How Much Push/Pull Tube Power for Maggies

I have a 40 wpc el34 integrated tube amp and was thinking of mating it with a pair of maggies. i would probably start with the mmg's, and maybe work my way up. would this amp drive maggies? thanks.
It depends on how loud you like to listen, and the size of your room. Some people are not happy with anything less than hundreds of watts on maggies...others report great results with 50 or so watts of tube power....go figure.

I'm running 120 watt Rogue Audio monos on my Apogee panels (4 ohm...87db, about the same as Maggies)...another guy at the Maggie forum is also running the same Rogues on his Maggies with reported great results.

Yet, Someone at this forum tried the same Rogue Amps on his Maggies and said they "did not" work at all?

So, who's right and who's wrong?....I suspect no one, (see paragraph #1)

IMHO if your planning on using tube amplification with low impedance speakers, try the Paul Spelz autoformers. You'll be glad you did.
Pair of Maggies? Which pair? 40wpc? Never, unless you are satisfied with very soft music with no dynamics. I don't think so. 120wpc? Wouldn't be enough for me. I think you can do a lot better than Maggies with 40wpc. 40wpc with a pair of Maggies is like having them breath through a cocktail straw...
With a sensitivity of 86db and nominal impedance of 4 ohms, there's a fairly good chance you will run out of horsepower quickly with the MMG.

Good luck.
I actually made some measurements of the voltage driving a MG 1.6 when playing at an admittedly very loud level with demanding music. I concluded that my 600 watt/4 ohm amplifiers are not really overkill. They approached clipping. However, most of the time, and with a more reasonable volume level, 350 watts ought to be sufficient. I am now using CI D200 amps that are good for 350 watts at 4 ohms, and the 600 watt amps are busy driving subwoofers.

Your little tube amp will certainly drive the Maggies, and it will sound good, but you will not realize the real potential of the Maggies until you get a much more powerful amplifier.
thoug it has a meager 75wpc rating, the mac mc275 will drive most maggies just fine.
Rogue 120 with Maggie 1.6 will play loud enough for most but was (oddly) lifeless sounding to me. An Innersound ESL amp (SS) with 600+ watts sounded much more vibrant and alive.

yes 40 watts will work for low volume listening but you will find yourself wanting more power if you want any kind of volume.

FWIW I ended up selling my 1.6s because I got frustrated looking for a suitable amp that I could afford.
Bottom line? It appears that you will be able to drive a pair of Maggies That's it. Won't have any of the fun that Maggies can give you. Not with 40wpc. 200+ now you're beginning to talk. Look for other speakers or get your Maggies, but be ready to splurge big time for a new amp. They need oodles of high quality watts. Can get very expensive. I loved my Maggies, back in the 70s. Still as inefficient now, as they were then...warren
For what it is worth, I drove a pair of MG2B's with a Cary SLA 70 Sig (35w class A P-P w/EL34) and they sounded fantastic. Much will depend on your listening tastes and the size of the room. Check over on the MUG forum at the Audioasylum.
any opinions on biamping with my 40wpc tube integrated on top and ss on bottom? if so, how much ss power should i get? any suggestions on an inexpensive but good ss amp to mate with? thanks and i appreciate all of the responses
I use to have the Magnepan 3.6R passively bi-amped with VTL 200 watt triode on top and Bryston 7BST on the bottom. Very nice, but it is recommended that you use similar if not exact amps when Bi-amping or go to active bi-amping to reduce amp synergy issues.

Nonetheless if you are talking about MMG's you CAN NOT Bi-amp these unless there are some significant mods done to the crossover. You'll need to move up the ladder to 1.6R's or older 2 series speakers to biamp.

Base on your past experiences with DB99's I suspect these will be used as a secondary system. Given that the 40 watts should work well for the MMG's especially of you use a small sub with them. You can make up your mind after that.

When you're ready to bi-amp there are several good(Sub $400) used SS amps to use including Rotel, Adcom or older Brystons.

That is my 2 cents.
If you want to hear them play beautifully even at low volumes you need a lot of Juice. I think the amps I have now made maggies sound fabulous. That was how they were used.They are 600wpc into 4 ohms and Solid State high bias class A then A/B. The tube amps he switched to are 220wpc class A/B. They aren't cheap no really powerful tube amp is. e-mail on the side. I use these amps with cones.
jimmyrod you are right on the money. these are for a 2nd system and i was thinking the mmg's and i do know you can't biamp these. so, i'm hoping my 40 watts will drive them just fine, and it out the bottom end with a sub.the mmg's may be perfect for the 2nd system, and i won't even have to move up the line. we'll see. thanks
I have owned over 5 different models of Magnepan and topped out at 3.6. This is about 2 years ago. I have driven them with various tube and SS amps (Rouge, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson) and get good sounding, at least i thougth i did. Never owned a tube amp with more than 70 watt/channel so I can't comment how would tehy sound like. These highly ineffient speakers don't begin do show their potential until i drove them with a pair of DNA 500s/Audible Illusion 3A.
i disagree with warrenh.

i own a pair of 1.6s and previously owned a pair of 2.7s. i used a vtl deluxe 120 in the triode mode--approx 40 to 45 watts.

i listened to jazz, classical, blues and new age. i had no problems getting enough spl from the speaker. my room may have been a factor, i.e., 12 x 18.

the question is what does drive mean ?

perhaps someone would say i listen at low volume levels and do not subject the speakers to overly dynamic material.

the point is it is not sufficient to say that a 40 watt tube amp will not drive a pair of magnepans. it depends upon the tube amp.
the amp in question is a consonance m100 plus. maybe someone is familiar with this amp, or any other in the consonance line. these amps all can kick some pretty good butt, regardless of their power ratings. i guess i may try the mmg's, as my room is pretty small anyway and these would probably be the best size maggie for this room. if it doesn't work, i can return the mmg's. no biggie.
Let us know how it goes, Cooch. Your first hand experience could be valuable for others.
Hey, i did it. ordered my mmg's today. can't wait. let you know how they sound. thanks
IMHO, if you want to listen at modest levels and not get the full dynamics of large orchestral music you can power the smaller maggies with "low" power tube amps. If you want the mid to large maggies to sing with tubes you will need Walcotts or upgraded Melos amps (buy at your own risk as service may be hard to find) or VTL etc., all of which cost a small fortune. For smaller MMGs why don't you try a smooth SS amp or if you want "cheap" but satisfying thrills match them with a good vintage luxman R115 (70 watt)or R117 (160 watt) receiver and use the CD bypass switch.

"full dynamics of large orchestral music"?....from a pair of MMGs?...they'll fly apart long before they get there!

it's all about perspective. i prefer rear hall. i can achieve that with a 50 watt tube amp. you don't need a wolcott for a rear hall presentation of an orchestra. if you want front row, well, that's another matter.
This is a rule of thumb. A 50 watt amp will produce a sound equal to the speakers sensitivity at normal listening levels with some headroom to cover the peaks. Therefor, If your speakers are rated at 86 dB, it will take 50 watts of power to deliver this level of distortion free sound at a listening level of 3 meters or less. To deliver 106 dB under the same conditions, you would need 100 watts. I personally would not use an amp of less than 60 watts with speakers rated at 86 won't be happy with your system if you do.


It would take 18 watts to get 86db at 3 meters allowing 3db of headroom...1,796 watts to get 106db at 3 meters allowing 3db of headroom.

what is normal listening levels ? isn't around 80db ?

50 watts at 3 meters should have no trouble generating 80 db. for those who want to ratch up the intensity, i guess, more power is needed. is it necessary ?
12-09-06: Mrtennis
what is normal listening levels ? isn't around 80db ?

Not for me. Normal volume for me is 87db-88db at 2.5 meters.
I am sitting 10 feet from speakers
Cooch, you haven't mentioned what volume you consider normal. If you don't own an SPL meter, it might be a fun tool to own. It certainly helps to put things into perspective, and knowing volume levels helps you assemble a system by eliminating some guesswork.
i do own an spl meter. guess i should get it out and measure.
ok, just checked. i listen between 66 and 70 decibels on the average. what do you think?
Well, you probably hit peaks only into the upper 80's...I think you will be very happy with your amp and the MMG's.

12-09-06: Cooch
ok, just checked. i listen between 66 and 70 decibels on the average. what do you think?

Is this measured from your listening position 10 feet away? If so, measure once more at a distance of three feet from either the right or left speaker, and leave the volume at the same level that produces 66-70db from your listening position. Three feet is fairly close to 1 meter...the standard distance at which speaker output is measured. Then, we'll compare.
ok, hold on
72 to 74 db from 3 ft away. and i sit 9 feet away, not 10.
My hunch is that you'll be fine with the 40wpc EL34 amp.

Be sure to use the 4 ohm taps if you have that option on the amplifier.
really dave? excellent news. i hope you are right. really psyched, they are coming wednesday....what do you think Tvad?
thanks tvad, dave,and everyone else. i'll let you know after some listening how they are...........
it seems like the peaks were on certain notes of a female vocalist. the rest of the time it was probably below my averages. great
I should specify I'm talking about the Magnepan MMG model. I did not research the specs on other models.
well, if i ever move up the line of maggies i will consult with you. but, this is for my secondary system and i think these will serve me just fine. but you never know. but i did look at specs of other maggies and i think they are all similar, as far as sensitivity ratings.
after listening to a range of maggies on other people's tubes, I'm not convinced that you can get enough juice at a certain budget. I'm powering a pair of 2.5R magnepans with 160w per channel @ 4ohm, and it's okay but not great. I also have a second system with MMGs, and hope to get a more powerful amp for the 2.5Rs so I can move the other amp to the MMGs. 160wpc ought to be okay for them, but the 2.5Rs are twice the size and should be fed no less than 300wpc to open up fully. I'm looking at the stingray, a nice tube amp, but I'm also looking at krell, bel canto, etc: and so far I doubt you can get there with tubes unless you're looking at higher price ranges, a rogue or a mcintosh that would give you at least 300 or 400 per channel.
hey, got the maggies today. listened for about 2 hours. the amp is driving them nicely. a few questions, how long to break the mmgs in? and also, how will after market stands improve the mmgs, if at all, and if so which ones would you recommend? i'm not crazy about how the speaker touches the floor in the front. i think the bass would be much tighter with these off the floor. but, i can tell these mmgs do have alot of potential. thanks for all the help....
Good to hear things worked out.
Man, it must be me. I loved my Maggies way back when. But tubes? I just can't imagine running Maggies on tubes unless we're talking mega $$ worth. And I mean mega! And the room to put them in. I loved my Maggies, but bridged with 2 Bryston 4Bs is a hell of a lot of juice. After you have those babies awhile and you're listening to one of you favorite ass kicking songs you want to make louder and your rig runs out of steam? Look to the 'gon for a nice Bryston 4B or the like, and you tell me....
thanks. should i invest in the mye stands? does anyone have these with thir mmgs?
Yes, stands of your choice will help a lot. Also, check out the CARDAS planer setup guide at the CARDAS Audio web works well in most rooms, (not all).


Playback levels which exceed those that a speaker was designed for cause "early" repair. MMG's are not designed to play loud...anyone buying them for high SPL playback has bought the wrong set of speakers if that is the intended use.

Maggies, Soundlabs, Apogees..ect,... none of these speakers are designed for extream playback levels, thus...adding more and more power, is not the answer...or the fix.

Hybrid systems are the better answer for those wanting punch and pow....something dipole bass does not do.

mmmmm....dave, which post are you responding to? and, the maggie brochure does not say that maggies should not be played loud. it only warns against using an amp meant for 8 ohm speakers.

The first part was intended for you...stands and setup. The second part was intended as an "I don't agree" with Warrenh.

My point on the loud thing was that simply adding more and more power to the MMG's (or dipole panels speakers in general) is not always the answer to better sound, ie...if 100 watts is good then 200 watts will be better...and on and on. (never buy a used pair that have been run hard)

The small Maggies will play fairly loud, they will not play as loud as many other speakers, (conventional box, hybrid designs, horn designs)...adding more power will not get them there "will" get them an early trip in for rebuild however.

In the end...your speaker system only needs to play as loud as you like to play it...your amp will need enough power supply to do this without clipping, you speakers will need to be able to do this without distorting...for "some" people, lower powered amps are fine with planers, others not... as confirmed by the above replies.

Some people move on from dipole planer designs when they have had enough of "the amp game" even though, they do like the's just the wrong speaker, amount of power will transform a dipole into a monopole....which better fills their needs for bass slam.

ok thanks dave. i might as well get some stands and do it right. and i was actually a little surprised with how good and how loud my amp can drive these.. that's why i buy consonance's pretty darn good
Sogood51...I absolutely cannot explain why, but my MG1.6 sound better with every increase of amp power rating even if I drive them to the same volume (SPL) in all cases. When I made voltage measurements the average rms value during loud music was 14 watts or so (if I remember correctly) and yet my 600 watt amps could just barely meet the instantaneous peak voltage demand. Go figure.

I guess I can understand that, I know that some music can have 25db peaks...trying to play back this music at loud average levels can no doubt cause problems when these peaks come along. If your average listening level is much over 75db or so, your going to need a good amount (or even a lot!) of power...depending on room size, listening distance, room acoustics, ect.

If I recall, you listen to mostly classical music where some of these huge peaks hang out.

Of course, listening at high average levels (85db and above) requires the speakers to be able to handle those peaks without damage or distortion as much as it does the amps...something more power will not fix.

In my room I get by "very well" with 120 watts a side (tube amps)...and a pair of large subwoofers. Without the subs, not as well. I do still have my old Krell Ksa-250 but have not used it for a long while...around a year!