Easy. Buy some Magnepan 3.7s
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I hear you bro! The problem is that those of us who really like the Maggie sound find it extremely difficult to find something else we can live with. I suggest you listen to the 3.7's (with a sub)and then listen to other speakers in the same price range. Let me know if you find something else you can live with. I couldn't for less than $17K.
You can get useful output with the 3.7's in the right room down to about 35-37. In the wrong room, or too close to the back wall, forget it.
Things would be much easier if I had a dedicated room. It's definitely on the list for our next home. I guess I should add, has anyone found a speaker that gives you the great aspects of Maggie's without the negatives. I have listened to the 3.7's before and really enjoyed them, but until I get a dedicated room I think the width and height of the 1.6's is about maxed out with the wife.
I'm no Maggie lover I've had the 1.6 and 3.6 I found both to be very frustrating, they had good qualities but what they did wrong I just could not get over. Lack of bass is a major issue for me too just a weak sound in terms of dynamics in general to my ear. The only way I could get a somewhat decent sound was with the 3.6s about halfway into the smaller room I tried them in and while it was a very open and spacious sound it was still quite weak in terms of dynamics and bass especially given the size of the speaker. I think of them as a speaker that is more suited to delicate music and low level playback. If you value you mostly highly the things they do great then maybe you are a maggie guy for life and you just learn to live with the weaknesses. Personally I'd take a good dynamic box speaker any day I'd even take a set of stand mount monitors over the 3.6s. You have a great system it would be easy to find a good match that will fix what you don't like about the 1.6s and make your wife much happier. Im prob gonna get the wrath from the maggie lovers, sorry its what i think. Oh and I'd upgrade the speaker cable to while you are at it, you can do much better with your system.
Much of the "feel" of the Maggies is due to their dipolar radiation pattern. With proper placement, the reflection of the full-spectrum backwave off the wall behind the speakers arrives late enough to be highly beneficial in terms of timbre and richness, without any downside. You might look into other technologies that give you additional spectrally-correct reverberant energy, but are better suited to deliver bass impact and dynamics. For instance, the polydirectional Shahinian Obelisk comes to mind.
VMPS speakers (tho owner just passed away) offer IMO much of what is enjoyed about Magnepan or other planars but feature dynamic woofers and reputation for great bass. Brian made sort of no nonsense speakers that while modest in cosmetics offer great performance, his used speakers offer great audio bargains.
I am in Ohio (Browns victim lol) if you want a demo. Cheers
Agree with Elizabeth and others that the 3.7 is the obvious choice. It does everything the 1.6 does but better. Or even the 20.7, if you can swing it.
Ejlif, what were you powering your 3.6's with? I've heard them play quite loud, certainly in the range of dynamics.
Usually, people who want more slam or extension in the bass add subs, or, increasingly, Magnepan's DWM woofer, which can be used to increase bass output in larger or "planar unfriendly" rooms without smearing the bass as a dynamic sub can.
I tried a set of Maggie's purchasing a used 1.6QR. I tried to like them but while I was amazed at their ability to image and create a huge sound stage, their lack of bass was a big issue for me. I am not a sub woofer fan so that was not an option. One option I considered which you may want to as well is to look into the Peter Gunn mods. From what I have read and heard from Maggie owners, including Duke whose Jazz Modules I own and who may still have his set of Gunned MMGs, the mods really are worth it.
So I sold off the Maggie's and when delivering them to the buyer helped set them up. Ironically his other pair of speakers were the Shahanian Obelisk's. I noticed a couple weeks later he had the Maggie's for sale. Food for thought...
Another suggestion for you - along the lines of Chadnliz, who suggested line-array speakers - are speakers from Selah Audio. http://www.selahaudio
how about Martin-Logan speakers? I realize that they are electro-static speakers but you are already used to plugging in your speakers!
I'm not a fan of panel speakers for their laser like sweet spot, dynamic ability and generally poor transition to what ever is being used for low frequency. A trade show is no place to be critical of a product but I was extremely impressed with Sanders Sound Labs complete system which seemed to avoid those pitfalls.
The only other panel system that impressed was a pair of Soundlab powered by Wavestream Kinetics V8's set up almost near field in a small room at the Analog Room in San Jose.
Try to find a pair of the current Martin Logan Reserve Series to give a listen. Nice big curved panels with a cone woofer or woofers. Crossover is between 270Hz and 375Hz depending on the model. The Summit X has 2 powered 10" woofers per side.
They are supposed to be the best integration between woofer and panel by ML yet.
Brownsfan is on the right path. While I love what the 1.6's do I am craving the things that the appropriately suggested 3.7's would give, but WAF is standing in the way. The 1.6's are about as large as I can go. I guess I am looking for suggestions that have the good qualities of a planer and the full range of dynamic cones. Magico's are probably a little out of my range, while I am willing to wait around for a great deal about $5000 used price would be my max. Thanks everyone for the suggestions already, I know I am asking for a suggestion that may not exist at the price range.
Wow, that's a tall order. To get speakers that have a fair measure of the virtues of both planars and dynamics, you have to spend a lot of money, and typically deal with something that's very big, like the big Maggies, Apogees, or Sound Labs, or very heavy, like the big Magicos.
I'm thinking that you might take a look at dipole dynamics, like the highly regarded Linkwitz speakers, which are available in varying degrees of completion. They're reasonably sized and priced:
I suppose a hybrid would also be a possibility, e.g., the hybrid Martin-Logans, but I'd want to listen first, not everyone is happy with the transition between the electrostatic tweeter and the dynamic woofer. The Sanders electrostatic/transmission line woofers are very highly regarded, but very directional.
You could also check out the GT Audio, which is a hybrid dynamic/planar/true ribbon system that sells for an amazingly low price. I don't know anyone who's heard them yet, but they received positive show reports:
Then there's the Mini Maggie. It really does sound like a 3.7 on your desk. However, this is a near field monitor, best listened to from a few feet away. Essentially a single person speaker, but if that's all you need, it's an unmatchable bargain.
Finally, have you considered trading up to the 1.7's, and adding a pair of Maggie's little DWM woofers? The 1.7's are magnificent sounding speakers, and the DWM woofers will give you more slam on the low end, without muddying the bass as subs would (though you can always still use subs to fill out the bottom octave). The DWM's have been getting raves at CES, where they were paired with 3.7's:
Harri, When I was auditioning speakers another dynamic speaker I thought had a lot going for it was the Dali Helicion 400 II. There is a Dali MS4 for sale now in your price range. Its a step up from the Helicon. You won't get the big sound of planars, but they are gorgeous looking, and I thought they were good with respect to timbre. Very nice reproduction of vocals. If you have a dealer close by, they may be worth a listen. If your wife objects to the looks of those I don't know what to tell you.
To me the decision to stick with Maggies or not revolves largely around the types of music listened to and how important associated macrodynamics are to you.
Macrodynamics, punch, meat on the bones, or whatever you want to call it matter most with pop/rock music, and larger scale classical and jazz works.
This is where planars in general are challenged to pressurize the air in the room to the level that good dynamic speakers can.
The other issue with Maggies is that they are very sensitive to placement within the room, usually needing to be placed well out into the room away from the rear wall, and doing that optimally may not be practical in some cases.
Those are the big decision points that I have experienced with Maggies in the past. I owned a pair for almost 20 years but eventually had to switch for the reasons related.
Mapman, good comments, although I take a different view in some respects. You are absolutely correct in pointing out that music preference plays a huge role in deciding how to go. However, I chose maggies precisely because of the fact that I listen to a lot of large scale orchestral works. While the Maggies may struggle a bit at 105 dB peaks, I could not find a dynamic speaker for under 30K that could through a big enough sound stage to work.
If you really like the basic sound of the 1.6, but, cannot move up in size to the 3.7, I take it that getting a subwoofer would also be problematic. That probably means you are looking for a small system with the sound of a dipole speaker. Perhaps an electrostatic/dynamic woofer hybrid would fit the bill. Martin Logan makes such systems, and to me, much better still, would be speakers from Sanders Sound. These are not small in size, but, they are considerably less imposing in looks than maggies.
That's a good point. I've heard larger current Maggies do larger scale orchestral music quite well for the reasons you cite in a small to moderate size room running off larger ARC tube amplification. I had few issues with most classical as well when I owned Maggies. More so with pop/rock and even big band to a lesser extent.
With the exception of the larger Apogee planar speakers or arguably one of the hybrid models, most dipole speakers simply can't provide the same bass slam as a cone driver.
If you can't upgrade to the larger Maggies due to the WAF, then the Apogee route is probably not an option unless you can find a pair of Cepheus 6s. Try before you buy.
I like the subwoofer idea. It shouldn't be hard to integrate a downward firing sub (or pair, if you have the space). If your floor is wood or concrete, you'll be good to go. If carpet, place some wood floor tiles or (better) a stone or granite tile under the sub.
Finally, if you are determined to replace your Maggies wth something new and with a similar (dipole) sound, I would suggest that you look at the DECware ERR or maybe even the Ohm speakers.
Thanks for the ideas guys, it sounds like I really need to take a road trip to listen to some different gear. I have thought about adding subs but felt it smeard the sound a little. Not sure if that's the right term, but it didn't sound as good in the mids with a sub. If I kept the 1.6's I have also thought about adding 2 rythmik subs but once again worry that it will mess with the already pretty good sound.
Harri, while I know people have had good results with forex the Rel subs, you might want to consider Magnepan's DWM woofer. It won't smear the sound like a dynamic sub because it's also a planar, and it's quite small. Magnepan showed it at CES with a couple of 3.7's and it got raves. Their new ad will give you an idea of how small it is, plus the kind of press its been getting:
Also, since it's small and easily shipped, they have a 30 day home trial so you can see if it works for you.
If you then want to extend the bass down to 20 hz, you can add dynamic subs but they will only be playing in the bottom octave so they're less likely to smear the midrange.
If you go with subs, you need at least two and preferably more to approach the in-room bass smoothness of the Maggies. Let me explain:
James M. Kates authored a study published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society that documented the superior in-room bass smoothness of a fullrange dipole loudspeaker, in comparison with a monopole speaker.
Todd Welti and Earl Geddes (who was my teacher) have established the superior in-room smoothness of multisub systems using three or four thoughtfully placed subs. Basically, multiple distributed bass sources result in significantly smoother in-room bass because their individual dissimilar in-room peak-and-dip patterns average out. This is not entirely unlike the case of having two dipole speakers, wherein each dipole can be modelled as two monopoles in opposite polarity separated by a path length. Two dipoles = four monopoles (two in reverse polarity); four subs = four monopoles (preferably spread apart).
In-room bass smoothness increases proportionally with the number of distributed bass sources. Thus two subs are twice as smooth as one. And four subs are twice as smooth as two. And two dipoles (approximately equivalent to four monopoles, distributed in polarity rather than in location) are about four times as smooth as one monopole sub. That's why most people who try a single sub with Maggies give up on it, and many if not most people who try two subs stick with them (I'm leaving out some details for the sake of simplicity).
In my experience four distributed subs do a very good job of matching the in-room bass smoothness of a pair of dipoles. Of course WAF is not high with a multisub system, so this approach may not be practical in this case, but it's good to be aware of the technique.
Remember, the purpose of going with multiple subs is quality, not quantity. Not only is the bass smoother, it is also more uniform throughout the room, which is nice for anyone not in the sweet spot. Smooth bass = subjectively fast, pitch-correct bass; not-smooth bass = boomy or one-note bass, as the peak or peaks stick out like sore thumbs, unless we turn the subs down until the peaks are subjecively unobtrusive, but now the rest of the bass spectrum is not fully represented. So smooth bass tends to be "fuller" bass because the level of the subs is not dictated by the sore-thumb peaks.
Harri, two considerations:
First, if keeping your 1.6s is an option with peace in your household, look into Josh's advice. Apparently Wendell has suggested trying one or two DWMs to see what works in individual rooms.
Second, apparently a new MMG is being introduced this winter. That would be a smaller option while retaining the Maggie sound. And of course the addition of one or two DMWs to that might provide what keeps everybody happy. ;^)
This attitude of categorically dismissing subwoofers for fear of integration problems is a bit dated. Sure, it can be a hassle to integrate one or more subs with a system, but it can also be rewarding well beyond the financial investment.
First, you have to pick the right subwoofers. Many of the newest ones are designed to blend and provide foundation for music, not for boom & sizzle of film soundtracks. Subwoofers from JL, Velodyne (esp. the DD and DD+ series), B&W, NHT, and several others are designed with very fast transient response and a wide, linear bandwidth to make blending easier. Many of them have more sophisticated controls to help as well. For example, my Mirage MM8 subs have 0-360 deg. phase control, volume control, and continuously variable crossover frequencies ranging from 50-280 Hz. Others have all that plus room correction and equalization.
Furthermore, a couple of low-cost tools can help. You can get an SPL meter from Radio Shack for $20-30 and the Stereophile test & demo CD for very little. Between the two you can adjust the sub(s) to give you linear bass extension to the limits of the subs themselves.
In my experience, the music-oriented subs have sealed cabinets, some with passive radiators, some without. They tend to have a flat response and a gentle rolloff, making them easier to integrate. Fast transient response is essential as well. If you can afford JL Audio, you will have little problem blending. I heard a pair of their Fathom F212s with a pair of Magnepan 20.1s and the blending was totally seamless. If you could swing a pair of F110s with your current Maggie 1.6s or trade up to 1.7s, you would have a kicking system.
You could also trade up to Mag 1.7s and add some quality but lower cost musical subs, such as a pair of Martin-Logan Dynamo 700s or 1000s, or the NHT B10d or B12d. The B10d is a 12.6" cube and you could tuck one alongside each of your Maggie panels without intruding on the room too much.
Here's another approach: Good minimonitors can disappear and throw a great 3D soundstage, they're small, transparent, and many are very attractive and therefore WAF-friendly. Augmented with one or more subs they can make for a very compelling speaker system. One such I heard a year ago is the B&W PM1 stand-mounted speakers combined with B&W's superb PV1D subwoofer. The speakers, factory stands, and powered sub come right in at your $5K limit.
This is a kick-ass system that sounds like a much more expensive setup, with speed, transparency, musical involvement, dynamics, frequency extension, etc. I often found one or another thing lacking with many B&Ws, usually that elusive sense of musical and emotional involvement, but that's not a problem with these. They're some of the most involving speakers I've heard at any price. I can't imagine that your spouse wouldn't fall in love with them visually, and might even provide the catalyst to share your hobby more.
Duke and Johnny, I'm sure Harri appreciates your input, at least I hope so.
But you may not be familiar with Magnepan's new DWM. It is NOT a subwoofer. I'd call it a supplemental woofer since I believe the response range is 40 to 200 Hz. Their objective it to fill in this range with improved bass and lower mid-range. And being a similar type of dipole mylar driver which can be placed for increased output, it assures similar sonic characteristics with more impact.
BTW Duke, thanks to your description I now can better visualize each DMW as two woofers (although still not a sub-woofer).
Another plus is the ability to cosmetically "hide" it in the room as a light or plant stand.
Pryso: Actually I'm very familiar with the Maggie DWM woofer; I heard it in a demo with mini maggies around 5 years ago. I am very impressed with it and it would be another great alternative to subs. When I mentioned the powered subs I intended that as an alternative, not a contraindication of the DWM. One of the great strengths the DWM brings for blending with panels is that its frequency response goes up to around 7KHz, which means it's not only as fast as the Magnepan bass ribbons; it's almost as fast as the tweeter panels.
Everything I said about the powered subs is also true of the DWMs, plus the easy perfect blend you get with them. Maggie 1.6s or 1.7s should be fine for a wide range of room sizes if they get some room-filling help below 100 Hz, which can be done by the DWM or some small, fast subs.
Well I may potentially have a pair of 3.6's lined up. It's still on the fence from the sellers side until he gets a few things ironed out but I am possibly picking them up next week. As my wife stated "your lucky I love you" I told her that if she absolutely despises them I will resell but her comment was "let's face it once I let them in the house your never selling them, exept to upgrade lol" YEAH FOR LOVING WIVES. It seems to definitely be the best alternative for an upgrade if I enjoy the Maggie sound already. Thank you everyone for the thorough and well thought out responses. There is a lot of information here for anyone in a similar spot.
Jeff, I've no argument with Peter Gunn's craftsmanship and a lot of people speak highly of his work, but much of what he aays about the 1.7's on his site is manifestly untrue. I'm not talking about his opinion of their sound, though it's a minority opinion. Rather, I'm talking about a number of erroneous assertions, e.g., that the supertweeter is a marketing gimmick.
I must say I have never listened to a pair of Gunn's speaker mods but I could never bring myself to pay him as much as he want. I would much rather spend the extra money and buy a new pair of 3.7's than to have his mod. There is also the issue with the amount of time everyone reviewing the Gunn's have had between the origionals and the gunned model. I would be very interested in hearing some impressions of someone that did a direct comparison with a unmodded and modded pair. After hearing the .7's I would have to agree with Josh.
Harri, I just looked at the pictures on your System. Unless you are a HUGE fan of "2001, A Space Odyssey", I suspect your wife would be more accepting of Maggies if they were not black. So I hope the 3.6s you have lined up are beige or off-white. I expect that may go a long way for finding peace in your home.
And fyi, I have read a couple of comments on direct comparisons (Gunn's site?) between stock and Gunned models. They are very similar to comments of those waiting a few weeks for their modded speakers to be returned.
I would look into some Legacy Focus HD's used! For around or under your $5k price point. Ive seen them as low as 4k. I sold my Focus 20/20's for $2500 3 years ago, and never enjoyed a speaker more. The newer models are more extended and have "better" components inside.
I would at least try and listen to a pair.
I am very happy with them so far. The wife finds the appearance acceptable :) I actually like the Dark Cherry on white pretty well in person. The bass on the 3.6 is a night and day difference from the 1.6's. The 3.6 are overall a better speaker. With the added bass I can officially sell my subwoofer. With the money from the sub and my 1.6's it ended up only costing me about $150 which was for the fuel to pick them up. :)