Help! Forte, Linn, Magnepan. NOT RIGHT?

Looking for suggestions on how to get better sound from my gear. System: Linn LP12 valhalla, Itok, K9 Marantz CD 67SE Interconnects between CD and pre are DIY CAT 5. Forte F44 line leve preamp (long interconnect to power - 20ft) Forte Model 7 mono blocks (75 watts class A) Magnepan Tympani 1D (refurbished by Maganepan) I have modified these to look like the 4a with oak and also separated the tweeter panels. I have also removed the crossovers and made external boxes for them. Problems: 1.) Sound is fatiguing. Can't play Rock at all(not enough deep bass). Jazz sounds pretty good. Voices are a bit harsh. Overall I’m just not satisfied. 2.) Currently have no phono preamp. Any suggestions for under $300? Anyone heard the Forte FP-1? 3.) When I was running the TT, my CD sounded better (go figure). Is the Linn K9 crap? TT is lacking detail and punch. I have had it set up professionally by a Linn dealer in Chicago and shipped back to me in VA. Can a Linn be shipped and still expected to keep its setup? 4.) What can I do with the stock crossover of the Tympani's? Keep in mind I have removed them and have plenty of space to do whatever is necessary to make them right. 5.) Subwoofer? should I? 6.) Knowing the above info… where would you concentrate your efforts first? I am on a budget, please keep suggestions low $ (1k or less). Any help would be great. Thanks.
The Tympani's are a hard speaker to drive. That said, I'm not sure the Forte's have the "juice" to get these speakers to come alive. I had a Forte 1A (50w/ch stereo) about 6 years ago and had brought it to the Magnepan dealer to hear how the 1A / Mag 3.? combo sounded. I loved that amp with my Thiels, but it just couldn't handle driving the Maggies. The Tympani's are considerably harder to drive than the 3. series. My recommendation: either get an appropriate amp for the speaker or get an appropriate speaker for the amp (both have very nice qualities on their own, but together... well, not so good) My guess is that to get an acceptable volume level, you are pushing the amps into clipping which is causing the fatiguing and harsh sound.
It is the Forte. Your asking them to do too much with the gear you have in place. The Linn is okay, and the K9 is fine...of course, down the line you will want to move up and it gets better. The older Linn tables are tough to keep working at optimum, but the newer tables (last couple years) they are much better in this respect.
Thanks all... I have tried other amps. Audio Research D-350 (YUK)! Hafler DH200 (not bad for the price, but dull). B&K Sonata 200 watt a/b monoblocks (I prefer the Forte to them). What else should I try, 1k or less used?
Have you tried different positions for the maggies?? They are extremely hard to focus (2 dimensions of sound field to focus) Other than that for 1K - I would side with the previous posts and look for some speakers that will go with your amps. I don't think you will be able to find amps capable of driving the maggies to your satisfaction for 1K. 75 watts is not near enough (especially with the Forte). I used to own MG-1As and 100 watts was not enough. I finally sold them due to the issues you bring up -- bass, the power they require, and the wife factor (if applicable). The bass issue you will never fix without the addition of a Subwoofer... I have tried plenty of subwoofers of all price ranges and never had any luck with anything integrating with the maggies that was acceptable to my ears. 75W of Forte Class A will work with efficient speakers -- You may want to look into some used ProAc for more forward sound, or some Vandersteen for laid back sound. You may be able to find some Avalon Acoustics Monitors for slightly above your price range @1500. The speaker lines mentioned will be more amp friendly than the maggies. A dealer I know of used to recommend these amps with B&W 804 and 805 -- not my cup of tea, but another alternative (used) in your price range. I hope this helps...
Does everyone believe my amp/speaker combo is hopeless? I actually achieve nice listening levels with the Forte Model 7s, I don’t have to turn them all the way up. How can I be sure that clipping is my issue? I don’t notice any additonal degradation of sound as I turn it up. Thoughts?
I don't have any advice, but if you do decide to sell the amps let me know.
Well Unsound, you may have the best advice of all, make an offer. Retail was ~$2,700.
I LOVED the Forte 1A (50w/ch stereo) with my Thiel 1.2's and also with a much earlier Vandersteen 2C, but I really think it would run out of gas driving the big maggies. I had compared the 1A to higher powered Counterpoint and B&K M200's, but I loved the magic of the Forte. With the Thiels, though, the Forte could get a little hard and thin when pushed too loud. Sorry, but I think you need more amp than the Forte with those speakers. Unfortunately, I can't recommend a better sounding amp in that price range, certainly not one that will drive the Maggies. Good luck.
At first blush, it sounds like you're dealing with two different issues. The first, the quality of the sound - harsh and fatiguing - sounds like a source issue. Your amps are fairly high-rez so you're likely hearing the character of the CD player pretty clearly. An outboard DAC like a used Theta Pro Prime IIa might make things more listenable. Last time I looked, the Thetas were fairly abundant and going at just over 1/3 of the $1,500 list. But figure on another $100 for a good used digital coax. The other issue, good for jazz but crap for rock is a speaker issue. In general, large cabinet floorstanders excel with dynamics (rock) but can sound unrefined compared to stiff little monitors which image like crazy and are great for acoustic music (jazz and vocals). Maybe it's a myth, but I remember hearing that maggies were ideal for large scale music (classical?). A pal o' mine has been trying to make his sound right for 25 years. Maybe that's half the fun. Hang in there.
My first response would be the Forte equipment. I will just give you a brief history of my trials, maybe that will help you. I will start off back over 10 years ago when I was using a Denon integrated amp (they called it a pre-main amp), this was only about 40 watts. I replaced it with a Heath amp and preamp setup, I gained clarity but lost some punch. The fun didn't seem to be there if I were to play something like rock. I had sold the Denon to friend and we traded for a weekend and the Denon was definately "more fun" but it lacked the clarity of the Heath setup. I started trying different preamps, I tried Adcom, Bryston and ended buying a Forte Model 2 in 4/91 as it was the only one that made enough difference to justify the purchase; but I only gained in clarity. I thought maybe a speaker change would help, I was using Polk RTA12c's, so in 8/91 I bought Mirage M3's, still no punch, but great claity. I then started trying amps, I ended up with a Forte Model 6, again it was clearly better than my Heath so I justified the cost, but still no low end, no fun! As the years went by I made some CD changes but I hated my system, I told my wife I wanted to sell it all and buy a little integrated amp, decent speakers and leave it at that. I had a decent amount of money into my system and I found it embarassing, I had clarity but no life! The saga continues...In 11/94 I bought Linn Keilidh speakers, I think they added a little more low end but the M3's had better clarity, it still didn't make me happy. In 10/96 I bought Linn AV5140 speakers which I liked and still use today, but still wasn't the answer. BTW, as I said earlier, I had been making a number of CD upgrades throughout this process, by 1/96 I was using a Theta Data Basic transport w/Theta Pro Prime II DAC. Before I move to the next section, let me say that I had heard many a nice system at the local highend store through the years. But finally the day came when I heard what I knew I was looking for. My local store started carrying Meridian. In 8/97 I bought a Meridian 557 amp and 502 preamp and from the instant I turned it on I was elated, and have been ever since! My system now has life and punch! Four months later, 12/97, I added the Meridian 508.24 CD player for the whole package. Ok, so it wasn't brief, but it's my story. Even though you have tried other amps, keep looking. As for the Linn dealer in Chicago, I deal with them also, I can't think of their name, it's a strange one. The salesman I had here in Michigan, Chris Berry, moved over the that store. I drove over there last year.
Hi, I have had a pair of T1Ds forever, I have tried everything, biamping etc, I then bought some New York Audio Labs OTL 3 monoblocks, incredible sound in my 14 by 22 room. Beats any ARC stuff by a mile. All the techs say this should be a mismatch because the Maggies are 4 ohm and the amps do not like 4 ohm speakers, but if you get a chance, listen to this combo. If you do not need 110 DB,you will be happy. These amps sell for 1-2 thousand a pair.
Brian, I know Chirs Berry from way back, I went to WMU in the 79-83, and he worked at the "Sound Room". He left Kalamazoo and went to "Linn Hi-Fi" in Chicago (he did all my LP12 setup). They changed the name but it still the same store. In fact I talked to him recently about the Forte gear. I keep in touch with him because he seems to like the same kind of things I do in a music system. Any rate, small world! Thanks for the experience All.. I will keep looking for the "perfect" combo. I think a DAC may hit the spot Rock, I'll give that a try. Thanks everyone.
Futterman, always love to hear of people trying to get these beasts running. When I first heard these back in the late 70's I knew I had to have a pair. Bought mine used about 10 years ago and have been fighting them ever since. Call me a masochist, but I’m going to make these T1Ds work if it kills me. Strange thing is, I owned a pair of IIB’s prior to the Tymps and I can’t seem to get these to sound as good as they did. I have considered the bi-amping aspect of these speakers and was actually wondering if adding another set of Forte Model 7s would do the trick. What kind luck have you had in the biamping department? Have you made any crossover changes or are you still running yours stock?