Step into high-end audio with the Scansonic MB5 B, an impressive floor-standing speaker that embodies Danish audio craftsmanship. Amid Denmark’s thriving audiophile landscape, Scansonic emerges as a noteworthy contender, and this review delves deep into the MB5 B’s design, engineering, and performance. While Denmark is renowned for its high-end audio brands like Dynaudio and Dali, Scansonic’s rapid ascent into this esteemed arena is a testament to its potential. Discover how the MB5 B is a testament to meticulous design, unwavering precision, and a rich sound profile that challenges its compact form.
The Danish High-End Invasion
Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, boasts a surprisingly vast number of high-end audio manufacturers. While Dynaudio and Dali have long been renowned names, new and lesser-known companies are making their mark in the industry. Scansonic, an intriguing entrant, is the focus here, quickly gaining recognition despite still finding its footing in dealer showrooms. Backed by Dantax, a powerful player on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, Scansonic’s journey has been swift and seamless. In the Danish high-end audio landscape, such growth from modest beginnings is typical, with many established brands originating from the provinces.
Scansonic and Raidho: A Shared Legacy
Scansonic and Raidho share heritage and a common address in Pandrup, North Jutland. Dantax, Scansonic’s parent company, acquired Raidho in 2009, positioning it as a premium brand. In contrast, Scansonic was conceived as a separate company with comparable standards but aimed at a more budget-conscious clientele. A prime example of Scansonic’s prowess is the MB5 B, a floor-standing speaker that draws design inspiration from Raidho. These speakers come for €7,200 for a pair (€1,000 more for the striking walnut veneer finish) and are distinguished by their ribbon tweeters that sit in a horn attachment for enhanced lower-range sound pressure. The MB5 B’s design incorporates four identical 11.5 cm carbon mesh bass-midrange drivers alongside the ribbon tweeter, arranged following the principles of a 2.5-way speaker system. The eye-catching U-shaped cabinet, adorned with carbon accents and sturdy metal feet, exudes both elegance and stability.
|Concept:||2.5 way floorstanding speaker, bass reflex|
|Equipment:||HT: 1 x ribbon, MT: 1 x 11.5 cm, TT: 3 x 11.5 cm|
|Crossover frequencies:||150 / 2,500 Hertz|
|Efficiency:||92.5 dB (2.83 volts/meter)|
|Max. sound pressure (duration / short-term):||99/11 decibels|
|Min. recommended power for max. level:||>15 watts|
|Versions:||black, white, walnut veneer = 1,000 euros extra charge|
|Dimensions (W x H x D):||17.8 × 118.5 × 31.9 cm|
Offering Unique Functions
The Scansonic MB5 B boasts several unique functions that set it apart in the realm of high-end speakers:
- Advanced Driver Configuration: One of its standout features is the innovative driver arrangement. The MB5 B employs a 2.5-way design, featuring four identical 11.5 cm bass-midrange drivers and a ribbon tweeter. While it might seem like two of these drivers should handle midrange and the other two bass, the arrangement differs. Only one of the drivers acts as a true mid-bass driver, located directly under the tweeter, while the others support the bass frequencies. Combined with a ribbon tweeter, this configuration creates a harmonious and detailed soundstage.
- High Efficiency: The MB5 B exhibits an impressive efficiency rating of 92.5 dB, which is remarkable for a slim floor-standing speaker. This high sensitivity means that the speakers can produce significant sound levels with just a few watts of power, which is unusual for floor-standing speakers of this form. The efficiency makes it suitable for low-power amplifiers and results in excellent dynamics and transient response, enriching the listening experience.
- Impressive Bass Response: Despite its slim profile, the MB5 B has a substantial and articulate bass response. The cabinet design incorporates multiple bass drivers and an optimally placed ribbon tweeter, allowing extended and controlled low-frequency reproduction. This bass extension is particularly impressive given the speaker’s slender design, ensuring a satisfying listening experience even in bass-heavy music genres.
- Fine Craftsmanship: Scansonic takes pride in its meticulous craftsmanship, evident in the speaker’s build quality. The U-shaped cabinet design with carbon applications on top and the front adds to the aesthetics and serves acoustic purposes. The robust metal feet provide stability and reduce vibrations, allowing for a cleaner sound output. The quality of construction materials and attention to detail make it a statement piece in any listening room.
- Phase and Timing Precision: The MB5 B strongly emphasizes phase and timing accuracy. The crossover design was fine-tuned during extensive listening sessions to optimize these aspects. This commitment to precise timing results in a coherent and accurate soundstage, where instruments and vocals are placed precisely, enhancing the overall musical experience.
In essence, the Scansonic MB5 B brings a combination of innovative driver configuration, high efficiency, exceptional bass response, craftsmanship, and timing precision to the table. These unique functions collectively contribute to the speaker’s ability to deliver an outstanding audio experience that is bound to impress even the most discerning audiophiles.
Precision in Design and Craftsmanship
Scansonic pays meticulous attention to phase and timing, tuning its speakers with utmost precision. A remarkable characteristic of the MB5 B is its efficiency, boasting an extraordinary 92.5 dB. With as little as 8 watts of power, you can breach the 100 dB level, making these speakers perfect candidates for tube amplifiers. However, the MB5 B’s dynamics are underwhelming with lower-powered amplifiers, which can be attributed to the speakers’ slightly low impedance and inherently gentle and subtle sound character. They come alive with powerful setups, such as the Canor reference combination Hyperion P1 + Virtus M1, producing high levels and dynamic soundscapes.
Design and Craftsmanship: The Scansonic MB5 B exemplifies Scandinavian design. Its slim, towering profile is a testament to the minimalist aesthetics that the region is renowned for. The speaker’s clean lines and uncluttered appearance make it an elegant addition to any living space. It’s available in different real wood veneer finishes, with options like walnut that add warmth and emphasize the speaker’s sophistication. Its attention to detail sets the MB5 B apart from other floor-standing speakers. The front of the speaker showcases sleek carbon applications, serving not only as a visual accent but also fulfilling an acoustic purpose. This careful design contributes to the speaker’s performance and aesthetically stands out.
Build Quality: Scansonic has paid meticulous attention to the construction of the MB5 B. The speaker feels robust and exceptionally well-crafted. It exudes a sense of durability that is immediately evident upon inspection. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, the metal feet enhance the speaker’s stability, ensuring it stands securely in place even during intense listening sessions. The overall build quality of the MB5 B reflects the brand’s dedication to precision and commitment to delivering a product that not only sounds impressive but also stands the test of time. Whether it’s the meticulously chosen real wood veneer or the solidly constructed cabinet, the MB5 B embodies a harmonious blend of form and function, creating a speaker that is a pleasure to listen to and a piece of craftsmanship that will endure for years to come.
Usability and Functionality
The Scansonic MB5 B floor-standing speaker is designed with a keen focus on usability and functionality, ensuring a user-friendly and versatile audio experience.
- Efficient Placement: The slim and elegant design of the MB5 B makes it easy to integrate into various room settings. These speakers can be positioned conveniently in your listening room without overwhelming the space. Their flexibility in placement allows you to experiment with different setups to find the optimal listening position, considering room acoustics and personal preferences.
- Bi-Wiring and Bi-Amping Flexibility: The MB5 B supports bi-wiring and bi-amping configurations, enhancing its versatility. Bi-wiring and bi-amping allow users to fine-tune their audio setup to match their preferences. This flexibility allows for precisely adjusting the sound characteristics to achieve the desired sonic quality.
- User-Friendly Binding Posts: The high-quality binding posts on the speaker facilitate easy and secure cable connections. Whether connecting or disconnecting cables, the process is straightforward and hassle-free.
- Compatibility with Various Amplifiers: With an impressive efficiency rating of 92.5 dB, the MB5 B can efficiently work with various amplifiers, including low-power tube amps and high-power solid-state amps. This compatibility ensures that users can choose amplification equipment according to their preferences.
- Smooth Integration with Audio Systems: The speaker is designed to seamlessly integrate different audio systems. Its standard audio connectors make it compatible with various audio sources, including amplifiers, AV receivers, etc.
- Solid Build Quality: The MB5 B’s construction contributes to its acoustic performance and ensures durability and longevity. This speaker is built to withstand the test of time, making it a reliable audio investment.
- Customized Sound: The speaker’s design and configuration enhance the ability to deliver a customized sound experience. Users can fine-tune their audio system to cater to their musical preferences, from classical to rock, achieving the sound characteristics that best suit their tastes.
- Adaptable for Different Music Genres: The MB5 B demonstrates remarkable adaptability across various music genres. Whether you’re listening to symphonic orchestras or electronic beats, these speakers deliver a sonically pleasing and versatile audio performance.
The MB5 B’s usability and functionality extend far beyond its aesthetic appeal. Its user-friendly design allows for a hassle-free setup, while its compatibility with a wide range of amplifiers ensures that users have ample choice when selecting audio equipment. Its adaptability to different configurations and room layouts enables a tailor-made listening experience. With the Scansonic MB5 B, you have a speaker that combines aesthetic elegance with practical functionality to meet the needs of discerning audiophiles, making it a worthy addition to any high-quality audio setup.
Connections and Connectivity
The Scansonic MB5 B, besides its remarkable acoustic performance, also excels in connections and connectivity. It offers a range of options to ensure that it seamlessly integrates into various audio systems, both contemporary and traditional.
- Bi-Wiring/Bi-Amping Compatibility: The MB5 B supports bi-wiring and bi-amping configurations. Bi-wiring involves using separate cables for the tweeter and woofer sections of the speaker, which can enhance audio clarity and separation. Bi-amping takes it a step further by using separate amplifiers for the high and low-frequency drivers, allowing for even more precise control over the sound.
- Quality Binding Posts: The speaker has high-quality binding posts that accommodate various speaker cables, ensuring a secure and reliable connection. These binding posts are user-friendly, making it easy to attach and detach cables when necessary.
- Amplifier Compatibility: The MB5 B’s high-efficiency rating of 92.5 dB ensures it can work efficiently with various amplifiers, including low-power tube amps and high-power solid-state amplifiers. This versatility makes it an excellent choice for audiophiles with different amplifier preferences.
- Standard Connectivity: The speaker uses standard audio connections, which means it can readily interface with most audio systems without requiring specialized connectors or adapters.
- Flexible Placement Options: The MB5 B can be placed in various locations within your listening room due to its slim and elegant design. This flexibility lets you position the speakers optimally for your listening preferences and room acoustics.
- Cable Quality: To maximize the speaker’s potential, it’s advisable to use high-quality speaker cables. Investing in well-constructed, oxygen-free copper or silver-plated cables can further enhance the audio performance, ensuring that the signal from your amplifier reaches the speaker without degradation.
The MB5 B’s thoughtful approach to connections and connectivity demonstrates its commitment to accommodating various audio systems. Whether you’re an audiophile who prefers vintage tube amplifiers or favors modern solid-state powerhouses, the speaker ensures you can experience its exceptional sound quality without compatibility concerns. Its adaptability to bi-wiring and bi-amping configurations also grants you the flexibility to fine-tune your audio setup to your liking, a feature highly valued by discerning audio enthusiasts. Scansonic’s dedication to providing a user-friendly and versatile audio solution shines through in the MB5 B’s connections and connectivity options.
A Feast for the Ears
The MB5 B’s performance is surprising, delivering robust, pressure-laden beats that envelop the listener. Despite their compact build, the Scansonic speakers maintain their fluidity, charm, and spatial reproduction. These qualities highlight intricate details and ensure a distinct lack of harshness. Even when pushed to high levels, the MB5 B exhibits no signs of weakness or stress, confidently accommodating the forceful nature of electronic beats. In classical music, such as Shostakovich’s monumental Seventh Symphony, the MB5 B demonstrates exceptional handling of dynamics, presenting intricate details at low volumes and transitioning to a powerful and expansive soundstage at high volumes.
Sound Quality and Sound Test:
The Scansonic MB5 B boasts sound quality that exemplifies precision, clarity, and immersion. When subjected to a battery of sound tests, it consistently demonstrates its ability to deliver an outstanding listening experience across various music genres.
Its exceptional balance distinguishes the MB5 B, ensuring no aspect of the music spectrum is neglected. Whether immersed in the nuanced complexities of classical compositions or grooving to the pulsating rhythms of electronic tracks, this speaker captures every detail while maintaining its captivating, vibrant character. Its dynamic range is striking, effortlessly transitioning from soft, delicate passages to thunderous crescendos while preserving clarity and coherence.
The midrange performance is a key strength, endowing vocals and instruments with exquisite texture and authenticity. The MB5 B excels in this frequency range, making string instruments resonate with lifelike fidelity and vocal renditions come to life with an almost tangible presence. The ribbon tweeter plays a pivotal role by imparting a sense of airiness to the high frequencies, ensuring that delicate cymbal crashes and intricate treble nuances are faithfully reproduced.
In terms of bass response, the MB5 B defies expectations set by its slender form, proving that size does not limit impactful bass delivery. The speaker’s ingenious construction allows for a tight, well-controlled, low-end performance. The bass is agile and responsive, producing satisfying depth without infringing on the midrange.
When assessing the soundstage, the MB5 B consistently crafts an immersive listening environment. It projects an expansive, room-filling soundstage that extends beyond the physical boundaries of the room. This characteristic contributes to an authentic and captivating experience, particularly when paired with high-quality source material.
To summarize, the Scansonic MB5 B upholds the Danish legacy of audio excellence, offering a sonic performance that resonates with audiophiles who seek refined, high-fidelity sound. Its remarkable sound quality, versatility, and attention to detail make it a speaker that faithfully reproduces music in all its intricacies and nuances, elevating the listening experience to new heights. The MB5 B is a testament to Scansonic’s unwavering commitment to creating a premium audio product that satisfies the most discerning listeners.
In conclusion, the Scansonic MB5 B is a testament to Danish audio craftsmanship and sonic excellence. Its remarkable design and craftsmanship, rooted in the rich Danish tradition of high-end audio, are evident in the speaker’s slim and elegant form, showcasing the synergy of aesthetics and engineering. The meticulous attention to detail and the use of quality materials contribute to a robust build, ensuring long-lasting performance and durability.
The true beauty of the MB5 B lies in its exceptional sound quality, which transcends the slim confines of its frame. These speakers offer a captivating audio experience across various music genres, providing a versatile and immersive sonic journey. The MB5 B caters to audiophiles and casual listeners with its unique blend of user-friendliness and adaptability. Its ability to accommodate different configurations, amplifier choices, and room setups makes it appealing to those seeking audio excellence without sacrificing aesthetics. The Scansonic MB5 B invites you to experience the Danish legacy of audio craftsmanship and musical delight, delivering elegance and power within a single audio masterpiece.
Why You Should Buy the Scansonic MB5 B:
- Impressive Sound Quality: The Scansonic MB5 B offers remarkable sound quality, with a harmonious and detailed soundstage, impressive bass response, and clear midrange and treble. It’s a superb choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts seeking a high-end listening experience.
- High Efficiency: With an efficiency rating of 92.5 dB, these speakers can achieve substantial volume levels with minimal amplifier power. This efficiency makes them versatile and compatible with various amplifiers, including lower-power options.
- Unique Design: The speaker’s innovative driver configuration, U-shaped cabinet design with carbon accents, and attention to detail in craftsmanship make it a visually striking addition to your listening room.
- Phase and Timing Precision: The speaker’s commitment to phase and timing accuracy results in a coherent and accurate soundstage, where instruments and vocals are precisely placed, enhancing your music’s realism.
- Fine Craftsmanship: Scansonic’s quality construction materials and meticulous attention to build quality ensure that the MB5 B is not only a performer but also a statement piece in your living space.
Why You Might Consider Other Options:
- Price: While the Scansonic MB5 B offers exceptional sound quality and craftsmanship, its price point places it in the high-end category. More affordable options can still deliver good audio quality if you’re on a tight budget.
- Room Size: These speakers, although slim, might not be the ideal choice for very small rooms due to their significant bass extension. In such spaces, smaller bookshelf speakers might be a better fit.
- Amplifier Requirements: While the high efficiency of the MB5 B makes it suitable for a wide range of amplifiers, it may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a speaker to pair with low-power tube amplifiers that thrive with higher impedance loads.
In summary, the Scansonic MB5 B is a top-tier speaker that excels in various aspects, offering excellent sound quality, craftsmanship, and unique design. It’s an ideal choice for those who prioritize audio fidelity and are willing to invest in a premium audio setup. However, potential buyers should consider factors like budget, room size, and amplifier requirements before deciding.