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  1. #26
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Maggies / tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by undermench
    good evening i have owned a pair of mag I D 's since around 1975 purchased from david beatty hi fi in kansas city mo. ok so big deal they have provided excellent sound i I have them paced 18 inches from the back wall and the same distance from the side wall. I get a nice level of bass response. the side walls are basically not interrupted by any furniture. i drive my speakers with a pair of modified dynaco pas 70 in the final stage are a kt-66 set of matched tubes. the grids are baised hot. they approx develop about 100 rms per chanel into a four ohm load. the amos are strapped so each one acts as a mon amp.. I believe that maggies work best with tubes. why. if i am correct what most people are not aware of is that maggies are not just a purely resistive load they also present a capactive load also. a transistor amp in some cases can not handled a capacitive load. they some time suffer from severe oscillationswith very bad results reduced power out, poor respone and in some cases they just burn up. the rest of my system is a audo research sp-7 with a thorens turntable with a straight line tracking tone arm a rae rabco sl8-e old equippment but still very esotewric. one more thing ya i know tube amps run about 1 to 3 % distortion but the human ear really cant detect this thanks for reading this UNDERMENCH
    Welcome to AR, Undermench

    Great to hear from you. And very interesting comments and a nice system.

    I'm a MG 1.6QR user myself and love the Magneplanar sound. I wasn't aware, though, that the Maggies present a capacitive load. I would be interested in hearing my speakers with a hundred watts or so of tube power; unfortunately no one I know around here has such an amp. On the other hand I am very happy with my tube preamp and pair of Monarchy SM-70 Pro solid state amps. Check out my system configuration, below.

    I recommend at least 2 feet from the wall behind the speakers; 3 feet might be better, but I think the the 5 or more some people insist on is more than necessary, at least to avoid doppler interference in the higher frequencies.

  2. #27
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by undermench
    i have owned a pair of mag I D 's since around 1975 purchased from david beatty hi fi in kansas city mo. ok so big deal they have provided excellent sound
    I bought a pair of MG-IIs back in '76 after hearing some Tympanis. It was Maggies that seduced me to the joys of planars.

    Quote Originally Posted by undermench
    i I have them paced 18 inches from the back wall and the same distance from the side wall.
    Apparently that works fine, but I'm with Feanor in that they are capable of opening up a bit more with more space behind them.

    Quote Originally Posted by undermench
    I believe that maggies work best with tubes. why. if i am correct what most people are not aware of is that maggies are not just a purely resistive load they also present a capactive load also.
    Every speaker has a certain capacitive element, but in the grand scheme of things they are largely resistive. It is electrostats that present the more challenging capacitive load. Back to Maggies, because of their flat impedance, they work well with tubes.

    Quote Originally Posted by undermench
    a transistor amp in some cases can not handled a capacitive load. they some time suffer from severe oscillationswith very bad results reduced power out, poor respone and in some cases they just burn up.
    Its a mix. There are some SS amps that do fine with reactive loads. Threshold amps, for example, were always designed around handling that kind of load. Back in the 70s, Nelson Pass used the Dayton-Wright electrostats as the benchmark for ensuring that his amps could work with them. I have an old Stasis amp that I used to drive Acoustats for nearly twenty years. Except for replacing the output electrolytics in the power supply, the amp has been trouble free for 27 years! It is true, however, that many SS amps - even very powerful pro amps get very unhappy with reactive loads.

    Quote Originally Posted by undermench
    ... one more thing ya i know tube amps run about 1 to 3 % distortion but the human ear really cant detect this thanks for reading this UNDERMENCH
    As you indicated many folks get hung up on THD specs which are useless to convey any meaningful answers. It is the distortion spectra that makes more difference. The typical harmonic make up of tube amps falls squarely in an auditory "blind spot".

    rw

  3. #28
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    I am obviously late ........
    I am going through the motions of speaker placement for my Final Sound 300i, and the above advise will be taken into account. However, the Final Sounds are slanted at an angle, very much like the SMGa Magnepans.
    Any pointers for such panel speakers will be appreciated, thanks.

  4. #29
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    The angle depends on the listening distance and the height of your chair. It is room and personal choice dependent. Use the standard placement suggestions as your starting point and tweak from there. Once you get the overall placement right, adjusting the vertical angle can be your "final" tweak. Small changes in the angle can act as a subtle tone control.

    BTW: You're never to late for questions about planars. What kind of sub are you using?
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  5. #30
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    300i floorstanding speakers, S110 downfiring subwoofer and FVSS 201 Receiver all made by Final sound, helped by a second front firing Trevi (old) subwoofer.
    When using 1 sub, its location was easily given away and also I managed a much better low frequency response in the room with the front firing sub firing to the side!!
    Having got the speakers past wife, my setup will not be symmetric nor will one the speakers be allowed to be placed more than 33cm (about 1 foot, 1 inch ) and the other 43cm (1 foot 5 inches ) from the back wall ( yeah, front wall by definition) and with me sitting 2.70m ( 8 feet 9 inches) from the center of the line separating the 2 speakers and my head almost against the other wall. One side wall is a full glass pane window 1.70m (5 feet 7 inches) away and the other side wall is 2.42m( 7 feet ) with a door in the middle thatīs almost always open. If this were not enough, another door is always open behind the right speaker. I have my work cut out for me, I know. HEEELP!!!!!!

  6. #31
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    I think your speakers are much too close to the walls.

    If you can not move them out and away, maybe sound absorbent panels will help.

    These were reasonably priced and not ugly. http://www.atsacoustics.com/

    The Cardas audio site (and others) have much to say about placement. http://www.cardas.com/content.php?ar...ing=room+setup
    Herman;

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  7. #32
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    You are right about the speakers being too close to the back wall. All the articles including the cardas method are clear on that, but so is my sweetheart : " Not an inch more, thatīs as far out as they can come !!"
    So, I turned to the dark science of speaker placement, sound absorbers, forums, etc...
    Some articles have suggested the use of sound diffusers. The whole idea being the reduction in reflected sound intensity at the listening position without prominent reflections. By reflecting the wave from the back side of the panel in all directions, strong reflections are eliminated and an assortment of time delays are produced, thereby distributing the interferences in the frequency spectrum. Here, speakers slanting at an angle are an added bonus.
    Any ideas? Anybody used any diffusers to good effect?
    Also there a train of thought out there that in certain cases absorption is not always good,
    or too much of it.....
    My head hurts from the differing opinions on acceptable time delays, and their detrimental effects, but some reflected sound is good , so the room is the final culprit and has to be tamed!! All identical rooms sound different due to the furniture present and its layout.
    I think the little lady will summon the men in the white coats if I insist in being able to hear small differences as the speaker positions are tweaked!!!
    Another funny thing is that when I asked for help in moving the speakers around and testing with music, my assistantīs position of choice was different from mine!

  8. #33
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    A length of PVC pipe 6" OD and the height of your speakers will work as a diffusor. Place it close to and directly behind your speakers. There are any number of ways to make it stable. A standard pipe flange will do. You can paint it so it doesn't look so bad. The best thing of all is it's so cheap it won't hurt to try it.

    The rear wave from di-polar speakers should not be damped (absorbed). It will kill the open spacious sound you paid for. They should both be the same distance from the wall.

    You really only need half the pipe. However, it's hard to cut pipe in half vertically.

    Two 6Ft lengths of 6" OD PVC pipe should cost less than $20.
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  9. #34
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Sound absorbers are a good idea, I've never heard a diffuser, but the predicted effect should help as well. Heavy drapes, soft carpet and wall hangings will accomplish the desired effect while meeting the wife acceptance factor. One other scheme is to flatter hear hearing (often better than a males hearing anyway) and convert her into an accomplice.

    A comment about rooms that are "too dead". Most better speakers are designed to measure "flat" in an anechoic chamber. Anechoic chambers are designed to have as close to zero reflections as budget will allow. In other words they are the deadest of dead rooms. Of course you should trust your ears, but I suspect that concerns about excessively dead rooms apply only to very inexpensive speakers.

    I know that as I reduced reflections in my listening room a little increase in tweeter level was needed, but clarity continued to improve.
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  10. #35
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    The rear wave from di-polar speakers should not be damped (absorbed). It will kill the open spacious sound you paid for. They should both be the same distance from the wall.
    JoeE: When I put my ESL speakers almost 6 feet from the front wall, the time delay of the reflection caused a great deal of muddling of the sound, especially the midrange. For me at least rear wave absorbers were better than allowing reflections. Of course in a much larger room I suspect you are correct and dipoles will sound best without a rear absorber.
    Herman;

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  11. #36
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    Oh yes, I am trying to convert my better half into an audiophilly, and everytime there is a major improvement, I check it against her to see if its convincing. Dammit, I even sit next to her to watch the soapies - they do sound much better through these ESLs!!! The ambient sound of the National Geographic Channel programs came across so clearly that she wants to go to those places when I win the lotto!
    Come to think of it, I do have some PVC piping left over from the home improvements done a few years ago, so that will be tried next weekend together with rolling up a couple of thick carpets if the need to absorb the sound is called for. If the trick works out then I might find suitably sized lamp shades ( tall ceramic pots, etc) to put in place of the pipes to increase the WAF.
    I have even toyed with the idea of placing these 1.4m ( 4 feet ) speakers on top of the subwoofers and facing them towards the back wall ( reversing the polarity of the cables as well ) so that the back wave has a longer path to travel to the listening position.
    The sitting room has sufficient absorbing furniture, but the walls could do with some attention, now thatīs been mentioned. Any ideas please? I presume we need concern ourselves with the 1st reflection only, but with the diffuser in place, the equation might change a bit..... I can feel the headache coming on again!!
    I suppose as long as I am enjoying this challenge, and am open minded about it, no harm can come of it, apart from having to listen to certain tracks and different frequency test tones over and over again. Any suggestions on our participants favorite test tracks?

  12. #37
    nightflier
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    This is a very interesting discussion to me right now, since I've just begun enjoying Magnepans. Of particular interest is the need to pull the speakers about 3' or so from the rear wall, since that is really difficult for many of us with smaller rooms. And that brings up another question: what about wall-hanging Magnepans? Should they not be placed on the wall for optimum sound quality?

  13. #38
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    JoeE: When I put my ESL speakers almost 6 feet from the front wall, the time delay of the reflection caused a great deal of muddling of the sound, especially the midrange. For me at least rear wave absorbers were better than allowing reflections. Of course in a much larger room I suspect you are correct and dipoles will sound best without a rear absorber.
    Six feet is way to far unless the rear wave is severely damped or the room is very large. The Haas effect becomes a problem and you start getting reverberant sounds when they are too far away from the wall. Most dipolars need the addition of the reflected rear radiation to sound right. That's why almost all placement recommendations say around 3 feet from the wall.
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  14. #39
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    This is a very interesting discussion to me right now, since I've just begun enjoying Magnepans. Of particular interest is the need to pull the speakers about 3' or so from the rear wall, since that is really difficult for many of us with smaller rooms. And that brings up another question: what about wall-hanging Magnepans? Should they not be placed on the wall for optimum sound quality?
    I wish I could help you there nightflier. Have you tried asking the people at Magnepan? I'm curious what they have to say.
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  15. #40
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nasir
    Oh yes, I am trying to convert my better half into an audiophilly, and everytime there is a major improvement, I check it against her to see if its convincing. Dammit, I even sit next to her to watch the soapies - they do sound much better through these ESLs!!! The ambient sound of the National Geographic Channel programs came across so clearly that she wants to go to those places when I win the lotto!
    Come to think of it, I do have some PVC piping left over from the home improvements done a few years ago, so that will be tried next weekend together with rolling up a couple of thick carpets if the need to absorb the sound is called for. If the trick works out then I might find suitably sized lamp shades ( tall ceramic pots, etc) to put in place of the pipes to increase the WAF.
    I have even toyed with the idea of placing these 1.4m ( 4 feet ) speakers on top of the subwoofers and facing them towards the back wall ( reversing the polarity of the cables as well ) so that the back wave has a longer path to travel to the listening position.
    The sitting room has sufficient absorbing furniture, but the walls could do with some attention, now thatīs been mentioned. Any ideas please? I presume we need concern ourselves with the 1st reflection only, but with the diffuser in place, the equation might change a bit..... I can feel the headache coming on again!!
    I suppose as long as I am enjoying this challenge, and am open minded about it, no harm can come of it, apart from having to listen to certain tracks and different frequency test tones over and over again. Any suggestions on our participants favorite test tracks?
    I would try the pipes without carpet. You don't want the rear wave absorbed. You want it dispersed. The wave form from an ESL is identical for the front and rear. Facing the speakers at the wall will have little or no effect on the sound.

    Magneplanars (Tympani's excepted) will always sound better from the back. There is no panel with magnets and holes in the way. All floor standing Maggy's have increased high frequencies and smoother midrange when turned around back-wards. They may not look as good but they all sound better that way

    The front wall should be a mix of absorptive, reflective and dispersive surfaces. Try some shallow bookshelves with a mixture of books, glass and ceramic knick knacks and stuffed animals for example. A little treatment properly used goes a long way. With some thoughtful choices room treatment doesn't have to make your living room look like a recording studio.
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  16. #41
    nightflier
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    Yes I have...

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    I wish I could help you there nightflier. Have you tried asking the people at Magnepan? I'm curious what they have to say.
    ...when I can get someone on the phone, lol. The only advice has been to work with the angles of the speakers in relation to the walls. Ironically, for the surrounds, their recommendation is to point them 90 degrees to the wall. While this does change the sound, it sounds to me like this makes it too diffuse. It also makes me wonder what the sound is reflecting from - if it's the side walls, then is that not causing too much delay?

    Consequently, I also have a pair of MG12s that are currently packed up because I simply do not have adequate room for them. I did notice when I had them set up, that the further I pulled them from the front wall, slightly toed in, that they would sound considerably better, but in my room that meant I lost far too much floor space. Hence the reason they are packed up for now.

  17. #42
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Nasir, how did things work out? Inquiring minds want to know.
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  18. #43
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    Well, I tried the pipes but without an obvious result, so the investigation will continue.
    Then I put the Final Sound 300i on top of each subwoofer still keeping the same short distances from the back wall, played around with the toe in and achieved an acceptable soundstage, extending beyond the sides of the speakers. I suspect the reflections are slightly smearing the image, giving me the impression that the sound is coming from the outer sides of the speakers, but it does conjure up a wider stage. I am not sure about depth so much, but its the best setup so far. I want to try the pipes next, after having played a wide variety of music. Listening, with my eyes closed, its easy to make out the vocals coming from the center, easily putting the vocalist in the middle of the line between the 2 speakers. I havenīt had any experience with how much depth one can get. I can tell
    some sounds are from further back, but in between is still a mystery so far. Anybody care to explain or help?

  19. #44
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    Six feet is way to far unless the rear wave is severely damped or the room is very large.
    I guess it all depends upon what you consider a very large room. After considerable experimentation and measuring using calibrated tones and an SPL meter, I found that about eight feet out from the back wall provided the most neutral bass response in my 25' long room With the U-1s.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    The Haas effect becomes a problem and you start getting reverberant sounds when they are too far away from the wall. Most dipolars need the addition of the reflected rear radiation to sound right.
    Only when you do not have an appropriate amount of diffusion. I use a forest of bass traps to further flatten the bass and to minimize that issue. Further, I have fake ficus trees flanked on either side of the stats to address the first reflection points. The stage I get is both deep and precise.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    That's why almost all placement recommendations say around 3 feet from the wall.
    As a minimum. The rule of thirds applies in all directions in order to minimize room modes. I would be curious to see pics of your arrangement. Mine are available in the gallery.

    rw

  20. #45
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    And that brings up another question: what about wall-hanging Magnepans? Should they not be placed on the wall for optimum sound quality?
    That would be horrible sonically for any dipole. They need to breathe. Remember that the room is the enclosure.

    rw

  21. #46
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    Six feet is way to far unless the rear wave is severely damped or the room is very large. The Haas effect becomes a problem and you start getting reverberant sounds when they are too far away from the wall. Most dipolars need the addition of the reflected rear radiation to sound right. That's why almost all placement recommendations say around 3 feet from the wall.
    I agree with this advice. I think there is such a thing as too far from the wall behind. I use the configuration below, and get excellent imaging and sound stage.

    I don't have E-Stat's deep bass problem with my Maggie 1.6, (unfortunately), so that's not an issue for me.


  22. #47
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I don't have E-Stat's deep bass problem with my Maggie 1.6, (unfortunately), so that's not an issue for me.
    The issue was not so much with the low bass as it was the mid to upper bass region (call it the second and third octaves). When the U-1s were close to the wall, the overall sound was heavy and ill defined, not to mentioned constricted dimensionally. The first octave was there as they respond flat in my room to 25 hz. But, the fat and overripe midbass colored the result and masked what low bass was truly present. Not only did my ears tell me this, but also detailed measurements using test tones and the trusty RS SPL meter confirmed this.

    I fully understand that each room and speaker combination pose their own unique situation. Fore and aft placement will, however, tune the critical mid bass region for most all dipoles. Admittedly, some speakers benefit from the reinforcement.

    rw

  23. #48
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I guess it all depends upon what you consider a very large room. After considerable experimentation and measuring using calibrated tones and an SPL meter, I found that about eight feet out from the back wall provided the most neutral bass response in my 25' long room With the U-1s.


    Only when you do not have an appropriate amount of diffusion. I use a forest of bass traps to further flatten the bass and to minimize that issue. Further, I have fake ficus trees flanked on either side of the stats to address the first reflection points. The stage I get is both deep and precise.


    As a minimum. The rule of thirds applies in all directions in order to minimize room modes. I would be curious to see pics of your arrangement. Mine are available in the gallery.

    rw
    I completely agree with your placement suggestions. My speakers are a little over 4 feet from the wall in my 26 foot long room. I don't have all the bass traps that you have but I have books (lots) and LP's (lots) on the walls with bass traps and other devices. The first reflection points received special care. With a good recording the walls behind and to the sides of the speakers disappear. The sound stage is almost holographic in depth, width and placement.

    Sometimes when I am somewhere helping someone set up a system I use Duct tape to hang towels on the walls at the first reflection points. When I return the towels are gone and something more appropriate and aesthetically pleasing is there. If you are reading this and don't have panels, the advice about reflection points still applies.
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  24. #49
    nightflier
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    So should they be...

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    That would be horrible sonically for any dipole. They need to breathe. Remember that the room is the enclosure. rw
    ...on-wall or off? Sorry, but I didn't understand your response.

  25. #50
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    ...on-wall or off? Sorry, but I didn't understand your response.
    Sorry I wasn't clear. I would not hang them on the wall as one would hang a painting with the panel radiating directly against the wall. What Magnepan recommends, however, is that you could mount them on side walls (or HT cabinets) on hinges such that they fire down the wall as opposed to at the wall. And they can swing out of the way when not in use.

    Wall mounting

    Note that you must still allow some distance behind them for optimum results.

    rw

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