Vandy or Maggy?

What would sound better in a medium sized room with Symphonic
Music, current model Vandy 2's or Maggy 1,7's?
I have a AVA Synergy 450 Amp which has tuneful base and can drive either well.
I've owned Maggy 1.4's , my knock on them was they were not very dynamic and didn't portray depth well, but it was easy to follow the various lines and instruments.
I've heard Vandys but not much and was a long time ago.
Any and all ideas much appreciated !
Teh determining factor might be how optimally you might be able to set up one versus the other in your room.

I suspect Vandies in general can work better closer to front wall than Maggies.

Maggies tend to work best well out into the room.

Vandies will most likely have better macrodynamics, but Maggies are hard to beat for transients/microdynamics and classical music in general, when set up well. If not, then not so much.

I tend to think of Maggies as more neutral tonally and Vandies more towards the "warm" side of things in most cases, if that matters.

Two different sounds/set of requirements for best results. Both can be really good if done right.

Vandies are probably more versatile in general for all genres of music. But for classical mainly/only, I could live easily with most any Maggies done well.

Normal listening volume is probably another factor to consider. Maggies are hard to beat in particular at lower to moderate volumes, but at louder volumes, the difference in macrodynamics between the planar speaker and a good dynamic design like the Vandies will most likely become more noticeable. You'll probably hear the music just fine with either. The question becomes how much do you need to feel it as well in order to be fully satisfied, in other words, how much "meat on the bones" or visceral impact is needed for those orchestral crescendos, etc?
Thanks Map.I've owned 4 sets of Maggies, I'm a master of Maggy set-up if I do say so myself .
Maggies failure in Classical, IMHO, is the lack of dynamic range.
Wait just a minute, Schubert. Does this mean that you are selling -- or have already sold -- your beloved Silverline Preludes? I've been following your comments about them for some time -- to the point where I've considered them as a prime candidate for my next set of speakers. Say it ain't so.
-- Howard
You have answered yourself a few times in your posts I think. Sounds like you have had Maggies and are sick of it's drawbacks. No way you can make a Maggie be more dynamic in your price range. I'd get a pair of Vandy's in your room if you have a local dealer. When set up properly (the latest gen) the vandy's will sing. I'm a Proac guy and am now selling everything I own off just to get the Vandy Treo's. That's how much I fell in love with the musical Vandy's and what else it give me. That's just me. I've heard the 2's sound great with Quicksilver tubes as well as Ayre SS or Rogue. Can't go wrong with either, but if you want Dynamics and listen to Classical, then it's Vandy I would think

01-13-14: Ctsooner
You have answered yourself a few times in your posts I think. Sounds like you have had Maggies and are sick of it's drawbacks. No way you can make a Maggie be more dynamic in your price range.
I think the Maggie 1.7s finally blew threw most of the Maggie stereotypes. True, there still isn't much bass below 50 Hz, but the quality of the bass is excellent and I already had a pair of small, fast subs to fill out the bass. Unlike Maggies' previous reputation I find the 1.7s involving, transparent, extremely quiet (I didn't know how much cabinet noise there was until I got some speakers without cabinets), quick, dimensional, and phase coherent.

They also aren't hard to power to satisfying listening levels. I'm powering them with a 100 wpc amp in a vaulted ceiling living rooom that opens onto the front hall and dining areas. In fairness, the amp is a Perreaux PMF 1150B, so it has probably 200 wpc avaiable into the 1.7's 4-ohm load. I haven't had to drive the amp anywhere near that level.

Although I love what they do with symphonic music, I also love them for choral music, jazz-based singers (Sinatra, Bennett, Krall, Holly Cole, etc.) a capella vocal groups, soloists and ensembles/combos of all sizes. They are captivating on classic rock--Pink Floyd, The Who, Beatles, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, Clapton, Santana, etc. With my little subs blended in, the 1.7s do very well on every kind of music that I like, and I listen to everything but hip hop and thrash metal.
Schubert, The answers you have gotten so far lead to the answer you always get when asking such a question. You must audition the speakers. I know you are serious about your music. Its worth the hassle to get speakers that will satisfy.
Would you buy a house without an inspection or a car without a test drive?

All that said, you know I am a classical guy and a die hard Maggie guy. I am in agreement with Johnny that the .7 series have taken a leap forward. The series crossover is much better, and the all quasi ribbon 1.7 has got to get you much better coherence. I haven't heard the Vandy IIs in a long time. but the congestion when the music went ff or fff was a show stopper for me.
What is a tuneful base? Is this something the amplifer perches upon? Does it enhance the music?

Vandersteen and Magnepan are two very different sounds. One is laid back and forgiving and isn't fussy about placement or ancillary equipment. The other one is more transparent and lively, but requires more from the owner.

I'll let you guess which is which.

A buddy just got a pair of Vandy 2ci....and if anyone thinks Maggies are tough to position, mess with these. Just look at the manual and see what all they require. Besides, my Maggies blow them out of the water.
I think you've hit on something that keeps me from buying Maggies as well. While I appreciated all the things the speakers were doing right (I heard 3.6s by the way), the thing that was notably missing for me was something I'd call, for lack of a better term, dynamic thrust or the ability to "feel" as well as hear individual sounds. My guess is that dynamic speakers focus individual sounds more (for better or worse I guess) which may allow more of the sound to propel forward and more letting you feel as well as hear dynamic impact -- individual sounds just have more oomph. Maggies obviously throw bigger and relatively more diffuse images and maybe as a result dont focus energy as much and diminish physical impact. Obviously you can augment bass with subs and that's fine, but I'm talking about even the mids/lower mids -- think baritone sax or perhaps the lower registers of a tenor sax, which seem to lack some dynamic power although they otherwise sound excellent.

Anyway, if that's what you meant your choice of dynamic vs. planar may come down to this critical difference between the technologies. I didn't spend enough time with Maggies to get a sense of their soundstage depth capabilities, but I have with Vandies and I thought they were among the best I've heard in that area. Combining these areas I'd think Vandies would be well worth a look. Hope this helps and best of luck.
Schubert, you will not be happy with Vandersteen. I owned a pair of 2Ce sigs and while they were excellent for jazz and acoustic music I could not bear to listen to classical through them. That 4" midrange driver could not handle massed strings and sounded congested and grainy with symphonic music.
REgarding Vandersteen, they are three way designs versus Maggie 2-way. In general, I am not a fan of most smaller three way speakers for classical music especially.

I am not a Vandy expert, and believe they have a lot of potential set up right, but not sure they would be my first choice for classical music.

Last thing I will say is I replaced older Maggies that i owned for years a few years back with my current setup mainly due to difficulty getting the right setup in my current room and the "feel it" factor that was missing, in that I listen to a lot of music genres, not just classical, but I have have been most satisfied ever since.

I will say that for classical music in particular, a tube or two upstream in the pre-amp and/or source with SS amplification and matching speakers does not hurt in particular for digital sources in particular.

Also I'l say that Maggies sound particularly good with tube amplification for classical based on my auditions. THat's somethign I never tried, but perhaps if I did, the Maggies might still be around.
Hodn, my Preludes reside in my TV system which feeds them with the 40 odd digital music channels available.
Thanks Rotarius, I'll listen for that when I go to the Vandy dealer(also Maggie dealer) in Minneapolis.
Soon as the two feet of snow melts.
Map. I always use a tube pre for SS and vice-versa.
Maggies have always been hard on tube amps I've owned .
I use Totem Dreamcatchers in my bedroom system, on a whim i took them out today to the 20x17 room i use for serious and almost fainted at how those little 4" woofs with their 6" sub filled that space with the glorious sound of Mozart's Haffner
Symphony .
I've had decent monitors in there before but they never did
what these Totems do, if it still sounds this good a week from
now I might not have to take my dog sled to the Twin Cities !
My little Triangle Titus monitors, similar size to those TOtems more or less, helped convince me that even smaller dynamic speakers done well can compete with planars.

I have never heard any Totems set up even half decently sound anything but spot on. They are very good at getting a lot of sound out of a smaller package, hence their success. Add a sub or two and BINGO, hard to beat! And easy to fit into most rooms as well.
"""My little Triangle Titus monitors, similar size to those TOtems more or less, helped convince me that even smaller dynamic speakers done well can compete with planars."""

Are you sure it wasn't the interior decorator convincing you. There is no substitute for cubic inches.
JohnnyR Dealer for both Mag and Vandy.
In my small (12'x 17') room, I found the 2CEs overloaded the room with bass no matter where they were positioned. The 1.7s do not. The 1.7s are easier to move around and sound more transparent but are fussier with your equipment and source material. If you really want great dynamics + loud, look at horns (ie Forte II, Cornwall, Chorus, etc.)
"Are you sure it wasn't the interior decorator convincing you.

No, but my old 80's vintage Maggies that I had for many years (and even had successfully rebuilt by Magnepan once) in smaller quarters mostly could never cut it on their own in my larger listening room in my current home compared to the modern dynamic speaker competition.

The little Triangles basically did most everything the 6 foot tall Maggies did when I tested those out for comparison in the same room and with the same gear, but perhaps even better.

"There is no substitute for cubic inches."

Depends on room size and need for bass extension, but I agree in general. When needed, I used separate subwoofers as well, and that pretty much covered it.
The answer is: Eminent Technology LFT-8B
Many years ago all I could afford was either the Maggie 1.6 or the Vandy 2CE. I used them both and felt that both had significant shortcomings. I longed for a speaker which could meld the strengths of those others.

The Eminent Tech does so, imo. It was cleaner than the 1.6, likely closer to the current 1.7 (perhaps not the 7i just released, but a comparison would need to be conducted), and it had a good proportion of the weight in the low end that that Vandy carried.

I reviewed for and owned the LFT-8B with great enjoyment. I only released it due to moving to the King Sound King, and then the King III electrostat, a far more formidable speaker than any of these others.

I am not suggesting the LFT-8B will be clearly superior in all aspects than a Vandy or Magnepan, but for what you seem to be seeking, as I was, it may be the right speaker.
Thanks Douglas, I 'll look into them.

Mapman, I still have a pr of Triangle Titus 202, which was a class B stereophile speaker, that I used to use on my TV system.
I've tried them in my "serious" room but they were nowhere near as good as the Totem Dreamcatchers even though they are larger.
The Totems might not have many cubic inches but they have one hell of a supercharger !
In my quest for speakers that could do classical well I did try the ET LFT-8B for a few months. While the highs very polite I could never get tight bass from the woofer in my room. The biggest drawback was they could not play loud. With bass heavy music, I would often hear the panel slap. I wish the panels were crossed over a bit higher to avoid that. The newest Martin Logan hybrids are much better IMO. They sound very clean at high volume.

Have not a/b 'ed Totem/Triangle but does not surprise.

Titus XS are teh smallest and smallest sounding of all my speakers. But pretty top notch in the right application. Maybe the best at low volumes (like Maggie). Output levels are limited, but using with subs remedies that. My Dynaudio Contour monitors are more extended and can go louder than the Titus as well, not even close. Dynaudio and Totem sound have a lot in common IMHO. Use of a sub is more optional in general with these. BOth deliver a lot of good sound and pop out of a smallish box. My old OHM Ls that I rebuilt myself are somewhat larger and can hit bigger than either Dyns or Triangle, but are not as refined overall.

Of course, the OHMs still rule in my house. I've used all my speakers in each room, big and small at one time or another. OHM 5s turned out to be my Maggie replacements in my largest room. OHM 100s, Dynaudio, and Triangle can each pinch hit for each other in any other room of my house. Each is unique, but the 100s are the best of the three all around. Triangle's are a different breed, more efficient and tend to work best of different gear. Those play best with tube gear clearly. WOuld like a tube amp for those someday. Dynaudio and Totem are not very tube amp friendly TTBOMK. OHM is somewhere in between.

Using baseball analogies, The Triangle Titus are like Ozzie SMith, fast and athletic and a good hitter, but limited power.

Dynaudio Contour monitors are like Joe Morgan. Fast, athelic, refined and decent power.

OHM 100s are Micky Mantle. More powerful yet still versatile all around.

OHM Ls: your typical better than average hitter, .280 average, 20 home runs.

OHM 5s are my Miguel Cabreras. They can do it all pretty much as good or better than most. Just thank good they work for less. :-)
ML is not a bad option to consider in this case I'm thinking.

I've read bass integration with the ES panels has gotten much better with some newer MLs than used to be the case. I last heard a serious ML demo (in comparison to Focal) about 5-6 years ago (more recent demos at Best Buy in poor setups do not count) and they sounded very nice. Should appeal to panel speaker lovers seeking a more dynamic sound. Do not rule out without hearing!
Every speaker has it's pro's and con's and you have to decide what you can live with. I have Vandy 3A Sigs in one system and Maggie 1.6's(with a Vandy sub)in another and they both do wonderful things in different ways. They certainly move air and energize the room very differently.I've had to really spend time setting both up properly in my rooms to get them to perform the best they can with what I have.If you're willing to take some time and do that, you will be rewarded with great sound from either brand.Vandersteen and Magnepan have been around for decades and for good reason. They make products that have proven to be quite good and reasonably priced. Each company has it's fans and critics. All I really am trying to say since I own and love both, is that they're different and only you can decide which are right for you. As others have mentioned, maybe neither one is.A different design is going to give you something altogether different. A Klipsch Cornwall will be very different from a Martin Logan.I just heard a friends system which had Tannoy Edinburghs,SET Fi 300B Mono Blocks, etc. Completely different kind of presentation than either of my systems and I totally dug it.Which one is right? They all have their attributes. Good luck and enjoy the journey.
Tj said it well!
Tonyjack, If I had enough money for a Tannoy Edinburg SET 300 system I wouldn't be asking any questions.
"Tuneful Bass" is how I described the base I heard on the Vandy's at Audio connection. He always has them set up properly right down to the cables that are realistic in whatever the price range of the speaker, so it's realistic.

I guess to me that meant that I heard bass the way it sounds when I hit my drums. It's got the proper speed, pitch and tonality. Sorry that my description didn't make sense. I have MS and often times don't make sense when I post on message boards, sorry.

As for the question, you will get everyone elses ears pointing you in one direction or the other. Go listen, especially if you have both speakers at the dealer. I was blown away by the Treo's as well as the rest of the updated Vandy line. I have been Proac for years. I got them over Maggies ironically as well as the ET's (my friend carried all three). I loved the Maggies and always have, however my ex didn't like panels in her house. I've been happy with the Proacs and they really sound incredible since I got my Ayre and Music Hall DAC 25.3 from Johnny.

For me, I've never heard subs integrate as well as when they are built into the speaker itself. That's just me. I think that for orchestral music (I don't listen to much of it), I need REAL bass and that means going deeper than 50hz. Vandy 2 sigs will give you real bass much lower I believe. I sure seems like it. If you are spending this kind of money on audio, why would you consider how difficult it is to set up? I never understood that part. Just take an extra hour of your time and set things up the way they should be set up. (not trying to be snide at all, so please don't take it that way). It's the least expensive and best tweek you can make in any system.

Whenever I go to someone's home I always notice how messed up the speakers placement is, don't most of you? If they just set them up properly, they would sound so much better. Aren't we the same way? Sorry, enough of that talk, lol.

I think Vandy's used to be a bit congested and I never could hear an unveiled sound with a soundstage. It may have been the way they were set up, but they just never sounded as great as my Proacs did. That was me then, but after going to Johnny's in NJ, I was blown away and I went in to buy the Proac D series.

As for the new Maggies, I've heard the new ones and liked them, but for me, I like that each speaker is time and phase correct full-range loudspeaker.

I've recently heard all the higher end Dynaudio, Vandy, Aerial, Totem, Maggie, Focal, B&W's, Proacs, Legacy, Wilson, PSB and Paradigm.

Each and everyone sound so different. In the price range you are in, you have to figure out what you can go without. Bass is expensive when done correctly, but it's also the foundation of music. Size really does matter. When I think of Timber, I think of Vandy right now, but that's just me.

I look forward to your thoughts after you A/B both. Make sure you listen with the amps, cables and source that you'll use with either. That's the most important thing obviously. I really do look forward to reading what your own ears like and not ours.

Good luck and have a ball with it.
One more thought:

Right at the $2k price point, a pair of sealed SVS 12" subs and a pair of Magnepan MMGs is another option to consider. Lots of folks complain about mating planars to subs, but I've paired MMGs with dual Rythmik subs (just a little too pricey to suggest here) and gotten GREAT results. The MMGs definitely come alive when you relieve them of duty below 80ish herz (my active x-over point) and the full range system might really surprise you with its dynamic capabilities.

Caveat - I use Audyssey's DRC/bass management software in my system which IMHO delivers virtually seamless speaker/subwoofer integration.

I've spent some time in front of all three options and, personally, I'd go that route ahead of either 1.7s or Vandy 2s, but you're still talking about three very good choices here.
Ctspooner , " proper speed ,pitch and tonality sounds like great description of "tunefull" bass to me.

Martykl. that sounds like a great idea with the MMG's, I thought of it myself but didn't think dynamics would change much.
Only problem is I use expensive(for me) MIT speaker cables and I'd have to get another pair to go from subs to speakers, correct?
I've never heard 2 subs connected through speaker connections.

I always advocate an active x-over (and I have no other experience for the MMG/subwoofer combo), so another pair of cables and an outboard active x-over between the pre and power amp (or sections - if the AVA in an integrated with pre out and power in) is part of the deal.

Might be a budget killer.
The Dreamcatchers are so good I'm buying a pair of Totem 1 Signature standmounters which just may do me.
Thanks all !
Schubert, I have had more than a passing interest in the Totem 1 Sigs for some time. I will be very interested in how these work out for you! Keep us informed.
Will Do, fan.
Like Dynaudio, hard to go wrong with Totem I would say.
Well I know i'm not buying anything with China made drivers
like my my old standby brands such as KEF or PSB etc etc no matter how great the "reviews" are. And its not a matter of patrotism either.

Totem and Dyna both use Euro drivers.Only Dyna I ever owned was an Audience 42 which was musical.
Totem seems at a price advantage with the Canadian dollar at 95 cents vs the Euro pushing $1.40 .
No doubt higher quality drivers made under tight tolerance and high quality standards will get you further, pound per pound, wherever they happen to be made. They will also tend to cost a tad more accordingly. That's a big reason I consider Dynaudio a gold standard brand in audio. Totem is similar TTBOMK. One might take to the sound of something else better, but the quality behind the sound is undeniable.
You won't go wrong with most of the suggestions. I only worry about having to integrate a sub with a speaker. You have to use other tools etc... and at that point, I would think getting a full range speaker (or close to it) would be the best choice for you. Less complicated usually works best and that includes more cables etc... i have liked teh Totems I've heard also, but my ear just keeps taking me back to the 'feeling' I get listening to the Vandys. Richard has his tradeoffs when he designs a speaker as all do. For me it's about listening to music and not always critically. I need piano and voice to be natural, while others need bass to be there and dont' care about how controlled it is etc... I also have to have soundstaging as I'm spoiled by my Proacs over the years. Vandy at the various price points will hit these marks (for me) as long as they are with proper amplification (not difficultto drive) and set up correctly (like any system).

Maggies are beautiful, but for me they just don't go low enough, but that's me. If you need fuller range, i'd stick to one that will deliver. List in order the 5 most important traits in a speaker and then go listen and mark down your notes. What speaker has the fewest trade offs. You can listen to us all espouse OUR favorites, but most of us are just telling you how great our ears are and how awesome OUR systems are.

That's not what you should go by. It's your ear and a lot of money. This year is the first time in over 30 years that I"ve sold my systems (three of them) off as I finally wanted new stuff (needed to leave the tube realm and go to remotes too). I have always listened and chosen wisely (for my ear). I listen to others, but make my own decisions and that includes listening to John at Audio Connections, but NOT getting something only because HE likes it. That's why stores have a few lines in each category....I will admit that so far John has been DEAD ON in hearing what I wanted and putting it together. That's rare for me as my old friend in RI, who's store is closed was the only other one who could do that for me. Go to a few places and listen and take notes. IN the end, it's fun and you'll be happy you did. Sorry to go on....
Brownsfan, pretty much have the Sigs dialed in,7 ft apart with me 7.5 ft away in a 20x17 room with plaster walls, ,highly insulated with soundboards in walls, 2 of same in ceiling. Sadly, there are two open arches to the next room at either end of long wall which makes who know what a space out of it.
Toe-in is critical with these pups at that range, dialed in they are like a Zeiss lens , sound for all the world like a single-driver, as well-integrated as speakers get.
Driven by Bryston BP-6 and AVA Synergy 450 . don't use my tube pre's for evaluation as IMO tubes are too much of a variable.
First speaker I've heard that didn't care for my MIT CVT-2 or Analysis oval 12 bi-wires, both of which sounded good on Acoustic Zen Crescendo's which I had in this space for a month. Tells me the crossover in Sigs must be a work of art.I don't have many biwire cables, but my Morrow SP-4 does well, with Kimber 4TC not bad either. My hunch is audience 24e might be the ticket. Too bad I'm just a retired HS teacher.
My usual suspects for evaluation.
Janacek- Glagolitic Mass-Gewandhaus-Masur w/great Prague Radio Choir. Live Recording on Phillips.
Berlioz-Harold in Italie-Colin Davis-LSO
Kodaly-Starker on Delos, Unaccompanined Sonata Cello OP 8.
Most realistic recording I've ever heard .
Respigi-Ancient Airs and Dances-Dorati Philharmonia
Hungarica on Mercury Living Prescence

The savage Janacek has everything on it a band can do, plus choir ,5 soloists incl. the incomprable Theo Adam and the great Czech Soprano V. Hruba.Not to mention organ.
The beyond compare bass section of the Gewandhaus drove the piece forward like a mighty locomotive, the acoustic of the Gewandhaus itself, for me the alpha and omega of halls, was caught very well by the Sigs. With closed eyes very nearly there.Only thing Sigs were not quite up to was the 3 pedal tymps towards the end.All in all a 9 out of ten.
Esp.notable was the way the rhythmic pace of both this piece and the Gewandhaus band itself was reproduced.
Also, audience clapping was very realistic which it is not on most speakers.

The Berlioz I use because it has the most delicate pianissimos of any piece I know of,not to mention it's a great viola piece.
Here the Sigs showed their achilles heel, the VERY f parts required a volume setting that made the fff way too loud.
But, not many standmounts could accomplish this in a room this size and the Berlioz is an extreme example.
To get all the Sigs are capable of I suspect I'd have to move my system to the 2nd 15x12 bedroom I use as a TV room.
A Sony ES receiver driving Rega R1's now reigns there.

The Kodaly is perhaps the best cello sonata since Bach and the Delos recording is magnificent.
Starker was in the room playing for me, end of story.

The Respighi has very natural string tone which the Sigs showed off to great effect.

All in all, the Sigs have outstanding spatial qualities,
coherence, tonality and rhythm, real toe-tappers !
Near perfect for Baroque and Classical Orch.,voice, chamber music, can be caught out some by larger romantic pieces.
All I have to do now is haul out my old Sony changer and run Schubert Lieder through them for a few hundred hours to
erase any bad karma residue in the event previous owner played rock or Wagner on them !
Schubert, I exorcise new houses when I move in--long standing tradition, almost a rite. Bach Johannes-Passion is the first music played, start to finish, then I start unpacking. Never thought to chase bad karma out of new equipment, but surely the Schubert Lieder would be just the thing for that!
Agree on the Kodaly Op 8. Haven't heard the Starker. I had the pleasure of hearing him about 10 years ago. Even at an advanced age, he was something special.
Sounds like the Sigs are going to be keepers. I recently bought a pair of Ref 3A deCapo Be's to build a bedroom system around. I wanted something tube friendly for the bedroom, otherwise, the Totems might have been on my list.

It just amazes me what can be done with small monitors when well executed. Based on what you are telling me, I do hope I will get the chance to give the Ones a try some day.
The key to standmounts is a sub , not to get deeper bass, but to even up room bass response.
I've heard 3a's quite a bit, Totems are better but , as you say, need lots of SS power, my AVA 450 is feeding about 400 a side into those 4 ohm pups, they are leaner with my Odyssey Stratos backup amp, wouldn't even try my 60 watt 6550 .

People who use tubes never went to the store in the 50's and bought a bunch of glorious NEW
RCA 12AX7 for $1.99 and took them home to blossom in their PAS -3, much less those 4 buck Telefunken or Mullards.
Old tubes are just that, OLD, and the Russian and Sino stuff is junk.
That said, I have 3 ten wattish tube integrateds and My Response Audio Bella Extreme 6550.
I find the best for whole house exorcism to be the DG Harnacourt DVD of the St Johns .
Anything by Musica Antiqua Koln is fine for average room.