Magnepan SMGa

I have a chance to buy a pair of 10yr. old SMGas in near-mint condition for $250US. Can anybody tell me what drivers these speakers use - i.e. planar-magnetic bass, quasi-ribbon, etc.. Is this a good deal? All input is appreciated.


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Maxwell, I've been a Maggie owner for many years, my next door neighbor and audio buddy owned SMGa's for several as well. As I recall the SMGa's used planar/magnetic drivers for it's entire operating frequency range; I believe it was a two way design. This was before Magnepan's introduction of it's quasi ribbon design; although a true ribbon was used in the top of the line systems at the time (MGIIIA's and Tynpany's).

I loved the SMGa's. Typical Maggie sound: GREAT sounstaging in a smaller than my MGIIIAs' package, not super resolving but very natural sounding and surprising (if well placed in the right room)bass; for the size. I always envied their size (my MGIIA's are so darn big), and thought they were attractive looking. My friend drove them with an Audiolab integrated with good results for the most part, although they sounded underpowered to me. They really came alive with my greater tube watts. Maggies love tubes!

Is this a good deal? Probably, but be wary of one thing: even if they look mint, the worst potential problem may be out of sight. Older Maggies, my beloved MGIIIA's and another friend's included, are known to suffer from corroded wiring on the mylar diaphragms; this will cause failure of that driver. If the speakers were always used with their socks on in a dry environment, you're probably ok. If it's possible to lift part of the socks off you can check for whitish spots on the wiring that crisscrosses the mylar. This is a sign of corrosion.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.
Maxwell, I owned a SMGa pair for ten years before uprgrading. I found them not to have the last word in frequency extension at both ends of the spectrum, but they had a marvelous "rightness" in the midrange. They also won't rock your world regarding volume, but that didn't matter to me. All in all, a very satisfying taste of the high end for a bargain price. The tweeters do not share any of the newer ribbon technology. The bass is a planar magnetic diaphram and the tweeters are just a segment of thinner gauge wiring. They should be reliable if they were kept in a dry environment. One thing that can go wrong is delamination of the wiring from the mylar panel. This can be repaired, but is a pain. I suggest you go over to and check into the planar/ribbon forum and do a "SMGa"search. Lots of info. Good luck, Will.

I have a pair of SMGc's and really love them. I agree with the comments above about the low end extension being somewhat limited (you might want to add a sub somewhere down the road, but it's not absolutely crucial) but the SMGc's handle the highs just fine as far as I'm concerned.

You will really need an amp that puts out a lot of current into low impedance loads to get the most out of these speakers, though. One moderately priced amp that will do a superb job is the CODA Continuum Stage.

Can't speak to the price, as I haven't checked on it.

I've got no comment on the corrosion or separation issue, either, but you may want to drop into the Magnepan Users Group, and see if they have anything to say about it:
Max, a friend of mine ownes the small mags he bought last year, direct from the factory for $650 and they sound great. I believe their the only speaker mag will sell direct all other mags you need to go to a dealer. For another $400 you could have new ones. Good luck Pete