Magnepan

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by mtoc, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. mtoc

    mtoc SBAF's Resident Shit-Stirrer

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    Hi all, what's the good and bad of the Maggies? I've read many reviews, almost everybody says they're almost unbeatable at their price ranges (with proper amps).
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  2. Dash

    Dash Almost "Made"

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    I have the MMGs driven by an Acurus amp and Acurus preamp. I have always thought they were special and crushed the bookshelf speakers in the same range. I also have psb alpha avs, wharfdale diamond10.1 and the Maggie's are superior from the lower midrange up. The lack in bass presence and I have never been able to successfully blend a sub in
     
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  3. BioniclePhile

    BioniclePhile The Terminal Man - Friend

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    My uncle's Maggie setup started me in this hobby and has resulted in a ridiculous amount of my expenditures. He has 1.6's with two subs that are blended fairly nicely from my memory. Magnepans definitely have a fantastic midrange, that's got to be their strong suit.
    The only bad they have is lack of lower bass in the smaller models and inefficiency in my opinion. I'm getting the MMG when Schiit releases their speaker amp, and my end game setup will be the 3.7i paired with something to get the really deep bass and keep up with the planar speed.
     
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  4. Dash

    Dash Almost "Made"

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    Magnepan also has a unique trade up program for customers.

    Edit: I double checked the website and didn't see the program for trade ups anymore.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  5. Barry Thornton

    Barry Thornton Rando

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    I am Barry Thornton live in Austin. I have designed and built an amplifier for planar loudspeakers, especially Magnepans.

    I seek listeners to critique the sound of the amp. It is physically built on a wood board and is meant for 'first-ear' listening evaluation and learning only. It will not survive shipping so I have to hand deliver it and pick it up, thus Austin and the immediate area HOT.

    If you have a basic Maggie system the you know well I would like to bring the amp over and have you change it out with your amp, you listen, and tell me what you think it did to the system. This is how I learn to improve a design.

    The is a Concept Amplifier, to my knowledge there is nothing like it. Class-A, no feedback, current mode gain, very high bandwidth and most uniquely, the distortion does not change with frequency and that is uses over 700 transistors to accomplish 50 watts per channel. Results so far have been exceptional and I want to learn more.

    If you would be interested in listening and telling me what you hear, let me know.
     
  6. enginerd

    enginerd Acquaintance

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    I have had a good amount of experience with Magnepans in the past. I first owned some MG 3.6 and then upgraded and fleshed it out to a full surround setup - 20.1's up front, CC2 center, and MG1.6 rears. The two main issues are power requirements and placement. My magnepans were pretty inefficient - my 20.1 was 85db, so you need a pretty powerful amp. Secondly, the are dipole design (i.e. sound wave is projected forward and back) so room placement (esp. away from back wall) is critical. They don't necessarily have a lot of bass unless you get the very large models (the panel excursion is very small compared to a dynamic driver, so it has to make up for that up with square inches). At least with models I had, there were some less than premium parts - connectors, the stands were wimpy (I upgraded to Mye stands), the ribbon attenuator degraded the sound (I rewired to bypass that and the fuse). All that being said, they did produce some incredibly musical sound and is probably somewhat responsible for my preference for planar headphones today.
     
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  7. Kamikazi

    Kamikazi Friend

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    I had the MG12s for a couple of weeks and they definitely did some great things, but they also have some compromises that you have to decide whether you can deal with them. They are very open sounding and musical without any harshness. I loved listening to acoustic, choral and classical music with these. They are however, quite inefficient and demand good quality amplification. You have to keep them far away from walls and the MG12 had quite a small listening sweet spot, so better for individual listening. They have to be dialed in to your specific listening position which a bit of a contrast with the KEF LS50s I also owned at that stage. You definitely have to try these speakers at some stage and should you have a good listening space that can accommodate these, they may very well lead you on the upgrade ladder to the larger panels and to your end game speaker.
     
  8. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    I lived with 3.6R's for two years.

    Pros -

    Very smooth, grainless timbre like some of the best planar headphones out there.

    Large ribbons (haven't spent much time with the QRs) have a particular way of rendering the top end that some love and some hate. I felt like the level of cohesion between drivers was excellent. No ridges or jagged edges in the response in the higher extremes.

    Soundstaging can be incredibly vast in every direction with good room placement, as is the case with most open baffle loudspeakers. Imaging can be excellent as well.

    Cons -

    "Planar compression" - feels dynamically flat compared to a BWC-style speaker. Maggies only feel dynamic when played fairly loud. Turn them down and you lose a lot of lower mids on down.

    Super duper sensitive to placement to get good imaging and bass. People will complain bass is weak. Usually the bass will "lock in" in a certain spot in your room, but this might not be a spot that is functional in your space.

    They like a lot of room behind them. Too close and they can phase themselves out becoming a mushy sloshy mess.

    Extremely small sweet spot.

    Power hungry, so can't use OPT tube amps.

    // I prefer my L55s because I've realized since owning the Maggies what my sonic priorities are in a pair of loudspeakers - slam and tactility (or "grip" on the air), which the BWC JBLs excel at and the Maggies don't. IDGAF about staging and imaging unless there's a clear phasing problem happening.
     
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  9. BeyerMonster

    BeyerMonster Guest

    OP was 3 years ago, so doubt he's even still reading, but I've had 3.6s for almost 20 years now. The active x-over that I added about a decade ago really improved the slam on the low end.

    I mostly agree with @E_Schaaf , specifically his comment about being played fairly loud. Not hearing-loss inducing levels, but you're not going to fully enjoy them if they're played at background music such that you can still have a conversation talking over them.
     
  10. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    I've owned three Maggies over the years -- the Tympani 1D, Tympani IVa, and a pair of the little MMG's.

    I think E_Schaaf gave a good summary, though I'd modify it a bit. The current quasi-ribbon (foil on Mylar) .7 models don't seem to suffer from the need to play them loud than the earlier models, which used wire on Mylar. Also the true ribbon models (3.7 and up) don't have a particularly small sweet spot -- although as dipoles, they tend to project their sound front and back. (Sweet spot can also be expanded at the expense of image specificity by running them tweeters out rather than tweeters in.)

    Otherwise, Pros:

    - Transparency -- they have a close to electrostatic transparency; by comparison, most dynamic speakers sound smeared. This makes them ideal for acoustical music of all types (on poorly recorded material, OTOH, they can show up distortion and artifacts). The true ribbon models (Mini Maggie, 3.7, 20.7, and 30.7) are particularly transparent -- the Maggie ribbon is still considered one of the best tweeters ever made.

    - Price/performance -- they regularly hit the ball out of the park on this one -- the enclosure, after all, is the most expensive component of a conventional speaker

    - Soundstage -- they will produce a vast soundstage with excellent depth -- particularly great for orchestral recordings. It's like a window onto the original performance. The speakers themselves disappear.

    - Tonal balance/power response -- they're superb in this area, and this adds to their frequently uncanny realism on acoustical music

    - Natural midbass -- nothing I've heard will reproduce drums, double basses, and such with the realism a large planar will -- but see the limitations in cons

    - Require less room treatment than a point source speaker (but more careful placement)

    Cons:

    - The larger models are big and may have wife acceptance issues

    - They have to be pulled out from the front wall -- 3' minimum, 5' is better, even more is even better. Like any speaker that hasn't been designed to work against the wall, they develop more depth as you pull them out. (However, they can be pretty close to side walls.) They do make models though that are designed to mount on the wall.

    - They can play loud, but they won't give you 120 dB levels like a big Wilson. My Tympanis will cruise at 110 dB.

    - Inefficient and require a good high current amplifier that almost doubles down into 4 ohms. Most people will want a lrage amplifier -- anything less will limit their dynamics. People often mistake the effect of an undersized amplifier for dynamic limitations in the Maggies.

    - The smaller panels don't go very deep -- the smallest (the LRS, successor to the MMG) doesn't go much below 50 Hz. At the opposite extreme, the 20.7 and 30.7 are flat to 20 Hz. People often use subs with the smaller Maggies.

    - Because of limitations in bass output, they aren't the best speakers for rock at high levels, unless you use a sub

    - Being dipoles, they benefit hugely from careful placement -- most people end up spending quite a while finding the best position!

    Essentially, I'd say that they're unbeatable on price performance when listening to acoustical music. I heard the little LRS at AXPONA and it basically made everyone's jaw drop -- at $650, none of us had ever heard anything close. At the opposite extreme, the $30,000 30.7 is competitive with $100,000 speakers.

    Even more essentially, if you know and love the sound of live acoustical music you'll love the Maggies, but if you mostly listen to rock or pop or you have WAF issues, dynamics are often a better choice.
     
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