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Magnepan LRS Speaker Review

BYRTT

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Spinorama is obviously wrong measurement technique for this type of loudspeaker.
.....They are dipoles. Just like open-baffle speakers they drive the room differently at the low end than boxes. I don't think Amirm's measurement method is completely valid for dipoles or open baffle designs. I'd like to see his speaker measurement technique applied to the very well regarded LX521. It was designed by Siegfried Linkwitz. You know, of the Linkwitz-Riley crossover.... not exactly a hack when it comes to audio design, I daresay. I'd bet flaws in this Klippel measurement design would show up there, too.
Spinorama and in-room response mismatch is to large.
In system magnitude honestly looks like a mess think that is a point that maybe confuse how you read Amir's hard work create a spinorama plot, lets normalize it a bit add some EQ that smooth out CTA2034 listening window that is a call for horizontals of +/-30º and verticals of +/-10º, in below animation see how its natural that PIR and power response is lower in level and flat 2kHz and down than direct sound from listening window and on axis because there is directivity for this system all the way down verse monopoles that goes gradial omni in that area, hope normalize exercise help a bit and that some LX521 or MINI will be analyzed here down the road..
Vuki_x1x2_800mS.gif
 
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edechamps

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The LFX is what is causing the large difference.

AVG SPL 300-1000: 82.3dB
-6dB: 76.3dB
Hz matching 76.3dB: 124.5Hz

You are getting ~241.7Hz for the -6dB point, but that is ~81dB, so that can’t be right.

I agree that the reference is 82.3 dB, and so the threshold is 76.3 dB.

However, I'm not following you for the rest. Sound Power at 125 Hz is 73.71 dB, not 76.3 dB. And 242 Hz is 76 dB, not 81 dB.

Loudspeaker Explorer chart(41).png


I checked and the Sound Power curve on your own spreadsheet agrees with mine. If you look at your own curve on your own spreadsheet you will see 74 dB at 125 Hz and 76 dB at 241 Hz.
 

MZKM

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I agree that the reference is 82.3 dB, and so the threshold is 76.3 dB.

However, I'm not following you for the rest. Sound Power at 125 Hz is 73.71 dB, not 76.3 dB. And 242 Hz is 76 dB, not 81 dB.

View attachment 83702

I checked and the Sound Power curve on your own spreadsheet agrees with mine. If you look at your own curve on your own spreadsheet you will see 74 dB at 125 Hz and 76 dB at 241 Hz.
I realized my mistake, fixed.
It is now -0.250.
 

edechamps

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Whoops, you are correct. Mine was limited in the upper frequency range to account for high Q dips, but this one really is -6dB @ 241.7Hz, due to the narrow dispersion in the bass.

Ah. This is why Loudspeaker Explorer uses a LFX formula that's a bit different from the one in the Olive paper. The formula I came up with provides identical results for all "well-behaved" speakers but provides a more "sensible" result for speakers with high Q dips as you mentioned:

Capture.PNG


Using the above formula there is no need to "special case" any speaker, they will all produce a sensible result, high-Q dips or not, and without having to introduce a upper frequency limit.
 

Feanor

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Don't. My old MG 1.6 were not bad otherwise I wouldn't have kept them for 13 years. The soundstage is special - big and fuzzy, and they sounded very forgiving with bad recordings.
Me too. I owned MG 1.6QR's for 13 years and enjoyed every moment. They never seemed bass deficient. I moved on mostly because I wanted a less intrusive speaker in a smallish living room.
 

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GXAlan

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I think this shows the weakness of modern Magnepans tuned by ear compared to the old designs which relied on engineering, albeit with limited tools.

The MG-III had the magnets in front of the Mylar so that bass notes enter a field of increasing strength. Since the panel cannot reproduce high frequencies, it used a true aluminum ribbon. But “audiophile” belief is that stuff in front of the Mylar must not be as transparent, leading to modern revisions.

Although these are 1/3 octave smoothed, it shows a different type of performance than the LRS.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/magnepan-magneplanar-mgiiia-loudspeaker-measurements

Simpler first order crossover and shorter ribbon (budget model). “Newer” designs
https://www.stereophile.com/content/magnepan-mg25r-loudspeaker-measurements
 

josh358

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Magnepan LRS (Little Ribbon Speaker). It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $650.

Conclusions
The Magnepan LRS is a hugely flawed speaker with moments of delight. If I could control what you listen to, e.g. in an audio show or dealer room, I could convince you it is much better speaker than it is. The best way I can explain this is that the designers solved 30% of the physics of building a speaker, and threw you in there to solve the rest! You take on the job of spending what must be a lifetime messing with location, tilt, EQ, etc. to get sound that is good for more than a few select tracks.

I am confident a better job can be done than what we see in LRS. Maybe making the panels smaller causes the beaming and interference patterns worse. I don't know. What I do know that this is not a product finished and fit for use by a consumer.

I wonder how much simulation and in field analysis was performed as I have shown here. Doesn't seem like much was done to find and remove issues with this speaker.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Magnepan LRS.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Have to go and see if I can fix our dishwasher now. :( Too cheap to pay someone $500 or more to fix this German invention. If you want me to consider hiring someone to fix it, please donate generously using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

Thanks for an interesting review! A few points that struck me:

1. I'm not sure about HF response. Stereophile measured up to 19 kHz, after which it plummets like a rock.

2. HF drivers in dipoles are placed asymmetrically when possible because doing so produces the flattest response by averaging out dipole cancellation. I don't think the notch at 1 kHz is due to the asymmetry. Rather, I'm guessing that it's a characteristic of a first order Butterworth filter. Any causal filter it can be optimized for flat power response or flat on-axis response but not both. The difference here with the typical speaker is that the irregularity occurs horizontally rather than vertically.

3. Re vertical directivity, this is presumably why the speaker is tilted at an angle, to put you in the center of the tweeter when seated. This may be an issue for casual listening, less so for formal listening. At least one reviewer has criticized the HF response from a subjective perspective. In any case, dipoles aren't "anywhere in the room" speakers. Their horizontal polar pattern isn't optimized for that.

4. The LF response should be better than you measured when the LRS is in a room of moderate size. This could be a room mode/placement issue; dipole bass is notorious for disappearing in some rooms, being fine in others.

According to Magnepan, if the room is large, the LRS's lows will disappear, since the panel is so small -- the baffle of a dipole woofer has to be sized for the room, the larger the room, the larger the baffle. They don't recommend the LRS to someone who has a larger room -- as Wendell Diller put it, in larger room, the LRS turns into a midrange! My sense of hearing it at AXPONA in a hotel room was that it lacked deep bass, but was fine in the midbass. (I use to have a pair of MMG's, which are of similar size, and that was my reaction to them as well. They were good down to maybe 55 Hz and most guys put subs on them.)

5. Re near/far field -- complex with a line source, since the driver dimensions are different vertically and laterally, but in my experience, small dipoles like the LRS sound good in the near field, where they more closely approximate a line source in the highs and there is less baffle cancellation in the lows.

Many or most of the limitations you mention are a necessary consequence of the $650 cost of the speaker. These tradeoffs are different for a dipole speaker than they would be for a conventional one. In a dipole, a larger baffle would mean deeper bass, a narrow true ribbon tweeter would have superior horizontal dispersion, a full-height line source would have smoother vertical response, etc. With a box, you'd hear different trades.

In my experience, small dipoles like the LRS come into their own with acoustical music. That's where you'll hear the spatial magic. You don't say how far you had them from the front all -- dipoles need to be at least 3 feet, preferable 5 feet or more from the front wall to do their magic. Also where the compromise is best, since the rear reflections of a dipole will tend to increase the sense of depth while side reflections will tend to increase the sensation of width, meaning I think that dipoles are better when you want the musicians beyond the wall while cardioids are better when you want the musicians right in front of you. (Of course, ideally, it's the recording that determines this, but for that to happen, early reflections in the room have to be at least 20 dB down to more than 20 ms out so as not to anticipate the early reflections on the recording, and most home listening rooms don't do that, though a dipole out from the front wall can come close, hence their reputation for depth.)

Acoustical music is also where you'll hear detail (likely a consequence of the waterfall) and the lack of the "boxiness" that's heard in inexpensive box speakers. For rock, or for a larger room, people are going to want a sub, and the LRS may not be the best choice. The people who like it for rock are apparently those who want to hear all the details in the recording, and they almost always use it with a sub.

Any dipole requires experimentation and paintstaking placement, but the positive side of that is that they don't require much acoustical treatment for optimal response. This also means that a room that is tuned for box speakers will sound too dead with a dipole -- dipoles do best with the Rt of a typical living room.

I think the fact that the LRS sounds good with typical show demo tracks says a lot. This is a speaker that produces unusually natural results with acoustical recordings and I haven't heard a $650 box that comes close to it in that regard. For rock or a larger room, I think I'd want a sub, or a larger dipole or a conventional speaker. Based on what I heard, the LRS is a killer budget speaker for those who listen to acoustical music and are willing to spend time on speaker placement (and with dipoles, do I mean time!) At AXPONA, it was jaw-droppingly good for the price on recordings of acoustical music.
 

josh358

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I think this shows the weakness of modern Magnepans tuned by ear compared to the old designs which relied on engineering, albeit with limited tools.

The MG-III had the magnets in front of the Mylar so that bass notes enter a field of increasing strength. Since the panel cannot reproduce high frequencies, it used a true aluminum ribbon. But “audiophile” belief is that stuff in front of the Mylar must not be as transparent, leading to modern revisions.

Although these are 1/3 octave smoothed, it shows a different type of performance than the LRS.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/magnepan-magneplanar-mgiiia-loudspeaker-measurements

Simpler first order crossover and shorter ribbon (budget model). “Newer” designs
https://www.stereophile.com/content/magnepan-mg25r-loudspeaker-measurements
But you're comparing much larger and more expensive speakers to the $650 bargain basement version. You really have to compare like to like here -- the current version of the MG-III is the MG 3.7i, which has a true ribbon -- but adding the true ribbon would double the cost of the LRS!
 

josh358

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I think this is one of the best descriptions I ever red in such few sentences, describing such a product spot-on, actually an ideal "high-end" product where you spend all your time and money trying to optimise something fundamentally flawed.
View attachment 83646
All speakers are fundamentally flawed. There's a reason people like planar speakers -- incredibly bang for the buck. But it depends on what you're looking for. If you want deep bass without a sub and don't care about naturalism, you'll probably get better bang for the buck with a box. If you love acoustical music and value naturalism, planars are a better choice at a given price point. And most people will hear that right away in an A/B comparison at a dealer's, which is why they're so popular despite being awkward behemoths!
 

josh358

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Masterful work here, Amir. Bravo.

This looks like an absolute nightmare to own. No wonder people say sub integration is difficult with Magnepans! They are probably trying to cross over at 120Hz, lol!!!!
This bass response is not typical for the LRS and certainly not for the larger models. The bass response of a planar depends on the baffle size. The largest ones are flat to 20 Hz. The LRS is a budget speaker designed to offer a "taste" of the Magnepan sound. It's a promo item that is sold at near cost -- they make their money off people who move up to the larger speakers.
 

josh358

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These measurements are fascinating, and thanks to the owner of these Magnepans.

A number of us, I'm sure, would love to see measurements of Sanders or Quad electrostatic speakers. They may be more difficult to ship even than the Magnepans.
You can find some measurements of the old Quads online. You'll see that bass response varies from measurement to measurement. The problem is that you can't make valid nearfield measurements of planar bass -- you have to measure it in room -- but bass response varies tremendously depending on room and measurement.
 

josh358

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Seems begging to be wall-mounted. I don't get why people don't wall-mount panels more. No SBIR, 2pi radiation environment. Downside is that there is no dipole cancellation to maintain directivity down to, and below, Shroeder of course.
They make speakers that are tuned for wall mounting. If you put an LRS on the wall, you'd probably get too much midbass. Amirm's bass measurements don't seem to be typical here, not sure why.
 

Sir Sanders Zingmore

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These measurements are fascinating, and thanks to the owner of these Magnepans.

A number of us, I'm sure, would love to see measurements of Sanders or Quad electrostatic speakers. They may be more difficult to ship even than the Magnepans.

Sanders are very easy to ship. They are designed to come apart and individual, well-padded boxes are provided for each piece
 

BDWoody

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I minus prefecrenc rating , what dose that mean ? You'd rather they were broken and produced no sound ?

It means Nickelback will sound better.
 
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