Do you have enough room to setup a pair of dipoles correctly? If not, I'd pass and stay with boxes.
I'm a panel guy myself, however...I would go back to boxes if I did not have a room large enough for proper placement of my dipoles.
I owned 1.6's for many years and have heard the VR4jr's on several occassions, although not in my house. Personally, I never found the VR4jr's sound very compelling, maybe I just got so used to the large, diffuse soundstage of the Maggies. Obviously, many others disagree as they are a popular speaker. Like Dave says, you need to have a room you can let them breath in, they don't like to be close to the walls. I also found they needed a sub to reinforce the lower frequencies. Again, others disagree on that point.
My room is 15' x 21' with the current JRs on a short wall where their front faces stand 48" from the wall behind and are about 3-4' from the side walls. Think that will work with the 1.6s?
Another few questions. Do the maggies make images larger than life? And, how durable are the Maggies? I've read a number of threads that describe separation of the film from the wires. Is that an old, remedied, problem or does it persist with newer models as well?
Thanks for the responses.
I think the spacing you are using for the VS's will work fine for 1.6's, that should be plenty of room. Yes, the Maggies will make some images larger than life, solo acoustic guitar for example. At no time did it ever bother me though. On the whole, they present a well integrated image. Durability was never an issue for me. I had one pair for about seven years and then the 1.6's for about five, never a hiccup. I think there is some consensus that delamination of the mylar is likeliest to occur if they are left in direct sunlight for prolonged periods. No product is 100% failure proof, but on the whole, Magnepan makes a very reliable speaker line. FWIW, if I were inclined to jump into the planar speaker pool again at that price point, I'd also look very hard at the Eminent Technology LFT-16, a very interesting design that's getting some great reviews. Bound for Sound & Affordable Audio both recently reviewed them very favorably.
I've owned the JR's and Maggie smga at different times.
Think that both are great speakers, although I preferred the jr I can understand the allure of the "maggie sound" & transparency with the 1.6 The only aspect that moved maggie's out of my house was the sweet spot only listening. With the JR, even at extreme location's, there was always a plausable presence and soundfield (80-90%). That's the only aspect you may want to consider.
I've owned the 3.6s and heard the 1.6s at length, as well as owned the VR 4JRs and now I own the 4SRs.
Personally I'd say that it would be a big step in the wrong direction to replace the JRs with the 1.6s. I think the JRs are in every way a better speaker.
If dynamics are a major concern for you, it won't happen with the power you have and the Maggies, in fact you could do well to feed those JRs even more power, they will love it and so will you.
They do present a much taller and bigger soundstage, but to my ear it is vague and not spot on like the JRs. The bass is no contest the JRs are radically better. I see you have a sub so this may not be as much an issue.
My comments all relate to the 3.6s vs the JRs. I would have like to hear the 3.6s with some real power like 1000 watts. I bet they would sound really good and my opinion would be a lot better. They are really cool looking speakers and seem to have some real potential, but I just have never heard them snap even with 400 watts.
i had both and in big and small room have vr4hse now again problem with maggies is when you get out of sweet spot gets bad quick if go and listen at dealer walk around room any speaker sound good i listen way off to side and you always change rooms or houses etc keep jrs
Should consider the larger Eminent Technology LFT-8B's. If there's room for Von Schweikerts or 1.6's then there's definitely room for LFT-8B's! I recently reviewed the LFT-8B on Dagogo.com, and in that review I call it the "MaggieVandy" for its combination of attributes. I have heard V.S., Vandy's, Maggies, and the E.T.'s in my listening room.
Thanks Doug, the LFT-8b was one I meant to reference. Too many reviews crammed into the grey matter.
You have and are considering the two speakers IMO are the way best for the money. In my case I was all set to buy the maggies, then came across the jr's. Went with the VSA. Had the sparkle of the maggies, while yet giving me the low end as well. But would love to own maggies as well. You will enjoy which ever way you choose, if only for a change of pace.
I would add a third vote for the LFT-8B. I have not heard the VR4jr but i can say from experience that the LFT-8B is a better all round speaker than the MG 1.6. In the mid range i would say both the Maggie and the Eminent are similar but in the lower octaves the Eminents integrated woofer makes it a better all round speaker.
It sounds like wretched excess(ok, it IS wretched excess) to most people, but if/when the circumstances allow, it's wonderful to own both a planar and a dynamic speaker system. Both types have such unique properties and presentation that I find I want to switch back and forth at regular intervals to enjoy them both.
Thanks for all of your input. I will demo the Maggies again but I'm now leaning toward keeping the VR4JRs.
For those JR owners here are a few tweaks which have boosted my JRs' performance noticeably. 1)Using Walker SST on all internal speaker connections, and 2)replacing the upper module spikes with Herbies Big Fat Black Dots. Better yet - the Big fat Black Dots, a cut-to-size piece of 3/8" MDF on top of the dots, and then the upper module-with-spikes on top of the MDF. This last mod brings a significant increase in clarity and imaging.
the maggies or the` ET's for sure
It's really a personal call. Get the maggies in for a demo, and keep the ones you like best.
We have a few members of the Apogee speaker users forum who live in your area (Denver?)...you could drop by that forum and ask someone for a listen, they are very good about that sort of thing.
No sub needed.
I'm about to get new speakers and considered exactly the same 2 you are considering. As well as a used Innersound Kachina or Isis - but small sound stage eventually made that option go away (inside the sweet spot - those are shockingly good speakers). I have owned Maggies for 10 years or more (1.4, SMGA), and on this next purchase it has come down to 1.6qr vs VR4Jrs. I found a pair at I think 35/40% off, and they still were twice what the Magnepans cost. That really says something, no? But, yes, to really compare you have to get a 1k sub otherwise its not apples to apples.
I did extensive listening tests and decided that 1) You *must* get the rear tweeter dialed in perfectly - and at that point the VS do as good as a box can do at the 'holography' 3D kind of sound that planars do perfectly compared to what else I've seen in boxes. 2) At 95/100db+ the VS kick serious butt and have little/no competition anywhere - panel or otherwise (note that I also decided during these tests that I don't listen to music at those levels, but nevertheless...) 3) Magnepan much more sensitive to amplification, but I have a Pass Labs amp, so no problem there for me, 4) Magnepans much more sensitive to set up (room behind them, to sides, etc.), my room can handle it, 5) sub/Magnepan will never compete right at crossover point with the Jr, 6) I decided ultimately after much consternation and thought that the Maggies did have a better midrange/low part of high freq's - that is after all their specialty.
I ultimately decided to stick with Maggies. Your amp situation and room interactions would be a big part of it -if I had a different situation I might choose differently. If the room were really large and you wanted to play super loud music then Jr is way to go.
Of course, based on prices, you would compare 3.6+sub with Jr - and if you could afford the requisite amplification for that, that would be a whole other comparison. With the right amps that ribbon tweeter is awesome and fills a large room really well.
I'm open to LFT-8b but would want to hear them first, not buy over internet/mail. 'A' didn't really match the 1.6, 'B' cleaned up the highs quite a bit from what I hear and might be a real competitor. That is all 5th hand as I have never heard them.