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Magnepan LRS Speaker Review

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I had the small Magnepans MG 1.4 many years ago, I'm not even sure I remember what happened to them.
They served me well for a number of years and were my entry into more esoteric audio gear. When I could, I graduated to Martin Logan Aerius i speakers, mostly because I guess I had become hooked on panel speakers and lusted after true electrostatics. Sometime thereafter, I also picked up a pair of LS3/5a used. They had impressed me many years earlier. Generally I find they both present the music they play well. Yes, they are different. I've suplemented both of them with sub-woofers and while the Aerius are in a 5.1 setup and the AVR takes care of the crossover to the sub, I left the signal to the LS3/5a's undisturbed and just spent a lot of time tweaking the cutoff freq. and volume of the small sub. I've done A-B listening and I felt satisfied overall that both accurately reproduce the recordings that are fed to them. In fact, I felt, in A-B listening, that either I just gravitate toward a certain "sound" or they are simply both neutral. I would like to think they are both neutral. I wouldn't give up either setup willingly. I put on music, it plays, I smile. The one quirk of the Aerius that I'm aware of, is that woofer down by the floor plays enough midrange that sometimes is does mess with where sounds (vocals in particular) seem located. It's a small flaw, but not a failing.
 

richard12511

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Speaker setups without room correction are completely wrong???? :)

Dave.
I would say that's true. I guess I wouldn't say "completely". You can get decent sound without room correction, but EQ is necessary(ime) for the bass to get great sound, unless you're just very lucky or have a purpose built room. Have you had success with speakers having a smooth bass response without EQ?

As for 1.7 vs R3 bass, I've heard both now, but in different rooms, so it's hard to compare. I thought the R3 dug a little deeper and sounded a little better down there, but as with all bass, I was hearing the room more than I was the speaker.

I agree with @Sancus that neither is a full range speaker, and both absolutely need subwoofers for "full range 20-20,000 with no compression" sound. The 30.7, with 22Hz extension is the only Maggie I would classify as arguably "full range", though even there it will be limited by output for certain types of music, at least compared to what good subwoofers can do.
 
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I had Magnepan MMG years ago, which I loved a lot. My first real audiophile kinda modern speakers and my first planars as well. I then swapped them to Martin Logan Aerius, which I did not enjoy, then after that Magnepan 2.6, which I didnt like either. I was actually considering buying LRS sometime this year, because they are supposed to be better MMGs and youtube reviews were amazing. Now Im not sure, but I might try anyway, if a good used offer comes up.
 

milosz

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I had Magnepan MMG years ago, which I loved a lot. My first real audiophile kinda modern speakers and my first planars as well. I then swapped them to Martin Logan Aerius, which I did not enjoy, then after that Magnepan 2.6, which I didnt like either. I was actually considering buying LRS sometime this year, because they are supposed to be better MMGs and youtube reviews were amazing. Now Im not sure, but I might try anyway, if a good used offer comes up.
Magnepan can't build LRS fast enough to fulfill demand. I suspect that means that the used market will show elevated prices.

As you probably know, much of the sound quality from a Magneplanar design will depend on room placement and acoustic treatment (if any) Typically one also needs an amplifier capable of delivering faily high power into fairly low impedances.

Magnepan designs their speakers with the goal of providing an experience as close as possible to hearing an orchestra from a fairly close center seat at Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall. This design goal doesn't always result in a speaker that works well with- for example - heavy metal.

I have a pair of MG 3.6's that I have tri-amped using a DEQX, along with a pair of GR Research / Rhythmik open-baffle servo subs. The subs give more flexibility in the kind of music that "works" with the system, and the DSP allows for a more neutral overall "voice" as opposed to the Minneapolis orchestra hall type experience.
 

AudioJester

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Magnepan can't build LRS fast enough to fulfill demand. I suspect that means that the used market will show elevated prices.

As you probably know, much of the sound quality from a Magneplanar design will depend on room placement and acoustic treatment (if any) Typically one also needs an amplifier capable of delivering faily high power into fairly low impedances.

Magnepan designs their speakers with the goal of providing an experience as close as possible to hearing an orchestra from a fairly close center seat at Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall. This design goal doesn't always result in a speaker that works well with- for example - heavy metal.

I have a pair of MG 3.6's that I have tri-amped using a DEQX, along with a pair of GR Research / Rhythmik open-baffle servo subs. The subs give more flexibility in the kind of music that "works" with the system, and the DSP allows for a more neutral overall "voice" as opposed to the Minneapolis orchestra hall type experience.
Sounds like an awesome setup. How high do you run the paper cone subs?
Any measurements of your setup?
 
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I had Magnepan MMG years ago, which I loved a lot. My first real audiophile kinda modern speakers and my first planars as well. I then swapped them to Martin Logan Aerius, which I did not enjoy, then after that Magnepan 2.6, which I didnt like either. I was actually considering buying LRS sometime this year, because they are supposed to be better MMGs and youtube reviews were amazing. Now Im not sure, but I might try anyway, if a good used offer comes up.
If you liked the MMG's, you'll *love* the LRS. I used to have a pair of MMG's and I've heard the LRS, and it's basically an MMG that sounds very much better, more like the larger speakers in their line (but don't expect it to plumb the depths or work in a large room!)

I'd suggest buying it from Magnepan, since they have a money-back guarantee that they're serious about -- they *want* people to try it because they know that some will move up to their larger and more profitable models. So you can send it back without guilt -- but very few do, which is why they can offer the money-back deal in the first place. :)
 
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Magnepan can't build LRS fast enough to fulfill demand. I suspect that means that the used market will show elevated prices.

As you probably know, much of the sound quality from a Magneplanar design will depend on room placement and acoustic treatment (if any) Typically one also needs an amplifier capable of delivering faily high power into fairly low impedances.

Magnepan designs their speakers with the goal of providing an experience as close as possible to hearing an orchestra from a fairly close center seat at Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall. This design goal doesn't always result in a speaker that works well with- for example - heavy metal.

I have a pair of MG 3.6's that I have tri-amped using a DEQX, along with a pair of GR Research / Rhythmik open-baffle servo subs. The subs give more flexibility in the kind of music that "works" with the system, and the DSP allows for a more neutral overall "voice" as opposed to the Minneapolis orchestra hall type experience.
True. Ive been following the used market for a while now. In Europe the prices for a new pair arent quite as competitive as in the US, so I havent pulled the trigger yet. From what I have heard on Youtube people liked the smaller Hegels a lot, H90 or the newer H95, and I might give that a shot. My music preference is women voices, acoustic instruments, live recordings and especially concerts. Like I said I really loved the MMGs and they fitted my music taste rather well. In hindsight I should never have sold them (its not like they take up a lot of space), but you all know how it goes... You get that itch and want something better ;-)
 

amper42

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Magnepan can't build LRS fast enough to fulfill demand. I suspect that means that the used market will show elevated prices.
I seriously doubt that. I sent my LRS back as they sounded awful. I took $120 loss on that test drive. I would never buy anything remotely related to that speaker design again. Sounded fuzzy and added reverb to the sound. Just about any quality speaker beats it by a mile.
 

josh358

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Milosz is correct: they fell something like two months behind at some point and were thinking of suspending sales as a result.

Others, including me, have a very different take on the LRS, something that I find interesting. For example, while it's true that dipoles add reverb, so do monopoles; in the case of dipoles, it's in the rear, and of monopoles, to the sides. But it's also true that dipoles dump 4.8 dB less reverberant energy into the reverberant energy of the room, which suits them to use in the live acoustic of an untreated room. It's true as well that they require careful placement to reach their potential. At their best, they're like a window onto the original acoustic space. I've never heard monopoles do that.
 

richard12511

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I seriously doubt that. I sent my LRS back as they sounded awful. I took $120 loss on that test drive. I would never buy anything remotely related to that speaker design again. Sounded fuzzy and added reverb to the sound. Just about any quality speaker beats it by a mile.
Whether or not you liked them, they really are on back order and take many months to get. I tried to order one awhile back.
 

amper42

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Whether or not you liked them, they really are on back order and take many months to get. I tried to order one awhile back.
I waited 2 months for my LRS. Not saying the wait isn't there. Just saying, if I had heard them before buying, I would have realized they don't have the definition or clarity I expect from a decent speaker. That's why I'm sure LRS will not sell well in the after market. Most people that buy them are doing so based on positive on-line claims that don't match the fuzzy, lack of definition I experienced once my LRS arrived. I really tried to like them. They might even sound OK with a few of the Diana Krall tracks, but every time I switched back to my Sierra Towers the LRS sounded like a cheap speaker with a blanket over it. While the Sierra Tower was crystal clear. It's the difference between sitting in the balcony versus the front row. You either like that low-resolution reverb sound or absolutely hate it.

Check out the LRS distortion measurements and other issues in the ASR review. Wish I could have read it before placing my order. It could have saved me over $180 in lost shipping charges. I think Amir's LRS review should be required reading before ordering. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/magnepan-lrs-speaker-review.16068/
 

milosz

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Sounds like an awesome setup. How high do you run the paper cone subs?
Any measurements of your setup?
The crossover to the panels is 45 Hz at 96 dB per octave, linear phase topology. (I actually have 2 DEQX's- the system is triamped for the MG 3.6's and an additional DSP crossover using the 2nd DEQX for the subs. I don't use the crossovers or EQ in the Rhythmik servo amps at all, all filtering is done in the DEQX's. FYI I did not attempt a measurement of the subwoofers to create a "correction filter" for them, it's too hard to measure these frequencies indoors. I just have crossovers and some room correction EQ down in the bass frequencies.)

The open baffle subs closely match the "panel sound" of the Magneplanars, the transient performance of the open baffle subs is close to the sound of the panels- there's no vibrating box structure or internal air in an enclosure to store energy. Because the open baffle subs are dipoles you get a fair amount of cancellation so you need a large cone area to provide reasonable sound output. There are four 12 inch subs in my setup and the bass is deeply extended, tight and clean but it's not the sort of thing that can move the building off it's foundations from the low frequency explosion effects in action movies. It's musical, not theatrical.

The other - and perhaps more useful- advantage of having the subs is that I can play the whole system louder. If I push just the panels without the subs to high volumes, low bass will cause the woofer panels to slap the magnets resulting in a buzzing complaint from the poor things. I assume this could also damage the diaphragms if I cranked like this for a long period of time. By taking the below-45 Hz range out of the Magnepan panels they can play much louder before getting into trouble. Excursion in those woofer panels is fairly limited and you need big excursion to get low bass.

I'll post curves later I need to make some new ones.
 
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milosz

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I waited 2 months for my LRS. Not saying the wait isn't there. Just saying, if I had heard them before buying, I would have realized they don't have the definition or clarity I expect from a decent speaker. That's why I'm sure LRS will not sell well in the after market. Most people that buy them are doing so based on positive on-line claims that don't match the fuzzy, lack of definition I experienced once my LRS arrived. I really tried to like them. They might even sound OK with a few of the Diana Krall tracks, but every time I switched back to my Sierra Towers the LRS sounded like a cheap speaker with a blanket over it. While the Sierra Tower was crystal clear. It's the difference between sitting in the balcony versus the front row. You either like that low-resolution reverb sound or absolutely hate it.

Check out the LRS distortion measurements and other issues in the ASR review. Wish I could have read it before placing my order. It could have saved me over $180 in lost shipping charges. I think Amir's LRS review should be required reading before ordering. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/magnepan-lrs-speaker-review.16068/
Amir's method for measurements isn't really valid for dipole speakers. His method assumes a point source- a box speaker.

The LRS is also quite small for a panel speaker, and given that diaphragm excursion is quite limited in any panel speaker, I would think that high distortion below 200 Hz would have to be one of the design compromises made for the small size of the diaphragm. If you listen mostly to orchestral or chamber music, or acoustic blues or jazz, the levels the speaker is pushed to may not exceeded it's limits. Some orchestral music certainly has lots of content below 200 Hz but when this is true in orchestral music there is usually a lot of content above 200 Hz that will mask the harmonics being spuriously generated. In addition, I think the smaller Magneplanar speakers need even more attention to position, room treatment and so on than their larger models.

the ONLY used pair I could find for sale was offered at $750, $100 over the retail price. I'm not sure that this fact supports your assertion that "LRS will not sell well in the after market."
 
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stevenswall

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Amir's method for measurements isn't valid for dipole speakers. His method assumes a point source- a box speaker.
His method assumes an "average room" for a listening window, and I'd say the dipole speakers I've heard aren't meant for any rooms people put them in, or most genres besides a solo vocalist and maybe an accompanist.

I would be curious how they would measure in a room purpose made for them though. Maybe flush mounted in a wall, extremely tall, and tilted towards the listener, with plenty EQ and open baffle woofers near each channel crossed over around 200-300hz, and a dentists bite stick and chin rest to be sure I'm in the right listening position.

My hypothesis is that being out of the sweet spot is so bad that the dramatic change once you're in it feels euphoric, and once you hear something without lots of distortion and dynamics that can be handled that it's such a relief that people love it.
 
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From my experience with used market planars, and that goes for all planar speakers, is that they have rather high prices compared to conventional designs. I dont see why that would be any different with the LRS and for now in Europe the LRS prices are around ~1000 USD.
 

josh358

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It absolutely is true. See Davey's comment way back in the thread. You *do not* measure a dipole line source in free space. You measure a dipole line source in a room, at the listening position. That's because a dipole requires proximity to room surfaces for adequate bass response. If you designed it to have flat bass response in free space, the bass would blast your ears off.

Another common mistake made when measuring dipoles -- Stereophile is known for doing this -- is to take a quasi-anechoic measurement close to the planar. Then, you have the opposite problem, excessive bass.

In general, the size of a dipole's baffle has to be matched to the room for flat bass response. That's beyond the output and extension advantages of a larger baffle.
 

josh358

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His method assumes an "average room" for a listening window, and I'd say the dipole speakers I've heard aren't meant for any rooms people put them in, or most genres besides a solo vocalist and maybe an accompanist.

I would be curious how they would measure in a room purpose made for them though. Maybe flush mounted in a wall, extremely tall, and tilted towards the listener, with plenty EQ and open baffle woofers near each channel crossed over around 200-300hz, and a dentists bite stick and chin rest to be sure I'm in the right listening position.

My hypothesis is that being out of the sweet spot is so bad that the dramatic change once you're in it feels euphoric, and once you hear something without lots of distortion and dynamics that can be handled that it's such a relief that people love it.
Bad hunch! You'd get an insane rise in the bass if you did that, because a dipole is designed to compensate for the 6 dB/octave dipole rolloff in the bass:

1623404675380.png

This is John Atkinson's up-close measurement of the 3.6R, which shows the woofer's output without the dipole cancellation. Needless to say, it doesn't measure or sound like that in the far field. For an interesting discussion of this by Siegfried Linkwitz:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/magnepan-magneplanar-mg36r-loudspeaker-more-comments

In any case, you're overlooking the main advantage of dipole bass, without which a sealed woofer would make much more sense -- namely, its suppression of the X and Y axial room modes. To achieve similarly smooth bass response with sealed woofers you have to use four subwoofers, which would rather overwhelm the cost of a $600 speaker even if you could get your spouse to agree!

Re the room, they'll work fine in a room of appropriate size -- an LRS will not work in a ballroom, and a large planar panel in a small room will sound, in the words of Magnepan's Wendell Diller, like a trumpet in a phone booth. Wendell has also pointed out that an LRS in a large room turns into a midrange, and that it goes to pieces if you drive it too hard. Without a sub, this is not a rock speaker! It's for those who want realistic reproduction of acoustical instruments, or who put a sub on it.

"His method assumes an 'average room' for a listening window, and I'd say the dipole speakers I've heard aren't meant for any rooms people put them in, or most genres besides a solo vocalist and maybe an accompanist."

As several of us have pointed out, his method assumes point source monopoles. I doesn't work for line source dipoles, one of the reasons being that the point at which a dipole starts to roll off at 6 dB/octave in the bass depends on effective baffle size, and the floor reflection alone makes the baffle twice as large. Given knowledge of the baffle size, a bit of math would make the results useful. Well, more than a bit, actually, because you'd have to account not just for floor and ceiling proximity but for sidewalls and acoustic coupling between the baffles, and for the way the resonant sections are allocated within the woofer.

Otherwise, it seems you've listened to some tiny dipoles. My Tympani IVA's have flat response below 30 Hz and cruise at 115 dB SPL. Like the other true ribbon Maggies, they have almost perfect dispersion out to 20 kHz -- something a speaker with conventional drivers can't match owing to the diameter of the tweeter.

People with small Maggies generally put subs on them. If you want to maintain the smooth response of dipole bass with a sub, the GR Research H-frame dynamic dipole subs are by all accounts amazing.
 
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Frank Dernie

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IME all speakers are very sensitive to room (and listener) location but panels are particularly sensitive.
I think over the last 10 to 15 years people have got used to putting speakers anywhere that suits their room layout and masking any poor performance this causes using some sort of room compensation software.
IME having the speaker optimally placed before doing a room correction is well worthwhile and based on my experience with Apogee panels probably essential.
 
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