No there is nothing better for your taste. This is the best.
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If you keep your Maggies and want to just try soemthing different for fun, try a single driver speaker with SET amp. It might give you a taste of what is missing with the Maggies if at all.
SInce you are used to 6ft tall speaker, take a look at a pair of Cain Abbys. You get a similar imaging and soundstage, but very different texture and realism. (Disclaimer: I have a pair of Abbys and have been considering the Maggies as a second pair/new amp to try something different...)
One pair of Maggies I have never had is the 1.6 and all feedback suggests they are something special.
If you have the room, the space, the patience, and sufficient amplification, my understanding is that Tympanis have bass like no other Magneplanars, even the biggest models.
I have a pair of T-IVas which continue to amaze me.
Have loved the Maggies 1.6 for years, I think they are the best value in their line up as well. I was all set to buy a pair until I happened to hear VSA JR4's. All a matter of taste of course but they gave me the air and speed of the Maggies with the added botton end. They cost more than the maggies, but in my case worth the extra money. Would still like to own a pair of maggies one day. But for the here and now very happy with the JR4's.
I use to be a Maggie owner,but found I could get the same transparency through Box speakers wihout them be as problematic and they are more of the euphoric signature instead of being true to reproduced sound.
I use modified NEAR's which are somewhat the poormans Wilsons.
You need to audition several speakers which are not of the Dipole nature and that fit your taste. There are a few manufactures I would love to try like JMR ,Green Mt. amongst others which I know would satisfy my taste.
The things that drove me nuts about Maggies were room interaction,amp synergy amongst other things.
I would still own Maggies .I have nothing against them as they are fine speakers,but I wanted easier speakers to deal with that gave me some of the same thing like soundstaging.
Bass is a big part of the music btw and deep bass is hard to come by. Not having to rely on an outboard Sub helps.
When adding a sub you are going to have the occurance of the sounstage being effected weather you know it or not.
When hearing true bass performed by great bassist you will know how much it counts. John Entwhistle was the finest bassist and system reproduction I ever got to experience.After that I knew how important Bass can be.
Then there are the percussions and if you really fgo deep then chamber music like church organs will be the thing to test as you know owning anHSU sub. Not many systems or people need that deep of reproduction.
"Better" is certainly subjective, but in many parameters the 1.6's can be bettered for $3k. Whether those parameters outweigh the many strengths and well rounded performance of the Maggies only you can decide. Like you, I had Maggie SMG's for years. Then I upgraded to the 1.6's and thought they were a fabulous upgrade. I was very happy with them for many years but the urge for something different led me to listen to a variety of dynamic speakers and eventually buy speakers of that design. I assure you that there are dynamic speakers in your price range that do not sound like a box! Each of the earlier posts make good observations and suggestions. Personally, I think there are so many well designed modern dynamic speakers I'd have a hard time justifying putting up with the limitations of Maggies again. All that said, they are a very musically satisfying speaker that's a tremendously good value. You'll just have to listen to as many speakers as you can, don't give up on the category of dynamic speakers on the basis of your reaction to B&W's.
Those are great comments.
I am indeed intrigued by the Von Schweikert various used models which at used prices can be in the 2.5-4 k range depending on how far back you go. There is a place close enough to where I live, so I'll try to check them out soon. But its a bit of a trek, so it may take a few weeks.
For me personally I have a Pass Amp so I'm all good for amlification! I know a lot of people are annoyed by the amp-requirements for Magnepans - if you get Pass gear from the 90's or early 00's its 98% as good as what is out now and hardly costs anything compared to their new models. Even ignoring the older series there is, for example, a X-250 for 2.2 k right now. An X-250 will kick serious air on a maggie! I personally have the older Aleph stuff.
I'll check out the other speakers mentioned. And just to be clear, I'm not trying to be too down on the box speakers - the Thiel and B&W models at higher end are absolutely fantastic - amazing, and do have the sense of space and air and all that, but what you get at the 1.7 - 2.8k-ish price level is what I am feeling personally isn't the same as what I see in the Magnepan.
Oh - and restock - it would be fun indeed to have a really powerful system w/Maggies or similar, and then a 2nd system with some sort of SET 3 - 8 watt kind of thing and 96db or above speakers... If time/money allows in several years it would be fun to do that. And it wouldn't cost nearly as much as it could since I would use existing CD player and pre-amp. While not SET, check out the Pass Labs first watt stuff, that has me intrigued.
Your original budget was 3K, but I see you mention up to 4K in your last post. If you can stretch it to that you can get a brand new pair of Montana SP3s. I once owned xover modified 1.6s and replaced them with the SP2 and was very happy. Since then I have owned 3.5s and two more Montana speakers. To my ears, the Montanas do most of what a planar does (open, boxless sound), but better it at dynamics, slam, SS depth, and imaging. And they are just much easier to listen to, but don't think Vandersteen type "easy", nothing is farther from the truth there.
Lastly, there is a pair of EPSs right now for 4K on the Gon. That would be my choice out of anything used right now at that price point.
Yeah, really just saying it takes that much to get into a Von Schweikert speaker - but if something were truly absolutely fundamentally amazing I might consider it at 4 - but I really don't want to go that far. 3 is already my 'I've gone too far' number :). That being said, I'll check out the ones you mention! Sounds interesting! One never knows what the future holds.
I have had the Maggie 1.6 and now own the Maggie MMG, I prefer the MMG better, and I had two pair of MArtin LOgan CLSes and a pair of Apogee Stages. I found that the wall of sound is exactly what I did not like after a while even though it was very accurate. I found two speakers that sounded more natural and have no boundaries at all, they sound closer to real live music. Again a matter of taste. I now favor the Horn Shoppe Horns single driver small floorstanders> $850, and my new absolute reference is my Mark and Daniels Rubys with OmniHramonizsers which total at $2500 new. People believe that my system sounds as good and natural as live music the highest compliment for an Audiophile. Good Luck!!
Hey bbchem, I'll listen to anyone who had Apogee Stages.
Thanks in advance for any comparison of these Rubys you mention to the Stages. The Stages always seemed more live
than anything I ever heard (I owned them once), even though they did not have much detail, and had vocals to die for. All for around $3K! Thanks again for your thoughts.
of course this is all so subjective. i own 1.6s, and i have also owned tympany I B's and quad esls and 63s.
i preferred the original quads--2 pair in stacked mode, to any other speaker system i have heard. yes they are not the most dynamic and they do not play loud. however, the are the least timbrally inaccurate in their presentation.
Welcome RGS92, the Rubys have a new technology in that they use a ribbon tweeter that goes all the way down to 800HZ crossover not 2000 HZ like most. The woofer which can extend greater excursion distance than anyting out in the market picks up below 800HZ so the entire midrange is reproduced flawlessly like the Apogee, MLs and Maggies. They are the most dynamic bass drivers I hae ever heard and this is compared to about 27 other dynamic speakers I have owned.
shadorne, you are correct. stacked quads are not the last word in dynamics. it is better to stick to small ensemble music and also avoid organ, except at spl under 80 db.
another alternative, although not in production, and highly inefficient is the (original) eminent technology lft 3. a beefy tube amp is required if tubes are preferred, otherwise, a robust solid state amp will do.
I think the biggest upgrade you can make is to modify the 1.6's.
From the factory, the Maggies are great speakers but they are built to a price point and that means they have to make trade offs. For a few hundred dollars in parts, you take the 1.6's to a completely different level.
Step one is to bypass the fuse. That is an easy way to see for yourself what mods can do. Then set-up custom crossovers and finally replace the internal wiring. It may sound ambitious but it is all pretty straight forward. If you do not want to do it yourself, a local electronic repair shop can follow instructions you can get online. There are lots of posts here and on the Magnapan users site.
You can get better only if you spend a lot more. Soundlabs A1,M1 etc are great speakers as are innersound electrostats and apogee duetta signatures. A few changes in amp/preamp, and crossover components might be worth more than "upgrading" to a different speaker. Try using a high current SS amp with a tube pre amp. Then consider upgrading the on board crossover.