There was just a thread on here a few days or maybe a week ago that discussed this very thing. I tried to find it, but had no luck. Maybe someone else remembers the thread topic title and can post it.
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There is a discussion about this in the current thread on the 20.7's. I think you will find that lots of people have opinions on this subject. I have no experience with biamp'ed 3.6's using an external active crossover, so I can't offer a comparison on that set up vs. a stock 3.7. Those who have that set up appear to be very satisfied, so if you already have the amps and the crossover, it might make sense to go that way.
A separate question is the comparison of stock bi-wired 3.6's vs stock 3.7's. It seems that some have a very strong preference for the 3.7's, while others are less enthusiastic about the magnitude of the improvement over stock 3.6's. I have gone the monoblock route. I find my 3.7 single wired to my Cary 500 MB's to be wonderful. If your stereo amps are matched and can be bridged, that would be a way to fully utilize your existing equipment with the 3.7's.
I have had the 3.6 single and biwired and both are good if enough power is used. If the room is not too big, then 250wpc is fine with the exception of demo discs with tanks, jets, trains etc. A good pass labs, coda, bryston 4bst or sst, c, and others work. Two 4bsst biamped work well too. The best sound was with a 14bsst on bottom, and 4bsst on top and marchand xm26 xover. Very textured, great with digital, but i preferred my xm44 with analog. Jallen
I am wondering why Magnepan went the non-biwire and non-biamp route with the new 3.7's and 20.1's? I have 3.6's and will consider moving to either the 3.7's or maybe even the 20.7's. I haven't heard the 20.7's yet of course, nor have I ever heard a pair of 20.'1s. I have heard the 3.7's at shows and was reasonably impressed, but before I would buy I would want to hear them in my dedicated listening room at home.
Many Magnepan users that I have spoken with say that the biggest challenge in using the 20.1's is having enough amp to drive them properly. (I am currently using the Cary 500 mb with great results on my 3.6's - 1,000 watts into 4ohms and 72 amps peak power). If this cannot properly drive a pair of 20's then what do you get; an arc welder? Still would like to know why Magnepan switched-up and took away the biwire and biamp provisions on the new series?
I think Magnepan looked at the problem in a different way that many owners of the x.6 generation are looking at it. I think they said, "How do we build the best speaker at $xxxx price point?" Their answer to that question utilizes a series crossover, which as I understand it is inherently not biampable (is that a real word?).
As a long time owner of 1.6QR's and someone who was open to buying a demo pair of 3.6's, I think Magnepan made the right decision. It may not be the right decision for someone who is willing to invest in an active crossover, but for those who just want to use the stock speaker without by-passing or modifying the crossover, I think the stock 3.7R is a much better speaker than the 3.6R unless you use an active crossover with the 3.6's. I have not heard the 3.6's or 20.1's with active crossovers, but there are a lot of golden-eared Maggie owners that swear by the active crossovers. In my opinion, based on my long time ownership of the 1.6's and audition of the 3.6's, the stock crossovers left a lot to be desired.
My Cary 500 mb monoblocks drive the 3.7's just fine. I see no particular need for biamping when using the Cary's. No thanks on the arc welder. And only having to buy one set of cables enabled me to spend more (a lot more) than I would have if I bought two sets.
I would encourage people to judge the 3.7's and 3.6's based on careful auditioning. The question should be more one of how well is the design executed, not so much one of which design is inherently superior.
I purchased a pair of Sanders stereo magtechs to bi amplify my old Maggies and I assumed that the new Maggie 20.7's would also be bi ampable.
When I found out the new Maggies would not take bi amping, Sanders simply swapped them out for the Magtech monoblocks.
If more manufacturers were this accomodating I don't think we would feel frustration.
Can your amps be bridged?
Previous to my recent purchase of 3.7s, I was bi-amping a Pair of MGIIIAs with a pair of Audio Research D 400 mk2s so my only experience in bi-amping Maggie's is with a very dated model. Used a Marchand XO. The bi-amping made a bid difference.
I started out breaking in the 3.7s with a single D400 and it drove them fine but the amps allow bridging and finally got around to setting my system up that way and have to say, having what is now virtually unlimited current/ power For the 3.7s makes almost as much of a difference as bi-amping the MGIIIAs. The crossover does not seem to be an issue but tht could come from other improvements.
I had auditioned 3.6 s and even 20.1s but kept my old speakers until I heard the 3.7s. They are the most cohesive Maggie's I have ever heard and I now need to audition the 20.7 s. Have always hated over inflated reviews with every slight change magnified 100x but I do think the ".7" series are a real improvement in integrating the drivers into a more seamless blend. As the bass panel is losening up the blend with my velodyne subs is very smooth too.
If you like Maggies/panels and haven't heard the new models, do yourself a favor and audition. More "musical" than ever IMO, and yes everything above is just one mans opinion. :-)
I would pesonally go with a nice pair of used 3.6's. The 3's are head and shoulders better than the 1's IMO. Bigger soundstage, better balance between the drivers, and they will fill your room with a bigger more realistic sound. How big is your room? You need to get the 3.6's several feet out into your room; at least three feet or so, five or six is better.
Most important thing with a Maggie is to us a good quality, powerful amplifier...