“What I’d recommend to a friend”: The Audio Beat reviews Scansonic’s MB-1 loudspeaker

Danish Scansonic shares a parent company, Dantax, with the highly covetable loudspeaker brand Raidho and the relationship between the two goes more than skin deep: Scansonic’s flagship HD range is created by Raidho’s design team, promising a raft of ‘Raidho DNA’ but at a considerably more affordable price. The Audio Beat’s Roy Gregory explores how much of that original DNA can be found in the MB-1 standmount model and asks the question, would I recommend it to a friend?

Scansonic’s MB-1 is a compact two-way standmount loudspeaker. At around a foot tall it’s compact indeed, though each speaker weighs in at just over 6kg. “The cabinet is all curved edges and walls and surprisingly solid to the touch. The classic knuckle-rap test produces a well-controlled “thunk” – neither too lively nor too dead,” notes Gregory.

Scansonic MB-1

“The drivers are arguably what set this speaker apart,” he writes – perhaps unsurprisingly, since this is where the Raidho DNA really comes in. A planar-magnetic tweeter with a kapton/aluminum sandwich membrane is partnered with a carbon coned 4.5” bass/mid driver with overhung magnet system. “It’s an approach that is traditionally associated with maximizing dynamic range and low-frequency control,” says Gregory, noting that such considerations may seem at odds with such a small speaker “but speak volumes about the intent behind the design decisions, the emphasis on speed, transparency and dynamic response.”

The challenge, then, becomes how to generate “enough bass to satisfy without messing up that articulate, inviting midband”. The MB-1 features a large, forward-facing reflex port, “a canny decision… the result is bass that is weighty enough to surprise a listener, quick enough to add impetus to music and tight enough not to slow things down – a nicely judged sonic sleight of hand that underpins everything the MB-1 does.”

Scansonic MB-1 top view

From John Coltrane to Vivaldi concertos for two violins, the presentation is “full of life and purpose…. This musical joie de vivre is something few systems or speakers achieve, and it makes the little Scansonics highly engaging and listenable.”

“But it’s when you move from acoustic material onto what is arguably their more natural preserve of rock and pop that the MB-1s really start to shine,” writes Gregory. All of which points to an impressively versatile and musically adept little speaker.

“The MB-1 is an object lesson in just what a small, high-performance, high-resolution loudspeaker should be,” he concludes. “If you want both audiophile and musical sensibilities and the ability to play everything from renaissance madrigals to rap music, it’s pretty much in a class on its own.”

“Would I recommend the MB-1 to a friend? In a heartbeat.”

Read Roy Gregory’s review in full at The Audio Beat

Discover more about the Raidho-inpsired Scansonic HD range

Track down your nearest Scansonic dealer from UK distributor Decent Audio