Spectron Musician II .........
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You need power with Maggie's, lot's of it. Look in the archives as this has been discussed a thousand times before. I would, however recommend 150wpc (SS) at a minimum with 300wpc being even better. You need to make sure the amp you choose can deliver lot's of current too (i.e. if it's SS it should double it's power rating into lower impedance loads).
In addition to Maggies needing lots of good SS power, it should also be noted that they (usually, I don't know about the 1.6Q) need to be cranked up before they come alive (achieve flat freq. response and full dynamics)
I suggest that anyone hoping to enjoy their Maggies from time to time at lower levels (like at parties, or while reading or having dinner) invest in a hi quality equalizer to stick in the tape loop of your preamp. That way you can kick up the bass, mid-bass, and the hi's to give the sound some richness at low levels. Nor much you can do to restore dynamics at low levels though -- just have to play them moderately loud for that.
Same deal was/is true for Apogees. Those membranes are heavy compared to those of electrostats, so they need power to achieve their design potential. Tubes will never do, unfortunately.
Thank you all so far for the advice. I am a novice at this and hence hitting the WEB researching further based on the information you are providing.
I'm somewhat surprised to hear that SS is the preference for the 1.6Q - I take it this is because of the speaker's need for current. What about a higher powered tube amp? I certainly love the mid range warmth and rolled off highs form tubes. Can I get these characteristics from SS amps or system combinations?
Giorgioh, the only way I think you can have both the power you need (SS) and warmth you want (tubes) with Maggies is to get a great SS amp like a Mark Levinson 23.5 -- almost tube-like and a great buy used (avoid the 23) and them get a really great tube preamp with (if you do analog) a tube phono stage (built in to the preamp if possible). Now that will give you just what you're looking for -- except for what I said before about low listening levels.
I had tremendous success driving a pair of 1.6QRs with an Audio Research D-115 MK2. 110 watts of pure tube bliss.
The great thing about Magnepans is that the impedence stays level at 4 ohms, so it's really not a challenge for a quality high power tube amp (like the ARC) to drive them.
ARC tends to be less "tubey" than most others. I have similar musical tastes as you and found this to be the ticket.
I tried Bryston (4B ST), Aragon (8008-BB), McIntosh (MC-7270), Classe (CA-200) and White Audio Labs (B1?). All were well-respected, high-powered solid state amps and NONE could hold a candle to the Audio Research.
Georgioh, in the "golden age" Levinson (Madrigal) period, there were the 20 (amp) 23 (amp) 25 (phono pre) 26 (preamp) and 27 (amp).
Improvements were made to all of them kicking them into major new orbits, sonically. New type circuit board material, teflon capacitors and metal film resistors, improved power supplies (in the amps) etc.
The new designations (respectively) were the 20.5 and 20.6 (amps) 25s (phono pre) 26s (preamp) and 27.5 (amp). These are all still very much sought after for their extreme quietness and almost tube-like musicality.
I had a 23 and then a 23.5 and the difference was quite remarkable (I still have my 23.5 after 15 years!)
You should ignore any advice that says you need a ton of power with 1.6s. What you really need is a good tube amp, Maggies love tubes. I powered my modified 1.6s with a Music Reference RM9 to seemingly impossible levels. But quality over quantity is the key here. Keep in mind though that the RM9 is not your typical 100 watt tube amp. It has balls to spare. If you could luck out and find a used one, this would be a match made in heaven for you.