Review: Magnepan MG-3.6r Speaker

Category: Speakers

I listen to a wide variety of music. Mostly smooth jazz and guitar, but a lot of rock, pop, and other things thrown in too. I also plan to use these speakers for home theater. My goal was to find a speaker that best duplicated a live performance. I wanted to feel that the musicians were in the room with me. I did not want the music to sound processed nor like it was coming out of a box. I recently decided to purchase these speakers and begin building a hi-fi HT from scratch. My previous system was basic college material, with bookshelf Infinity speakers.

The Maggies do a really nice job with 3-D soundstaging, probably better than any cabinet speaker, and better than some other planars, like Martin Logan. The high frequencies are beautiful, without being shrilly. Some folks like more laser-like highs, such as Thiel speakers, but for me that sounds a bit tiring and unnatural. The deep bass is fantastic (if you can divorce yourself from the woofer sound), better than any Maggie I've heard in the past. The midrange blends in very nicely with the rest, to give a very "natural" sound. I will say that the speaker is sensitive to placement, angling, etc., and I particularly noticed that in the mids. Toeing them in makes the vocalist sound more "in your face" and less veiled.

Overall, the 3.6 is a great reproducer of sound. It is a wonderful value, as are nearly all speakers of the Magnepan line. In my opinion, they only compete with each other for best value, not with any other speaker brand. The 3.6 is a particularly good value, since you have to go over $10k even in the Maggie lineup (20.1s) to do any better. If price were no object, I'd own the 20.1s, but for my taste, the 3.6 is better than virtually any other speaker out there.

Associated gear
Audio Research tube amp, Mark Levinson preamp and CD player

Similar products
Many other Magnepans, Several B&Ws, A few Thiels
Right on, brother. I'm a 3.6 convert myself, though I find myself needing more oomph than a 100WPC or even 200WPC amp can provide.
I had the 3.6s for nearly 3 years and loved them a lot.

I only had 3 problems with the Maggies:

1 - Lack of dynamics. Compared to really nice box speakers, the maggies lack the dynamics of live music.

2 - Amazing power requirements. You have not heard maggies until you hear them driven by 1000+wpc of serious solid state amplification. You learn with a little experimentation that the more power you feed the Maggies, the better they will sound.

3 - Lack of bass. This ties in with 2. Decent bass performance is very difficult to get from these speakers. Decent bass requires a lot of power and the right components. Many people get so-so bass (or worse) due to driving them with low powered amps and/or using cables/components that do not deliver good bass.

Everything else about the 3.6's is world class.

Try the 3.6's with Classe CAM 350's and the problems with lack of dynamics and bass disappear. I have been a Maggie owner for greater than 10 years. Next speaker 20.1.
Even with 2 Plinius SA100 mk3 amps run in MONO (665wpc into the Maggies), which is more power and amperage than the CAM 350, the maggies had the best bass and dynamics I have ever heard from them....

Still, they were not as good in dynamics or bass as a great box speaker... OFC, one would have to spend 2.5 times the $$$ on the great box speaker retail to get this kind of sound.