I know little about the Maggies and nothing about how Blue Circle might work with SF's, but can say that the Signum is a special speaker with unusually good sound at its price point. It was designed for maximum transient response, and uses an unconventional surround/suspension on the mid-woofer that makes the driver really fast. Assuming you do not require deep bass or have a large room, it is welcome in top systems. Aside from the Guarneri, it is the best small SF monitor, and is unfortunately now out of production. It requires quality amplification (but not a lot of power).
If you want a more full-range speaker that can do orchestral music and rock, the Extrema is the best in the line (and some would argue, the best SF ever made other than the Stradavari), but it is also unfortunately out of production and requires a beefy amp. The Electa Amator is a nice speaker, but less distinguished.
I have limited familiarity with Sonus Faber, but am well
acquainted with Magnepan. Comparing the two is sort of
like comparing a dolphin to a horse. Being a conventional
box/cabinet speaker it will be quite different in sound
from a planar. I've owned a number of conventional speakers
including Spendor, Genesis, Thiel and many others. In my
experience they can all sound good but unlike the planar
sound which is unique. Personally I'm sold on planars but
positioning can be problematic for some. They demand space
behind the speaker (3 feet minimum in most cases) and do
better with more distance to the rear wall.
I love the Maggie/planar sound too. I've lived with the 3.6 and Duetta Sigs for 8 yrs now. Recently I needed a speaker for a smaller room. I went through alot of name brand monitors trying to find something that would work in this room. Nothing worked until I tried the Omega Super 3r. It's the model the owner, Louis, recommended for me. He's a Quad and Maggie lover also. I've had it a year now and am very happy with it. The Signums were on my short list as I heard they can work well in problem rooms, but I found the Omegas before I had a chance to listen, and I've always lusted after a pair of Guarneri's. Good luck.
Hi, I have Maggie 20's ,Divas' ,Extremas , EA1's and SC-V in house. All of the above listed speakers need to be at least 3ft out from the rear wall and 2ft from the side walls to really perform well in my room, which is 23 x 15 x 8. All of them love LOTS of power. Im using 4 x 1000w monos with astounding results. The least expensive speaker being the EA1, used for around 2800.00 The mg20 do a few things well, but imho, the Divas being similar in design principals, are better sounding...Sonus is romantic...Dunlavy sc-v is brutally revealing with the best dynamics of the lot. You may want to consider some of the smaller Dunlavys, to preserve your budget....
If you are opening your search, I have a lot of experience with the Dunlavys (Dunlavy is out of business, by the way).
The edge in dynamics that Sscot1961 reports for the Dunlavy SC-V is mostly due to the fact that it is the size and shape of a football player's coffin (great speaker, but HUGE).
The SC-I is an excellent monitor for the money, but has zero bass below 75 Hz.
The SC-II is much better and only a bit more costly on the used market.
I owned SC-III's for five years -- they are pretty much flat to 45 Hz. in all but big rooms and can go quite loud because each speaker has five drivers.
At the +/-$1,500 used price range, I think the Revel F-30 is more speaker (while they do a lot of things right, Dunlavy used cheap drivers and they fall short of the resolution and detailed presentation of the top speakers).
Thanks for all the responces thus far.
I should also note that I am not just considering the SFs. I am will consider everything. The other speaker that I am considering is a pair of Focus Audio Signatre FS-68se. My speaker will probably end up being of the above two, but I will consider everything.
So if anyone has heard both the Focus Audio Signatures and the SF Signum I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.
I will probably post another thread for people to suggest more options.
I had a pair of Magnepan 1.6 QRs on home demo. There were many things I liked about them, but they just would not work in my room. I ended up with a pair of Talon Audio Hawks, which sound very similar to the Magnepans (IMHO). I even had them in the store which sold the Maggies, so got to hear them side by side in the environment in which the Mgs sounded their best, and they still sounded quite similar. You can probably pick up a used pair for a reasonable cost. Look for a pair with the Bybee filter upgrade. At one point, I had a pair of Bybee and a pair of Non-Bybee Hawks in my house, and did a blind test. I preferred the Bybee'd version.
I think maggies are a kind of contlempative music, donot have slam, and arenot good to music like ochestral. sonus faber guarniere are fenomenal to hera cello , violin and guitar they are the best.
Maggie's are not good to music like orchestral ??? you obviously have not heard magnepans properly powered by the right amplification. Sonus fabers are very well made and nice but compared to large properly driven planars, it's like listening to Mahler from the nose bleed seats with opera glasses and an oil funnel in each ear My 20.1's with 1800 watts of bryston driving them have enough slam to curl the fancy veneer off those monkey coffins. You just owe it to yourself to hear them properly set up and powered(for those who have not.)
Depends on what kind of Sonus Fabers you have in mind. The Grand Pianos are probably the starting block in their high end stuff. They are highly efficient, beautiful sturdy speakers with spot on dynamics. Clear crisp highs and tight bass. When paired up with the right source and amplification they are unbelievable. Planars usually have a more mellow sound with better staging. They require much more space and are demanding in their power requirements.
I vote for SFs any day.
Go with SF, there are certain advantages to be had with them. Efficiency means you will not need monster amps to drive them, which usually saves space and leaves some room for other expenses too. Those who consider Bryston to be musical have perhaps not heard what a good tube amp can do. SF are not fatiguing speakers and long listening sessions can be a pleasure.
The Maggies are very good speakers indeed but one of their drawbacks is the space they require to sound at their best and the workhorse amplification required as well. They can sound quite good too, perhaps more true to the music if that's way to put it but I think they require more attention to get the best out of them. Consider powerful ss amps for them if this is the way you go. Imaging is one of their greatest strenghts.
Any Signum owners out there? I've noticed that different SFs sound different (odd how that works eh?). They are said to be mostly warm, romantic sounding speakers but I did some extended listening to the Cremona Auditors and found them actually a little tense. Maybe too much treble info for my tastes. I like the initial attack but also the full body of the note with it. I've found some speakers excell at transients and initial attacks and give lots of info about the type of intrument being played, studio/hall size and set up, etc. I had this experience with the Merlin TSM MXs and was never able to relax into the fullness of music; never really got a sense of expression. However, they sure did tell me a lot about where musicians were standing and even sometimes the kind of floor they stood on! This is not my cup of tea.
I like a balanced sound in which a tenor sax sounds like itself and not an alto. I didn't get that with the Cremona (and I'm sure the Linn amp/pre-amp didn't help) but did with the SF Concertino Domus. I wonder how the Signums compare to the Cremonas or even the Concertino Domuses (Domi?). I know the prices are quite different but they are all stand mounters.
Tomryan, I own the Signum's and Sonus Faber Extrema's. When the Signum's are in the system I drive them with a VAC Ren. 30/30 MKIII amp (32W with 300B tubes). When the Extrema's are in the system I drive them with Lamm M2.1 monoblock amps (200W).
All I can say is that although the Extrema's are the better speaker, after a year of trying to dial them in I know I am not there yet.
The Signum system, on the other hand, has magic and I wouldn't change a thing. The Signum's imaging is better defined, they are very musical and the midrange shines like few others! These speakers are more equipment friendly and easier to set up and go.
My impression of the Auditors was similar to yours-I auditioned them at a dealer with SS equipment. The Auditors were very detailed and extended on the high end, but not as engaging as the Signums.
The best thing I can say about the Signums is that although the Extrema's were purchased to replace them, I have not had the strenght to sell them.
In a larger room (my room is 14' x 17'x 9'), and at louder listening levels then I enjoy, this might shift in favor of the Extrema and other speakers.
I have an 11 x 13.5 room with 8ft ceiling. Since the Signums are rear ported (and I would only be able to have the rear of speaker 2ft from wall behind it) do you think they'd fit?
Also, I received an e-mail from a former Signum owner who said he found them to have an upper midrange glare that caused him to have to sell. Based on 4-5 SF models I've heard, this sounds odd. I've also found that upper midrange glare is often caused by amps (especially tubes amps, and I am a tube person) or interfaces btw amps and speakers. Any experience about this?
I never had a problem with the Signum's upper midrange. It could be that certain equipment and cabling brings this out. With the VAC Ren. 30/30 the midrange was lush- strings, vocals and acoustic music are wonderful on these speakers.
The Signums are small two way monitors so I think your room size is fine. The speaker can work 2 feet in front of the wall which should help reinforce the upper bass and lower midrange. I like to set them up 7 feet apart and toed in so that they are aimed 1 foot behind your head. I hope this helps. Good luck!
Upper glare can also be casued by dirty current. Changing the wall outlet to a shunyata outlet in my system removed a considerable amount of glare from the highs. I also use powerconditioning and upgraded powercords and they help a lot.
best of luck with the new speakers.