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  1. #1
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    magneplanar v quads

    Im having trouble finding somewhere to listen to the Magneplanar MG12's in England. Im very keen but nervous to buy a pair! I have a small room 5.5m x 2.6m and people talk about them needing larger rooms - is this to do with bass boom , imaging, or something else? Wife allowing - I could put them in my 5m square lounge. I am very keen to get back what I had with my old Quad ESL63's- transparency / ability to pick up very low level detail/ clean bass, etc - I had an underpowered Naim Nait 3 at the time so stupidly sold them - anybody able to advise on comparison of the 2 speakers? I hope my new Cambridge 840A verstion 1 amp is up to the Maggies.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    They need to be pulled away from the wall 0.75-1.0 meters for best sound. Placing them near the corner of the room will actually help with the bass but it could also be a little resonant. They would be fine in your 5meter lounge and would probably be ok in your smaller room. The Maggies should be placed about 2-2.5m's apart.

    The Cambridge amp will be great with the MG12's. The Maggies are 4ohm and the Cambridge puts out 200wpc at 4 ohms. The maggies love power and I usually recommend at least 200wpc to get the most out of the speakers. I was using 260wpc with the QR1.6's and switched to 400wpc and the difference at moderate and louder volumes was amazing. Get some 10-12g speaker wire to use with them. I would recommend a warmer CD player like a Marantz to pair with the Maggies.
    Last edited by blackraven; 11-11-2008 at 05:02 AM.
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  3. #3
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskgarland
    I have a small room 5.5m x 2.6m and people talk about them needing larger rooms - is this to do with bass boom , imaging, or something else?
    All dipoles benefit from having a good open distance between the speaker and the wall behind them. I am blessed with a largish room for mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by huskgarland
    I am very keen to get back what I had with my old Quad ESL63's- transparency / ability to pick up very low level detail/ clean bass, etc
    Maggies are excellent speakers having owned some myself. Their achilles heel, however, is low level resolution. They need to be cranked more than electrostats for optimum results.

    rw

  4. #4
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    Maggies are semi-impossible to audition in UK. I was in London last week-end so I decided to find a dealer and sure enough the only one I did get to visit which supposedly carried the brand were not selling them anymore..
    I am hoping to get a pair of MMG's for my parents this easter when I'll be in the US. I'm also hoping to hear a couple before then.
    Good luck on the purchase

  5. #5
    RGA
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    Not really a fan of Magnepan - the Quads on the other hand are very good - Magnepan has to be played louder - all speakers that need to be put up to sound good are problematic because the ear is tricked into believing that high SPL (volume) can compensate for dynamics and resolution - it's just not there with Magnepan when you compare it to the Quads. Quads of course have the reverse problem in that they compress quickly at louder levels - but overall I suspect most of us listen at low to medium volumes far more often than at loud levels - in which case the Quad is much much better. Umm but they don't offer a $550 version either so another problem.

    One other big bonus of the Quad is that you can run my amp - a mere 10 watt SEP or other low powered (and almost always better sounding) Single Ended designs like Sugden. With Magnepan you have to run high watt high power high damping factor high negative feedback amps - which tend to sound worse and usually cost many times more money. So the speaker is less expensive but you have to spend much larger on amps to get anything from them.

    The Quad 2905 would be in my top 10 loudspeakers and it's the best Quad I've heard. I am fortunate that my dealer carries both the 2905 and the Magnepan 20.1 among others.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The bottom line with Magnepans is either you dig the big open sound or you don't. They don't sound anything like box speakers. Music from Magnepans sounds like you have a live band in front of you, especially on Vocals and Acoustical music. I havent heard any other speaker that does that, but I havent heard any other Planar or Electrostats except for Martin Logans which were blown out of the water in a head to head audition at Audioperfection here in Minneapolis which sells both brands.

    One thing to be aware of is that the $550 MMG's shouldn't even be mentioned along with the QR1.6's and their more expensive brothers. Even the MG12's are a huge step up from the MMG's.
    Last edited by blackraven; 11-12-2008 at 08:18 PM.
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  7. #7
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Not really a fan of Magnepan - the Quads on the other hand are very good - Magnepan has to be played louder
    I'll agree here which is why I ultimately remained with a full range stat when I changed speakers a few years back - I seriously considered the excellent 20.1.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    With Magnepan you have to run high watt high power high damping factor high negative feedback amps - which tend to sound worse and usually cost many times more money.
    Harry Pearson's pair of 20.1s were very nicely driven by Joule Electra tube amps - which have little in common with your amp description other than power.


    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The Quad 2905 would be in my top 10 loudspeakers and it's the best Quad I've heard.
    Agreed.

    rw

  8. #8
    RGA
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    ESTAT

    Well as soon as I wrote it I remembered amps that would easily drive the 20.1 - such as the Grant Fidelity Rita I just reviewed which is powerful enough to drive most loudspeakers and is an exceptionally well built Tube amp - nice looking and relatively affordable in this industry.

    My dealer carries several lines of speakers and the 20.1 for the money I found to be least effective. Other less costly boxed designs not only sound better but they provide a much more realistic sensation with acoustic instruments and far better on vocals. The two types of music I listen most to are vocals, and acoustic instrumentals. I like the 1.6 in terms of value for the dollar and I would probably rank it in the top 5 of speakers for the money and I would say the same about the MG12. The 3.6 and 20.1 based on my experience has competition that is far stiffer - the box problems of cheap loudspeakers start to disappear with more money in their cabinet designs - not all of them but enough of them. The Tannoy Westminster to me is far and away superior to the 3.6 or 20.1 in visceral ability, articulation, macrodynamics, clarity, smoothness etc. But the 1.6 I like one helluva lot better than affordable Tannoy boxed loudspeakers that sound like some drivers stuffed into a box.

    I agree with the poster about ML - I would buy Maggie over ML but that's because ML recognizes you need a woofer in a box to get bass has not been able to actually make the hybrid work because the panel cannot match the dynamics of the woofer (or if you prefer the woofer doesn't match the speed of the panel) - either way the match is less than blissful.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The Van Alstine FET Valve amps (500wpc) do an admirable job with Magnepans and many Maggie owners use them. His high current high power Solid State amps also work well, they can drive speakers down to 1ohms. I almost bought one of his Valve amps but decided to go with the Parasound because of cost savings. Even his SS amps have a tube like sound.
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  10. #10
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Unwarranted assertions

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Not really a fan of Magnepan - the Quads on the other hand are very good - Magnepan has to be played louder
    ....
    Some say that Magneplanars need to be played loud to sound good; others like me don't find this to be true. Of course, there are no Quads that compete with the MMG, MG12, or MG1.6. Sufficient to say there are lots of people who feel these three models, at least, are unchallenged by anything close to their price ranges playing at any volume level from quiet to quite loud. Perhaps it depends on one's listening habits.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    With Magnepan you have to run high watt high power high damping factor high negative feedback amps - which tend to sound worse and usually cost many times more money. So the speaker is less expensive but you have to spend much larger on amps to get anything from them.
    ...
    Other than that Magneplanars benefit from sufficient power, these assertions are doubtful. The Maggies present an almost purely resistive load with modest impedance swings, and their light diaphrams are inherently easy to control, so I don't buy the high damping factor statement.

    I suspect you're are making a series of presumptions that are unwarranted: Maggies only sound good played loud => they require high power (and maybe high damping) => high power & damping requires lots of negative feedback. This chain of logic is dubious. My MG 1.6QR's sound great with a fairly modest 120wpc which I get from amps that have zero global feedback. And anyway, it's not valid that all high-power designs rely on lots of feedback and there are plenty of examples to contrary.

    Furthemore it's absurd to imply that quality tube amplification is cheaper than powerful s/s designs: even -- or especially -- very low power SET/OTL designs.

  11. #11
    Ajani
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    Some interesting points in this thread:

    1) Ignoring the issue of zero feedback etc etc... I think what is being said is that: Maggies require powerful amplification to sound their best & sound better as you crank the volume... while Stats tend to sound best at lower volumes with more modest amplification... I'll let the experts argue whether that is true or not...

    2) As for the synergy between Martin Logan's stat section and their cone drivers, well reviews of there recent products claim they've got it right... However, I've only heard one ML (their previous entry level hybrid) and it sounded like crap... Then again so did the Maggie MG12 I heard... I suspect neither of them was set up optimally/driven by the correct amplification during my auditions...

    3) Based on the number of excellent reviews, the $2K ML Source should be an alternate to the MG1.6...

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Feanor, I couldn't agree with you more. My 1.6's sounded fine when I ran them with a 120wpc high current JVC AVR the VBK8000. At loud levels they needed more power though and first the Adcom and then the Parasound made them sound alot better at loud volumes.

    And for $1,800, there is nothing comparable to the 1.6's. I also find them not to be lacking in detail and resolution. But everyone's tastes and ears are different.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Funny thread!

    Listen to both and choose what you like best. I find Magnepans to be indestructable and low on the service cost. Quads have a higher rate of failure, same as other electrostatics like Soundlab. On the other hand Acoustats require a hair blower to get going again when stretched ;-) Both are fine speakers and if you do like to rock out, then the Quad will compress and sound dreadfull. It mostly depends on what you like and can afford. The 20.1 Maggie is a great speaker but cant compete with a Soundlab electrostatic (big ones) in terms of resolution and integration. The 20.1 Maggie cant even compete with a small Apogee Caliper Sig. in terms of resolution and integration, when run with something good and not Krell.

    I dont find it to be true that you need tons of power to get Maggies going, most amps simply dont have any real low level resolution, micro dynmics and cannot show dynamic swings. For an example we used a high powered Krell MDA500 monoblock (bridged KSA-250) on the midrange ribbon of my Apogee Grand. The sound was dreadfull! Dull and zero dynamics. Yes, the system could be played louder (well over 115db, need ear protection, rock concert crazy kinda loud) then we could with my current Sphinx Hybrid amplifiers. BUT, this was not because of control or power. The Sphinx simply had more dynamics and asked this of the speaker, the Krell does not. Therefore the Krell produced less stress on the driver.

    Long story short, most solid state amps with high feedback dont sound good, but you can play your speaker louder because they lack dynmics and therefore demand less on the driver itself. This holds true at least on a huge ribbon midrange driver (1.8 meters long and 4cm wide).

    Buy and enjoy what you like!
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  14. #14
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Some say that Magneplanars need to be played loud to sound good; others like me don't find this to be true. Of course, there are no Quads that compete with the MMG, MG12, or MG1.6. Sufficient to say there are lots of people who feel these three models, at least, are unchallenged by anything close to their price ranges playing at any volume level from quiet to quite loud. Perhaps it depends on one's listening habits.


    Other than that Magneplanars benefit from sufficient power, these assertions are doubtful. The Maggies present an almost purely resistive load with modest impedance swings, and their light diaphrams are inherently easy to control, so I don't buy the high damping factor statement.

    I suspect you're are making a series of presumptions that are unwarranted: Maggies only sound good played loud => they require high power (and maybe high damping) => high power & damping requires lots of negative feedback. This chain of logic is dubious. My MG 1.6QR's sound great with a fairly modest 120wpc which I get from amps that have zero global feedback. And anyway, it's not valid that all high-power designs rely on lots of feedback and there are plenty of examples to contrary.

    Furthemore it's absurd to imply that quality tube amplification is cheaper than powerful s/s designs: even -- or especially -- very low power SET/OTL designs.
    I'm not going to get into the debate about this yet again - My stance is that in my auditions with the 2905 and Magnepans now several times in several locations with Magnepan's own designers who recommended the gear used and in a professionally set up room with $100k front end that based on all of those auditions the 2905 is to my ear very easily the better loudspeaker. I am fortunate that my dealer carries the 20.1 and the 2905 and Martin Logan and another panel maker that looks a lot like InnerSound but might not be, Martin Logan was dropped but they have a few hanging around. They also have a wide used section with both Acoustat and they are ex dealers of Apogee. The 2905 was quite happy being driven off the OTO. The power supply of the amplifier is more important than the watt figures after all. You may very well prefer the 20.1. You may also prefer the MMG and MG12 and 1.6 to everything in it's class - I certainly don't and my dealer and everyone working there selling them prefer to go another route - It's a free country, well hopefully it will be a little freer in January if you live in the U.S.
    Last edited by RGA; 11-14-2008 at 07:06 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Maggies are semi-impossible to audition in UK. I was in London last week-end so I decided to find a dealer and sure enough the only one I did get to visit which supposedly carried the brand were not selling them anymore..
    I am hoping to get a pair of MMG's for my parents this easter when I'll be in the US. I'm also hoping to hear a couple before then.
    Good luck on the purchase
    Buying a speaker with zero local dealer/mfr support for your parents, bad idea IMO
    It's a listening test, you do not need to see it to listen to it!

  16. #16
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    no local dealer/mfr support

    Quote Originally Posted by huskgarland
    Im having trouble finding somewhere to listen to the Magneplanar MG12's in England. Im very keen but nervous to buy a pair! I have a small room 5.5m x 2.6m and people talk about them needing larger rooms - is this to do with bass boom , imaging, or something else? Wife allowing - I could put them in my 5m square lounge. I am very keen to get back what I had with my old Quad ESL63's- transparency / ability to pick up very low level detail/ clean bass, etc - I had an underpowered Naim Nait 3 at the time so stupidly sold them - anybody able to advise on comparison of the 2 speakers? I hope my new Cambridge 840A verstion 1 amp is up to the Maggies.
    Forget the sound of both speakers for a moment, why do want to buy a planar speaker (MG12) that has zero local dealer/mfr support? Secondly have you considered costs (import duties and freight costs) involved?
    It's a listening test, you do not need to see it to listen to it!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    Buying a speaker with zero local dealer/mfr support for your parents, bad idea IMO
    I've had thoughts about it and thinking it may not be the best idea. We'll see..

  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    By the bye

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I'm not going to get into the debate about this yet again - My stance is that in my auditions with the 2905 and Magnepans now several times in several locations with Magnepan's own designers who recommended the gear used and in a professionally set up room with $100k front end that based on all of those auditions the 2905 is to my ear very easily the better loudspeaker. I am fortunate that my dealer carries the 20.1 and the 2905 ....
    If the enviable choice were mine to make between Magneplanar 20.1 and Quad 2905, I really don't know which I'd select. Or for that matter, whether I prefer Martin Logan, Sound Lab, or Apogee in the >$10k price range. (If I had an initial predisposition it would likey be to Apogee.)

    What I was objecting to was your unjustified assertions about Magneplanar models in general.

  19. #19
    RGA
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    I know about 6 owners of Magnepan and all 6 continually tell me that they want more power - lots of power. Couple that with the companies recommended high power SS recommended and my own observation that they need to be played louder to sound better is an indication that low powered amplifiers are not the best match. My amp will drive the 2905 acceptable - it won't drive a Magnepan. I have heard several digital amps and all left me cold (inadvertent pun).

    Something like the Rita or BAT amps would drive the Maggies but owners I know and on many forums and the dealers themselves note they're pretty feeble at low level listening. And many Magnepan owners eventually move on to something else. Soundlabs, used Apogee, ML etc. I'm not knocking Magnepan - the 1.6 for example is a very nice deal for the price - it offers a LOT of bang for the buck as does the 12. I don't care at all for the MMG and the 20.1 to me is a "bad" loudspeaker when you factor in the $14,000.00 price tag. I am not seduced by the panel mythos - if it sounds good to me it sounds good if it doesn't it doesn't. I like some of the Maggies and I don't like other ones, same for Quad, Audio Note, B&W, Sonus Faber, Tannoy, Paradigm, Klipsch, Wharfedale, Gershman Acoustics, Martin Logan etc.

    I generally don't factor in used equipment because prices vary wildly not to mention condition. A 20 year old Apogee may very well sound better than a 20.1 but if that's true it suggests that Magnepan isn't doing a very good job not being able to surpass a 20-30 year old design in terms of parts quality or design. I have now heard two Apogee - the Duetta Sig and the Scintilla and neither speaker is my taste. I simply dislike the sound of the ribbons. The Duetta I heard brand new the Scintilla was used and may not have been in the best shape with some scuffs on the base so I'd give that one the benefit of the doubt. Constantine Soo of Dagogo though I believe still owns his Apogees and thought highly enough of them to buy them - like I said if it floats your boat then go for it - the question was put and in my opinion the Quads sound a lot better. Not everyone agrees because I am sure buyers heard the Quad and still chose the 20.1 - my dealer obviously sells 20.1's over some Quads. I'm not saying you have to agree - it's just the way I heard it.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I never put down any one's choice in speakers except for maybe Bose. We all have our own personal likes and dislikes thats what makes us individuals and thats why there are so many audio companies. All we can do is make suggestions based on our personal experiences.

    If you like the Magnepan sound go for it as long as you have support, but they rarely have problems unless a cat decides to sharpen its claws on them. If your worried about them, there are plenty of other choices out there. But for $1,100 U.S. the MG12's are a bargain.
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  21. #21
    RGA
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    BlackRaven

    Also I would suggest giving Magnepan a call - they very well may pay for all shipping costs to repair the speaker under warranty if there is no dealer in the area. Out of warranty you would pay shipping and the repair costs but with gas prices so high the shipping may be cheaper

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