Can you ever go back and be happy?

My audiophile friends and I often discuss if we know any highenders who have great planar speakers (Soundlabs,Apogees,Magnepans) that could go back to a box enclosure speaker and could truely be satisfied with the sound of their system. We believe there is a special quality the way a well designed planar loads a room which just sounds more natural and real to us compared with a baffled speaker design. On to the question. Not including having to down size or change speakers because of $issues or logistics, having to move your sytem to a smaller space etc., have any of you GON members gone from a world class planar to a box enclosed design and were able to really be happy and not long for the "good old planar days". We do not personally know anyone who has ever done it and was truly happy about afterwards. It would be great if any of you fellow GON members can relate to this question through your own personal experience and share your opinions with us.
The planar transducer (the electrostatic or, in the case of Maggies, the electromagnetic diaphragm) weighs less per square foot than the air it has to move, which automatically gives these devices their always incredible transient response. This is what's so addicting, regardless of brand.

It's really not about those other (albeit important) issues of box, dipole, loading, dispersion, etc, etc. Sound once begun, travels relatively slowly, but sound initiates with almost the speed of light.

The electrostatic transducer was actually invented at Bell Laboratories prior to the invention of the electomechanical cone-type speaker. There was no mylar and the diaphram was made of cow intestine stretched over a frame with copper wires stapled to it. After a few days, it didn't smell so good and the idea was put aside :~))


I am in serious negotiation with myself about getting into a electro/planar or hybrid model speaker and cant wait to here the posts to come, and to my knowledge although limited has never heard of anyone going back to a box speaker..again great thread.
Yes it is possible. I've done it. About 6 years ago I bought a pair of MartinLogan ReQuests. Not pure electrostats, and maybe not in the same class as some of the other planars you've listed. Even so, I loved the way they looked (IMHO still one of the most aesthetically pleasing speakers ever produced), and I loved their speed, transparency, and clarity. The way they conveyed female vocals was particularly mesmerizing.

On the other hand, the bass integration was not seamless (fast planar, slow woofer), they were extremely finicky about EVERYTHING (placement, sitting position, cables, amp...), they lacked lifelike dynamics to my ears, and there always seemed to be some upper frequency hash that made their top-end sound aggressive even though they were a bit rolled-off. Spent a lot of time swapping cables and components to partly address the top end issue. But the real kicker was that I've never been treated worse by any manufacturer in any business. Otherwise, I might still own them (or one of the newer ML models).

So after a few years I sold the MartinLogans. Came within hair of buying some big Maggies, but moved to a smaller place and decided to go back to boxes. Since then, I have owned several very nice box designs that I've been quite happy with.

I'm currently living with a pair of Merlin VSM-M's - fast, clear, detailed, crystalline top end, and while they don't hit 20, the bass they do put out with the BBAM is quite refined and satisfyingly deep. Soundstage isn't as big as with a planar, but they are close to electrostatic in the rest of their presentation, and (to me anyway) have fuller, more natural dynamics.

Not wanting to get into a debate over box v. planar - they each have their merits and disadvantages, and I could certainly be happy with a nice pair of planars from a reputable manufacturer. Just answering your question: for some people, there is "life after planars."

As a previous owner of Magnepan 3.3 and 3.5 for 6 years, and now owning Soundlab A1's for 4 months, I can tell you that all planars speakers are not at all alike. Ribbon-based systems such as Magnepans and Apogee are very different altogether.

Just last week I heard the Maggie 3.5s vs. Apogee Duetta in a local audiophile's system. They both "loaded" the room very differently. I have heard box speakers that have a sonic signature right in the middle of these two products. The Maggie had much more presence in the lower half of the frequency range and the Apogee had far more presence, clarity and extension in the upper half. Nobody would have ever guessed these were both ribbon speakers as neither really bettered the other in areas one would expect a ribbon speaker to excel. Electronics were BAT 31SE line stage and 400wpc hybrid Counterpoint amp that are fully capable of driving either speaker and showing their sonic strengths.

Several years ago I auditioned Maggies 3.5s vs. three different mid priced ($3k-7k) Martin Logans at a dealer. The ML's had an incredible see-through quality but otherwise they were just way too analytical and uninvolving. The Maggie 3.5 brought on a level of musicality that was simply wonderful. Both speakers were clearly dynamically limited compared to the wonderful cone-driver-based Paragon Jem/Jubilee also at the dealer. And this was something I had retained in the back of my mind. I could never have lived with the Martin Logans whereas the Paragons were a wonderfully musical speaker.

When I went back to the dealer for a second listen to the Maggie 3.5s, I also got a chance to hear the 20s. They were so much alike that I simply could not understand the 20s costing 3x the price of the 3.5s. There was clearly a Maggie "house sound" just as there had been a Martin Logan "house sound".

I ended up with the Maggies but struggled to find amps that would bring out more of the dynamics in the music. This is why people continue to claim Maggies need lots of power. It is because we need to crank them up and push so much at them to bring on the dynamic capabilities but ultimately it just does not happen.

Finally, because of the lack of dynamics and wanting more punch in the bass, I sold my Maggies and went with the Talon Khorus. Wow, now this is a great speaker. Far more frequency extension, low-level resolution, and of course awesome dynamic capabilities. The Maggie 3-dimensional midrange magic was clearly reduced but I had a degree of musicality with the Talons that was so far beyond the Thiel 3.6 and 2.3 I was using in my HT system. The Talon was one of those great discoveries.

After a year with the Talons, I simply missed the Maggie magic so I got another pair; the Talons were moved to my HT system. Once you get used to the Maggie magic, you can't get it out of your head. So to answer the issue as asked by Teajay, the move to the Talon dynamic speaker was outstanding but I'd classify it as a lateral move as there were major gains but also losses vs. what the Maggies could deliver.

I was so happy to get the Maggie sound again but I missed the many qualities of the Talons. I got more out of the Maggies with Wolcott amps. But a year later I had concluded that it was time again to find a speaker that would bring on the Maggie magic but not have all of it's limitations. And like before, I soon realized you just can't have it all in a speaker in this price range.

Then I heard the Soundlab U1 at a dealer and the A1 at my home. In both cases, I had the Maggie 3.5s right there to get an idea of the sonic similarities/differences. Quite surprisingly, the Soundlabs and the Magnepans have very similar tonality. But that was where the similarity ended. I quickly realized how the Soundlabs have a musicality unlike the analytical sounding Martin Logans I had heard before directly against the Maggies. All electrostatics are not the same.

I was able to compare the A1's vs the 3.5's in my home system with CAT JL-3 amps. The A1's retain every quality, including the 3-dimensionality and presence of the Magnepan and yet the A1's move far more air due to their nearly double surface area; there is simply more "activity" going on with the A1's. The Maggies are big but the Soundlabs are HUGE! The A1's have extension at the frequency extremes the Maggies simply can not touch. The A1's have dynamic capabilities that again, the Maggies can not touch. The A1's have clarity and resolution the Maggies can not touch. So for me, FINALLY, I found a "planar" speaker that truly does it all like one would only expect from a dynamic speaker. If it were not for the Soundlabs, I would have abandoned planar speakers altogether. But! Now that I have heard the true greatness of planar (Soundlab) speakers, I am eager to hear the same caliber of cone/box speakers. I suspect the likes of the Avalon Eidolon or the Eidolon Diamond, VonSchweikert, Verity, Dynaaudio, etc. to name a few, could give the Soundlabs a run for the money. I would love to get the Avalons into my music room for a listen.

Another member, who recently has made such a change is Albert Porter. He has a lot of experience with the Soundlabs and yet he has changed to the Dali Megalines. I suggest you read his virtual system comments on what he has experienced with the Dalis vs. the U1s he previously owned.

Jafox, those are not speakers you have, those are walls arent they????????? wow and WOW!

Those speakers are better built than a whole trailer park in Alabama, and probably just as hard to move!!!
I used to own Quad 57 and Maggie 1.6 and moved to JM Reynaud Trentes and now own Audio Note AN E.

I prefer the dynamic presentation of a quality box speaker. My AN-Es throw a huge soundstage with beautiful midrange that is very natural, also my 18 watt amp drives them with no problem.
I must be immune to Maggie magic. Went from MG-IIBs to MG-IIIs to ... ProAc Response 2s. Subsequently upgraded to ProAc Response 3s, then back to boxless speakers, first the Gallo Nucleus Ultimates and now the Gallo Reference 3s. I did like the Maggies, but never mourned their passing.
As a Maggie owner, yes if I could get some of the money I put into my 3.6s I would get convevntional speakers in a heartbeat. Reliability is something I can't live without, all these qualities of a planar mean nothing when it is down most of the time.
I kept my last 4 pair of speakers because I liked them all. Two boxes (one large/one small), one small hybred, one large planer type.

If I ever buy another pair I'm going to get some horns...some BIG HORNS! Used speakers aren't worth much you know.

I once owned the Innersound Eros MK II, absolutely loved everything about that speaker.......except the sweet spot was only about a foot wide......other than that I would still own them. I sold the Eros and purchased a pair of Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III's --- although it is a great speaker, they didn't give me the pleasure I got from listening to the Innersound. The Audiogoner I sold the VR4 to had a pair of ML Request and compared the two ---- he had the VR4's up for sale and sold within a month.
My next speaker is Eminent Technology LFT-VIIIa - back to flat panel!
Assuming good quality speakers, whether planar or "box," and good electronics, much depends on the accoustical properties of your room. I had Quad 57's, then went to Quad ESL-63s in a very large room. The arrangement of furniture in our livingroom, as largely decided by my wife, forced me to sit about eighteen feet from the speakers. There was an extremely narrow "sweet spot," and if I moved my head relatively slightly, the sound was degraded. I wanted to switch to large Soundlabs, which have better dispersion (as well as other benefits), but my wife vetoed the idea, on the ground that the Soundlabs were too large for where they would be placed. We agreed on acceptable dimensions, and I spent about six months in search of speakers. I finally bought Sonus Faber Amatis, which produce great sound even in my accostically challenged environment. And my wife has received so many compliments on their appearance that she alsmost thinks of them as her choice.
I moved from Magnepan MG12s to Dynaudio Contour 3.0s, which I purchased when Dynaudio upgraded the line a year or two ago. Box speakers in general just don't create that larger than life soundstage that Maggies do. On the other hand, the Dynaudios destroy the Maggies on rock, and sound very good with pretty much any type of music. Overall, I found the Maggies a little more finicky.
I really missed my maggies at the beginning. But after listening to single driver/crossoverless and horn loading box speakers. I found my cure. Not going back to planars. I like using the lower wattage amplifiers.They just seem
less noisy to my ears. The soundstage isn't as large but it sure is much clearer and defined.
Pbb, I'm quite curious about your reliability problems with your MG-3.6s. The Maggie owners,including myself, that I know have never experienced breakdowns with the exception of having to replace a ribbon tweater now and then through normal wear and tear. The replacement fee is very reasonable and the repair easy to do. Would you share what problems you encountered? Hope what ever was wrong is a thing in the past for you now.
I've gone from Maggies to Acoustats to Martin Logan, and finally to a big, partially horn-loaded system (S.A.P. J2001). The liveliness, weight and dynamic behavior of my current system swayed me. The other big advantage of my current system is that it is very efficient (99db/w) and easy to drive, so I can use low-powered tube amps. There is nothing quite like low-powered triode amps, provided one has suitable speakers.
I've owned Maggies Typani 4's and then Soundlabs, started with the A-4's and now the A-1's. Have been using Soundlabs for 15 years. About 5 years ago I bought a new house and didn't have a dedicated room so I went looking at all the cone speakers of the day, Avalon, Thiel, Proac's etc... I ended up building a dedicated room and reinsttalling the A-1's. So for me at least I couldn't go back, however I have been pretty impressed with some of the newer boxes I've heard, Dali's, Coincidents, Sonus Fabor's. I'd be willing to bet a steak dinner that Albert comes back home to Soundlabs within 2 years.
Larryi, the S.A.P. J2001 look very interesting. Can you give us a little more description on the sound. Can these speakers be compared to anything we might be familiar with?

Could the J2001 be used in a HT set-up?

Chadnliz: No, these are big.
I have enjoyed reading these posts, if I msy I would like to ask....

Between the Eminent Technology LFTVIIIa and the

Wich in your opinions is the best all around choice, they are $1000 diffrent in price.

I have talked to Bruce at ET and Brian at VMPS, its gonna be one of these 2....please add comments and thanks,

BTW Both said, equipment, power and room was very suitable.
Wow, look at that array of Soundlabs. Whew, imagine the low-end extension and dynamics. Gorgeous. I'll take a set in maple.
My first taste of planar speakers were Apogee Duetta II's, man did I ever love those speakers. Kids came along and I thought it best to sell'em off before they got damaged, huge mistake. Stupid thing to do.

I went through several different box speakers before I bought a pair of Martin Logan Quest Z speakers; I enjoyed them but they didn't have the same connection to the music as my Apogees did. I eventually sold the ML's and now use Eminent Technology LFT VIIIa's in my main system. I really like the ET's and see no reason to make another change (famous last words). There's just something about ribbons that sound right to me, of course you need an amp that can drive'em. So.. there's no going back. Jeff
I have often gone back. I have had Magnaplanors from ARC, KLH 9s (electrostats), Infinity Servo-Statics (electrostats), Martin Logans (electrostats), Sound Labs A-1 (electrostats), and an electrostatic speaker out of Florida whose name I cannot recall. In between I have had various dynamic driver speakers. Before I had any of these I had various horn speakers and presently I have horn speakers. It is the dynamics and effortness of these as well as their efficiency which allows the use of low power amps that is what always draws me back to them.

I could never get used to 6' wide mouths of vocalists on planar speakers.
" I could never get used to 6' wide mouths of vocalists on planar speakers."

LOL, thats funny!, I'm glad my Apogees don't do that.

I had each incarnation of the Martin-Logan CLSes, with, and w/o subwoofers for many years, and loved them until the day they departed. In fact, I still love the sound of Quads, Logans, Soundlabs, Innersounds, and ETs when I have the occasion to hear them. I found, however, that I prefer listening to a few of the newest generation of box speakers because they have much of the inner detail, delicacy, and immediacy of panels, and a dynamic linearity that panels lack. I, apparently, am very sensitive to this. I have not missed the Logans at all.
Norm, the company out of Florida you're probably trying to think of is Acoustat. I see you've owned a few speakers :-) all of which I've heard except the Servo-Statiks. I've found those which employ a flat profile are more prone to the 'wide mouth' characteristic. One has to weigh the pros and cons; there are very few horns I could live with, not caring for their colorations and other tradeoffs.
Brian, yes Acoustat. Actually, if you hung a monster high voltage cap on them, they were very good.

I also think you are right about flat profiles. The SoundLabs had less of this problem, but still had it. There certainly are problems with horns and putting them together seamlessly, but nothing else even approaches realism in the speed of music. I am beginning to miss this in my Beauhorns although the Acapella LaCampenellas have better frequency range and are seamless.

As you can see, I am never satisfied, and I suspect there is no good speaker outthere. They all are hopeless compromises.
John (Jafox): Let me know next time you'll be down toward Chicago, and maybe the fellow who owns that system will let us come over :-)
Call me Planar girl, but I have heard some of the best box enclosed speakers (BMW's, Thiel's, Avalons, Wilson, etc.) and found very few that had the natural and magical sound of real music compared to my MG-1.6's. At the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival this past October, I was truly impressed with the Diamond Tweeter Avalons, but for goodness sakes, they should have been spectacular since they cost close to $35,000! When I now listen to a baffled speaker, it often sounds closed in and unnatural to me. Since I do not listen to head banger music or grundge rock, my MG-1.6's provide me great pleasure with jazz vocals, classical music, swing and bebop acoustic jazz. So for me, yes, it would be very hard for me to go back to a box enclosure speaker.

Something else on this thread piqued my interest. It was mentioning that long time and devoted Sound Lab devotee, Albert Porter, had recently gone from his beloved highly tweaked out and customized Sound Labs to Dali Megaliners in his system. I believe this was shared to show that some of the finest world class box enclosure speakers could offer some of the special qualities of a world class planar. If Albert, of all audiophiles, could be happy with the Megaliners, it would really show that there is sonic heaven after planar speakers.

I just happened to hear Albert, who is a first class gentleman and a scholar, share with some other audiophiles that his major reason for selling his beloved Sound Labs was mainly because of his frustration regarding down time and how long it took to fix certain reliability difficulties. Also, an individual wanted to give him a remarkable amount of money for his very well known and totally customized Electrostatics. I got the distinct impression that Albert truly wanted to replace his Sound Labs with MG-20.1's but he was frustrated that Magnepan, the manufacturer, would not give him a discount or a price reduction of any sort even with his very high profile and wonderful reputation in the audiophile world. I believe it is a fact that Magnepan, regardless if you are a high profile and well known magazine or online reviewer, will not discount or reduce the price of their speakers for anybody. I think this is great because they do not go looking for favorable reviews or perks by winning favors by giving their speakers away for virtually nothing compared to the average audiophile, like you and me, who would have to pay full price to get their product. Magnepan will not allow a dealership to retailers who work out of their home. You have to have a legitimate store front enterprise. All dealers offer their speakers at the same prices because of the policy of Magnepan who prices their speakers at a very reasonable cost compared to both the performance of their speakers and what other speaker companies offer at the same price brackets.

I have a very strong hunch that Albert paid no where close to retail or even wholesale price for his Dali Megaliners. I want to be clear that this is not a personal attack on Albert, for whom I have great respect and admiration. Just trying to make the possible point that he went to a box enclosure speaker, more because he was irritated that Magnepan would not discount their price for him rather than because he was enamored of the sound of the Dali Megaliners. Albert also shared that he was not pleased on the two occasions, including at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, that he had heard the Megaliners and was concerned about how he was going to make them sing in his home system. Bless Albert. I am glad he can get what he wants at a very reasonable economical price. I just find it frustrating that as an unknown audiophile, I do not expect nor get price perks because of my status or position. Albert, if my speculations regarding what happened with Magnepan or the pricing of the Dali's is incorrect, I would appreciate if you would share why you chose one speaker over the other.
I did a box vs. planar showdown in my dedicated room a few weeks ago. In my economical fashion, I always said I liked certain aspects of the Vandersteens, and certain qualities of the Magnepans. If only someone made a speaker that combined the best qualities of both!
Well, for my budget, the Eminent Technology LFT-8 fit the bill. After I had them installed, I bought some Vandersteens again to see if I missed the box sound sufficiently to merit keeping a pair on hand, just to hook up when I felt like hearing a box.
nah. Futzed with it for a week. Haven't hooked them up since.
For me, the hybrid planar is the way to go.
Aroma, I didn't know BMW made speakers :-) Some of what you said is quite accurate. As for Albert, only he can decide, but I have reason to believe the jury's still out.
Brian: Oh yes I would love to come back there and to hear that setup. And I will bring the Versa TT and box of parts to get that up and running too. But I'd like to wait until I decide on the final outcome of the Aesthetix Io/Callisto vs. the Aria preamp when it comes out. This would be a rare opportunity to hear either vs. the Vendetta/Blowtorch. I will let you know ahead of time when I can get back out that way. John
Aroma: Since I suggested people look into Albert's writings here to learn about his progress of the Dali vs. his long time Soundlabs, I feel obligated to respond to many of your points:

1) The issue of why Albert changed from the Soundlabs: Rather than throw a lot of speculation as to the details of price of the competition, reliability of what he owned, or the deals he may have gotten on his latest components, why not let him speak this for himself? You do a big disservice by saying all this and then you close with the comment that if your speculations and comments are incorrect, you would like him to answer why he has changed to the Dalis. With your "delivery", who would be motivated to share in return?

And you've got to be kidding that such an audiophile would not buy the Magnepans because he did not get a discount. Please review his system, add up the cost of the products, and then see if you feel the same way. Is someone who has invested in a highly resolving $100k+ system for years and years going to push aside a product that might be THE perfect match because they did not get a few thousand dollars discount? Just one of his interconnects costs more than your speculative discount "that he did not get". Come on, be serious. Common sense went out the window on this one!

2) The issue of fairness and how "unknown" audiophiles are not treated fairly: Hello! What about magazine reviewers? IMO, they do not provide remotely the value of experience and willingness to share as Albert and others have done here. So please take a closer look at who has special treatment here. If it is to a business's advantage to give certain people a reduction in the cost of a product, then you can be certain they will do so. It's called advertising! And with all the exposure and respect that people like Albert get here, you can be be assured many people, including myself, take very seriously what he writes here. This would indicate that such an audiophile would be a prime candidate for which companies could expose their products. But again, why not let him address this rather than throw out your comments?

3) The issue of Magnepan 20.1s vs. Soundlabs: As I wrote before, I owned the series 3.x for 6 years and absolutely loved them. And when I heard the 20s, in the same system minutes later, they too were wonderful but just a marginal improvement over the 3.x. Yes, the difference was marginal.

In my view, the 3.x Maggies have no competition for the price point unless you need a more dynamic system. Where else can you pay less than $4k for such awesome sound? But once you hit the $10k+ range, such as the series 20, it's a different story. The Soundlabs are in a very different class altogether. The Maggies sound compressed, muffled, minimal bottom octave extension, lacking inner detail in the trebles, etc., etc., compared to the Soundlabs. This is NOT subtle at all. And again, this is coming from a long time Maggie diehard. So why on earth would someone who tweaks his sources, electronics, cables, speakers, etc., to significant levels beyond the off-the-shelf variation, move from the SL's to the Maggies? IMO, Maggies would be a huge step in the wrong direction in virtually every sonic attribute for such a system.

4) Comparing Maggies to other speakers like Avalon, B&W, etc.: Unless you heard these speakers back to back in the same exact system, such comparative comments have little merit. I heard B&W 802's at my home against my Maggie 3.3s and the B&Ws were VERY musical and natural but I prefered the Maggies for their midrange presence. The Thiel 3.6 and 2.3 that I used in my HT system were way too analytical compared to the Maggfie musicality. But I would be very careful to make comments on any Avalon models as my gut feeling tells me they would destroy the Maggies in many of the same sonic attributes as the Soundlabs over the Maggies.

5) The issue of Magnepan not having "home" dealers: I respect this but time and time again, the most impressive systems I have heard have been either at dealers who work from their home or at homes of other audiophiles. The home environment is far more stable from day to day vs. a shop with many rooms with ever-changing gear. And the home environment much more closely resembles what we will experience in our own system. Soundlabs does this and clearly with great success.

I personally think it's great that there are those die-hard "planner/electrostatic" guy's out there, that are into nothing else. Just don't expect to find many HT junkies, rock afficienado's, or metal junkies using these plannar genres for their tranducers any time soon.
Jafox, I found your critique of my HONEST opinion and feelings very interesting. I would like to respond to them.
1) My speculations about why Albert ultimately chose the Megaliners was not based on heresay or something that I made up, but based ON an actual conversation with him that I was engaged in. I know that my thread in no way personally attacked Albert. So when you talk about "my delivery" in some way is setting him up in a negative fashion, I think is unfair.
2) GIVE ME A BREAK! When you suggest that we are only talking about a "FEW" thousand dollars discounted off the price of the Magnepans! When an individual who is well known in the audio world gets a discount from a company, it is no where even close to wholesale price.
3) As I shared, I own MG1.6's which is the best I could afford for my system. The discussion was not revolving around what is the ultimate best planar speaker in the world but the sonic differences between them in a baffled speaker. You brought up the comparison of MG-20.1's vs. Sound Labs, as which is the better of the two speakers. Frankly, I hope that Sound Labs that costs $10-20,000 more than MG-20.1's DO SOUND SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER, otherwise, it WOULD BE a foolish expenditure for very little in return.
4) As a hard working blue collar woman who loves stereo equipment and good quality music, I AM REALITY BASED and accept that in the culture that we live in, people who are celebrities, athletes, and others with high social status DO GET their "toys" compt or at dramatically reduced prices. But I still find it irritating. That is why I have such respect for Magnepan as a company who sells a product at a fair price and that I know that what I paid for their speakers is what EVERYONE PAYS for their speakers.
5) Yes, there are certain retail home salon businesses that ARE legitimate enterprises that are set up to educate and also make a profit. My strong hunch is that the great majority of home salons are intelligently set up by home hobbyists who get great discounts on equipment that they want and then uses the business to write-off their hobby!! No argument that a highly tweaked and a consistent system in a home environment will sound better in most retail stores, but I do not know if that REALLY promotes information that is helpful to most audiophiles. Jafox, of course, Porsche, Ferrari, and BMW are going to be offering home dealerships to promote their cars in the near future!!! As I stated, I attacked no one including Albert whom I have respect for and I think it would only be fair to let him speak for himself without you and I speculating on the facts anymore. Remember, I heard it for myself Albert sharing the information that I originally posted on my thread and therefore it would only be fair to allow him to speak for himself!
1) You wrote it yourself:
"Albert, if my speculations regarding what happened with Magnepan or the pricing of the Dali's is incorrect, I would appreciate if you would share why you chose one speaker over the other." Yes, you did state that you had a conversation with him, but why not write the actual statements he told you here in your post and leave the "speculation" entirely out of the discussion? So were my comments unfair to you? I don't think so in the context of your speculative comment.

2) Even when a "celebrity" might get the 20.1s at half price, $7k or so, if they can already afford a system of the caliber that Albert owns, this cost savings insignificant in the whole picture. Such people do not change to gear because of the minimal cost savings here. When you live with a certain caliber audio system for a long time, it is very difficult to step back to a lesser quality system. If we get a few thousand $$ off, or half off, or even the product for free, if the sound is not at all to our liking in what we seek today, it's not going to last in our system very long anyway.

3) Even with the recent Soundlab price increase, the M1's are only about $3k more than the 20.1s. And the SLs are in a completely different league here. Concerning foolish expenditure, paying $14k for 20.1s is big time foolish when you can get the 3.6's for $4k. Next time you visit your Magnepan dealer, ask to hear these two speakers back to back and determine for yourself that either the 3.6's are way under priced or the 20.1's are way over priced. Are the 3.6's worth double the 1.6's? IMO, absolutely yes.

I am clearly not bashing Magnepan as I love the series 3.x but I just don't get it with the series 20. And the two times I had to go to the factory (10 minutes from where I work) to get tweeters replaced, the people there were incredibly helpful.

4) You continue to bring up the issue that it's not fair that you, the "unknown audiophile", is treated differently than the "celebrity". Life's too short to let something so insignificant be irritating. Again, it's a business decision that works in favor of the company. Like Nike quickly learned, put your shoe on a sports superstar at no charge and watch your sales go off scale.

And who cares what one person paid for a product vs. what another person paid. We all pay a different price for airfare, our car, our clothes, our groceries, etc., etc., etc. Why should we all be locked into paying the same price for our speakers? What we pay often has much to do with our relationship to the business.

5) On the issue of fairness, my gosh, how do I respond to your second statement here? I'm very tempted here, but I will behave myself for a change. I'm sure that many of the highly respected home dealers out there, two that I have met, Brian of EssentialAudio and GeneRubin of GeneRubinAudio, would have a very different opinion than yours here.

When a system is setup to allow far more potential of a product to be heard than an otherwise poorly setup would do, would this not result in "promoting information that was helpful" to the customer? If the system sounds poor or even mediocre, time and time again the speakers get unfairly blamed when it could be elsewhere. Or the customer thinks the entire system is terrible....and is likely to have no further interest to hear any of those products. I have heard so many poorly sounding systems in dealer shops and a few very good sounding systems. I have never heard a home based dealer have less than a first-rate sounding system. And I have never heard Magnepans sound remotely as good at any dealer as I have at various home installations. They need to quit using Bryston to demo their products as they don't show at all the potential of their product line.

What I suggest you do is to find such a local home dealer. I would not be surprised that you will end up learning far more from that person than you will at an audio "Salon".

Enough said.

Thought I'd stir up some muck here -

If you want box speakers to sound like planars - try two pairs with one pair facing you normally and the other pair 180 degrees, facing the REAR wall with the speaker wires on those OUT of phase.

You will experience much of the "openess" that people think is due to some magical aspect of planars. But you'll still image way, way more precisely.

It is what Von Schweikert does in a more controlled fashion with the rear firing tweeter, and what the Alon's and Vandersteens do with open baffles. Drives me nuts personally - when I had Alon's I partially covered the rear cage with padding to absorb the back wave, and their accuracy improved by leaps. But I certainly don't dispute anyone's ability to listen to what they like.

I prefer hearing what was actually recorded coming out of the front of my speakers, than hearing a mix of out of phase rear reflections thrown in, which do sound "airy" but are NOT, and can never be, what was actually recorded. Of course it's all a matter of degree since room reflections are a fact of life. But my short planar experience really defined what I personally like - which is a sealed box.
Sorry, Jafox...but if YOU chose to offend yourself, upset yourself, and selectively choose to only want to hear part of what I actually wrote...then THAT IS YOUR PROBLEM! If you qualify irritation at the same level as having a temper tantrum, then you got problems with dealing with things that you don't like. I clearly EVEN said in my thread that I am distinguishing between accepting an unfair treatment over how YOU chose to take it which is what you misinterpret that I DON'T or CAN'T accept the unfair treatment and that I am somehow whining. Well, just like this discussion forum is meant to be used, it is just a forum to allow others to voice their opinions and then there are those like YOU who can't handle an opinion and CHOOSE to misrepresent things because you don't quite get what is being written and then have a temper tantrum! I just am at an irritation level because of what I perceive to be unfair which means that I am irritated but not angry or ready to have a temper tantrum over unfair treatment! You are entitled to have a twisted interpretation of what I actually meant and what I actually wrote on my thread in order to misrepresent my position and jump to all your conclusions. Even then, I can still accept that you are not getting what I actually wrote and not make myself offended like you did over what I wrote.

Well, you seem to be coming across as a better person than I because if you would never find yourself at a position of irritation (not a temper tantrum) over having to pay the same exact price for the same shirt at a store and find yourself just accepting it without irritation, then good for you. You mean you would not find that irritating that you were told you had to pay a higher price because this other person were a celebrity of some kind and therefore they get special prices and you won't? Well, good for you that you can walk away happy about that kind of treatment! Good for YOU! But I have a VERY STRONG STRONG HUNCH AND SUSPICION that even YOU, after what you had implied that I was somehow whining WOULD find yourself in knots about that kind of unfair treatment. So, if your answer is really yes that YOU would find yourself in knots, then I guess you have nothing more to say to me about this kind of treatment that others get because of who they are!

Furthermore, I have gone to salons, festivals like Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, store fronts, as well as listen to people who have a great system at home and in their businesses. Again, here we go with YOUR great job of deleting what was actually said! Did I every write in my thread that ALL home salons are not good??? YES! YES! YES!! As you wrote to me...behave yourself...because you might discover that YOU were the one who misinterpreted what I wrote. If you can not understand what I wrote, I can spell it out for you again...some home salons are not what they are meant to be while others are. GET IT YET??? Anyone in their right minds would read this not as an "ALL or NOTHING" statement, but you Jafox would! Continue to behave yourself and bite your tongue before you say something that continues to show how you are misrepresenting what I wrote. Like yourself when you said that "I have heard so many poorly sounding systems..." and I would like to highlight your word "MANY" because as an intelligent person like myself, I would read that as a statement that Jafox is NOT saying all sound poorly. you. You misquoted me again by implying that I SAID all all bad and not legitimate. REALLY??? Again...control yourself as you have so generously said. You will once again find that you are wrong. I am sure Gene Rubin of Gene Rubin Audio that you speak so highly about is legitimate. But I am actually stating that some dealers are not what they are intended to be. I would like to emphasize "SOME" to make sure that I am continuing to say that some are legitimate while others are NOT!

I have carefully heard MG-20.1's driven by electronics like Ayre, Levinson, Boulder besides Bryston.

Come on...Jofox, don't you have anything better to do than to misread things??? My advice to you, and again this forum is allowing me to do so, is to read a thread very carefully before you make all the wrong conclusions and interpretations! That would actually make you sound more intelligible, don't you think?

And as a final note, I still do not take YOU of all people personally! Why don't you do the same and just take the discussion forums for what it is meant to be! A discussion.

The S.A.P. J2001s that I own are NOT at all like the current model offered by S.A.P. The model I have was discontinued by the manufacturer who claims it is too expensive to build (at U.S. retail of $22,000 they can't make money?). I have not heard the current J2001 model so I cannot comment on its sound.

The speaker I have has two 12" drivers in a Jensen/Onken bass reflex cabinet. The drivers are very "old school" -- alnico magnets, paper cone, pleated paper surround. On top of the bass cabinet is a magnetically levitated platform that holds a horn midrange driver. A Fostex bullet tweeter is crossed in very high on top. Because the midrange and tweeter sit exposed on the top of the cabinet, they both can be moved around to change the sound. Oddly, moving the tweeter backwards increases the treble response (perhaps because that actually puts the listener closer to being on-axis).

This is a warm, yet detailed and dynamic system that lacks the peaky midrange of many other high-efficiency horn-based systems. However, even with twin woofers and a fairly large cabinet, this system does not deliver really deep bass. I've heard Jensen/Onken cabinets that delivered deep bass, but they were bigger than Sub Zero refrigerators.

One more thing of note, this is an extremely ugly and industrial looking speaker -- not only are all the drivers exposed, the crossover components are in ugly metal utility boxes that sit on top of the speaker. Another odd quirk is that speaker connections are to a terminal strip. I've been too lazy to replace the strip with real binding posts (very easy to do), so my speaker wires are barely hanging on to the speaker by my screwing down on tong of each spade. So much for Italian design and aesthetics.
I own Magnepan's and whilst I enjoy a lot of what they do, they don't do everything well. So yes, I could probably see myself living with a dynamic speaker for a while and perhaps at some point trying another planar or stat or whatever. They're just a pair of speakers, I'm not married to them or anything. If I want to play the field a little, big deal.
I hope I didn't say anything wrong, I hope nobody shouts at me.

Yes you can. What will not work is going from a good system down to a system that has no redeeming features at all. They are a zillion really good systems out there and they all sound different.

Thanks Larryi for the update.

Opalchip - what is your current speaker?
Great thread,wish I was here...Bob
Opalchip, two dynamic speakers position like that will be dipoles, and sound like it, but planars they won't sound like. You will still have the sonic contribution of cabinet colorations unless you use high quality and possible expensive dynamic speakers. Planars (electrostat or planarmagentic) don't usualy have that problem (but they do introduce others).
Anyone own VMPS Monitors? Is VMPS and Newform Reasrch type speakers the best of both worlds?