Scansonic MB6 B Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingBucking the trend – Scansonic goes for the slender, multi-driver approach for its flagship design, to impressive effect

The MB series is the high-end range from Scansonic, and the MB6 B the flagship of the latest iteration of this lineup. Yet in an arena where bulky, room-dominating speakers prevail, this design takes a different approach. Yes, it's tall, at just over 1.4m, but the company has kept it slender – at under 18cm, the front baffle is narrower than that of many a much smaller design. For example, even the little B&W 606 standmount speaker is a centimetre wider than this floorstanding tower.

It's all made possible by the drivers chosen for the MB 6B, which sells for £8999 in a simple choice of white or black silk finishes. Rather than adopting the 'big drivers shift more air' principle to deliver the bass, the designers at Danish company Dantax – parent of both Raidho and Scansonic – have gone for multiple smaller units. This is not a unique approach – such an arrangement is found elsewhere, and even in some innovative speaker cabinets designed for use by bass guitarists – but it has definite advantages.

Not only does it allow the slimline design we see here, but smaller drivers are notionally much easier to start, stop and generally control than the bigger and heavier cones more conventionally associated with powerful bass. Big drivers with 300mm cones may look impressive but, to put it bluntly, they do tend to flap about a bit if not tightly controlled. Various strategies have been employed to gain this kind of control, an extreme example being the complex and expensive electromagnet system used in Focal's massive Grande Utopia EM Evo speaker [HFN Dec '18], with its huge 40cm bass unit.


Straight Six
The drivers in the MB6 B speakers are little over a quarter the size of those Focal units, at just under 11.5cm, but the Scansonic engineers have used six of them, complete with carbon-fibre cones, in what they call a 'power sharing line array', claiming time alignment of all drivers at the listening position. This is a classic d'Appolito arrangement, with the treble driver – in this case the now-familiar Raidho/Scansonic ribbon-esque/planar tweeter – at its centre, and the midrange and bass drivers arranged above and below it. The way the drivers 'radiate' outward is an effort to enhance the 'point source' effect by starting with the most directional drivers at the centre, moving out to the less directional units.

Thus, in the MB6 B, two of the 11.5cm drivers are used, one above and one below the tweeter, to cover the midrange, between the 250Hz and 2.6kHz crossover points, while above and below this arrangement are further pairs of the drivers configured as bass units.

Mass Movement
Scansonic says its arrangement has a larger radiating area than that of a conventional 30cm bass unit, while retaining both the speed and agility of the smaller drivers, which combine a woven carbon cone with ridges for stiffness, no dustcap for greater integrity and an overhung motor designed for long excursion.

The low mass tweeter, meanwhile, uses a Kapton/aluminium sandwich diaphragm just 20μm thick – we're talking human hair here – that weighs only 0.03g. In treble drivers, where lightness is paramount for the high frequency movement required, that's an advantage – Scansonic describes the mass as being '50 times less than any conventional textile, ceramic, beryllium or diamond dome', which comfortably covers most of the competition's technologies!

All the speakers in the revised MB-B range, which made its debut at the beginning of 2019, share these drivers in various combinations. The lineup kicks off with the £1899 MB1 B standmounts, then moves up through three more conventional-looking slimline floorstanders ranging from the £2899 MB2.5 B to the £6249 MB5 B before arriving at this range-topper. The MB2.5 B uses a conventional 'tweeter above mid above bass' arrangement, while the MB3.5 B and the MB5 B [HFN Jun '20] both use a d'Appolito treble/mid layout, with bass drivers below.

sqnote Slimline Tonic
Having reviewed the MB5 B speakers relatively recently, I was expecting this flagship model to be 'more of the same, but more so', especially as the redesigned bass drivers and cabinets claim to make the most of the bass here. And with the proviso in PM's Lab Report regarding the positioning of the cabinets – that's just what the MB6 B delivered, at least when some boundary reinforcement was provided.

Dantax Radio A/S
Supplied by: Decent Audio, Stockton-on-Tees
05602 054669