Personally, to me, a knowledgeable dealer who will help me optimize my system, let me play around with things, and really tries to help is worth a bit more. Afterall, the goal is to have the best system at whatever pricepoint one is comfortable with, and a really detali orientated dealer will help at this level.

Kinda like when you buy furniture. You can use the inhouse person to design for you, it won't be bad, or you can pay for an independant designer, and have an absolutely stunning interior from different mfrs.



Hi Chris

Quid Pro Quo!

I also need the stereo drug injection! I've been hooked since I heard Quads driven with Quad amp, ML JC-1 preamp Thorens TD125 table since 1975.

It's called a Gohanzin Ohh, My brother has one too! he's been a member of NSA. A buddhist organization since 1969 chants "Nam You Ho Reng kay Kuo"! At least 2000-5000 times a day, if your wife belongs to NSA too, she probably knows him, Phil Gould.

Can you tell me where you bought your MBL's from? Did they make you a good deal?




I probably spelled it wrong, it is a Budhist shrine thing she has. I stay out of her religion, she stays out of my stereo fix:)


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