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When the 1.7's came out i owned 1.6's . I bought the 1.7's and listened side by side for three weeks . I returned the 1.7's . The soundstage of the 1.7's seemed recessed comparably . Also the bass seemed (tighter) but less pronounced than the 1.6 . I couldn't understand how everyone liked the 1.7's better . Oh well ...
I’m surprised how few magnetic-planar lovers (which I am, having bought Tympani I’s back in ’73, and currently owning Tympani IV’s) have heard (or even heard OF) the Eminent Technology LFT-8b. Definitely superior to the 1.6/7 (and perhaps even the 3.7) in a number of ways, for those curious, and only a couple hundred bucks more ($2499).
I had had just a slightly different take on the ET. There was a local dealer that had a pair and I was impressed. The more extended low end vis a vis the Maggies made me initially lean toward the ET, but over a longer term listening session, it became evident that there was something in the mid-bass that didn't sound quite right to my ear.
I had previously owned (and loved) 3.6s, but they were too big for the space in my new home, so I was trying to find a similar sound in a smaller package. In the end, I bought MMGs with a pair of subs and (much) preferred the result to either the stand-alone 1.6 or the ET. My total cost was under $1800 and that price tag was lower than either of my alternative planar magnetic options.
I still suspect (obviously impossible to know with certainty) that this may be the best value in a true full-range system on the market. The one caveat is that I use Audyssey in my preamp (pre-pro). The resultant sub/panel integration is undetectable (to me ear), but the trade-off is that analog sources are subject to ADC and DAC. It's not an issue for me as this particular system is strictly digital, but I understand that it could be a deal breaker for others.
"Interesting--I like my 3.6R’s with the Mye stands, Cardas jumpers and SR Red fuses. I would put them up against stock 3.7i’s. Maybe.....any more opinions on the two?"
I have owned the 3.6 and currently the 3.7, I would say both have their strenghts and weaknesses;
The 3.7 is more coherent with slightly better midbass slam, more articulate but sounds a bit leaner than the 3.6. I sometimes miss the fuller lows.
Yep Marty, the ET’s woofer is it’s weakness all right (as is the woofer in any and all planar/cone woofer hybrids---with one exception. Read on!). I don’t use it, just leaving the woofer jumpers on the x/o unconnected, running only the panels down to the factory x/o frequency of 180Hz. I use the GR Research OB/Dipole sub in it’s place. The OB sub can x/o as high as 300Hz (though I cross it over at 180, same as the stock ET), and puts out bass with the same sound quality and character as the panels (no, really!) but goes lower and plays louder. True pure dipole sound from 20Hz to 20kHz!
The sub can be added to any planar, and I would even if I had 3.7i’s (or even 20.7’s). It even blends seamlessly with ultra-transparent ESL’s (I used it first with my Quad 57’s). I’m gonna sell one of vintage drum kits to finance another pair, stacking the OB H-frames two high. They’ll be 5’ tall, exactly the same as the ET panels. Four 12" Servo-Feedback OB/Dipole woofers and the ET magnetic-planar panels (whose main driver covers 180Hz-10kHz, with no x/o and in true push/pull balanced operation, unlike the single-ended Maggies) per side.....like the Infinity RS-1b (which I owned for a few years, Brooks Berdan’s personal pair), only much better!
Danny Richie (GR Research) just took in a customers Maggies (I think the SMG’s) to redo the x/o with better parts. While he was at it, he took measurements, and found a simple way to improve the speaker’s response by adding a part to the x/o’s low-pass leg, which resulted in a reduction of the lower-range panel’s excess output above the x/o frequency, ridding the speaker of a hump in it’s frequency response. Danny is quite the x/o authority, being hired by other speaker companies to design x/o’s for their products. Anyone wanting their Maggies improved, call or email him and see what he says.
Subs and Magnepans are are subjective taste, and YMMV.
I prefer the 6 footers over the smaller versions, in a big way, after listening to the MG IIa, IIIa, and 3.6 every day, for 40 years, in 8 different rooms. I know what I like. Bigger panels give more resolution, and better, fuller, tone across, a wider frequency range. You do not need to go below 30 Hz, due to room standing waves, with peaks and nulls, that are problematic, are hard to deal with IMO. There is little musical info down that low, however some folks like to feel bass, and want to ruffle pants legs. I do not!
The construction of the panels is well thought out. If you read the patents the bass/mid panels are "tied down" at differing spots, from top to bottom, smoothing the lower bass and mid bass response. Thus putting drums lower than vocals, for realistic vertical sound staging. But the very low bass is projected the full height of the speaker.
Subs may go lower, but are shorter, and do not give the, low frequency full height bass, like running without subs. There is a trade off.