New Maggie 3.6 OR 10 yr old Sound lab A-1 s

I am having to make a fast decision between new 3.6's
or a pair of 10 yr old Sound Lab A-1's. I have heard the
Maggies but not the A-1's. My question is with newer
technology would I be better off with new speakers or
will the time tested A-1's still reign supreme??
(The A-1's are said to be sonically sound)

Thanks fo any advise.
I would go with the 3.6's. OFC I have lived with a pair for over 2 years, and I love the Maggies!

Always remember that speakers have moving parts. Stuff with moving parts wears down, so after 10 years... Who knows how much life the A-1's have in them? And can they be reconditioned? and for how much? Does anyone service them? (I do not know any of these answers... just questions one must ask themselves before laying down good money on any older speaker) At least with the Maggies you know what you are getting: one world class speaker with a warranty.

See my system on the virtual systems here at audiogon.

aka Keith
If the Sound Labs are in excellent condition, they will do some things the Maggies won't do. I've only heard the big Sound Labs with the new toroidal transformer - without it, I'm not certain of how they would compare. But the Sound Labs have always been praised for their timbre and resoltion.

I have owned several Maggies, and I own and sell Sound Labs. Both are excellent loudspeakers. I've compared the 3.6's to Sound Lab M-1's (sonically the equivalent of modern A-1's) side-by-side. The Maggies were actually a bit more efficient. But I kept wanting to turn the volume up on the Maggies to hear the details that were so readily audible on the Sound Labs (actually, Sound Labs are extremely enjoyable even at quite low volume levels). Their tonal balances are similar, but the Sound Labs naturally go deeper (they're twice the size). You know how the 3.6's have a wonderfully lifelike presentation that "feels" vastly different from a box speaker? Well, the big Sound Labs can give you even more of that.

Just for the record, if there wasn't a local Maggie dealership already, I'd love to pick up the line. I think Maggies are wonderful. However, electrostatics seem to have greater ultimate potential than ribbons or planar magnetics.

The most dangerous time in the life of a Sound Lab speaker is when it is being shipped. Many if not most problems can be traced to not shipping the speakers in factory crates. Please factor this in! You may need to buy factory crates.

If you can find out the serial numbers on the Sound Labs and e-mail them to me, I'll find out as much as I can for you about them. But the factory won't be open again until Monday - hopefully you can wait that long.

Hope this helps!
Telescope trade,

Modern M-1's may beat Maggie 3.6's soundwise... but the M-1 is a new $14k speaker and the Maggie is a new $4k speaker. If I could afford $14k on a speaker the Sound Labs speakers might be perfect.

I have never heard the Sound Labs A-1 or M-1, however, equating the two soundwise seems problematic since they are 10 years apart in age. Speaker design may have not jumped leaps and bounds in 10 years, but rest assured, the Maggies they make today: 3.6's and 1.6's and other lines, sound better than the lines Maggie sold 10 years ago. I really hope the same can be said for Sound Labs speakers, else they probably will have trouble competing with other speaker companies who do advance their technology forward.

The Maggie 3.6's are seriously better than the 3.5's,and I hope the M-1's are seriously better than the A-1's.

This and $.50 will get you a cheap cup of coffee.

Just food for thought.

Thanks for posting your thoughts. I went ahead with the
purchase of the A-1's, as it was a time frame thing.
I called Sound Lab, and everything can be upgraded,
actually quite reasonable.
They also said if the were maintained reasonably well,
they should have another 10 yrs left before mylar
replacement is needed.

Thanks again to you all,

Congrats, Bob! I think you're gonna like your new babies!

I have a friend with fifteen year old Sound Labs (I've never actually heard his pair). He has never had a thing done to them - no upgrades, nothing. He's a much more mature human being than I am - me, I'd be wanting the latest & greatest. He is quite familiar with the latest advances - he used to work for Sound Lab, and he helps Roger West every year at the CES. Roger would update his speakers free - they are best of friends - but the man isn't interested. I have heard of even older pairs still in use. My point is, Sound Labs can last a long time, and even older models continue to sing.

For the benefit of anyone not familiar, Roger West of Sound Lab (formerly of Janszen - remember them?) designed the A-1 ("Audiophile"-1) about 20 years ago. The same basic design is still in production today - a large faceted-curve panel that radiates over a 90 degree arc. There have been incremental improvements over the years, but the basic design is the same - it wasn't Roger's first try, but when he designed the A-1 he really got it right. The M-1 ("Millennium"-1) is a relatively new development - it's essentially an A-1 with less wood trim, and a bit lower price. The U-1 ("Ultimate"-1) is an A-1 with an ultra-rigid tubular metal frame, and a higher price. For the traditionalist, the A-1 itself is still in production.

One nice thing about the Sound Labs, as Bob discovered, is that Roger West does his very best to design improvements that can be retro-fitted to older speakers, so that customers haven't just spent a pile of money on a speaker that in a couple of years will be obsolete. To put it in Maggie terms, it would be like being able to bring a 3.5 up to 3.6 standard.
Way to grab the situation, Bob! I was afraid at the bottom of the reply page I would read that you went for the Maggies. Hope you will update on the A-1's from time to time, perhaps share any significant findings. Enjoy!
good choice . the maggies although good never get 3d . the sound labs even old ones will scare you in the dark. i hope you have good tubes.
I got the chance to listen to the Soundlab Millenium 1 and the Soundlab Dynastat (a hybrid). They were driven by very expensive equipment. They sounded quite good indeed. At low volume you do get more detail with the Soundlabs versus the Maggie. However from my experience as a long time Maggie owner (1b's and IIIa's) and new owner of the 3.6. There are just some qualities Maggies present that I have not heard any other speaker present, especially in making making the speaker disappear. I have gotten rich textured 3D sound from them in spades (with good tube equipment). And when properly set up, because of their wide accurate frequency response (and I believe this is the key), You get a whole soundstage of instruments and human voice that just sound like the live performance and with natural space and dynamics that I have yet to hear from any other speaker brand, including the Soundlabs. As good as the Soundlabs were during the times I heard them , they did not give the fast, dimensional sound with space in the corners of the stage that the Maggies allow. I think that is why those who have heard the magic of the Maggie sound are so wedded to them. Even after all these years I still believe that Maggies at their best versus other great speakers at their best (such as Soundlabs) would yield a Maggie victory if you use the live performance as your yardstick. Maggies seem to win out in passing the emotion of music and with the bewilderment of presenting the three dimensionality of all the various pieces on the stage along with the fidelity and spaciousness and on top of all of that, presenting this simultaneously. They have fascinated me for 21 years (various models).

just sharing my life experiences,


And all above, the Sound Lab deal fell through due to
shipping hassles, and I bought the 3.6 R's. Wow!!!
Now while I never have heard the SL's, and have the chance
to get a great deal right now on a pair of SL A-3's, I just
cannot get myself to sell the Maggies (2nd pair in two weeks
due to a color change)

For the last week I have been sitting, mesmerized by the
sound with my Rowland mono 7's (which i cannot keep :o()
but they absolutly disappear and have speed & air I'm not
sure I can live without.

Would like to try some SL's one day but am very happy
right now.
Where's Albert?