I am no expert on the Stages, but do know they love a large, spacious room. I once heard them in a huge room and they were: to die for. My only suggestion is to put them way out into the room and let them breathe. They were driven by Krell (which I know was Jason Bloom's favorite.)
Good luck and enjoy.
More info: http://www.ApogeeAcoustics.com
Throw away the subs, they are worthless.
For laughs, look inside at how they were built
(they sound as bad as they were built).
Stages are fantastic, but Mini Grands are not.
Apogee's are light, delicate, transparent, and have great air.
The Mini Grand subs are the exact OPPOSITE. Booming mess,
and the cheap x-over they come with does not help.
Buy a set of Stages, preferably with Stage stands, and then go
with a Muse Model Eighteen subwoofer or an Entech.
If it's mostly for video than maybe just a Velodyne instead.
Note: I have owned several pairs of Stages and used them with and with out subs.
Entech produced the best sound with them (need a very fast sub to keep up with them!).
Good luck, and be CAREFUL if using Stages in a video application
(damage the ribbons and you will be in trouble).
More info can be found here: http://www.ApogeeAcoustics.com
I used the Mini Grands for my main system for 7 years. I loved them for there uncanny midrange and lifelike imaging, and hope you get a chance to hear them set up near optimal. There should be an external DAX crossover that matches output between subs and ribbons for amps differing in sensitivity (or for personal taste). The crossover also cuts the signal to the ribbons below 80 Hz (If memory serves me correct). You will need two amps to drive the system.
As far as dialing them in quickly, that will be difficult. Allow 48 minimum from back walls, and experiment with toe-in, but not more than an inch or so. Even if your listening seat is only 8 from the speaker, allow at least that much space between the speakers. Listening height is critical for proper balance, but the rake of the speaker can be adjusted to compensate (Apogee included a plumb-bob to help get both speakers matched). Very minor adjustments can yield incredible results, and can be dialed in more quickly as you become accustomed to their capabilities. For maximum impact, work at positioning the panels for midrange magic, and realize that, with time, the rest of the system can achieve equal articulation and transparency.
Keep speaker cable runs short to the ribbons, (I butted mono blocks up to the rear of the panels) they need lots of current, so opt for a smaller gauge (fatter wire)
technology be damned.
Hope this helps
Thanks for the quick response! Binaural, you are right, there is an external "Mini Grand Dax" that goes w/the speaker. My friend picked up the Dax today & I'll try it tomorrow. The owner of these speakers is also selling Martin Logan Monoliths & a Muse Model Eighteen sub...
I believe he used the Muse w/the Monoliths..
This guy is selling a bunch of gear to get Watt/Puppies...
Man, talk about experienced advice, from a prior Apogee dealer no less, falling on deaths ears.
BTW, the cheap Mini Grand "DAX" is the cross over, as referred to in my prior post.
Embarrassing that they call this is a DAX, as to imply it is anything similar in quality of a real DAX.
Truthful advice is not always what one wants to hear, simply it is what one needs to hear, which is the opposite way the bulk of the hi-end audio business is run.
Mini Grands flopped. Why? Subs and the mini DAX are close to worthless, and to make things worse, they had to live up to the standards of the Stages. We used the Stage subs as stands.
I had a pair of Stages on the stands w/o subs for about four years and I loved them.
To this day, some of the best, most fatigue free, uncannily focused midrange I have ever heard. Try Joni Mitchell Blue late at night in the dark for a transcendental experience with the Stage.
I, too, had an Aragon 4004 II which was just fine -- never had a problem -- driven by a Jadis JPL tube preamp. Perhaps they would have sounded even better, but I had them in a relatively small room, about 12 x 18 and experimented with firing across both the long and short walls.
I agree that rear and side wall breathing room is important and I ultimately did not cant them in at all.
Even with the stands, vertical dispersion is limited which creates a slightly squahed image height compared to larger planars or ESLs and is probably the main reason I eventually sold them. So find a low comfy chair.
But it is confusing for me to hear the comments about the subs - I never had them but it was the full mini grand, not the subless Stage that always got the rave reviews and the class A recommendations in Stereophile.
I would have thought that the Mini Grands "flopped" because people in Peoria don't want a tricky to place, physically awkward, and very difficult to drive, esoteric ribbon speaker, not because the subs were "worthless".
But hey, what do I know, I never heard the subs.
In any case, have fun and good luck.
I still own a pair of Mini-Grands and my position is somewhat between
Binaural and Info. The stage section is fantastic; the midrange
is one of the best I have ever heard. The original workmanship
was shoddy, and my dealer had to replace all the velcro inside
the stage sections. The subs made great stands, bringing the height
of the stages to more where it should be, and you do have to
be careful with the tilt because of the famed Venetian Blind
effect. At times on some records the subs would resonate, and
I had to tighten all the screws up in the drivers. My DAX power
supply failed and I have yet to find a replacement because of the
wierd +/- 15 volts (instead of 12V), so I replaced it with a
Dahlquist electronic crossover. Except for the 1 note resonance the
dual 8" subs did do a good job of keeping up with the Stages.
I would hesitate putting a larger sub driver on the Stages as
my Genesis 928 servo controlled sub would not keep up with the
Stage section. With all of this being said, the Stages produce
plenty of bass in most rooms and can be made to run full range
with no compromise is sound. They do take lots of current, I am
running Krell MD-300A monoblocks on the Stage sections and they
soak up the current. They need plenty of room (3 -4 feet to side
and back wall from the Stage section), and tilt is very critical.
They throw and immense sound stage (hence the name), and depending
on your feeding electronics and the toe-in the soundstage may be in front
or behind the speakers. In my initial setup the drummer's cymbals
on a Rare Earth live LP were less than a foot from my face!
Things to look for: Run a frequency sweep on the speakers to
see if they rattle or resonate. Inspect the tweeter ribbon
to see if it has ever been stuck to the front or rear mesh. It
will be wrinkled in that area and maybe still stuck. This
will indicate the speakers may have been over-driven. Also
check the DAX wall wart transformer for damage/overheating.
This is what cratered on my system.
And most of the reviews I saw in Stereophile were on the Stage.
They rated the mini-Grand in recommended components, but the
reviews were on the stages.
Prior to the availability of the subs the 'Stage' was recommended as a class 'B' rating. I believe it was Thomas Norton who wrote the original review. In his words the "midband was as natural as I've heard", I believe were his words.
The 'Stage' imho, does female vocals better than anything on the planet, including other Apogee models.
Please, take note. The midrange and up are so clean, you'll tend to play them louder than you realize. When you see the ribbon do the 'wave', then you need to back it down a little.
They don't run flat, and for that reason alone some folks don't like them, but they are the most fun I've ever heard.
BTW, highly addictive.
A word of caution. If you get the spkr. too far out into the room, they will boom. Too close to the wall they boom also, just like other speakers.
Audioworld hosts a lively forum for Apogee lovers over the world.
The Pass is wonderful. The 350 is more than you need for the panels/ribbons. Krell is too ss for the Stage. I used tubes on my Stage speakers. The usual set up for Minigrands is to biamp or triamp.
I have some comments about Muralman1's comments:
1. Mini Grand's must be actively bi-amped.
2. You can NEVER have too much power.
3. If Krell "is too ss" for Stages, why did Jason Bloom of Apogee use them.
Jason Bloom was using the Krell years ago. If he were still in the business, I doubt very much he would restrict his amp choice to old favorites. I have a friend who was running his Minigrands with a Krell/Aragon. After I demonstrated my tube amp on his Stage, he sold the Krell and is now using the hybrid Llano Trinity, with the Aragon below. With such a revealing speaker, Krells and many other ss amps sound too dry and grainy.
The Stage was designed to use amps in the 100 watt range and an upper limit clearly stated of 200 watts. If you are like my friend, who is very conservative with the volume knob, you can put any mega beast on the stage, but one has to ask, why?
I did mention the Minigrand is usually biamped or triamped.
Because all else being equal, a "mega beast" even at lower volumes will peform more fluidly and effortlessly than a less powerful amp.
Like RAM in your computer and HP in your car, there is never too much power.
I appreciate all the input! I've had these set up now since last Sunday. The subs work just fine in my room, which has a bass bump at 30 hertz.
I woud say the DAX is the weakest link in the system. I'm planning to get a pair of the Vandersteen filters to roll off the Stages at 80 hertz, then the crossover will only be processing the subs.
These are the best speakers I've had in my home, they do sound better to me than my last favorite long term speaker -Magnepan MG 3.3rs. I really do like the sound of ribbons!
I haven't been on the web or watching video since I first listened to these. My living room has about 20 of my favorite CDs on the couch, I just keep saying WOW, this is excellent 2 channel!
Congratulations Danielk141! Now, introduce yourself to the club wwhere you will receive all the advice you need to gain the best performance of one of the greatest speakers ever made. See my first post.
Also, money permitting, I would replace the DAX with the Krell KBX.
They will custom make the board to match your speakers. The KBX, if not the best, is one of the best electronic crossovers ever made. It is still available new from Krell (although not on the web site). There is also a used one for sale now on ebay.
I bought the speakers yesterday. I did take into account all the opinions of everyone who replied to my thread. I think the Stages are excellent! The reason I bought this pair as the "Mini Grand" is because I auditioned them from a longtime friend who is a Wilson, Vandersteen, Rowland, Theta dealer. He gets some like new high end trade ins from time to time and I can audition any of them at home. These speakers are about a 9 on a scale of 10. As far as shipping, they're already here & he let me use his van to bring them home. He's about 1.5 miles from my house...
Whether the subs are kept as subs or just used as stands depends on how they (and the Mini Grand Dax)respond to tweaking. My Pass dealer used to sell Aragon & he says he'll show me how to mod my Aragon amp for better bass slam. The Apogee website suggested by two of you is excellent! Thanks!