New Magnepan 1.7

I posted a response to this thread but it (the thread) remained buried in the thread listings – I thought it would be advanced to the “current queue.”

Anyway, since I would like to hear your opinions on the subject, I am restating my post to the original thread as a new thread (I apologize for the redundancy):

I just listened to the new 1.7s at the local dealer, who forewarned me that they sounded terrible due to not being broken in. Indeed, they sounded very thin, tizzy and totally lacking any dynamics in the mid-bass or bass frequencies. The dealer told me that this was to be expected and that he fully expects them to sound great once properly broken in.

When the 1.7s arrived, the dealer compared them to his 1.6s that were fully broken in and which he said totally blew away the new 1.7s (I did not get to hear this comparison since he recently sold his 1.6 demo pair). Through the 1.7s I felt that various well-recorded acoustic music did sound very promising, with respect to the resolution in the upper frequencies already sounding detailed and resolved, but when more dynamic material was played (rock, electronic, large orchestral passages, bass & drum) they sounded unacceptably thin and lacking bass of any substance whatsoever.

I have no real experience with Magies. Is this long (and necessary) break in time to be expected, and if so, how much do “new Magies” improve with break in? I have to wonder about all the glowing reviews…for their reviews, do the reviewers receive “pre-conditioned” (fully broken in) speakers?

I plan to revisit the dealer in about four weeks to reevaluate the new 1.7s.

I would appreciate other opinions (regarding the 1.7s)


If you wait 4 weeks to go back,they will probably be gone!!Lots of folks want these speakers and will buy them without being "broke in".Just a thought.
Thanks Tpreaves.

They won't sell these since they are the floor demos and they'll want to have them on hand for potential buyers. I'm just curious about the break in time for Magies. I’d like to hear from experienced Magnepan owners about the immediate sound of their new speakers compared to after the full break in period (and what that timeline may be)…what to expect, etc.

I bought new 3.6's ordered end Feb got beginning of March 2010. They were built for me.
So I started playing them and played 24/7 quietly at night, normal all day... Took until end of April before I would say they are really good.
I mean they were OK just not great as could be.
One issue with Maggies is the stuff used to play them HAS to have been running for at minimum an hour before listening.
When i auditioned at dealer with electronics Bryston I also bought, the Maggies they had did not sound good for at LEAST the first hour of play. Lucky for me I know the dealer dude, and he just left me with the stuff playing what i wanted as long as I wanted. So I went in twice to listen. BOTH times the setup took an hour to start sounding good.
So part of the problem may just be cold electronics. NO speakers reveal this quiet like Maggies...
Thanks Elizabeth.

I love the dynamic range of driver-based boxed systems, but I have a passion for midrange clarity and sweet highs. For me, there has always been a tradeoff and I have until recently been satisfied with the compromise I experience with dynamic box speakers.

I relish being able to really crank the volume and feel the impact when the rocking mood strikes me and since I grew up in the seventies, that mood strikes often. What moves me even more though is the sweet sound of acoustic music and female vocals, whether it be folk, singer/songwriter, jazz, classical, blues or new age, I truly love the sound of live acoustic music. Given this, think I’m ready to give up the thundering dynamics for the sweet midrange and highs of a planner speaker. But, for me, this necessarily means compromising since my rock, funk and huge orchestral passages simply will not sound as grand and dynamic.

The 1.7s have certainly caught my attention so I am very interested in the opinions of magie owners in general and of course from those experienced with the 1.7s. I would like to hear about incorporating subs with the magies as well and how the combination sounds with big sweeping symphonic and orchestral passages and on loud seventies rock music (e.g.: Zep, Purple, Sabbath, War, etc…). I know magies can sound very special, but my brief experience with the (new) 1.7s was a real let down.

2chnl: From your description of what you want, maggies would be good, but you can do better and get both dynamics and clarity if you consider active speakers that are not ported. Do some research. Look for sealed or dipole systems with good dispersion/off-axis characteristics. Good luck.

Can't speak directly to the 1.7's as I have not heard them. But I can speak from my experience with 1.6's I have had for 8 years.

Break in - very long. At least a month of almost 24/7 at various levels.

Accoustic and Female vocals - play very nicely on 1.6's. One of their strengths.

Aggressive & loud rock - almost. Big soundstage and plenty of SPL's but a little weak below 60hz which is where you get some of the impact of loud rock from. You also have be prepared for some sonic disappointments from the early recordings. They can show up a little weak on Maggies.

Sub - does help. Very hard to integrate seamlessly because of the cone/planar difference. The EQed subs might be easier.

Listening space - you need some room behind the speakers. Mine are 52 inches out into the room for the best balance of properties. Moving them out and back changes the quarter wave cancellation frequencies and bass/mid bass response. So, you can play around a little/lot to get the best balance for your tastes.

Amplification - need lots of power to start to bloom. You will never believe the difference unless you try it with low power and high power amps.

FWIW - rather than spend a lot on high $ amps, I bypassed the crossover and inserted an active crossover with modest amps. Those that understand the numbers claim it is the same as quadrupling power output. I'll have to take their word for that. But, the difference was amazing. There are more reasons for the improvement than just power, but that is another thread.

Finally - The 1.7's are built differently than the 1.6's. I think you would be very wise to wait to hear them broken in.

Hope this helps.

Jim S.

Thanks. The 1.7s are purported to be one of the greatest values in high-end audio. For $2,000 I’m interested. Otherwise, I’m content with what I have (considering I have to be responsible with my finances since my kids’ education takes precedence over my hobbies). So, the question back to you is, do you have experience with active concealed speakers at $2,000 that provide what you describe?
I guess I should have understood a $2k budget. I have only heard the 1.6, and for the money, to my ears, there's nothing better. In that priced range, I don't know of any sealed and/or active to beat them.
Thanks Jim S.

Very helpful indeed.
Ojgalli, What do you recommend above the 2k price point?
Learn about and listen to Gradient, ATC, Morrison, Linkwitz Lab. They each take a different approach to solve the same problems.
"but when more dynamic material was played (rock, electronic, large orchestral passages, bass & drum) they sounded unacceptably thin and lacking bass of any substance whatsoever. "

it's been my experience that the old "planar vs other" discussions often come down to the issue raised in the statement above.

To each, how important are rock and roll dynamics?

I've owned 1.6s, 3.6s Apogees..Heck I even owned the old Monsoon planar computer speakers.

It was probably 20+ years ago I became hooked on planar speakers. It's hard for me to describe it, that mid range and sound stage hooked me instantly.
I'm a long time Mark Knopfler fan, his guitar is pure goose-bump teary-eyed pleasure for me.

My 1.6s never came close to producing heavy duty rock.
My 3.6s come a bit closer.

I suspect possibly big $$$ planars would come closer still, but the big $$$ is then the issue.

For me, I would trade Heavy Metal dynamics every day for the magic mid range and soundstage of planars.
Others would consider this decision idiocy.

A good dealer should be able to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of Maggies in about 20 minutes using two recordings. I knew immediately what my preference was.

Both my 1.6s and 3.6s absolutely improved over time, probably upwards of 100 hours.

Good Luck

There seems to be multiple Magnepan 1.7 discussions going on. I posted this elsewhere, but here are my impressions of the new Magnepan 1.7s:

I have been living with my MG 1.7s now for two months. Shortly after purchasing the MG 1.7s, I purchased the Wyred for Sound DAC 1, a Netgear 9150 digital music center and a Polk Audio DSW MicroPRO 2000 subwoofer so some of the subjective changes in sound quality can't be pinned on any one piece of equipment. Other equipment includes a BADA MA3MK II tube hybrid preamp and MA100MK II amplifier (300 watts into 4 ohms). All wiring is Xindak ribbon speaker wire and Xindak analogue and digital cables.

The past two months have been an amazing journey with the new equipment. I replaced 5 year old MG 1.6s with the MG 1.7s (along with an original 35 year old pair of MG IIs!). As the equipment has broken in the clarity of sound is becoming nothing short of outstanding. The combo, Magnepan and Wyred 4 Sound DAC, has been a marriage made in heaven. Both seem to provide amazing clarity without sounding etched or unrealistic. I primarily listen to classical music and couldn’t be happier about the sound quality. Music ebbs and flows and where orchestra crescendos used to send me to the volume control to turn it down, now explode with amazing control. It really is phenomenal.

I have always had a problem getting “depth” from my system. Clarity, realistic reproduction of orchestral instruments and vocals have been outstanding but all were presented within a broad right to left very narrow depth presentation. For the first time, I am getting some depth to the music. Still not what has been reported by others with Magnepans, but much better than ever before. I am still tweaking the position of the speakers to try to improve the depth but it is a work in progress.

Rock music, for the first time ever for me, sounds good through Magnepans. Always to me a weak link, I now enjoy listening to rock music through my system.

I will be visiting a gentleman who has a dedicated sound room with MBL speakers and amplifiers with analogue front end on June 19, 2010. I estimate he has between $50K and $100K into his system. I am very excited to hear what the absolute top end sound equipment can bring and to be able to compare it to my system which is based on the “best deal for the dollar” strategy. If we can work it out, I may bring my Magnepan 1.7s to his system at a later date to hear what a top end turntable and MBL amp/preamp can do with my speakers. Will follow up on this later.

For now, I am very happy with the quality of my system. The weakest link is likely the small Polk subwoofer; however, I must say it is amazingly good for the price I paid for it ($429.00 at Newegg with list over $1K) and very convenient with a separate remote control.

"I will be visiting a gentleman who has a dedicated sound room with MBL speakers and amplifiers with analogue front end on June 19, 2010."

Please post a sitrep about your experience when you are done playing around with the high end stuff. I am toeing the line between Maggie 20.1 or MBL 111F hybrids. I have a friend who has 1.6's and from what I heard, these are speakers you can listen to all day long. From the consensus it seems like the maggies are truly an audiophile bargain. On the other hand, the MBL 111 represenst a sweet spot in the product line that has a lot of the features of their extremely priced products.



Just got back having an opportunity to listen to a state-of-the art system with no digital (except for my Wyred 4 Sound DAC1 which we installed for some light listening). First of all, very gracious host who could not have been any nicer, breathtaking historic home in the Maryland countryside and a top-to-bottom state of the art system with MBL 9007 Monoblocks, MBL 5011 preamp, MBL 111E loudspeakers, unidentified turntable including Tara Labs “The Zero” interconnects.

Sorry for not having the turntable and cartridge brands. Having been out of analog for over two decades, I have no sight reference on which turntable is which. It was, however, huge horizontally! Speakers or amps and preamps, not a problem, turntables, phono preamps and cartridges, forget about it.

First of all, I do get what people say about the sound of analog vs. digital. The orchestra instruments were more 3D and sweeter sounding than with the DAC1 in the system. It really was a thrill to hear records after so many years. I had flashbacks to my first days in audio. There was this feeling of "oh, so that's what I have been missing all these years" feeling about the sound.

Frankly, the Wyred 4 Sound DAC1 sounded a bit flat in this system. To be fair, we compared a $1K DAC to a $35K+ analog system comprised of turntable, cartridge, separate tube phono preamp with separate power supply, etc. However, I realized the next day we had the right and left interconnects reversed which may or may not have caused a little aural distress, we really did not give the DAC1 time to warm up as I do in my listening sessions, and we had it being fed by a older Rotel CD player within 3 feet of the left speaker. In fact, in my system with Magnepan 1.7s, the Wyred 4 Sound DAC1 sounded appreciably better than it did in his system.

Before I get into describing the MBL 111E speakers, here is my opinion of the room acoustics – not enough sound absorption for my tastes and some kind of mid bass hump that made complex musical passages a little overripe! Mostly wood floors with area rug, plaster walls and two doors form the “back wall” with equipment on the left and shelving on the right. I have these 4’ x 2’ x 2” sound absorption panels that I strategically place around my speakers cancelling reflections off of my equipment and furniture. I wish I would have had the panels for the listening event.

The MBL 111E are effortless loudspeakers. They project sound in the room in such a way that they disappear and when playing analog, I hear the instruments in 3D space. Having said that, I may be stripped of my rights to post on Audiogon to say that I feel the Magnepan 1.7s get me 90+% of the sound of the MBL 111E loudspeakers when the Maggies are augmented with good subwoofers. On paper that is an outrageous statement, but going back home and playing the same music I brought to the MBL listening, I felt, digital to digital, the Magnepan’s were not that far behind. And, I am playing through just a couple thousand dollars in electronics, not 10s of thousands as we listened to for the MBLs.

The Maggies have very similar sound mid-range and up with the MBL’s achieving the last little bits of realism from the recorded medium. The MBLs are the best high-priced, high-end speakers I have heard. Having said that, if you have any inkling to purchase Magnepan loudspeakers and are a little patient, I would wait at least 12 months to see if Magnepan introduces 20.2 or 3.7 versions. What they have done with the 1.7 is nothing short of amazing and I can only guess how good the 20.2 or 3.7 versions will be.

If my host is interested, I will bring over my Magnepan’s for a test listen at his home. Can the $2000 Magnepan 1.7s stand up face-to-face with the MBLs (or at least not get embarrassed by the comparison)??? I am ready for the competition!

I heard the 1.7 at a Maggie dealer and it was a disappointment compared to my friends 1.6 ( tweaked and with stands) frankly i heard no reason to drop a good setup 1.6 for a 1.7 . Now with that said , the dealer never mentioned how much break in time he had on it or how long it would take to do so. So who knows, if this was the situation.

The sound we heard was different from what you describe , this one was thick and congested sounding, I'm sure his setup could have been better 2, but Based on what was presented to us we said no thanks.

Maybe a used 1.6 , already broken in and at current prices
(800-1000) a bargain. this way you can see if the sound works for you before committing to a 1.7 ....

Hello Ronwills,

Thanks for the report on the MBL's and at this time I can agree with your feelings in regards to your Maggie's getting you 90% of the sound of the MBL's.

May i suggest another visit, if after a few more times and hrs spent you still feel that way, i would be very surprised as i do believe the differences would not be so close to you anymore and ahhh if not! Then i guess you could suggest to your friend on how to save some cash ... -)

I'm a MG 1.7 owner. Below: See my answer on a another MG 1.7 thread.

I also find them bright.