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No love for Magnepan???

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#1
Hi,
This is my 1st post and English is not my first language so please forgive me if I said something wrong. I joint this site few months ago and this is the only forum that I almost read all the treads everyday and learnt so much. ;)
I've been wondered a while why Magnepan speakers rarely mentioned when good speakers topics came up. Almost in every other forums, Magnepan have been considered one of the best money to performance ratio if you have good enough amplifiers to drive them.
I've been using Kef Q900 for the last 2 years and quite happy about them. I had them second hand and paid $800 (Austalian dollars) for them, for the money I think they are worth every cents. In my room, they sound fantastic and I almost never think I need another pair of speakers. Thanks to this forum, I sought out their measurements from Stereophile and happy to know they have not bad measurement at all.
2 months ago I saw a pair of Magnepan MG12 for sale for $800 (AUD), since I'm always curious about them and they seem cheap enough, I pulled the trigger. When 1st listened to them, they blew me away. Although their low bass cannot be compared to the Kef Q900, everything else I "think" they are ways better... Until I sought out their siblings measurements - Magnepan 1.6 on Stereophile ( I couldn't find my model's measurements, I think because they are too old). Despite of JA soft-pedalled it, I think they don't have "good" measurement based on Harman research.
I tried to blind test them but I could always recognise the Magnepan's sound so I don't think it's doable in my situation (I tried to volume match using REW before blind test). Now my wife (I know about "my wife can hear it too" joke around here :p), she doesn't care or know much about hifi stuffs, but when doing blind test, she consistently pointed out she preferred the Maggie's sound save for one song - Angel of Massive Attack where she preferred the Kef. Other songs in the test are: 1 Vietnamese song, Leonard Cohen's Songs from the road - Bird on the wire, Eva Cassidy - Chain of Fools, America - A horse with no name.
Could you guys give me some insights into this? Cheers.
 

Blumlein 88

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#2
We've had a few threads on various Magnepan speakers. Mostly about which amp is good on them.

Speaking for myself, as someone who had some old MG2 Maggies, and later some 3.3R's I do like the Maggie sound. I heard some electrostat panels and like those better however. I've mostly listened to ESL panels for more than 20 years. Panels aren't likely to do well on a Harman Spin-o-rama test.

Now I find the Harman designed speakers to be outstandingly good for the money, and just plain good. I think they are onto something. Doesn't keep me from enjoying panels well set up however. I've tried to figure out how the Harman testing methodology goes astray for panels. I rather feel that it does somehow, but I don't know how. I'm guessing if I could go compare my preferred panels to 3 good Revels at the Harman facility I might have to admit they have their own obviously different sound, and look awfully cool. I must admit I like when someone never having seen or heard such things before walks in and says, "what are those?", then their eyes follow the cables over to a stack of audio gear when they ask, "are those ....speakers??" At which point I play them some music of course.

I've taken some measured responses of panels and EQ'd rather flat box speakers to have the same FR. It does go quite a way toward making the sound. Not quite all the way. I suppose if I put some speakers firing backward for the rear wave I might come closer. :)
 

Cahudson42

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#3
Two things: First, speaker placement. Have you tried moving the Maggies around to different locations in your listening room? They don't like being close to walls. Listen at different distances from them. Different distances between the two speakers as well. Different angles. My guess is you will find a 'sweet spot' by moving them - and you - around. May be very different from you current KEFs location.

Second, I would really try to move things around before spending anything. But you did not mention what amplifier you are driving them with. Maggie's need power and current. But before spending money on a new amp, ask here for recommendations specifically for your MG12s

Good luck and have fun!
 
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#4
We've had a few threads on various Magnepan speakers. Mostly about which amp is good on them.

Speaking for myself, as someone who had some old MG2 Maggies, and later some 3.3R's I do like the Maggie sound. I heard some electrostat panels and like those better however. I've mostly listened to ESL panels for more than 20 years. Panels aren't likely to do well on a Harman Spin-o-rama test.

Now I find the Harman designed speakers to be outstandingly good for the money, and just plain good. I think they are onto something. Doesn't keep me from enjoying panels well set up however. I've tried to figure out how the Harman testing methodology goes astray for panels. I rather feel that it does somehow, but I don't know how. I'm guessing if I could go compare my preferred panels to 3 good Revels at the Harman facility I might have to admit they have their own obviously different sound, and look awfully cool. I must admit I like when someone never having seen or heard such things before walks in and says, "what are those?", then their eyes follow the cables over to a stack of audio gear when they ask, "are those ....speakers??" At which point I play them some music of course.

I've taken some measured responses of panels and EQ'd rather flat box speakers to have the same FR. It does go quite a way toward making the sound. Not quite all the way. I suppose if I put some speakers firing backward for the rear wave I might come closer. :)
I tried to listen to Martin Logan ESL before in a hifi store showroom and quite impressed but I didn't have the urge to buy them. Now I already started to save some money for the Magnepan 3.7, it'll take a while though.
Of all the quality of a pair of speakers, I value the ability to disappear into the room ( I mean I can't tell where to source of sound coming from) and I think the Maggies do it best in my room. I did spend 1 year to slowly position my Kef Q900, add room treatments, REW, EQ to get where I am with the Kef and the Maggies just blew them away 1st try.
Thanks to your insights in panels measured differently from traditional speakers, I think my conviction to get bigger Maggies just got stronger. ;)
 

pozz

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#5
They aren't good for frequency response or directivity, but they do energize a room really well. The resulting image is strong as long as you sit in the sweet spot.
 
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#6
They aren't good for frequency response or directivity, but they do energize a room really well. The resulting image is strong as long as you sit in the sweet spot.
Does "energize a room" mean it's kinda like putting a bigger speaker in a room and it "energises a room" more than a smaller one not louder?
 
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#7
I have Magnepan .7 now; previously had 1.6. For my taste they handily beat any box speaker in their price range. What I discovered after farting around with them for years is that a near field listening position makes them sound a bit dull. I've treated my room fairly well and so far the .7 whips the 1.6 on everything except treble extension. I also lust after the 3.7 :p
 
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#8
I have Magnepan .7 now; previously had 1.6. For my taste they handily beat any box speaker in their price range. What I discovered after farting around with them for years is that a near field listening position makes them sound a bit dull. I've treated my room fairly well and so far the .7 whips the 1.6 on everything except treble extension. I also lust after the 3.7 :p
I'm having my Maggies in near field position now, about 2 metres from my seat. They are 0.8 metre from front wall .My seat is 1.5 metres from the back wall. Tweeters positioned inside. They sound fantastic. I'm thinking of getting sub to accommodate the LF but I can live with them as is.
 

Newk Yuler

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#9
I have a set of used, factory rebuilt MG12. Some folks like placing them directly to the left and right of the seat position, sort of like wearing planar headphones. I never tried that. Magnepans are their own special speaker experience but they beam straight at a sweet spot and it's not practical in many cases. Very position dependent in setup. I ended up putting them in a closet because the dynamics go away the lower you play them and I needed something that wouldn't do that. Everything I just wrote is something you'll see people write in Magnepan discussions.
 

Blumlein 88

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#10
I'm having my Maggies in near field position now, about 2 metres from my seat. They are 0.8 metre from front wall .My seat is 1.5 metres from the back wall. Tweeters positioned inside. They sound fantastic. I'm thinking of getting sub to accommodate the LF but I can live with them as is.
I'd try moving them out from the wall at least another .5 meter.
 

Newk Yuler

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#11
I'd try moving them out from the wall at least another .5 meter.
Yeah, you definitely have to get the rear wave worked out to get what their meant to do. Working out the position can be a real PITA and there will be situations where it simply can't be excellent.
 
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#12
I have a set of used, factory rebuilt MG12. Some folks like placing them directly to the left and right of the seat position, sort of like wearing planar headphones. I never tried that. Magnepans are their own special speaker experience but they beam straight at a sweet spot and it's not practical in many cases. Very position dependent in setup. I ended up putting them in a closet because the dynamics go away the lower you play them and I needed something that wouldn't do that. Everything I just wrote is something you'll see people write in Magnepan discussions.
I agree, they are terrible at low volume. I don't listen too loud but around 87dB average at my seat. Don't most of audiophiles listen to their music in the sweet spot. Any other spots are for wife and the in-law :p
 
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#14
I'd try moving them out from the wall at least another .5 meter.
I'd love to. But I have a toddler and it's the only way to protect him and my gears is to have a fence around my speakers and equipment :( I cannot go any further from the wall until he's a bit older.
 

watchnerd

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#15
Hi,
This is my 1st post and English is not my first language so please forgive me if I said something wrong. I joint this site few months ago and this is the only forum that I almost read all the treads everyday and learnt so much. ;)
I've been wondered a while why Magnepan speakers rarely mentioned when good speakers topics came up. Almost in every other forums, Magnepan have been considered one of the best money to performance ratio if you have good enough amplifiers to drive them.
I've been using Kef Q900 for the last 2 years and quite happy about them. I had them second hand and paid $800 (Austalian dollars) for them, for the money I think they are worth every cents. In my room, they sound fantastic and I almost never think I need another pair of speakers. Thanks to this forum, I sought out their measurements from Stereophile and happy to know they have not bad measurement at all.
2 months ago I saw a pair of Magnepan MG12 for sale for $800 (AUD), since I'm always curious about them and they seem cheap enough, I pulled the trigger. When 1st listened to them, they blew me away. Although their low bass cannot be compared to the Kef Q900, everything else I "think" they are ways better... Until I sought out their siblings measurements - Magnepan 1.6 on Stereophile ( I couldn't find my model's measurements, I think because they are too old). Despite of JA soft-pedalled it, I think they don't have "good" measurement based on Harman research.
I tried to blind test them but I could always recognise the Magnepan's sound so I don't think it's doable in my situation (I tried to volume match using REW before blind test). Now my wife (I know about "my wife can hear it too" joke around here :p), she doesn't care or know much about hifi stuffs, but when doing blind test, she consistently pointed out she preferred the Maggie's sound save for one song - Angel of Massive Attack where she preferred the Kef. Other songs in the test are: 1 Vietnamese song, Leonard Cohen's Songs from the road - Bird on the wire, Eva Cassidy - Chain of Fools, America - A horse with no name.
Could you guys give me some insights into this? Cheers.
I would say Magenpans get no love on ASR because there isn't a body of data suggesting that their sound aligns well with double-blind tested listener preferences for what is good.

Whereas, rightly or wrongly, speakers that are given the initial benefit of the doubt (in the absence of other data that could over-rule everything) are those whose directivity maps well to the design goals advocated by the Harman school of design and Geddes.

At least they're an "unknown" ;), whereas ML electrostats were studied and generally finished low in blind listening tests.
 
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#16
I think they work well as room dividers. Music is a bonus.
Lol, exactly what my wife said when I 1st set them next to the Kef. "Why would you need a room divider next to your speakers?" :facepalm:
Joke aside, do you mean they are not as good as a speaker? If so, please let me know, I do want to know everything about them, especially their bad sides.
 

Jaimo

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#17
I have a love-hate relationship with Magnepan, Over the years, I've owned several pairs of Maggies including SMGa's, SMGc's and I currently have a pair of MG1.6's. Although I haven't tried any newer designs, I recommend that you stay away from older round aluminum wire coil designs and go for the newer drivers that use aluminum tape instead (These are the so-called QR versions which I believe started with the MG1.7).

My hate for these speakers comes from the fact that Magnepan did not apply sound manufacturing processes and principles to their older designs. While I can't comment on their newer designs, you will find many idiosyncrasies in their older builds - 100's of staples used to fix the fabric covers to the frame, strips of painted over masking tape to hide things, lots of variability in the coil position between the magnets, staples "tacking" the driver to the frame, etc. The older speaker's wire coils have limited contact area with the Mylar film and tend to de-laminate as a result. You will hear older Maggies buzz at particular frequencies and if purchasing second hand, always run a frequency sweep test at high volume and listen for any buzzing or rattling sounds which will indicate that the the coil has lifted in places or, the frame has loosened, etc.

Even with the shoddy build quality, Maggies actually sound very good and are a pleasure to listen to casually - I still enjoy my MG1.6 speakers that I occasionally listen to. At the same time, they are not very accurate and are fussy about amplifier pairing even though they are supposedly an easy load. Like the original Quad ESL's my MG1.6's sound wonderful with acoustic jazz and chamber music but don't do a good job going loud and deep with full scale orchestral works and rock / blues. The larger true ribbon HF MG3.7's etc can go louder but need a large room to work well and will dominate the decor. I was tempted to upgrade to MG3.7's but instead opted for JBL LSR 708P's in the end and I don't regret my decision at all.
 
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#18
I'm having my Maggies in near field position now, about 2 metres from my seat. They are 0.8 metre from front wall .My seat is 1.5 metres from the back wall. Tweeters positioned inside. They sound fantastic. I'm thinking of getting sub to accommodate the LF but I can live with them as is.
The reflection off the wall behind them is giving you more high frequencies which probably compensates for you sitting too close. I find 9' minimum with the speakers 7' apart works decently. 10' away is even better. Your speakers are far too close to the wall, FYI.
 
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#19
I have a love-hate relationship with Magnepan, Over the years, I've owned several pairs of Maggies including SMGa's, SMGc's and I currently have a pair of MG1.6's. Although I haven't tried any newer designs, I recommend that you stay away from older round aluminum wire coil designs and go for the newer drivers that use aluminum tape instead (These are the so-called QR versions which I believe started with the MG1.7).

My hate for these speakers comes from the fact that Magnepan did not apply sound manufacturing processes and principles to their older designs. While I can't comment on their newer designs, you will find many idiosyncrasies in their older builds - 100's of staples used to fix the fabric covers to the frame, strips of painted over masking tape to hide things, lots of variability in the coil position between the magnets, staples "tacking" the driver to the frame, etc. The older speaker's wire coils have limited contact area with the Mylar film and tend to de-laminate as a result. You will hear older Maggies buzz at particular frequencies and if purchasing second hand, always run a frequency sweep test at high volume and listen for any buzzing or rattling sounds which will indicate that the the coil has lifted in places or, the frame has loosened, etc.

Even with the shoddy build quality, Maggies actually sound very good and are a pleasure to listen to casually - I still enjoy my MG1.6 speakers that I occasionally listen to. At the same time, they are not very accurate and are fussy about amplifier pairing even though they are supposedly an easy load. Like the original Quad ESL's my MG1.6's sound wonderful with acoustic jazz and chamber music but don't do a good job going loud and deep with full scale orchestral works and rock / blues. The larger true ribbon HF MG3.7's etc can go louder but need a large room to work well and will dominate the decor. I was tempted to upgrade to MG3.7's but instead opted for JBL LSR 708P's in the end and I don't regret my decision at all.
This sounds exactly what I discovered with tube amp. I like it at 1st then realised it works well in a very limited situation. The sound kinda grasps my attention at 1st then when the effects wear down, I kept it for casual listening and very badly DR compressed music from my country.
I'll keep listening to them for a while side by side with my Kef Q900 then maybe it'll come to that. But the sound stage of those Maggies are incredibly good.
 

g29

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#20
Does "energize a room" mean it's kinda like putting a bigger speaker in a room and it "energises a room" more than a smaller one not louder?
Maggies tend to fill the house with sound without blaring compared to box speakers. When I had box speakers, I had to play them much louder to hear them elsewhere in the house which ended up too loud in the main room. Also, since they don't have boxes, they don't pressurize the room like box speakers do.

They aren't good for frequency response or directivity, but they do energize a room really well. The resulting image is strong as long as you sit in the sweet spot.
As for frequency response, they can do pretty well with a little effort.


 
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