Maggies on my mind.

Category: Speakers

There I was, minding my own business, when I innocently went into my favorite audio shop to just chat and look at the goodies. I sat down in the listening room and heard a used (albeit sold) pair of Maggie 1.5s. Oh, SH*T! WHAT a sound! It was addicting. Wide soundstage, no boxiness ... I felt like I was right on the bandstand. Holy moly! My friend suggested that I listen to the 1.6s since the 1.5 was discontinued. The 1.6s were heard through a Levinson integrated and Rega Planet 2000. They sounded nothing like the 1.5s ... collapsed soundstage, thin, uninvolving, boring and very directional. Maybe it was the electronics, I dunno (you'd figure a Levinson integrated would do a great job, n'est ce pas?). The 1.5s (heard through a Musical Fidelity rig) were simply intoxicating ... I WANTED to O.D. on 'em. I went home to listen to my B&W N804s and heard "the box" for the first time. I am now sorely depressed. Those 1.5s were just magical (albeit way big for my room). Sigh!
Levinson/proceed don't go well with maggies at all! I allways here what you are describing with that combo. Now stop talking about maggies- I'm currently trying to restrain from listening to them again and save some money.
It's NOT the 1.6's for sure.Mine run off tubes and both vinyl and CD's have me intoxicated daily.Probably not set up right - at least 3ft space around them and really small changes to get that last 'perfect' position.But THEN WOW !!
Don't be worry about small rooms-just 3ft behind them.The
WAF will change when you play her favorite music and her feet start moving and toes tapping.Dancing also helps(smile)
Used for $1k is THE BEST.Period
ML 383 sounded thin, grainy and uninvolving with my Maggie 1.6s. Plinius 8200MKII is much better.
It's the room. It's the set-up within that room. What you mention concerning the 1.5s are the Maggies long suit. I drew the line at the less than realistic bass when I auditioned 3.6s a while back, although that openness does beckon. I was even thinking of keeping my Paradigm Studio 100 v2s at one end of the room and installing the 3.6s at the other end and buying a swivel chair...
I am a Maggie diehard here. These do harmonic richness and 3D presentations like no others I have yet heard....but I do hope to hear all the talk about Avalons and Kharmas some day. As we all know, the Maggies, at least the 3 series, require a good 200w at least. The ARC VT130 amp I owned was an awesome sonic match with this but it simply did not have the output capability for higher levels. The ARC CL150 amps were marginally better in power but the VT130 bloom magic was much reduced when the CL150s replaced the VT130. I have since gone with a Counterpoint NPS400 amp and this is excellent with the 3.5s. And I was quite startled how much more refined the NPS400 was over the CL150s, and more headroom to boot. Rarely does a product half the cost of another exceed the higher cost product by so much in so many ways. So look into the Counterpoint amps for Maggies.

Over the years it has been all about the harmonic richness, forever decays and 3D presentation that I have sought in a music system. If there was ever a line of electronics that simply does not handle these areas well, it is the Madrigal Levinson line. Holy cow....way too analytical to me! After hearing the great ARC, BAT, CJ, of the 80s and 90s and now the Aesthetix electronics, going with Madrigal gear is simply not involving to me at all. With such electronics, you will NEVER hear the Magnepan magic that the tubed products can bring.

I have no experience with the 1.5 or 1.6, but the 3.3 and 3.5 that I have owned are excellent values on the used market. I think for just a few hundred $$ more, a pair of 3.3 has simply got to be more exciting than the 1 series models. Yes, the 3 series are big, but so are ALL maggies! Area few more inches in ht or width really that big of a difference? I think if you can accommodate the 1s, you should be able to accommodate the 3s.

So try to hear the 3.x as well. Just be aware the Magnepans are not really a good choice for Home Theatre applications. I find the Talon speakers to be awesome for HT. But for music, wow, the Maggies are simply unbeatable.

Hope this all helps.

I agree with Jafox. I've owned the 3.3Rs & now own Apogee
Mini Grands. The true ribbon tweeter is just better than anything else - as long as you can dedicate the room & the gear it deserves.
Hi RLB61,

I own the Maggie 1.6qr's. I heard them in several "showrooms" before I purchased them. If I would have depended on how they sounded in the various "showrooms" I never would have purchased them. Most audio "salons" do not know how to set up the audio gear they demonstrate...that is simply a fact of life we audio enthusiasts must learn to tolerate if we "must" go to audio salons at all.

Instead, I took the advice of a few reviewers and audiogon members and purchased them.

I cannot begin to tell you the musical bliss they are capable of delivering! Of course no speaker is "perfect." But the Maggie 1.6's allow the music to flow into the "air" with the same delicate and dynamic sensation that l"ive" music has. The music penitrates you with its mysterious presence...everything is there to make you feel connected to the musical idease...the profound feelings.

I am certain there are other speakers that can also recreate music with the same magic...and perhaps a bit more of this or that thrown in...especially if you read the many positive reviews in this forum.

But that is not the it? The Maggie 1.6's bring most of what you need to feel emotionally attund to the music with a plethora of "detail" that is musically "natural" and a never ending delight to experience. The electronics must be synergistic and it is worth checking out the feedback here and in AA.

I am currently listening with a 7 watt sep(entoid) amp and it sounds and liquide. I am waiting for a Carver Professional ZR1600 to arrive tomorrow and an Axiom "passive" pre-amp (attenuator). I'll let you know how it sounds after it is broken in.

Best of luck to you-Richard
I've owned serval pairs of Magnepan. I've heard the 1.6s sound great and I've heard them sound thin (bad). Magnepans LOVE current....not watts, but current. The more current, the more open and transparent they sound.

There is nothing else quite like them. But I'm telling you the 1.6s are much better than the 1.5s. And what your experience PROVES is that matching components to speakers is a MUST!

If you want the best that Magnepans can offer, I suggest a tube front end and a huge SS amp with plenty of current. This is by far how the Maggys sound best.

Living with and without several Maggies througout the last 20 years I can wholeheartedly agree with what I have read here EXCEPT, for driving any Maggie with a 7 watt amp!! The richness you hear might be the tubes adding some nice 3rd order harmonics from being overdriven!

A high current amp with a tube front end does work very well. Make sure you have clean electronics. It is definitely about lots of current (Bryston SST amps are awesome with Maggies), and a reasonable size room for them to breathe in. You will spend a lot of time rearranging your room if you are to arrive at what these babies can do.

The other comment I read which puzzles me is the Home Theatre applications issue. I have had very good experience with Maggies in a HT enviornment. Once again it is a matter of patience and the wife's willingness to accomodate the room for the sound first and all other consideration next.

If your Maggies are in good working order and they are not involving or does not image well, you can be sure it is NOT the speakers. The current generation of Maggies are transparent enough to easily show the differences in wires and certainly electronics. So you maybe hearing/not hearing due to something else.

Models owned: MGIIB, MG3A, MG1.6QR, MG3.6R (I am saving up for the 20.1s. This is my equivalent of going to heaven.)

Had owned AR9s, Klipch, Infinity, before buying the MGIIB and then the 3As. Then I made the mistake of listening to a pair of KEF 107/2s. The bass was better than anything I had heard at that time. And image depth was almost as good as the Maggies. For several years the 3As were the surround channels while the 107/2s were the main speakers. Sold the 3As, regretted it, tried Apogees, Carvers, Accoustats, MLs, The big Allisons, Celestions, but nothing and I mean NOTHING has the combination of coherency, imaging, accuracy, speed and involment in each of the Maggies' price points. Don't judge them in an enviornment that you didn't have any control in setting them up, eg. dealer's showroom. You simply will not get it!

Yes,I have Maggies on my mind, and with good reason since they are in my soul too and I will never part with them again.
America...You are going to love the Carver ZR1600, and your Maggies will love you for it. No speaker responds more to amplifier brute force like Maggies. I have run my set of three MG1.6 with amps ranging from 100 watts to the Carver at 600, and every increase in power rating has made obvious improvement.

And to the original poster, R1b61, yes it was probably the associated electronics, and perhaps the room. The MG1.6 are much better than earlier models (which were pretty good) and some folk (I am an example) actually prefer the sound to the ribbon tweeter that comes with the higher cost MG3.6.
Scubadaddy, Ranakabir and others

I bought my first pair of Maggies in high school, circa 1978 a pair of MG-1Bs with proceeds from my paper route. I can still remember staying up until the wee hours, mesmerized by them. The black wooden bases, the oak strips, vintage Monster cable, -- those were the good old days.

Since then, I have had MG-IIBs, MG-IIIa's, and recently restored a pair of Tympani IVa's. There are few other speakers I can even imagine owning.

I was interested to hear your opinions on tubes and SS amps, as after Hafler amps in my lean allowance days, I have evolved to that configuration, first an ARC SP-9 with an Adcom 555 and now a ARC SP-11 and a Levinson 23.5.

Advice given to me by a Maggie guru at their factory "off the record" said the ML 23.5 was the "best amp ever" with the Tympanis.

However, I am still finding my system a bit flat and bright with other Maggie diehards swearing that it's all about tubes, pre AND power.

Have any Maggie die hards done some serious comparisons with high end tubes vs. high current, high end SS for the power amp?

In any case, classic wonderful speakers.
Cwlondon...You mention the heavy oak "U" shaped moldings on those old Maggies. Well, when I scrapped my original MG2 I salvaged the oak, and cut it down to "L" shape. Since I had three speakers, I ended up with an awful lot of really nice oak molding that would have cost a bundle if I bought it in the lumber yard. To this day, it adorns the edges of shelves around my house. Maggies never die.