Magnepan MMGW/MMGC Receiver and Sub settings?

Hello everyone.

Just took delivery of my first baby step into Magnepans with a MMGW left/right and a MMGC center channel for a living room theater set up.

It all started innocently enough with a new Samsung plasma 51" 3D/HDTV with Blu Ray player. Amazed by the picture but annoyed at the sound.

Looked at a series of speaker options and after getting turned off by the sound from Soundbars, decided to go with wall mountable L/R/C configuration after listening to a set of wall mounted Golden Ear Super Cinema 3s at my local HiFi audio shop.

Overall system budget mandated that I keep this as reasonable as possible (<$2k) to keep the wife happy. (I still came in at about $2152 after factoring in cables, hidden wiring, speakers MMGW ($325), MMGC ($299), Yamaha RX-A710 ($599), Channel Master 4228 HD antenna ($130), Plasma Mount, ($85), and then the actual cable routing work as well as plasma mounting($714).

Luckily I didn't have to buy a sub. will be pairing with a REL -R505 12" sub.

Received the MMGW/MMGCs yesterday and opened them up and connected them to the Yamaha (90w x 7) and wasn't very impressed. Swapped the receiver with my Rotel RB-1080 (200w x 2) and this seemed to unleash some more potential.

Initial impressions - amazed at how much power these baby Maggies apparently need after running it against my Rotels. Wonderful sound separation when listening without a sub attached. When connected with my sub it does an excellent job in concert music (Seal, Diana Krall). But where it really seems to excell is as a home theater configuration. All of the little nuances of sound really come out with these MMGW/MMGCs. Incredibles, House of Flying Daggers, The Last Samurai built out such a nuanced soundstage that I'm amazed for not having made the change sooner.

Still not broken in yet so I'll still need to give it some time. Also learned from reading the Yamaha receiver manual last night that if you're running 5 Ohm speakers like the Maggies you need to do a setting change in the Yamaha to change the default 8 Ohm setting to 6 Ohm which according to Yamaha is acceptable if driving speakers down to 4 Ohm loads.

My question is around the recommended configuration for the sub configuration that accompanied my Magnepan center channel.

What Magnepan recommends is that I set my receiver/processor on small speaker for the center channel while setting the receiver to "no subwoofer".

The theory is explained as follows in the MMGC manual:

"While the above instructions may seem confusing, ask yourself, "Where will the receiver or processor send the cener channel bass information?" There is no choice, the center channel bass must go to the front left/right full range Magneplanars. Since your front L/R full range MGs are reproducing the center channel bass for your smaller center channel speaker, this will give the illusion of a full range Magneplanar for the center channel. This bass routing management is superior sonically to the usual approach of sending the center channel bass information to the subwoofer."

Q: So is this saying that the sound of having center channel bass sent to my L/R speakers will give a better sonic presentation by having the center channel focus more on dialogue?

Question #2: The MMGC manual asks the following:

According to the MMGC manual:
"The front L/R channels are operating "full range." Using a Y adapter, connect one end of the Y adapter to the left and right preamp outputs of the receiver or processor. Connect one end of the Y adapter to the left (and right) amplifier input. Connect the remaining end of the Y adapter to the subwoofer input..."

Q: I don't understand these instructions. So connect L/R audio outputs from the receiver to a Y adapter and then connect the single end of the Y adapter to my subwoofer connections (2 RCA connections) and not the receiver's single RCA subwoofer input right?

If so my Rel-R505 actually has a left/right RCA connection vs. a single subwoofer RCA. So basically I don't need a Y adapter and can plug my REL R505 straight into the Yamaha's audio out?
I have a small magnepan home theater but use the mmgw's as surrounds and MMg's as fronts. I use an integra receiver and the crossover for the mmgw's at 120hz - 150hz. It must be pretty high as they don't go down too far. I set the crosover for the MMG at 80hz. Hope the sub goes high enough to blend well with these. Your receiver will do all the crossovers for center, front and surrounds digitally so I would go with that as it will get the most from the system. Yes you are correct about needing lots of power but since I don't play movies REALLY loud the 120 watts i have seems plenty in my setup.
Yes. Just put the left preamp out and right preamp out of your Yamaha into the left and right connections of your REL. And set the left/right speakers to large as recommended. Y adapters would be necessary only if a) you had a separate power amp or b) you only had a mono input on your sub, and had no way to get a mono output from your receiver. But as far as I can tell from your description, neither of these apply in your case.

BTW, they'll start sounding a lot better after you've played them for a couple of weeks, Maggies sound kind of constipated until they've broken in. I wouldn't spend too much time on sub adjustment until they've burned in since low-frequency extension will increase. Just rough it in for now so you can enjoy them.
Got it - ok - so I get the installation now for the sub so I'm good there. Thanks gentlemen.

Now as far as the crossover points, the MMGWs supposedly go as low as 100 Hz. By REL-R505 goes as high as 100Hz on the dial. So I turned my REL as high as possible and set the MMGWs to loud speaker settings.

What's interesting is that when you listen to the MMGWs and the MMGCs w/o a sub, the sound isn't very impressive at all. But when you fire up the sub along with it, whoa the entire presentation of the music or movie is completely different.

I know the MMGWs/MMGCs are designed to go with a sub - just didn't think it would matter that much.

Good advice on the break in time on the Maggies. I'll be sure to let it go for a couple weeks and see the sound balance out.

Also - how much breathing room behind the MMGWs are you giving them? I thought I read somewhere that 2 feet from a wall is ideal for Maggie's and my neighbors swear that the sound 2 feet from my walls dramatically opens up the depth of the sound.
The midbass below 100 Hz is very important to the sound, satellites that cross over at 100 are always supposed to be used with a sub. It's lower down that subs become optional, there are few music fundamentals below 37 Hz, basically pipe organ, bass drums, a couple of oddball instruments.

Yes, you will get more depth as you move them out from the front wall of your room, it will keep increasing all the way to 15' out from the wall! This is true of any speaker for the same reason -- you're delaying the reflection off the wall, and the ear gauges room size by timing the delay between the direct sound from the instrument and the first reflection from the walls. Forex, if you're 10' away from a trumpet in a small room and the walls are only 5' behind the trumpet, the wall reflection will have to travel only 10' more than the direct sound, so the reflection will be delayed by about 10 ms. But if you're in a big concert hall and the wall is 15' behind the trumpet, the reflection will have to travel 30' more than the direct sound, and the reflected sound will be delayed by 30 ms. The brain detects the delay and tells you that the room is bigger. So in a small room, you want to delay the first reflections as much a feasible, otherwise the brain will detect the small wall and assume the space is smaller.

Anyway, the issue here is that the MMGW's are designed to work on a wall. If they aren't on the wall, you may get a response dip between the top of the subwoofer's range and the bottom of the MMGW's range. This is because they are designed to use the wall boundary reflection to increase bass response. Picture an MMGW mounted on a mirror and you'll get the idea -- the reflection will make the MMGW seem twice as big. The same things happens to the sound, it makes the speaker acoustically twice as big, which with dipoles gives you lower bass.

OK, so I see two possible solutions. One is to mount the MMGW's on the side walls, not sure if that would work in your case. The other would be to get the MMG's, which are designed to sit on the floor. You can pull them as far out into the room as you want.
I also have the MMGW/MMGC combination. After I got a OPPO 105 universal player, my speakers came to life. My Denon 3805 AVR was just not able to handle the Maggies. I read on the AVS 105 forum that the best sound can be obtained by using the 105 as a preamp and feeding separate 4 ohm amplifiers. I bridged a NAD 2200 to the MMGC and it souunds like real live people and instraments are in there. I'm feeding the MMGW with a Parasound amp until Klaus of OdysseyAudio completes a modified Stratos for me. He's doing $540 worth of upgrades for me. I plan to get Super MMG's for the FL&FR or maybe 1.7's. Klaus says the amp he is building will be perfect for the 1.7's. There was a mystery $2350 MMG demonstration at the 2014 NAMM show and some speculate that it included the Super MMG with two DWM's, a MMGC and two MMGW's. The pricing works out about right. Has anyone set this up yet?