CES 2017: A Conversation with Juergen Reis (MBL) and John Atkinson (Stereophile)

My favorite post from CES 2017 is the video compilation CES 2017: A Video Snapshot over on Stereophile put together by Jana Dagdagan. It's my favorite because it gives a good sense of the people and personalities within our industry. Too often these details go unnoticed, or worse still, purposefully ignored which can have a dehumanizing affect. While it should go without saying, the people in the hi-fi business are people, too.

Jana's video schedule allowed for some AudioStream time so I planned a video conversation with Juergen Reis, MBL's chief engineer, because I enjoy talking to Juergen, learning from him, and thought you might enjoy sitting in. I ran into John Atkinson just prior to our scheduled time and John graciously agreed to join us. Enjoy!

More from Juergen: Open and Tolerant: MBL's Juergen Reis on Listening, Measurements, and (Un)Certainty

CG's picture

Well done!

Steven Plaskin's picture
An eye opening conversation of all of us.
Anton's picture

MBL 101 in 1992 = about $11,000

2004 = $44,000

2012 = $77,000

The history of the 101 would be a cool review of Hi Fi economics!

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Anton's picture

I'd be quite interested in how that works.

Fascinating product and one of my all time favorites to get to listen to.

Also, like many things these days, there is an ever increasing price inflation that is afflicting my hobby that it would be neat to see a "high end" manufacturer discuss.

As a side topic, I used to think I knew where my audio publications stood in the hobby, but it seems more 'promotional' now than it used to.

JGH always seemed more "us" than "them" but times change.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I find the discussion in the video infinitely more fascinating.

Here's a link to the Stereophile review of the MBL 101e Mk.II from 2012:

MBL Radialstrahler 101E Mk.II loudspeaker

Here's the first paragraph of that review:

"Take a casual look at the Mk.II edition of MBL's Reference 101E Radialstrahler loudspeaker, and you won't immediately see what's new compared with the original version, which I reviewed in October 2004. But the Mk.II has a shorter, sleeker bass cabinet, designed to, among other things, slightly lower the stack of omnidirectional drivers it supports. While the many other major revisions to this familiar and fascinating loudspeaker can't be seen, it's fair to say that, from the ground up, the Reference 101E Mk.II is a new loudspeaker in design, if not in concept."
My point being two-part - if you want to discuss the MBL 101 speaker, this is the least relevant place to do so since we do not review loudspeakers. Part 2 is that seeing as there are dozens of reviews and show reports which deal with the MBL 101, I'd recommend sharing your thoughts on one, or more, of those if you're interested in a discussion of the speaker.

This post is not about the MBL 101 and I'd like to keep the discussion here on topic.

I have no interest in your side topic.

Anton's picture

Imagine a picture of Stockholm, here ----> {}

Michael Lavorgna's picture
A picture would have been more dramatic. Thanks for sticking to relevance ;-)
Anton's picture

Sorry, couldn't edit.

Wavelength's picture

I always enjoy talking and working with Juergen. It's always a learning experience!

Great interview BTW!

Michael I totally agree with your comment about USB cables. I get asked to provide detail testing on these all the time. It's true change computer, change DAC, change even the power cord and the results change.


Michael Lavorgna's picture
I plan to do more of these interviews at shows and you are on the list!


Wavelength's picture

Can we talk about guitars :) It's still about the music!

solarophile's picture

Yes, it's ultimately about the music but audiophiles don't come here to read reviews I think.

Just like the interview with Mr. Reis, it's to discuss the hardware - what makes a good DAC? USB cables? etc.

I recommend Pitchfork if folks want a good music discussion on the latest albums and artists.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
We've just brought on a music reviewer so they'll be even more music.
ctsooner@alumni.ou.edu's picture

I tried to post earlier. It must not have posted. I was very impressed and learned so much. Thanks for this and others. So much fun. Appreciated Michael.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I'm glad you did as well.


The Federalist's picture

One thing that stood out to me is that Mr. Reis's view seems to be at odds with Rob Watts view. Juergen seems to operate from a point of view that a shorter filter with lower number of taps sounds better whereas Rob Watts seems to think that more taps is always the better way even though his dacs exhibit preringing and Juergen sees this as a no-no.

Both designers are looking at it front a time domain issue more than frequency so it's just interesting that two designers with the same goal have very different views on how you get there.

It seems like Juergen is working with existing Delta Sigma sabre silicone trying to make it sound more NOS like where Mr. Watts is working with a blank slate FPGA with more processing power on 'tap' (heh) trying to make it sound like a Hot Rodded delta sigma.

At least that's how my layman mind characterizes it.
Either way, really interesting... Appreciate it very much.
Thank you.