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OnSight: an afternoon with MBL’s Jürgen Reis

  • Is it possible to recreate a live event with a pair of loudspeakers? Responding with a firm no and a cheeky smile is Jürgen Reis, MBL’s Chief Engineer of 35 years. A recent visit to the German manufacturer’s headquarters in Berlin saw yours truly sit down with Reis to get a beginner’s introduction to the MBL 101 Radialstrahler loudspeaker, their range of electronics, their customer base, how music has changed over the decades and – more importantly for this commentator – to pull back the curtain on the product design process.

    Specifically, how does Reis use measurements to bring a product from drawing board to shipping container? The answer will be surprising for some: a measurement kit only carries him ~95% of the way. Final voicing – the last ~5% – is done by ear. Why? Because any audible changes brought about by smaller component changes can be heard but, once fitted inside a loudspeaker or pre-amplifier, cannot be measured. Reis then confirms the next logical step: that two pre-amplifiers (for example) can measure the same but sound different.

    Those are the headlines. The more detailed responses that properly flesh out Reis’ thinking can be seen/heard in our two-part video interview:

     

     

    Further information: MBL

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile. John used to live in Sydney. Now he lives in Berlin.

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