To me, Maggie 1.6QR best qualities are their coherency, their open and lack of a boxy sound, and their bass. I think they can be bested in the midrange and high end without spending much more but you will likely lose at least some those other qualities.
Yes a good high current amp will improve the bass. I have not measured mine but the bass on these things is one of their best attributes, very tight and full and articulate, and other have measured them down to about 36HZ. I can believe it as they are darned impressive, they will not pump out 40HZ tones at loud volumes though and run out of steam quickly if asked to do so, as most speakers without a subwoofer will.
Maggies are VERY demanding speakers, if you want to get
the best out of them (room layout, positioning, WAF, etc.).
Now, having said that... If you are willing to work with them, and you like female vocals, acoustics, jazz, small orchestral works, they have the POTENTIAL to be SCARY good on good recordings (they do not like poorly recorded, bright rock). In this environment, they simply Blow Away comparibly priced monitors... Like I said, SCARY Good. 200 WPC is plenty. IMO, a sub is necessary. Visit the planar forum at audioasylum.com... Good info, great folks.
As a Maggie convert, I strongly believe this is where the axiom "don't decide based upon print reviews only...audition!" is mandatory.
No matter what anyone tells you, you owe it to yourself to go check out planars yourself (assuming you have not already)...either at a dealer or a fellow audiophile's home...to get an idea what we're all raving about.
It was hard for me at first to mentally get a handle on what Philojet properly refers to as "open, lack of a boxy sound"...without an actual audition I had no experiential point of reference to interpret what this meant.
After spending two hours at my local Maggie dealer (started listening to small monitors, because that's what I went in asking to hear, went to larger box floorstanders, went to Martin Logan, went to Final, went to 1.6's, finished with 3.6's), I'm a believer. I'm never going back to box speakers. At least not without coercion or duress.
I'm also one of the guys who willingly acknowledges all the weaknesses that Maggies come with (see my response to the recent thread 'Why are so many Maggies and Martin Logans for Sale?'), but even with all that, I can't go back to a box.
I recently auditioned Sonus Faber's big floorstander (Cremona?"), with very expensive Pass electronics and an SME 30/2 source...they were being played at The Analog Shop in San Jose while I was shopping for vinyl. I sat down to give them a fair listen, wanting all the highly-reviewed electronics to present the music well. The primary impression I left with?
"Nice 'table, but I'm never going back to box speakers."
I have a newly aquired set of three MG1.6, having returned to the Maggie fold after a few years in the wilderness. I have long used a center channel because my room layout would put stereo speakers too far apart, but the third speaker also permits them to play a bit louder without distress. Moneywise, even a set of three will set you back far less than any comparable pair of box speakers.
Based on experience I do believe that a high power amplifier is helpful, and you don't have to pay a lot for it. Maggies are a very easy (resistive) load for the amplifier. I use an Adcom 5503 which is good for 350 watts/channel at 4 ohms, and I use the MG1.6 crossed over from a subwoofer system at 90 Hz 24 dB/octive.
Why 90 Hz you say? Yes, I have verified that my MG1.6 are flat to 40 Hz, but I have gone up on the SW crossover frequency based on listening experience. Most everyone assumes that the SW crossover frequency ought to be based on the LF capability of the main speakers, but I have come to believe that the HF (if you call 90 Hz HF)capability of the subwoofer is an equally valid criteria. Although the MG1.6 do respond down to 40 Hz I think that they are working too hard at it, and the LF "flapping around" of the milar diaphram can only degrade the most important sonic performance in the 100 to 800 Hz range. You would need to evaluate the abilities of your particular subwoofer in deciding what to use for the X/O frequency.
In truth, except for a very small percentage of music the LF response of the MG1.6 is entirely satisfactory without any subwoofer. Furthermore the response that is there, down to 40 Hz, is very smooth, and gives the impression of going lower than it actually does. I found that room resonances that were clearly evident with box speakers, are virtually gone with the Maggies. One final point...don't even think about extending that LF response through electronic equalization. My observation is that any amount of boost below 40 Hz has absolutely no effect. When they quit, they quit.
The only criticism that I think is valid is the visual one. I have heard them called "ugly room dividers". Well, that's a matter on which we can all have an opinion, but I have never seen a box speaker that I consider beautiful.
Every once in a while I get a hankering to try to find
something I can live with in a monitor.It is like a yearly
thing,go out and check out all the familiar shops.
Well as the others have said ,we know the shortcomings of
Maggies and are willing to live with those.
As for the front end. Because these are a bargain you will free up more cash for and especially cables ,pc's,i.c's,amps etc.
You can easily use speaker wire that surpasses the price of the 1.6's and they love it.
Garbage in garbage out means a lot to Maggie's.
I have no need to add a sub to get low end response,
use a good high-powered amp,maybe Sim audio,Bryston.
Last thing.You are the buyer and the listener.!
If you have the space...hard to beat the Mags for sound and value...factor in the price of decent stands for monitors...and the Mags are even more attractive...either way...one can achieve exceptional sound...Green Mountain Europa for less than 1k is my monitor choice...good luck
What is the price for Mags 1.6 and 3.6 and 12? planning for a 5.1 HT system
I've owned four different Maggie systems over the years (as well as numerous other systems) and here's my take on the pros and cons. For years, I'd go back and forth between owning Maggies and owning other dynamic speakers, because I'd always find I was missing the strengths of the other kind of system. In recent years, though, I've found dynamic speakers that rival the Magneplaners strengths without their weaknesses (particularly the Revel line).
Cohesive sound from bottom to top
Cleanest and quickest high-end I've heard
Open-airy sound when set up correctly
Particularly smooth and natural upper midrange
Vertical directionality reduces room effects from floor and ceiling
Don't look like speakers
Lack of dynamics (this is always what brought me back to dynamic speakers)
Significant loss of openness and detail when played at low volume levels (relates to dynamics)
Weak bass - sounds strained when pushed hard. Can be augmented with sub, but with loss of cohesiveness
Finicky placement - hard to get best bass and best imaging at the same time in some rooms.
Vertical directionality - not as good for parties when everyone is standing
There is at least one speaker that combines many of the best qualities of Maggies with the best qualities of dynamic speakers.
Or check out any of the Audio Artistry models.
Is anyone familiar with the VMPS line, especially the RM-40? From the reviews and forums at www.harmonicdiscord.com they could fill the gap between planar and dynamic speakers.
If you got the room and like the physicality of the music being played, go Maggy go.
In a smaller room thought, some mini will let you use some beautifull single ended triode and allow you to enjoy the schow, even at appartement sound level.