I've been using a pair of 3.5R's for almost 11 years (purchased new in Aug. 2004). I don't push them hard (driven by tube amps). They sound as good today as when I first purchased them. I used a pair of MG-IIIa's before that - same thing (had them for eight years - also tubes). I suppose if you really drive them hard, for long periods of time, you might need to replace the ribbons. Based on my experience, I'm quite satisified with how they sound as is.
Cjlundgren,you are quite correct,the maggie ribbon tweeters do not have to be replaced over time because they somehow wear out and the sound changes for the worst. I have had MG-20rs for over ten years and have had two ribbons go out on me. So,unless they rip or blowout theirs no reason to replace them.You're MG-3.6s are great speakers and I'm sure you enjoy them alot.Hope this helps.
The number one killer of maggie ribbons is a clipping under-powered amp. My 3.5's are over 10 years old, and I've never had a problem...and by the way I listen to them loud.
Maggie ribbons do have a reputation for blowing out, and this reputation would not exist if there were no truth to it. On the other hand some people don't have a problem, so it probably depends on the amplifier used and how the user treats the speakers.
Good news is that the ribbons are easy to replace, and not that expensive.
This issue, emanates from the orignal factory information, which placed the 'life' of the ribbon at the same time frame as that of a Moving Coil Cartridge, was, I believe their phraseology.
The reason is thermal stress. As the energy passes through the aluminum tweeter, it heats, then cools. So the unknown at the time of their inception, was, how many times could this be done, before failure? So they put a two to three year life span estimate on them.
Yet over the years, this has proven to be incorrect, with the tweeters lasting, or in many cases outlasting original ownership.
You can verify this with Windell Diller at the factory, and he can give you some better info.
I have seen them fail, when people used them at extraordinary volumes; and when they did, the tweeters looked bent, and misshapen, almost like a coil effect.
Personally, I would not let it be an issue in purchase.
Hope this helps clarify, as I was there as a dealer when this began.
Call Magnepan. They have very good customer service. If you wreck your Magnepans, they will fix them for a reasonable cost. Even if you do something stupid, like I have done. Remember ex-president Gerald Ford trying to ski? (Ford was president after Nixon resigned, as Ford was VP at the time). He was spastic on skis. It was fun to see our #1 being spastic. You knew he was human or whatever, it made you laugh.
Anyway, I spastically (Gerald Forded?) ripped a MMG speaker that was five years old and Magnepan fixed it, including new wooden siderails for a pittance. About $150.
So, why wait? You won't be sorry ever buying Magnepans. Any Magnepan. Yes, they typically need some woofer at the bottom end. Ok, yes they always do. (MG20 owners make sick money, so ignore these comments regarding the MG20's, or 20.1's or whatever the model is this year.) Yes, you may buy them, and if you do you'll always want something better and there probably is something better. But, as I have mentioned, you will still be a happy audiophile owning just a set of cheapie Magnepans (they start at $300)and some sort of decent woofer.
Notice the use of the word "audiophile" and "happy" together.
My MG IIIa's are 18 years old and still going! One of the ribbons burst while playing Pink Floyd a bit too loud a long time ago. Had a cheap amp though. Changed the fuses to 1 1/4A from 1 1/2 (factory) and upgraded electronics to more power. Haven't had an issue in over 15 years. I'm saving up for the 3.6's. I'll ALWAYS own Maggies. Buy a pair, and you'll know why.
I wouldn't fret about Maggie ribbons wearing out, period. I've had a couple sets of Maggies, always bought used, with some quite old...and never had a problem with ribbbons.
If you want something to worry about, worry about finding the right amps for them, lol.
I have blown several tweeters during the years. My reason for damaged tweeters is ss amp clipping. Since I have been using larger mono tube amps never blown any tweeters.
I just ordered a new tweeter for one of my MG2.6's. $100.
Magnepan ships these in a PVC tube. You send them the old core. If you don't return the core, they charge you $242.
I also ordered the re-wire kit. They won't ship the glue: (3M 30-NF)in the winter months,so I ordered a quart of it on Shopping.com $24.95 with shipping. If anyone has any input about the re-glueing process, I would appreciate it.
1960ac check the Planner Asylum. there is some info in the archives about the process and Magnepan can be very helpful with info. Some have made a jig up and layed the wire onto the jig in a mirror image of the panel.
Magnepan ribbons only have a reputation for "blowing out" if they are driven with amplification not up to dealing with a load of 4 ohms that is 85db (in)efficient. In twenty years of using Magnepan loudspeakers (SMGa, MGI, MGIII, MGIIIA, MG3.6R) I have never had a ribbon go. The SMGa and MGI did not have a ribbon tweeter. A few fuses maybe but not ribbons. The rather exposed ribbon on the 3 series is very sensitive to how it is protected when the speaker is boxed, shipped, moved etc.
I have had a pair of mg12's for 5 years and I am second owner with no problems (use mf a3 int. amp.). I have not ever had any reason to turn the volume up half way. What I love most about these speakers is how low I can play them and still hear every musical detail in good recordings. Just try doing that with box speakers at the same price point.