Compared to the VS you have, you will think the Maggies have NO bass. So the sub is a must for you. With the 1.7 or 3.6 you will notice a much larger sound field. Imaging will be a bit less, but you should have a more "there" impression, especially on vocals. Be prepared to turn your volume knob up a lot more.
Thanks Koestner. A good description and the kind of answer I am looking for.
You will need the maggies at least 3 ft. from the back wall and or treat the back wall for depth enhancement. The stage will be more lifelike in height. The maggies are very fast as well, but bass lacks weight, but has slam. Jallen
I have owned Magnepan MMG, MG3a and MG3.6 with Mye stands, I have also owned the VR4jrs....
To be honest I didnt like the VR's at all and sold them after 2 weeks.
Magneapns require High power, good placement and will reward you with an Open clear picture into the music. They will provide depth and imaging. They will not have the impact of the VR's. I didnt like a sub with them. The larger magies will surprise you at the quality of bass you will hear not feel.
I listen to Clasic rock and blues using a PASS X250 amp.
My sudgestion is look for a used pr of 1.7's and try them.
I now use Revel F52's, I will be purchasing and trying in the future the new 3.7's or 20.1 just for the funn of it
From time to time (including right now) I use a pair of 12" Rythmik subs (2 x $800) with MMGs ($600) in a system that costs just over $2K. I've also owned the significantly more expensive 3.5s in the past. Not in the same system, room, etc. - so the proverbial grain of salt is mandatory - but this system is VASTLY superior to the 3.5s (subject to the caveat above).
There is a catch:
I use an Audyssey enabled pre-pro to assure optimum integration of panels and subs. It also provides full-range room EQ. I've also successfully used a Velodyne SMS-1 sub controller ($400) and NHT X-2 active x-over unit (was $300, now discontinued) successfully for this task in the past. In this set-up, room EQ is limited to the subs and the MMGs do their thing "unprocessed". The x-2 is a much more fllexible (and, IMO better sounding) low cut unit than that provided within the SMS-1 (fixed at 80hz, 6 db/octave). The 80hz is actually a pretty good x-over point for room EQ since the most audible room nasties fall between 50 and 100 hz is most well-treated rooms (IME), but the x-2 worked better for me.
Audyssey xt-32 enabled pre-pros start out just under $2k if you prefer that "non-audiophile approved" approach. Either way, the total outlay meets your stated budget.
IMO, both approaches work well, but one or the other is virtually mandatory for best results. The good news: the MMG, SMS-1, and the Rythmik subs are all (I believe) sold with an in-home trial period. The total outlay for this approach is $2600, plus the "optional" x-2 to low-cut the MMGs.
tgrisham, it sounds like you're "in the driver's seat," which is a good place to be; not desperate and not starry-eyed. Some thoughts for you from my experiences with Maggies and other panels over the years...
As can be seen in my virtual system I own both dynamic and panel technologies as they both have virtues and drawbacks/limitations. I noticed your HSU sub which you can pair with panels. I happen to have two HSU STF-1 subs in my office system with a pair of Eminent Technology LFT-VI speakers. I have been very pleased with the HSU subs and would consider them again for future systems if needed. I think they have blended quite well with the magnetic planar technology as they are quite configurable.
If possible you may wish to own both speakers. I'm sure at first you will be bowled over by the panel sound, but over time you will notice that aspects of the sound which only a dynamic speaker can convey are missing. It is possible the sound of the panel will be wierd/strange to your ears at first, but your ears will adjust over time. Likely after a week or so you will start to love the sound, if not sooner.
But at some point you will realize that you are missing some of the performance characteristics of a dynamic speaker and you would likely start to yearn to own one again. The seesaw action would have begun - back and forth between speaker types. I finally put a stop to that with ownership of both and have never been happier as an audiophile in 25 years plus of being in the hobby.
I did start with an MMG many years ago and rapidly advanced to the 1.6. You would be leaping upward in sound quality hugely to go for the 1.7 over the MMG.
Whatever you decide, it appears as though you will have an enjoyable time! Just remember that you will never own the perfect system, as it doesn't exist. Think of the process more as a journey than a destination which is supposed to give perfect satisfaction.
Do not skimp on cables; explore aftermarket cables as this is a critical factor in exploiting all the newfound performance of speaker changes. If you find a cable brand with a high performance to cost ratio it will be worth every cent you spend on it! I do not see any mention of designer cables in your system listing; I assure you that you will see a huge benefit to your rig's sound if you spend time investigating/trying cables - including power/digital/interconnect/speaker. Over the years of using dozens of sets of cables from different makers I consider cables to be as important as any other component of a system. You can literally kill a rig's sound or elevate it incredibly via cabling.
I don't know if you still have the EE DAC or not, but if so and you like it I strongly urge you to upgrade to the EE DAC Plus version. The benefit is way beyond the $400 or so difference in price.
Finally, I caution you that you may not be happy entirely with the W4S/Maggie combo. I have used the W4S Class D with the Emerald Physics CS2 in my room and tried the W4S with the Eminent Technology LFT-8B speakers (reviewed; I reviewed a lot of the stuff I'm discussing but not the Magnepans). Class D and the maggie may sound too strident for your ears. You can ameliorate the issue with cabling to a degree but may have to consider a different amp. In the long run while macrodynamics and transients can be thrilling with Class D amps I was never fully satisfied with the tonality of them. They are recommendable for certain purposes and systems and for some peoples' preferences but definitely not a perfect solution across the board, especially for panel speakers. It is very good that you have the subwoofer, and you may want to consider a second one as this does make a significant difference in the experience, even with panels.
Some would say the 'best bang 4 buck' would be a pre-loved pair of the 1.6 followed by a trip to magnestand for the full wood frame / stand / crossover mods.
Magnepans is the DIY speaker. The stuff I already mentioned is on the table, but even un modified you have to do detailed setup.
For example, I experimented with Tweeters in/out and pole piece forward or to the rear. Toe is critical. Measure everything as you go and take notes, if necessary.
3 feet from the front wall is dead minimum. 5 feet works better, since the ear will hear the reflected sound differently with more time delay.
Sub integration is a real joy, too. Do your setup WITHOUT sub to get the mains best than add the sub. All the usual rules apply. With panels you still have the full range VS cut off lows option, as well. I run full range and set my crossover to near the LF panel limit and have a pretty good blend.
Go check out the Planar Asylum and maybe even Magnepan Users Group for the real nut-jobs. I like it.
Now, Magnepans have a real house sound. As you go up-line, you simply get more. The MMG at 600$ is a bargain and has guaranteed trade-up value OR the ala carte resale market...you choose.
Just make sure your room is panel friendly. Some diffusion between 'em is nice or a couple fake ficus behind. The opposite wall can be damped, as well. They load the room differently than box speakers, so experiment.
Maggies are, first and foremost, planar speakers. The dispersion of sound is quite unlike the typical "point source" speaker. A "line Array" speaker is somewhat similar.
You must first decide if you like the planar characteristics. Some do and some don't. After that you can worry about bass response. People who get all upset about Maggie bass response have been reading too many specs instead of listening. The perfectly smooth nature of the bass rolloff largely compensates for the fact that, except for the largest Maggies, the lowest octave if you need it, is left to a subwoofer.
Yes and yes.
I'd add that the low sensitivity is made easier to take by what you refer to. The level doesn't drop with distance as quickly as box speakers. And, they are an easy load, so many amps are a good electrical match, even if you don't prefer the sound or presentation.
Talking line-source, many users will swear by the 8 foot ceiling as best.
just a quick note - as said before, Maggies love power.
I'm running 1.6QRs and got a very noticeable improvement by bi-amping. I run 250Ws of Threshold power on the bottom and use a tube amp on top. Bass is rolled off on the tube amp since it doesn't need to reproduce those frequencies anyways.
The sound difference with the tube amp in place was jaw-dropping.
At the stock 600hz crossover and with 250watts to the bass, I'd estimate needing maybe 150 watts to the top-half, so the amps run out of 'steam' at about the same time. That would be about a 60:40 power split...
Keeping in the Threshold scheme of things, if I had VERY deep pockets, I'd biamp with a pair of Pass amps...The INT-30a and the XA30A. I doubt I'd ever even get the meter to flicker out of 'a'.
And given the nature of the Magnepan beast, I'd do a few minor wiring changes, too. Get rid of the fuse and maybe install real binding posts to rid myself of those pesky banana plugs....which I've been putting up with for >30 years!
When I was setting up a biamp rig for MG1.6 I discovered that the high end needed a more powerful amp than I had expected. The trick is that I was looking at the amp's ability to swing instantaneous voltage peaks. not at power. Since voltage capability generally goes along with power you end up with a more powerful amp. You don't need the continuous power: just the voltage. Because of the way amps are designed you have to buy power to get the volts.
Pass amps are the only ones I've seen which call out voltage as a 'spec'.
How much more power? My 'guess' of 60:40 is based on the following link, which makes reasonable sense..
My guess of 150 watts @ 4 amps (mid/tweet fuse in 1.6) is about 38volts....certainly that should be within reason for any 150 watt amp? No?
The Pass X-150 is rated at about 50 volts.....and stereophile got 200@8 out of it during bench tests.
Magfan... The fuse in the MG 1.6 is for the whole speaker; not just the tweeter.
A "4 amp" fuse will carry a lot more than 4 amps for brief intervals like music peaks. All fuses are, to a degree, "time delay" fuses. Blow time is a function of current. Depending on the fuse type, it will carry its rated current, or a bit more, forever. Near instantaneous blow time is typically twice the rated value.
Sorry, Eld, the Schematic clearly shows the fuse for ONLY the mid/tweet. I have a copy right in the other room......
And yes, it will briefly carry more current than 4 amps. I haven't looked at fuse specs but I know it will carry a bunch more for very short times.
I doubt a panel will be damaged by this behavior. Even my MG-1, with a 1.5 amp fuse did the same. i could pop the fuse with somewhere north of 200 watts, but all that would happen would be the highs would go away.
I understand their is another class of fuse which is REALLY fast and designed to protect the most delicate electronics......in addition to 'sloblo' .
On the DIY front, some people will bridge the fuse out and others will pull the connection panel and do a minor rewire job to the same end. Eliminating all those extra connections / wires while of necessity doing away with the biamp / biwire option is said to have some sonic benefits. If I did that, I'd be tempted to install binding posts at the same time....
Magfan... You are right about the fuse. I just checked my schematic. I was going on memory from several years ago when I rebuilt my crossovers.
At work about fifteen years ago I had occasion to look into superfast fuses. These fuses would be located in test equipment and protect transistors in one assembly under test from power coming from a second assembly of the unit under test. (Missile guidance system). The only thing to blow faster than a transistor is another transistor, and that is what the superfast fuses really were. As I recall these fuses would cost about $1,000. The transistors we wanted to protect were inside a sealed gimbaled inertial measurement unit, and to tear it down, fix it, build it up again and test it would cost far more than $1000, so the superfast fuse was not completely ridiculous. In the end we didn't use the fuses. The concern was about reliability of the protected transistors if the ones in the test equipment had blown. Maybe they would still be working, but perhaps not with the extreme reliability we had to meet in the guidance system.
I'd consider not just 1.7's, but used 3.6's. Both should leave you plenty of money for subs, which are pretty much mandatory with the 1.7's. I've heard good things about the Wyred with the Maggies, and they're about the right size, but I haven't heard them myself and YMMV -- the Maggies will be more revealing of the high end distortion of Class D amps and that may or may not bother you, depending. If it does, you can always trade for something else. But as I said, a lot of people have had positive results.
Sorry, I've been out of circulation for a few days. I really appreciate all the information. The guidance and advice is priceless. Many of you speak from direct experience-exactly what I wanted. Now, the hunt! Any and all other ideas are welcome....