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Thread: Magnepan 3.7?

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    Magnepan 3.7?

    Anyone heard these? They are getting rave reviews, and I admit to being interested.

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    They seem interesting, i had the chance to demo a pair on a hifi store and i was impressed by the clarity, detail and punch. I wish i can buy a pair of them.

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    RGA
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    Well for what it's worth the 1.7 is better than any previous magnepan I have auditioned. With several notes - one it needs a competent tube amplifier. The Audio Note Soro with its 18 watts and matching single disc CD 2.1 sounded very good with it. Bryston sounded utterly dreadful. So that's actually a VERY GOOD thing because the speaker SHOULD tell us how truly pitiful SS amplifiers are. And the Maggie 1.7 bloody well does that in spades. Since the 3.7 is the .7 upgrade it should do the same thing but with more bass.

    The 1.7 still struggles with amplified music and proper dynamic bass response. I don't buy it for a second on drums for example. But then for under $2k I don't buy most speakers (I can't think of any off hand). I liked it on Loreena McKennitt, Diana Krall, anything with strings. Presumably the 3.7 would raise the bar. I will try and audition it over the Easter break. If I can I will bring Guns and Roses, the Evil Nine, AC/DC and several harder hitting but excellent dance recording albums such as Madonna's Ray of Light. The problem is finding the quality amplifier that "also" has the power to play at levels that are acceptable for a $5000ish speaker and retain proper levels of decay and "weight" to the music being played.

    And you know better than some not to put too much stock into reviews. Everything gets raves and not everyone will like it. If you liked the 1.6 and 3.6 then you will like the new ones. If you didn't care for the old Maggies or you don't love Quad - you won't like the new ones - they still have many of the same traits - just better refinement. To me it is the treble that is a LOT better in the 1.7 and that provided you use a very good tube amp like the Soro or Wyatech amps. If you've never heard them - then no talk will matter - it's something you need to experience first hand. The price of them are fairly reasonable.

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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    Anyone heard these? They are getting rave reviews, and I admit to being interested.
    The MG 3.7's are what I aspire to, (though I'm unlikely to get them for financial reasons). I currently own MG 1.6QR's and love them; 1.7's might be nice but the upgrade might be more than I'm willing/able to pay.

    RGA has recently come around to recommending the 1.7's in the <$2k category. More credit to him for that because he has long recommended Audio Note speakers -- a totally different sound born of totally different musical sensibility. He makes some good points about the Magneplanar's, principally that they aren't rockers.

    However to suggest or imply that an 18 wpc amp is good with any Magneplanar is ridiculous, because they thrive on power. Personally I don't agree that one must drive them with tube amps, but Richard is likely right that you, Tube Fan, ought to do so. In that case I'd recommend 60+ wpc -- personally I'd welcome the opportunity to hear my 1.6's driven by a pair of AES Six Packs or updated Dynaco Mark III's.

    Currently I drive my 1.6's with a Class-D-Audio SDS-258 and love it. But then I prefer maximum transparency and accuracy of timbre at the expense of occassional stridency, over the chocolatey-caramel sound of tubes.
    Last edited by Feanor; 04-10-2011 at 05:01 AM.

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    My AR D70 tube amps can drive my Fulton J speakers to 100+db levels. Believe it, we have NO Magnapan dealer in SF region!

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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    My AR D70 tube amps can drive my Fulton J speakers to 100+db levels. Believe it, we have NO Magnapan dealer in SF region!
    From what I hear, a lot of people are very happy driving Magneplanars with 60 wpc tube amps like the ARC D-70. That is, assuming moderate volumes -- not 100 dB -- and depending on musical choice.

    I'd certainly like to hear a D-70 driving my Magneplanars MG 1.6's.

    I had to do 5 hour round trip to Toronto to pick up my 1.6's; I bought them unauditioned though I had owned MMG's.

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    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    Anyone heard these? They are getting rave reviews, and I admit to being interested.
    Yes, under excellent circumstances. I responded to a request here. Short answer is that they are among the best Magneplanars I've heard since I value coherency very highly.

    rw

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    I am going to make an effort to hear the 3.7s driven by tubes (I may have to supply the tubes!). RGA's contention about the low end (of the 1.7) is a major concern. What I am looking for is something that has the detail and clarity of a double set of KLH 9s, that can play down to 35 hz, and can play at realistic volumes (for me, this means a similar volume to the one you would hear live). I don't listen to club music, so I'm "only" looking at about 100 db. So far, I have not heard anything that significantly beats my pair of Fulton Js.

  9. #9
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    What I am looking for is something that has the detail and clarity of a double set of KLH 9s, that can play down to 35 hz, and can play at realistic volumes (for me, this means a similar volume to the one you would hear live).
    They do very well with your criteria except for 35 hz response. More panel area is required as you would find with the 20.1. They're good to about 40 hz and you can always add subs. They are nearly as coherent as full range electrostats.

    rw

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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    They do very well with your criteria except for 35 hz response. More panel area is required as you would find with the 20.1. They're good to about 40 hz and you can always add subs. They are nearly as coherent as full range electrostats.

    rw
    Good info! They are on my must-hear list.

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    HP continues his review of the 3.7 in the new Absolute Sound (May/June). Among other praise, he contends that, at $5500, Magnepan is almost giving them away. JV also loves the 3.7, and compares them to the Magico Q5s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    HP continues his review of the 3.7 in the new Absolute Sound (May/June). Among other praise, he contends that, at $5500, Magnepan is almost giving them away.
    He had finished all the copy by the time I heard them. He has since swapped out the interconnects - perhaps they contributed to why I found the system just a touch bright.

    rw

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    My previous criticism of earlier Magnepan's (except for the IV) was in the low end and in the grain (lack of liquidity). Plus, no salesman would play the speakers at realistic levels. We shall see.

  14. #14
    RGA
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    "My previous criticism of earlier Magnepan's (except for the IV) was in the low end and in the grain (lack of liquidity). Plus, no salesman would play the speakers at realistic levels. We shall see."

    That criticism will still be valid with the new ones. But I think you'll find they don't get shrill like the .6 models. Again though I was running a robust tube amplifier - or I should say the dealer was running a robust tube amplifier.

    So long as you don't listen to amplified music and or loud levels and expect deepish bass they will be fine. The 20.1 doesn't have much bass IME - I actually prefer the sound of the 1.7 to the 20.1. You get more transient than decay and a somewhat washed out presentation that pervades every recording I play. A homogeneous sameness to a diverse recordings. But again at under $2k for the 1.7 that's hardly a problem as I get that from other speakers but not the 1.7's clarity and nimbleness of nuance in those transients and a more coherent presentation than typical boxed designs. But no they are not perfect as some seem to indicate - and relying on TAS would be a huge mistake on multiple levels especially the two critics you mention. I can't think of two audio critics I would trust less than those two.

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    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    - and relying on TAS would be a huge mistake on multiple levels especially the two critics you mention. I can't think of two audio critics I would trust less than those two.
    LMAO, Richard, you are the Echo Boomers answer to the crusty, curmudgeony sound mavens of old...a new breed of audiophile...and, it's an honor and a privilege to give you the King Melvin Audiophilic L'enfant Terrible medallion in recognition of moving the conflict forward into future generations...

    (...actually, I love reading your stuff, I just wish Flo could be here to read you extoll the virtue of a planar speaker in such a full-throated yet tepid way)
    Last edited by bobsticks; 04-13-2011 at 10:40 AM.
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    LMAO, Richard, you are the Echo Boomers answer to the crusty, curmudgeony sound mavens of old...a new breed of audiophile...and, it's an honor and a privilege to give you the King Melvin Audiophilic L'enfant Terrible medallion in recognition of moving the conflict forward into future generations...

    (...actually, I love reading your stuff, I just wish Flo could be here to read you extoll the virue of a planar speaker in such a full-throated yet tepid way)
    Did you mean verbose equivocality?
    Last edited by Feanor; 04-13-2011 at 06:04 PM.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    I do lurk around here sometimes
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  18. #18
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    I do lurk around here sometimes
    Aha! Good day to ya, sir...good to see the lurkers come out of hiding if only for a moment.
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

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    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Bryston sounded utterly dreadful. So that's actually a VERY GOOD thing because the speaker SHOULD tell us how truly pitiful SS amplifiers are.
    I don't know which Bryston amps you are talking about, but you should be more specific. To say that SS amps sound pitiful is ridiculous. That is like saying all people are stupid, without recognizing that their are smart and stupid people. There are good SS amps, and bad ones, There are good tube amps(love the VTL MB-450 series III amp), and there are really bad ones as well.

    It is always entertaining to see a person paint a picture with a street sweeper....
    Sir Terrence

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    At the CAS I heard several ss amps that produced acceptable sound. Yes, they were horribly expensive. BTW, my two favorite rooms at the CAS were using SET amps (Audio Note's 20 watts and Teresonic's 2 1/2 watts). I doubt I could drive either my Fulton J or Dunlavy with 20 watts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    To say that SS amps sound pitiful is ridiculous.
    Especially when you consider that many speakers don't tango well with tubes. Although I didn't get a chance to hear the 28B-SST amps a reviewer friend on hand, he says they are exceptional sounding amps. And he's a tube fan. It is fair, however, to say that some earlier models were not exactly in the same sonic class.

    rw

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    I admit that the best ss amp don't sound bright or hard. They have the tone correct, but the ones I have heard don't get the three dimension correct. The best do not bleach out sound as they used to. I still object to the bass of the ss amps I have heard (too much damping factor?).

  23. #23
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Especially when you consider that many speakers don't tango well with tubes. Although I didn't get a chance to hear the 28B-SST amps a reviewer friend on hand, he says they are exceptional sounding amps. And he's a tube fan. It is fair, however, to say that some earlier models were not exactly in the same sonic class.

    rw
    I agree with you Ralph. Some of the earlier models sounded like cold steel.
    Sir Terrence

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  24. #24
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    I admit that the best ss amp don't sound bright or hard. They have the tone correct, but the ones I have heard don't get the three dimension correct. The best do not bleach out sound as they used to. I still object to the bass of the ss amps I have heard (too much damping factor?).
    Go listen to the 28B-SST, it will change your mind on the three dimensionality aspect. This is one of its strong suits.
    Sir Terrence

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  25. #25
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I don't know which Bryston amps you are talking about, but you should be more specific. To say that SS amps sound pitiful is ridiculous. That is like saying all people are stupid, without recognizing that their are smart and stupid people. There are good SS amps, and bad ones, There are good tube amps(love the VTL MB-450 series III amp), and there are really bad ones as well.

    It is always entertaining to see a person paint a picture with a street sweeper....
    The problem is that most people have a budget - you are quite wealthy and have stated several times that "budget" is not a consideration. For most people it is. The Audio Note Kit one is an "excellent" amplifier regardless of budget. You can argue that there are good high power solid state amps and there are - Technical Brain, top of the line Pass Labs but the costs are astronomical compared to a $2k amp.

    Even if I were to say that the 28B is a good amp (and I've heard it a few times and was not the least bit impressed - the Maggie 1.7 sounded FAR better on a Soro at around $6k than the 28B which I am pretty sure is more than $6k and Bryston's flagship preamp.

    SS at high power can be good but the cost is far too high for it versus even entry level and comparatively inexpensive tube amplifiers (for $1600 the Shengya PM 150 monoblocks (you get both for this price) are 150 watt tube hybrid power amps with plenty of power for most speakers. There isn''t a bryston that I have heard that sound better but ploenty of them cost a lot more - and the Shengya's even seem to me to be better built.

    I do agree there are poor sounding tube amps but I have not experienced them nearly as often perhaps because I am in my 30s and wasn't around in the 50s, 60s and 70s and heard the truly abysmal that no doubt cluttered the department stores of the day. The tube makers that last today in a SS world generally all sound pretty good to very good. Even companies selling $1500 to $5000 amps like Rogue Audio and Mystere driving speakers like Wilson Sophia and Martin Logan Summits made those speakers sound better than I have ever heard them sound and made me partially rethink what I thought of those speaker makers. Martin Logan I usually always heard with Bryston - bad sound. Wilson Sophia I heard with top of the line Krell - OK sound but bad when money factored in. Even Magnepan has sounded "bad" almost every time I heard them. For years I have been extremely diplomatic on just how terrible sounding I felt Magnepan has been with the exception of the 1.6 and 12. Which sounded ok. Finally hearing them with a good tube amp and a great CD player does help me see more in them.

    The dealer here carries Magnepan 1.7 and the 3.7. He carries and has carried Bryston for many years. They carry top of the line Bryston - they don't like the combination and neither do I. Some people do like the combination - that's fine.

    What counts as good or bad will be somewhat subjective but my hearing of it is my hearing of it. And Bryston is generally tiring and grating. And if it takes one to spend $30,000 on amplifier so that it gets to a point where even the "fans" say that they don't sound metallic - that is hardly high praise for the competencies of their design team.

    Even reading what you are saying here about bryston is that "All some or most of their previous amps suck and have always sucked but they finally got it right with their top of the line most expensive amps" Huh? while other companies got to that no metallic irritating mess with their entry level gear at 1/10 the price. I know which design team I'd rather support. Not the one building amps for 30 years and only now have got one amplifier line to sound anything remotely correct. Yikes.

    I don't pretend to make new arguments - I clearly and do prefer speakers that can be run with relatively low powered amps - these kinds of speakers almost always sound better top to bottom, tonally and especially dynamically. I certainly understand the crowd that argues "you need more power" but that is usually because they need to turn the volume WAY the hell up to make things out clearly because the system lacks resolution. And that is why it confounds them when I say - "I like the 1.7 with a Soro at 18 watts" because they can't understand that this amp had very good bass - wonderful resolution and I never even need to get the volume dial past the 11 o'clock position and it played pretty loud. I was roundly impressed with the 1.7 so much so that it would be my number 1 choice under $2k. And I genuinely mean it. But ONLY if it is connected to this kind of amp. With bryston it's a complete pile of dog poo.

    As an edit - this is not to say that Bryston is bad in itself either because I did enjoy it with PMC and even my own Wharfedales - in fact it was Bryston with my Wharfedales that started my entire interest in higher end audio because the Bryston kicked the snot out of my Pioneer Elite receiver way back in the day to the point where rather than selling the speakers I got rid of the amplifier. The Bryston was SO SO much better than the Pioneer Elite. But as eye opening as that experience was when I first heard a very good SET amp that amp sounded SO SO much better than amplifiers like Bryston.

    The interesting thing is that Soundhounds is also selling the Cerwin Vega CLS 215 and I am betting that the Soro has more trouble with that speaker than it has with the Magnepan. At $1k they looked very nice in terms of value for the money. Next time I am there and if they have not sold out of them I will be very interested in comparing them with a MF, Ayre, Audio Note, McIntosh, Classe, Bryston, the new NAD series, and maybe even my Rotel pre/pro. People always laugh at Cerwin Vega - but for the music most people listen to - if they don't butcher classical and jazz too much they'll be excellent in this price range and with reasonably high efficiency and assuming the load is not stupid they may be a great deal.
    Last edited by RGA; 04-14-2011 at 07:04 PM.

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