The 1.6's sound best at least 5 feet away from the rear wall and at least 2 feet from the side walls (preferably 3-4 feet). You should sit at least 10 feet away and 15 is about the right distance for me. All these distance vary of course per personal tastes but, you get the idea. I have 1.6's and the tweeters are fine and going on 2 years old. I do not know about them falling apart but, I have heard a little about the tweeter being fragile and my own tests have proved that wrong. I played an Innersound amp that had 1000 watts into four OHMS and you would not believe how loud those speakers get. I do not think you could damage them except with 'bad' power.
First, let me say I have extensive exprience with most models of Maggies in the last 5 years. I can say without a doubt, that there's no hard and fast placement measurement/distance rule(as with ANY speaker!) for the maggie!...it depends on the room, and the seating possition!(as with ALL speakers/set ups).
Really, this is a matter of knowing how to set up speakers in the first place..and most don't have a clue sadely. If you do it yourself, my suggestion is you, well, learn how to set up speakers in your(any)room. You'll have to play around with em quite a bit. Otherwise, hire someone such as myself, who knows what they're doing.
As for the ribbons durrability, well let' just say they "ain't" no rock and roll speakers....this is for certain. The ribbons are low efficiency/sensitivity designs, and will sound strained with heavy dynamic loads. In my oppinion, experiences, etc,you need to, yes, be carefull with the maggie ribbons, as they are the most delicate of speaker designs I think.
In my experience as regards the durability question, the models you are asking about, which do not have the true ribbon tweeter, are rather impervious to overload damage. The panels will become distorted-sounding if you push the volume too high (easier on the MMG's), but just back off the power and they will be fine. But as always (and being especially careful on low-efficiency models such as Maggies, where the onset on amp distress can occur at lower volumes), do not let an underpowered amp deliver a clipped signal to the speakers! As for placement, let's just say look at other speakers if you have only a small room (especially for the 1.6's - the MMG's will work better in a smaller room, but as someone who doesn't believe in the concept of "small panels" to begin with, I would look at regular dynamic designs if the room is only big enough for those, because you will be able to do better than MMG's under those circumstances).
I believe most people think the tweeter/midrange panel is at their limit but in fact it is the power amplifier that is running out of power. Clearly this was the case when I had the Innersound amp like I mentioned in the above post. Even with my Plinius SA100 MKIII with about 175 watts of class A power (into 4OHMS) these speakers are not even close to playing as loud as they could go with the Innersound amp.
It is true that speaker placement in the room varies (of course) but, the point I was making if you really want the 1.6's to 'sing' you will want a big room. If they get too close to the back wall they become 'thick' and lose definition in the bass, if they are too close to the side walls they will get a blare in the midrange.
That is my experience and I know I do not have as much experience as some but I am very diligent in my accessments.
What is the minimum power it requires to drive the Maggies with full potential? I was aiming at Bryston B60R. Looks like it won't do the jop. Will the 3B-ST or 4B-ST powerful enough for them?
Thanks a lot you all response.
I do not think my Plinius has enough power with 175 watts into 4 OHMS, I would guess around 400 - 500 watts with a lot of current would max them out.
I know this sounds like a lot but I would like more power with my setup, and the Innersound setup never sounded strained at all with 1000 watts, so somewhere in the middle is my guess.
The Maggie 1.6's require oodles of power to sound right. I used a pair of 1.6's powered by a Spectron Digital One (500 wpc into the 4 ohm load...1 KW total power!) and the speakers never ran out of power or had anemic bass as others have often commented about. This is a speaker where wattage should be the primary consideration when selecting an amp. I also used a tube preamp, which gave the set up a much smoother sound, in my opinion. Happy Tunes!
I've owned two pairs of Maggies - a very early model that I bought in the mid-70's and a pair of 3.6's that I got last fall. The 1970's version sounded great until it failed when it was about 6 years old from what I was told by the factory was an overly UV-sensitive glue. The 3.6's are delightful. I use them in a room that is about 14x20 and (just to enter into the power debate) I started off running the 3.6's with a 100 watt solid state amp, decided I needed more power, switched to a 350 watt SS amp, which definitely sounded better - but now I'm using a 100 or so watts per channel tube amp (all McIntosh amps), which sounds the best of all. I'm not sure whether the differences among the amps had to do with raw power or just to better design as I moved from one to the other. Bottom line from my experience is that different things work, some better than others. I suspect that quality of design (whatever that means!) trumps raw power with these speakers. Try to buy at a price that won't hurt you if you decide to experiment with something else.
I have a pair of 1.6s in a smaller room. That means the seating is closer to the speakers, so the speakers are closer together for good soundstaging. Patience and careful adjustment definately pay off and the maggies are just fine. In fact, I like them better in the smaller room because, to my ear, the bass sounds better. I drive them with a Sonic Frontiers Power 2 with no problem and find the maggies tube friendly if the amp is big enough. I do agree with Fatparrot and Philjolet that wattage is a concern, and with solid state amps, I think the larger the better if you really want the speakers to sing.
Lots of good amp choices out there - Classe, Aragon, Marsh Sim Audio and Bryston to name a few. Regardless of which Maggie model they all like to have lots-o-current running through them. A Bryston 3B would be plenty powerfull enough for a pair of MMGs and might do an effective job on the 1.6's but a 4B would do a better job with larger models. If you are really looking at the 1.6 model then look for an amp that does at least 300 w/ch @ 4 ohms (Maggie's nominal impedence).
I use a Classe CA 201 (400 watts/ch 4 Ohms) with a pair of the MG 1.6 QRs in a room 13 feet (width) by 27 feet (length). The speakers are 3 feet from the back wall and 1.5 feet from the sidewalls. My listening chair is about 8 feet from the speakers. I get a very good result with this set up, I am very happy. However, I have heard the MG 1.6 QRs in a much wider room (approximately 30 feet wide by 20 feet long) using the same Classe CA-201. Here, I thought the MG 1.6 QRs really sounded their best. Surprisingly, the soundstage sharpened and the detail of the sound seemed slightly sharper. Due to other considerations, I can't use the long wall in my room as a place to put my MG 1.6 QRs. Too bad, I might get a better result.
I do use a REL Storm III subwoofer to supplement the bass response. The REL Storm III allows for a full range signal to be sent to the speakers, which is how I have it set up. I can get this system to play too loud for my tastes. Volume is not an issue for me. Although I don't feel like I have ever taxed the limits of the Classe CA-201, I do feel the MG 1.6 QRs can go louder.
The one really amazing thing that I have experienced with the Magnepan line of speakers is that they sound better with the better power you send them. I have never experienced this to a greater degree than with Magnepan speakers. This explains why I have much more invested in my electronics that I do my speakers.
As far as reliability, this is the first Magnepan product I have owned. I hope the three-year manufacturers warranty is not an indication of the speaker's longevity. If they do crap out in three years I'll be disappointed, but not as disappointed as I was when the panels on my Martin Logan CLS Is failed in less than two years!
FYI I listen to a huge range of music full scale symphonic, chamber/baroque music, solo piano, small ensemble jazz (with and without vocal accompaniment), acappella vocal, fusion jazz (big sound fusion jazz), classic rock, grunge rock and some R&B/funk. Although I do listed to a big range of music, I am still very picky about what I listen to.
These are some of my thoughts from my experiences.
Good luck and happy listening.
I doubt you'd blow them up with good, clean, ample power reserves. I listened to the 3.6/R's at a dealer, and they'd push out SPLs if you wanted to. Granted heavy metal didn't have the *SLAM* factor (so don't expect them to slap you in the face with air, or even better, try to cave-in your chest). but they *DID* play louder than I'd ever want to listen to them. And this was a 25x30foot room (or so). So I'd say a competent sub (or two) and I doubt you'd tell the difference between the 3.6/R's and most dynamic (cone) speakers. At least *most* people would be hard pressed to!
so if you'd have to use a small room, I'd say place the speakers out from the wall. Give them a wee bit of room on the sides. And listen near-field if you have to. (up very close).