magnepan mmgs-buy zero autoformers or stands 1st?

the mmgs sound good with my 40wpc el34 tube amp, but the bass needs tightening up. what would benefit me more, the zero autoformers or the mye stands. i'm thinking both will help immensely, but don't have the dough right now for both. thanks
More current will make more of a differnce than either. 40 watts is not enough to allow them to open up and show their best.
Both are excellent ideas to try in your situation. I would suggest first checking with Paul Speltz about the Autoformers. He used to offer a 30 day guarantee, but I don't know if he still does. If he does, that would be the most practical route. If the autoformer doesn't help to your satisfaction, you've haven't lost much on the investment. In the past, I did use both the Autoformers and the Mye stands and both can tighten up the bass significantly. It could be that your tube amps damping factor is too low to get good bass and the autoformers allowing you to use the 8 ohm tap should help.
the autoformers will tighten the bass and your amps will have more effective power too. They are fun to play with, you can change the impedance of the speakers to alter the sound. I settled around 13 OHMs and that is the most popular choice according to Speltz's website. They can replace speaker wire if your run is not too long. They would be my choice - but I never heard the Mye stands when I owned my Maggie 1.6s.
Narrod has the real solution, but this has already been discussed in an earlier thread of Cooch's.

I'd suggest trying the Zeroformers since they are available with a trial period. They should tighten up the bass. However, raising the impedance can also lead to a dry sound. Something to listen for...
Tvad is exactly right about the dry sound. That was one of the things I didn't like about the autoformers. Wow. Its been so long I had forgotten about that. Nonetheless, I know quite a few others who are using the autoformers with tube amps with great satisfaction. I think a good bit of the results will depend on how much damping your amp already provides. If you have an amp claiming zero negative feedback, then you may be alright. If your amp utilizes a high degree of feedback, it may sound dry and overdamped.
Cooch...Your tube amp already has an output rransformer. Why add another one? Put your $ into a better amp.
hey, i'm forgetting something. the mmg's aren't even a week old and not broken in yet. bass should tighten up as they break in correct? i still think there is plenty of power because i'm getting plenty of bass, able to play loud without speakers breking up. and the boom i hear is only on 10% of material (maybe even bad recordings ). guess i will wait til these get fully broken in and then decide on next move. definitely keep these speakers and this amp is gonna run them. any thoughts on break-in time and how maggies will change as they break in? bass should tighten up correct? thanks alot
specs on my amp.........


1.Class AB,push-pull design delivering 40 watt output power.
2.A pair of EL34 output tubes running in ULTRA-LINEAR mode per channel.
3.12AT7 and 6SN7 dual triodes for input stage and drive stage (one 6SN7 drive pair of EL34).
4.Little negative feedback with precision RC circuitry for more linear output.
5.IEC Jack


CONTROL FUNCTIONS: Volume, Input, Power On/Off
POWER OUTPUT: 40 watt x 2, RMS 1kHz
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION: less than 1%(40watt, 1kHz)
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: (-3dB points at 10 watt) 6Hz-60kHz
OUTPUT IMPEDANCE: 4,8 ohms. (User selectable.)
INPUT INTERFACES: 3 groups (RCA) - 1,2 and 3
VACUUM TUBE: EL34 x 4, 12AT7 x 2, 6SN7 x 2
DIMENSIONS: 446(L) x 264(W) x 155(H) mm
WEIGHT: 17kg(net);17.5kg(shipping)\
Using the 8 ohm taps will tighten the bass more than the 4 ohm taps.
really?, thanks, tvad, but won't this hurt the amp, or speakers? according to maggie website, they say don't run on 8 ohm taps......
I have to say I'm completely out of ideas to help your situation Cooch. Good luck.
thanks, sorry to be a pain man...
You're not being a pain.

The ideas have been presented: an amp that delivers more current into 4 ohms (and lower), or Zeroformers. If Magnepan says not to use 8 ohm taps, then I certainly wouldn't risk trying it.

So, besides those two ideas, I don't know what else to suggest other than searching the member's systems for others who use Maggies and ask them directly for recommendations.

I will say that I don't believe the stands are going to solve your issue with bass performance although they might enhance the sound after the proper solution has been found.
yep, you are right. and despite some opinions, i really believe this amp has plenty enough power and current. i will let the maggies break in first, then decide. it's been 5 days since i've had them. hopefully, all they need is break-in time. i appreciate your advice....
Your speakers may develop a bit more nuance and the bass may "tighten up" a tad but don't delude yourself here.

Earthshaking, paint-peeling bass is not a characteristic of the MMG or any other Maggie for that matter but then again you knew that prior to purchase.
cmon' now, not looking for earthshaking, paint-peeling bass. just tighter on some recordings......
Rather than listen to all these opinions, I suggest that you beg, borrow, or steal a higher powered SS amp and listen to what it does with the MMGs. Then decide for yourself. But don't decide on your small tube amp without even listening to anything else.
I understand, but that speaker has severe limitations in the bottom end.

Don't kid yourself.
The stands, (at least good ones) do more than raise the Maggies... They firmly lock them in place, sway allowed. This results in a more "clear" sound, as the soundwave launching is now from a firmly "locked in place" source.

Some other thoughts:

KT-88 or 6550...better bass than EL34

Room placement...did you try the CARDIS planer setup guide?

Subwoofer (s)...Maggies crossed over at 80hz

Good suggestions above from Eldartford and Dave...particularly the KT88/6550 amp and room placement ideas.
ok, thought that that's what this forum was for tho. to get opinions. i'm getting great bass with the el34's.. it's only on certain recording where it is boomy. i will live with that if i have to. cardas set-up is almost 6 feet from front wall- not an option. who has 6 feet from front wall? not many i would think. my decision is to let them break in and see what happens. stands are a must anyway, so i will be getting them. then see how it is. i'm just wondering if any of the naysayers have even listened to a 40 push pull el34 tube amp with the mmg's. probably not...
Yes, I have and so have many others. If you're happy that's fine. The amp is not a good match for the speakers.
You asked for input and a few of us suggested that autoformers or stands should not be the focus. One of the nice things about advice, you can ignore it. To close, if the 40 watt tube amp is the only way you've heard the have not heard them at their full potential. Enjoy.....
i'm just wondering if any of the naysayers have even listened to a 40 push pull el34 tube amp with the mmg's. probably not...
Cooch (Threads | Answers)

KT88/6550 tubes are known for having better bass control than EL34 tubes. So, while your question is understandable and valid, one can extrapolate the qualities of a KT88 amplifier to get an idea of how using one would perform on Maggies in comparison to an EL34 amplifier. Some EL34 amps allow for using KT88 tubes as an alternative. If yours is one of these, this is something you could try for a relatively small investment.

As an alternative to the Cardas method, you can also take your front-to-back room dimension and divide it by odd numbers (11, 9, 5...). Take the numbers that result and use them as distances to place the front of your driver plane from the front wall. Try a couple of the measurements. Also, be certain the distance from the front wall to the speaker plane and the distance from the side walls to the center of each diver is a different distance. An equal distance will reinforce bass and contribute to boominess.

Also, since you experience boomy bass with only some recordings, perhaps it is inherent with the recordings and not a problem with your system.
tvad thanks. i will try the alternative to cardas method as that can be done. and, i used to have a kt88 amp. i will find out if i can interchange, but i don't think so. about the recordings, you may be right. altho, on my reference system i do not get the boominess. that is what puzzles me. one thing that hasn't been addressed in this thread is break-in time. i would think that this has at least a little to do with it.
ok, we'll disagree. no prob. but do yourself a favor and listen to a consonance m100 plus sometime. then tell me it is not a good match....
next your gonna say the mmgs' are fully broken in too....
I had a CJ MV50 (which is an EL34 amp at about 40 watts) with those speakers. Sure, there was bass and it sounded pretty good, but then I switched to a Mark Levinson 330 something or other which I believe was about 250 watts or so into 4 ohms. No contest. The ML took control of the speakers and made them perform at a level that the tube amp only hinted at. I then added a pair of Vandersteen subs and that really sounded great.

You can delude yourself that your amp is a OK but I would suggest taking the sage advice of those who have lived with these speakers and feed them as they wish to be fed.
Cooch, I'm not sure why you posted the question. Buy the autoformers (they're good), buy the stands (their great), break in the speakers for 300-500 hours (they will improve)and keep the same amp and you STILL won't be hearing the speakers at their best. This is not to say your amp isn't good. It simply doesn't have the current these speakers demand to perform at their best.
Regarding break-in, the MMG manual makes no mention of it. On the other hand, the manual for my Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE does mention break-in. Different driver designs. Does this mean the Maggies do not go through a break-in period? I don't know, but the MMG manual is very specific on a number of topics, including placement and set-up (Have you read this section and followed the procedure? It's quite good, and it specifically addresses bass issues.). I would think if break-in was a factor with the MMG, then Magnepan would have mentioned it in the manual.

Tvad...The manual for MG1.6 does talk about break in. What is says is that the LF extension will gradually increase until it meets spec. That is exactly what happened (and I can tell because I have a spectrum analyser that shows me the frequency response). My MG1.6 started out 3dB down at about 45+ Hz, and ended up at 40Hz, which is exactly per the Maggie specs.
Cooch: You wrote, "altho, on my reference system i do not get the boominess. that is what puzzles me." I don't know what your reference system is but may well be that the speakers in your reference system synergize better with an amp with low damping factor. Could very well be that the speakers in your reference system are damped in the woofer already (Merlins do this, for example and pair better with low damped amps). The use of little feedback in your amp indicates a low damping factor. Tvad recommended using the Maggies on the 8 ohm taps as this is known as "light loading" and will increase the damping. You may consider calling Magnepan and see what they advise about "light loading". If they tell you "no, don't do it", then don't. The autoformers will transform the impedance allowing you to use the 8 ohm taps and acheive higher damping. In my experience with Maggies, they respond better to amps with high damping factors (as always, there are exceptions). I don't think the break in time with your amp is going to cure the boomy bass; I truly think the boomy bass is directly related to the use of little feedback on the amp. I'd first call Magnepan to see if you can try "light loading". If Magnepan says "no", call Paul Speltz to see if he still offers the trial period with the Zeros. Short of these steps, I cannot think of any other solution other than a different amp. Good luck.
tvad, you are right. no mention of break-in? this is ridiculous.....from what i read these speakers have one of the longest break-in periods, very strange they don't mention it in the manual... and no, i haven't been able to try different positioning yet because of the xmas tree. i am anxious to do this....
ok fellas, case closed. thanks for all of the feedback. much appreciated........
called magnepan. they said could use 8 ohm tap but there may not be enough current on 8 ohm tap. i will give it a shot... thanks
If your getting bass's your room. Boom and muddy are not the same thing. Boom is a room mode thing.


12-18-06: Eldartford

Tvad...The manual for MG1.6 does talk about break in. What is says is that the LF extension will gradually increase until it meets spec.

That's good info.

I've read the MMG manual twice now, and I've not seen any mention of break-in. It's odd that they wouldn't be consistent in their manuals. Same driver design, correct?
Going back to autotransformers...presumably you would use them to make the 4 ohm MMG look like an 8 ohm load. If you had a solid state amplifier this would reduce the power delivery of the amp. (Macintosh used autotransformers the other way around in their ss amps so as to make 8 ohm loads look like 4). However, since you have a tube amp the output transformer already has a 4 ohm winding. Its 8 ohm output is just more windings in the transformer. If you used an autotransformer it would simply amount to replacing these windings with ones in an external device.

The most sensible application of these autotransformers would be as part of a crossover network so as to use less costly values of inductors and capacitors when the drivers are 4 ohms.
thanks eldar. actually the mmg's are sounding better every day, just the way they are, using 4 ohm taps. bass is getting better and tightening up. plenty of clean, undistorted volume, actually more volume than i need. anyway, i think this amp is perfectly fine with the mmgs. and so long as i like it that's all that matters. it's a good amp, probably better than most people in this thread realize. too bad they can't hear it.....
and i always have my db99's to listen to-not too shabby
EL34 is a great midrange tube... but it's sloppy in the bass. They are useful in guitar amps, and when you're high-passing your speakers with a sub beneath.
whoa, just put the mmgs on the short wall, instead of long wall. i had it like that because of the xmas tree. what a difference!!!! the room is 15 x 12. i think that was the problem all along.
ok, you guys are right. my amp is fine for nearfield listening only. tried it in my big room snd no go. looking at the Krell 400xi and Musical Fidelity A5...both 200 wpc into 8 ohms and 400 wpc into 4 ohms...any opinions on which is better to mate with maggies? gonna probably move up to 1.6 or 3.6 in the maggies line, altho not sure yet...thanks again
sorry, musical fidelity a5 is 250 wpc into 8 ohms, 400 into 4 ohms....
Each will do the job. Can you listen to both? My gut feel is the Musical Fidelity would be the most musical but
Krell has its' fans.
can listen to the mf, not the krell. can you recommend any others that i should check out that may be better with the maggies? these 2 both list for $2500.00. so in that ballpark. thanks
I'm sorry to get in this so late, it's probably over but: I've owned the 3.6R's and now the 20.1. I can tell you: forget the 40 watt tube amp. You really need power. I went from ARC VT100 to ML336, it changed the world. Keep the tubes up front. I don't now have the Mye's on the 20.1s, but I did on the 3.6's. When I first installed the Myes I couldn't believe what a dramatic difference they made. I called all my friends. But, what struck me was not the bass tightening up but instead an incredible "shimmer" in the high end. It was stunning. But, after about one week I got used to it and it stopped impressing me as much. That's the problem with these tweaks, we get used to them and then we want more. As to the bass, what really helped that out was building new crossovers, from top to bottom. Total price was about: $1200. Now that's your answer. John