New Magnepan 3.7 i ?


Announcing the 3.7i

An improved 3.7 may come as a surprise given that the 3.6 had a 12-year run. But, this is unusual in other ways.

The changes did not require retooling or significant cost increases. It did not warrant waiting for a major product change as a 3.8. So, we decided to pass it on now.

Yes, it is unusual, and it is the first time in Magnepan's history that a speaker can be upgraded at the factory at a reasonable cost (details to follow).

But, what is not unusual--- we don't hype new models. Yes, it sounds better, but we leave that to you to describe.

Wendell Diller
Marketing Mgr.
Probably a crossover update.

That is the only thing that could be easy to change.
Don, I have been thinking the same thing. I do wish they would release more information about this update to the 3.7. It all seems a bit out of character for Magnepan.

I'd be interested in anything that might improve the 3.7s, but frankly, I have mixed emotions about this. When I bought my 3.7s, I thought about waiting for an update to the 20.1s, but Magnepan did nothing to indicate that a 20.7 might be in the works. The 20.1s are proving hard to beat, they said. Now, about 3 years in on the 3.7s, we are getting an update, and we are going to have to pay shipping both ways plus the cost of the work and endure the downtime.

A little more transparency with their existing and future customer base would be appreciated.
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What would they say? ""Well customers.. Better to wait as we might possibley find some new idea to use in a few years and then you'll be SORRY you did not wait. In fact NEVER buy our products in case we make additional changes.. never know when you will be miffed at us for improving our product. So just skip buying Magnepan altogether Please.""
Well Said!
Elizabeth, Magnepan knew full well they would be launching the 20.7's when I bought the 3.7's. They were released within a year of my purchase. Rather than be forthcoming when asked, they got cute and played coy. I'm not taking a loss on the 3.7s and paying 14K for 20.7s. If they had just said "I can't comment on that" I would have understood. I took what they said to mean not anytime soon and maybe not ever. That is what I mean by transparency.

Please, Elizabeth! I'm not an idiot and I'm not unreasonable.
Brownsfan, your position in not reasonable. The nature of high end manufacturers is to constantly try to improve their product. It's a market driven process and it doesn't stop just because you might be inconvenienced.
After the 3.7 was introduced it was obvious that the 20.1 would get the same treatment from wire to quasi ribbon, from a manufacturing standpoint if nothing else. I said that on the planar asylum and it was the experts and gurus who said it was not going to happen. When the 20.7 was very quietly announced the same crowd said it was logical for Magnepan to move to QR in the flagship speaker. Forums are 90% banter and 10% solid information on a good day. All manufacturers are tight lipped about product R&D and new models, just SOP. Hence caveat emptor.
Look folks, I'm not upset because Magnepan is trying to make improvements on the 3.7. Was that not clear from my last post? I asked a question. They could have just said no comment. Instead they issued a misleading answer. That is the heart of the matter. Had I not been mislead, I would have waited on the 20.7's. I'm on my 3rd pair of Magnepan speakers. I don't believe that misleading loyal customers is a necessary part of business, when a refusal to answer would have worked just fine. Its not like I am furious with Magnepan, and its not like I would never buy another pair. I simply stated I would appreciate a bit more transparency. Sorry if my statement offended you.
Brownsfan, I think the 3.7i upgrade is straightforward, if a bit mysterious in terms of what's actually in it. I asked Wendell about more specifics, he said he doesn't yet know the details of how the upgrade program will work, but that the information will be forthcoming once he does. He also says that the 3.7i isn't a 3.8. But I gather he's confident in the sonic improvement and the reaction of reviewers and customers who hear it, to the extent that he doesn't feel he has to tout the improvement in the sound.

BTW, while I don't think Wendell actually misled you about the 20.7 -- when I spoke to him at the time, he sounded genuinely unsure about whether they'd be able to improve the 20.1 sufficiently to have a new model at the end of the year -- I don't think they'll start announcing new models early. They have to wait until their dealers have been notified before they can do that. So I think that's one question that will never elicit a meaningful answer, except maybe right before the show when the new model is about to be released and they're in the process of publicizing it.
Josh, Thanks for the information. I understand the dilemma a company like Magnepan faces with impending upgrades in terms of what they say and when they say it. The other side of the coin is the dilemma faced by potential customers considering purchase of a model that may very soon be devalued in the used marketplace by a company poised to release a new model.
I was in an awkward position. I wasn't going to buy 20.1's, for fear they would soon be replaced with a new model, meaning the market value would drop rather quickly. I decided not to wait for something that might not materialize for several years if ever. So, I pulled the trigger on the 3.7s.
It seemed improbable to me that they could go from a state of unclear improvement to models on the floor in less than a year. Perhaps I was in error. As it is, I find myself in the situation perhaps worse than the one I wanted to avoid. I have 3.7s instead of 20.7's, and will need to pony up some more to take the 3.7s to 3.7i s.
So-- if you are about to buy 1.7s or 20.7s, what do you do? You might want to wait for the upgrade that might or might not come. Magnepan may wish to consider carefully their communications regarding those inevitable questions.

In recent years, they seem to have been releasing one major upgrade a year. It wouldn't surprise me if they moved pretty quickly from a decision to make say a 20.7 to production -- it's not an entirely new model like the Mini Maggie, which Jim Winey says took him 20 years to design! But their requirements for a new model are pretty strict -- it has to be preferred in a blind test by both expert and non-expert listening panels, as well as meeting other requirements -- and as Wendell said at the time, the 20.1 was a hard act to follow. So it seems entirely plausible to me that he wouldn't have known whether they'd have something sufficiently good in time.

Of course, since they won't talk about R&D and new models except in the vaguest terms, we have no way of knowing. However, they seem to time new models for CES, so it seems to me that after CES might be a good time to buy, since you know then that you'll probably have a year before a next model might arrive.

Another thing that I think is important to keep in mind is that loudspeaker model upgrades are usually incremental. I've had models change right after I bought electronics so I know the feeling, but, seriously, what was fine a year ago is probably still great today. In fact, I often like to pick up the old model when it goes on sale, because you usually get a great discount.

IIRC, what happened on the Asylum was that we discussed what Wendell said about not being sure of a new model, which was in some of the magazines -- TAS, I think. At some point, someone said that a dealer had told them that they were going to release an anniversary edition Tympani -- I think that may have been here -- and then I think someone heard an accurate rumor from a dealer. I could be remembering the model wrong.

Another sign I've noticed is when dealers start selling their floor demos.

But anyway you look at it, it's a digital process -- someone is going to get the model right before they make the change!
Josh, thanks. You are correct. Someone is always going to buy immediately prior to model change. It's just that that person is not me. Perhaps I obsess too much about strategic and tactical acumen. I don't misread clues very often. But at the end of the day I have speakers with which I am completely happy- they fit my taste, my system and my room very well. But the reality is that I was in the process of assembling a system to take me into retirement. Having now completed that system, ithe window for big spends has passed, so I won't be bringing the 20.7s in. From that perspective, my decision to buy the 3.7s became a loose/loose.

As I said earlier, its not like I am mad at Magnepan. I think some people over reacted to my statement that I would appreciate more transparency. I didm't say I expected or demanded it. I felt like Magnepan was being unnecessarily coy, but I could certainly be all wrong about that. My skepticism regarding design impasse to product launch in under a year is perhaps colored by the industry in which I work, where 8-10 year development cycles are normal.

Trust is more a matter of being predictable than anything else. I thought I knew Magnepan's MO. I got it wrong with respect to reading what was going on.
Too much transparency to consumers can be a dangerous thing for a manufacturer of consumer products. Word travels fast and consumers can stop on a dime in terms of buying current product. It can kill a company fast.

The first rule in running a business: keep in business.
According to their website the cost is $500 plus shipping....not much other info
As for the sound of the speakers, I heard them this past week in New Jersey at Audio Connection, courtesy of John Rutan. If you like Maggie's, you're going to love these speakers. They have all of the Maggie qualities that set them apart from other speakers and then some. There is an ease to them that makes the sound so relaxed and natural. This kind of sound is very, very seductive and everything sounds really wonderful on them. They were being powered by a Cary SS 200WPC stereo amp, AI Modulus 3B Preamp and a Linn CDP. Very nice electronics but not to fancy or expensive. I can only imagine what they would sound like with a more expensive, powerful and refined front end. Good thing is that they sounded fantastic with this combo.The wholeness of the speaker is quite remarkable and the cohesiveness of the bass,midrange and treble is even more seamless than the always excellent Magnepan presentation. I own 1.6's and have always loved what the Maggies do and these take those traits to another level of refinement to my ears. I hope some of you can get to Audio Connection or somewhere that's got a pair for demo and give them a listen, as I'd be curious to hear what others think.
Big news from my dealer. He said that if your Magnepans are fairly new you probably already have the i in place. He said basically they were tensioning the mylar tighter initially and about 6 months or so ago they started producing them a little looser so that they sounded a little more natural with a little more umph in the bass. They decided to mark them as i to differentiate them. So he said the upgrade is that they loosen the mylar slightly. That's why they are not making a big deal out of it and why they haven't said much. That's what the dealer said anyways. He also said that he isn't planning to send any of his older ones in because they are played enough that the Mylar has loosened a little anyways with break-in. Bottom line, enjoy your speakers.
If the 3.7i change is diaphragm tension, I would say Magnepan screwed up all the 3.7's!

After 40 years they should know how to set the proper tension.

This change to the 3.7i sounds fishy to me!
It is my understanding that part of the change from the .6 to .7 series was increasing the tension. Now they have decided to decrease the tension? If this is true, it makes you wonder what is going on up there.

I'd probably go for a cross over upgrade, but I won't be sending them back for this for another year or two until I see how this change is received by others.
Brownsfan, your worries are over....
I auditioned the 1.7s and 3.7s at the time of their release. The 3.7 was particularly of interest. I took my wife along to the dealership for a second opinion. Using my own Curved Air CD I felt Sonya's voice was made to sound quite ordinary to the point where it was severely lacking in content(!) Much of the seductiveness of her voice is embedded in the lower octaves and it was posted missing here. My words to the OH at the time were "it made Sonya sound like a bad singer that you wouldn't give a second listen to" - which she obviously isn't.
Back home I rechecked against my Martin Logan Vantages and the difference was night & day. The sense of relief was palpable. On the basis of that comparison I wouldn't touch the 3.7s with a barge pole.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and an audition of the 3.7i.
I didn't have the Curved Air test pieces but the dealer provided some Joni Mitchell instead. Having been privy to all the recent discussion about secret crossover changes I wasn't expecting a massive improvement but was shocked to find that they'd managed to significantly address the bass problem. ("How'd they manage to do that with a crossover update?", was my first thought). Joni's voice sounded perfect. She was fully corporealised standing 6ft tall in front of me with all registers of her voice perfectly rendered and convincingly better than my recollections of the "old" 3.7.
I double checked with some ELP to see how it handled the heavier stuff and while they would never convince the "bass-heads" among us I was stunned by the sheer coherence of the musical presentation and the level of detail. Little things popped out of the mix that you'd never noticed before.
The bottom line is that although I wouldn't have touched the old 3.7 with a barge pole I WOULD buy the 3.7i in a heartbeat. That's the important difference and it bypasses any hifi technobabble that I or anyone else might offer.

Since then I've become aware of the ribbon tensioning updates and it all becomes clear.
The question is, was the 3.7 a mistake that needed to be rectified?? (..and more importantly, should the punters be paying for it?)
Furthermore does the difference in the manufacturing justify an extra $500 when they'd already, apparently, adapted their manufacturing process to release some of them as 3.7i under the guise of 3.7s? (and did those people pay $5500 for them?)

Alternatively, how loose can the 3.7 panels get by mere playing? Will they ever match the 3.7i when fully run in?
Not that I would ever accuse Magnepan of being underhand because they've always been fair with their customers but I think the veil of secrecy needs to be lifted a little to reassure the customer of the necessity to shell out the extra $500 at the very least?

Meanwhile I'm still drooling over them.... :)
Moonglum, Thanks for the information. One question, did you audition the 3.7s's in the same room with the same ancillaries?

I was careful and deliberate in auditioning speakers over a long period of time, beginning before the release of the 3.7s. In that time, I auditioned a large number of speakers below 20K, and only the Maggies and wilson Sophia IIIs were serious candidates. If the 3.7i modifications further improve them, that will be a good thing for everyone.

As for me, I'm still in a holding pattern due to a pending move. Until I see what our new place is going to be like, I won't know if I will be able to continue to use the 3.7s. That waiting period should allow more comments like yours to come in, hopefully from 3.7 owners who have taken the plunge.
My pleasure m8. No, believe it or not we were using a budget Krell for the 3.7i audition, whereas the 3.7 benefitted from a more substantial amplifier (I-700)that was over twice the price. Just to complicate matters the 3,7i audition was in a different City altogether (London - unfortunately the only dealer in the UK that had a 3.7i - but it was sheer accident that I happened across them) so in retrospect I agree there was plenty of room for variation.
Both rooms were well damped & optimised and used source CD players of similar price and quality (AR and Sim-Moon), however the (potential) sale stands or falls on how the kit performs on the day... :(
Kind regards,
BTW...the Krell wasn't actually requested as it was the default setup that had been arranged for other customers. I was mightily impressed by its abilities nevertheless!
I believe they're now releasing an s550 integrated so that might be an interesting one for folks to try... :)