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Magnepan LRS Speaker Review

MrPeabody

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While, on paper, the Crown XLS1502 had enough watts of power, but being of a class D variant, it couldn't provide the needed current to make the Magnepans sing.
This raises a couple of questions. Is the reason the Magnepans need more current (at a given amount of power) because of low impedance, or something else? If it has to do with efficiency, this would imply a need for greater power, so this wouldn't explain why greater than ordinary amount of current is needed at a given amount of power. The other question is why class D amps with the same power rating as class A/AB amps can't provide the same current as a class A/AB amp.
 

wje

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Do those two show a difference with the Magnepans? Subjectively.
I've been listening to audio for 40+ years and am currently 57 years old. However, my ears about 5 years ago preferred a more detailed speaker and I owned 5 different pair of Focal speakers over the period of 1.5 years. Today, though, my ears tend to prefer a more relaxed sound - slightly rolled off highs, thicker mid-range, etc. I want a system that I can comfortably listen to music for 10+ hours each day - as I'm now teleworking during the Covid crisis. The Parasound A23+ amplifier had more upper end "bloom" that could be heard, while the mid-range was adequate and the low end was good. However, an opportunity arose for me to get a 2nd McIntosh amplifier, the MC352 for a super steal of a price, so I sprung on that option. My ears simply love the McIntosh sound - the slightly rolled off highs and the thicker mid-range presentation. To me, the McIntosh pairs better with the Magnepans than the Parasound A23+ did. However, that opinion in mine in where I currently stand, with respect to my listening preferences.

I did have the McIntosh amplifier paired up for a while with the Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 speakers. To me, it wasn't the best combination because the Venere 2.5 speakers were too rolled off. I think in that scenario, the Parasound A23+ would have shined. Also, the Focals that I owned (807V, 1007BE, 1027BE and 1037BE) over that period of time about 5 years back, I mainly used Peachtree and Emotiva amplifiers. Now, I think about how those speakers might have sounded with the McIntosh amplifiers that were built with the autoformer technology. I did have a brief experience a bit over a year ago with a McIntosh integrate amplifier - the MA5200 and a pair of Focal 1008BE speakers. That integrated amplifier was built on McIntosh's direct-coupled amplifier technology and not the autoformers. The sound? A little too thin for my liking, so I sold off those components.
 

wje

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This raises a couple of questions. Is the reason the Magnepans need more current (at a given amount of power) because of low impedance, or something else? If it has to do with efficiency, this would imply a need for greater power, so this wouldn't explain why greater than ordinary amount of current is needed at a given amount of power. The other question is why class D amps with the same power rating as class A/AB amps can't provide the same current as a class A/AB amp.
Yes, I'm not sure where to put my finger on this one. I thought there were a pair of class D monobloc amplifiers available locally that I wanted to try out with the Magnepans, so I could be sure it wasn't the Crown XLS1502 that was the weak link, or if it was a class D issue, in general. But, that pair of amplifiers was recently sold, so I don't have the option to try another class D amplifier configuration at this time.
 

wje

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Hi,

I am pleased to announce the debut of a new YouTube channel called DIY HiFi Life.

My premiere video features three ways to upgrade the Magnepan LRS speaker to take them to the next level. Even if you don't have the LRS, you may find my technique for integrating a subwoofer in a 2.1 HiFi system of interest.

As always, I am grateful for your viewership and would appreciate your subscriptions and likes.

I have many other ideas for future videos and will be encouraged by growing subscriptions.

Thanks.

I did finish watching the rest of the video yesterday. Some comments:
  • I'm not sure what the crossover slope is for the REL subwoofers? I do know that the Rythmik subwoofers have a toggle, which allows you to switch between a 12dB and a 24dB crossover slop on the plate amplifier.
  • I do have a 6mm diameter copper tube arriving today and will be making the swap for the fuses. I don't usually listen above 65dB in my listening chair, so I'm not worried about damaging the tweeters. Also, my pair of LRS speakers were purchased used, so I don't have the warranty concerns.
  • I've been running a MiniDSP between my preamplifier and amplifier for the past year and a half. With the MiniDSP, I do have the ability to fully configure my crossover options for the subwoofers in manners that are much more thorough than the manufacturer offers with their plate amplifier and crossover options. I currently have a pair of RSL Speedwoofer subwoofers, set to 65 Hz low-pass crossover point, with a 24dB crossover slope. The subwoofers are able to fully keep pace with the Magnepans. I previously had 2 10" Monolith THX subwoofers, but they were much harder to integrate with the Magenpans. They were more of a home theater subwoofer and less of a musical subwoofer.
  • I did try one of the new REL HT1003 subwoofers, because it was designed for home theater, but also had some good musical tendencies, too. However, I ended up returning that REL subwoofer because the vinyl veneer on the top started to lift up a bit around the glossy REL plate after about 3 weeks of use.
  • I'm following a thread on AudioCircle where a member was planning to replace the crossover components in the LRS with a better inductor and capacitor than what was originally supplied by Magnepan. Once I find out the values being utilized, I'll then, most likely, upgrade the crossover components to better parts.
  • Danny Richie of GR Research has updated crossover components for the Magnepan 1.6 and 1.7 speakers, but not the other models at this time.
 

Vasr

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I've been listening to audio for 40+ years and am currently 57 years old. However, my ears about 5 years ago preferred a more detailed speaker and I owned 5 different pair of Focal speakers over the period of 1.5 years. Today, though, my ears tend to prefer a more relaxed sound - slightly rolled off highs, thicker mid-range, etc. I want a system that I can comfortably listen to music for 10+ hours each day - as I'm now teleworking during the Covid crisis. The Parasound A23+ amplifier had more upper end "bloom" that could be heard, while the mid-range was adequate and the low end was good. However, an opportunity arose for me to get a 2nd McIntosh amplifier, the MC352 for a super steal of a price, so I sprung on that option. My ears simply love the McIntosh sound - the slightly rolled off highs and the thicker mid-range presentation. To me, the McIntosh pairs better with the Magnepans than the Parasound A23+ did. However, that opinion in mine in where I currently stand, with respect to my listening preferences.
Preference for Magnepans with rolled off highs in the electronics is not uncommon. Subjectively, I don't find the higher frequencies on the Magnepans very pleasing and get fatigued easily. I also find that "busy" music doesn't resolve very well on the Magnepan tweeters at least on the smaller Maggies. So "bright" or "neutral" electronics can sound harsh to me especially if it is under-powered to bring out that lower midrange goodness of the speakers.
 

wje

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Preference for Magnepans with rolled off highs in the electronics is not uncommon. Subjectively, I don't find the higher frequencies on the Magnepans very pleasing and get fatigued easily. I also find that "busy" music doesn't resolve very well on the Magnepan tweeters at least on the smaller Maggies. So "bright" or "neutral" electronics can sound harsh to me especially if it is under-powered to bring out that lower midrange goodness of the speakers.
Yes. I've realized that listening to rock and roll on the Magnepans wasn't nearly as good as it would be on a box speaker. But, there are also many horrible rock recordings that just can sound bad in general. 90%+ of my listening is currently jazz and female vocals, so the Magnepans do quite well with the genres I'm following at the moment.
 

LTig

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I've been listening to audio for 40+ years and am currently 57 years old. However, my ears about 5 years ago preferred a more detailed speaker and I owned 5 different pair of Focal speakers over the period of 1.5 years. Today, though, my ears tend to prefer a more relaxed sound - slightly rolled off highs, thicker mid-range, etc. I want a system that I can comfortably listen to music for 10+ hours each day - as I'm now teleworking during the Covid crisis. The Parasound A23+ amplifier had more upper end "bloom" that could be heard, while the mid-range was adequate and the low end was good. However, an opportunity arose for me to get a 2nd McIntosh amplifier, the MC352 for a super steal of a price, so I sprung on that option. My ears simply love the McIntosh sound - the slightly rolled off highs and the thicker mid-range presentation. To me, the McIntosh pairs better with the Magnepans than the Parasound A23+ did. However, that opinion in mine in where I currently stand, with respect to my listening preferences.

I did have the McIntosh amplifier paired up for a while with the Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 speakers. To me, it wasn't the best combination because the Venere 2.5 speakers were too rolled off. I think in that scenario, the Parasound A23+ would have shined. Also, the Focals that I owned (807V, 1007BE, 1027BE and 1037BE) over that period of time about 5 years back, I mainly used Peachtree and Emotiva amplifiers. Now, I think about how those speakers might have sounded with the McIntosh amplifiers that were built with the autoformer technology. I did have a brief experience a bit over a year ago with a McIntosh integrate amplifier - the MA5200 and a pair of Focal 1008BE speakers. That integrated amplifier was built on McIntosh's direct-coupled amplifier technology and not the autoformers. The sound? A little too thin for my liking, so I sold off those components.
I get the feeling that an amp with sufficient nominal power and some fancy tone controls could have been all you really need.
 

RoyB

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Fantastic read as I prepare to drive an hour and buy a set of used Magnapan MMGs........! I wanted to order the LPS but talking to Magnapan I was told a 19 week wait. I hate waiting and 19 weeks puts us right in the middle of fishing season and not much time spent indoors....

What really interests me is, Magnapans are not known to the General "Best Buy" public. Those that are buying the LPS, I would think, are usually an audiophile on a budget.....Folks that have always wanted "Maggies" but simply couldn't afford them. With a 60 day return policy, its a wonderful way to experience a "flat" speaker in your own home.

But this said, there are zero returned speakers available for purchase out of the hundreds upon hundreds (maybe thousands) that have been shipped. Are Audiophiles on a budget this tone deaf? I would think most folks buying these would have something reasonable to test them against. I can't believe but a very small percentage are buying these as their first speakers.

I own a V6 Toyota Venza......The reviews are horrible.....It does everything wrong!......It is the only car I've ever owned for over 10 years and 125,000 miles because it is magnificient. Every year I test drive other and stay with this horrible Venza. (I'm a car nut with an 1987 911 Carrera, BMW 550i and Mercedes C350......Even my wife like the Venza!)........I've actually convinced a whole bunch of friends to get one......

Can't wait to get the MMGs and see what the fuss is all about..........Thanks again for a great thread!
 

RoyB

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Well, I got the Magnapan MMG speakers. Running them with a Yamaha M45 and a choice of Yamaha CX800u, Schiit Saga, DOUK TwoTube preamplifiers..... Source is streaming Qobiz and Amazon HD through Andover Songbird....They sound amazing! Love the open sound field with classical and using a B&W subwoofer, rock and jazz are wonderful. For me, it was a bucket list item. Always wanted a set. Just wish I hadn't waited so long!
 

wje

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During this past summer, I had the LRS, the .7 and the 1.7i. I should have never gone to the 1.7i - too massive for my condo. But, with the LRS and the .7, I realized they performed better with a class A/B amp (Parasound A23+) as opposed to the class "D" Crown XLS1502. I've since sold off both those amps and brought my restored McIntosh MC-7270 back into service. The mids and bass are a bit better, to my ears, than the Crown XLS1502 was. This is most likely due to the current demands that the Magnepan speakers have. About a month back, a new pair of LRS speakers were available locally, so I sprung for them. Using my MiniDSP DDRC-24, I have the subwoofers (a pair of RSL speedwoofers) crossed over at 65 Hz with a 24dB slope, so the bass from the subs keep up with the Magnepan. I don't think I've ever been so happy with my sound after being in the hobby for 40 years. Yes, I'm aware of how the LRS measured in the reviews, but my ears are happy. Even my fiancee could notice the difference with the sound being so much bigger and open than the previous box speakers I've owned in the past - and I've owned plenty.


magnepan lrs 03052021.JPG
 

DonH56

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As an aside, direct sunlight is very bad for Maggies -- it breaks down the panels and shortens their lifetime. Years ago I made covers from black trash bags (cut one open, taped two together, slid over the panels) to protect them. When playing whilst the sun was shining, I hung the bags over the backs of the speakers to protect them.

Supposedly the adhesive material is better these days, I don't know for sure, and I've no idea if the membrane material has changed tuhs is more resistant to sunlight.
 

RoyB

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BTW...This is the only speakers I have that I can actually hear the difference between Class A and B on this Yamaha amplifier....
 

Vasr

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As an aside, direct sunlight is very bad for Maggies -- it breaks down the panels and shortens their lifetime. Years ago I made covers from black trash bags (cut one open, taped two together, slid over the panels) to protect them. When playing whilst the sun was shining, I hung the bags over the backs of the speakers to protect them.

Supposedly the adhesive material is better these days, I don't know for sure, and I've no idea if the membrane material has changed tuhs is more resistant to sunlight.
They did change the original 3M glue that was susceptible to humidity and sunlight, the two main reasons for delamination. It didn't affect the membrane material itself. The wires (especially the tweeter without the coating like the mids) could get oxidized and corrode but that took decades to manifest unless it was exposed to extreme conditions.

But as far as I know, the de-lamination issue only affected the older "wires bonded to Mylar" design not the ribbons (which offer a greater area for bonding unlike thin round wires). So the glue issue may be moot.

When I redid by SMGa to fix the delamination I used the stronger DAP Weldwood to bond the wire to the mylar to hold them in place and a coating of the new 3M Fastbond over the entire wires/panel. The latter is the glue that is now used by Magnepan I believe. Comes in clear and green varieties.
 

dreite

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I don't think I've ever been so happy with my sound after being in the hobby for 40 years. Yes, I'm aware of how the LRS measured in the reviews, but my ears are happy.
Clearly you missed this part of the review...."What I do know is that this is not a product finished and fit for use by a consumer." :)

Dave.
 
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Clearly you missed this part of the review...."What I do know is that this is not a product finished and fit for use by a consumer." :)

Dave.
I have no dog in this fight (except the refundable $650 I spent yesterday to see what the commotion is all about). My $.02? Driving them with a tube preamp and lots of power (I've tried them with Krell and McIntosh), these are astonishingly good sounding speakers for jazz, classical quartet and piano. Deep bass? It is completely MIA. But an octave higher and the bass is beautiful. And I don't like them at higher volumes. But I have fallen in love with them. I had zero intention of keeping them when I bought them -- I thought I would return them if they are lousy, or if they were just ok, I would give them to one of my kids. Now? I'm keeping them for me even though I really don't have the room for another set of large speakers. They are thoroughly enjoyable speakers for chamber music and jazz. I have HUGE respect for Amir and his work. I also really like these speakers for what they do well.

Edit: My set came with an extra loose screw (threaded bolt for the technically inclined), a metaphor which I thought the haters might appreciate!
 

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3DLight

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I've had the LRS for getting close to a year. Much respect to Amir. While his review certainly does point out valid issues with the speaker, it also omits some things that are harder to define. Since listening to Magnepans, I've had a hard time going back to box speakers due to the obvious resonance of their cabinets. They sound like they are inside a box, while the LRS sounds open. People say transparent. Maybe?, but I prefer the term, open. I can see Amir puts little value in that, or perhaps he simply has other open-baffle speakers that do it better? I don't know.

I can hear the limitations of the frequency response, and I'll be getting other speakers to add to my collection that have better responses... but it's going to be very hard not to go back to the open sound of Maggies.

If someone that disregards Maggies due to this review have never heard them, I would suggest they try a listen. It was the 1.7i that sold me on a pair. The LRS aren't quite as good, but they share many similarities in tone and of course that wonderful open sound. I've never heard strings and vocals on any box speaker that rivals the Maggies, but hey, I have a lot to learn, so that may not mean much;)
 

amper42

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I've had the LRS for getting close to a year. Much respect to Amir. While his review certainly does point out valid issues with the speaker, it also omits some things that are harder to define. Since listening to Magnepans, I've had a hard time going back to box speakers due to the obvious resonance of their cabinets. They sound like they are inside a box, while the LRS sounds open. People say transparent. Maybe?, but I prefer the term, open. I can see Amir puts little value in that, or perhaps he simply has other open-baffle speakers that do it better? I don't know.

I can hear the limitations of the frequency response, and I'll be getting other speakers to add to my collection that have better responses... but it's going to be very hard not to go back to the open sound of Maggies.

If someone that disregards Maggies due to this review have never heard them, I would suggest they try a listen. It was the 1.7i that sold me on a pair. The LRS aren't quite as good, but they share many similarities in tone and of course that wonderful open sound. I've never heard strings and vocals on any box speaker that rivals the Maggies, but hey, I have a lot to learn, so that may not mean much;)
I think you either love the LRS or hate it. I bought them based on some very positive reviews I read on-line. I installed the LSR 5 feet out into the room and listened for hours. Then, I went back to my Ascend Sierra Towers. It was NIGHT and DAY - the LSR was like being in a concert hall with lots of reverb and limited definition. The Sierra Towers offered a clarity magnitudes above the LSR. It was like a curtain being pulled away from the sound and everything was crisp, clear and dynamic. There wasn't any chance I was going back to the LSR or anything build based on those principles... The LSR is like sitting in the balcony. The Sierra Towers are like sitting in the front row.

It's sad really, I had high expectations for the LSR. But no matter whether I used the Monolith 7x200, a Purifi amp or a Hegel H90 the LSR lacked clarity by a wide margin compared to the same amps with the Sierra Towers. I'm glad they worked for you. It just goes to show my favorite speaker won't be yours... so take every review you read with a grain of salt.
 
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