Radialstrahler MBL 101 X-Treme £225,000 Review
January 16, 2023 §
This comes as a double-edged sword; the intensity of focus and sense of being a part of living, breathing musical events renders some recordings hard to stomach. Poorly recorded tracks (not ‘consciously lo-fi’… badly compressed ‘Loudness War’ casualties) are an unsettling experience, but one that makes you angry with the engineers rather than the system itself. You feel the urge to drag the producer, engineer and mastering engineers to your listening room, play them what they made and demand an apology.
Then you put something on that is well-recorded. Maybe some classic slice of late 1950s clubby jazz or an intelligently recorded singer in a studio. And you… stop. You stop and listen. Your pulse rate slows. You move quickly into that relaxed alpha wave brain state and remember why music is often used as a therapeutic key to unlocking people. Yes, of course, the omnidirectional nature of the sound makes this a visceral experience, and soundstaging elements and staging precision take on an entirely different aspect. But it puts you there in the room with the audience in a genuinely uncanny manner that is as beguiling as it is different to the norms of audio.
I thought that such a different sound might be something of a hurdle, that you would miss the more direct projection of conventional loudspeakers, but that isn’t the case at all. OK, so the big, more diffuse sound of a singer takes some getting used to, partly because we are so used to hearing singers amplified (even in classical music settings now), but even that isn’t a big jump to make in reality.