I have recently had the great pleasure of listening to some great sounding high end systems recently. These systems had speakers such as Kharma, Wilson, B&W, Thiel, Goldmund. Each system, with the different speakers, had something I admired and truly enjoyed, however, none of them had a quality that I refer to as "musicality" or just a "naturalist" way with the music like my MG-20R's in my home system.
Now, the point of these post is not to argue what the BEST speaker in the world is, their is no BEST, but many great sounding speaker systems, but to pose this question to other Maggie lovers: Do you often listen to other speakers that you enjoy/admire many of their sonic virtues, however find them not sounding to your ear as "musical" or as "natural" as your Magnepans? That other speakers do certain things better, but do not give the "Gestalt" of the music like Magnepans do?
It would be great to hear the opinion of other Maggie lovers or other Gon members who might not agree with this soundpoint.
"That other speakers do certain things better, but do not give the "Gestalt" of the music like Magnepans do?"
As a past dipole lover and maggie owner, the gestalt you seek is the reverberation created by a fullrange dipole speaker.
The monopoles you listed when played in surround sound (5 speakers DPLII, Trifield), actually pickup where the Maggies left off. Because you can now control the ambiant field
The sense of being there or the music being in the room, is created by a dipoles ability to obscure the "room" impact on the sound by washing it down with ambiant noise.
A surround system does the same thing but with much greater precision, and no using dipoles in surround is not an Uber solution. Its a bad idea actually.
Ever listen to Maggies with the back wave cut down significantly? same small distant presentation created by the monopole speaker you listed. The "gestalt" removed the advantage gone.
I know it sounds crazy, but I haven't heard a dipole system in a decade that I'd spend significant money on. And the only reason is surround sound. The next step for 2 channel people who are at the end of 2 channel performance.
Teajay, I confess do so pine for MG20Rs or 20.1s, yet currently I power my ancient MG3As through the generous reserve of current of my trusty old Rowland 7Ms. While I do enjoy my Maggies oh so much, I have also found that Babybear's Vandersteen 5As right now are delivering a sound that is most Maggiesh to my ears. When -- IF my better half will say -- I upgrade speakers, I will consider MG3.6 and MG20.x first of course, but also some box speakers such as Vandersteen 5As and a few others. . . and no, sorry, I will not even remotely entertain a multi-channel system. . . . Maggies or no maggies as may the case be.
I've not heard a "box" speaker that I like as much as a fine electrostatic or magenepan properly set up. Mixing a tube preamp and SS amp with propper interconnects correct much of the timbre "inaccuracies" of maggies IMHO. Innersound and soundlab electrostats as well as old modified dayton wright XG-8 electrostats play music beautifully. However my maggies are much cheaper and easier to live with. I have yet to listen to modern horn speakers and reserve comment on them for now.
Actually, after long and careful listening i found a "box" speaker I liked as well as the Maggies. No it doesn't sound neat when you walk behind it or look as cool, but it disappears in the soundstage the way the maggies do and it actually images better. It has more bass. To boot, it is small and doesn't mind where you put it too much. It is the Aerial 6. Like the Maggie it is very inneficient. I drive it nicely with a Canadian parts mod Jolida 502B. (Bi-wire with ofc 12-ga wire - a buck a foot) I've found that the Maggies like BIG wire. (So do the Aerials). I have had three offers to swap my 6's even up for a perfect pair of 1.6's, which i am very familiar with and like a lot. I haven't done it yet. Frankly i don't think I'll ever sell the aerials or the mod Jolida, even though i frequently buy other stuff to play with. I always end up with the Aerial/Jo comgination. I've found the place and I'm staying there.
Owning a pair of 1.6s, I'm a maggie owner for life. I've listen to other speakers that have been reviewed in magazines and something always seems to be missing. I guess you could say it's the "naturalness" of how the music flows. I'm very fortunate because these speakers were actually my wife's #1 choice considering maggies do not have a high WAF. She even took it a step furthur and opted to get the full maggie HT setup. The thing she didn't know about maggies that it takes a lot of current to drive them and now she's complains when I swap out amps. I guess it would have happened anyways regardless of speakers. The joy of this hobby....
I am of limited experience and limited exposure to brands not carried locally. I do own a family room system with 1.6's and a second system with little Castle towers in the living room. I really like to listen to both systems, but, TJ as you point out, even the small planars can provide an image and musical impact that the small selection of box speakers I have owned can't replicate.
I have placed both sets of speakers for the most pleasing tonal balance vs. soundstage compromise (to my mind/ear). I can get a sub to integrate well with the little towers, but never have been really satisfied with the sub integration with the Maggies and gave up on it until I can obtain an active Xover.
Several times, I have sat down at the dealer where I got the 1.6's and listened to the 3.6's with a really well integrated front-end and amp (not really expensive). The immediacy and impact of the music from a couple of different genres just startled me. It just got so intense and involving that I had to stand up and move back. It wasn't volume, just intensity, for lack of a better word. Also got to listen to ML CL2Z's (I think that is the model #) and had a very pleasing and involving experience, but not he same impact.
But, as many on this forum have said before, the planars are a two-edged sword. The interplay with room accoustics and atmosphere can be trying. One day, your in sonic heaven, the next day, the weather changes and you can't replicate the sound because the temperature or humidity in the house are not the same. But, on the other hand, you can play with placement and accoustics to create all kinds of tonal balances and images.
In the end, I love the Maggies and will upgrade to 3.6's or maybe even 20.1's as soon as my wife goes back to work. BTW - my wife loves the Maggies. She gets in a mood and up go the spl's until, shortly afterward, the thermal cutouts in the amps take over.
I have a HT set up with Thiel's all round in one room and a stereo with Maggie 1.6's in another. The Thiel's are like a blonde with a bodacious pair of... - big, bold and brassy. The Maggies are like a petite brunette - tiny and oh so delicate.
Maggie owner here... The thing about Magnepan is the high performance to value ratio IMHO... I have heard speakers that I do find ultimately better than the 20.1 but they do not do everything better and what they do better is not such a huge difference for me to really consider moving toward them...
Let me quickly add that the few speakers I find better than the 20.1 belong to the strastophericly priced... Wilson X-2 , Dynaudio Evidence Master to name these 2...
The last pair of Maggies I owned were the 1.5QR's (10 yrs ago). Since then I just have not lived in a environment where I could place maggies. I also have gotten used to having the deeper bass response that comes with near full-range box speakers. That said, if I had the room for one of the bigger pair of maggies, and the money to buy the proper amplification, I might try them again. They do have a unique, and very seductive sound.
I understand MRT. In this case, you should not worry, I have fed a steady diet of an analog signal from a digital source to my MG3As since 1988 and the old darlings are not even breathing hard today. Never a murmur, never even a hint of clipping. . . and never a complaint. . . if bigamy were not illegal, I'd marry them!
I am a huge Maggie fan and owner... The MG 20.1 is to me one of the best speaker on the market. I must however say that I have heard speakers that are better overall... All of them at least 5 times the 20.1 price... I must quickly add that no B&W or Thiel oe even Vandersteen I have heard is even close to them
The Wilson X-2 and the Dynaudio Evidence Master are two odf the speakers that to mu\y ears are clearly superior to the 20.1 in the area of reproducing music. I have not Von Scweikert VR-9 but what the VR-4 do is uncanny.. I need to listen to the Alon Grand Reference.. People whose ears I beleive in have told me it is up there..
Yet these speakers do not do everyhting as well as the 20.1 , for one, The midbass of the 20.1 is more articulate that that of the X-2 and its treble airier and apparently more extended... The 20.1 lose in the midband (circa 500 Hz to low treble <7 KHz), low bass dynamics and microdynamics reproduction where these 2 push it aside...
I am a planar fan. I like the way a dipolar speaker reproduce music in a room and I am not talking about that false sense of space that un-tamed reflections provide... now it is the way a dipole excite the room, the way bass from dipole seems to sound truer and less "reproduced" than a point-source...
What speakers like the X-2 do is an incredible sense of ease in the reproduction of microdynamics. The music flows.. from a whisper to a roar in the whole audible range with ease and with almost any amp... I have found that speakers of low sensitivity seem to require cranking up the volume a bit .. They rarely excell in microdynamics (The Quad ESL could be an exception in this regard but only in the midband and was it low in sensitivity?).. More on this observation in another thread...
Teajay, I am also a Maggie/planar lover. I've had 2 dedicated systems for years with the 3.6's in one and Duetta Sigs in the other. A new house a few years back gave me a problem room. Even in that room the Maggies sounded better than anything else I tried. Finally discoved single driver speakers and then mated them to SET's. That combination still gives me pleasure after over 2 yrs now, so the "honeymoon factor" is long gone. The Maggies are still in one room and I don't see them going anywhere in the near future. You are right, there is no perfect speaker. Whatever the Maggies lack I don't mind. Same is true for the SET/single driver system.