Quads or Maggies?

Which speaker really does it for you? The Quad 988 or the Magnepan 3.6? And why?
The Magnepan 3.6 is a magnificent speaker, which honours the music. It has plenty of dynamics, excellent highs and a fairly good and punchy bass. It also can play fairly loud.
The midrange of the Quad 988 however, is still unsurpassed in transparency, immediacy and coherence. Also in the rest of the parameters mentioned above, it is no slouch. The Magnepan may be easier and less finicky to drive, the Quad however, mated with the right tube gear for example, can come uncannily close to the real thing with chamber music, voices and Jazz ensembles. That's what my ears tell me, regarding your question. Cheers and happy listening,
Just to add to Detlof's excellent advice - I have found that the reaction to Maggies is often a "love or hate" thing. Something to do with its particular (slight) coloration bugging some people but being irrelevant to others. You have to try them, or get them at a great price, otherwise the risk is high.
Just a small addition to Detlof & Red (good to see you back, Red!), I have found big Maggies more system dependent than Quads -- i.e. I have made 63s sing MUCH more easily than the Maggie. Pls note however, this was with the old 3's...
I don't have as much experience with the Maggies but the original Quad 57 (if in the right condition and driven properly) is awfully hard to beat and a truly special treat if you have never experienced their magic. I have heard that the 988 may be close to this classic.
Given that the 988 is pretty overpriced for what it is (a 63 with more bass, essentially), I'd have to vote for the Maggie. But still, the better deal and better sounding speaker is the Martin Logan CLS.

Hi Gregm. I have always had something of a sweet spot for the 63s, and I must admit, have not liked as many Maggies as I have disliked.

When my wife first met me I brought her home and there, one third across the lounge, stood a pair of 63s. Somehow we got past that point in our relationship, at least in part because she loved the music those 63s made. And you are absolutely right, I was able to make them sound pretty good even when they had to find a place somewhat closer to the wall.

That was a long time ago and I drove them with an old Perreaux 100W Class A amp, of which only 25 were made, and mine had upgraded passive components. It was about the sweetest and smoothest amp I ever heard, but a little dark and lacking in dynamics. But the midrange was "to die for" and the marriage with the Quads was really something on voices and chamber music.
I prefer the great 3.6. The 988 is also a very nice sounding speaker but I which it was taller and I hate the cheap looking plastic endcaps. You should definitely audition both before you buy. Happy hunting!
I wish the Quads were taller because I find the image height
somewhat restricted, I´d love to hear the big Sound Labs.
In the meantime I´m very happy with my 3.6´s.
Well, I have yet to spend time with the Quad 988, but I used to own its ancestor, the 63. And I've owned Maggie 3.6's.

Both are superb loudspeakers. They have different strengths and weaknesses. And we have different hearing - for example, a minor distortion that I am relatively insensitive to might drive you up the wall, and vice versa.

So I absolutely cannot say which speaker is best.

But I seem to be unduly sensitive to the very slight upper midrange/lower treble emphasis of the Quad 63's (and I do not know if the 988's have this characteristic). The Maggies to my ears have a much more forgiving voicing, even though they do not have the resolution and low-volume articulation of the Quads. To me, the Maggies are more relaxing to listen to long-term, and with a mediocre recording they do less to remind me of the recording's inadequacies. Very little of my favorite music is "audiophile approved".

To me, the listening experience is about closing my eyes and taking a journey into a different level of consciousness. It's like a very deep meditation, but with a lot less discipline required. Therefore to me, the speaker that does the fewest things to "pop my bubble" is the one I'd most prefer to live with long-term. To me, the Maggie 3.6 comes closer to this ideal than the Quad 63.

But I am NOT saying the Maggie 3.6 is better than the Quad 63 or the 988! I'm only saying that, given my quirks of hearing and listening style, the Maggie is a bit better fit.

Hasse, one of the things that bugged me about the Quads was the limited listening height - sometimes I'd get up to dance around, and the illusion would of course collapse. That's something I like about the big Sound Labs, which by the way are voiced more like the Maggies than like the Quads.

Kinsekd, you are choosing between two of the finest speakers out there, regardless of price. Neither is a wrong choice. One might be a little better for you, the other a little better for someone else. If at all possible listen to both. If you'd like a more detailed description of my impressions of the 3.6 and 63, e-mail me, though recognize that my impressions of the 63 don't necessarily translate over to the 988.

Best of luck to you!
Well spoken Audiokinesis! My ears found the 988 voiced differently to the 63. I think, the emphasis you rightly mention, has been evened out, at least, it seemed to be in direct comparison. To me the 988 seemed just a tiny tad darker. By the way, I got rid of that irking "hotspot", with placement, damping reflection points and XLO wires and I use the 63 stacked, so there is no image collapse at all and everything is coherent all the same.
Thanks to all who took the time to post!

While you haven't made my choice any easier, you have all been very eloquent. You have given me a great deal to think about. You have pointed me in directions I might not have considered before. I can't thank you enough.