Magnepan owners : past / present


What speakers have you bought after owning maggies that you liked as well as maggies ?
maplegrovemusic
MGIII had them loved them but they didn't love my room or the amp power needed to drive the darn things...still a beauty so I opt out for a pair of proac super tabletts.I wish I still had the darn things..easy to place in my room and they sang with a pair of quicksilvers..
I presently have a pair of Maggie SMGa's in a small room with a QuickSilver tube amp and that system totally rocks (albeit used with a 12" powered sub dialed in to perfection). I had 1.6QR's in the same room but they were too big for the room and threw too much treble at me. Over the years, I've also owned the MG-1 Improved model, MG-12's and the MG-III's. And I've heard the Tympani's, the 3.5's and the 3.6's.

In another room I have a pair of VMPS RM2's, which are somewhat large ribbon hybrid floorstanders, but in my opinion they outclass the Maggies in midrange transparency (they reproduce guitar strings better than any speaker I can think of) and they are certainly more dynamic and extended in the bass (more kick and they go lower).

Believe it or not, at the moment I have them sounding fantastic using a '70's vintage Pioneer SX-939 receiver and an inexpensive Pioneer DVD player to play my CD's. They sound even better with more upscale gear but my point is that they can sound quite involving with well-designed modest gear too. Being more efficient, they are not as amp fussy as the Maggies and seem easier to place and tune in my room.

Accordingly, the larger VMPS ribbon hybrid models (the ones that move some air, starting with the RM2) get my vote as affordable speakers that beat the Maggies. Playing Rodrigo y Gabriela's "11:11" on the VMPS today was an authentic-sounding mind-blowing experience that my former 1.6's couldn't quite match - as good as they are.
In the same price range as Magnepan, Martin Logan CLS and Reference 3A De Capo I's.

At a substantially greater cost, Avantgarde Duo Omega.
I have owned 1.6s twice and a pair of 3.5rs. Magnepan makes a good speaker but ultimately I moved on every time. Two speaker desgns that I liked much more than the maggies were Piegas and Green Mountain Audio.

Shakey
Plato,
You've chosen your moniker wisely...come to think of it what less could we expect from a 'Plato'...you're a smart guy.
The Maggies are a find for anyone, and for those who say they're hard to drive, just read his comments. They are an almost purely resistive (as opposed to reactive)4 ohm load, very predictable. Let's be real here, its not as if that Pioneer was a bastion of current delivery, yet it handles the Maggies very well.
Great post Plato...maybe more people will go to school on your comments and give these little speakers their due, as this is but one more brick knocked down from the 'they're hard to drive' bull, that permeates all blogs.

P.S. Years ago when I met Jim Winey, (Mr. Magnepan) he told me, "If you let anyone out of your store without playing these little guys (SMGa) you're foolish." He was absolutely right!

Larry
Larry your response seems very informed and rational i.e. the maggie `s 4 ohm load is resistive and not reactive. Is this true for the entire line or just the smaller models? I wonder because many maggie owners seem to universally agree than you must have significant power to effectively drive these speakers. It seems counterproductive to design a speaker that only can sound it`s best with high power,bigger and thus more complexity and increased number of parts etc. Rather than have the option of high quaility but low/moderate power amplifiers that often have superior sound.
this is from the AUDIO CRITIQUE on planers.
VARIOUS MAGNEPAN MODELS- All the speakers from Magnepan, including the Reference Tympani bass panels above, require above average power, and louder-than-life sound pressure, to sound "alive". This is because they very noticeably subtract low-level information; particularly dynamic shifts and harmonic decay.
Charles,
I haven't kept up in recent months, (maybe years) with ALL of the Maggies.
But I am pretty sure that virtually all the Maggies state a 4 ohm load (easily checked on their site).
This has to do with the 'nature of the beast'.
I believe, and this is pure speculation, that the, 'they're hard to drive' comes from several aspects of their performance. They are very low distortion loudspeakers, and as they go up in volume, don't have the normal, (out of gap) distortions that traditional loudspeakers offer up.
(IE, as we move the coil further from the magnet, the emf is less and less, therefore the 'control' exercised over the driver is lessened)allowing for exponential distortion levels. The human ear while aware of distortion is possibly distracted by the volume, and not as aware of it.
For example, the typical loudspeaker woofer, even at modest excursions can deliver as much as 10% distortion very, very quickly. THAT is a lot. The Maggies, are lower in distortion AND lack the overall 'kick' or 'punch' to most ears, that traditional loudspeakers have. This lack of kick causes the listener, craving that punch, to turn up the volume, possibly louder than is called for. When the amplifier clips, the listener is immediately under the assumption that it has to do with 'inefficiency' rather than the reality of the situation.
As a dipole speaker, the Maggie is loading sound into the room in a completely different manner than 'traditionals.'
In phase to the front, out of phase behind the speaker...but energy into the room nonetheless, so one could argue that the traditional, 2.83V 1W1M measuring techniques are inadequate to really assess. I've always thought this measurement, while the standard, is static, and not indicative of what a speaker actually does with a 'dynamic' or 'music' signal--and only a laboratory tool.
Sorry, off topic.
Suffice it to say, the Maggies are special and worthy of ANYONE'S audition if size is not a deal breaker. With their overall attractive presentation, it isn't for me, but then I'm not a decorator, or a wife fighting for room space.
If you have any further questions, you can write me off site at lrsky@insightbb.com, or through a'gon.
BTW, your system, I'm pretty sure, based on a cursory look, is VERY sweet sounding.
Good luck, Charles.
Larry
I drove my Maggie MG12's (plus sub) with a McIntosh MC352 that had lots of power. I used the 4 ohm taps. Only thing was that the watt meters rarely reached 35 watts and produced great SPL levels in my moderately large/open room. I never felt they needed THAT much power but that they needed some volume to produce their best/natural sound. As to the original question, my present speakers are Harbeth SHL-5's and I don't expect to change any time soon.
after my 3.5r's I went to Martin Logan Odessy's which were good but ended up with a pair of German Physick Carbon MK IV's which are as good as stereo gets.
Triangle Titus XS + sub (still own).
Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkII (still own)
OHM Walsh (still own).

Also B&W P6 but those were a totally different breed sound wise from Magnepan.

Interesting the German Physiks mentioned above and the OHM Walsh speakers I own both use Walsh drivers, which I would say are a very good replacement technology for Maggies in general.
Ohm. Yet another "omni after dipole" guy.

Marty

I agree that the SMG/MMG line represents idiotically good value. Pair them with a couple of quality, properly set-up subs and you can get a $2.5K full range system that won't embarass itself against anything out there at any price (other than max SPL). IMHO.
FWIW, the Maggie mg1c's I bought back in the 80's and ran for about 20 years came after a pair of original OHM Walsh 2s that I had acquired a few years prior. The Walsh 2s also stuck around for over 20 years until replaced by a new pair of Walsh 2s with newer OHM driver technology.

The Maggies were a cut above the original Walsh 2s, but the newer OHMs replaced the Maggies. You may not need a sub with the OHMs depending on the room and the amp used. I suspect they perform better with a sub typically run off tube amplification.
I'm not sure that I'd be comfortable stating, "This is because they very noticeably subtract low-level information; particularly dynamic shifts and harmonic decay."
I would call the 'low level (information) resolution on the Magnepans first rate--not unlike some of the electrostatics. Again, to my ear they lack the perceived 'impact' of a long throw driver, punching the air with the force of a few mm's of distance.
My observations of the Magnepans up to and including the 20.1's has been that low level res is greater and more nuanced than on many dynamics. The totality of difference in presentation of a dipole can confuse the listener, even a 'Critique'.

Larry
Soundlabs

Lrsky miss understood Plato. I think he meant that the VMPSs were easier to drive.

"VARIOUS MAGNEPAN MODELS- All the speakers from Magnepan, including the Reference Tympani bass panels above, require above average power, and louder-than-life sound pressure, to sound "alive". This is because they very noticeably subtract low-level information; particularly dynamic shifts and harmonic decay."

I'd have to agree with Arthur Salvatore (Audio Critique) in that the Magnepans lack dynamic contrast and require a lot of power. Purely resistive or not, you need to give them a lot to jump a little. IME you just cannot give them enough power, and I easily get listening fatigue with them due to increased spl required to extract some detail I am used to.

FWIW, at the moment I am modding my Soundlabs, and injected a pair of 1.6qr. They have some of the nice dipole qualities, but they are in no way as detailed as either my Quads or Soundlabs, my Tannoys either for that matter.

I can see how someone could switch from mag to Ohms, similar ambient information, but both are veiled IMO.

Go ahead and tag me!
I had some other dipole speakers before. Infinity RSIIa. had those for 20 plus years.. then I used a pair of Magnepan IIb. those were well used when I got them, and i went to a pair of B&W 805s.
Well I liked the Magnepan sound enough to go buy a pair of 3.6s new this last Spring.
So I cannot say what I would replace them with, as they are probably the last speakers I will be buying... even if I won the lottery. (I would buy bigger amps etc, but keep the Maggies..LOL!
There you have it, bigger amps for Magnepan! Not the first time I have heard or felt that...
Well - as always when talking about Maggies we get to how much power.

Has anyone driven them with Class D amplification like the Wyred4sound STI 500 amps?

By the way, I agree with part of what Soundlabs wrote "IME you just cannot give them enough power, and I easily get listening fatigue with them due to increased spl required to extract some detail I am used to."

I Listened to A Krell S300I Amp with 300 WPC/4Ohms and I heard a lot more than with a MacIntosh MA 6300 at 160 wpc/4ohms.

However, as a relative neophyte on these discussions, I did think that I upped the sound pressure levels in order to hear it. Is it possible that the extra power helps to carry the dynmanic peaks better which gets into more detail and better decay but not necessarily a lot louder?
"I can see how someone could switch from mag to Ohms, similar ambient information, but both are veiled IMO."

4est, please elaborate a bit regarding how the OHMs are veiled in your estimation and which OHMs specifically you have heard that led to that conclusion.

OHMs use dynamic drivers unlike Maggies or panels in general so there is little resemblance between the two in regards to dynamics. OHMs are more like conventional dynamic speakers in that sense.

"veiled" is not a term I would apply to any modern OHMs I have heard. The originals from 30 years ago, perhaps....

The OHMs are mostly omnidirectional and soundstage and imaging is unique from planars and conventional dynamic designs as a result.
Forgive me if I offended. What I meant to say is, the OP asked what people switched to. Magnepans have less detail IMO than Soundlabs, but with a similar presentation due to both being dipole planar speakers. I meant veiled compared to Soundlab, not that they are veiled in general. As for the my comment about Mag>Ohm, it should be clear Mapman. I never mentioned dynamics relative to Ohms. I think Ohm would be more dynamic than either Maggies or Soundlab. And yes it was the older Ohms, but this thread is about Magnepans. My comment was really intended primarily to the OP.
I had a pair of Maggie IIA followed by the III models, trading the latter for ProAc Response 2s, then to Response 3s, Gallo Ultimates, and (currently, since 2004) Gallo Reference 3s. I heard the Models 3.6 and 20.1 at a dealer's about a year ago and had no desire to return to the Maggie fold. Nothing particularly wrong with them, just not my cup of tea and, IMHO, not even close to the Gallos.
I had MMG then MG3a and then 3.6 with Mye stands. I moved on to b&W 801 Matrix III and then upped again to Revel F52.
Most of the comments here are 'variations on a theme' of the 'love it hate it' with Maggies.
I PERSONALLY don't find them hard to drive, hence my agreement with the 'I'm using an old Pioneer receiver' comments which I agreed with, pointing out that it's hardly a high current piece.
The overall perception, to my way of thinking, is that Maggies are 'lacking' for those who do not like their presentation--I don't find them so. I find them incredibly transparent, with that continually remindful 'boxless' presentation that in some ways, HAS NO EQUAL in anything but a dipole such as they are.
The Sound Lab, to me, other than the MBL, (a really expensive, more sophisocated omni) is the best of the lot.
At $20K for the pair when I bought them...they were about the most realistic speaker I'd heard, in many, too many to mention characteristics that all speakers should strive to capture.
It's hard to quantify, but for what they do right, which is 'plenty' for my taste, not many compare to Maggies.
I only mention Sound Labs to note that they are a better, and yes more expensive version of a type of sound...not the same technology--a common misconception.
Good listening.

Larry
4est,

No offense.

People hear what they hear and think what they think.

Thanks for clarifying.
Lrsky, once again Plato said:

"In another room I have a pair of VMPS RM2's, which are somewhat large ribbon hybrid floorstanders, but in my opinion they outclass the Maggies in midrange transparency (they reproduce guitar strings better than any speaker I can think of) and they are certainly more dynamic and extended in the bass (more kick and they go lower).

Believe it or not, at the moment I have them sounding fantastic using a '70's vintage Pioneer SX-939 receiver and an inexpensive Pioneer DVD player to play my CD's. They sound even better with more upscale gear but my point is that they can sound quite involving with well-designed modest gear too. Being more efficient, they are not as amp fussy as the Maggies and seem easier to place and tune in my room."

I love their presentation, hence my Soundlabs. Both are a bugger to drive though. 4 ohm resistive or not, they have always been known to like power. Once you get the power, it is an easy step up to electrostats.
I have owned MG IIIa (my first) MG 3.6Rs and now 20Rs and a whole lot of dynamic driver speakers in between. Plus Quad ELS 63's, 15 ohm Rogers LS 3/5A, highly modded and upgraded Dahlquist DQ 10s, Spendor SP 100's, Soliloquy 5.3s, Bose 901s (seriously in my college days), B&W 805, and have heard uber high end systems from Usher BE20s, Duntech Sovereigns, Princesses, the big Avalons, Genesis, original IRS V Infinities, Wilson Watt puppies, and......I have always come back to Maggies.

Several things I have discovered. One-either bi amp, tri amp or at least mod the passive crossovers with cap upgrades or use an Active crossover such as the Marchand 126 or Bryston 10B, absolutely get the Mye stands, and -feed them quality amplification. Once you have the bi/tri amping or crossover solved then your amp choice opens up dramatically. I am now running my 20R with a pair of CJ Premier 8A monoblocs with rhBackert Reference conversion (not just a mod but basically a totally new proprietary design) with a full complement of V-Caps, gold/silver internal wiring etc. A lot of people trash the maggies because they require proper amplification. It is a little like trashing a V-12 Ferrari F 430 because it needs proper engien balancing. I have heard most all of the big rig systems but I have never heard anything to surpass a properly driven and set up pair of MG 20 series, in the right room and especially for their modest cost. Of course, this is just IMHO. And if you want to complete the circle get a pair of Rythmik F-15 subs. Will blow you away.
I have had MMGs and MG12s for 4 years.
I loved them: superb imaging, dimensions, overall tone, no box coloration, etc...
What I did not like was the directionality, the need for big amplifiers, and the lack of sub-bass. I did not want to loose the boxless sound so I replaced them with Vandersteen 2Ce signature to get more bass.
Later, when I agreed to move the speakers from my dedicated room to the living room, the speakers were too close the the front wall and too big for the decor.
Tough to find something as good or better for the price. I replaced them Paradigm studio 40. Not much bass below 36-38hz but a much more developed midrange, and more transparency. the studio were a good surprise, very different. My next speakers will be either the fb1i PMC when I am rich or vandersteen 1C.
i unhooked my 500 watt [into 4 ohm load] emotiva from my mmgs and hooked up my decco integrated [50 into 8 ohms i don,t know about 4]. nope.....no way. this isn,t exactly the final word at all, but for me i will keep magnepans and power. thanks john. when i get a larger home i will get some 1.7s..one day//ha
I had 1.6's (twice), and 3.6's in Mye stands. I enjoyed both, but could not get the 3.6's to mate well with my room. i went down in size and bought Merlin TSM-mme's. I have had no desire to upgrade from the Merlin's. They do the job for my room.
"i went down in size and bought Merlin TSM-mme"

Good small monitors are a reasonable option to Maggies for many IMHO.

Not exactly the same in terms of the nature of the sound, but a lot of the same strengths in a slightly different flavor.

Good small monitors are a reasonable alternative especially if what you are seeking is more kick and impact in the dynamics than one typically gets with planars alone.

I started with Magneplanar - Magnepan speakers when they first arrived on the scene - Tympani 1U, a couple of other Tympani, ending with the Tympani IV-A, also owned MG-3.6r and MG-20.1 speakers.

To my way of thinking, nothing at similar price points to the various Magnepan speakers comes close in direct comparison.

The biggest problem with the Magnepan speakers, in my situation, is the physical size. My several music rooms have required that speakers be placed in front of windows and the wonderful things do mess up a view.

I replaced my last pair of Maggies (the 20.1's) with a pair of Avalon Eidolons which cost almost twice as much and sounded so good that I was reasonably satisfied with the trade. But note that as I stated earlier, I had to spend a lot more money to equal the Magnepan sound.
I went from Dynaudio Contour 3.0 to Maggie 3.6R after a 20yr maggie hiatus. I became disillusioned with the bass again- 'who pulled the plug on the bass player?'. I don't like the idea of integrating with a subwoofer. Instead of investing further in maggie modifications and more power, I built a Scan-Speak DIY design from Zaphaudio and have never looked back. The only sacrifice to me being soundstage size at low volume. IMO the maggie 'boxless' sound is not as 'transparent' as the Zaphs. I hear more musical information and satisfying bass.
However,I would still take the 3.6Rs over the Dyns.
Two comments - In the late '70s I had to downsize ($ wise) my system and ended up with a used pair of MG IIs driven by a Sansui AU 717. I don't recall the output of that amp but it was close to 100 wpc. It was a magical match and through several system upgrades that followed in later years I regretted selling those Maggies.

More recently I've heard current Maggie models at shows or dealers. I always appreciate the openness and percussive detail they offer. But my biggest issue has always been they only seem to "come alive" when played at fairly loud levels. I suspect this relates to their inability to move much air in the 60-300 Hz range unless they are turned up. I don't always want to listen at 90 dB levels. Some may then suggest adding a subwoofer but I believe making a sonic match is very difficult.
I'm not a fan of the bigger Maggies 3.6/20.1 but do find the 1.6/1.7 very good sounding speakers and quite possibly the best value in hi-fi today..

regards,

I have to yet listen to a set of cone speakers that can do imaging and layering better than the Maggies 3.6r and 21.1, regardless of the price.

That's the main reason why I still have the 3.6s and will have them for the foreseeable future.
I owned MG12s and 1.6s for about 6 years. Fantastic speakers. I now own single drivers driven by SET, gives me a lot of the same things I got from Maggies. I like them at least as well as I liked the Maggies, at least in part because of my small 12' x 13' room.
Sebrof, yes that's been a viable way to downsize for me also. However, in the end I came back to big panels when a pair of 2.5R was available locally, and the MMGs became available.... and if I ever miss the flea-watt tube sound, I can get it from either of my headphone amp set-ups...
I heard the Maggies 1.7 and found them fatiguing compared to my new BOSE 901 series 6 mk2's. BOSE is now using some new Whizzer cone drivers in their new BOSE 901's and its a BIG improvement !...
I had 901 series III years ago. They were the absolute bomb. I guess as my tastes changed I moved away from that type of sound.
I never heard the 1.7s but my 12a and 1.6s were never fatiguing. What amps and setup did you hear the Maggies with vs what you drive the 901s with?
Sebrof, the maggies 1.7's were paired with top of line high priced Bryston gear and my bose 901's are matched with a NAD M3 and matching CD player. They were 10 of us that heard the maggies 1.7's and we all agreed they were fatiguing.