Which speaker has the biggest sound stage?

I tried out a Magnepan 1.7 a couple months ago, and I am a bit shock by the sound stage of it. It just feel live music. Although the bass is a bit lacking, I really like the "be there" feeling.

So, my question is, does all planar speaker (electrostatic, ribbon ... ) have such big sound stage? And with different brands and models, which one has biggest sound stage?

Specifically for Magnepan, the 3.6 is about $1000 more than 1.6. What are the major differences? and is it worth the extra money?
Well, My Apogee speakers are on a 25' wide wall.....and they fill in between (the image), and the outside area with sound that is as wide as the room.

Funny......if you walk up to one of the speakers while it is playing, you really can't localize the sound. (nothing like box speakers).

I have box speakers that are out of the box with wall to wall and floor to ceiling staging... Caravelle's they are. Stand mounted in a room that measures 21.5 by 27 by 9. The way to achieve this performance is with resonance grounding a method of vibration control that does not squander the dynamics like that of bearings and sand and rubber bladders or carbon fiber or plastic or mdf or for that matter flat feet. This method is applied to all my components as well as to some of the room boundaries.
Gallo 3.5
The 3.6 used is worth the price increase over the 1.6.
Be aware of how old the speakers are if you buy used.
Magnepans will have problems with the glue holding the Mylar and wires together. The reapir is not too difficult, but better to buy relatively new build speakers. Mande in last five years is better than older than that. And with the 1.6 and 3.6 longevity , many really old ones are out there.
(I own 3.6s
Analysis Audio,Speakers have a room filling soundstage.When I heard them,they
did everything very well!I am very surprised they are not very well known!
Tom,I would like to hear about anything you have done ,as far as
upgrading,tweaking your Caravelles. I still love mine!!!Ray
The NEW BOSE 901 series 6 version 2's has whole ROOM filling soundstage !...LIVE IN CONCERT !..
Elizabeth is WRONG.
The issue of the glue which holds the Mylar and wires together is NOT one that any customer should worry about.
Well, worry about that in equal amounts of the surrounds of the cone drivers rotting.
I sold Maggies for 15 years--along the way servicing customers who owned older maggies....never ONCE in all that time did this problem arise.
They (Maggies) are not impossible to break, but they are very hearty speakers AND they are marvelous sounding.

A little information in the hands of someone with limited experience, is a dangerous thing.

Good listening,
I guess my friend wasted a LOT of time re-gluing the wires to the mylar of his MG-IIIA's over the past couple of months then. It certainly 'looked' like the wires had separated from the mylar. Funny thing about absolutes I guess...
Good Post Larry. Perfect example of a self appointed expert, that likes to hear them self's talk.
To answer the OPs question, yes fairly all larger panel speakers have this huge soundstage. An eception might be the Magnepan MMG for its dinky size, it certainly is not capable of the vastness of the bigger panel speakers.

Besides Magnepan you've got the aforementioned Analysis, Sound Lab and Kings Audio (reviewed). Quad makes a couple of bass shy full range ESLs. Then you have hybrids which really are all over the place in terms of how much panel element is built into them. VMPS has quite a bit, but Legacy Audio uses only one planar element in the Whisper and Helix (reviewed). Eminent Technology has a very similar concept to Magnepan, but is a hybrid with a sealed 8" bass driver per channel (reviewed). The Janzen is also thinner ESL hybrid. Martin Logan is a hybrid with a curved ESL panel, which may/may not require subs added to satisfy.

One thing to keep in mind is the width of the soundstage, as people have distinct preferences in this regard. Some don't mind a narrow sweet spot while others find it intolerable. You will definitely have more lateral extension to it with the wider panels in general.

As to the largest, if you want a planar sound the Magnepan 20.1 is among the biggest, and if you prefer an ESL sound the King is quite competent. The biggest and having among the best sound is the Sound Lab. Pay careful attention to the bass response especially if coming from a larger/deeper bass full range speaker, as you may end up feeling the bass is insufficient with some of these brands.
You and Elizabeth should huddle together, start selling glue for Maggies.
What I said, to repeat, is that, in my 15 years of selling them, AND servicing older pairs, that it happened, "NOT ONCE".
I didn't say it couldn't happen. Elizabeth's post made it sound as if it's a common occurance, one she felt the need to publish a cautionary warning for...IME that didn't happen.

PS. Don't back stock a LOT of glue...

Good listening,
MBL 101 is the runaway champ IME. Ohms do a great job, too.
Sorry, misread the OP. Please disregard the above.
Not only do we forgive you, (the headline reads as if it's a forum on soundstage) I personally agree with your comment 100%.
MBL's are the Soundstage Champs...

Good listening,
Lrsky , saying Elizabeth was "WRONG" was quite a strong statement. It might have been better just to say : in my 15 years experience this was never the case. And of course a second person had this experience. I enjoy reading your posts.
Sounlab ESL speakers have a very large stage and sound quite live and awesome.

Wall of natural sound that is so wondeful.
Mrdecibel...you are absolutely right.
I thought that the subsequent explanation would ameliorate the harsh sound of that. Sorry.
In my approximately 1/6th of a Century's experience with Magnepans, I found zero instances of failure of the glue which attaches the Mylar and coils...this does not preclude the possibility of this happening.
Elizabeth states, as if categorically, 'You will have problems'...in her post.
My counter to that is...it's very, very unlikely based on my years of experience.

I enjoy reading your posts too, Mrdecibel.

Good listening,
Now then, even a modest floor standing dynamic speaker can have its soundstage perceptually raised and expanded by placement. One can elevate it through placing it on a pedistal, can attain a higher ceiling on the soundstage by tilting it back slightly and adjust the width through avoidance of toe in.

All of these adjustments can add substantially to the sense of scale, however they also might involve compromises in terms of perofrmance, such as moving the M/T drivers away from ear level or losing some floor reinforcement of the bass.

If I were limited to small floorstanding speakers I'd be trying such things to see what the effect would be.
Sorry I misread the question as well.
Sorry, I just read it as you wrote it:

"The issue of the glue which holds the Mylar and wires together is NOT one that ANY customer should worry about." (emphasis added by me on 'any').

My comment was concerning the absolute 'any customer' as I have first hand knowledge to the contrary with my friends and two other Magnepans I have owned in the past. Admittedly 'older' Magnepans- a model 1267 (which most hear have never heard of) and a pair of Tympanis.

If others didn't have that same experience; that is good fortune indeed. I am not digging on Magnepan as a lot of speakers need attention after a period of time (replaced dried out caps, woofers that need re-foaming, etc). Such is life in the audio world.

Lrsky, I'm sorry you took my comment as an attack as that was not my intent. I only commented on what I had first hand knowledge of.

Enjoy the journey...
The biggest most natural soundstage I've experienced with images placed in a real 3 dimensional sound field were captured to the greatest extent by a pair of Soundlab A-1's and the absolute best, a pair of highly modified Infinity Ref 5s. I also had a memorable experience with the Apogee Stages in this respect and considering their price at the time, a bit over 2K I seriously considered their purchase but really didn't have the space at the time to allow them to perform their magic.

I always thought the Maggies presented a very realistic image but never produce a stage to the extent of the above mentioned but then again I never heard the Tympani IV's
I was simply giving my experience. It's like anything else...ymmv. However when Elizabeth said, 'You will'...I had a knee jerk...with me 'jerk' being the operative.
I know the Maggies to be incredibly good and reliable.
I really didn't take it as an attack at all. I was afraid one comment would escalate to another and they's become the scourge of the universe...

Good listening,
Thanks for all the replies. There are quite a number of suggestions and I did a lot of readings. I am quite interested in the Gallo Reference 3. To be honest, the planar speakers like the Magnepan won't get my wife's approval to put in the living room. I am just starting my research until I can get a dedicated room. So, I will keep an eye on the Gallo 3.
While reading the Gallo 3 on 6moon, there is another speaker that also get a luna eclipse award - the Zu Druid. Anyone has any experience with it? It falls within my budget, and it looks good, easier to pass the wife-test. Would it be an upgrade over my B&W CDM9NT?

Gte357s, there is always the quality vs quantity factor to weigh. ie: the music or a wife's disapproval. would a means justify an ends, or ends justify a means? Disclaimer: I'm a bachelor
I heard a set of very large planar speakers, I think they were Magnepans but I am not sure at the CES in Chicago in 1989. That was one of my most fun days ever, seeing all the rooms in the hotel across the street set up with different stereo systems and people peddling their hifi wares. So these speakers were set up in the big Ball room. Four large panels powered by 4 large, separate ARC tube amps. A classical piece was playing and it was like a life size orchestra in the room. I could pinpoint every single instrument in the orchestra. A very memorable experience.

I myself had and enjoyed planar speakers for 14 years. It was the opposite for me. My wife liked how they looked and was upset with me when I sold them to try something new. I was always impressed with the speed and imaging of the Thiel speakers. I'm very happy with my Thiel speakers now and with analog especially, they can produce a large soundstage. The only downside was the expense to amplify them since they like lots of current. Planar speakers are much easier to drive being typically a resistive load.
Wow Larry, I've never seen anyone knock Elizabeth's soundstage off the floor like you've done. Quite remarkable ! I quess wisdom does come with age. I just wonder if the gray hairs have popped along with the daffodils.

Next question is:

What Goner' has the biggest soundstage ?

I was too harsh--but to say categorically, 'You will...' left no wiggle room.
I'm CERTAIN some have failed, I've personally never seen it--sevicing customers who owned them for YEARS.
I'll apologize again for being abrupt. Elizabeth seems to know her stuff, as best I can tell and I'd never want to cross swords with anyone on Audiogon...nothing on here is important enough to make anyone angry.

Good listening,
Just took delivery today of a pair of Eminent Technology LFT-8b -- thanks, Bruce -- and holy smokes! that's a soundstage. Big, palpable instruments. Not much past the speakers, but such height and depth inbetween, and the scale is undeniable. Everything has SIZE, instead of pinpoints in space.

As I told Mr. Thigpen on the phone, my previous experiences with planar speakers were not nearly as exciting. Granted, both were budget models (ML Aerius-i, Magnepan MMG), but for the money, I just don't see how you can top the LFT-8b. I've spent 3X as much and had much worse, that's for sure.
For dynamic cone driver coherant type speakers, Wilson W/P's put off the biggest stage I have heard. No experience with MP or MBL's. Just by design, I would expect the omni-directional Radialstrahler's to be king in this dept.
My Ohm Walsh 2000s do a wonderful job of both producing a large soundstage and providing pinpoint imaging. Depth is fair, but I think my room and electronics play a role there. Great height, too. Not to forward, but very wide. Of course, the actual soundstage dimensions depend on the recording, the room, and to a lesser degree, associated gear.
In a large enough room with enough open space behind, larger mbls, 111 or 101 have the biggest that is also very accurately defined as well that I have heard recently.

Omnidirectional speakers in general are capable of delivering the biggest sound stage that is also very well defined, but only when placed properly in suitably large rooms.

OHM Walsh speakers are pseudo-omni and physically attenuated in the wall facing directions by design in order to allow them to function better in most people's rooms. That limits soundstage depth somewhat but works out better in the end for most.

You can custom order them to be fully omni, at least up to 8Kzh or so, the range of the Walsh style driver used. I would expect this to deepen the soundstage potential if set up suitably in a suitable room, but have never tried this.

Bipolar speakers like Maggies also emit a lot of sound to the rear of the speaker. In a suitable setup in the right room, these also can have a very large and deep soundstage.
I am with Elizabeth on this one, both in terms of the glue as well as other (minorO issues with Maggies. If a former/current dealer or repair center says it never happens, yet one sees it regularly on used speakers for sale, then . . .

Oh and by the way, certain types of driver surrounds do rot. Martin Logan panels should be replaced about every 8-12 years, it is a pretty easy job to do oneself and does make a huge difference.

And yes, Maggies, like Tube amps and tube components may need a little extra life-time maintenance versus "some other" products.

But that should not rule them out as a great product. After all, one doesn't hear of too many Ferrari owners complaining about rebuilding their motors every 5,000-10,000 miles.
Its pretty well known that the older Maggies had problems with the glue that held the voice coil to the diaphram. Apparently it was sensitive to UV; if left in a room that had direct light it would break down over the years. If your room had no sunlight exposure you may not have run into problems.

One of my employees was part-time and also worked at Magnaplanar. He mentioned this issue to us at least once.

A friend of mine who works at ARC ran into this in a set of older Tympanis that he wanted to rebuild. Magnaplaner redid the voice coils for him.

So the problem was real. To my understanding they switched glues a few times but I understand that they did solve it. I do not know when exactly but if memory serves sometime in the last 10-12 years or so.
.... i dunno, but i'm on pins and needles waiting for the final determination on whether or not there is a glue issue with those Maggies (please, enough already with the irrelevant thread-crapping!).


in my experience i have found that typically, the room and placement in said room factor in probably as much as the speakers do. one exception would be the AR MGC-1's, which create a much bigger soundstage than one would expect, even on a short wall spaced relatively close together.

others i have heard that were notable for creating a large (and believable) soundstage are the Allison I, Maggies as noted above, JBL L300 and a large pair of Snell's the model i do not know. the common link with all these speakers is size.
As far as the biggest soundstage...I would say that omni-directional speakers are the champs of this realm. The MBLs are truly amazing, and my Mirage OMD-28s create a soundstage that is massive. They won't be laser focused like the Gallos, but sound beautiful.

Let us know what you decide on. :-)