Placement of Magnepan 1.6's or 3.6's

I'm rearranging my living room which is 18.5' X 11.5'. I'm getting ready to buy new Maggies, (I've had Tympani 1D's for 20 years.) I planned to get 1.6's and have them facing the short width of the room. A friend suggested that I might have them face the longer length, in which case I could fit the 3.6's. I didn't consider that before because I have a Steinway B grand piano that is 7' long and will sit across the short width of the room. If the speakers are basically a couple of feet from the corners of the room, the body of the piano will partially obstruct the listening V between the speakers and the listener. Is that a problem? Does that listening space need to be completely unobstructed? The Magnepan brochure has them pictured in a corner directly against the wall with a couch a couple of feet out. What do you think? It would be great if they could fit and sound at their best facing the large length of the room. If the piano is not a problem, would the 1.6's be enough or do I need to get the 3'6's?
I'm using 1.6QR's in a 10' X 17' room with the speakers
on the long wall. I'm using them in a nearfield setup,
with the speakers about 3 1/2 feet from the back wall
and the listining position about 6 feet from the speakers.
It sounds excellent, in large measure because of the
"breathing room" behind and lateral to the speakers. I
tried them on the short wall, firing down the long axis
of the room and the sound was noticeably poorer - ill
defined imaging, congested, poor bass response. Boundary
reflections are a significant problem with Magnepans. If
you have the piano partially blocking a speaker, it will
degrade the sound. Also, I use a Rel Strata III subwoofer
which gives all the bass I need. It integrates very well
with the 1.6's.
Hi Tony! From my experience with Maggies, they will usually sound best against the longer wall, but the 11 foot depth of the room is just as big a problem, especially with the piano you have. Having them on the short wall is not the best setup either, due to the lack of width with your soundstage. The 3.6 is so wide that the two side by side take up almost half the width of the room! It would be best to try another room, or remove the piano if you plan on enjoying either of these speakers in the proper context.
Good luck!
check out the Cardas website, there are specific instructions on how to set up planar speakers. I went to a friends who has the 1.6s and they were already sounding pretty good, but we really improved things by following the Cardas setup technique. I don't think you can expect to get the best out of either the 1.6s or the 3.6s with them only 2' off the wall.
I have to think that whoever set up the photo-op on the Magnepan website didn't know anything about these speakers. I have my 3.6s on the short wall firing down the long dimension (18.5' X 11.5). I prefer nothing between me and my speakers, not even, unfortunately, a table to hold beverages/snacks/CDs. IMO, it looks like the 1.6s on the long wall firing the shorter distance for you. The further out from the back wall you can pull the speakers, the better the sound will get. A good sub-woofer can make a good difference.
I think you should set them up in my living room!!!
Thanks Guys.
Sounds like I should go with the 1.6's and place them along the long wall. Never heard of Cardas website before. Great information. How much should I try to sell my old Tympani 1-D's for? They're biege, 20 years old, used in a no children, smoke or pet environment.
You can use the Thiel speakers on the short wall (firing down the length of the room if you can place them well out from the back wall and close to the side wall with your listening position triangulated and with the axis of the speaker crossing well in front of the listening position (which will eliminate most problems associated with side wall reflections). Since Thiel usuall recommends firing the speaker straight ahead you can keep toeing them in until the reach the corresponding angle. Don't let the crosseyed effect bug you, it can really work. If it does you will also find that someone sitting next to you will also get a good stereo image even though they may be sitting right in front of one of the speakers. I wouldn't try to use Maggies in your room - Travis is right on about the photos.
I don't know Thiel speakers. Why does Newbee recommend them and why not Maggies. It would be great to not have to accommodate the size of the Maggies and still get the great sound I'm used to. Which Thiel's does Newbee recommend?
Tconny, My mind must have wandered when I read your thread and the following posts - for some reason I thought you were referring to Thiel 3.6's. I certainly was not recommending Thiels, nor would I. Sorry for causing confusion - I feel really dumb! However, since I already look kinda stupid I'm ready to risk complete being a complete idiot by making an unasked for observation. FWIW I think your room size might be much more ameniable to dynamic speakers than panels or electrostats due to the difficulty of setup. If I had your room I would probably get mid-sized monitors, like the recently reviewed Harbeth 7's, place them on the short wall about 4 ft out into the room, about 8 ft apart, with the listening position about 8 to 9 ft away. I would listen to them as close to on axis as possible to minimize first reflections from side walls. Then I'd get a small and fast sub woofer to fill in the bass between 32hz and 60hz and probably place it some where on or close to the wall behind your speakers. This system might not be in an absolute sense better than perfectly set up panels but I'm not sure you can really accomplish that set up in your room. (I went from Quad 63's to dynamics for much the same reason in a room somewhat larger, but not much larger, than yours). Anyway sorry I created confusion for you in my original post.
If you like the sound of the Maggies you should look into some VMPS ribbon speakers. They've been raved about enough. More info in the VMPS circle at These are much easier to place and you wouldn't need a sub. You may find that you like them better. Here's the VMPS site:
Do a search at the various audio forums and you'll like what you hear. These are more coherent than the Maggies with and are very versatile for room setups. Also easily as good of a bargain as the Maggies. Good Luck
IF price is not a big issue please go for the 3.6s . I have 3.5s and see much difference in my 3.5s and new 1.6s with the older 3.5 better. As with most all Maggie fans twicks and twists are to be expected as you probably know. Its the never ending nervana of chaseing the perfect sound. Your room will be no different. :)
Of course you should audition both the 1.6 and the 3.6. Not everyone prefers the ribbon tweeter. I picked the 1.6 over the 3.6, and price was not the reason.
I'm now interested to listen to the Harbeth 7's and Reynaud Trente. I've heard good things. Would love to have more placement options than the Magnepans allow.

I replaced my Maggie 1.6's with Trente's in my 13 x 22 living room (sitting about 6ft out from the 13 foot wall and 6ft apart) and have not looked back. After having Quad 57 for 10 years and then the Maggies I do not miss the panel sound, the Trentes are that good with (IMO) better detail, tone, dynamics and bass than the Maggies (though the Maggies go slightly lower) and easier to drive to boot. Plus I am convinced the Maggies need a bigger room as their QR drivers put out a lot of energy and tend to glare in normal rooms.

I now dream of owning a Berning or Atmasphere OTL amp instead of the 200 - 300 watt (expensive) amps the Maggies need.

Just my 2cents worth
Thanks Philjolet. I'm going to listen to the Trente's at the dealer here in NY city this week. I'll see how I like them compared to the 1.6 Maggies. Thanks for your input.
When I read some litt on the subject and tried really worked for me...I had Timpanys1d...(I'm looking for another pair). Planars and esl's should be at least , in my opinion about 6' from the back walls and as close edgewise to the side walls. Planars cancel bass freq when placed close to back walls unlike dinamycs which do the opposite, placing them close to sidewalls also helps a lot. I used to get unbelievable bass from my timpanys in this fashion. i used a Acoustat TNT 200 with an audio research SP-14 tube preamp. Hope this helps you..
Krazyaudio...IMHO the best place to put your Maggies is near (not exactly) halfway into the room. If your room is 40 feet long, put the speakers at 15 feet from the front wall, and listen from 10 feet from the back wall. All this is, alas, totally impractical in the home setting. I have heard demos done this way, with a cathedral ceiling to boot, and the Maggies suspended from the ceiling. Someday...