Anyone send back Magnepan MMG's?

I'm currently trying out some MMG's under their 60-day money-back trial period. I'm two weeks into it and I've already made up my mind that they're going back. The presentation is interesting, but the soundstaging is no better (perhaps even worse) than my trusty Audio Physic Tempo's. There is a problem in cohesion from midrange to bass, and this manifests itself quite frequently when I play 80's rock and pop (Pat Benatar especially). And they get congested with complex orchestral music. Granted, with simple chamber music or guitar solos, they sound pretty good. But they just can't handle the gamut of music that I play like my Audio Physic speakers.

There are those who may claim that perhaps my amp isn't up to the task of powering the Maggies. I have an Innersound ESL 300 which is designed for planars and electrostats, being able to double down twice to 2 ohms, and still stable at 1/3 ohm impedance. It should be more than enough to drive the Maggies.

And some will claim that the MMG's don't adequately represent the abilities of Magnepan's higher-end offerings. I've heard a 3.6 previously, driven by Classe electronics, and while it sounded OK, I wasn't thrilled with it. Which surprises me, because I tend to gravitate toward electrostatics, and I thought I'd gravitate towards planars as well.

And I will admit, my old Audio Physic Tempo's originally retailed for $4000, which is substantially more than the MMG's $550. But still, even at their entry level, the Magnepan's should be hinting at something that those box speakers can't quite do. But I'm not hearing it. I came into this with a very open mind, and I'm somewhat surprised that the speakers are likely getting shipped back to Magnepan.

Has anyone else come to this conclusion?

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xsufentanil
No- I think that they are an incredible value.

I will agree that they are not the greatest all around performers, but they do pianos vocals and strings very well.

My only concern is about the driver discontinuity. What you explain is 100% opposite from my memory, it makes me think that you may have a production problem or issue with set up.
I loved my MMG's which I bought used and I owned SMGa's before and it took me about 3 months to loosen them up.... before they opened up or they sound congested... get a break in CD or some Techo and and crank it when you leave the house with the cd player on repeat... They have to loosen up. Magnepan's only care about 4ohms.. they don't drop below and they don't vary.. but as with all magnepan's more power is better no matter how much.. You should have plenty.. I didn't didn't care for Classe electronics powering my IIIA's, I tried a CA400 and it was definitely too bright.. the ribbon tweeter is extra sensitive to bad SS..... might sound find on other speakers but not magnepans.

I owned SMGa's and then traded them into the dealer and bought IIIa's and years later I tried out two pairs of 1.6's in my hometheater setup.

Also the key to making magnepans sound great is 3-5 feet behind them, if you can't pull them out into the room then you will never realize the magic.... For larger orchestra you will need 1.6 or at least a subwoofer (tight low 40-60hz steep crossover) with the MMG's. this is where you are comparing fuller range $4000k speakers to $600 speakers..

But unless you get like 2-3 weeks of continuous playing at really loud levels you will never understand that magnepan magic...... I prefer buying Magnepan's used for this reason..

Keep playing the hell out of them..... you have time for the 60 day return policy..
Michael-- listen to me. I want you to do something with the positioning of the MMGs-- it is very important they are listened to on the vertical axis (standing straight up and down).
Look at ALL the higher up Maggies starting from the 1.6 on up. Notice what's different? Other than size, they are all standing straight up and down.
You can accomplish this by putting some small blocks of wood etc. under the ends of each metal stand to tilt the speakers forward some (careful-- not too far or the cat/small children may be in for a world of hurt when the things land on them).
Even better -- actually MUCH better-- is to mount them on stands/brackets (available at home depot) that not only make them stand up straight-- but raise the bottoms of the MMGs like 6-8 inches off the floor.
I heard all about this on the audio asylum Maggie forum-- and was skeptical as usual. But-- for like 40 bucks in parts (some metal shelf brackets and bolts) I did it.
FRIGHTENING. That's the only word for the difference. I suddenly went from a nice warmish planar sound to like.... uh... a Quad 63 with whomping bass and balls. Awesome!! I shall never listen to a Maggie tilted back again.
I sent my MMGs back though because they were taking up about 97 percent of my apartment and in the words of my girlfriend (whom I havent yet sent back) looked RIDICULOUS.
But ohhhhhh what 5oo bucks in speakers can do when implemented properly. Those things are a lesson in value and with the proper stands-- a lessen in the LACK of value of many competitors.
Abramsmatch is really right about raising your MMG's up off the floor about 6-10" (depends on your listening height but have your head at the center of the panel).

Also once they are raised up off the floor make sure they stand up perfectly straight. Abram is spot on with this comment - the MMG's change dramatically with these two little changes. It really is night and day.

I did not send mine back - I just upgraded to the 1.6's
I owned these around 1986 for about two years.
After hearing a really good dynamic speaker (Conrad-Johnson Synthesis) in a dealer showroom, I couldn't get rid of them fast enough.
Stop playing Pat Benetar or any pop music from the 80s. No, really, seriously, stop it. (Just kidding.)
It sounds like you over-anticipated what a $500 speaker can do. Did you really think that it would best a $4k speaker when even the 1.6 can't do low end with authority (i.e. below 40Hz)? I have heard dynamic speakers with 6" woofers compete with the 1.6 for bass presence, and 5" drivers compete with the MMG's bass. Did you really think the MMG was going to do it for you, or did you think you could switch and pocket $1,500 after resale of your speakers? Classic case of wishful thinking maybe? In their price zone, against similarly priced competitors, there are far fewer speakers which can compete overall. I have owned the MMG's and the 1.6's. I am also a reviewer for

I once took the MMG's to a couple's home who had ARC amplification and were running Vandersteen 3's, with twin Vandy subs. Without much ado, we placed the MMG's into the system, with the subs, of course. It was tremendously satisfying. A different presentation because of the planar versus dynamic design, but entirely engaging and entertaining. The MMG's lacked some of the refinement of the Vandy upper end, but the openness of soundstage, which was much greater than the 3's, was very enticing.

They had no clue what the value of the MMG's was, and they were shocked when I told them $550 including shipping! It was a marvelous demonstration of the ability of the MMG's to impress under not quite ideal, but excellent conditions. It confirmed my suspicion that the audiophile on a budget should fearlessly consider them, as they can be taken to much greater heights in performance with subs added and amp upgrades. If I only had $500 to spend on speakers they would be among the top contenders. The goal then would be save for subs.

OTOH, there are so many hyped claims for the Maggies that people begin to buy into the idea that they are the greatest gift to audiophile speakers ever given. That would not be correct either. ONE OF the great gifts in terms of speakers, but definitely not the only outstanding technology around.
I sent them back. I never tried raising them up. The biggest complaint I had was that they only sounded good in the sweet spot. Could have been my room, or placement.

Either way, wasn't happy and sent them back.
Just a case of different "horses for courses". MMG's, or maybe even planars in general, are the wrong horse for your course. Personally, I think everyone should have both a planar and a box, like having an electric and acoustic guitar, but if you can only have one, then you just pick the one that does it for you.

A rematch with 3.6's, with the right amp and a sub properly dialed in, might prove diffent results.
I had the same exact experience as yourself, except my mains were Sparks. The MMG's seemed to create a "pretty picture" but just flat as could be from a macrodynamic perspective. Oddly, vocals had a more natural sound to my ears on the Sparks. I would have thought the "lack of coloration" from the panels would be an improvement. Again, It's not fair to compare a speaker that costs five times as much list to the MMG. I've since upgraded to Tempo II's which have a wide opening into the soundstage. Awesome speakers. Stunning detail....keep those buggers, they may just be better than you think.
Do MMG's get toed in at all? ...while on this thread? Any/more setup comments are appreciated!
Thanks and good listening!
Do MMG's get toed in at all? ...while on this thread? Any/more setup comments are appreciated!
Thanks and good listening!

Typically they do like a little toe in. Set up with these things can be rough. A lot of trial and error. The biggest thing is a minimum of 36 in behind them. Followed closely second by plenty of space to their left and right.

They should always be straight up and down, no tilt. Raising them is also a huge improvement, but I trypically would get them dialed in before raising them.

All of this coupled with a small sweet sopt is why I no longer own these. They sound ohh soo good under the right circumstances- but getting the circumstances just right is a PITA.

thanks for all the suggestions.

Fishcat1, that's exactly the adjective that I've been looking for to describe the MMG's: Flat! They're very lacking in dynamics.

I do have the speakers pulled out pretty far into the room (about 4 feet), and I've discovered that I like it better when they're straight forward rather than toed in. I'm playing with having them fully vertical, but I haven't tried lifting them off the floor yet.

I'm not saying that I expected the MMG's to wipe the floors with my solid, and considerably more expensive Audio Physic's. But given my general listening preferences (transparent, detailed, extended sound with an excellent soundstage) I thought the MMG's would provide a unique presentation that I would find very intriguing.

I'll continue listening, but at the moment it's not looking good for the poor MMG's.

Hi Michael,
I really wanted to fall in love with the maggie sound, too. The people who state that they need massive current and wattage might be on to something. If I have to take out a second mortgage to purchase amps for any speaker, that said speaker is flawed. I think I could have gotten them to sound right, but I would have had to throw a lot of money at amps, and rebuild the damn crossovers. I wasn't about to start over from scratch, as I like the AP sound, which is really a good all around sound for most all genres.
I have owned the MMG's for about 2 weeks now. I liked them and when I saw the comments on here about raising them off the floor, I built wood platforms 7" tall and secured them in the vertical position. This is all subjective of course, but I thought it made them worse. They did have more bass but it became sloppy and they started to lose the planar sound (tranparent) and they took on more of a "box-speaker" sound. Again this is just subjective and perhaps it is the way I constructed the stands. I am still debating on keeping them. As for amps, I drive them with a NAD C272 which doesn't have the high resolution of a more expensive amp, but it has the power to give them clean bass you can actually feel, and they are not bright. Anyway good luck.
I tried a pair, totally broken in -- borrowed from a fine fellow who purchased dome other speakers from me. I had them positioned vertically, and used both a couple of good amplifiers, one rater at 70W into 4, the other at 350 into 4. The more powerful amp definitely was better with them. I liked the Maggies alot, great naturalness in some ways, timbrally excellent, spacious seductive sound.

But I decided I couldn't live with the lack of low bass and dynamic range. I also found them to represent all singer as having huge heads. This may be a function of the size of the drivers -- getting a large instrument to sound so right by having it reproduced by a large panel may cause them to get what are closer to point sources but nonetheless move lots of air to sound like they come from large instruments too. I have my doubts as to whether going for bigger, better Maggies would really ameliorate these concerns.

That said, I can easily see how they would be great for some applications and preferences. And at $550 the MMG's are a stunning value. They do have in some ways a quite gorgeous presentation. All speakers are compromises.
I owned Maggies in 84' and 85' and sold them for the reasons listed above. I've also noticed that Maggies make singer's heads seem 3 ft wide and flutes seem 4 ft. The pure ribbon versions are not as bad.

7in is probably too high. Most people prefer 2-5". You should really check out the magnepan users group on aa.
Robr45 - Thanks for the advice and I will investigate the height of the stands. Also after listening for another week I believe I will be keeping the MMG's regardless. I don't know where I could find another speaker for $550 new or used that could better them.
Another thing to do with the mmg's is to experiment with the tweeter placement. I use to own the mmg's, and listening with the tweeters on the inside was the way to go for me. Tweeters on the inside provided more of a rounded sweetspot and without me missing a wider soundstage provided with the opposite. I now use the 1.6's and am very happy with them especially after adding room treatments (absorption) because of slap echo, loose bass, etc. in my room. The absorption panels I use are from GIK acoustics and are incredibly effective and a bargain! Talk to Bryan or Glenn at GIK and they can advise you of any issues you may have with your room. Their customer service is first rate and Bryan was especially helpful to me with advice with my room. It is absolutely true that the room is the most important part of setting up a system. I looked at your system pics and while I don't claim to be an engineer, it seems to me that your room would benefit from sound treatment. I am in no way affiliated with GIK Acoustics,but rather a very satisfied customer. Good luck and keep us posted.
Bottom line for me is, at $550 nothing even comes close. I think the mmg are good in smaller rooms, not so much in large ones. A sub helps. I used a cheap sony receiver w/ 110 watt output and used the internal eq, to bump the lower bass. I was surprised at what a eq did to these. Were they acurate, maybe not, but they were very injoyable which is what magnepan is all about, music.
The MMG's and indeed the whole line of Maggies are great at what they do right, but have severe limitations. They are woderful midrange speakers...don't expect too much in the lows or highs. You have to be sitting directly in the sweet spot (don't even move your head). Being dipoles, they are very sensitive to placement...I found them best far away from the walls. Although the window to the performance is excellent with proper setup, the picture is small ...even on the big models.
I find they are better integrated than some maggies. It's a great speaker for the money though not the best rock and roll system.
I have mine to a friend, but i have too many speakers.
Maggies are a unique breed. Not all will take to them.

One of their most endearing qualities for me is that they are most easy on the ear at both low and high volumes compared to almost anything else. You can listen to them for hours and they sound better the longer you listen and make you not want to stop.

Some will scoff at this and say its because of limited dynamics compared to live, which may be true, but the easy on the ear factor is the most endearing and unique quality of Maggies for many who just want to listen to music in an unobtrusive manner for long periods of time, IMHO.

Here are the caveats:

- They are not the ultimate in dynamic range
- They are very sensitive to placement and room acoustics
- they often work best away from rear and side walls
- They have a very focused (ie small) sweet spot (but background music compared to detailed listening can still sound very good elsewhere)
- the bass extension is reasonably competitive at the various price points but dynamic range and impact often seems limited in comparison to better dynamic designs and may not please some bass lovers (I tend to fall into this category myself)
In about '82 or '83 I bought a pair of MG-1s. I have never looked back. Room placement is KEY. You must EXPERIMENT around, since even a few inches can and will make a difference. Toe in? Yes...but how much? Tweeters in/out?
In my case, Tweeters IN, in very small rooms, otherwise out.
Let 'em breathe

I had them rebuilt in about '01 or '02, sold them last year and bought some 1.6's.

And, it also seems to be true that you can't have too much 4ohm power.
My take on the MMG's is they are a wonderful midrange speakers with compressed dynamics that you have to sit directly on axis for. If you can live with the things it doesn't do, and appreciate what it does so well, then these speakers are for you. If however their inabilities overcome their riches, then you must look elsewhere.
Just bought a used pair from JBPimp...nice guy btw, and they sound wonderful. I am also using theil 2.4's and I can offer this advice/opinion: dont try to compare apples to oranges. This is in regard to any piece of equipment. The MMG's do a great service in some areas that my theil's cannot do and visa versa. I was not looking to replace my theil's...just wanted to try maggies for the first time. I guess if your looking to replace a component with another, then obviously one will be very critical in their assesment of the piece.
I would say the MMg's are more musically enjoyable, and less acurate, or typical audiophile like speakers. This is not a bad thing at all. The first thing I look for in a speaker is how musical they are. I also like the MMG's in small rooms, actually with a EQ(extremely rarely the case with me)to enhance the bottom end a little, and in some cases tweak the treble a little.

This is probably do to the fact the mmg's sound seams sort of dead or flat when left alone to me. While they do have a sound of there own for sure, I dont feel its in the tone they produce as much, the EQ helped a lot at least for me and some excitement to them.
IMO..send them back,heard them several times...way too limited in what a speaker should offer at any price
i have to respond to this thread.

i own mmg's. i still own a pair of apogee ribbon speakers, too. i also have had many dynamic speakers. many amps and preamps.

planar ribbon loudspeakers are the most placement critical piece of equipment you can buy, and placement of the seating position is directly related.

mmg's are an entry-level speaker. spending some money on stands, better crossover components, and a brace for the frame elevates them tremendously.(the frames are thinner than the 1.6 and up) basically, spend a bit where the manufacturer cut costs to meet a price point.

now to the point ...... if you can tolerate their need for critical placement, planar ribbon loudspeakers can provide you with one of the most lifelike, organic playback mediums available. mmg's are an introduction to the medium, and are true giant killers with a bit of work.

don't send them back. keep them...tweak them...learn from them. they're worth it.
I used to have a pair of MMG's in my college apartment... loved them to death. I think the "problem" is that they are only $550... they are pretty picky when it comes to amplification and upstream components... and with such a low price, I have a feeling many times they don't get the equipment to really shine.

Before I sold them (to purchase a pair of 1.6's), I briefly (for a couple of weeks) ran them with Krell amplification, a very good tube line stage and a good CD player (probably close to $10k in all but the speakers) and the MMG's can really shine if you give them that and the space to breath.

You make a very good point that MMG's and other very good yet affordable speakers often do not get mated with the upstream equipment needed to make them shine, which may lead to more mixed reviews.

On the other hand, very good yet expensive speakers are most likely often mated with equally good equipment feeding it upstream.

The thing to remember is to never judge a speaker alone without also considering the foor chain that is feeding it.
Sufentanil ,

Those Audio Physics are pretty good dynamic speakers from what I've heard.

It just may be that the MMGs have a different presentation but in fact do not do anything the APs cannot. I'm sure the APs do large scale dynamics better in any case.

Personally, I would ad a pair of MMGs to my system in a heartbeat if I had the place or need but I would not attempt to replace any of my larger full range speaks with them.