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  1. #1
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    Wake Up Maggie (1.7's)

    Auditioned a pair of these at Audio Advice in Charlotte, NC today. It was my first listening experience with Maggies (or any other planar speakers). I'm pretty sure that I have been ruined by the experience.

    First, I'm not an audiophile, not even an audio enthusiast. I love music. I grew up in a family of musicians and singers, and I've grown to love and appreciate just about every genre. I play keyboard and guitar, and consider it a major injustice that I've not figured out a way to coax a living from them. So much for that. Back to the 1.7's.

    I had no idea that music could be reproduced with the precision and realism that effortlessly flow from these technological marvels. I've listened to some high end speakers that had some pretty cool and distinct voicing, but what set the 1.7s apart was that they didn't *have* a signature sound other than being a mind-blowingly accurate reproduction of whatever sound had been recorded.

    Talk about sound stage. When I closed my eyes, I was *on* the stage, in the midst of the musicians and singers. Whichever instrument I focused on would immediately give me the sensation of standing next to the one playing it. On one particular bluegrass tune, I could practically "see" white resin powder fall from the fiddler's bow as he started playing. I could even hear the textured sound of a guitarist's plastic pick as it crossed the windings of the guitar string.

    I don't possess the expertise, knowledge, or vocabulary to communicate the technical details that many of you crave, so I'll sum up my "review" this way. In the past, I've heard music through systems and speakers that were good enough to put a smile on my face. This time I grinned, laughed, and almost cried. I found our family Christmas gift early.

    P.S. I was so blown away by the experience that I forgot to write down what was driving them. All I remember is that the pre-amp and power amp were Rotel, and that they were priced $700 and $1,200 respectively.

  2. #2
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Another convert! Amazing how a great speaker can affect you isn't it? The slogan goes; "once you go flat you never go back!" There's a bunch of us that post here that wouldn't have it any other way.
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  3. #3
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    message from Raj J (melbourne)

    good day mate!
    welcome to the world of panels! and yes this is excatly what they do!!!
    they are open, transparent, and reproduce the soundsatge like no other. apart from that, you can tame a panel speaker with the choice of amplification from pre to power it all counts, including cables&interconnects. hence the reason why the the maggies were sounding so great driven with Rotel, drive them with high-end stuff from Krell, Pass Labs, or tube gear from Audio reserach, or conrad johnson and the panels will not sound great but superb! by the way these are maggies, wait till you get to electrostatics - another world mate, another world...

    the beauty of maggies and other panel types are you don'y require mega buck or even mega watt amps to drive them. very simple designs by NAD or Musical fidelity will work just fine, even Cambridge Audio works fine with maggies. like I said, it all depends on how much you want to go, and maggies never fail in performing so well up the ladder.

    I have owned so many different models of magneplanars, the best I ever had were probably the MG3.5/R driven with all conrad johnson tube amps, including massive 350 watt tube amps from Manley -Designers Reference Series. all great stuff.

    I now have a Quad Electrostatic system driven with all tube designs by conrad johnson, and my CD is also a tube design. sound simply stunning, nothing I have ever owned compares to it, BUT it took me nearly 15 years to get here! so you're on a good start mate, all the best!
    cheers,
    Raj J
    any advice you need on maggies, let me know, happy to help.

  4. #4
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cackalacky
    ...

    Talk about sound stage. When I closed my eyes, I was *on* the stage, in the midst of the musicians and singers. Whichever instrument I focused on would immediately give me the sensation of standing next to the one playing it. On one particular bluegrass tune, I could practically "see" white resin powder fall from the fiddler's bow as he started playing. I could even hear the textured sound of a guitarist's plastic pick as it crossed the windings of the guitar string.
    ...
    Right you are, Cack. This is quality of dipole speakers in general and Maggies in particular. Of course, they do have to be properly set up -- not difficult if a few rules are observed.

    I have MG 1.6QR's, the immediate predecessors of the 1.7's. They are a bit different technically but have the same qualities.

  5. #5
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    I owned a pair of 1.6QRs for a few years and really enjoyed them. The only drawback I found is they are quite room dependent and unfortunately they were no longer well suited when I moved not quite five years ago. You need to have a room where you can have some distance from the side and rear walls, plus, since they are dipoles, you want reasonable symmetry on the left and right side behind the speaker.

  6. #6
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cackalacky
    I had no idea that music could be reproduced with the precision and realism that effortlessly flow from these technological marvels.
    Welcome to the world of planar loudspeakers. My reaction was identical to yours when I first heard Magneplanars in 1974. I even remember the first piece of music I heard played on a pair of Tympani I-Us. While they are not everyone's cup of tea, you'll find quite a large number of folks who find they are truly musical reproducers. The 1.7 is the successor to the 1.6 which has been a longstanding best value in the industry for a number of years. For additional information, you might want to visit MUG - The Magneplanar Users Group where information abounds and there is an active community of enthusiasts.

    http://www.integracoustics.com/MUG/MUG/

    rw

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlsstl
    I owned a pair of 1.6QRs for a few years and really enjoyed them. The only drawback I found is they are quite room dependent and unfortunately they were no longer well suited when I moved not quite five years ago. You need to have a room where you can have some distance from the side and rear walls, plus, since they are dipoles, you want reasonable symmetry on the left and right side behind the speaker.
    I was thrilled to discover that the listening room that I auditioned the 1.7s in was nearly identical to my own. The speakers were maybe 18" off the rear wall, about 8' apart, and the chair that I sat in was against the opposite wall 12' away. I got up and moved about 4' laterally in both directions from the chair, but image quality suffered only slightly.

    How do the 1.7s compare to the 1.6s? I'm seeing some incredible bargains start surfacing on the 1.6s lately.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cackalacky
    How do the 1.7s compare to the 1.6s? I'm seeing some incredible bargains start surfacing on the 1.6s lately.
    I won't be able to help on this question. The Magnepan dealer in my city went out of business a few years back and don't believe any of the remaining audio stores have picked up the line. As such, I haven't heard the new model and don't envision that happening any time soon.

    However, you should be able to pick up a pair of the 1.6QRs for a grand or under with the knowledge that if you do decide to upgrade you'll be able to resell them for most of what you paid. That's not a bad way to give something a solid long term audition.

  9. #9
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Magneplanars caught my eye and ear in 1976. I heard a pair of MG-1 and bought them. Moved up to MG-2's and then MG3's. Moved to electrostatics and stuck there.

    I haven't heard the 1.7's. I have heard and listen to 3.6R's, 20.1's, 1.6Qr's and MMG's on a fairly regular basis. They all belong to friends. I agree with the general assessment that 1.6's are one of the best buys in audio. IMO there isn't much else for ~$2K that even comes close. Used ones should start showing up in greater numbers now that the 1.7's have been released. I've heard from people who's opinion I value that the 1.7 is an improvement over the 1.6. Can't wait to hear a pair.
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    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
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  10. #10
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I'm champing at the bit to hear the 1.7's too. In my view the QR midrange/tweeter of the old 1.6qr was the best part of the speaker. In some ways even better (more livable) than the ruthlessly revealing true ribbon of the 3 series. Now that the've extened the response of the qr all the way across the range it should be much more seamless into the bass.
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  11. #11
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Yeah the QR drivers sound better. Do you know if the 1.7's are double ended (magnets on both sides) like the Tympani's? The Maggies I owned were all single ended (magnets on one side).

    BTW:
    When I had Maggies listening to the back side sound cleaner and more open. There was no panel with magnets and holes to get in the way of the sound.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
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    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  12. #12
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    I dont think Ive ever scene a setup where the maggies are the wrong way around

  13. #13
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I dont think Ive ever scene a setup where the maggies are the wrong way around
    I 've heard of this but haven't tried it.

  14. #14
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I have. It does make a change in the response curve. A little brighter and more forward. Magnepan voiced them to be positioned in the forward direction though.

    I tell you though if you really want a change in sound get yourself the "Sound Anchors"

    http://www.soundanchors.com/page44.html

    They allow you to adjust for forward tilt, in addition to giving you tighter and cleaner bass due to less frame vibration. Adding just a few degrees of forward tilt can have a startling effect. The soundstage literally jumps off the speakers and into your face!
    Audio;
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    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cackalacky
    I was thrilled to discover that the listening room that I auditioned the 1.7s in was nearly identical to my own. The speakers were maybe 18" off the rear wall, about 8' apart, and the chair that I sat in was against the opposite wall 12' away. I got up and moved about 4' laterally in both directions from the chair, but image quality suffered only slightly.

    How do the 1.7s compare to the 1.6s? I'm seeing some incredible bargains start surfacing on the 1.6s lately.
    message from Raj J (melbourne) - if I were you, I would not buy used maggies or used panels for that matter! it's just the experience I have had in the past, and the amount of hard work I have had to put into them for them to be working properly again was a hassle and costly affair! I look after my equipment even better than I look after my self! therefore, in no circumstance have I ever come across used audio gear carefully used as I have, other than the ACT2 that I recently purchased. all the used gear I have bought have had to have something upgraded or the other fixed... even my MG IIIa's had to have both tweeters replaced, and they were missing both mid-range fuses! jeeze, come to think of it the previous owner was only listening to half the bloody performance! must have been def!

    especially with maggies, buy only used if you are DAM SURE about the buyer and can trust them, also only if the panel is in excellent condition.

    I would wait for a while and try to save up and buy MG1.7 brand new with full warranty. later on you could sell them after carefully using the pair and go for an upgrade to the MG3.6/R or something newer. this is what I would do if I were you. maggies have to be handled extremely carefully, like electrostatic panels. a lot of people unfortunately don't care or are unaware of this special care required during shipping as well as at home. you also need to know what maggies are about and how delicate those ribbons are before you think of buying a pair. remember these are precision musical instruments and not speakers in a box!

    cheers and all the best in your decision.
    Raj J (go for the new 1.7 forget the 1.6... that's history!)

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the advice, everybody. A guy can learn a lot lurking around here, drooling on his keyboard.

    Raj, thanks for the warning about used Maggies. That's exactly where I was headed. It makes sense that they would be fragile/easily damaged.

  17. #17
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    The exception would be if you could go and actually hear the speakers before you buy. My old Magnepan III's were bought used, and I got to hear them before I bought them.

    One of the only bad things about the true ribbon tweeter is that eventually it needs replacing. Usually you can get a decade or more out of them. If you get a used III series, or any Magnepan with a ribbon tweeter, be sure to ask if it's the original tweeter. My old III's had already been repaced once before I got them.

    I actually keep a spare set of tweeters for my 3.6's on hand just in case!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    The exception would be if you could go and actually hear the speakers before you buy. My old Magnepan III's were bought used, and I got to hear them before I bought them.
    While I agree that listening is a must, it is more than that IMHO. One absolutely has to remove the socks and have a look. As an example, my mmgs have some slight delam issues that are easy to see and nearly impossible to hear. I have now doubt i could do a demo session and play all kind of things an no one would know. But if you look at them it is obvious.

    Indecently I have never heard of delam on a quasi ribbon driver. And that was one of the big changes in the 1.7. No wire all quasi ribbon drivers. This has to go a long way to solve delam problems and make the sound even more uniform.

    Personally I would only buy a maggie used if I was 100% ready to send it to the factory or to fix the delam, because odds are great that it is there if the speaker is of reasonable age.

  19. #19
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to hear that you got a bum MMG, but asking people to remove the socks is just not going to fly. Delaminating is pretty rare in any maggie less than a decade old. I did have to re-glue my old III's once, but those old speaker used an inferior glue compare to what they switched to in the 90's. The one caviate in buying a used maggie that I would look for is fading of the fabric due to being kept in the sun. Over-exposure UV can cause delamination as it degrades the glue. You cannot de-laminate the traces by over-driving the speaker as you would blow the fuses.
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  20. #20
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    message from Raj J (melbourne)

    good day!
    yes very true! not everyone will have accessibility to take covers off maggies. if you're taking the covers off after buying them, then you're better off sending the pair to magnepan for a full re-furbishing - get ready to spend a bit here!

    hence, my advise - save up as much as possible and go for a new pair of 1.7's altogether, you won't have any worries after that...

    one of my trusted maggies friends, a devottee of maggies, will not own any other speaker as his reference system (although he does have a pair of Quad 2905's driven with all Quad amplification!), swears by the new 1.7's. claims is to be the best maggie ever made! due to the none true ribbon flapping around, the sonic wave seems to be launched from one point source (similar to Quads) hence the quasi ribbon whether good or not so good compared to a true ribbon, is far more coherent.

    his reference system is the MG20.1's driven with all Audio Research amplification using top of the line phono stage from VPI. his turntable alone was nearly 100 grand! just for the kicks, he went and purchased a pair of 1.7's siince this is how his love affair began with maggies 1.6 about 20 years ago. he says he never regrets it, the 1.7 is a remarkable panel speaker for the price. and what it does leaves other maggies in question...

    well I guess, seems like we have a formidable contender here and this guy I respect! he knows his stuff and is not bothered about the rest.

  21. #21
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raj J
    ... the sonic wave seems to be launched from one point source (similar to Quads)
    Actually, the configuration remains a line source as are all Maggies. Quads are unique in the planar world with their time delay circuitry that mimics a point source using concentric stator rings. I confess that I prefer tall line sources for producing what I consider to be a lifelike image height.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raj J
    ...using top of the line phono stage from VPI. his turntable alone was nearly 100 grand!
    Hmmm. Is that what he told you? A rim driven HR-X runs only $13k. Look here for pricing. As for me, I have a Scout with a Souther TQ-1 linear arm.

    rw

  22. #22
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    reply from RJ

    yes, I agree with the line source aspect, that's why I used maggies for many years,(nearly 15 years with many other designs coming & going... and I always had the bigger version of maggies 3A, 3.3, 3.5 etc) until I really sat down and listened very closely to the new Quads.

    when I first saw the new Quad ESL I actaully laughed (hey they're trying to copy maggies), then when I heard that first note - I gasped! I knew this was it! it is an outstanding ESL speaker from an outstanding designer with a true passion for the original sound. my only worry is for how long will the new Quad team have this deep passion...?

    is it going to be another Apogee... well then again Apogee died and never rose again. whereas Quad had a crash landing and now they're flying once again!
    cheers, Raj J

  23. #23
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Apogee may have died, but there's Analysis Audio that makes a speaker using similar technology.

    http://www.analysisaudio.com/
    Audio;
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  24. #24
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    Apogee

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Apogee may have died, but there's Analysis Audio that makes a speaker using similar technology.

    http://www.analysisaudio.com/
    yes maybe, BUT it's still not "Apogee" is it?
    you see, good things come and go; there will never be another Arnold Schwarzenegger, there will never be another Lee Haney, there can only be one kind of top line precious Ferrari, there can only be one of a kind Bentley, c-j ACT2, or the Concord etc, there will never be another Apogee no matter who does what...

    it's a shame, because these were outstanding ribbon speakers! even to this day, Apogees cannot be beaten in many areas of sound reproduction (ask Flo), from the smallest to their largest, they were and will remain the most awesome ribbons ever made, and my father still swears that his old Divas cannot be beaten. he is coming over to melbourne for a visit next week, wants to listen to my new Quads, says that he's heard lot about them, I think this is going to be one pain in the butt demo I am going to have...
    fantastic dad though, but when it comes to sound, nothing beats his Apogee/Audio Research/michelle gyro deck phono gear... so he claims!
    cheers, RJ

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