44 responses Add your response
I agree with Shakeydeal - I wouldn't use a pair of Maggies in a room of that size. I have tried other dipole speakers (Apogees) in a small room and it always ends up in a frustrating disaster.
There are several other speakers that will work quite well in a room of that size and are probably easier to drive as well. Audio Note or vintage Snell E, J or Ks will work well. There are several stand mount monitor speakers that are specifically designed for smaller rooms. Someone recently mentioned the Larsen speakers from Sweden in another post. These look very interesting; small, full range floor standers that are designed to be placed directly against the wall.
I don't know why, buy I liked the MG12's better than the 1.7's. I know most people would rather have the bigger one, but if you really like the Magnepan sound, the 12 may be better than another type of speaker that wouldn't be your first choice. If you want to stay with a planer speaker, I put a small pair of Martin Logan's (SL-3) in a room about that size and had no issues. Stand mounted ProAc's also work well in small rooms.
I tried a pair of Magnepan 12s in a 13x11x8 room in which I had fully treated. They never gave me what I was hoping for.
The thing was I really wanted to like them and tried all the tricks I could gather from the Agon community. In the end I believe my room was just too small for them. Very disappointing. Mine were dealer demoes that I took back.
I've never had luck with full size Magnepans in smaller rooms.
Smaller mmgs are probably a better fit,but have not heard these either in a smaller room.
I have also had great success with smaller OHM Walsh speakers in smaller rooms. In general I've moved away from planar designs and more to omnis, OHM in particular, which I think tend to be best bang per buck in most any size room.
Have you considered the Maggie desk top speakers? They are supposed to sound as good or better than the 3.7s, but for a smaller space. They can be had with two woofer panels, and those can be disguised as tables. I have 1.7s myself. My room is much bigger and I would like to step up to 3.8s, but they would be overpowering size wise. I once had Timpani IIIs in a modest living room. My whole house was probably the right size for them, if I took out all the walls. Too big speakers just don't work, even planars. Been there, done that!
Hi Linesource, my friend has the 1.7 in his 12157 basement room.
Sweet spot is about 7-8 feet from the speakers so there's plenty of space
behind the speakers. When you see the room you shake your head and think no no, this will never work. But it does. The sound is very good and 3-d ( depth ) is amazing. Basstrapping is good but I would strongly recommend diffusion instead of absorption on the wall behind the speakers.
We tried both in that room with his 1.7's and with diffusion it's MUCH
better. It makes the room seem bigger and the music is more free and alive. I say it again: big difference . Good luck.
I have 1.7's and wouldn't do it. For starters you need the speakers 3-5 feet away from the wall and you want to be at least 8-10 feet away from the speakers. So without even thinking about sound, the physical layout doesn't work. Go with the smaller MG's that allow wall mount and a separate bass panel. I'd consider 12x16 as minimum room size needed
Thanks for all the responses everyone. There seems to be a lot of different opinions on the subject though. My dealer will let me borrow a set of MG12s for a weekend and that should help me make a decision, though I tend to think 1.7s would probably be too big. I had a pair of SMGbs which ended up in a small room in another house and I ended up getting rid of them. It wasn't until I got the replacements in there that I realized it wasn't the speakers and the room, but mainly the room by itself. After treating it I was fine and always wondered what the Maggies would have sounded like in the treated space. I have a partially finished space in the basement which is much bigger and may end up moving down there when I figure out how to keep the damn cats out.
Timrhu, did you have bass traps in the room?
There are bass traps in two corners, the other corners have doors with absorption panels. If you look at my room you can see the basic position of the speakers, MG12s went in same spot. They were probably 30+ inches from the rear wall.
As another poster suggested, I recommend bringing home the resistors if the dealer has them available. They did help, just not enough for my taste.
I remember when I finally gave up and put my Kestrels back in place and resumed listening to David Crosby's If I could Only Remember My Name. The reaction was, "oh yeah." I blame the small room as I have heard Maggies, even the MMGs sound really nice in a wide open space.
Good luck with your experiment and do get back to us please.
Try them and then you will know. They should work fine.
I would suggest removing the bass traps, as the are generally not needed with Magnepans. They like minimal room treatment for best sound.
I use MG IIIa's in a small room, with home theater, on the long wall. Room width 10 feet, speakers 3 feet from rear wall, and I sit 6 feet away, right up against the wall.
I get great results! Big speakers in small rooms are fine with me.
I tried posting a followup by posting a new thread so people would more readily see it but it seems the moderators will not allow that.
I borrowed a set of MG12s from my local dealer over the weekend and they worked in my small room splendidly with a few surprises. First, I ended up with them only about 8 inches from the side walls with the tweeters on the outside. I was expecting them to work better with the tweeters on the inside to keep them further from the side walls but the soundstage was two narrow that way. The walls are treated so I'm sure that contributes to the ability to place them this way. Three feet from the wall worked great with the back of my chair eight feet from the speakers, which puts my head about two feet in front of the treated back wall. Bass extended lower than I expected and on some recordings really surprised me. Despite someones suggestion to remove the bass traps I think their presence in the room was largely responsible for the bass performance I experienced. They didn't go below 40 Hz but on some recordings 40 Hz was definitely audible and felt. I've read so many reviews that say you hear but don't really feel the bass from Magnepans. That wasn't my experience at all. I didn't feel sub bass, because it wasn't there, but the bass that was present was very impactful and highly detailed. I thought my Athena LS500bs had good bass definition, until I heard these. The Athenas go lower, but now sound muddy in comparison. I'm so pleased with how the MG12s sounded in my room I'm thinking about taking a chance on the 1.7s. I loved the size (large) of the presentation of instruments so much that now I want more!. I'm hoping the extra 5 Hz of bass extension will allow me to forgo a subwoofer. I know some people with Magnepans who simply refuse to alter the quality of Maggie bass with subwoofers. And when I eventually finish a larger space downstairs I don't want to regret not getting the larger panels.
That is good to hear. I had the same reaction to the bass when I tried the MG12s. It was lower than I expected and very clean.
Something I just tried in my 12x12 room is a diagonal setup. Not sure if it would work for the Maggies but worth a try.
Here's a link to a paper that got me started on the diagonal setup.
My room is 11×16×8 and the 1.7 sound amazing!. I have them over 7 feet apart almost 8 feet apart. 46 inches almost 4 feet from the back wall and i sit about 8 feet away from the speakers. They require alot of toe in to get the middle just right, but play around so you can really feel those tweeters. I like to use the tweeters in the in position, that sounds best. I once pushed them back to 2 1/2 feet back to the back wall. The speakers did work, but moving them closer, i got the depth and soundstage just as good as they sounded in 2 show rooms in an audio shop. Your room being only 13 feet wide they will have to be close to the side wall. I dont know if thats a good thing cause i only get about an inch over 2 feet from the side walls myself. I think you can make them work but it will tight! In my opinion i thing getting them atleast 7 1/2 feet apart makes the biggest difference.
Hi guys. Looking at a used pair of 1.7...My room is 10 x 14 x 9. Corner traps at front wall (wall behind speakers). 1st and 2nd reflection points absorption (removable if it doesn't work out). Low to moderate listening levels...small ensemble jazz, vocals, piano and acoustic guitar. Nothing heavy...not even pop. Here's where a big problem could arise... My amp is tubed (kt-88) and is only putting out 35wpc. Any chance of it being adequate? Thanks.
I agree with Zd542. WIth your listening tastes and the room size, *plus* the way Maggies like tubes (assuming your amp has 4-ohm taps), your 35 wpc should be OK.
Consider: the Maggies are rated at 86 dB at 1 meter distance with 1 watt input. That's for a single speaker in an anechoic chamber. When you add the second speaker, it brings it up to 89 dB. When you add the reflections of the room (esp. a smaller one), you add at least 3 more dB. You should be getting close to 90 dB at 1w input at your listening position, especially since you get less volume dropoff from a line source (e.g., Maggies) than a point source (most dynamic speakers).
From there, you double the power required to raise loudness in increments of 3dB. By the time your 35 wpc amp is maxing out, it should be making around 115 dB at your listening spot, which is LOUD.
To double the apparent loudness of a system by 2 times(10db) takes 10 times the power. 3db is about a 1.23 times increase in loudness and the increases are not linear, but- logarithmic. (http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~tamaras/digitalAudio/Linear_vs_logarithmic.html) (http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~tamaras/digitalAudio/Decibels.html) 115db, from Maggies with 35WPC? That'll be the day!
I posted "From there, you double the power required to raise loudness in increments of 3dB."
I was adhering to the "double the power for a 3dB increment" principle all along. Start with factory spec 86dB at 1W input in an anechoic room; factor in a second speaker (+3dB=89 dB at 1 wattt) and room gain (another 3-6 dB) and you could get 95dB at 1 watt input per speaker as the stereo in-room starting point. From there, 1x2x2x2x2x2=32 watts as the result of five doublings, making for a 5x3=15dB increase. So in a small room you can hit 105 (my intended figure) to 110 dB (depending on room gain) with around 35 watts x 2, making 70 watts.
My view is the Maggie 1.7 will not work very well in a small room or paired with a 35 watt tube amp. They are great but not in the wrong room or with the wrong amp. They will play OK under those circumstances but in my opinion you would be far, far better off with another choice. They need room and substantial current from the amp to play correctly. That is my view anyway. Good luck.
06-22-15: Rodman99999You still are trying to figure your powerNo I'm not, and the 10dB scale and the 3dB scale are not in conflict. It's not
an either/or situation. There are two common ways of looking at amp
power output vs. perceived loudness, and BOTH are logarithmic.
One scale looks at 3dB increases in SPL vs. doubling amp output. That's the
scale I'm using:
1w to produce 95dB
2w to produce 98dB
4w to produce 101dB
8w to produce 104 dB
16w to produce 107dB
32w to produce 110 dB
A doubling of power for a small linear increase IS a logarithmic relationship.
The other scale looks at 10dB increase in SPL (subjective perceived doubling
of loudness) requiring a tenfold output in amplifier power.
In that case, you'd have:
1w to produce 95dB
10w to produce 105dB
100w to produce 115dB.
Galen Carol starts with the 3dB/double the power scale and shifts after two
increments to the 10dB/10x the power ratio, but they're still both
expressions of the same logarithmic relationship between SPLs and the
power required to increase them.
By the 3dB/double the power scale, you need an eightfold increase of power
to see a 9dB increase in SPL. That's not all that different from a tenfold
increase of power to see a 10dB increase.
I'm only claiming a 15dB increase in SPL for a 32-fold increase in power
output. Search the web anywhere; in just about any discussion of amp output vs. speaker output in dB you'll see both relationships given time
after time: double the power for every additional 3dB, or ten times the power
for 10dB additional loudness.
@Linesource- My present situation requires a listening room quite similar to yours(12 X 13). My listening tastes lean more to realistic SPLs, however. Even at lower listening levels; the room was easily overloaded by reverberation/slap echo, and sounded terrible before treatment. I believe anyone in the know agrees that rooms do not/can not add anything beneficial to what your system is reproducing. I've been using Maggies(SMG, MMG and MG12) in this room, for the past couple decades. The frequencies below 250Hz are actively crossed over(and DSP corrected) to a solid state amp(400WPC) and a pair of transmission line woofers. The rest to a pair of Cary SLM-100s and the Maggies. About 12 years ago; I tried a Cary Rocket 88(40WPC/Ultralinear) in the system. Even without having to reproduce the octaves below Middle C, the Rocket 88 ran out of steam at very moderate listening levels(Jazz/Blues). With a 35WPC tube amp, reproducing the full musical spectrum; you CAN listen to music, but- don't expect much in the way of dynamics. With Maggies in a small room; a good treatment configuration is Auralex behind the listening position(mine is from 3Ft above the floor, to the ceiling/LENRDs in the corners) and a couple foam dispersion panels, on the wall, behind the Maggies. As beamy as they are; I haven't found any problem from side wall or ceiling reflections(panels placed on the long end of the room, 18" from side walls/32" from back, tweeters on the outside and my listening position: 24" from the back wall). That provides kind of a near-field experience, but with the right choice of components(cables/tubes/sources & source material), I'm enjoying a soundstage that extends beyond the walls, and with excellent imaging. I've thought about trying the 1.7, but- it occurs to me, given that everything in the lower part of the spectrum is handled by the woofers; the new Maggie .7 might be a better choice for my room(and, perhaps yours, if prominent bass isn't an issue). By all means: try a pair of Maggies, with your tube amp and see if you can reach an SPL that satisfies you. Experimentation is a huge part of the enjoyment in this hobby(and/or profession). Post your results, please!
Pc123v, I used an 18 watt tube amp in my 12x12 room with the MG12s setup in a diagonal configuration and had no problem at normal listening levels.
A loud level for me is anything over 80db when measured approximately 8 feet from the speakers. Normal listening for me is 68-75 db. These figures quoted for 105-110 db are irrelevant to me. First off I won't subject my 60-year-old ears to those levels and secondly, a small room can't handle that kind of sound pressure. It just won't sound good.
When I sold the Maggies I demoed them for a local buyer with both a 100 watt ss amp and the 18 watt tube amp. They performed well with both.
This may sound unresponsive but any good quality speaker paired with high quality components will sound much much better than mediocre speakers paired with mediocre components. The real question is whether or not these components are delivering their maximum potential in these respective arrangements. I have no doubt I would love the experience if I stuck a pair of Wilson's XXX (fill in the blanks) hooked up to an Audio Research Ref-XXX amp and Ref-X preamp in my basement.... but .....Sorry just could not resist.
I have had mmgs and mg12s in a room a little smaller than yours 10x11. 12in diameter/4ft tall foam column 2ft behind speakers, back wall fully covered with auralex, side walls partially covered, top corners treated, and it sounded great! I have had many speakers in that room, Magnepan and monitors worked the best. I probably could have had the bigger 1.6 back then, but I was very pleased with mg12.
In general, I would not recommend Magnepans in small rooms. I went from having my Maggies 4' off the front wall to 9' & 7' (uneven front wall), and the difference was massive. You really hamstring the speaker by having them close to the front wall and are probably better off getting a different brand.
My room is 12 x 15 x 8 just upgraded from 1.7i to 3.7 i. Don't be scared of large Maggies in a small room the sound is totally amazing you get more of everything. Also upgraded amp from Emotiva ( which kept blowing) to Parasound Halo integrated a match made in heaven. Plenty of power and great sound.