Amplifier for the magnepan 3.7i

I know this was just brought up a few weeks ago and i am having the same problem with choosing the correct amp. The room is 18x19 12 foot ceilings in this room. I had it in my mind i was going to go with tubes this time,but the struggle comes if I can get a tube setup that will give my the spls i want in that room. I took some readings of levels i probably will listen at with a standard meter.82-88 normal levels but when i want to kick it up 88-100. I have looked at the rouges cronus magnum integrated but think it might come up short also looked at prima luna integrated hp. I even considered rouges m-180 mono blocks with their pre amp. I am feeling sort of deflated  and looking at solid state amps like magtech and others. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free. I don't want to go over $7000 on separates tube amp setup. the prima luna stuff looks nice and has great reviews but not sure on the power. I even thought about doing a Martin Logan setup the Montis with built in sub

Maggies are much easier to drive than electrostatics, as the impedance is rel. invariant across the freq. range. They do require an amp that can handle 4 ohm speakers and their efficiency is about 87 or so (rel. low).

I have heard the $4,000 rouge amp driving 3.7i’s at a dealer’s and listened for 2 or 3 bouts covering several hours of my non-classical test music. It sounded good but I did not compare with other amps.

A good SS amp may be best but you will have to really do some serious blind testing with amps that can be compared and returned to the dealer to be sure.

Maggie uses Brystons when they haul stuff to shows, and has used ARC (their former distributor and neighbor).

I’d also check out the new benchmark AHD2 amp which has some very interesting new technology to reduce or eliminate crossover distortion.
I own the Magtech and 3.7i's and think it's a pretty good match.
partel and randy-11,

No big deal and probably just typos but:
    'Rouge' is makeup women use on their cheeks.
    'Rogue' is the amp maker I think you're both referring to.

     As to a good amp for your new Magnepan 3.7i speakers, I think an important consideration is whether or not you're planning to use sub-woofers in your system.   

     With 70% of each 3.7i panel devoted to quasi-ribbon woofer sections reproducing frequencies of 300 hz and below, bass response is very good but only extends to 35 hz.  This is plenty deep for many people but I'm not sure if you wanted your system to go even deeper by adding subs.  I would suggest you set up your speakers initially without subs to determine for yourself if the bass meets your expectation.

     I would recommend you audition the D-Sonic M3-1500-M mono-blocks as a great match for the 3.7i.  These are high powered class D amps rated at 1500 watts @  8 ohms and 2,400 watts @ 4 ohms.  The current price is $2,750/pair and they offer a 21 day in home trial period.  

     Here's a link to a 6Moons review of the M2-1500-M amps that, according to the owner Dennis Deacon, are exactly the same as the current M3-1500-M amps:

     I think these amps would be very good on your speakers for several reasons:

1.They're going to provide 2,400 watts into your 4 ohm panels which will provide an effortless presentation with plenty of backup power for powerful and accurate dynamics that will avoid clipping.  The 6Moons reviewer drove a pair of notoriously hard to drive Apogee panels, with very low and demanding impedance dips at various frequencies, using these amps with excellent results.  The 3.7i  are not nearly as demanding with a relatively stable impedance that rarely dips much below 4 ohms at any frequency but a relaxed, effortless presentation sounds best on any speaker with any music.

2. If you'd rather not use subs, these amps have excellent bass response.  The high power and damping factor (1,000) of these amps are the main reasons for the exceptional bass response.  I use less powerful D-Sonic mono-blocks (M3-600-M that have the same damping factor but half the watts @ 4 ohms) on my older Magnepan 2.7qr speakers and I've never heard these speakers produce better bass.  Even if you ultimately decide to add subs, this quality will still benefit your system performance.

3.The last benefit I want to mention is the mid-range and treble qualities of these amps.  The 6Moons reviewer describes them as having a tube-like full and dimensional mid-range with a smooth treble that is detailed and not rolled-off.  I thought these qualities might be of interest to you since you're also considering using the tubed Rogue M-180.

     Overall, I believe these amps are a very good match for your new speakers.  My thought is that you may want to audition these amps first before even considering more expensive options that may not perform as well since they are a very low risk option due to the in-home trial period and because they offer true hi-end performance at a bargain price.  

Hope this helped you,


Thanks noble! The  rouges was auto correct  :O)  I will check that amp out, I am not familiar with the  D sonic brand.
Hi partel,
     The review is very informative about how good the D-Sonic M3-1500-M amps really are.  The reviewer made them his new reference amps.   I sincerely think these would be an excellent amp choice for you. 

     I know you could spend a lot more for amps that would not perform as well.  I'm not claiming these are the best amps out there, just that I'm not aware of any amps anywhere near their price that are better.  In fact, the only amps I can think of as a possible challenger cost $10K more, the Merrill Audio Veritas mono-blocks.  Also, these amps are small, lightweight, electrically efficient (green) and barely get more than luke-warm no matter how hard or long they are driven. 
     In my opinion, the only traditional type amps that you may like the sound of equally or better are powerful class A amps (Boulder, Gryphon, Rowland, etc.) or powerful tube amps (Audio Research, VTL, Atmosphere, McIntosh, Lamm etc.) that are very expensive, huge, heavy and electrically very inefficient.

     I suggest you give the D-Sonic mono-blocks a home trial before even considering a powerful class A or tube amp.  I seriously doubt you'll regret it since you'll get reference quality performance, spend thousands less and have zero risk since you are able to return them if you're not completely satisfied.

Good luck,
  • Hey Tim thanks again for the tip.I called them today to get a little more information.Have you ever heard of a guy named John Gunn I think that is his name.He apparently is a guru when it comes to modding the magnepans.D sonic says he is referring them a lot business.I was a little disturbed what John had to say on his website about the .7 models.What pre amp would work well these you think?
Thanks again Bob
Hi Bob,

    I'm glad you called D-Sonic,  you probably talked to the owner, Dennis Deacon.   He's a good guy to talk to, very knowledgeable about amps, speakers and good combinations of both.

    I think the guy you're talking about who mods Magnepans calls himself Peter Gunn.  I think this is just the name he adopted for his business because his last name is Polish and hard to pronounce and remember.  Woodworker clients know him as John Henry and audiophiles know him as Peter Gunn    His real first name is John but I'm not sure of his real last name.  Confusing, right?

     I'm not surprised he's recommending D-Sonic amps to his customers.  He's been modding  Magnepans for years and if anyone knows about good amps to mate with them, it would be him.

     He's a woodworker and an audiophile who has a company called Magnestand.  Here's a link: 

     Sorry, I've read some of his posts on various audio websites but have never used his mod services and haven't read his comments yet about the .7 models.  Please let me know the link and I'll check out his comments.
     You asked: "What pre amp would work well these you think?"

     A critical factor in matching preamps to amps is properly matching the preamp's Output Impedance to the amp's Input Impedance.  Ideally for best matching and performance, an amp's Input Impedance should be at least 10 times higher than the preamp's Output Impedance.  Since the D-Sonic M3-1500-M amp's Input Impedance is 60,000 ohms, the preamp you use should have an Output Impedance of 6,000 ohms or less (6,000 times 10 equals 60,000).  In other words, if you decide to buy the D-Sonic amps, just make sure the preamp you select has an Output Impedance of 6,000 or less and it will work optimally.

     Another great attribute of the D-Sonic M3-1500-M amps is their neutral sonic character that allows them to perform as the often cited amplifier ideal of a 'straight wire with gain' which is defined as taking the inputted signal and amplifying it faithfully without adding, subtracting or altering anything to this signal before sending the amplified signal to the speakers.  

     Due to the extraordinarily neutral quality of these amps, the result is that the sonic qualities of the preamp will be a greater determinant of the system's sound than it would be if less neutral amps were used. 

      This also means that the preamp you choose must be done carefully since it's going to largely determine, along with the sonic qualities of your other upstream source components, the overall sonic qualities of your  system.  My D-Sonic amps share this neutral quality and I find it much easier to detect the sonic affects of any changes in upstream components  and even smaller changes such as speaker cables, interconnects and power cords than it was when I previously used a class A/B amp.
w     Unfortunately, Without knowing more about the overall system sonic qualities you prefer, I don't feel I can give you specific preamp recommendations that would be useful to you.  Until you let me know your overall system sonic preferences, however, I will offer some general guidelines:

If you prefer an accurate and neutral system sound, I would suggest you audition solid-state preamps that have an Output Impedance of 6,000 ohms or less.
If you prefer a more colored system sound that is on the warmer side of neutral, I would suggest you audition tubed preamps that have an Output Impedance of 6,00 ohms or less.

Once you inform me of your system sonic preferences and an estimated budget for a preamp, I can give you much more specific preamp options.

Try a pair of the Carver Cherry 180's or better yet the more expensive Black Beauty's.  I use the BB 305's to drive Magnepan 20.7's in a large room;  the KT 120 based monoblocks will blow you out of the room and they don't break a sweat driving the Maggies.

Wow those are sweet looking
I use M-180s with my 3.6's. For me it is plenty. 
Here are the amps that I’d love to hear on my 3.7i’s:

Merrill Veritas
Carver Black Beauties
Pass Labs X250.8 or 350.8
ARC Ref 250SE
Aesthetix Atlas Signature or Eclipse monos
Bryston cubed series
Tim I talked to John he is thinking putting the magnepans beside the fireplace is a bad idea ,feeling deflated.
I’ve just recently switched over to Sanders Magtech with a Vincent tube pre. My 3.7i’s never sounded so good. Before I had used a B&K 200.5 which was nice and Rogue amp before that. Always felt something was missing until I went with the current setup.
(BTW.....Heard the 3.7i's at a local audio shop hooked up to Pass Labs 250.8 that was very nice too.)

I used to have a Sanders Magtech paired with my 3.7s and the sound was magnificent (with a Hovland HP 100 preamp)
Recently sold a pair of Rowland Model 11s to replace them with a pair of Spectron Musician iii Mk. 2 run bridged into my 3.7 Magnepans.  Superb.  Well worth searching out a pair.
I biamp my MGIIIa speakers with a pair of Bryston 3b amps...they work great.
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"I talked to John he is thinking putting the magnepans beside the fireplace is a bad idea ,feeling deflated."

Hi partel,

     If you mean the speakers would be straddling the fireplace (one on each side), I think this should be avoided if possible but I think it's too early in your journey to get discouraged just yet.  There may be viable alternative positioning solutions.     Currently, however, I don't know enough about your room to offer any alternative positions.

     I'd like to assist you if I can but I need some info to be helpful:

1. The dimensions of your room, including ceiling height.

2. Are all the walls straight or are some angled.

3.  Where is the fireplace located.

4.  What furniture is in the room and whether you're willing to rearrange it if necessary.

     In my experience with Magnepans, positioning them for best results is the most critical and difficult aspect.  Here are some general guidelines to follow: 

Magnepans are dipole speakers, meaning that, because the speakers are open on both sides, the membrane radiates equally yet out of phase from the front and the rear.   Space is therefore required between the back of the speaker and the wall behind them for best performance.  I would recommend at least 3 feet but moving them further out into the room only further improves performance if you're able.

Creating an equilateral triangle between the speakers and your listening position can be a good initial positioning method.  For example, if your speakers are 8 ft. apart (on center) and 3 ft. away from the front wall behind them, your listening position would be directly between the speakers and 8 ft. away from them, forming an equilateral triangle with 8 ft. segments.

Having the vertical ribbon tweeter sections on the inside or outside is another adjustment option.

The final adjustment is angling each speaker toward the listening position (called 'toe-in') which is optional but may improve performance.

     All of these guidelines are meant to be trial-and-error adjustments that are experimented with in combination until you determine the positioning that you prefer the most.

     Please let me know more about your room when you're able.

I have used Bryston, Mcintosh (452 & 600s) and none could touch the Sanders Magtech for my 3.7s and now 20.7s.  A great pairing with Maggies is solid state power like the Magtech and tube source, here I started with a C2300 and upgraded that to a C1100, source DAC is a Modwright Elyse which provides a very sweet combination.

(BTW.....Heard the 3.7i's at a local audio shop hooked up to Pass Labs 250.8 that was very nice too.)
Do you recall if the amp stayed in class A or if the meters were bouncing around? How would you say the Magtech differs from the Pass X250.8?
Spectron Musician III Mk II with Bybees and V-Caps options.
  I own two Sanders monoblock Magechs. They would have no problem at all driving Magnepans. Even just one stereo Magtech would be great for your speakers. 
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Hi, not sure if this post is too late to help. But I have owned both the Cronus Magnum & Prima Luna Dialouge Premium to drive my 1.7i's. Although lower in wattage, there is no comparison. The Prima Luna did everything so so much better. Deeper bass, faster, detail, soundstage..,the works. Day & night difference for me. I do have a Rel sub that I incorporate (sometimes it's not necessary) and I upped the output tubes to kt88's. 

Thanks everyone for all the feedback and advise. The room is 19x18 it has 12 foot ceilings in that room but its a open floor plan kitchen and dinning room all connect but ceiling drops to 9 . I would include a picture but not sure how to load it on here

Hi partel,

     That's a fairly large space.

     Is this space mainly devoted to music or are there other uses?
     Are all the walls straight?
     Where's the fireplace?

Icanskate what size is your room?

     Very sorry, the email I listed previously is wrong. I was wondering why I had not heard from you and just double checked, My correct email:

           [email protected]

    My mistake.  Sorry for any inconvenience this caused.