Linesource, on the recordings that were bright, try the tweeters on the inside and see if that helps. Ultimately, floor to ceiling treatment of the corners behind the speakers may also help tame any brightness. I've been doing Maggies for 24 years, having had SMGa, 1.6, and now 3.7Rs. Most of the objections you hear to Maggies are based in fact, but their strong points and value proposition makes it worth the effort to spend some time mitigating their shortcomings.
It is good to hear that the 12s are working well in your small room. For what it is worth, I found that my 3.7s worked better in my 19x15x8 room than the 1.6s did. I think the tweeters inside, plus improvements in the crossover, made the difference.
Have fun and enjoy the music!
Thanks for your post; I found it very helpful.
I upgraded not long ago from old 3.3/Rs to Maggie 3.7. Along the way, I wound up replacing my entire system and treating the challenging room.
I'm still dealing with 'brightness' issues. In the past, I figured it was due to having a Class-D SS amp (Spectron Musician IIIse), no tubes, and the Maggies. But my latest purchase was a PS Audio DirectStream DAC, which is incredibly detailed. Sometimes it's *very* bright.
When I can solicit the help of She Who Must Be Obeyed, I'll move the tweeters inside to see how that works. In the past we've tried that, but it seemed to shrink both the soundstage and the sweetspot.
Linesource: I added two Vandersteen 2wq subs to the system... very tight, very fast. It really adds to the bottom end of the Maggies and with the crossovers relieves some of the burden on the amp. Recommended, but they might be a bit large for your room.
"Some recordings were a little bright, but I think I could remedy that with resistors applied to the tweeters. The dealer didn't supply with resistors to take with me."
If you ask Magnepan, they'll send them to you. They didn't ask me for any money, so they probably won't charge you either.
Rhanson, I can't emphasize enough that in my room, though it has very plush carpeting, Maggies were a no go without treating the back corners floor to ceiling with auralex panels. I glued them to blue board insulation, covered them with fabric, and wedged them into the corners at a 45 degree angle to each wall. Without them, there is a certain high frequency that was reinforced to ear bleed levels. The corner treatment substantially mitigated the problem with the 1.6s, and combined with tweeters inside arrangement, completely mitigated the problem on the 3.7s. The remaining walls were untreated.
I would much rather fix what is wrong with the room than attenuate those angelic maggie ribbons. No issues with those who use the resistors, its just my preference to fix what is really wrong.
I also think it is extremely important with Maggie based systems to address RFI/EMI issues in the entire system. It is my belief that Maggies somehow reveal the high frequency grunge caused by these issues to a greater extent than most other speakers, resulting in high frequency related listener fatigue. This can, I think, sometimes be interpreted by the listener as an overly aggressive top end--too bright. The ribbons, and even the quasi ribbons, are very revealing. If something is wrong in the high frequencies, you are going to hear it. Attention to power treatment is pretty important with Maggie based systems.
I also think it is extremely important with Maggie based systems to address RFI/EMI issues in the entire system. It is my belief that Maggies somehow reveal the high frequency grunge caused by these issues to a greater extent than most other speakers, resulting in high frequency related listener fatigue. This can, I think, sometimes be interpreted by the listener as an overly aggressive top end--too bright. The ribbons, and even the quasi ribbons, are very revealing. If something is wrong in the high frequencies, you are going to hear it.
One probably does need to treat the room for Magneplanar speakers but it's for the wrong reasons - the reason that these speakers appear to have an "overly aggressive top end--too bright" & "The ribbons, and even the quasi ribbons, are very revealing" is that, basically, Magneplanar speakers are not time-coherent speakers.
This is very clear from the measurements Stereophile has published for the MG3.6/R - see Fig 6: step response:http://www.stereophile.com/content/magnepan-magneplanar-mg36r-loudspeaker-measurements-part-2
and for the MG1.6/QR - see Fig 5: step response. Here even the published text clearly states the speaker is not time-coherent: http://integracoustics.com/MUG/MUG/reviews/stereophile_mg16qr.htm
Non time-coherent speakers have the (very) bad habit of letting the listener hear the high frequencies before the mids & the mids before the bass. As a result the sonics are tipped towards the high frequencies & you get these sort of comments: "sometimes be interpreted by the listener as an overly aggressive top end--too bright. The ribbons, and even the quasi ribbons, are very revealing".
Making Magneplanar speakers time-coherent would resolve the issue but this has to be done at the design/factory level & not in the listener's room after the fact they are purchased by the user.
I stated this in your other thread concerning the Magnepans. When I tried the MG12s, I could not tame the aggressive treble energy. Resistors helped but not enough.
Bombawalla, thanks for sharing this info. I had not heard this idea, and I must admit it makes perfect sense and is probably a contributing complication. I have used Mye stands with both the 1.6s and 3.7s, and have found that the ability to tilt the panels in order to align the center point (vertically) with a perpendicular to the listeners ear when seated, substantially improves the overall performance. What this does is achieve the best possible time alignment of each panel or ribbon with respect to itself, if you catch my meaning. In other words, not only are the speakers not time aligned in the conventional sense, but because the panels and ribbons are so tall, the arrival time to the listener's ear from each individual panel is smeared more than would be the case were the sound to emit from a single point.
On the other hand, there are many non time aligned speakers that are not perceived as bright, just as I suspect one can find time aligned speakers that are perceived as bright.
If there were a perfect speaker design, everyone would be using it and life would be much simpler. Maggies, like any other speaker, have their strengths and weaknesses. I used them exclusively from about 1991 to 2014 for a reason. Up until April of this year, I could not find a single dynamic speaker under 16K that I thought I could live with. I picked up a pair of (time aligned, it turns out) Coincident Triumph extreme IIs, and I have just fallen in love with these little monitors. As expected for monitors, they don't do everything, but for what they do, they do as well or better than speakers I have heard costing much more. It would seem that at long last, I have found the speaker that could induce me to move on from Maggies and not look back.
I am still a fan of Maggies, because they can do wonderful things when implemented properly. But, for me, at long last, it is now time for something different.
I'd like to emphasize that "some" recordings were a "little" bright, but far from unlistenable. I think it was more the recording than the speakers. These speakers just show you what's in the recordings more than I'm used to. If they didn't, genuinely good recordings wouldn't sound as good as they can through these speakers.
I put the Athena LS500bs back into the system last night and that actually showed in stark contrast what I was hearing with the MG12s. Or rather what I was no longer hearing with them gone. The last day that I had them I had just received a new CD by Keiko Matsui named Soul's Quest. I had not listened to this disc through my speakers. Track six on this CD, "Antarctica--A Call To Action" has some really dynamic percussive transients that just blew me away exclaiming WOW by the end of it. Literally raised goose bumps on my arms. I could feel the drummers sticks hitting his snare drum and toms. I could hear and feel his foot pedal mallet hitting the bass drum skin, not just the boom of it. I was actually afraid the speakers might hurt themselves. So now that the speakers are gone I go to listen to this really great recording again through my Athenas and when I get to track six, I'm left wondering if I'm remembering the track number correctly. It literally sounded like a different song. The drums were recessed way in the background with no impact and puny, as if the recording engineer intended for them to barely be heard. There was actually more low frequency energy from the bass drum but none of the transient speed and slam. It's as if the speaker box and damping inside are just soaking up all the energy, even though they are five db more sensitive. If I hadn't just learned that the MG12s are soon to be upgraded to .7 with the full QR drivers I'd put an order in right now. It's going to be hard to wait, but I think I'll just continue accumulating funds until they are released and if it takes more than a couple of months I'll just get the 1.7s.
Bombawalla, thanks for sharing this info. I had not heard this idea, and I must admit it makes perfect sense....
Brownsfan, yes, what I'm finding out is that a lot of people are quite unaware (& perhaps even ignorant) about loudspeakers needing to be time-coherent. Time-coherence in loudspeakers ensure non-fatiguing sonics & a very realistic & natural playback of the music.
Time-alignment is just one small aspect of time-coherence in loudspeaker design. Time alignment merely aligns the acoustical centers of the drivers such that the sound from each driver reaches your ear at the same time but does not deal with the phase of the various frequencies that comprise a music signal. So, a time-aligned speaker can distort the phase of the music signal & destroy one's listening pleasure.
You get a time-coherent loudspeaker by using an acoustically insert cabinet, time aligning the drivers & ensuring that the phase of the various frequencies that comprise a music signal is not touched.
We are having a long discussion on this topic right now in the thread "Sloped Baffle".http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?cspkr&1403209611&&&/Sloped-baffle
It's got some 195 posts! If you start at the beginning of this thread, I have provided 3 links to prev threads on Audiogon discussing time-coherence in loudspeakers. Plus, as you go thru the thread concentrate on posts by "Royj" - Roy Johnson is the owner/designer of Green Mountain Audio in Colorado Springs & he designs only time-coherent loudspeakers. In this thread he answers questions from other members & clarifies the concept of time-coherence & why it's so important.
There are a few loudspeaker manufacturers that build time-coherent speakers & I think that these people are the smarter ones.....
Bombawalla, thanks for sharing this info. I had not heard this idea, and I must admit it makes perfect sense....
Brownsfan, yes, what I'm finding out is that a lot of people are quite unaware (& perhaps even ignorant) about loudspeakers needing to be time-coherent. Time-coherence in loudspeakers ensure non-fatiguing sonics & a very realistic & natural playback of the music. "
That's all great, but how does it help him in getting his Magnepan's sounding right?
Zd, yes we wandered a bit. However, if the OP is able to use stands that permit tilting the panels to achieve a perpendicular from the mid point of the panels to his ear when seated, it will improve the sound. Other than that, nada. Just an interesting observation I thought.
I didn't see where you mentioned the stands. I thought you were just talking in theory. The stands are an interesting idea. Have you ever tried anything like that with Magnepan? With traditional speakers, you can place the drivers at points that are most effective for time coherence, but with Magnepan, the ribbons run the full length of the speaker. If you pivot the speaker at its mid point, you move half the ribbon further away from the listener, but the other half closer. Since you get the highs from the full length of the driver, I don't see how that will help. If it were to make an audible improvement, I suspect that it will be from pointing the ribbon upward and not having it fire directly at the listener. The highs would be rolled off, but not necessarily time correct. You can probably get almost the exact same effect if you were to just tilt the speaker back. Try putting some type of spacer under the 2 front feet. Its a very good idea, though. Had I thought of it, I might have been able to live with my 1.7's.
That's all great, but how does it help him in getting his Magnepan's sounding right?
Zd542, I believe the answer to that question is: he cannot! This seems to be mostly in-line with Brownsfan's post where he is suggesting (Mye) stands & if that does not work, then there's nothing else. And, this advice from a user who used Magnepan from 1991 - 2014. what does that tell us?
You are also skeptical of this suggested solution - I think what you wrote makes sense (firing at ceiling rather than at user & reflected sound might be less painful to listen to)
The speaker is inherently flawed by design & will never sound right. The user can treat the walls, toe-in, tilt-back, use stands, upgrade the x-over components quality, etc, etc to reduce the issue but it will never go away & it will never sound right...
If one buys this speaker, that's what one has to live with. Better for the user to buy with his/her eyes wide open rather than be surprised after the purchase like the OP....
Zd, I used this technique with both the 1.6s and the 3.7s. This technique does not roll off the high end, which would more likely occur by turning or tilting as you suggested. What this technique does is reduce the time smear from an individual driver to the extent possible, but it certainly does not reduce it to zero. The speakers sound better, but it does not really change the tonal balance to make them more or less bright or warm. If you think about how this plays out with, for example,the ribbon, when the panels are tilted to achieve a perpendicular from the mid point to ones ear, then the distance from the top of the ribbon to one's ear and the bottom of the ribbon to ones ear is equal. This would give the lowest total amount of smear. On the other hand, if the panels are tilted back, then the bottom of the ribbon may be 6 -8 inches closer to one's ear than the top, and each point from top to bottom is a different distance from one's ear. This arrangement gives the maximum time discrepancy possible. In practice, I found this improvement to be more significant with the 1.6s, but it also helped with the 3.7s.
Bombaywalla, I take it you are not a big fan of Maggies!
Obviously, I draw a different conclusion than you do, while conceding that the unique Magnepan design brings with it some unique compromises. Those you have heard may not sound right to you, but Magnepan has a lot of fans who are not tone deaf knuckleheads, who would express a much different conclusion. Magnepans can sound heavenly in the right room with the right ancillaries.
Sometimes, the problem is the recording. Some times, the problem is the room. Sometimes, it is the wrong speaker for the room, but would work well in another room. I have recounted several times in this forum a concert experience from the late 80s, listening to an Isaac Stern recital. If I had closed my eyes, I would have said this is the worst screeching ear-bleed inducing bad digital recording I have ever heard. It was a world class violinist, playing a superb instrument, but unfortunately, it was the wrong seat in the wrong hall for that violinist and violin. It sounded really really bad. I don't know that it had anything to do with time coherence. Later that year, I heard Itzhak Perlman from the same seat, and his playing was sweet as honey.
Likewise, any room not constructed as a perfect sphere or an anechoic chamber is going to reinforce and diminish certain frequencies. This has nothing to do with speaker design. Treating a room to reduce unnaturally reinforced frequencies makes sense to me.
As I said before, if there were a perfect no compromise design everyone would use it and life would be simple.
" On the other hand, if the panels are tilted back, then the bottom of the ribbon may be 6 -8 inches closer to one's ear than the top, and each point from top to bottom is a different distance from one's ear. This arrangement gives the maximum time discrepancy possible."
I was thinking pretty much the same thing with regards to the bottom of the ribbon moving toward the listener and the top moving away. I'm just questioning the why of it. How do you know its a time coherence issue, and not a roll off/freq. response issue? Magnepans do measure poorly in that area. I don't know for sure, so you may very well right. I know freq. response can be measured. Is it possible to measure time coherence?
Zd, I have no way of proving the improvement is time coherence. The person who suggested this to me explained it that way, and it made sense, so I just accepted the statement.
With the right equipment, one could evaluate any change in frequency response, but all ll I have is my ears.
Bombaywalla, I take it you are not a big fan of Maggies!
Brownsfan, I wouldn't put this strongly. I've heard a couple of Magnepans - one was at a friend's house - I believe it was the MG12 - they were quite narrow & not very tall. He was using an Anthem power amp. It was very nice for vocals but lacked any dynamic drive to get-up & boogie. Another time I heard a MG1.6 at a dealer's place driven by a Musical Fidelity integrated amp & an iPod dock for the front end. Very nice sonics. I enjoyed that brief session. In another room this same dealer had the 20.6 full ranges driven by Rowland Model 10 amps but he was such a stick-in-the-mud & refused to give me a demo because I hadn't set up an appointment!! :(
No, I wouldn't say that I do not like Magnepans but I recognize their severe limitations & their inherent design flaw & decided that I did not want to partake in such a speaker.
.....Magnepans can sound heavenly in the right room with the right ancillaries.....
...Sometimes, the problem is the recording. Some times, the problem is the room. Sometimes, it is the wrong speaker for the room, but would work well in another room.....
Brownsfan, these are exact excuses one has to make when one is dealing with a flawed design loudspeaker. When a loudspeaker is properly designed, it works well in any room & works even better in rooms that are correct for its size & correctly treated. Of course, common-sense has to be exercised - I cannot put a Wilson Maxx into a 10X10X8 room & hope to make it sound its best.
At any rate, this discussion with you is NOT to argue with you or be contentious; rather, it is to point out the loudspeaker design flaw & as a result all the tricks you need play to minimize (but never eliminate) an inherent design flaw. If all you dedicated Magnepan users understood what time-coherence is & what its importance is to music playback, you could go back to Magnepan & demand it from their speakers. The manufacturer will make what his clients ask for/demand lest he should go out of business. In such a case both the Audio industry & the user-base would much better off & maybe the following of Magnepan would grow even more.....
Is it possible to measure time coherence?
Zd542 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
yes, Zd542 it is very much possible to measure time-coherence. For example, look at Fig 4, Fig 5 of the Quad ESL63 as measured by Stereophile & read the text immediately below Fig 5:http://www.stereophile.com/content/quad-esl-63-loudspeaker-measurements
I don't know if you remember Meadowlark speakers? The owner/designer was Pat McGinty & he built time-coherent loudspeakers. He wrote a very easy to read article about understanding time-coherence & its importance to music playback thru loudspeakers. Here is the link. http://www.patmcginty.com/Dbench2.htm
If you don't want to read the full article, take a look at these 3 pages that have animations (hope you have Adobe Flash installed):http://www.patmcginty.com/Dbench8.htm http://www.patmcginty.com/Dbench9.htm http://www.patmcginty.com/Dbench10.htm
These animations should make the importance of time-coherence clear to you.
You'll also note that almost 99% of the speakers in the market have the step-response shown on page 10. And, you can troll the various forums to read all the issues people have with such speakers -
just the right ancilliaries,
just the right recording,
just the right cables,
just the right room size,
just the right recording,
just the right music genre,
just the right toe-in
& the list goes on & on.....
it all goes away once you have time-coherent loudspeakers because the speakers are not further distorting the music signal coming down the pipe from the electronics.
Where the the conversation from this thread has gone is interesting. Especially interesting is the statement that Magnepans and therefore any large flat panel speakers is flawed due to it's design being physically impossible to be time coherent from the top of the panel all the way to the bottom. Though speakers employing drivers that range from 1 to 3 or 5 or 6 or 12 inches to reproduce the wave launch of a piano, a cello or a harp recorded in a large space are not flawed. When you think about it, the sound from an instrument as large as a piano isn't time coherent either and would get worse the closer you are to it. Just think of the tilt of the top of a piano that's played open. It's the reproduction of the size of instruments and the transient response of planars and electrostatics that draws me to them. The effect is very obvious and easy to hear. I have yet to ever experience listener fatigue from Magnepans. I have experienced plenty of it from speakers employing conventional drivers however, time coherent and not.
Where the the conversation from this thread has gone is interesting. Especially interesting is the statement that Magnepans and therefore any large flat panel speakers is flawed due to it's design being physically impossible to be time coherent from the top of the panel all the way to the bottom.
Linesource, I NEVER said that "any large flat panel speakers is flawed due to it's design being physically impossible to be time coherent from the top of the panel all the way to the bottom."
this is a statement YOU are making by taking this huge leap just because Magnepans are a flawed design. Let's be clear about that....
if you go over to the "Sloped Baffle" thread also running in parallel with this thread here in the "Speakers" forum you will see in one of my many posts (which was a reply to Bifwynne's question to recommend time coherent speakers) I wrote that Eminent Tech LFT8b, the Sanders 11C/10C, some Quad ESLs & some older Martin Logans were time coherent. Many of the speakers cited by me in that post were planars.
So, it's very much possible to make a planar time-coherent; just that Magneplanars are not.
Just wanted to ensure that you were not putting words into my mouth.... :-)
Bombaywalla, sorry, guess I was making assumptions. Wife says I do that a lot. So I'm confused, how can the Lft-8bs be time coherent? Doesn't the length of the panels cause the same problems? BTW, do you have any experience with them? I've considered them also and they offer a generous trial period for those who don't have a nearby dealer.
"When you think about it, the sound from an instrument as large as a piano isn't time coherent either and would get worse the closer you are to it. Just think of the tilt of the top of a piano that's played open."
That's an excellent point, but it doesn't hold up. A pair of speakers and a piano are not interchangeable. The purpose for which they were designed are different. Playing a piano live, in real space, is the absolute sound. There can be issues as to the sound quality of the piano just like you have with an audio system. Depending on the room and how the piano is set up, SQ can range from good to bad.
A speakers job is to take the recording of the piano and reproduce it as accurately as possible. So if the piano didn't sound very good live, the speaker is expected to sound the same event; and not sound better or worse.
With regards to the piano and speakers being time correct, its 2 completely different things. If you have a recording of a piano that has some sound quality issues, timing or otherwise, there's nothing that you can do about it. Sometimes you get music that's well recorded and sometimes you don't. If you have a speaker that is time and phase correct, its a design feature. Having that feature allows you to reproduce the recording so that its a more transparent window to the source. Its another step forward in trying to get the most accurate playback possible. And that means hearing the timing flaws on the recording, but not creating new ones due to your systems short comings.
I hope that helps. I'm in a hurry and typed this out really fast, so If I'm not clear on anything, post and I'll try and fix it.
Linesource, no problem! :-)
don't know how the LFT-8b are made to be time-coherent. Same question re. the Quad ESL & the Sanders ESL...
No experience with the LFT-8b personally.
Well since I started this thread in relation to Magnepans in my small listening room I suppose I should share what's been going on. Instead of waiting until I have the funds to pick up a pair of 1.7s, I took advantage of Magnepan's MMG trial and trade up program and ordered a pair of MMGs. I got the speakers last Friday and it's been an interesting few days. I unpacked them, put the legs on, fired up the system and they sounded awful! No bass, a very strident upper midrange and very bright. Not the same experience I had with my SMGbs years ago. The SMGbs lacked in bass at first but still sounded great everywhere else. Being well aware of the need to break in, I left the room and let them play for a few hours. Their sound changed dramatically even after just a few hours. They were listenable but not great. The next day I let them play for five hours while my wife and I went shopping. Upon returning, their sound had improved even further. The bass was starting to come in and the upper midrange harshness was gone. I let them play all day Sunday and all day Monday. Last night they sounded very much like the MG12s the dealer let me borrow. They are playing away at home as I write this at work and I hope to hear further improvements tonight. A Paradigm SE subwoofer will be arriving today and I'm looking forward to hearing how that integrates. Another thing I should note which I don't understand, is that these speakers were much more sensitive than the MG12s when first played. This is not subjective or imagined either. I use an SPL meter to protect my ears and the volume knob on the preamp was set significantly lower at the the SPL I normally listen at than with the MG12s. Throughout the last three days the knob has progressively been dialed up to maintain the same volume. They are still more sensitive than the MG12s but the change is significant and puzzling. Overall I'm happy I didn't drop another 600.00 dollars for MG12s given the performance I'm experiencing with these humble MMGs. I think I will be quite satisfied while I acquire the necessary funds for the 1.7s. Maybe the .7s will be out by then and I'll consider those also.
One thing that I didn't have time to add in my post from last night is that just because we were talking about some of the flaws in Magnepan's designs, doesn't mean that you shouldn't get them. Use the info provided in these posts to make a better choice. But its very important that you make your own choice. Its your system and you are the one that has to listen to it, not us. If you like Magnepan speakers and that's what makes you happy, then those are the speakers for you. Honestly, I had the 1.7's and found they were not the speaker for me. That's why they make other brands. Just don't let us talk you out of the best speaker for you.