MG 20.1 or Wisdom audio m-75

Love the planar sound,would like some authority dynamicly with the speakers I decide to purchase, 14'by 33'by 8' Bryston 14b for bass,Sim w6's for mid and high. What would you choose when wife gives you the thumbs up for either one? What are the strong and weak points of these two systems ?
Don't even think of the 20.1's if you don't want to modify them you'll be getting 15% at best of there potential performance.
The Wisdoms are a strange animal.They require a large amp to drive the ribbons and,by using a different amp for the subs-they won't blend.These also tend to produce moreinstrument,then hall acoustics.I would lean toward the MG 20.1s.Had you considered a pair of Yankee Audio planars or hybrids? Replaced a set of CLS with them and didn't look back.Or possibly the Gallo References/Ultimates?
The Wisdom Speakers are great speakers. They are very neutral. The sound from the speakers is what the amp(s) driving them sound like. They work well with the Rowland and Edge amps. They work VERY good with the Parasound JC-1 amps. It is best to have the same amp on the Woofers and the Planers.
Hello Shaman,

Cool moniker.

I agree wholeheartedly with Tpsonic and Jbm on the importance of using the same amp for top and bottom when biamping the Wisdoms. The same thing goes for the big Maggies - don't try to mix 'n' match amplifiers.

I've only heard the Wisdoms under show conditions, but have heard them a good half-dozen times. In my experience, they tend to sound kinda lifeless on top unless paired with an excellent amplifier (like the discontinued Gamut 300S). I presume the Parasound JC-1's mentioned by Jbm would also work well; haven't heard the combination, but the JC-1's work well with many difficult speakers (disclaimer - I'm a JC-1 owner and dealer).

Now, my prejudice is in favor of dipole planars instead of monopole ones. I've owned and built both types, often using the same drivers. A monopole is smaller and easier to position in a room, but that utter freedom from boxiness of a good dipole is (to me) worthwhile.

The Wisdoms are more dynamic than the Maggies (given suitable amplification), and will play louder. The Maggies will be more detailed and airy on top; that planar magnetic driver on the Wisdoms that goes down to 200 Hz ballpark has to be very rugged, and unfortunately there seems to be a tradeoff between ruggedness and top-end articulation.

My personal preferances would incline me towards the big Maggies, but for high to very high volume levels in a large room the Wisdoms would outperform the Maggies.

Now pardon me if I slip on my dealer hat for a moment and unfurl the fin on my back, but depending on your listening style a pair of Sound Labs M-1's might be worth including on your short-list. Sound Lab full-range electrostats do some things better than either the big Maggies or the Wisdoms, and vice versa.

Whichever way you go, best of luck to you!

Duke that last paragraph cracked me up! It really is a shame more dealers aren't like you- and I mean that.
Tireguy. Thats Bullshit the 20.1s are GREAT speakers, and by far better than most at any price!
Shaman, if I had to choose between the two I'd probably pick the Maggies, for several reasons. While they're power hungry and more or less require biamping in order to perform their best, they have a few things going for them. They are dipole planars with ribbon tweeters instead of monopole ribbons with cone woofers in separate cabinets, which in practice enables them to integrate better and reproduce the reverberant sound field. The Wisdom crossover can be tricky to set up, with thousands of possible settings. As Tireguy suggests, there are possible modifications to the Maggies that may improve things, although the scope of what's involved isn't clear. I imagine most 20.1 owners use them in stock form.

With either speaker it's a good idea to use the same amps on top and bottom if feasible. I've heard Wisdoms driven by two pairs of Parasound JC-1s and Maggie 20.1s driven by a single pair of JC-1s...I would probably prefer the Maggies with single JC-1s, and biamping with two pairs would be preferred. That said, the Wisdoms can produce very good bass impact and probably go deeper than the Maggies, as well as being capable of being played louder. And while the Wisdoms are more dynamic sounding than the Maggies, the energy density on the Wisdom's ribbon drivers is much greater than on the Maggie planar magnetics and ribbon tweeters. The result of the higher energy density is increased punch with less detail and air, while listening fatigue may be increased.

All of that said (red flags raised as I put on the scarlet letter "D" as a Sound Lab dealer), it was a treat to come home to listen to big Sound Labs, driven by a single pair of JC-1s (which, surprise, I also sell). Not that either of the other two speakers don't do things the Sound Labs don't, but it's a matter of preference after many years of listening to recorded and live music and occasionally performing. They happen to work well in a variety of room sizes, due at least in part to using full range drivers in a virtual line source arrangement. There are numerous aspects to consider with any of the above, the results of which are easy to determine from listening. You might want to consider Sound Labs as well, depending upon your listening preferences.

Best wishes!

Shaman Is resell value of any concern to you? The Wisdom's seem not to hold their value well and don't sell very easily here on Audiogon for some reason?
I'm taking all this in. Would like to hear from some folks who have owned and lived with the wisdoms,they are a complex system with the crossover and all the possible settings. Harry Pearson had these for a time as his reference and in the 2000 reveiw of the M-75's he used a Krell fpb 600 on the sub's and different amps in his tests of the planar towers. It was not my understanding that running the system with dissimilar solid state amps was a problem due to the fact that the crossover could make adjustments to equal thing's out. For that matter, I have heard many enjoy solid state and tube combo's on maggies with beautiful results ? Whats up with that ?
Bin- Its clear you haven't heard the speakers modified.

I never said they were bad speakers stock, I am just telling you that you are not experiencing what the speakers are REALLY capable of without fairly involved modifications. Check with Gladstone here at audiogon- he was doubtful until he tried some improvements himself.

And I agree with Brian that most all 20.1 users are more then likely using them stock- and they have NO clue what they are missing. ¡que lastimo! :o)
They do sound good out of the box, but not in the first-rank of speakers. Modified they do. Whether they must be biamped, as Essentialaudio suggests, is another question. A rebuilt, single crossover with biwire running solely into the bass, probably comes as close to full sonic bliss as one is likely to obtain with the 20.1s. A more powerful amp than the JC-1s, however, is required for the Magnepans.
I am curious.When I worked at Salon 1 Audio,we were delivered a pair of updated Sound Labs that belonged to a customer.These were delivered to the store ,wrapped in burlap.The transformer covers could not be closed {stood ajar} and I wondered to myself who would perform a modification to their product in this fashion,and still again-ship without adequate shipping containers.Another issueis the SL Ultimates.I saw that they had gone to a metal support structure.A friend was practically electrocuted,due to the fact that the electrostatic panel was arching to the metal frames.
I certainly hope all these issues have been addressed.It might come as a potential "shock" to the customer.
Tpsonic, Sound Lab builds proper crates for all of their products, as they don't care to have them come back broken. Their backplates are designed to fit into the rear frames or enclosures without charged components being exposed - it is something they cannot risk. Likewise, there would not be a risk of shock even with the Ultimates which employ tubular steel frames for increased rigidity when the backplates are installed per factory instructions. As for arcing panels, although this rarely occurs, I don't see why this would be a factor, as they are not electrically attached to the frames...I should know, I am a Sound Lab dealer and own Ultimate-1s. You might discuss such concerns with the good folks at Sound Lab before making such statements, as they really do care and always try to do the right thing. Sound Lab has been successfully making their electrostatic loudspeakers for twenty five years and has diligently dealt with all aspects of their products, and they continue to service virtually every model made. Since the mid 80s they have made evolutionary updates to their full range electrostatics, conservatively employing new technologies and materials only after exhaustive in house testing. The results speak for themselves.


Do you own 20.1s, and have you compared a modified vs unmodified version?
I do not own the speakers but have listened to them stock more then a few times. Gladstone has the 20.1's with a very similar system to mine and has upgraded them- his comparison of the speaker stock vs. modified was EXACTLY what I have experienced with my modified 3.6's. In fact my modified 3.6's outperform the 20.1's I've heard in every area, the only thing that is close is dynamics in the lower octaves and that very easily could have been the room or more then likely the push pull driver on the bass.
Hey Tireguy, I sure as hell would love to have a pair of the 20s so I could be part of this do I or don't I modify delema!! I could probably suffer through listening to them stock while I saved up for the mods. The way I figure it, if you gonna plop down 15 big ones for the speaks, then the mod should be a no brainer!!
I have a pair of the Wisdom M-50 and am planning to upgrade to the M-75 model soon. I cannot attest to the MG 20.1, because I never heard them. Having listened to my Wisdoms for approx. 6 years they are probably one of the most neutral and revealing speakers I have experienced. The active brain (crossover) allows you to custom tune the system to your room. Yes, you can do the acoustical traps rounte but my wife did not want all those "pillows" placed stratigically all around the room, no matter what they did! (And no,she is not unreasonable, I believe she has as much say as I do) I made more sense to me that the system can be tuned to the room rather than the room tunes to the system. Another aspect is do you have children or pets, the M-75 would be more environmental friendly to them as well as easier to clean. If you have a dedicated listening room that you can lock up, disregard the last sentence.
If you do decide to purchase the M-75, Wisdom Audio provides initial setup for new purchases and you can fine tune it to your own listening pleasure.
Choosing speakers is not an easy decision, but it can be fun. Enjoy!
FEDREAMS, Thanks for your reply. What amps do you have powering the M-50's,and what other speakers did you audition before buying the Wisdom's? what's your room size?and what do you think you will be gaining by upgrading to the M-75's ? SHAMAN
I was running EAD Powermaster 2000 to both top and bottom pieces at first. Then I picked up a Linar 250i amp and hooked it up to the planar portion which I felt made a difference in the detail and presentation. Currently, I am remodeling and my system is disassembled. I will put the system back together using the California Audio Labs 2500 amp and will compare it with the Linar. I suspect I will get better performance than the EAD and hoping better than the Linar, but we shall see.
I originally looked at mainly point source speakers, B & K, B & W, Wilson, Wilson Benesh, Genesis, Paradigm and Magnaplanar. I liked the sound of the Magnaplanar but the speaker seemed a bit delicate for my house which lead me to look at planar speakers.
My room is the size of a two car garage, I don't really remember the measurements, I guess 20' by 25'?
I believe I will be getting a larger soundstage and more detail considering the separate pieces. I heard the M-75 at The Home Entertainment show in January with an M-50 as the center channel and the new Neo speakers as the surrounds. It was quite impressive. I love the fact that I can adjust the speaker according to my needs. You can't really say that about to many other speakers. (But, it is personal taste.
I am considering using the new Neo's for my surrounds in a 5.1 setup.
Looking at your list of equipment, the M-75's should sound great. I started with the M-50's using four of the Bryston PP120 which sounded good. The EAD brought out more detail and a refined sound while the Linar added more polish and finesse. The Sim Audio W-6 should sound great with these and similar to the Linar. I have often thought of trying the W-10 to run the planar section. Right now, the Linar is sufficient but I may try the McCormack DNA 500 to match with the CAL amp. We'll see. I am not sure where you are located? Send me an email and we can discuss in more detail.
Shaman, Gee, stop trying to push sound through screen doors!!
Tireguy and Gladstone, please, what MG20.1 modifications are you talking about and who makes them? Are they a mistery, or is it that you don't know exactly?
Vladimir- The upgrades are sort of a homegrown tweak. I have worked with highly regarded audio guru's(most in the biz) paired with a little common sense and a LOT of experimenting. What Gladstone and I have done is some what involved, first you MUST bypass the fuse and midrange fuses and attenuators and all of magnepans factory connection(except where they go into the drivers themselves) for that matter. An all external passive crossover network, made with high end components, internally rewire the speaker(though not the panel itself) and then get some form of stand that does more then just hold the speakers up. I have also removed the internal grill from the front of the speaker, it still has the external grill that you see with the fancy trim. You must be even some what technically capable and willing to perform surgery on your speakers, no company makes full hot rod conversions for magnepans. I was thinking of doing it, but not only is there not much money in doing it, I think its fun to have a real knowledge of what's really going on in your speakers. Even if someone made a kit that they could ship you, you'd still need to "gut" the speaker yourself. I know cardas makes some sort of wiring kit, but there is no way its an internal rewiring of the speaker. If you have any specefic question contact me privately and I can give you all the information/experiences I have gathered.
Tireguy is right. It's not simple. But it involves creating a single crossover, combining the internal and external, as well as rewiring the crossover so that a separate run of cables runs to it.
Thanks for the detailed explanation, Tireguy. I see most modifications are commonsensical ones except for the external passive crossover. If going to that extreme kind of work, an active crossover would be better, IMHO.
Vladimir- That's not really true, you really should NOT alter the signal going to the mids/highs in any way. Even a high end active crossover will add/remove artifacts from the signal and I have found it removes the overall musicality of the speakers(one of the main reasons I like these speakers so much). However if you were to make a simpler passive network only for the mids/highs and feed it a non-altered signal and use an active low pass crossover for the bass panel I think you would be on to something- though would it be worth it? Both Gladstone and I are bi-wiring our speakers and the improvement from doing that was tremendous! However, there are added costs and circumstances that make me not interested in bi-amping the speakers. For me I don't have the room to have 2 more mono-blocks, not to mention the desire for the added heat in the summer(my central air can hardly keep up as is). And I don't think Gladstone is going to be in a rush to pick up another set of Class Omicron mono's, for similar reasons.

He has been experimenting with a REL sub with superb results, he has it crossed over at 22hz and we spoke the other day about how EVERYTHING has gotten better. I am thinking about it, but right now I am so happy, why mess with anything :)

There are many ways to achieve an amazing system around maggies, but you've got to do a little work to get around there shortcomings. A lot of folks use active's and rave about the results, I know of a small handful who have done passives and raved about the results, and most who have tried both(who have a true reference quality system) prefer passive. There is also more flexibility to tune the sound to your liking with passives, a simple cascading bypass on your caps. and you can get a significantly different sound from using a different cap.

Now I am starting to ramble......... so I'll stop before I get carried away with myself :)