Are Magnepan MG-IIIa speakers problematic?

I have read on different postings how magnepans are difficult to setup, difficult to maintain, and basically are like a high-maintenance girlfriend or wife. I have the opportunity to purchase a pair of MG-IIIA speakers. I would love some feedback...Thanks...Also, can you still get support for them through Magnepan?
i had a pair of mgII a's. they are now my son's. the set up is so critical but when you find that sweetspot it was worth it. the roon i listened to them in was asymetrical and don't know if i ever got the most out of them. i still love that honest sound they make.

You need to have room for them. You need to have sufficient power for them. Beyond that... a true audio classic and a great speaker. Magnepan will rebuild them if necessary I believe (though not cheap.. and expensive to ship).

A good source of info is:

The ribbon tweeter on them is simply amazing. The maggie bass is also extremely nice.

Yes they can be "troublesome" however they are well worth the effort- much like a high-maintenance girlfriend :o) Magnepan still repairs them and with MUG you can't lose anything you need help with you can find there. If you are getting a good deal and the rest of your system is up to the task of driving them go for it! There is a reason magnepan has the cult like following it does.
Tireguy is right, there's a reason that Maggies have such a loyal following. I suppose, like all components, they aren't going to work well in every system or room. Maggies need room to "breath," they don't work optimally jammed into corners or against walls. They need high quality, powerful amplification and not every amp is happy driving them. I started with MGA's and have had 1.6's for several years and have found them very reliable, not at all "high maintenance." I had to go through a few amps before finding an extremely synergistic one (PS Audio HCA-2.) I guess I've been lucky roomwise, never finding them finicky or hard to set up. I find Magneplanars to have a certain magic that I haven't heard in any other speaker, especially at their given pricepoints.
I owned a set of MG 3.5Rs for 10 years, and didn't have any issues with them. They were a pain to set up in the three different rooms I had them in, but once I found "the spot" everything was great. I don't see how that is different than any other speaker type though.

Depends on whom you ask. Most have had very positive results with older Magnepans. Although Magnepans are not for everyone they can provide an incredibly musical experience for not a lot of $$.

Do you have the room for placement options?
It's preferred NOT to have anything in between them like a huge RPTV that is unless the RPTV is recessed into the wall.
Having the speakers 3-5 feet from the front wall and 1-3 feet from the sidewalls is preferred, but not always necessary. Once set up correctly wow!

The 3A's were built from 1987-1990 so you have about a 15+-year-old speaker.

Can you listen to the speaker before you buy?

If you can listen before you buy use material with good string bass notes. This will help detect any delaminating wires from the panels. You may not hear this with drum notes. I This can be repaired with some effort, but the toughest part is re stapling the sock covers. Factor this into the cost.

You can get pair of 3A's for about $600-1000 depending on condition. That's a very good price for the performance you will get from them. If ever you have to replace the tweeters it about $100 per side and can be done in your home. I do not know if Magnepan still offers refurbishing of the 3A's. A simple phone call to them will answer that. Consider cost of shipping in the equation.

You will need a high current amp not just a high watt amp. This will help in preventing blowing of fuses or the tweeters and bring the performance of the speakers to a higher level.

Another issue is that although the later version Magnepan are not as revealing as the newer Magnepan speakers you may find yourself upgrading your source, Amps, Preamp, cables...So consider that into the equation as well.

By the way I have never owned the 3A’s, but I have owned 4 of Magnepan later versions including the 1.6QR, 3.3R, 3.5R and now the 3.6R.

Hope this helps
I was a Maggie dealer for 11 years, and sold several pairs of III's. They were NEVER problematic to me.
They are large, and with enough heat build up, you can misshape the ribbon tweeter.Plus the resistor, allows for audible phase shift, (to me), and my ear. It does, tame the high frequency enery. But that problem with the lessening of THD, and TIM over the last several years, the speakers seem much less a problem. So where was the problem, really, to begin with.
I will bet that with Halcro amps, they sound delicious.
Don't hesitate to buy them if you have room for them.
They are good speakers, worth owning. Plus, Magnepan, has ALWAYS backed their products.
Good luck,
Even though I am now recieving Green Mountain C-3's,
one of my most loved speakers were a pair of MG IIIa's.
They are magic driven with Spectron digital amps.
I never had any problems with mine to the day I sold
I love Maggies!!

I have owned 3 pair of the 3.6r's, 1 pair of the 1.6's
and 1 pair of IIIa's. Never any issues..except tired
I was a Maggie fan for quite a while, had MG-IIs and then MG-IIIs (not the IIIA). I was driving them with a pair of Conrad Johnson MV75A-1s (vertically biamped) plus an Audio Pro B-250 sub. They had plenty of room around them and sounded fine. Then I heard a pair of comparively tiny ProAc Response 2s and suddenly the Maggies didn't sound as good. In an A/B comparison there was no contest and I sold the Maggies. But I remember them fondly and never had a bit of rouble with them.
Maggies have the uncanny ability to darg the listener into dreamworld. Yes, a properly setup Maggie pair can put many speakers many times the price to shame. I owned MG1c back in the 90's and the only reason I had to give it up was due to space constraints in my present abode, I do have a listening room albeit, I consider it small for accomodating the maggies. Many think Maggies do not have bass, I think that the best bass I ever heard in any speaker were the Maggies. Its squeaky clean and without any boom whatsoever.

If you drive them with a good amp (high current, high damping factor, with a flat response) of say about 150-200 watts at least you will get them to sing. Although Krell amps are fantastic but somehow I did not like the sound of the Krell with Maggies at all. I did like the Quad 606 II and Perreaux 3150 paired with it.

Magnepan has fantastic service and they can provide anything you may need. I reckon that if the speakers have never been serviced they may need the internal wiring checked and if necessary re glued to the mylar diaphragm. I did that to my MG1c's and the glue is available with Magnepan and does not cost much.

It is an absolute must for every audiophile to experience living with a pair of Maggies.
I've owned two pair of Maggies. Neither was hard to set up for me. On down the road you may want to checkout the MUG on Audioasylum as Tireguy has pointed out. A crossover upgrade will push these speakers to another level.This is when you find out the technology hasn't changed much in these speakers over the last 20 yrs or so.The Maggies do some things that only a planar speaker can do plain and simple.Mine are 15 yrs old ..I had a friend over the other day. He listened to them for the first time and agreed they sound and look like they were built last week.Accept they have resolution and a separation of instruments that far exceeds the stock models. I am still trying to talk Tireguy into lending me his modified 3.6Rs permanently and while your at it throw in those JC-1s as well. LOL
Oh well I guess I can dream!!! Tireguy when did you say you were going on vacation again?

Good Luck!
Well, I bought the Maggies!!!!!!!!!! $482 bucks on ebay today!!! They look good. I live locally so pickup shouldn't be a problem. Now I have a totally restored/refurbished Mcintosh MC2300 Amp and a pair of Maggies. I can't wait to pick them up!!! I am totally broke. I am scraping together a system on money I don't really have!!! FUN!!!! Anyway, I can't wait to set it up. Now I need to get a Preamp. Does anyone know of a good preamp that will go with my amp. I want an all Mac system eventually. I guess I want Mac gear because of the nostalgia and resale value. I'm not rich yet (just turned 28)but give me a few years. Anyway, any and all help would be appreciated.
Thanks for all your responses!!!
Your never to young to get started with this fun hobby, I'm only 22 and have been at it for years! Congratulations on your entry to hi-fi :o)
Tireguy you are just 22?!?!?!? I thought you were much older. Please take it as a compliment! :)
Check the ribbons for visual clues of misshaping. This would be due to thermal build up. That would mean, since the speakers ribbons had an expressed finite lifespan, that they may need replacing.
If they sound good, and have no visual damage, go for it.
They are wonderful.
As to placement, if you want to email me I will be glad to walk you through it.
I have set up about a 100000000 pairs of Maggies. HA!
Seriously, glad to help if you need it.
Like anything old, they wear out. But, where does one find the parts for the speakers? No way to email the Magnepan company, seems they just want you to call.

I am in need of a tweeter on my MGIIIa.

Anybody know where I might have success in acquiring one?


Surferm 10, HI.Well U really cant go wrong with Mcintosh.And U will, i think, love the maggies.three months ago i bought a pair of mg-3.Driving them with a pair of class a mono amps.May i suggest a Bottle Head preamp.A tube pre that U can buy as a kit or fully assembled.Or wait for one to come up for sale on a-gon or ebay.
I've been a Magnepan owner for 35 troublefree years. My MG-1s were sent to White Bear Lake for a factory rebuild....this was before I'd even heard of MUG or the like.
Once setup and in-place they are no more trouble than any other speaker. Take the time, do it right, make the last adjustments hours....or even days apart as you fine tune.

However, they ARE a modifier / tweakers dream. Stands? yes. Bi amp? Of course. Tri amp? why not? Active/passive crossovers? for sure. Total reframe in hardwood? NOW you're talkin'! Get rid of that fuse? What took you so long?

I rotated mine so the pole piece faces the listener, not the mylar. Nobody can say exactly when the factory made that change.

Ribbon problem? Buy the kit from Magnepan or ship 'em....with 'core' charge.
Kit comes with 3 rebuilds, so when you screw the first one up, you are still good to go. Pulled wire? (bananna'd) fix with DAP.....plenty of online helps.
I don't think so either. I own two pairs for a home theater system. They do age so I did do a repair on one set myself using the kit sold by Magnepan. Yes, they still do rebuilds for this speaker. Rebuilding it myself was fun, time consuming and a great learning experience. It also saved me quite a bit of money. Like everyone said, the staples is the hardest part. I don't think setting up the IIIa is any more difficult that some other speakers that I have owned. A great speaker to enjoy.