Enuffity. It's a made-up word like many ideas on hifi requirements fabricated by pushy salesmen. There's good reason why 2-way compacts are the most popular speaker category extant. Buyers shopping with their ears realize they're enough. The same goes for pedigree. Wherever roads include gravel, black ice, wandering livestock, one-way bridges, tractors, rush-hour jams and other reality intrusions which only a well-maintained racetrack or Autobahn doesn't suffer, the appeal of a super-fast car fades. It's why for each Sonus faber Xtrema, Focal Utopia, Vimberg Amea or Raidho TD-1.2 über monitor, the market has 100 alternatives suited for normal roads, wallets and needs. Scansonic's MB1B is exactly such an alternative; and in my book an unusually handsome one. What's more, it's been voiced/tuned by someone not only very skilled but cognizant of how normal road conditions translate to the majority of popular music. What good is a suspension that telegraphs every small bump and rain-groove shake when our tarmac is littered with them? What good is a super speaker that will only sound good on audiophile productions? That's the question the MB1B asked going into and answered brilliantly coming out of my auditions.
Lhy Audio SW-8 ⇒ iMac ⇒ Audirvana ⇒ Singxer SU-6 ⇒ Sonnet Pasithea ⇒ icOn Gradient Box (beneath left mono)
Audiophile discourse is littered with discord over musicality versus truth and what the notion of fidelity should mean. Fidelity to the recorded signal is a merely theoretical ideal. Nobody can assess said signal without first unpacking it in playback hardware. If we accept that all hardware leaves a fingerprint; and that we can't hear this fingerprint in isolation; none of us will ever hear recorded music without one to have a true-north reference. We're down to which fingerprint we find least disagreeable; or most persuasive. Fidelity only gets practical once it relates to why we use a hifi. A car's prime utility is to get us from A to B in safety and comfort. A hifi's only utility is personal pleasure. Whatever serves it is useful, whatever doesn't is not. By that metric, whatever allows us to enjoy more of our tunes is more useful. It expresses higher pleasure fidelity where less isn't more. In automotive terms it's the go-anywhere 4×4 of sufficient ground clearance. It doesn't dictate where we may go and what remains off limits. In those terms the MB1B is a kind of Jeep. It won't magnify the shortcomings of inferior recordings; goes loud enough for all normal domestic use; and low enough to never betray any obvious lack. It's a very practical so useful all-terrain transporter. And it's from a design team who already have their own Porsche Cayenne on the lot. Perhaps think of it as a two-seater Skoda Karoq variant where the same design DNA adjusts for compact general-purpose use?
Comparisons to far costlier fare inevitably damn with faint praise even where genuine appreciation is intended. It's actually only when one owns speakers like our Acelec Model One or sound|kaos Vox 3a—not just imagines their sound—that compromises stemming from costing less than half even 1/5th are seen at their full value. Now we can judge whether certain extra aspects are actually essential. Is anything vital amiss or askew? Here my answer was a double no. Compared to a few tiers higher, the MB1B was matte not shiny, slightly opaque not explicit, friendly not flamboyant, easy not exuberant. But it still promptly scaled when the big knob turned right without getting shouty or forward. The front-firing port wasn't placement critical. Its resonant boost damped surprisingly well to not boom and avoid unnatural 'forced' antics. The general voicing with its not fully turned-up treble managed to sound surprisingly gutsy. It favored listening from the belly more than heady analysis. We're not foremost on about inspecting sounds with hearing eyes. We're more immersed in our feelings. I imagine that's what most people in our sector mean by a 'musical' or 'more forgiving' loudspeaker. As to subwoofer trickery, I had my earlier question answered. When properly dovetailed, nothing bigger/costlier than an MB1B is required to do everything. It's very good for purveyors of costly big speakers that few believe this and even fewer actually try it out. But that's a story for another day.
For today, let's wrap as follows. In what is the most crowded loudspeaker segment, Scansonic's MB1B manages to stand out with an isodynamic thin-foil tweeter, carbon-fiber mid/woofer and elegant boat-hull cabinet which on its stand rakes slightly back for time alignment and a racier look. Add three finish options and bespoke Danish design DNA trickled down from true cost-no-object Raidhos. If ScansonicHD the brand hadn't yet hit your radar, may this be your wakeup ping. We all like different things. It's simply helpful to know our options. In my book their smallest MB1B is far from yet another paint-by-numbers affair. It deserves a closer look and listen if you're in the €2K market for an elegant compact that sounds rather more substantial and dialed than expected.
Enuffity. My made-up word's meaning should be crystal by now. It's for when pleasure fidelity needs nothing more. Enough for today.