Review: Magnepan MG-3.6r Speaker

Category: Speakers

I predominantely listen to Classical, 20th Century, Jazz, Chamber and Baroque. Some blues and progressive art rock sneaks in on occassion. Speakers should deliver as much of the elusive nature of live music as possible, by which I mean speakers should allow all of the music through. Music breathes! It is a living organic art form that has size, dimension and effortless clarity. Music played live blooms, grows and exists in space and has definate tone and seemingly unlimited dynamic range. It is distortion free and relaxed yet laid bare with no constraints. Any speaker or system that constricts and or robs the music of it's effortless dynamic bloom and definition in space and time cheats us of the special connection we have with said music. My recent purchase of Magnepan MG 3.6R speakers with new direct connect crossovers are an epiphany to say the least.

First off let's dispell with some commonly perpetuated beliefs regarding Magnepan Speakers. My Magneplanars are not weak in the bass. They are not extremely hard to drive or place for great results. The sweat spot is not small but huge compared to anything else available. Transparency across the frequency ranges are state of the art with no reservations. I sold my Sophias and was shocked at how conventional, forced and muddy they sounded compared to the 3.6R's. The Magnepans present music as it occurs naturally and in a completely relaxed yet highly defined manner. Dynamic gradations, scale, tonality, texture, dimensionality, contrast and quickness are all re-created as they are in real life. The 3.6's are conduits to what happened at the recording session...not just facsimile's.

Let me also say that after hearing what is possible with the Maggies, no box speaker can even come close to the magic that they create. With the Magnepans, music exists in space right in front of you...nothing added and nothing subtracted. At least nothing that matters. I have owned many great speakers and have listened to many others, but none and I mean not even something like the Magico 5's can give you an authentic re-creation of the original musical event to the same degree as the MG 3.6's can. Once you own a pair you will understand and rekindle a new and even more fruitfull love affair with music...they are Manna from Heaven or should I say Minnesota:O)

Associated gear
Krell 400xi
Sony XA5400ES
MIT V1.2 Proline IC & AC2 PC
Transparent Powerlink Reference MM
Monster M2.2 Spkr cables

Similar products
Wilson WP 6 & Sophia
Dynaudio C4's
ML Odyssey's
B&W 801 Nautilus
Totem Wind
Krell Resolution 1's and 2's
Dunlavy SC-V's
Of course I meant to say the 3.6's have a huge "sweet spot" sweat involved:O)
Dave b, I'm glad you are thrilled with your MG-3.6's. I can guarantee you will amazed if you put your Maggies on a pair of Myesound stands regarding bringing their sonic performance to a much higher level! Read my review on what happened to the performance of my MG-20's with these stands compared with the silly little stock "feet" that Magnepan provides.
Your journey has only just begun.
Someday you will hear 3.6r`s fed by a good Vinyl system (proper table/arm/cartridge). When that day comes you will definitely hate yourself for not feeding your 3.6`s Analogue. You have seen the "mountain", Vinyl will take you to the top!
Len W
I do have a turntable I coulr experiment with...cheapish but never used:O)
Lwerner, would replacing the shorting jumpers with a high quality jumper effect the sound? Ever try HiFi Tuning fuses or any aftermarket fuses in the Maggies?
Replacing the jumpers with Cardas Golden Reference, and using Hi Fi Tuning fuses will make a significant improvement.
Lwerner, do the Maggies high frequency response smooth out after breakin? I don't want to do the final placement thing until I know they are fully settled in...100hrs maybe??
Thanks Drdennis, I will try both over the next few weeks. Have you heard whether or not my newer crossover design has any sonic improvements over the older one?
Congrats on becoming a true believer. I second the Mye Stands and vinyl recommendations. Also, more power, well good power, will blow you away.

You may want to try:

1) Parasound JC-1
2) Spectron Musician III
3) Sanders Sound (any of them)
4) Bryston 7's any of the iterations
5) Cary Audio MB 500's (my all time favorites, and no I'm not trying to sell them, don't think I ever will)
Someday:O) I did dig out a pair of NBS Omega jumpers I never used and put them in the tweeter attenuation, the highs are just that much cleaner and more realistic plus it helped improve imaging and depth perception. Still waiting to hear from other Maggie owners on whether or not the new crossover design is changed inside from a performance standpoint?? I may do a HiFi fuse for the tweeter mids and bass are already to die for. Surprisingly my 400xi loves the load and is running extremely cool and with amazing authority..very nice surprise indeed!!
I have to add that I am completely enthralled with my maggies! An experience like this makes one realize just how off of center the high end industry has moved. I have spent over $200K on components and speakers in my life and nothing has even approached the caliber of realism I am experiencing with my MG 3.6R's. They reproduce sound on such an exhalted level that only the hearing impaired would consider favoring a conventional speaker system. If you know the sound of music, there is no other speaker for you:O)

The Maggies 3/6/r will get better in about 4 to 8 weeks, particularly the bass driver.

I've experimented with the Cardas Magneplaner Jumper Combo Kit, which allows you to move the crossover away from the frame. After many months with this configuration, I went back to the crossover mounted on the frame. Either way is a compromise. The stock crossover mount is perhaps susceptible to vibrations, but it does allow for a shorter signal path, which in my system tends to sound more clear.

I have used the HiFi Tuning fuses. In my system, they presented a better balance and integration between the drivers and warmed up the sound a bit, particularly the mid-range and highs. I much prefer though the Ferraz Shawmut ceramic fuses. These fuses cost a fraction of what the HiFi Tuning fuses cost and, at least in my system, bring in all the sonic qualities of the HiFi Tuning fuses and with deeper, tighter bass.
Where did you get the Ferraz Shawmut fuses and what were the types Isanchez.
Dave, What are your room dimensions and room treatments if any? Many owners speak of the trouble they have in finding the correct placement for good sound- what has your experience been?
I got the Ferraz Shawmut fuses from

The specs are the same as indicated in the manual, except that these are ceramic body. The fuses should be normal blow or fast blow. According to Magnepan, they are the same for the 3.6/r purposes. The also say to not use slow blow fuses.

I've also tried Cooper Busman ceramic fuses. These will also help with the bass driver, but at the expense of some transparency.

The Cooper Busman ceramic fuses have fine sand for inside both fuses. The Ferraz Shawmut ceramic fuses only have the fine sand in the 4A one. The 2.5A is empty inside.

Both of these brands are at least UL listed.

You should check the manual to make sure, but here is what I have:

Length: 1-1/4"
Diam: 1/4"
Fast Acting
Tweeter: 2.5A, 250V
Midrange: 4A, 250V

The Cardas jumpsr kit for the maggies is not only good, but it is equivelant to upgrading several components and is transformative to say the least. The sound is set around middle C now with all un-natural high frequencies replaced with exquistite shimmering tones. Bass response was dramatically improved from the lowest notes up through the mid bass. Imaging and dimensionality became cohesive and palpable. Depth at least doubled! I swaer that if I covered up my components one would expect to find an ARC Ref 3, Ref 210 and CD 8 behind the curtain (I've owned alot of ARC gear so I know the sound). The entire presentation is warm, rich, glowing yet with definition so natural and organic that I have to pinch myself...rounded imaginging, silken strings, 3 dimensional soundstage and seemingly unlimited dynamic range with zero glare or fatigue:O) Amazing product!!
Hi Dave b -
Happy you're enjoying your 3.6 speakers! I owned a pair(cherry/black) and loved them too! Had to sell them with toddler in the room. I used a Bel Canto Evo2 amp, Meridian cd player, Spectral dmc12 premap and loved the sound. Had the tweeters on the outside.
Can you explain this new 2009 Mag direct crossover? Is that standard in the current production?
Yes Newton, it's standard this year. Yhe crossover is larger than the older one and mounts parallel to the panel (no bracket needed). Magnepan didn't tell me if there were any significant changes made but that the feedback has been positive in favor of the new crossover. Mine is disconnected now with the Cardas kit and is supported on wood risers.
I ordered some HiFi tuning fuses for my Maggies and a new set of MIT S3 Bi wire spkr cables...can't wait!!
Update: The HiFi tuning fuses added definition, smoothness and refinement. The MIT Shotgun spkr cables are transformative for the maggies...the bass response increased immediately along with an increase in dimensionality, soundstaging, tonal accuracy, definition, percieved power, texture, acoustic cues etc...the MIT's are so superior to anything else that if you have maggies you must try a set or forever live in darkness:O)
Dave, which Cardas jumpers did you get for the Maggies? Also, where did you buy them, please? Thanks, Sumit
Dedicated Audio in Scottsdale, AZ. They sell the Maggie Jumper kit which uses Cardas Golden Reference wire. I got the kit with the tweeter attenuater jumpers as well...a must! The combo kit was only $199, plus you get a 3oz bottle of Cardas contact treatment. Removing the crossover and placing it on wood blocks also adds to the resultant sonic alchemy. HiFi tuning fuses should be used on the panels as well (call Robert Stein at the Cable Company)...a must tweak:O) Together the results are transformative and will have you thinking you upgraded a major component. Lastly, I don't know your system, but if you have the chance to try MIT Shotgun series speaker cables do so...WOW!! They made my 3.6R's sound more like 20.1's instantly and are redefining for me what is possible from the Maggies. I demo'd the S3's from Joe Abrams at Equus audio and decided to go for the S1's. My pair of new demo cables cost only $740 (half msrp). Trust me and leave whatever bias you may have about cables and do yourself a least try a pair. I think you will be absolutely blown away.
Dave b, I liked the upgrade of the Cardas jumper kit on my 3.6's too. Couple of suggestions, fill up 2 zip lock bags full of sand and put them on top of the crossovers. Also, after a month or so with the HiFi fuses, get some Buss 20 amp fuses from your local Lowes/Home Depot and A/B them. This is assuming you are not blowing fuses as your tweeter will not be protected with a 20 amp fuse. Let me know what you think.
Already torture tested the Maggies and I have no problems at all reaching excessive SPL's in my room without strain or fuses blowing. I use Mapelshade brass heavy hat weights on top to great effect.
Breaking in the Maggies and Loving them more and more each day. I am convinced that NOTHING can do music reproduction demonstrably better than the 3.6R's. They are so natural, dynamic, effortless, quick, smooth, bold, full, warm, dimensional, and detailed that anything else sounds like HiFi:O)