Building an all analog system around Magnepan .7 for 4K and under


Dear Friends, 
My wife and I are professional musicians, and we are saving up for a system to listen to mainly classical and jazz on vinyl. I'm a jazz drummer, and she is a classical double bassist. The more realistic our system is to our real instruments, the happier we are. We will be using this in a medium/smallish 12' x 11' room. 

We will not need a dac, just speakers, amp, turntable. We prefer an integrated amp with a phono preamp, to keep the set up simple as possible but we can consider buying an external phono preamp,

I've read recommendations for for Rogue Sphinx and Pioneer Plx-1000 to go with this system, but I was wondering if there are any other suggestions for our needs. We are also open to set ups that we can build on in the future, Like buying a Nad C 375 BEE and bridging it with a C 275BEE couple of years down the road, or buying a subwoofer later. 

Thanks again for your input, 
Emre

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Rega & Marantz make such products.  You'll want good current delivery to power the Maggies.  Beyond that, you'll need to do listening tests.  IIRC, Music Direct will allow returns for 60 days or so as will Audio Advisor.
All components impact the quality of a system, however with a vinyl system, the two transducers, speakers and cartridge, have the greatest impact on the character as well as the quality.  Since you already have chosen speakers, I would focus on identifying a integrated amplifier that will drive them to your satisfaction, power and sonic synergy wise, then focus on the TT, cartridge, phonostage front end. My preference would be to use an external phonostage for the flexibility it would provide with different cartridges. Many are designed to match with a wide range of cartridges regarding gain and loading.  Of course if you purchase a integrated with phonostage, an external one could always be purchased later. You should be able to find a integrated in the ~$1500 range (the Rouge and NAD fit this) leaving a larger budget for the vinyl front end. 
Thought you don't want to short the Maggies on power, your listening volume levels and room size make a large impact on actual power requirements. 
Thank you for the suggestions.. 

I think I narrowed the amp to either Rouge Sphinx or Nad C 375 BEE. Does anybody have experience with either of these amps for Magnepan? Any preferences on one over the other? If not, I'll go for the Rogue because of the cheaper price. 
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I have heard Maggies (3.7i and 1.7) on a $4,000 Rogue amp and it sounded very nice.

Dunno re the Sphinx but be sure it can deliver a lot of current at 4 ohms.

Is there any chance I can convince you to put the turntable in another room to acoustically isolate it from SPL in the listening room??  That will solve a host of problems....


I like an Odyssey Khartago amp with the Maggies. There are available used quite often and you avoid the lengthy break in. About a grand +\- used

You can order an Ear 834p phono pre direct from Ear w/ mm only and a volume control since your not concerned about a second source. Ive seen them used not infrequently. Later you can play with your own step up if/when you go mc. About a grand+\- used

For a cart, an Audio Note IQ3 with a 6.5mv output into the  Ear feeding the Khartago direct should work nicely together providing a solid foundation for eventual improvement of source. 

Buy a decent starter table and work your way up as funds permit. 

http://www.audioasylumtrader.com/ca/listing/Turntables/Rega-Research/RP-1-W-Performance-Pack/Turntab...
I have also found the Odyssey Khartago Plus a great match with Magnepan. The 375 Bee is a good bargain now that it has been around so long, but the Magnepan's deserve better...
With the Odyssey Khartago, will the stereo amp be enough to drive the .7's? or would I have to save up to get the mono blocks?


randy-11, yes I would be into setting up the table in another room if it sounds better. I hadn't thought of this, there is so much that I don't know.
In a small room like yours,  the Khartago should have more than enough power...
Rogue/Maggie is a frequent combo, and should work nicely. Have you heard the .7s and listened to plenty of basscentric music? They are small which limits low freq ability and although many don't miss it much, since you are both bass-knowledgable and proabably play much music that goes pretty low, I think adding a sub or two might be very advantageous. This is a conundrum because it's tough to generate very low bass in a room as small as yours, so you might be inclined to demo before you buy or buy used to limit your downside if that doesn't work out. 
Yes, turntable in next room or on a wall shelf will eliminate a lot of problems. 
If you don't have a dealer nearby, call Mark at Rogue and send my regards. He will hook you up. Cheers,
Spencer
setting up the table in another room should sound better as it will greatly reduce acoustic feedback to the table, arm and cartridge

not to rain on your integrated parade too much, but it will also be best to put  a separate pre-pre amp for the cartridge in that room too

the reason is you generally want to make the longest cable runs the one least likely to interference & signal degradation - that means short cables from cartridge to pre-amp, and from power amp to speakers

the ultimate would be an all digital feed directly to the base of the drivers with D to A conversion done there -- for an all analog system you want to emulate that (all other things being equal)

I am not aware of anything made this way but a quality pre-amp with a remote control head would be ideal - you'd want not just an IR sensor for the remote but also the readouts on the remote head and then the entire pre-amp would go in the closest or other room with the turntable
Unless you already have the Maggie .7’s, for a room the size of yours I would reconsider getting them. They need to be a minimum of 3’ from the wall behind them, 5’ being much better. A 12’ x 11’ room is really too small for Maggies, unfortunately---I love them too!
if you find the .7 too big for your room, I highly recommend the 3 piece Mini-Maggie system...I used it in a room your size and sounded great...about the same price as the .7
I second the mini maggie system, but with a dynamic sub.. As much power as you can throw at them is what I would recommend. I have both the older 1.5qr's and the mmgs. The bigger maggies have more bass but that didn't wake up until I gave it a kilowatt per channel. 
you would also have the option of adding a second woofer unit...
But doesn't the .7's have more resolution?
no
Magnepan refers to the Mini as a 3.7i in miniature   check out their website    the mini should have more resolution
the 3 piece Mini is not the same as the MMG series, it is meant for desk top or small rooms
I own .7's and have experience with the amps mentioned. The NAD was "dark" sounding to me and honestly, I hated the NAD look. The Rogue was better and had a nice phono section as well. I stepped up to a Wyred4Sound SSi 500 and that was it. The jaggies love their juice and this amp opened them up better than the other 2 choices. I added a modest phono pre-amp and am quite please. I also added a sub and soon a second sub though i doubt your room will allow that. I second some of the comments above, these speakers need their room to breathe or you will not realize all of their potential. 
"maggies"...
It sounds like you have not yet bought speakers....
Magneplanar may still have their loaner (return) program going for the 1.7i speakers.  A classical musician and jazz drummer combo sounds like you must live in a fairly large city, so your Maggie dealer should set this up for you.  Dunno if they do it for 0.7's, but there is no such program for the 3.7's (I wanted to try those to replace my 1.5QRs).

BTW, a larger physical speaker does not mean the speaker is also larger in an acoustical sense.  I called Magneplanar and Mr. Maggie (Wendell) told me the 3.7i speakers were acoustically smaller than the 1.7i.  You should call them up and talk to Wendell about exactly which speaker would be best.

Maggies are perfect for your source material.  They want you to use the DWMs and not dynamic subs (many do this, but they are difficult to integrate with panels).  The DWMs can be made to look like coffee tables but need ot be at the same distance from your ear as the other panels.

I see this thread going into room treatments... so you may as well post a photo of your room in the section for that...
We've owned the .7's for more than a year and a half powered by Rogue Cronus Magnum (100 wpc) and also using a powered sub (sealed SVS SB1600), a modest pro-ject 1xpression turntable and pro-ject phono stage in a similar sized room and feel like whole exceeds the sum of the parts.  Have also had them hooked up to my vintage SS receivers (a G-8000 and KR-9050).  I prefer the tube sound personally with the vinyl though the SS sounds "tighter". Not sure the extra watts of the old receivers adds much in our smaller room but that's personal preference too. 

The mags do sound better with some room to breath but their light and slide easily so we pull them out when we're listening and push them back to the wall when we're not so they're out of the way and don't get trampled by the dogs or the kids. 
I have Maggie 1.7s. I went from a Rogue Cronus Magnum to a Rogue Pharaoh. As good as the Magnum is, the Pharaoh was far & away better. Then I went from the Pharaoh to a Prima Luna Dialouge Premium. Once again, the Prima Luna was a significant improvement across everything. I have a Nad 375bee coming to drive my home theater speakers (in the same room) and serve as a back up to drive the 1.7s. I will let you know the synergy. Note: I also use a sub in the system. I was using a Rel t7 sub, but it fried a diode. While it's down & I get around to ordering parts, I put in a PSB subwoofer. I'll be honest. I like the PSB much better... just sounds better. Go figure.
I just auditioned .7s with the Sphinx and the NAD C368 at my local dealer.  I also listen primarily to classical, jazz and acoustic. The NAD was much brighter, too much so for my taste, so I went with the Sphinx. The Maggies have enough bass for me, and I've still never heard a speaker that reproduces a violin or piano or voice like they do.  The equipment hasn't arrived yet, but I will be using it with a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon with Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and Blue Jeans cables in a 14x17 room. You could certainly step up to a Rega TT and suitable cartridge and make your budget.

One should not overlook a really good analog TT/TA setup that is somewhat new. Check out the following: 
The PolyTable SUPER 12 http://hifigem.com/PolyTableSUPER12.html
George Merrill has been making TT's since 1979 and this model is getting rave reviews. Easily besting TT's selling for $10K.
Best of luck
Another option you might consider is getting one of the new tube preamps from Schiit Audio, like the Frea, then pairing it with a brute SS amp like a used Sunfire. You'd come in at around the same $$$ as a new Sphinx but with more power. 

I'm a fan of Maggies, but for a room that size, I highly recommend considering some nice 2-way monitors. You'd be surprised how good a soundstage such speakers can create in a small room. Kef LS50s or some Ascend Acoustics Sierras should work well in room that size.