Magnepan 3.7 - 3.7i owners need help please


Hello, I have owned a pair of Magnepan 3.6r's for quite some time. I was assured that the 3.7i's were a big step in sonic improvement over the 3.6r's. So, I went and bought a brand new pair of 3.7i's. Got them home, set them up, and have approximately 20 hours of play on them.

I am using the exact same equipment as I had with the 3.6r's which is a Sanders Magtech amp, a Benchmark 3 hgc dac, and the exact same decent quality cabling. The 3.6r's had a partial external crossover and I was bi-wiring. The 3.7i's do not have anything but a single pair of binding posts, so I am using the exact same speaker cable but not a bi-wire version.

What I have noticed it that they definitely do not have the depth, spatial characteristics, or openess of the 3.6r's. They do however have maybe a more predominant midrange but, at the sacrifice of the midrange being bloated or muddled at moderate volume levels. I have noticed that the 3.7i's have sort of a filter membrane behind the midrange section which my 3.6r's did not. Maybe a smaller rear dipole radiation pattern? The bass is also lacking compared to the bass response of the 3.6r's

The Dealer said they may need more break in to loosen the mylar. However if that were the case, the midrange would get worse, but thembass may get better. The passive crossovers may need some more break in time, but to be honest, i'm skeptical about all of it!

So, anyone out there that can offer some insight would be greatly appreciated. I am just a working class hero with limited financial resources. I cant afford to spend a large sum of money for something no returnable, and go backwards with disappointment. Needless to say I did not get much sleep last night. Might need a prescription for xanax at this point!
 Thanks, Steve.. 
sfrounds
Did you place the speakers in the exact position that you had the 3.6s? Tweeter panels in the same orientation? I've heard that Maggies take as much as a couple hundred hours to break-in, though I understand your reservations. Maybe give Wendell a call and see what he thinks.

After 12 years with 3.6´s I switched to 3.7´s when they came out. I feel that the 3.6´s had more, slightly rounder bass but not as articulate as the 3.7´s. The 3.6´s could sound a bit weightier but also somewhat bloated in comparison. Makes me wonder why they released the DWM´s......... 

Better integration in 3.7 and I have not noticed anything about the depth, openess or the bloated midrange you mention. I have not heard the i-model with the tape behind the midrange (no tape on the 3.7)

helomech, thank you for your response. Yes, placement is exact. I may have to wait the few hundred hours and see what happens. Possibly because they are different, they will require some change in position? Calling Wendell could not hurt.

Hasse,Thank you for your response as well, So glad to hear from someone who has had both, Did time/break in change the sound of your 3.7's? Mine sound, I guess, somewhat compressed compared to my 3.6's. I will call Wendell, and see what he says. That tape bothers me, but need to find out more about it. Thanks again

Steve, the change is perhaps not as big as I had hoped, they still sound a bit leaner than the 3.6...if memory serves. The 3.7 sounds slightly different but not necessarily better, different strenghts and weaknesses.

When I asked Wendell about the tape he replied, "what tape" :) Please let us know what he sez.


Have you tried them with tweeters in?

It may have been an upgrade in model number, but not worth the trouble.  You probably have to break the new ones in more to achieve their potential. Just enjoy the music and don't try to find flaws.  If something REALLY sticks into you THEN you ugrade.
+1 on breaking in. Your description of 'compression' definitely sounds like things need to break in.
I would let them play background music and not listen to them critically for a week, at least.
Do you still have the 3.6's?
Bob
I agree with calling Wendell.  Tell him what music is lacking depth, spatial characteristics, or openess (& tell us what he says)...

I also suspect a breakin period will help.

I cannot speak to the 3.6s as I am just now upgrading from 1.5QRs to 3.7i's (which I found used).
Greetings
the 3.7 as all magies need run in
you can relax and just know this is normal
leave it playing low for about a week strait and don't judge it
you will start to feel it relax and
get clearer and with stronger body
with time
did you put the resistors in?
best JohnnyR


I believe they can take up to 400 hours to really break in.
The subject of 3.6 vs 3.7 (i and non-i versions) has been discussed quite a bit over at the Planar Speaker Asylum and MUG (Magnepan Owners Group). The 3.7 has a very different crossover than the 3.6, and requires different orientation (toe-in) in relation to the listening position. Some Maggie enthusiasts value the ability to bi-amp the 3.6 more than the improvements made in the 3.7. Have you already sold your 3.6's? If not, hold onto them until you're sure you like the 3.7i's more!
You have received very good advice from the responses above. Relax and enjoy the music while your new speakers break in.
If you don't have the Mye Stands for your speakers, down the road you might want to consider them. After break in, the Mye Stands will furthermore improve the sound of any floor standing Magnepan.

Hello everyone... Wow, thank you for all of this information, where do I begin. I have about 50 hrs on them now and there is more bottom end. However, they still sound compressed too me, and not very open sounding. Sort of like I wish I could take the grills off...ha ha

I am convinced you guys are absolutely correct about break-in time, and believe they may actually need the hundreds of hours. I wish Magnepan was doing that before they shipped them.

Okay, I'll explain what I see regarding the tape thing. On the 3.7i's when looking at the midrange section from the rear, I see a white type filter media and appears as though it would reduce the sound levels coming out of the rear of the midrange section. My 3.6's do not have this, its the same as looking at the bass section. 

I was told by the dealer, Overture, in Wilmington, Delaware that Wendell was out and would not be back until the 20th or so.

Yes, I still have the 3.6's standing by for a near future reference to the 3.7.  I know exactly how the 3.6's sound, and at this point, I don't want to lose a nights sleep by putting them back in service just yet. One of them will be going, just not sure which one yet.

I tried experimenting with the resistors and within a half hour I took them the heck out. Oh my...terrible

I have been experimenting with positioning, but I must admit that "no" I have not tried hanging them from the ceiling yet. They are in a different position than the 3.6's were but not all that much. I kind of know this room and its usually within 18 to 24 inches from the side walls and 4 to 6 feet off the back wall.

The mention about the 3.6R's having the capability of bi-wiring, or bi-amping is a wonderful advantage, and I miss that with these new ones. I was bi-wirng with the 3.6's and it really did make an nice improvement. I was also bi-amping for a while with a Minidsp, and the clarity was so improved its nutty. But, at the cost of the sound stage and depth somewhat collapsing. I believe that the multiples (3) of analog to digital conversions that was happening using the Minidsp was the cause. I went back to a single amp bi-wired and found my comfort zone there.

I really miss VMPS, and wish there were some out there in decent shape to be had. Why is it when the few times that we finally get it all just right that we just can't leave it alone? My wife says i'm nuts and "What Now" funny!!!

Well, thank you all for your time and help. Please don't stop! I will post here as things progress with break in.




Perhaps a stupid question but are your 3.7s placed with the same side in and same side out as the 3.6s were? I've read that it has happened in a situation similar to yours and it was a simple as swapping sides...

sfrounds---Bi-amping of the 3.6 is not, as you experienced, best done digitally. Fortunately it doesn’t have to be. First Watt makes an excellent, moderately-priced non-digital active electronic crossover (the B4, designed and built by Nelson Pass) that is unbelievably versatile, providing every filter slope (1st-2nd-3rd-4th order, meaning 6-12-18-24 dB/octave) in 25Hz increments from 25Hz up to 3200Hz. I use it with my Magneplanar Tympani T-IV’s and Quad ESLs.

Regarding the VMPS speakers, you may or may not know that the ribbons in those are a version of the Eminent Technology LFT drivers. ET themselves make a Magnetic-Planar/dynamic woofer hybrid speaker that some owners have purchased in preference to Maggies, even those more expensive than the $2499/pr LFT-8b, such as the 3.7i. If you have an ET dealer near you, you might want to try and hear them for yourself. I think they are the worlds best value in a currently available loudspeaker!

Maybe try a different amp.  I have that same magtech and have used it with 1.7s in a smallish room.  I pulled out my 1.7s recently with new speakers (not Maggie) on order.  Needed something to listen to while waiting..  I can tell you that the difference between the magtech and the Boulder 2060 on the 1.7s is enourmous.  I'm sure the same would be true for the 3.7s.  The Maggie's really show off good power and it could be that the magtech matched better with your 3.6 than 3.7.  Not sure but give it a try if you can get a demo of something that might trip your breakers.  :)
Not to say the magtech isn't "good power" but maybe an older Krell (fpb series?) or something like it would be a better match.  Good luck.
Sorry to hear you're not ecstatic about your 3.7s. I have owned the 3.6Rs and the 3.7s with the Sanders amp although with a Hovland HP 100 preamp. After break in I found the 3.7s more open and dynamic with a more detailed soundstage. As others have commented break-in is so essential. Keep the faith. 
After you've done your break in, if you are still not happy with the sound, I would first experiment with placement of the speakers and toe in.  Like any fine speaker, placement is everything and they might end up being placed a fair amount different in your room than the older pair.  Put two strips of painters tape on the floor and mark them in inches with a pen and proceed to move the speakers an inch or two (at the most) forward and back until you hear an overall improvement compared to other positions.  Then experiment with toe in. As a dealer I find that even long term audio buyers/audiophiles do NOT really know how to precisely set up their speakers to make them sound their best.  If you are unsure of your competence in this, please call your dealer your bought them from and ask them if they would do it for you.  Most will gladly oblige, often at no cost since you just spent a bundle on the speakers with them.  Of course, if you didn't buy them new from a dealer, then you may have to pay someone to do this, but if the person is knowledgable and practiced at speaker set up, believe me, it will be worth paying for a couple of hours or so of their time. Good luck!
Please examine the book Get Better Sound by Jim Smith, who worked for Magnepan for many years, who has provided some further guidelines for speaker placement that may lead to large sonic breakthroughs for you.  Book is very modest in cost, can call 1-770-777-2095 to purchase direct from Quarter Notes Press
I  spent many years with MGIIIs then upgraded to the 3.7s (not i) and they took several hundred hours to catch up to the IIIs.  Your amp is excellent, I use the Magtech with my 20.7s and would NEVER switch. Read the Magtech reviews on Rogers website, one of them was done at my house with my 20.7s.  One suggestion that I will +1 on is to get Mye stands, the 3.7s really benefit from the additional stiffness from the Mye stands.  Another tweek that I found is to use a tube pre-amp in front of the Magtech, I started with a MC 2300 and NOS Mullard 4004s in the driver stage, and now use the MC 1100 with the same Mullards, a truely perfect combination!
I have a pair of 30 year old Maggie IIIa's and a pair of new 3.7I's and have to agree that the newer Maggies took hundreds (300-500) of hours to break in. Until they broke in, the soundstage was diffuse, and the bass was less than stellar.  Honestly they were a mess until breaking in. 

The new speakers definitely added a strip of felt behind part of the midrange. My guess is that it is to dampen the back wave reflection and allow the speaker to be placed closer to the FW, thus making the speaker more spouse friendly. It is obvious when looking at a 3.7 vs a 3.7i. Magnepan is famously reluctant to give details though. 

One tip with the i series is that they need -- according to Wendell --  to have the woofer panel slightly closer than the ribbon tweeter. This of course means that if your tweets are in that you need a lot of toe in, possibly more than you are used to. Less toe in with tweets out. You can see the effect of getting the tweets further away in measurements as it mostly reduces a suck out around the crossover which is readily apparent if the tweets are the same or closer.  

I have not heard the 3.6, but compared to the IIIa, the 3.7i has more detail, has a much smoother and tamer upper midrange, more upper bass and substantially less low bass.  The older speakers go down to the upper twenties while the new ones end in the upper thirties.  (In the 30 years of evolution they made the woofer panels smaller and the midrange larger).

i am currently running both pairs. The 3.7i's are being run in my smaller room with Pass 250.5 amplification and are about 7.5 feet from the FW, tweets in lots of toe in. I am running the older pair in a much larger room tweets out, about the same distance from the FW, with DWMs to boost the mid bass.  I drive the second pair with the 1700 watts into 2 ohm Emotiva XPA1s (the DWMs and larger room make the tough Maggie load tougher).

I prefer the Pass Labs and 3.7i, but there are pros and cons to both systems. 
I’ve started buying and listening to Magnepans in the 80’s. There is one thing the speakers are very consistent at - demonstrating if not highlighting any weaknesses or incompatibilities in the system that is driving them. That only seems to get worse with each subsequent speaker or line of speakers they come out with. The problem may be that the 3.7i’s are more demanding and more revealing than the 3.6’s and there’s something in your system they are not getting along with.

The Magtech amplifier was built to drive electrostatic speakers. Magnepans are not electrostatic speakers. The Magtech is also a solid state amplifier. My experience is that Magnepans do better with tube electronics. I suspect an all-tube amplifier (not hybrid) may sound better than a solid state, even if it is of lower current rating. I listened to a pair of Tympani IVa’s for many many hours with an Audio Research D90-B amplifier rated at 89 WPC. It sounded better than several pairs of Tympani IVa’s I heard in dealer showrooms connected to top-shelf solid state electronics with a lot more current and overall power, including Krell electronics. More power/current is not always the answer.

The business of turning a digital signal into analogue is as much art as science. The HGC DAC3 is also solid state. You might consider one of Audio Research’s tube-based DAC units or even a Bruce Wenger “BWS Dual Mono Ultimate Performance Line Stage” preamplifier.

If the 3.7i’s are not performing to your expectations after a good 400-500 hours of break-in and you’d prefer to not invest another king’s ransom in electronics, the solution might be to go back to a pair of 3.6r’s. Like Microsoft proves to us over and over again, sometimes it’s better to leave things alone.
tdenmark, you might want to read the "What is the best amplifier for Magneplanars?" section on the Magnepan website and read the white papers on Rogers site, you will find that the Magtech can be used with any speaker, its regulated powersupply is exactly what driving a Magnepan demands when they write The power supply is "what separates the men from the boys." Tube amps are great but they dont have the brute power that Maggies demand to sound their best.  Putting tubes in front of a good solid state amp is the receipe for getting the most out of Magnepans.
Hello everyone...

Here's a rather alarming update on my issue. I knew something was just not right with these speakers.

Turns out that one of my brand new speakers left the factory with either mis-wired crossovers or something amiss inside the crossover section.

On one speaker the bass section plays from 30hz to 9khz, the midrange plays from 30hz to 5khz, and the tweeter plays from 700hz to 13khz. Well, I think that's rather a substantial problem!

Talked to the dealer and looks like they are going back to Magnepan.

How does this get missed, are they not thoroughly tested before being shipped. Are there more are out there like mine.

it be checked easy enough. Thanks 
Well, unfortunately 'things happen'. At least you found the cause of the problem. I am sure that the dealer and Magnepan will do right by you.

I know it sounds easy to make such remarks, but know I feel for you, and know that when you get the speakers back from repair, you will be a happy person. I just wish I could loan you a pair...
B