Review: Magnepan MG-IIIa Speaker

Category: Speakers

I bought them about 5 years ago, when I found a deal on a used pair that was too good to pass up. What a difference from the 1.4s! More highs, more lows, more imaging, plus that great open Maggie sound. The only weakness I can think of is that it requires a lot of power and current. I'd say 150w/side @ 8 ohms (they're 4-ohm speakers) in a high current amp is the minimum.

The double run T-14s do make a significant difference, especially at the low end. If money were no object, I'd still own a pair of Maggies, just more expensive ones. I'd probably upgrade the speaker cables at that point also.

Obtrusiveness is the biggest turn-off in a system for me; these speakers stay out of the way (sonically, not physically -- they're 6 ft tall, after all). I listen to about 70% classical, 30% other stuff.

I test a system with the Bernstein/LA Phil DG recording of West Side Story, Pinnock's DG Water Music, selected Steely Dan/Donald Fagan tracks, and the Bonnie Raitt track from Stay Awake (Disney songs).

Associated gear
Classé CAP-151, double run DH Labs T-14

Similar products
Magnepan 1.4
I too have the IIIA's and bought them for a steal given what they offer. I've thought about replacing them (AudioPhysic, B&W), but for thousands more than the $900 I paid, I didn't think I was even facing an upgrade. As Alexander notes, they do eat juice, however. I tried a Musical Fidelity A3cr amp, (roughly 225 into 4 ohms) and it just didn't have the goods except for the most minimal loads. My Bryston 4bst works well, very well in fact. But even with an upgraded power cord I know the Maggies not only could handle more juice, they would make good use of it as well, and the Bryston delivers 400 watts at 4 ohms! If you find a pair of these and have the space (I barely have it), go for it. Quite simply, they're fabulous on all kinds of recordings (presuming you give them the power they need).
Try using the Acoustat TNT Power Amp. This amp designed to drive Acoustat speakers with their widely varying ohm load.Have no doubt this amp will do justice to the maggies as it was designed for Planar speakers to begin with. This is a pure MOSFET amp from input to output. Can be had in the secondary market very reasonably. Would recommend if you get one have it gone through and have all updates installed. Friend of mine who use to work for Acoustat can handle this. This is one fabulous power amp and is often overlooked. You will be amazed what this amp can do for planar speakers. Sonics are fabulous.