Magnepan .7 review

My MG 1.6's recently died of old age. I had some minor de-lamination at the top of the one bass driver which was easily fixed. Then a tweeter gave out. The foil cracked where it goes from the mylar to the frame :( I fully intend to get them re-built, but decided that after about 10 years it was time to get a new pair. I purchased a brand new pair of 0.7's from Audio Advice, here in Raleigh. Service was good and they were very responsive to questions.

Unpacking yielded a bit of a surprise - it seems the new Maggies ship with metal protectors on the membranes. The glue used to hold the aluminum onto the mylar causes the grill cloth to stick quite tenaciously to the voice coil. Magnepan recommends using duct tape to gently pull the cloth away. It took about an hour to free them both, being gentle.

Break-in was fairly slow with a number of changes being noted along the way. The tweeters initially sounded quite raspy on sibilant sounds. Bass was full and extended from day one. Imaging was plain weird and seemed to move around a bit - I tried all kinds of toe-in and placement to ameliorate this, but in the end it just required time and patience. I never once needed the tweeter attenuators - there is no Maggie "glare" with this model.

My room is 24' x 14' with a small bump-out for a restroom towards the rear. Final placement was a combination of the Cardas calculator for planars and some measurement using REW to find the spot with the smoothest bass. It ended up being 6'-4" center to center between the speakers and 57" from the front wall. Speakers are toed in but aimed a bit beyond my ears on the outside. My room is treated to remove ringing and slap echo and has a fairly thick carpet. Bass has quite a bit of reinforcement from a standing wave at 46Hz (it acts like a loudness switch). My placement minimizes this, but it is still significant. It can be cancelled with a pair of subs appropriately setup, but I am reviewing the Maggies on their own.

I am using the standard stands. There is a compromise with the tilt that they provide. Sound is better than with the 1.6's standing up, but loses a little extension when sitting. I have tried them vertical and close to vertical and have reverted back to standard tilt as I feel it sounds more relaxed. (Using some hardware store beam clamps attached to the rear of the feet with some protective cardboard to prevent scratching allows you to adjust tilt very precisely).

What do I think? Well, the 0.7's give up nothing to the 1.6's on bass and in fact they have a bit more mid-bass, which was always a weakness on the 1.6. They don't sound thin at all. They image better than the 1.6's, but during break in the image moves all over the place. They are stable now after quite a lot of use between April and now (I work from home, so they get used a lot). Their midrange is excellent, bass is surprisingly good and treble extension.... well, this is where they fall a little short. Brushed cymbals and ride cymbals sound a bit back in the mix and lack brilliance. Other instruments including struck cymbals sound great. I would  say the 1.6 does not have this issue and I cannot put my finger on where the issue is, as measurements with REW don't seem to reveal a hole in the treble.

I am hoping that the treble area will open up some more with some more hours, but I am very satisfied with these speakers overall and highly recommend them.

Associated gear: Denon 2910 SACD player, Logitech Transporter, Quad Elite preamp, various power amps (Parasound HCA1500A, Adcom GFA5400, Class D Audio CDA254). The Parasound does not sound good with these speakers although it was great with the 1.6's. It sounds coarse. The Adcom, which was a bit too bright with the 1.6's, sounds warm and wonderful with the .7's. The Class D - too soon to tell, haven't had much time with it.

One more odd thing to note: REW gives a distortion measurement of 3% at 74dB at normal tilt and 0.3% when almost vertical. Very strange. This was when new - I have not re-measured.

I hope you found this useful.

Nice writeup - thanks for taking the time to do it. I'm quite happy with some recently acquired equipment: Naim Nait XS-2 and Totem Arros.

I have a very small room, but I would still like to try the .7 at some point. I think the Nait XS-2 would be a good match.  I can pull the speakers 3-4' away from the front wall but only about 1' from the side walls. I really enjoyed my time with Acoustat Model 3s and 1+1 (had these in my current room) along with some Audiostatics back in the early 90s.

Some day I'll take the plunge and try the experiment.
Very nice writeup - raindanceI enjoy brilliant brushes, cymbals and other associated percussion flavors.Careful gear selection w/ your Maggies will yield a sweet payoff. Check here in the Audiogon forums, as well as, other audio forums to determine the best musical playback electronics. Maggies have quite a following w/ many satisfied owners/supporters of this brand. The Adcom 5400 is a pretty good power amp. I used to own this model. Keep us posted on this development.
Happy Listening!
Great review!

We have things in common. I have 3.6s, a 14’ wide room, and also used REW extensively for set up (see my All out Assault REW plot - Oh, I need a little more toe in....). Surprised about the treble as many complain their ribbons are too hot. This should be fixable.

Some ideas include: 1) more break-in time (probably not)?; 2) assume your room is fairly symmetric?; 3) Everything sounds like you’ve optimized for bass. Most likley you’ve overdamped your room. Did you damp the front wall? - should use diffusion there and damp behind the listening seat. Check RT60 up top - I’m betting it’s below .3mS. 4) You’ll get a much better center image with tweeters in, but lose that big sound stage. To me it’s a worth while tradeoff. 5) Between 5-6’ from front wall Maggie’s imaging starts to get more diffuse. Farther away is not always better. 6) The last thing I’d try is an amp change as this should be fixable with placement/treatment changes. Note: the Adcom is really nice, but it’s real strength is mid & bass. Top end is a little rolled off. Read the original Bascom King 5800 review (I have owned both the 5800 & 5802).

Thanks for the .7 comments. Sounds like a really great speaker!

Check this pdf on Acoustic Measurement Standards out, but don’t take it too seriously as it’s "ideal":

@barrysandy - thanks for the comments. Actually the 1.6's had more than enough treble in the same room and location, so I think the .7 is definitely more laid back. I've switched to a passive preamp and it helps with the extension somewhat.