Magnepan vs Ohm/Walsh ?

Just curious... those of you that have tried both magneplanar speakers and the Ohm with the Walsh-type driver -- which did you prefer and why?

I have a lot of experience with planar speakers, but almost none with the Ohm, so please send your impressions. If you switched from one to the other, are you happy, or what do you miss?

I can't comment intelligently on this because I've only spent the briefest time with some Maggies in a local dealer showroom. But for lots of information on the Ohm sound itself, have a look at the thread called, "Ohm Micro Walsh Talls: Who's Actually Heard 'Em?"
I have had both. I sent the Ohms back to where they came from. The Ohms didn't hold a candle to the Maggies for my taste. Besides, I tried other omni's like Decware's version of the application and they too were better than the Ohms.
Back in the late 1970s I owned a pair of Ohm Fs and absolutely loved them. I regretted selling them almost immediately.

Fast forward to 2002 or so and I was in the speaker market again. Ohms were first on my list to try so I ordered the 200s under their home trial program. I ran them about a month and then borrowed a pair of Magnepan 1.6QRs from a local dealer for a side-by-side weekend trial.

It became a very easy decision at that point; the Maggies won easily. They floated a very transparent, almost surreal image and the mid-bass, for cellos, drums and the like was outstanding - very palpable. In contrast, the Ohms were more veiled. I will give the deep bass to the Ohms but I valued the Maggies' advantages more.

I know other people would make the opposite choice based on what is important to them.

Unfortunately I moved 3 years ago and the listening room at the new house was simply unsuitable for a dipole speaker that needed to be well out from the wall. The Maggies were sold and I am now quite happy with a pair of classic Spendor SP1/2Es.
both are different, but both are 'music lover' speakers. the 'sweetspot' you require may determine your choice, and if you like to 'rock'.
I currently rotate Ohm 100s and Maggie SMGs in a system that uses twin Velo SPLR subs as well. Therefore, my observations are "real time", but they stop at 80hz.

The Ohms produce a "drier" presentation that strikes me as pretty much dead neutral in tonal balance. In many respects, this feels a bit "Quad-like". Big dynamic swings aren't a strong point here (again, see Quad), but with some break-in are okay. Imaging is nearly unique, well defined with a sense of weight and body that you only get from omnis.

The Maggies have a "rounder" presentation that reflects a touch more energy through the upper bass and presence region. Ironically, the planar Maggies sound much less like Quads than do the Ohms. Macrodynamics here are similarly restricted, but "micros" (for example, plucked guitar) have a special "jump" to them. Imaging is very, very good, but less layered than Ohms (back images tend to feel glued to the wall) and less "weighty" as well.

Overall, you can make a case for either. Of course, when used as a stand-alone, the Ohms have impressive bass extension and weight. (They also cost 3X, as much.) Some years back, I owned Maggie 3.5s, which are twice the price of the Ohm 100s, but (albeit recalled with imperfect memory) I'd still give the Ohms a significant edge on bottom. Caveat: time and limited experience with full range operation of the Ohms REQUIRE that you digest that observation with a dose of salt.

A further bass observation: Ohms are incredibly easy to integrate with a sub (and controller), the Maggies are a pain in the ass. I eventually got a great match with the Maggies, but it was painful.

My ultimate take is that these speakers represent simply "different strokes". I've had the Maggies on line for 2 weeks now, so I'm currently in "Maggie" mode, but when the Ohms rotate back in (soon enough), I know I'll lean that way again.

I bought both products factory direct with return rights and I've elected to keep both. Overall, no dynamic speaker I've heard (and I currently own some very expensive, very fine examples of that breed) can match the particular strengths of either the Maggies or the Ohms. OTOH, those speakers still have other charms (mainly macro-dynamic) that weigh in their favor.

If forced to keep only one speaker system, I'd probably (somewhat reluctantly) choose Ohms with subs. If forced to go with Maggie/Subs, I wouldn't suffer a whole lot. On a stand alone basis, the Ohms are an easy call. Off my experience of the last year, I'd be inclined to choose either the Ohm/sub or Maggie/sub combo over any dynamic driver alternative that I've heard at any price point(caveat: I haven't heard everything).

Hope this helps.

A couple more thoughts:

Both speakers require a fair bit of juice to open up dynamically - no SET amps allowed and 150+ WPC is probably a good idea.

To recapture a sense of macrodynamics, I listen to both the Ohms and the Maggies at app 5db louder than either of my main dynamic alternatives. Not quite the same as you'd get from great dynamic drivers, but the overall effect is satisfying to me.

Ultimate SPLS are limited - super high volume levels aren't available from either speaker without distress.

The Maggies seem stronger when beautiful tone is the point of the music. If I'm listening to a Coleman Hawkins sax solo, I'd lean to Maggie. The Ohms excel when the mix gets denser. Some of the Eels live music + taped effects or Lindsey Buckingham's multi-tracked vocals on "Under The Skin" just unfold on the Ohms in a startling way.


And a last PS

IMHO, the little Maggies at $600, with my Velo SMS-1 sub controller at app $500 and a pair of excellent subs - your choice - at less than $1400 make a strong case for "best buy" status. As long as the room's not too big, your amps have enough juice to drive the system to optimal SPLs, and you're not looking for outright head banging volume levels, this is truly amazing performance at <$2500. Overall, I prefer the Ohm combo, but for value....

Hi Guys,

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it.

I have a pair of the Magnepan 1.6QR's on order that should be arriving next week... for my taste, it is probably the right decision... an intimate sounding system for a smaller room (11 x 14), likely powered by tubes. Although I may need to sell my Prima Luna Dialogue Two to buy a more powerful tube amp (maybe a Cary SLI-80 Signature or VTL ST-85). I can try it first and see if it's got enough juice. I will be sitting fairly close to the speakers and usually listen at low to moderate levels, so it may be alright.

I might also see if I can pick up a pair of Ohms to play with and compare.

Further thoughts on the Maggie vs. Ohm comparison are always welcomed. Thanks Again! intimate sounding system for a smaller room (11 x 14), likely powered by tubes.
That is a small room for dipole speakers that need to be out from the walls to sound their best. I found the 1.6QRs to be the wrong choice for my 13 X 15 room after my move. (Though it should be noted the room is not dedicated to listening so other furniture added to placement problems.)

I fared much better with the more tightly controlled directivity of the Spendors, even though it meant a smaller sweet spot. That didn't bother me much since I'm the only critical listener in the house.

I think it simply points out the need to hear speakers in your own room. Which one you find "best" is going to be highly dependent on circumstances unique to your situation.

With Ohm's 120 day in-home trial, it's easy to make a risk free assessment. Also, there's currently a lovely pair of rosewood finish Micro Walsh Tall's up for sale on Audiogon. You might check those out as well. They're made for a listening room your size, and they don't require tons of power, either, to sing.

Your point is well taken. But recently, I did have a pair of the older MG .5QR in that room (same panel size as the MG-12QR). With the QR tweeters inboard, the presentation was simply magical, although a bit truncated in the bass. I think that if I locate the MG-1.6's in the same spot I will get a similar presentation, but with more bass. If it's too much bass, I could possibly bi-amp and turn down the amp slightly on the bass panel to get a good blend. At any rate, I think it's worth a try. A 13x15 room to me would seem almost ideal if it were dedicated to the task. But those smaller Maggies in my room didn't merely sound "good," they sounded marvelous... so I'm hopeful.

Rebbi, yes, I saw the Ohms you spoke of the other day, but I dragged my feet too long and now it appears a sale is pending. I'm sure there'll be another opportunity down the road to try the Ohms. Then perhaps I'll let go of my sweet little Silverline Preludes.

Plato, you're a leg up on most people since you already have experience with the little brother of the 1.6QR in that room. I hope this pair fulfills your expectations.

My prior listening room was 25 X 15 and it was just about the perfect size for the 1.6QRs in my estimation. I was able to get the speakers about 4' from the rear walls and 3' from the side walls and still had enough distance to the listening position for everything to meld perfectly. In the new room the speakers were either too close to the wall or too close to me.

I know what you mean about the room size. I'll be real curious to see if I can get the Maggies to strut their stuff like I know they can. I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. Originally, I was going to go with the MG-12 because I'm 99.9 percent sure they would work. But the folks at Magnepan sort of prodded me toward the 1.6 (and one of my audio friends who has Quad 57's and KLH 9 electrostats). They said the bass could be managed... So I'll find out about that soon enough.

I have a larger 14 x 30 foot room that I could use, except that I've already got a very good pair of NSR Sonata D3's in that room and I know my wife would not go for 2 large pairs of speakers... nor would I want to push my luck...!
I replaced Magnepan mg 1.3c's that I ran for years alongside original OHM Walsh 2s with OHM Walsh 5 series 3 recently (actually, OHM f-5 series 3 which are Walsh 5 series 3 drivers in refurbished OHM F cabinets).

The Maggies were far more refined in timbre and delivery than the original Walsh 2's from the 80s. The OHMs could go loud and really rock though when needed, particularly in larger rooms and even outdoors like nothing you ever heard. Maggies are hard to beat at lowe to moderate listening volumes.

I now have different Walsh 2s with the newer series 3 drivers and the F-5 series 3. I prefered both OHMs and even the Triangle Titus 202 and Dynaudio 1.3 mkII monitors I also run concurrently as well to the older Maggies in most ways, at least in the room that I used to run the Maggies in. The F-5s rule there now.

For low to moderate volume listening though, the Maggies are fantastic. I would consider a pair of smaller mmgs in the future again still especially if my situation restricted the volume at which I could listen. The OHM series 3 do well at low volumes, but their forte is more realistic SPLs. The Triangles may be the only speaks I might prefer to Maggies at lower listening volumes.
I have both and i play them at the same time which creates a live performance for me. In fact I play maggies, eminent tech and ohm's at the same time using SVS subs with many electronics to make them sound the way i want, nothing better than to have all these technologies. I could not seriously pick a maggie or ohm over the other, they are two beautiful designs including the eminent tech. That's like choosing between three gorgeous babes, a redhead, blonde and a brunette? I'd rather have all three, which I do, but I need to know which wig to put on my speakers. The MISTRESS behind the three current speaker system is my beloved ACOUSTAT SPECTRA which on occasion, gets the date over the three! To put the DECWARE over the OHM is insane to me, because the decware will blow where the OHM would begins to PLAY. OHM and MAGGIES are proven winners. Decware needs to stick to their TUBE electronics