Life After Your Magnepan’s


Curious if you’ve ever owned the larger Magnepan’s and then moved on to something new and Better.  I have a fairly large room at 21.5’ x 30’.  The Maggies struggle a bit to fill this large room with sound; especially in the lower registers.

stickman451
Add a pair of OB/Dipole subs! If you have the dough, check out the MG30.7 ;-) .
I started my love affair with Maggies in '86 with the SMGA's. The transparency of the sound really wowed me and still does. In the early 2000's I moved up to the MG12's in a 16' x 23' room and, though they were an improvement, they just didn't seem to have the oomph I wanted.

When I moved up to the 1.7i's, I realized that, even with the Son of Ampzilla II amp, they would reach a certain level and, as you say, they just couldn't seem to fill the room. To my ear, it seems as though they reach a certain volume level and then, beyond that, they just seem to compress.
I had, for years, been curious about the Aerial Acoustics 10T and, when a well used set came up on US Audio Mart for $1300, I pounced. I ended up having to replace a tweeter, but they are doing just what I want them to do and are my end-game speaker now. Of course, I'm 68 so I'm winding down on everything!  
I’m using Carver 305 tube mono blocks; about 400 watts into the 4 ohm 20.7’s.  I also have a pair of REL G-2 subs.  As minkwelder indicated, even with the addition of the REL’s the sound reaches a certain maximum that just doesn’t “fill” the room.  My room is approx 7,260 cubic feet!   

I used the 20.7’s for four years in a prior home in a dedicated room that was approx 4,095 cubic feet to much greater success.  

I need a speaker that sounds BIG in a big space and doesn’t cost $100k!



There is one particular box speaker that I’ve heard at the Shows for the last several years that has caught my attention; the Paradigm Persona.   I’ve only heard the smaller floor standing 3F’s but was favorably impressed.

I wonder if they are similar in sound to the Aerial’s?  How does the height, width, and depth of Aerial’s compare to the Maggie’s?  I like the large sound field of the Maggie’s, especially the height.  Performers sound ‘real sized’ not 3 feet tall as is the case of many smaller box speakers.
Moved from 20.1 to Joseph Audio Perspective2. 
Check out Tekton Moabs or Ulfberhts.  They will fill that large room with great sound that won't have you missing your Magnepans at all.
I had a love hate relationship with Maggie 3.5Rs. Previously, I owned Accoustat 2 + 2s and am a huge open baffle fan. My room is quite large and I tried various subs with various main speakers. I tried various amps here as well, even biamping the 3.5s tweeter and bass panels, plus the 2 SVS powered 12" subs, but could not get them to blend seamlessly. I also tried active XOs, but the cheap ones kept blowing up and a Marchand XLR was uber expensive.

After considerable research I bought Emerald Physics KCIIs which are open baffle (and considerably smaller ~ 43" tall: 93dB efficient, but can handle big power. I find them similarly open and fast, a touch warmer sounding than the 3.5s.

I gave up trying to use the subs, still, the KCIIs sound terrific, especially with my EVS 1200 class D amp (600wpc!). They can be a bit overwhelmed with large scale music in MY ROOM, which is 19 X 38ish with a 12ft peak in the open beam ceiling.


Right now EP is running a factory direct sale: the EP2.8s with dual 15" carbon fiber woofers, and 12" concentric carbon fiber mid-range which should be killer. MSRP $9999, BUT, until they are gone $4999 including delivery That is an amazing bargain


hth
One of the reasons Maggies sound so good is that they generate a lot of spectrally-correct backwave energy. When placed well out into the room, that backwave energy arrives after a relatively long time delay, which is desirable. This mimics, on a smaller scale, what we find in a good seat in a good concert hall: A time-gap in between the direct sound and the strong onset of reflections. According to researcher David Griesinger, the ear being able to separate out the direct sound from the reflections is highly beneficial, and is largely what differentiates a good seat from a bad one in a concert hall.

In a home audio setting, there is a competition between two sets of venue cues: The venue cues on the recording (whether real or engineered); and the acoustic signature of the listening room. In order for the venue cues on the recording to dominate our perception and enable that elusive "you are there" illusion with a good recording, they must be presented effectively, while the listening room’s inherent "small room signature" is minimized. The backwave of the Maggies can present the recording venue cues effectively, and the long time delay from proper placement tends to minimize "small room signature", so Maggies set up properly can be very enjoyable.

One of the things an acoustician does in a home audio setting is minimize the early reflections while preserving that energy so it can come back as later reflections. This is conceptually similar to what a good dipole does when set up properly.

Because it is spectrally correct the backwave also enhances timbre, which again is something reflections do in a good concert or recital hall.

I realize none of this speaks directly to the question of "what to get after Maggies", but perhaps awareness of what the backwave can contribute is helpful.

Duke
@audiokinesis   Thank you for your very helpful post. 
Try the largest Spatial Audio model you can afford.

If bass is too light, they can be augmented with open-baffle subs like those designed by GR Research. 
You certainly have a large room for any Maggie if you like going louder than 90 dB cleanly and forget about bass below 40 Hz with any degree of dignity.
I owned Tympani IIIs back in the mid 80's. I drifted back to Acoustat 2+2's with subwoofers because the detail was better in the midrange and with the subwoofers was a significantly more powerful set up. 
If you wanted the ultimate in a room your size I would do Sound Labs 845's with 6 subwoofers placed equidistant across the front wall. That would give you the ultimate sound stage and cruise effortlessly at 110 db if you were so inclined to destroy your ears. You can add subwoofers to Maggies but the effect is not as dramatic as adding subs to a full range ESL. With Maggies you are only improving the efficiency of the woofer panel. With a full range ESL you are improving the efficiency of the whole thing. 
I love Maggies. In their price range they are hard to beat if you like the presentation of a tall dipole but if you can afford an 8 foot tall ESL and can put up with the size there is no more accurate or detailed loudspeaker. If you match them up correctly with the right subwoofer array yo are in another league altogether. I have listened to Wilson's, Magico's and YG's and they are all great loudspeakers if you forget about the price. But, they can not hold a candle to full range, line source ESLs with subwoofers and considering Sound Labs 9 or 845's are a fraction of the cost it boggles the mind why anyone would by them. 

The one speaker that will truly amaze you is Sanders Sound.
Roger Sanders makes one product in his Colorado shop and
it is shockingly superior to everything else. $17k.
Buyers get a lifetime warranty and a 500 watt stereo Amp.
Read up and watch his videos. He know of what he speaks.
My dogs about freaked out when I demoed them. Oh yes
he uses transmission line bass so you wont feel shorted.

Hello stickman 451,

     Are you sure you really want to move on from your Magnepan 20.7s?  I believe you'll likely regret it for numerous reasons that will likely become painfully obvious once you switch to any other speaker options anywhere near their price point.  Yes your room is large at 21.5'x30' but given your high quality system and speaker components, I suggest you explore methods of optimizing your current system prior to seriously considering making any possibly unnecessary and costly changes.
     I'm basing my opinion on you already owning all the required excellent component parts to achieve near state of the art full range sound quality performance in your room and my personal experience achieving similar full range results with less expensive system component parts and in a smaller 16'x23' room. I utilize Magnepan 3.7i main speakers in combination with a 4-sub distributed bass array (DBA) system very similar to the Audio Kinesis Swarm system reviewed by The Absolute Sound in the link below:

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audiokinesis-swarm-subwoofer-system/

     I can attest to this review being a very accurate description of the very high quality bass and seamless bass integration with your 20.7 main speakers you can expect, even in your larger room.  Because you already own a pair of very high quality REL G-2 subs, however, I know you have other options for attaining excellent supplemental bass performance in your room.
     If you're mainly concerned with performance results at a single dedicated listening seat, I believe you can do so by just optimally positioning your two G-2 subs and 20.7 main speakers separately in relation to your listening seat.  I could describe exactly how to do this or you could request your local REL and/or Magnepan dealer come to your home and do it for you.  
     If you prefer great bass results throughout your entire room, I'm as certain as I can be that you can do so by either utilizing the 4-sub AK Swarm DBA system or creating your own custom 4-sub DBA system. This could take the form of adding two more G-2 subs and optimally positioning and configuring them. But I believe it could also take the form of adding two more smaller REL subs, such as the 7i or 9i units, and achieve very similar results. 
     Another option is the 6-sub distributed line array bass system suggested earlier by mijostyn, either with your 20.7s or his suggested Sound Labs 845s.  I agree with him that having 6 subs lined up along your front wall is the ultimate bass system in terms of volume and dynamics, however, you or your domestic partner may not accept the room décor statement of 6 subs lined up along your living or family room wall.  But if you have the freedom, I think it's the only bass system that could equal the 4-sub DBA's bass quality and exceed its bass SPL levels.
     As to your thread topic, though,  Magnepans have been my favorite choice for main speakers but, if I had to pick others, I'd probably either choose Sound Labs, Tidal, Vivid or Magico.

Best wishes,
     Tim
audiokinesis2 I think your reply describes the Maggie situation very nicely.  I bought the LRS and they sound better with 500 watts Bryston 4BSST vs. the older Muse 150 monoblocks that put out 250 watts both at 4 ohms.  Actually the tube preamp really made them work with the Muse but I use the Bryston BP20 with the 4B.  Anyway moving them upstairs into a space that I can make the back reflection really "work" and amplify the bass at the same time, it's amazing.  Bass not as deep as with the two REL T5i used with the Muse, but sound overall is more stage like and coherent with the Bryston.  I have them facing windows covered by a light filmy curtain which is a plus to block out some light and provide privacy, but also mainly really disperses the sound well.  I put a thick curtain in front of them to minimize first reflection.  They really do well although ultimately don't go deep enough for my tastes or hit you in the gut but as to filling that huge room it's pretty darn impressive.  For 715 bucks to my door I like them. 
Hello gammonit_2000,

     I agree completely, the LRS are excellent and might be the biggest audio bargain in decades.
I’ve used four different models of Magnepans in my systems during the past forty years and I had the best results with high powered solid state class AB and D amps, it seems like the higher the better and I’m currently using a pair of 1,200 watt class D monos. On another thread here, however, a member said he was driving his new pair of LRS with a 40 watt VTA tube amp with very good results, which really surprised me.
     I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Magnepan’s dipole operation contributes to their open and airy sound quality but I don’t think it contributes much to the bass performance. The last two pairs of Magnepans I’ve owned, the 2.7QR and 3.7i, have had excellent bass quality (fast, detailed, natural and seamlessly integrated) but only have bass extension down to about 35 Hz, which results in a lack of bass impact, heft and realistic, natural sounding bass dynamics.
     The Audio Kinesis 4-sub DBA not only provided excellent bass quality (fast, smooth, detailed, natural and seamlessly integrated) on both Magnepan models but also provided bass impact, heft, realistic and natural sounding bass dynamics along with bass extension down to 20 Hz +/- 3db.
     Since the Magnepan LRS only have bass extension rated down to 50 Hz, I’m certain their overall performance would be greatly enhanced with the addition of, ideally, the $3K AK 4-sub DBA Swarm system but also significantly enhanced with the addition of virtually any pair of good quality subs one prefers.
     I realize that some prefer not to use subs but I also realize that sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know, or even dare to try.
     Total price of a pair of LRS with an AK 4-sub Swarm DBA would be about $3,700, with two good quality subs it could total only about $1,900. With either available with 30 day in-home free trial periods, there’s a big upside with really no downside with both except a bit of time.

Enjoy,
Tim 
I am working on a multi-sub solution.  I’m going to try three SVS Series 4000 subs arranged in a “swarm” configuration.  The SVS subs are extremely adjustable allowing for simultaneous correction of both peaks and dips.  
Hello stickman451,

     Here are a couple of articles that a site that discuss 3-sub bass arrays that might prove useful:  

https://mehlau.net/audio/multisub_geddes/

  I know 3 subs can be effective as 4 if positioned and configured properly.

Good luck,
     Tim
Put simply, there IS  no life after Maggies. 
Nola KOs might be worth a look as their multi-driver, dipole configuration will give you a good dose of the Maggie magic soundstage while potentially adding some oomph to the sound that is more a strength of conventional cone drivers. Just another option to consider.
Hello stickman451,

     If you read the article on multiple subs I linked to in my last post, you'll have noticed they recommend the use of mics, a computer, room frequency response analysis software and other technical equipment and procedures for the purpose of optimally positioning each of the multiple subs in the room.
       I just wanted to mention that, while this technical positioning method is very accurate and effective, there is a much less technical and expensive method that I've found to be just as accurate and effective called the 'crawl method'.  You can google the name for procedure details or I could describe them to you if you're interested, but it's basically a method whereby you use your ears and brain, to sequentially and optimally position each of the number of multiple subs you decide to use in your system and room.   
    I've used both sub positioning methods in my medium sized room to optimally position my four subs and the final sub position results were remarkably similar with each, two subs away from the corners and at opposite sides along my front short wall and one sub toward the rear of my room along each longer side wall, also a few feet away from the room corners.
     In your case attempting to optimally position three subs, I suggest the following:

1. Make sure each sub used has separate controls for volume, crossover cutoff frequency and a continuously variable control for phase.
2. Do not just place your three subs where it's most convenient, you feel they look best or you think they will perform best.
3.  For positioning, set the sub's volume control at halfway (50%), the crossover cutoff frequency at 40 Hz and the phase control to in-phase (0).  These are just initial settings for setup and can be fine tuned for optimum performance afterward.   

      I recommend that you carefully and systematically position each sub optimally in your room one after the other by closely following either the measurement or crawl method procedure, placing each exactly where you determine each sounds or measures best and then only judging the results after all three have been optimally positioned in your room.
     I recommend you operate all your subs in mono mode, since we're unable to localize bass below about 80 Hz, virtually all music recordings sum the bass content to mono at or below about 100 Hz and, therefore, attaining stereo deep bass reproduction is not possible.   
      I also recommend you run your 20.7s full-range since they have fairly good bass rated bass extension of down to 25 Hz, which is almost down to the audible bass limit of 20 Hz, and they'll act as two legitimate deep bass transducers in your room in addition to your three subs.  This will result in even smoother, faster and more detailed overall bass response throughout your entire room that will be even more powerful, dynamic and with a greater sense of ease than if you restrict their deep bass output. 
     You should be aware, however, that some believe that using subs for bass reproduction, and relieving the main amp and speakers from the responsibility for this bass reproduction either through high-pass filters in the sub or separate filtering, results in significant overall system improvements in midrange, treble and imaging performance.  I didn't notice significant improvements on my system, with D-Sonic M3-600-M high powered class D monoblock amps and 3.7i main speakers, but this doesn't mean you won't be able to with your system.  You may want to experiment, audition and compare before deciding on a preferred system configuration.

Best wishes,
    Tim
Hello stickman451,

     If you read the article on multiple subs I linked to in my last post, you'll have noticed they recommend the use of mics, a computer, room frequency response analysis software and other technical equipment and procedures for the purpose of optimally positioning each of the multiple subs in the room.
       I just wanted to mention that, while this technical positioning method is very accurate and effective, there is a much less technical and expensive method that I've found to be just as accurate and effective called the 'crawl method'.  You can google the name for procedure details or I could describe them to you if you're interested, but it's basically a method whereby you use your ears and brain, to sequentially and optimally position each of the number of multiple subs you decide to use in your system and room.   
    I've used both sub positioning methods in my medium sized room to optimally position my four subs and the final sub position results were remarkably similar with each, two subs away from the corners and at opposite sides along my front short wall and one sub toward the rear of my room along each longer side wall, also a few feet away from the room corners.
     In your case attempting to optimally position three subs, I suggest the following:

1. Make sure each sub used has separate controls for volume, crossover cutoff frequency and a continuously variable control for phase.
2. Do not just place your three subs where it's most convenient, you feel they look best or you think they will perform best.
3.  For positioning, set the sub's volume control at halfway (50%), the crossover cutoff frequency at 40 Hz and the phase control to in-phase (0).  These are just initial settings for setup and can be fine tuned for optimum performance afterward.   

      I recommend that you carefully and systematically position each sub optimally in your room one after the other by closely following either the measurement or crawl method procedure, placing each exactly where you determine each sounds or measures best and then only judging the results after all three have been optimally positioned in your room.
     I recommend you operate all your subs in mono mode, since we're unable to localize bass below about 80 Hz, virtually all music recordings sum the bass content to mono at or below about 100 Hz and, therefore, attaining stereo deep bass reproduction is not possible.   
      I also recommend you run your 20.7s full-range since they have fairly good bass rated bass extension of down to 25 Hz, which is almost down to the audible bass limit of 20 Hz, and they'll act as two legitimate deep bass transducers in your room in addition to your three subs.  This will result in even smoother, faster and more detailed overall bass response throughout your entire room that will be even more powerful, dynamic and with a greater sense of ease than if you restrict their deep bass output. 
     You should be aware, however, that some believe that using subs for bass reproduction, and relieving the main amp and speakers from the responsibility for this bass reproduction either through high-pass filters in the sub or separate filtering, results in significant overall system improvements in midrange, treble and imaging performance.  I didn't notice significant improvements on my system, with D-Sonic M3-600-M high powered class D monoblock amps and 3.7i main speakers, but this doesn't mean you won't be able to with your system.  You may want to experiment, audition and compare before deciding on a preferred system configuration.

Best wishes,
    Tim
We will use a high quality microphone and computer driven RTA software.  Thanks for the tips.  
Just a second vote for Soix's recommendation to check out the Nola KOs. Years ago when I had a 20'x38' family room,  I went from Maggies to Alons (predecessor of Nolas) and was very happy with the IVs and finally the Circes. These were more dynamic than the Maggies but retained much of what I loved about them - open, transparent, unboxy sound with good coherence and great soundstaging. If I still had that room I would also consider the GoldenEar Triton Reference or Triton One.R.
Hello stickman451,

One last tip for best results:  I recommend you try to set the volume and crossover frequency as low as possible on all three subs with the bass still sounding very good to you at your listening position.  My experience taught me that this will facilitate a seamless integration of the bass with your main speakers.

Tim
Having lived with the .7s for a few months now, I've concluded they're long-term keepers for me, especially considering I'm not stuck with them as my sole pair. 

Absolutely love the .7s. If you think Maggies can't do slam, you need to hear this model play Hotel California off of the Hell Freezes Over album. Oddly, I was never able to obtain this level of dynamics from the 1.7s.

These are not the most resolving speakers, but what they forego is usually only those irritating details that didn't add anything of value - distracting background noises, tape hiss, minor clipping distortions, etc. 

I bought my first Magnepans in 1988. The MG IIs sounded like nothing I had heard up to that time and they captured me completely. In 1998, I moved up to the 3.6. With that purchase I also upgraded my amplifier to a Bryston 4B ST. I had reached audio nirvana.  In 2011, I put together a second system using MMGs.

 

I still love Magnepans, but after 26 years the itch to try something different overcame reason. I was not unhappy with either the 3.6 or the MMG, but I wanted to try something new.

I set a budget of $5,000 and developed a short list that included Spendor, Focal, GoldenEar, Revel and Tekton. After a lot of procrastination, I ordered Tekton Pendragons. I am extremely happy with their sound. They work well with all the types of music I enjoy and have provided me with a tremendous amount of musical satisfaction at a very reasonable price.

 I know Tekton can be a somewhat polarizing brand on this forum, but I have absolutely no regrets with my purchase. YMMV


Good news to report; using three SVS SB4000 sealed subs in a “swarm” configuration works exceptionally well in my large room !  Very please with the results!

Using the basic guidelines of the Geddes approach, Sub one was placed in the front center just behind the plane of my 20.7’s.  Using a good microphone and RTA software on a Windows laptop we adjusted one large suck-out and two medium peaks with the subs built-in peq  and set the cutoff at 60hz.  Volume was set at -16db.  Then we added the second sub on the left side wall about 2 feet in front of the Maggie’s with the woofer firing across the room.  Re-ran the test tone and made a few minor adjustments to sub one and set sub two.  Sub two’s volume was set at -15db.   Adding sub one was a noticeable improvement, adding sub two made a minor noticeable improvement.  Adding sub three made a larger difference than when sub two was added.

Sub three was placed on the right-hand rear wall against the wall and about two feet from the corner, firing down the length of the room.

Overall a very successful effort!  Bass is much more evenly distributed throughout the room, sound field grew noticeably wider and deeper, and bass is better extended, better detailed, better realistic decay, and just sounds more REAL! 
I’m done for now!
Congrats!I'm a Swarm convert since last summer.What an amazing positive difference multiple subs achieve.
Hello stickman451,

     I’m glad you attained much better bass in your large room using a 3-sub custom DBA system. I can’t state I’m surprised since the 3-4 sub DBA system seems to work very well in any room and with any pair of main speakers. Welcome to the club!
     I’m also glad you noticed the soundstage, what you refer to as the sound field, grew wider, deeper, more detailed and more realistic overall. This very noticeable improvement in the soundstage size, detail and realism was something I wasn’t expecting but I’ve since learned this is a consistent additional benefit of deploying a 3-4 sub DBA system.
     I really enjoy this benefit as well as the way even the deep bass instruments are properly positioned within the soundstage. This is interesting, because I run all 4 of my subs in mono, humans can’t locate frequencies below about 80 Hz (tell where they’re coming from) and there’s no such thing as stereo deep bass because virtually all commercial music has the l+r channel bass below 100 Hz summed to mono. Despite all of this, it’s impressive to me that the deep bass is perceived to be in stereo with a 3-4 sub DBA deployed.
     How is this possible? It’s true that the very deep bass tone fundamental frequency reproduced by the DBA cannot be localized but all the bass overtones/harmonics of this fundamental bass tone frequency, that are higher in frequency and are reproduced by the stereo main speakers, can be localized.
     We humans are very adept at localizing the bass overtones/harmonics that reach frequencies above about 80 Hz and, fortunately, our brains are able to associate these bass overtones/harmonics with the much lower bass fundamental frequency and therefore determine specifically where in the soundstage it’s originating from. This process allows us to perceive the entire soundstage illusion in stereo precision over the entire audible frequency spectrum. This allows, for example, to perceive an upright bass as being located at the front left side of the soundstage and some deep bass drums being located at the center rear of the soundstage.
You stated:
"Bass is much more evenly distributed throughout the room, sound field grew noticeably wider and deeper, and bass is better extended, better detailed, better realistic decay, and just sounds more REAL!"

     I think that’s a very accurate summary of what a 3-4 sub DBA system provides in virtually any room and with any pair of main speakers. I would just add that the bass seamlessly integrates with the main speakers and even the deepest bass notes are remarkably perceived as being in stereo and coming from the appropriate specific positions within the entire soundstage illusion.
     I believe the power, impact and dynamics of deep bass, especially in the bottom 2 octaves, is what usually distinguishes the sound of music heard played live in person from music recordings heard played on a home audio system. 3-4 sub DBA systems are excellent at reproducing bass that is not only heard but felt in a very powerful, smooth, fast, detailed and natural manner, just like live music heard in person.
     These are the main qualities of 3-4 sub DBA systems, in my opinion, that enable them to provide what I consider to be near state of the art bass reproduction that puts a smile on my face on a daily basis whether listening to music or HT.


Enjoy,
Tim