Scansonic MB5 B Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingFrom a new and extended Raidho family these Scansonic floorstanders now benefit from the 'GamuT touch'

We've been here before, reviewing the Scansonic MB5 speakers three years ago [HFN Aug '17]. However, collective amnesia has not set in, for despite the £6249 MB5 B looking near enough identical in its choice of black or white silk finishes, it is in fact a new version of the design, reworked by chief designer Benno Baun Meldgård. Hence the 'B' suffix on the new model.

And that's where the intrigue really starts for, as you'll read in KH's Lab Report, while everything about the new speaker looks the same, from the cabinet to the drivers, the measured performance suggests we are looking at two completely different models. In practice, the MB5 B has lower sensitivity, a re-shaped frequency response, and better bass extension but with higher distortion. Fascinating…

Danish Designs
Meldgård was previously chief designer at another hi-fi brand, GamuT but fast forward to today and Raidho, Scansonic, and GamuT are all now owned by Dantax A/S, a company started nearly 50 years ago in Pandrup (the North of Denmark's Jutland peninsula), which is where it's still headquartered. You'll pass a well-known hi-fi name with alarming frequency when travelling about here – DALI, Dynaudio, Jamo and of course Bang & Olufsen are among the leading lights.


There's necessarily some pooling of talent, as is the case with Dantax, which started out buying in components when it began production in 1971, before acquiring the celebrated driver brand ScanSpeak in 1977. OK, it later sold that operation off to another company, which still hand-builds ScanSpeak drivers in Denmark, but you get the idea: audio manufacturing runs deep around here.

Back to the MB5 B, and the publicity tells of 'an all-embracing upgrade' for the MB range, which originally took its name from designer Michael Børresen, who was responsible for Raidho's speakers, and then the launch of the MBs as a more affordable take on the same technologies. Meldgård, having arrived with GamuT, has made significant changes to the six-strong lineup from the standmount MB1 B through to the range-topping MB6 B with its array of six mid/bass drivers. Meanwhile the simplified version of the Raidho ribbon planar tweeter is retained without revision. This bespoke driver uses a Kapton/alloy sandwich membrane just 20 microns thick, weighs just one gram, and is sandwiched between powerful neodymium magnets.

The midrange and bass drivers – the MB5 B has a total of four 115mm units, between which mid and bass duties are split – use a die-cast aluminium basket for rigidity and retain their carbon cones, but have been treated to a new low-loss spider in their suspension. These features, plus the powerful magnets, combine to offer a claimed improvement in both dynamic handling and bass response.

The company says this also helps reduce the running-in required before the drivers perform at their best, though it also suggests that during break-in you 'don't hold back on the volume as it is the movement of the drivers that makes the speakers come to life'. Editor PM follows up on this in his listening notes. Of equal significance is the redesigned crossover, better integrating the drivers that are also 'time-aligned' by the gently angled baffle.

Cabinet Conundrum
Now there may be some semantics escaping us here, as we think the cabinet principle is unchanged between the two generations, but apparently 'the previous acoustically vented cabinets have now been replaced with a ported cabinet... tuned for optimal impulse response'. This is said to improve the ease with which the speaker can be positioned in the room. Either way, the trio of ports sitting above the single set of speaker terminals are beautifully sculpted into the narrow 'spine' of the tapered cabinet – it's a very elegant solution.

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