Inexpensive and very effective Magnepan tweak
Most Maggie owners know that the factory-supplied stands, although adequate enough to hold them in a vertical position, will allow the entire speaker panel to sway to and fro with a light push of the hand. One can buy Mye or Sound Anchor stands which will very effectively alleviate this condition, but many of us hesitate spending such an astronomical amount for such stands, especially without first being able to hear their proposed benefit. I'd never even considered such a purchase, only because I've always been impressed with the sound of my 1.6QR speakers just the way they are (having the space to position these 40" out from the rear wall and the room having a carpeted concrete floor helps greatly with bass response), and hey, Magnepan obviously feels the stands they provide are just fine.
I recently visited a high end shop I hadn't been to in a while, and couldn't help but to notice that the proprietor had positioned metal poles horizontally from the tops of his demo Magnepan speakers to the rear wall (the poles were each about six feet in length). He explained that this was to eliminate the inherent sway of the speakers on their stock stands, and results in an improvement in the bass. Well, the setup sounded mighty fine to me, but there was no option to A/B with and without these "supports", so I left with the decision that I just had to try this little trick at home.
The parts needed cost a grand total of $5.00: (2) thick wooden yardsticks and (2) small metal L-brackets (the kind used in construction for securing 2x4 lumber and the like). I spray-painted all pieces satin black to match the stock Magnepan stands. A single pushpin is all that's needed to attach one end of the stick to the center of the speaker's cloth-covered top (inserted about 1/4" deep into the wooden frame; pins chosen over screws for zero marring), plus (2) 1" screws to attach the bracket to the wall and (2) 1/4" screws to attach the the stick to the bracket (these are are supplied with 4 pre-drilled holes). I made no changes to the position of my speakers prior to installing these supports, being fortunate in that that 36" yardsticks were the perfect length for this project.
One very important tip: Use an L-square to insure that the supports are perpendicular to the speakers, in order to totally inhibit to-and-fro sway; I first installed these perpendicularly to the wall since it seemed a simpler task (these then attached to the speaker tops at a pronounced angle), and when I applied pressure to the speaker frames from the front to test rigidity, this transmitted into a slight side-to-side sway of the panels - This effect could very well smear imaging focus during play, since lower bass passages would also cause the panels to vibrate sideways as a result of this particular energy transmission.
There's no rocket science here - Magnepan's stock floor stands will allow their frames to micro-sway in sympathy to lower frequencies, since the mylar driver panels are moving a relatively high amount of air, thereby actually canceling a portion of the mylar panel's own movement (and bass frequencies along with it); preventing sway using a method such as described above will secure the speaker frames and allow the mylar panels to move any amount of air without this self-canceling dampening effect. I imagine that the larger the Magnepan model, the more this type of support could be beneficial (taller frames, more sway; bigger mylar panels, more air).
Ok, now for what I'm hearing: A very obvious tightening of the bass, and an enhanced openess throughout the midrange. I listened to two particular CDs both before and after installing the supports, one of these recorded with a lot of bass energy, and one recorded with a lot less - In each case, lower frequencies were cleaner and more defined than I've ever heard them. The midrange being presented with increased clarity is evidently also due to the mylar panels not being subject to the aforementioned vibration dampening effect.
A cheap and simple trick - try it, you'll like it. Feel free to email me directly for photos of the finished installation (the supports themselves aren't shown in any great detail, but the basic concept will come across.)