Tweaking the Magnepan 1.7s

Looking to tap the Audiogon crowd to come up with inexpensive tweaks for my new Magnepan 1.7s. Here is what is planned so far:

Have room treatments. I am a bigger fan of sound absorption than sound dispursement. I have four 2' x 4' x 2" sound absorption panels that sit on each side of my stereo shelving unit between my speakers. Does a great job of removing the reflections off of my electronics.

Having Magnepans for 30+ years, I do like to deaden the front wall behind the speakers a little bit. From hanging an oriental rug to curtains or whatever. Will be trying out some of these ideas with my new location.

Mye stands. I am waiting for my bank account to grow a bit before I go for these. I believe Mye has the new updates for the 1.7s (although, I can't see any difference between the 1.7s and my old 1.6s).

I want to bypass the fuse and that stupid metal jumper with the least disruption of the speaker itself. Anyone remove the back panel and replace with better speaker connects? If so, what do you recommend? How about wiring tips - anything I should be know before I start the project?

Debating on using a 1 ohm resistor to tame the high end. Any suggestions for high quality 1 ohm resistors?

Anything I am missing?

Sound notes: full description of my experience with Magnepan 1.7s and the electronics I am using in other Audiogon threads, just search for ronwills.
i did the razor treatment as described at audioasylum to a pair of mmg.s. i will never change this adjustment as it has been the best performance enhancing tweak i,ve ever done in 40 years of being an audio enthusiast. it is under the planar section for you to investigate. enjoying music right now. dire straits. i myself would tear into the speakers but new 1.7's look pretty nice. good luck
Just took a look at the razor treatment! Scares me to death. I can just imagine trying to explain to Magnepan what I was trying to do as I cut through the Mylar or put a foot or hand through the panel.

Any less intrusive tweaks that you can recommend?

Did you do the "half razor" or the "full razor"?

I am considering doing the razor myself. Was the razor only positive improvements or are there trade-offs?

(((Have room treatments. I am a bigger fan of sound absorption than sound dispursement.)))
Have you tried installing the 1.2 ohm resistor first and Room diffusion?
You may just find you preserve the overtones and harmonics in the music.
Cheers Johnnyr
As we are already in an audio forum, I would appreciate further information on the razor treatment.

The answer above is a bit like saying:

For suggestions to tweak the 1.7s, search around on Google.

Thank you,

Here is a link to one of the primary posts about the "razor" treatment for a Magnepan speaker that is in the planar speaker section of Audio Asylum:

There are other posts (e.g., see JBen's posts) about the razor on this same forum. There is a search function within the planar section to find these.
What shortcomings in your panels are you trying to address?
Do you have crossover schematic?

My 1.6s improved quite a bit just by rotating them in place.....
That puts the tweeter 'in' and the mylar facing the rear wall. Apparently, the mylar to the rear is how all Magnepans were made up until fairly recently. Maybe when the QR tweeter was introduced? I have yet to hear / read a convincing reason for this change.
sorry i havn,t got back earlier. the razor treatment i did was 1/2 so far. i,ve been listening to these mmgs for 2 years trying many tweaks such as getting them off the floor and building a brace to make them more stable. this was fun to do but no wow factor. then i applied the dynamat to the front of the speaker and in very thin strips to the rear. all i can say is i would recommend this to those brave or crazy enough to void their warranty. i.ll give one example. i,ve been listening to alejandro escovedo.s new cd Street Songs of Love and in the song bruce springsteen adds a vocal solo. with the razor treatment i just listened and now realize that he is singing harmonies too. when people write about congested details my mmg.s are now much improved. i understand the reluctance to tear into 2000 dollar new speakers. mine were 599 but the sound is very much improved with this modification.
to ron wills.. a certain cable expert recommended i use my mmgs for a year before bypassing fuse which i did. in that year my 11 yr old son got a bit overboard and blew a 40 dollar fuse. he paid. since then i have bypassed the fuse and he no longer gets the remote. ha. i don,t know how long you have had your speakers but the sound imo gets better as you use them in the first few weeeks to a month thanks john
I thought the general consensus is that the 1.6 sound better than the 1.7. I've heard this from a number of people INCLUDING a local dealer who's handled Maggies for over 30 years. Why then are people dumping 1.6 to go to the 1.7???
They are very different animals. Even with out putting them side by side you can hear it. Sometimes they feel sharply focused- other times all over the place because of the crossing points. I thought them slightly clearer. A friend had them. I find the 1.7's more pleasureable when listhening for long periods of time and a little bit closer to the old Martin Logan Clz 1 (1987)(which I once owned) in making a balanced sound. If you have the 1'6's they are great. And the 1.7's are much harderto tweak if that is your thing. But people seem to be giving them away?

I have 1.6's.

My minor tweaks:

*) 1.5 ohm resistor in series with an inductor (choke tweak).

*) Maggie Rear Wave Attenuators (google/ebay search). Not too well known. Should be.
My 1.6 'tweak' has be limited to rotating the panels in place. I now have the mylar facing away from me and the pole piece is facing me. I feel this has evened out any hi-end stridency, so I don't even think about the resistor in the tweeter and the sweet spot is much larger. I don't know when....or WHY, but Magnepans once were this way, but probably about the time of the QR tweeter, they rotated them to 'mylar front'....
Tweeters on the 'inside' didn't hurt, either, though one day I'll swap 'em side to side and see how tweeter OUT works with the panels rotated......
I heard the 1.6's side by side with the 1.7's through Ayre equipment.

1.7 beat it in regards to air and clarity. Even to the untrained ear their is a big difference there.

I know of no known tweaks yet for the 1.7, i'm sure they will require something and while i have not done a/b testing , i have heard the 1.7's and can only say i do not believe it to be better than a modded 1.6 ..

You have to mod the 1.6 to make them work, especially the x-over, a resistor upgrade at least is needed without such they are 2 bright and unlistenable....

I have mitigated the 'brightness' by flipping the panel so I am listening to the pole piece side, NOT the mylar side.

Magnepan made the swap some years ago and I have yet to hear a plausible reason. Maggies USED to be pole piece to the listener but they changed. My original MG-1s were this way and sounded fine.

After the 'swap' my panels are now better balanced, bigger sweet spot and tremendous center image stability.

I believe part of the change is due to the fact that the bass part of the driver and the tweeter are wired electrically out of phase. The low pass is first order and the hi pass is 2nd order crossover, which is 90 degrees apart. So, when I put the tweeter IN, I changed something.
I could check this by swapping the panels left / right while leaving the mylar facing away from me. That's next!
I will definately try reversing the speakers to hear what it sounds like. I never heard about this for the 1.6 or 1.7s. I imagine I will get a few stares when people come over and ask me why I have my speakers facing the wall!

About the few comments on various sites about the 1.6s sounding better than the 1.7s. Some of the comments come from people listing for a few minutes to about an hour at an audio dealer. All I can say is that I had the 1.6s for 5 years and now have had the 1.7s for several months. I would never go back. From top to bottom the 1.7s are clearly superior. Add that to much more detail than I have ever heard before. By the way, I have over 400 hours on the 1.7s and they keep sounding better. The most recent change is much better low volume detail.

I want to thank all those who, so far, have come up with tweaks that I never heard before from flipping the speakers front to back to the razor treatment. Great stuff.

I am looking for some decent speaker connectors to replace what comes on the speaker and will bypass the fuse as my next step.

Working on my "man cave" new listening area which will take a little time. Will be using some sound treatment in the room, moving out a lot of crap to make room for the speakers and dedicated seating area and upgrading power backup and electric filtering.
Ron, I have had 1.7's for 4 months and had 1.6's previously. The 1.7's are definitely a better speaker all the way around. Since you are over 400 hours you definitely know that the bass improves dramatically. I use to run my 1.6's with tweeter out and listened to my 1.7's that way up to the 200 hr mark. I then swapped positions of the left and right speakers putting the tweeters in. Everything seemed to gel with the tweeters in. All the tweaks I have done on 1.7 are reversible atleast until the warranty period is up. So far, I have Mye Stands, replaced metal jumper bar (tweeter atten) with 3" wire jumper w/bananas and replaced stock fuses with the HiFi Tuning fuses. You can take backplate off and easily bypass fuse and tweeter attenuator too without any expense.
Hey Crom, did you get the aluminum version of the 1.7's? I got mine in the aluminum trim (not sure if all of them are aluminum?) ANYWAY, can you explain to me what effect the Mye Stands had on your 1.7s? Wondering if I should take the plunge on them...
My 1.7's are black with the black aluminum trim and can be seen on the Myesound website. The Mye stands provide more stability than stock stands. Bass is tighter and better defined. There is more clarity across the entire frequency spectrum with better focus and low level detail.
By the way, I got the wood inserts instead of the aluminum so mine look almost exactly like the old 1.6s. I wanted the beige color and the dealer talked me out of the aluminum trim (which I wanted). The only way you can tell that they are 1.7s is that the speaker grill appears to be ever so much more transparent than the 1.6s and the speaker connectors are different.

Would you say the Mye stands were a $600 improvement? I want to get them but I am a little turned off about the price. It would have to be a big improvement for me to make the investment.

Were you able to hear the difference with the wire hook up instead of the metal bar? You reminded me that I purchased some short jumpers for my 1.6s years ago and will dig them out and replace the standard jumpers. If I remember correctly, I didn't feel I heard any difference with the 1.6s.

How about the switch in fuses?
Ron - Crom- & Audio
May I ask what you are driving your speakers with?
Ron, my 1.6's were black with cherry trim but I like the look of the aluminum trim better. Although it may just be cosmetic, I think the aluminum stiles add a little stability to keep the mdf from doing any flexing whereas the wood stiles are plainly cosmetic. As far as the value of Mye Stands, that would be up to you. I plan on having my 1.7's for awhile so I think the Mye Stands are a good investment and they definitely improve the sound. As for jumpers, the first thing my dealer said was to get rid of those crappy metal bars. I had some jumpers and installed them without any comparison. The fuses I used are HiFi Tuning 4amp fast blow (gold)fuses which are on sale right now. If I used one word to describe them it would be "cleaner." Like I said before, I decided to keep fuses in while still under warranty and using a better quality fuse gets me closer to no fuse at all.
Utley, I am driving my 1.7's with an Audio Research SD135 amp.
Thanks Crom....Doing a little gig of my own with stands. Bought a dozen 4 pound 100% pure zinc ingots took them to a metal workshop, had them bore a3/4" inch wedge to fit the Mag stands. I call them Maggie's slippers. Cost less than a $100 to do. Wouldn't compare it to the MYE but those 'slipper' stands a rock solid and I think they make a plausible improvement in sound. but that is subjective. That is 16 pounds to speakers stands plus an additional 8 pounds of bracing at the joint.
Crom: May I ask if you can get to the 'near bottom octaves' of an organ with that amp?
I am driving my Magnepan 1.7s with a Bada MA-3MKII hybrid preamp and Bada MA-100MKII amp (about 200 to 250 watts into 4 ohms) connected to a Wyred 4 Sound DAC1 and Netgear 9150 music server. Wiring is Xindak.

The Bada combo is a fantastic value for the money and drives the Magnepans to whatever volume levels are needed. Great bass and, overall, laid back presentation with detail. The Wyred 4 Sound DAC1 provides incredible detail and seems to mate well with the Magnepans.

I just found my jumpers and replaced the Magnepan jumpers. We'll see if that makes any difference.
Ron- Many thanks....will try to find a dealer in NYC..
Utley, I don't have any experience with organ music.

Thanks for the reminder about the jumpers. I dug through my stuff and switched out the Magnepan jumpers and replaced them with the Mapleshade jumpers (way oversold on the Mapleshade records site, but they do sound better than the standard Magnepan jumpers.)

The funny result was that it makes 44.1 music sound better, more slam, but now the diffence between the 44.1 kHz and 96 kHz recording is not as great as it was before. Part of me thinks that they jumpers somehow exaggerate the leading edge of the sound making regular CD sound more exciting. Could also be that I am dreaming!

Recorded CD does really sound better, even more detail and I am getting close to the slam that you get from really good traditional speakers which Magnepan usually lacks.

I don't know if I am going to have the time in the next 30 days, but I am really looking forward to bypassing the jumper and fuse. I have to believe that it will sound better without all the jumpers and fuse in the signal path.
What kind of JUMPERS? Mine are untouched since purchase and are daily in my sight since rotating the panels.

Did you try the rotate yet? With the (positive) effects I noted, I heartily recommend that move. Mine are NEVER going back and when I reframe to all-wood, that's the way they will be mounted.

You tell ME what you hear, so I don't bias you in advance of 'test'.
I am still grapling with the Mapleshade jumpers. Makes rock music jump compared to the standard jumpers provided by Magnepan but I do find putting the Mapleshade jumpers on the Maggies seems to make the music just a tad more harsh. This was my opinion of the Mapleshade digital cable - initially it sounded like it gave life to the music, but ultimately I had to remove it because it became too irritating.

Can't wait to bypass the jumpers AND the fuse. I have to order a soldering iron and solder (I assume that the connections are soldered). Anyone have suggestions as to brand and type of solder?

I am in the process of moving furniture and creating a significant space in my basement for my system which is currenty in my masterbedroom. I haven't officialy reversed the speakers for serious listening other than to listen behind the speakers. Seems to have less treble behind the speakers but I wasn't doing critical listening.

You have convinced me to give it a try tonight. I can just hear my wife's comments when she sees the speakers turned around. She already thinks I am crazy . . .
I have had these remarkable speakers a month now.They have quite mellowed out. The dynamics depth and speed astonish me with certain recordings. (and I am using 1980's equipment Crown) You do not have drive yourself crazy. They really are as good as the Absolute Sound review declares. I will be buying a new amp and pre-amp but even that is not a neccessity. Moving the tweeters in or out simply reveals different things about the recordings one is listening to. Each view is valid. These speakers have made very happy and brings joy every day. There is just so much great music.
OK, here is the update on turning the Magnepans around . . . no difference! I couldn't hear any difference after a week of turning the speakers away from the listening position. In fact, I felt they were slightly better detailed in their proper position but I doubt I would be able to pick out front or back in a double-blind test.

Took off the back speaker connection panel to investigate the wiring. Was a little surprised how cheap the panel was and the wiring didn't look like anything special. It looks very easy to bypass the fuse and jumper. Need to find my old soldering gun or get a new one.

Also I am looking for some new copper speaker connectors to replace the standard issue. I like solid copper speaker connectors so you don't have copper wiring to brass/gold speaker connectors to copper wiring. I am going to try to find some that will replace the existing ones without modifying the back plate.

By the way, I agree with Utley1 that the speakers sound so realistic and musical and not to be overly concerned about the modifications. I will complete these minor modifications and then sit back for the next couple of years and enjoy the music!
Glad you at least gave the pole piece forward a try. Cheap and easy.

Sorry you didn't have a positive experience. Mine will stay rotated and be installed that way sometime in '11, when I can build new hardwood frames.
just read tweaking magnepans and just wanted to briefly describe my experince. I have owned a pair of 1.6 qrs for about 12 years and the two tweaks that worked in my room are first: the tweeters are on the inside not the outside. I have tried many times to reverse them, but there is a huge improvement by placing the tweeters to the inside. second,I do not use any jumpers,but bi-wire them with reasonably good speaker cables.I love the sound and have not found a speaker I like better{yet}.
When you put your tweeters 'in', did you rotate the panel in place or do a L/R swap?
I did the rotate in place, the tweeters are now 'in' and I am listening to the pole piece side, NOT the mylar. Big change for the better!

I did not rotate the speakers, but did the left right swap. The original owners guide from magnepan wanted the tweeters to the outside. Is that still what they recomend?
For purposes of a test, you can ignore the directions. Try any and all of the 4 logical ways they can be arranged.
1. mylar to listener, tweeters out (per directions)
2. Swap 'em L/R for mylar to listener, tweeters IN.
3. Rotate in place: results in mylar away, tweeters out
4. Swap em back L/R for tweeters IN and mylar away from listener.

#1 is Magnepan preferred.
#4 is the way I have my panels.

I'll go with whatever YOU prefer, in your system! It's too easy NOT to try, don't you think?

My original MG-1s were mylar away. I am told that sometime in the '90s, Magnepan decided to face the mylar TO the listener.

This will be the cheapest tweak you EVER try. Even removing the fuse will cost a few grams of solder and the electricity to heat up your soldering iron.

OH, each swap will require a little effort to optimize. When I did the rotate, they fell so naturally into place I have yet to mess with them again. But, I've been setting up panels for a long time and can get 'em pretty close to perfect in pretty good time. Perfect setup? takes longer.
I do want to mention a "tweak" that is not specific to Magnepan that has worked incredibly well. I ordered 4' x 2' x 2" sound absorption panels. I place one on each side of my audio system (which sits between the two speakers). I find the best set up when the two panels, one on the right and one on the left, are turn at a 45 degree angle facing the listener.

There is an immediate increase in clarity due to the reduction of reflections off of the audio equipment rack. The music is much more focused and instruments are more easily located in space (although, I have still not gotten the 3D effect of musicians spread out behind the speakers to any major degree).

I have been incredibly lazy and not finished off my new listening area, as yet. Have to paint the room and remove a rather large rear projection TV out of the space. When I have it set up, I will try once again with the reversed positioning.

One final note, I believe the Magnepans continue to get better over time. I have had them for about 5 months and for the first time the other evening, I heard a very familiar Rodrigo Y Gabriela CD but with a difference. For the first time the two guitars in several of the selections seemed to be floating behind the speakers about 3-4 feet. Most of the time, I get very realistic and natural sounding instruments without much depth. This was spooky real and what keeps me "tweaking" my system.

Just ordered XLR cables from BetterCables to connect my Wyred 4 Sound to my Bada Preamp. This is my first test of XLR cables vs. RCA and I didn't want to spend too much money if it wasn't going to make a difference. We'll see.
Mylar front, Tweeters in is Magnepan suggested placement on 1.7's.
I read the 1.7 manual on the magnepan website. Tweeters in! you bet!
Mylar front is how they come.....which puts the connection panel in back, safely out of tripping range and sight.
I'd try it both ways....ALL 4, actually, since you can either do a L/R swap or a simply rotation-in-place.
That give 4 logical ways to place 'em....any of which may yield the best results in any given room.
Do not take for a reading teacher. But the Mag 1.7 manual does notspecifically recommend one tweeter position(in or out) or the other. It does recommend ' tweeter out' on the 1.6's. I have read the print vesion that accompanies the 1.7 and the on line manual which are exactly the same. I have found that leaving the tweether 'out' fit the geometry of my room. I suspect the magnetic side is smoother but will not risk tripping on the wires and the frontal 'normal view ' gives visual pleasure.
There is a pink piece of paper entitled "Magneplanar 1.7 Quick Step-Up Instructions" (looks like typo and should be set-up) stapled along with Magneplanar Loudspeakers plates to the clear plastic that contains the 1.7 owners manual. The instructions read:
"The 1.7 has exceptional phase characteristics that are accomplished without the use of compensation networks. To realize the optimum phasing, the 1.7 should be angled inward to be on-axis with the listener. (Do not place parallel to the front wall.)
In most rooms, we have achieved the best imaging with the tweeters placed on the inside.
The frequency balance should be smooth for rooms with a modest amount of damping. The enclosed resistor should be used for under-damped rooms."
Crom Thanks. That pink sheet was not inside the plastic bag or stapled to it that contained: plates screws fuses etc. Now I do not feel so delusional but now slightly paranoid as the alumum frames(sties) on the tweeter sides were raised above the horizonal. The speakers perform beautifully but I am sick about it. They were probably repackaged now that the pink slip is missing, But there is nothing to be upset as it confirms my suspicions and spent an anxious two weeks listening for defects. . They were offered to me with only a one month wait. Oh man - this is a downer
You may want to try 'em all 4 ways........
Tweeters can go in or out....with a simple side-to-side swap.

Than you can 'rotate' them in place and do it again.

Personally? Not that it matters to you or your situation, I find tweeters IN and mylar back to be my ticket. This is opposite of Magnepan recommendation.

When I rotated my 1.6s, the entire presentation improved.

No matter what, I urge you to ignore the directions and just try the other possible orientations. I agree that I don't particularly like seeing the plug in panel or wires sticking 'out', but the sound is eyes closed so much better that I simply will ignore the visual, until I can do a reframe.

Any chance your panels were simply mis-packed? What are you suspecting? A dealer return sold to you as new?
A dealer return sold as new....The shipping box was really beat up . Did contact Magnepan. In Minn. They would not comment but told me to correct the the sties which were mis-alligned and could not have been shipped that way. It hurts but they are wonderful instruments. My electrostatics (which had built in amps)gave out and the repair process in NYC was a night mare. Did not listen to muic for a year so when the the opportunity came up I jumped at the 1.7's. I am not sorry, they are wonderful and I know the Magnepan will stand behind them.BUT THEY WERE NOT NEW At least two weeks in limbo as I had Magnepan check the serial numbers. Sorry for the wHining. Too many pirates out there. Feel like a character in GRAVITY'S RAINBOW- all paranoia is justified.
I just took delivery of mine today!
My first Planar! In total shock! I have listened to Maggies dozens of times at dealer's showroom but they never impressed me. In my room, a familiar setup, I thought they are affordable enough even as an experiment, and boy am I just blown away!

Are you guys using anything like spikes etc underneath the stands? They do seem somewhat flimsy.

Also, may I ask what your serial numbers are? I am surprised that mine are 100002-1 and 100002-2. Don't tell me they START at 10001!
Kehonka, I read somewhere that Wendell Diller of Magenpan suggested try them both tweeter in and tweeter out. He said that a majority of people prefer them tweeter in, but some like them tweeter out. It may depend on your room.

Also, to those who are comparing mylar front/mylar back -- remember to flip polarity when you do, otherwise the difference in polarity can confuse the comparison. As I recall, Magnepan switched to mylar front to get a brighter sound, it was mentioned in I think TAS when they first did it years ago.
Just keep any drunks from knocking them over.

On a Serious note, check out MYE stands. They have a following and the claims are reasonable.

Also, Magnepan is a DIY dream speaker. Crossover? Stands? Reframe? all have followers.

I recently rotated my panels in place. I now listen to the Pole Piece side, not the mylar as Magnepan would have you do. Read my other posts for a description / rave.

That being said, a complete reframe in WOOD is in order. Wood absorbs the vibration which the MDF rejects.
I'm taking a woodshop class right now, and next year at this time will be well under way in my 'project'. Some nice Sapele frames and junk out the MDF.