Anyone compared Sanders Magtech vs. McIntosh MC462/52 or MC611/01 with Magnepan 3.7/20.7?


I know a lot has been written about all of these amps with the 3.7 and 20.7 series Mangepan's, but I was wondering if anyone has done a direct comparison and can describe the differences in what they heard?

Yes, I know, the best way is to demo them myself, and I will be this coming October... but until then, I would be interested in getting other's opinions to prepare myself for certain things to listen for, think about, etc.

Contrary to all of the popular opinions out there on the net that you needs gobs and gobs of watts to make the Magnepan's sound good, that is not my total experience. I have a new pair of 3.7i's (one month old) and am running them off of the 8 ohm tap of a McIntosh 6700 integrated 200 wpc amp. It actually sounds fantastic with plenty of warm bass, and depending on recording, can be chest pounding - from either vinyl or digital. My audiophile jazz recordings with piano, guitar, vocal, drums, and upright bass are the most accurate (compared to a live jazz club) I've heard.

The issue is, I have to turn it up to a volume that would be similar to what you would hear live - which is fine when in the mood, but at times I would like to listen at a lesser volume. There seems to be a certain volume threshold that when crossed over, the speakers open up and do their magic / crossed under, they all of a sudden lose their good charms - dynamics and bass all but disappear. 

So, from what I've read, what I'm experiencing is from lack of proper wattage from the power amp, thus I'm on the upgrade path - I'm sure any of the above amps (in the title) would be an improvement as the least of them is more than doubling my current wattage - but I'm curious if anyone has compared any of these amps paired with the Magnepan's. If so, do they improve dynamics and bass? What did you like about one and not the other and vice versa, etc.? 

Thanks and looking forward to hearing your opinions --cheers!

Jimmy
7d04eaa2 2b5a 468a aea2 3e674548515ejimmy_jet
FWIW here's my (limited) experience with one of Roger Sanders' amplifiers - my personal Innersound Electrostatic amplifier. This iteration dates from around 2000 or so, around the same time Harry Pearson wrote his brief but glowing writeup when he gave it his mid-year Editor's Choice award.

I have no experience with the Macintosh equipment you are asking about. Actually, the truth is I do not audition equipment very much. About 30 years ago I upgraded from a Luxman receiver to some Naim equipment. At that time I auditioned a lot of different equipment and chose Naim for the relaxing way it made me feel.

Five years ago I began to move away from Naim, starting with my amps. 
I use this amp with Quad ESL63 speakers. It replaced Naim 135 monoblocks that I had owned (and enjoyed) for many years. In the spirit of full disclosure I must mention that I bought the amp used about 5 years ago, and last year I had to send it in to Coda Technologies for a service. It came back sounding better than ever.

IMHO Roger Sanders is a genius and his amplifiers are astonishingly good and are a superb value. I encourage you to read his white paper on "Tubes vs. Solid State". 

Roger himself states that the Magtech is a better amplifier than the old Electrostatic. If money were no object, I'd have his new amp in my system; I trust his judgement and am confident in the performance of his equipment. Regarding the sound of my amplifier, I will say that I thought it audibly superior to the Naim monoblocks. My term for the differences I perceive is "performance transparency". It simply allows me to hear what is going on in the recording. Compared to the Naim amps all aspects of the frequency range are clearer, more effortless, natural, coherent and beautiful sounding. 
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@markusthenaimnut Thanks for describing the sound profile of this amp - it seems to be the overwhelmingly most recommended amp for Maggies (outside of Magnepan Co. using two Pass Labs x250.8's in mono block mode at shows to demo the 3.7i's) --cheers!

@elizabeth Thanks for the info of how long these panels take to break in - I was told 200 hours... but I definitely won't be changing up any gear until at least six months from now. Even at six weeks old, I can see how much they've changed. --cheers!
SO PLEASED that you are a Maggie fan.  As I have posted many times on this forum, until I opened my shop in the early 1970's, I thought as a person who played in various bands--marching, rock, jazz, etc.  (NOT a real musician) that I knew everything there was to know about how music should sound.  HAH! 

After setting up 25 different brands of speakers in the showroom, I started listening to them one at a time after closing.  Everyone's fav back then, Advent (thank-you Henry Kloss), was pretty bad when compared to others, but still better than some.  Speaker after speaker tried and evaluated against my live bass, guitar, trumpet, and several woodwinds (not me, a buddy who played them), against every source in the shop (Nakamichi, Sequerra, Thornes, Transcriptor (remember that hot mess??), Linn-Sondek, etc., etc.  We used SME arms, Thornes arms, cartridges from Supex, Satin, Dennon, Decca, Audio Technica, the entire B&O line, the entire McIntosh line, Phase Linear, on and on and on.  As a "high-end" shop we were able to try pretty much everything on the market back then, including Audio Research and Magnepan.

It was only when we paired those items with a quality source that it all came together for me, and these were Tympani I through IV models mostly.  While setting these up in a customer's home was a real challenge for us in some rooms (this was when things like traps, room acoustic products, etc., were just coming out) but when they were right, nothing was even in the same universe, including the Levinson HQD system that we made stands for at some point.

This does not mean nothing else sounded wonderful. MANY speakers were just fine and some very good--Bose direct reflecting a major exception--and many sets of electronics were just fine.  BUT, like first time I put on a REAL suit, the differences were so obvious that there were no disagreements.

Obviously, life has changed a lot in the last 50 years, and MANY quality electronic and speaker products are available now that were never considered back then.  SO, buy what sounds best in YOUR ROOM and enjoy.  I think over time you will love your Maggies more than any other speaker you have owned.  I do suggest changing your amp.  Back then, Mc amps were built like tanks but sounded pretty bad.  I would assume all that has been corrected by now, but when you are ready, try out a bunch of new amps and see if you find one you like better.  You may, or you may not.  As long as YOU are pleased, your dealer will be too!

Cheers!