I had the same experience. You should try replacing the magnepan crossover with more exotic parts then you will have bass you wont believe.
A great speaker for the money.
A great speaker for the money.
I used to own 3.5s and the issue was never insufficient bass. Getting smooth bass response was always the problem for me - probably because of room matching issues. I eventually moved on from the 3.5s. In my current room, the SMS/Rythmik sub/MMG combo provides much smoother response below 100hz than I was ever able to wring out of the 3.5s stand alone. I'm not suggesting that this is relevant to your situation - different room & different speaker - just my experience.
I have the 3.6's. I could turn the sub on/off with the remote on my pre and for much of the music I could not tell "but" there were times the sub made it more enjoyable. I don't feel I have to spend alot of money on a sub. My ear is not that sensitive to 20-35hz. If I had to cross over at 80hz, yeah/maybe, but I don't. The trick is having a sub that geta out of the way quickly and doesn't mess up what the Maggies are doing at their lowest point. Even x/oed at 35, their is stuff going on at 70,105,140.
I have the 1.6's...I went from expensive truly full range speakers...totally expected compromise. Yes, there is less low level information (but now I'm wondering how 'natural' that was anyway)...but in my opinion/system, it is NOT missed. To my surprise...many of the commonly held beliefs did not show up in my system (e.g. you need a sub, you will not be able to get decent SPLs, they are not a rock speaker)....My experience could NOT be farther from that. One caveat: I am running with some substantial/quality power --I now believe that is absolutely the key to getting the most out of maggies and that the weakness are only produced by compromises elsewhere.
I have evaluated the the 3.6 with either the passive Xover and active with the XM44 Marchand and James 1500 sub crossed over at 80Hz, and the main differences will be on the type of music listen to. If you like string quartets, vocals, etc., forget the sub and enjoy. If you like grand orchestra, hard driving jazz, get the external xover and sub., like a James, JL audio, or the Mirage is said to be good with them. The weight and dynamics is just greater with the sub well integrated. And yes, maggie likes her power. Feed her well and she will make great music. The Bryston 4BSST, 14BSST, and 7BSST and the (2) versions are said to be magic, and great synergy. The ARC tubes on top is said to also be magical. I have tubes on top and Bryston on the bottom...real maggie magic......Jallen
I have a new pair of Maggie 3.6R's driven by a Krell400xi with foundational support via dual Definitive 200TL subs crossed over at 40hz. My power cords are MIT AC 2 (Krell) and Transparent MM Reference (Sony XA5400ES) with MIT Oracle V1.2 Cabling. All fuses are HiFi Tuning for all components including the subs! My subs are on wood stands wt brass spiked feet. I have never had as much quality bass in my room period, even without the subs. I still like the subs for extended solidity down low on Orchestral and hard hitting Jazz, but then again, I used my subs on my Krell Res 1's and Sophias as well. In other words, the 3.6R's play very loud and clean with tremendous authority with well designed amplification (doubles down form 8 to 4 to 2 ohms). My 400xi loves the load and drives the Maggies to ear shattering levels with no strain or problems whatsoever:O) I am very happy!!
I've actually had many different amps, including Innersounds and Brystons (14 sst) and he Cary has been the clear winner, especially for sheer power. It seems to really have 1000 W into 4 ohms, with huge headroom. There is literally no distortion. I blew fuses once, but the SPL's and clarity are unbelievable with these amps.
I think I will try the HiFi fuses now that I think of it.
A little tip for subs, make sure they are in the same plane as the midrange driver/panel. Front or rear firing subs are ok, but down firing subs are not very tuneful. Having the subs mounted on wood platforms which are also decouple from the floor makes a huge difference in cleaning up the bass and increasing definition...I have a concrete sub-floor so the virtual wood floor does wonders.
A little tip for subs, make sure they are in the same plane as the midrange driver/panel. Front or rear firing subs are ok, but down firing subs are not very tuneful.
Agreed upon keeping the sub close to the plane of the speakers but where did you get the idea that down firing is less tuneful. Downfiring front or rear firing will make very little difference to the sound unless the sub is used well above 100 Hz or it has large amounts of harmonic distortion that bleed into the lower midrange (such as on most poor quality subs) - remember bass frequencies propagate in all directions.
If you use a spectrum analyzer you will see that the LF roll off of the Maggie is perfectly smooth...no peaks and dips. This is, supposedly, why Maggie bass sounds so much better than what would be expected from the -3dB specs. Also, as Jallen notes, there is lots of music that has no signal at SW frequency.
I owned larger maggies for 20 years and ran them off higher power SS amplification and never felt compelled to use a sub.
Having said that, I've heard newer top of the line Maggies running off a fairly juicy Rogue tube power amp with a small well-matched Rel sub and it seemed to be a plus in this scenario.
I love my Maggies, and agree that their bass response is most often OK without subwoofer help. Just the same, I have a very elaborate built-in custom 3 channel (fronts) subwoofer system. Three 15" drivers and 3 12" drivers individually driven by six 500 watt amps.
The Maggie problem as I see it is lack of what people call "punch". Cones are good at "punch". "Punch" is what makes your stomach uneasy when the organ sounds that 32 foot pipe, and what makes your trouser legs flap when the brass band plays a Sousa march.
My subwoofer array is capable of higher frequencies than the normal subwoofer, and is, I believe, very well "integrated" with the Maggies. I say this because I can play a pink noise signal and hear no change in the overall sound as I sweep the crossover frequency from 40 Hz to around 400 Hz. However, what I am doing when I change the frequency is to transition between cone and panel drivers. I vary the crossover frequency so as to match the speaker system to the music.
I suppose that what I have is more accurately called an "alternate woofer" system, which happens to have extended LF range.
What frequency do you cross at? I agree with your notion of "punch" and further agree that subs usually work best as woofer/subs, rather than as pure sub bass extension "enhancers".
I suspect that most systems will get the greatest benefit out of subs between 35hz (not too much music below that frequency) and 80 to 120hz (depending on the room). I use EQ below 80hz, but - in the right room - merely choosing optimal subwoofer placement can win half the battle.
Martykl...I spent quite a few frustrating years searching for the "correct" crossover frequency. Then the light dawned! There is no correct frequency. It depends on the music.
I have an electronic crossover which lets me vary the crossover frequency very easily...turn a knob. If I am listening to classical chamber music I usually go down to 40 Hz (which is where my MG1.6 quit). Brass bands and organ music sounds best if I turn my cones loose up to 300 Hz or so. (Remember, my "SW" is not limited to the usual SW frequency range, and my scheme probably would not work so well with the typical commercial SW. For most music I use 60-80 Hz, mostly to get this LF signal out of the Maggies so they do the midrange better.
Very interesting thread with lots of good food for thought for us Maggie owners. My system is a bit more budget minded with Maggie 1.6's. I also use an Onix Rocket sub. What seems to be the trick with a Magnepan (or just about any other planar for that matter...), is to figure out their roll-off point in your room. You can do this with some test sweeps and an SPL meter, but you'll usually wind up tweaking by ear anyway. I've found in my room that the real trick is letting the 1.6's handle the bass as low as they are capable, no high pass filtering. I run them full range and let the Onix merely reinforce the range from about 40 Hz down. You also need a sub that is very fast, so the acoustic suspension design of the Onix is perfect.
Dogmcd and Dave_b...All speakers, cone or panel, experience increasing distortion before their output rolls off. Indeed, distortion components tend to hold up the measured output level as the fundamental, which is what we care about, rolls off. If you run your main speaker full range you are giving up what many feel is the greatest benefit of SW use...cleaning up the midrange.
My ears will bleed before I hear any distortion in my system. The Maggies are about 10ft apart with slight tow in, 49"-50"from front/long wall and my sitting position is roughly 11ft away against the back/long wall. Lots of wood and soft furniture with plants and rug. Currently trying some herbie Audio Labs Tall tenderfeet, an isolator disc, Halo O7 dampers on my IC's and Black Holes on my CD's. I use the Cardas jumper kit wt tweeter attenuaters which removes my crossover from the panels (they are on wood blocks wt brass weights).
Dogmcd and Dave_b...All speakers, cone or panel, experience increasing distortion before their output rolls off. Indeed, distortion components tend to hold up the measured output level as the fundamental, which is what we care about, rolls off.
Which is why Soundstage won't even test speakers above 100 db SPL. (It would even damage many of them so they say - no matter that an un-amplified piano or drum set, trumpet, trombone etc. can easily exceed 100 db SPL)
A SW is a good way to protect speakers from damage and still get high SPL output as the bass is what requires the lion's share of excursion and power.
A lot of your experience with removing subs could be explained by the x-over frequency you were using prior to losing the subs. If you were crossing at lower than 50-60 cps, I'm not surprised that there's little difference in "slam" w/o the subs. The Maggies were doing (very nearly) all the work in the "slam" region, anyway. Unless your program material was unusual (pipe organ, a handful of solo piano recordings, etc), the subs were doing a different job (adding weight, ambience, and mid-bass "clean-up").
If you were crossing above 70hz, you'd probably hear a more obvious difference in "slam". Even that, however, will depend on program choice. For kicks, try crossing the subs at >100hz with the SMS, then remove them. In this case, you'll hear the effect with a lot of recordings.
Remember an ES hybrid design like Martin Logan can be an alternative to Maggies + sub for more slam out of the box.
PErsonally, I'm not a fan of most speaker systems that attempt to merge the best aspects of dynamic and other driver technologies, but some folks are.
For me, I prefer a good fast dynamic monitor, like the Triangle Titus, with a sub for very good and cost effective full range sound that is not hard to set up.
I didn't know at the time when I acquired the Triangle monitors and started to use them with a sub that they would signal the beginning of the end for the big, hard to place (with a small sweet spot) Maggies in my house.
I've never liked Martin Logan's, well except for the CLS series, those were/are really special. They never sound coherent to me, especially on loud rock music.
That said, I got my sub all hooked up and dialed in and......
Yeah, sounds better with the sub, and this sub is MUCH better than my last one (which UPS destroyed in shipping btw, and we are in dispute still on the insurance I paid for), which I thought was very good.
The new one's a Rel B1 and after some problems with the hookup instructions that seemed to have something to do with the type of amps I have (balanced differntial??), I am dialed in and really happy.
After reading through this thread, I am wondering about the crossover frequency I chose for my Marchand XM44 3 way which is expected in next few days. I still use my Maggie IIIa's and recently acquired a second Audio Research D400mkII to bi-amp. I also have a pair of Velodyne F1200s in my system. After hearing from a guy at Velodyne who said he had lots of experience with Maggies I ordered a 50hz crossover hi and low with a 48db slope at the low end. Thoughts/opinions wecome and sought.
Right now I am using the passive XO1 but can't wait to hear the set-up with the Marchand.
I have Magnepan 20Rs with upgraded passive crossover (improved parts)being driven by CJ Premier 8A 6550 tube amps(275 watts/monobloc). The amps were upgraded by Bob Backert of rhBackert Sounddezign including full cap changeout to V-Caps. My question : I have a pair of factory refurbished MG IIIA in storage. Using a pair of extra SS monobloc amps I also have and a Dahlquist DQ DLP-1 passive/active crossover, could I drive just the bass section of the IIIA's as a "cut from the same cloth" sub augmentation?
I think you could by removing the mid and tweeter fuses and running just the bass cable from external Maggie XO. Seems like a bit of a waste of a great speaker but if the XO and amp can get them the signal, should work especially if you have more than one "main out" from the Pre-amp which can then connect to XO.
I finally sold my IIIAs. Always loved that speaker and bi-amped them with an electronic XO last couple years before I got the 3.7s