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Magnepan MG 1.6

Wharfedale Speakers

surfatwork

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I had the opportunity to listen to a pair of Magnepan MG 1.6s today, and they are stunning. Vinod K of A2V in Bangalore demoéd them to me and my wife today morning - if you get a chance you should meet him - he is patient, accomodating, knowledgeable, explains everything, - in short, very good.

Back to the MGs - the source was an Oppo, thru a Rotel pre/power combo. We listened to 'You know I'm no good' by Amy Winehouse and it was superb. Her voice stood out from the instruments, every instrument was perfectly delineated and distinct, the soundstage was awesome left to right, back to front and everything was locked in place beautifully. We also listened to the opening bars of Shine on You. I have listened to this song about a million times and the MGs still presented details I have never heard and didnt even know existed. Both me and my wife were completely amazed by this speaker.
Sure - they dont go super low - as a JBL or Polk or Klipsch or even a B&W might. But the bass is defly there - it is very natural. there's no thump, but there's enough to make listening a pleasure. two words of caution - they are BIG, about 1.7m tall. and Vinod tells me they need a lot of power - their sensitivity is only about 84dB!!

Speaking of bass, I also listened to a pair of B&W 683s. These babies go lowwwww!! when vinod first played alan taylor's Hotels and Dreamers, I thought there was sub on!!! but i found that the B&Ws didnt present complex pieces very well (things seemed to get a little muddled), and neither of us liked the presentation of the midband i.e. voices. Amy's voice seemed a bit lost in the background of the instruments, though the drum beats came through loud and strong. probably a good speaker for rock.

PM
 

Amp_Nut

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They ARE greaty but tempermental speakers.

Sometimes they sound superb & sometimes quite ordinary. They need Lots of space to sing... good distance from the rear & side walls, and a powerful amp.
 

himadri

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great speakers
maggies are great . ihve demoed mg12, they are also great.go for it but they are overpriced in india.
 

awedeophile

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I have owned the 1.6's and they are unbeatable speakers for the the price. I had upgraded the stock crossovers and binding posts, which made them even better. The only problem is that they are very sensitive to room placement and the bass response greatly depends on this. They can sound superb in one room and absolutely crap in another.
 

venkatcr

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They ARE greaty but tempermental speakers.

Sometimes they sound superb & sometimes quite ordinary. They need Lots of space to sing... good distance from the rear & side walls, and a powerful amp.

Amp_Nut. could you please elaborate? I have read nothing but praises for the Maggies. As part of 'promoting' my system, I am planning to have a independent 2 channel system. For this I am considering a few speakers, and the Maggies (MG 1.6 or MG 12) are one of them.

When you say they are temperamental, what exactly do you mean?
  • Do they sound different with the same song, source player and amplifier at different times?
  • This is to be expected, but do they distort sound if you are not in their sweet spot?
  • Is their sweet spot very narrow, giving the listener very little freedom of space?
  • How do they sound with Indian music? Instrumentals and voices? How do they sound with a sitar, a tabla, a veena or the voice of say Latha? I always found Latha's voice (in her early songs) to be a little difficult to handle for systems, particularly when she reaches a high pitch. How would they sound with the low voice of say Harry Belafonte?
  • How do they sound with an orchestral number, say with a 100 artists. Can you differentiate the instruments and visualise the sound stage?
  • How do they sound with a fusion that has a large number of electronically created sounds, and heavy drums?
  • Magnepan's website is vague about the power needed or ideal for their speaker models. How much power are your using and at what impedance?
  • Since they have large area covered with fabric, do you think that could create trouble?
  • Have they to be seated firmly on the floor, and would that create some issues? Are there some special techniques for seating them properly?

Sorry for these questions. I just hurriedly listed what came to my mind.

Cheers
 

SuhasG

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Man, this post of yours can serve as a bible for speaker audition! Wish every one starts thinking/ auditioning / reviewing and commenting in such objective terms. My sincere request, Venkat, please list similar objective considerations/ tests for CDPs and Amps too.
 
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Amp_Nut

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Hi Venkatcr,

Let me clarify, I am not a Maggie owner, nor do I find them ( or any speakers ) THE 'End Of The Road' in my quest for Hi Fi Nirvana. ;)

I have heard various Maggies at dealer show rooms and at home installs.

I love their form factor, and feel they ( all panel speakers) provide an interesting alternate to box speakers.


Do they sound different with the same song, source player and amplifier at different times?

I guess that only leaves out the quality of the electric supply, and the listner's mood ! :D

No... Maggies sound different based on their position in the room and the size oof te room. All speakers are influenced by these factors, but ... I Believe ... the Maggies more than many others..


do they distort sound if you are not in their sweet spot?

No and neither should Any half way speakers do that ! :eek:


Magnepan's website is vague about the power needed or ideal for their speaker models. How much power are your using and at what impedance?

The Maggies wil play... even with a modest powered amplifier.

However, to make them SING, a powerful amplifier can do wonders. :)


Since they have large area covered with fabric, do you think that could create trouble?

Grills are ALWAYS an 'Issue' with ALL speakers.

If you dont have the option to take the grill off... then I guess you listen to the package as a whole...:)
 

awedeophile

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Since I owned these speakers for a few years, I will attempt to answer Venkatcr from my experience with them:

[*]Do they sound different with the same song, source player and amplifier at different times?

No, once setup they will sound the same with the same equipment and under the same conditions. However, AC, EMI, RF, Listener's mood, etc. may play a part in changing the overall sound. I have read some posts in other forums about the sound changing with change of weather (apparently tension in the Mylar changes) but I have not experienced this.

[*]This is to be expected, but do they distort sound if you are not in their sweet spot?

No, there is no distortion in the sound. BUT the sound can drastically change with movements of a few inches in the speakers.

[*]Is their sweet spot very narrow, giving the listener very little freedom of space?

Since they paint a huge image and a very wide soundstage (which some people dislike), the sweet spot is not very restricted. Again this is room dependant.


[*]How do they sound with Indian music? Instrumentals and voices? How do they sound with a sitar, a tabla, a veena or the voice of say Latha? I always found Latha's voice (in her early songs) to be a little difficult to handle for systems, particularly when she reaches a high pitch. How would they sound with the low voice of say Harry Belafonte?

Maggies have a very sweet voice. Voices are portraited very accurately and are very upfront. The highs are sweet too but are a lot lot better in the 3.6's which uses a true ribbon tweeter unlike the 1.6's quasi-ribbon.

[*]How do they sound with an orchestral number, say with a 100 artists. Can you differentiate the instruments and visualise the sound stage?

The soundstage is very wide. Depth would depend on the room and speaker placement. They need a lot of space behind them to sound good. According to Cardas, they should be at a distance of 2/3rd your cieling height from the wall. Hence if your ceiling height is 9' you need them to be 5.5' into the room, which may not be possible in many listening rooms. The closer to the wall, the leaner they sound. Instruments are clear and distinct.

Cardas Dipole Speaker Placement Calculator

[*]How do they sound with a fusion that has a large number of electronically created sounds, and heavy drums?

Bass is a major issue with these speakers and although they go low, I didn't find it sufficient. I bought an REL strata subwoofer to handle the bass, but it could not keep up with the Maggies speed and the overall sound was terrible.
I have a B&W Test CD which has some low notes on a particular track. Playing this track on a moderately loud volume would cause the entire frame of the speaker to vibrate.

[*]Magnepan's website is vague about the power needed or ideal for their speaker models. How much power are your using and at what impedance?

Maggies are 4 ohms and not very efficient. To make them sing and output some decent bass, you need a LOT of power. Small amps, receivers, etc, will not be able to drive them satisfactorily. You need a beefy Class A soilid state amp to really hear what they have to offer.

[*]Since they have large area covered with fabric, do you think that could create trouble?

Not really. They are "voiced" with the fabric on and intened to be played that way unlike many boxed speakers which require the covers to be removed for critical listening.

[*]Have they to be seated firmly on the floor, and would that create some issues? Are there some special techniques for seating them properly?

The stands that come with the speakers are not very sturdy. If you have a fan above them, the speaker will sway. Most users swear by these (apparently improves the bass definition many fold) : Magnepan stands Mye Sound

I had placed two large slabs of granite on the front and back of the stands to weigh them down.

Another problem with the 1.6's is the very cheap quality of binding posts and crossover components. The binding posts are made from steel and don't accept spades or banana's properly. I had changed mine to the Eichmann Cablepods and also replaced the capacitors in the crossover with beter ones. Read more about this here: MUG Tweaks


All said and done, I feel you cannot find a better speaker for the 2x price. BUT you need the room and the amplification. If you can't provide either off these, don't buy them.

If you have any other question, let me know..

Cheers..
 

venkatcr

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Thank you very much Awedeophile. That makes me feel much better.

I am sorry Amp-Nut for assuming you are using the speaker's

Cheers
 

baron_semedi

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@awedeophile thanks a lot for the detailed post. I am thinking of getting Magneplanar 1.7, and your post have answered many queries I have.
I have some more queires, and can you please answer them, if your time permits:

Are you still using the 1.6?
Did you find any sub which can match the Maggies?
In my room, there will not be any fans, but AC will be on all the time - do you think it will affect the ribbons in long time?
The 'granite slab on the stand' fix - are you still doing it, or did you get any other stand for them?

I am planning to pair the 1.7 with CA 840E/W. What do you think about this?

Thanks, and sorry for bumping this old thred.
 

awedeophile

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Hi Baron,

To answer your questions:

I am not using the 1.6's. Sold them a few years ago.

The only Sub I tried was the REL Strata. It did not integrate with the Maggies at all. From what I've read, matching a sub to planars is very tricky. I believe Magnepan now have a subwoofer too and you may want to check that out.

The planars could definitely benefit from some bracing. If the AC blast is directed towards them, them may sway. The stands are pretty flimsy and I was always afraid they would tip over, hence used the granite blocks which would help in holding them down but didn't stop the swaying.

I dont know how the 1.7's are made but if they use the same hardware as the 1.6's, you will beneift hugely by upgrading the Binding Posts, Fuse and X-over. See my previous posts for links.

Dont have any experience with CA amps so can't comment. Maggies like a lot of power and can go below 4 ohms. Your amps should be able to handle that.

What kind of music do you listen to? Maggies aren't suited to hard rock, etc. They're more for vocals, classical, etc. IMHO.
 

baron_semedi

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@awedeophile: thanks for the reply.

The AC blast will not be directed towards them. I think I may do some bracing with respect to the stands.

I have seen the links in your earlier posts about upgrading Binding Posts, Fuse and X-over - many thanks for the same.

may i know what did you upgrade from the 1.6? Just for curiosity sake. I will be really grateful if you can give some options in this thread -
http://www.hifivision.com/what-should-i-buy/9827-audio-gurus-need-ur-suggetion-good-ht-5.html
 

awedeophile

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I moved to the Rockport Mira's which was a huge step up. I have since changed those too.

What kind of music do you listen to?
 
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baron_semedi

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I listen to all kind of music - from karnatic to trance, from old malayalam melodies to reggaeton, from opera music to head banging rock, from malayalam to Vietnamese, from Japanese to Bhojpuri songs - my listening taste is real wide.

what is your current set-up?
 

awedeophile

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"head banging rock"... won't work on the Maggies and will sound more like noise than music.
You're better off with Dynamic Speakers. Look at B&W 600 series (floorstanders) or similar range from KEF/Dyanaudio. The new Cadence are also superb but may be more expensive than these.
All the best!
 

baron_semedi

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head banging rock - well, it is true that I listen to these, but the % of time I listen to these when compared to other genre is less. So, i was thinking that i can use my HT set up ( AVR + 5.1 ) for the kind of songs where I feel the need for SPL.

I have tentatively decided to go for Magneplanar 1.7 coupled with CA 840E/W for stereo listening, and Paradigm Cinema 330, Monitor Audio Bronze Reference 5.1 or DefTec Procinema 1000 for HT (I need to finalise on the AVR though ).

My source will be OPPO BDP-83 SE and PCH C-200.
 

sidvee

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Baron - I think you will have a sweet system with the 1.7's. I have not heard the 1.7's Long back I used to have the entry level mmg's and loved them a lot, but the mmg's were quite bass shy and quite hard to position, but once located right well into the room, the sound they projected was quite magical and yes they need good bit of power which I am sure the CA can easily provide.
Cheers
Sid
 

awedeophile

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I have tentatively decided to go for Magneplanar 1.7 coupled with CA 840E/W for stereo listening, and Paradigm Cinema 330, Monitor Audio Bronze Reference 5.1 or DefTec Procinema 1000 for HT (I need to finalise on the AVR though ).

Excellent. Happy Listening.
 

arj

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I have tentatively decided to go for Magneplanar 1.7 coupled with CA 840E/W for stereo listening,.

I have not heard the CA hence just take it as a suggestion.. if possible you should also consider trying out the Odyssey amp/pre amp (or even the Monoblocks) or maybe Bryston or Classe as well...
 
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