MB opened a US subsidiary firm in June 1987 (footnote 2) and delivers a array of products ranging in price from $479/pair to $7000/pair. The 280 costs $579/pair and is the 2nd up in that variety it appears standard of West German design in that it features outstanding cosmetics and complete, real-wood veneer being available even at this spending budget price. Was this latter emphasis, exceptional in the environment of “authentic” hello-fi, realized at the expenditure of the sonics? We shall see.
A two-way style, the MB 1″, ferrofluid-cooled, titanium-dome tweeter is coupled with an 8″, paper-cone woofer in a sealed cabinet. The drivers are just about vertically in-line, the tweeter getting marginally offset to the still left of the woofer’s vertical axis to render the path lengths distinctive and avoid symmetrical HF diffraction styles. The speakers are not equipped as a mirror-imaged pair, nonetheless. The tweeter’s fragile dome is supplied a diploma of safety by a plastic section-plate. Martin Colloms experiences that copy of the major audio octave is enhanced if this plate is very carefully prized absent. The dome, nevertheless, is then totally exposed I doubt that MB Electronics United states of america will be particularly sympathetic if it then gets damaged.
The tweeter crosses above to the woofer with next-purchase, 12dB/octave slopes under 1500Hz. This is a lower frequency for a two-way style and will be envisioned to area calls for on the HF device to deal with fairly more electrical power than would or else be the situation. The MB tweeter is reported to have a vented chamber guiding the dome to lessen its intrinsic resonant frequency. The woofer has a extended-throw voice-coil and its radiating area is maximized by use of a slender, butyl-rubber encompass.
The cabinet is produced from a proprietary 5-layer wood laminate veneered on the sides only, the top rated, bottom, and back currently being concluded in black vinyl, and the front baffle in what appears to be like like black velvet. This is truly a flock with the fibers electrostatically aligned at 90° to the floor, which is mentioned to give a “sharper image aim,” presumably by absorbing large-frequency waves traveling parallel to the baffle. The fiber length appears to be also short to present any authentic resistance to audio-frequency sound, nonetheless. Also influencing diffraction will be the two good-wood vertical strips flanking the baffle, the presence of which lifted my eyebrows to some degree. Putting this kind of acoustic obstacles in the tweeter surroundings is not specifically a great notion. The grille, way too, consists of brown cloth stretched about a 5/8″-thick particle-board frame, with no endeavor produced to profile the body edges around the tweeter. Auditioning, having said that, was carried out with the grilles in put. Electrical relationship is via angled, knurled binding posts inset on the rear panel.
The first thing I do in a assessment is to hear to how the loudspeaker handles pink sounds (noise with equal electrical power for every octave, such as FM interstation sounds). On the tweeter axis, nevertheless comparatively neutral, the MB Quart 280 did show up to have a slight “double-hump” reaction, with accentuation in the decrease midrange and the lower treble/higher midrange. The higher-frequency information of the sound rose with the listening axis, though with the overall look of a suckout all around crossover, and the amount of very low-treble emphasis could be lowered by transferring off-axis to the facet. Soon after some experimentation, I ended up with the speakers firing straight ahead, the listening seat then remaining 2030° off-axis horizontally, with the listener’s ears just beneath the tweeter axis, which gave the smoothest transition involving the generate-models. Sitting down under that axis sales opportunities to the HF quickly starting to be frustrated in amount. The 24″ stands ended up thus best suited to the MB 280s and were being utilised for all the listening exams.
The low frequencies had been significantly lightweight, so I experimented with a wide range of distances from the rear wall, ranging from 4′ to all-around 16″, to see if I could prepare for some expeditious boundary reinforcement. The closest spacing sacrificed some of the imaging precision but did give the greatest mid- to upper bass equilibrium.
1st impressions were being pretty favorable. String tone was fairly natural and voice copy was unfatiguing. Male voice, way too, was neutral, though feminine voice lacked any emphasis of sibilance. Imaging was significantly less precise laterally than I would have appreciated, having said that, particularly in the midrangecertainly it was nowhere close to the typical established by such types as the a few-periods-the-rate Acoustic Electrical power AE1. Presentation of impression depth, as well, was much less than satisfactory, even when the 280s have been positioned effectively out in the home to lower the contribution of rear-wall reflections. With my own crossedfigure-8 microphone recordings, superior loudspeakers current a effectively-concentrated image acquiring a substantial diploma of soundstage depth. The 280s brought almost everything ahead, practically to the airplane of the loudspeakers.
The bass, even though light-weight, was normal of a properly-tuned infinite-baffle style: tight and well controlled, without the need of any evident overhang. In my belief, it suited LP playback, which tends to be wealthy in the low bass, improved than it did the drier-sounding CD. Dynamics seemed alternatively suppressed, even so, with kick drum on observe 13 on the HFN/RR Check CD (footnote 3) getting overcrowded by the tom-tom audio an octave or so greater. Shifting up into the decreased midrange discovered a “warmish” stability, almost an “aww” coloration, which obscured instrumental tonal identities lying in this area. Viola took on some of the cello’s attribute tone coloration cellos sounded as nevertheless they experienced mutes on.
Higher frequencies were being smooth and extended, even though most likely a minimal reticent. Far more problematic, even so, was the nature of the 280’s reduced-presence location which could sometimes become way too forward. Listening to the Chopin Waltz on the HFN/RR CD exposed that the location in between G and B-flat earlier mentioned the treble employees was way too energetic, these notes being extra forward than the regions higher than and down below. It is a uncommon speaker that provides this individual track with an even emphasis all over the treble clef. Nonetheless, the MB 280 was also energetic for my preferences, although I am confident that quite a few listeners will appreciate this included “presence,” particularly with nonclassical audio.
Over-all, I sense that the MB 280 presents pretty a good deal of loudspeaker at a really reasonably priced cost. Well-engineered and excellently completed, it presents a fundamentally very good sound. Even so, it falls down in areas the place I am significantly sensitive, individuals involving stereo imaging and decrease-midrange coloration. It does rise over its similarly priced opposition in obtaining a essentially excellent tweeter, capable of sleek and detailed significant-frequency copy, and it is attainable that the subsequent speaker up in the MB Quart assortment, the a few-way MB 390 ($899/pair), which also uses the titanium-dome HF device, would be a superior all-spherical performer.
Footnote 1: See Stereophile Vol.10 No.4 (June 1987), p.65 and also Vol.10 No.6 (September 1987), p.83.
Footnote 2: MB Quart was purchased by Rockford Fosgate in 2000, but in September 2004, Rockford discontinued the German functions of its subsidiary MB Quart GmbH “owing to ongoing losses at Rockford’s MB Quart GmbH subsidiary in Germany.” Just after a person calendar year in receivership, in mid September 2005, MB Quart was acquired by Maxxsonics United states, Inc, who recognized Maxxsonics GmbH. See this 2017 thread on DIYMobileaudio.com. In 2022, MB Quart manufactures in-vehicle speaker units see mbquart.com.
Footnote 3: This take a look at disc, which I generated in 1985 whilst Editor of HFN/RR, is no extended accessible. At the time this evaluate was posted it was distributed in the US by Tunes and Seem Imports, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006.