MBL scoops 12 of The Absolute Sound’s Editors’ Choice Awards 2022

American audio magazine The Absolute Sound (TAS) is home to some of the world’s most experienced hi-fi reviewers. So, when no less than twelve of a single company’s products win TAS’ coveted Editors’ Choice Award, you can be sure that company is doing something very, very right.

MBL Radialstrahler loudspeakers earn four awards

It’s perhaps not too surprising that MBL’s famous Radialstrahler loudspeakers have scooped four Editors’ Choice Awards, since their design remains as genuinely pioneering as ever in the world of hi-fi. From the stunning, range-topping 101 X-Treme to the ‘entry level’ 126, these loudspeakers are truly unique and, whether within your budget or not, should surely be seen and heard by any serious audiophile or music lover.

Radialstrahler System 101 X-Treme MKII
“The 101 X-tremes are giants,” says The Absolute Sound’s Jonathan Valin, and “nothing else, dynamic or planar, sounds like these gargantuan Radialstrahlers, because very little else projects its energy from top to bottom throughout a true 360 degrees, like instruments themselves do. As a result, the 101 X-tremes simply own the third dimension.”

Radialstrahler 101 E MKII
“Sensational dynamic range, superb transients, high resolution of inner detail, and the most surround-like soundstaging this side of a full-bore home-theater system… more plain fun to listen to than just about anything else out there.”

Radialstrahler 120
“Specially engineered for medium-sized rooms—and in such environs it sounds fabulous. The soundstage it throws has never been more holographic or enveloping. The best small MBL yet.”

Radialstrahler 126
“Marking MBL’s entry level for omnidirectional speakers, the Radialstrahler 126 three-way contains much of the DNA of its bigger, upper-tier siblings, but brings the cost of acquiring MBL magic way down. What’s not to love?”

Eight awards for MBL electronics

While justifiably renowned for its loudspeakers, MBL has equally earned an enviable reputation for its high quality electronics – from amplifiers to DACs and CD players –  and an impressive eight TAS Awards reflect and cement that reputation.

A hat-trick of preamplifiers: 6010 D, N11 & C11
All three of MBL’s preamplifiers are award-winners, one in each of the brand’s three main product lines: Reference, Noble and Cadenza.

Of the top-of-range, Reference Line, 6010 D, The Absolute Sound writes, “This superb solid-state preamp has a noise floor so incredibly low that it consistently resolves fine harmonic and dynamic details that simply aren’t audible through other great preamps,” says the magazine. “At the same time its transient speed and authority are highly realistic. To ice the cake, it is absolutely neutral in tonal balance, with excellent imaging and soundstaging, and superior ambience retrieval.”

From the Noble Line, the N11 preamp “stands out” with its “remarkable ‘unity gain’ volume control, which lowers the amount of boost applied to incoming signals and thereby audibly lowers noise, increases transparency and resolution, and expands dynamic range. A sonically remarkable bit of engineering.”

Finally, in the Cadenza Line, the C11 “is a joy to use” and “equipped with one of the most sonically transparent analog volume controls (via a motorized potentiometer) that we’ve come across.”

Feel the power: 9008 A, N15 & C21 amplifiers
Moving on to power amplifiers, once again, all three of of MBL’s product lines are awarded.

In the Reference Line, the 9008 A mono power amplifier is MBL’s second-from-top model and “both amps are bullet-proof technical and sonic marvels. Built using the finest parts, the 9008 A is a beast with a velvet voice. Seemingly inexhaustible speed, power, and plumb-the-depths resolution are here mated to a dark, rich, beautiful tonal palette.”

In the Noble Line, the N15 mono power amp “is unfailingly enjoyable, powerful, and musical, fully capable of a realism that raises goosebumps and of a soundfield of head-slapping breadth, width, and depth.”

In the Cadenza Line, the C21 stereo power amplifier “sounds more like a fine linear amp than the hybrid-switching amp it is” and “offers much of the sweetness, air, and texture (if not the full measure of swat) of MBL’s own Reference line 9011 amps,” making it “An amp that can proudly stand next to the best in its class.”

Cadenza wins again: C51 integrated & C31 CD-DAC
Those on something of a budget will be glad to know that the final two TAS Awards again go to MBL’s most affordable range of products, the Cadenza Line.

“With its soft, understated lines, svelte controls, versatile connectivity, and jewelry-like finish, it’s easy to misjudge the depth, complexity, and sonic excellence of the C51,” says the magazine of MBL’s ‘entry-level’ integrated amplifier. “It has the touch of the classicist in the emphasis it places on the finest inner details; its resolution of acoustic space is almost eerie in specificity. A triumph in its category.”

The performance of the C31 CD-DAC, meanwhile, is “uncompromising” making it “a jewel of a player.”

The complete Awards are published in the magazine’s March 2022 issue. Visit the MBL website to read The Absolute Sound’s reviews of all of MBL’s Award-winners.

To audition products from the MBL range in the UK, contact or visit specialist dealers Stranger High Fidelity (Wiltshire) or KJ West One (London).