Wow I am sold

I have been researching building a new 5.1 system for a couple of monthes now. I have, up until now, been very disappointed with the local availability of products for demo. Recently I have finally settled on Magnepan speakers, meridian processor and cd/dvd player. I am still undecided in regards to amplification. Anyways, I walked into a local store recently to demo the meridian gear, this is actually George Merrill's store. To my surprise they have recently added Magnepan to their available lines. I was previously going to make the speaker purchase based purely on faith, reviews and guidance of fellow 'goners. They had a Magnepan theater system based on the 1.6 setup in the same room as a B&W system based on the 801. All of this was driven by a meridian system for theater and a Cary system ($15,000) for 2 channel.

Impressions? Undescribably, by my limited audiophile vocabulary, in favor of the Maggies. Simply breath taking. They staff had truely spent some serios time setting up the two systems, but the spaciousness of the Maggies were something to be experienced not described. I must mention I am not a B&W fan, but they do/have make/made some good speakers. The most amazing aspect is the price difference. I could almost buy the rest of my desired equipment with the savings.

Now, I do understand all of the differences and associated issues. But, this was truely an A/B comparison. I can't argue with that.

Wow! I am sold!

And, the 50 inch Fujitsu plasma, properly calibrated, WOW! I am sold!

If you have the opportunity to demo a properly setup set of magnepans, DO IT!

I also listened to the setup using DVD-A and SACD multichannel formats.
I concur- when I got my maggies I wasn't aware of the potential they had, now I would be hard pressed to find something I would want to purchase under 25k retail(yes I am serious) these things do so much so well I am happy with my system and listening more and more and buying TONS of music. I would consider the 20.1's but they are just to big for my room, I think my 3.6's are pushing it! But I feel what you do about these speakers, they are simply breath taking when they are set up properly.
I've seen that Fujitsu Plasma, displaying an HD signal from a VCR. Simply amazing. Like looking out a window. Wish I had the $$$$.
I know that this will sound stupid, but Diana Krall's voice accompanied by the piano literally gave me goose bumps.

One thing that I didn't mention is that the bass in the theater demo was augmented by a very large B&W sub.

In 2 channel, I never realized how much coloration a cabinet really does bring to the presentation of a speaker.

I promise I am not a sales person. And, an often neglected issue is that this purchase does represent a lot of money to me. I estimate that when I am done i will have over $20,000 invested. Let's get real my first new car cost my parents $15,000. But, I can't think of a more enjoyable investment. The financial planning business has treated me well lately.
I think the Maggie system is great for home theater and I would go that way myself if I had the room for all those Maggies in my HT room.

I had a set of B&W CDM 9NTs and replaced them with Maggie MG-12QRs. While the B&Ws had greater bass extension and dynamics and a deeper, more layered soundstage, the musicality and immediacy of the Maggie presentation won me over. They sound very convincing throughout their useable frequency range and are top-dog for the dollar in my estimation.

That said, my InnerSound Eros Mk-IIs beat all the Maggies that I've heard (haven't heard the 20s or 20.1s) --though they have a small sweet spot and may not be the best choice for home theater applications. But I would take the Eros hands down over the 3.6s any day. If the Eros did not exist, then I'd probably own a pair of the larger Magnepans.
I borrowed a Meridian 508.24 CD player and on my Maggie 1.6's the bass was the best I ever heard, far better than the Sony SCD1. Maybe there is a synergy between the Maggie's and the Meridian gear. Works for me, at this point I want to buy the 508.24 when I can afford it.
Geez, there must have been something wrong when I auditioned them. I was really, really impressed when I auditioned the Magnepan 3.6's, although I still had some reservations. Those reservations were in the bass and especially how brutally honest they are. The bass I have subsequently determined to be an underpowered tube amplifier, but I don't think anything would correct the unflinching nature without utterly changing the basic truth of the speakers that is so appealing to begin with.

But what turned me off most was the center channel, which was thin and kind of weak all through the spectrum. I wonder if there wasn't also something wrong with the HT setup I auditioned...