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Magneplanar 1.6 vs. Onix Rocket 250's


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted August 17 2002 - 07:57 PM

i was able to get the Maggies (1.6's plus the MGCC1 center) from the dealer i saw them at earlier this week and i have them for the next 2 days.
i also have the 250 rockets along with the 200 center channel, which i had planned to ship back monday or tuesday.
in addition the dealer gave me an NAD reciever that can power the maggies at a stable 4 ohms to use in place of the Onkyo 600 i had been using w/ the rockets.

i hooked up the NAD to the rockets before i set-up the maggies and listend to a couple songs.
Then i hooked up the maggies and spent the next couple of hours trying different placements out with a variety of movie and music material.

i plan to fire them up again in a few minutes and play until the elecrical storm hits us later this morning (rolls his eyes).
At this point though, i'm actually getting eager to hook the rockets back up.

So far the biggest surprise for me has been to hear how much that Onkyo was holding the Rockets back.
the couple of tracks i listened to with the NAD sounded like they were from different (much more refined) speakers.
Dynamics were greater, imaging was more certain, there was a fullness to the sound that i thought i had to step up to the 550 or 750 to get.
Also, the bass was tighter and the sound was much, much cleaner.

the maggies were good, but the rockets were what surprised me.
i'm a little hobbled by the room conditions for these 1.6s to really shine. in generally they seemd lighter, naturally, than the rockets, but i was surprised that they actually revealed a fair share of 'speaker-centric' sound.
sometimes i was sure this was just the way the music was mixed, but i found out i have a lot of music that is like this (older recording, etc).
the 10 x larger panel of the planars helps diffuse that 'directional' feeling a little, but you are still able to close your eyes and point to where the sound is coming from, and you are pointing right at the speaker.
Shania Twain, one of the only 'recent' cds i have didn't really suffer from this at all, and that vaunted Maggie transparency was there in spades.


another surprise:
more robust bass from the maggies. i was listening to several DD soundtracks (without a picture, just sitting in the dark), and was surprised by the slam i was getting w/out a sub.
i actually think now i would be perfectly content w/ the range of the Maggies for HT.

i'll try to watch a movie on the maggies and then i may just hook the rockets back up.
like i said, the change in sound with the change in recievers startled me.
there was obviously more left in the Rockets that i have yet to tap, and didn't even know it.
they were good sounding speakers before, especially at less than 1/2 the cost of the maggies.

not sure what the rest of the weekend will bring (besides more thunderstorms)


so far the only real casualty has been the Onkyo 600 (boo...hiss).

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Doug_B

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Posted August 18 2002 - 02:04 AM

Is it possible that the position of the Maggies is such that bass was enhanced and imaging suffered? Could be the case if they're too close to the wall (either behind or to the sides). At one dealer, I heard the 3.6's where the imaging was absolutely incredible. But they were positioned halfway into the room, and side walls were not an issue! There was no bass "slam" in this mode either.

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#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Luis C

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Posted August 18 2002 - 06:01 AM

Paul,

The 1.6s will suffer from exactly what you are describing if the rear and side wall surfaces are all hardwall (i.e. reflective) and they speakers are too close to the walls.

Try this for a test... take an old drapery and tack it to the back wall surface just like it were covering a big sliding door. I think you will be really surprised at the difference. After that, we can talk again! :-)

Also, toss the center... no matter what, you will NOT be happy with it. Call Magnepan and ask them to get you an MGCC2 for eval... either direct or thru the dealer. They WILL help you, trust me. There are very few companies with this level of customer service... Magnepan is great! The MGCC1 was replaced because the majority of Maggie owners are using the center for multi-channel audio, not A/V so the performance lacked. But the new MGCC2 is awesome! No comparison!

Last thought: You need LOTS more power to get the Maggies to really shine! At least 250 (real) watts per channel and they will really come alive.

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted August 18 2002 - 07:42 AM

i was back down this morning listening to music for another couple of hours and they were spectacular.
its a good thing it was 5 am and a Sunday, 'cause i was ready to pull the trigger right then and there.
imaging was spot on.
i really think any problems earlier were just disc-centric.
i was listening to a lot of re-issues and such, when i put on ...the Cranberries for instance, it was all there.
beautiful, beautiful sound. delicate with power in reserve.
didn't care for the sound when used in HT though.
could be the center.
at this point i'll have to take it on faith that the CC2 is vastly superior.
i have the sneaking sucspicon that i still might like the Rockets better for that application.
i really had no prob whatsoever with them as HT speakers w/ the onkyo.
in fact during all my demo they were the best i heard.
and now with a better power source they are probably that much better, and the music end has improved as well.
i would doubt they end up impressing me as much as the Maggies as far as music goes when all is said and done, but they are also 1/3 less money.

i'll be giving those more time tonight.

Actually, in regards to placement; they are pretty close to the corners, toed-in considerably. the back wall is mostly hung velvet, and there are plants in each corner 1' behind the speakers.
i was over on the MUG and one person had recommended some interesting placement set-ups.
in any case, this is the best i can do, at least as far as HT goes.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Michael Ipp

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Posted August 18 2002 - 11:55 AM

Keep us posted. I am watching (wish I was listening) to these Rocket threads.

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted August 18 2002 - 12:27 PM

even with the primitve room & amplification conditions, i've already gotten the best sound from the maggies that i've ever heard in that room.
but i do believe you Luis, about the power advantage, especially after seeing what happened to the 250's in that regard.
Michael, i actually think the threads might start doing a disservice to the line.
i wouldn't be surprised if backlash start to set in just in response to the fervency of first eurphoric and obviously enthusiatic posters.
its kind of typical human nature, to want to tune out when the hype reaches a certain spl, which i think is close to happening w/ the rockets.
i sympathize with internet marketers.
on the one hand you desperetly need to develop word of mouth and want to stimulate discussion of your product, but then there's a chance that the fans will go overboard and you'll end up turning potential customers off.
Star Trek's a good show, but i'm glad i wasn't surrounded by trekkies before i was exposed to it.

that said, after looking into as many brands as i could check out in person, i can vouch that the value is there.
in their respective price ranges, i'd really like to know whats better.
i haven't heard anything yet.

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Aaron H

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Posted August 18 2002 - 01:21 PM

I hope you don't mind me posting this question in this thread - but I have never really heard of magnepan speakers until I saw a set for sale in the paper this weekend. There's a guy selling some MG III's for $200/pair. Anyone have anything good/bad to say about these?

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#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Luis C

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Posted August 18 2002 - 02:16 PM

Thats an incredible price... even for MGIII's. Maggies have some of the best resale value of any speaker ever made. The MGIIIs command prices of anywhere from $800-$1000 in the Cali market and they stopped production of them over 15 years ago.

Be advised that the MGIII's do NOT have the vaunted Magnepan ribbon tweeter that are in the new MG3.6R's. And they are lower sensitivity than the new versions, so you will need a good 200 (real) watts each to even get them going.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted August 18 2002 - 04:06 PM

Luis,
do you have any opinion on the MMG and MG12 vs. the 1.6?
their sound with music was so silken smooth, so grand...
but i find it coming at too high a price (not just money).

after some more listening, i'm pretty certain i prefer the Rockets for HT.
The Mags were doing some weird things-which may just be revealing how poorly mixed some of the soundtracks were-
but still isn't something i want to indulge.
for instance;
In Jaws, much of the music is VERY subdued and sounds like it exists on a completely seperate plane. you have the dialouge and effects tracks(remixed 5.1... yech) and these come across fairly clear and distinct. underneath these you can hear the music, and its very quiet and/or sounds compressed dynamically.
on the R's the soundtrack sounds much more fully intergrated.
1776 came across rather poorly also. like Jaws, music passages had this telescoped quality, with the vocals in particular, sounding veiled.
Superman sounded very good though, with the opening JW score coming across very nicely. a little bit more expansive and refined than on the Rockets.
X-Men i preferred on the Rockets, with too many of the scenes seeming just a little too light and airy on the Mags.

i might hook them up one more time, but i think i'll be taking them back tomorrow.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Luis C

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Posted August 18 2002 - 05:31 PM

MMG's: Excellent for the money... far more revealing and detailed than any speaker at that price. Actually they are FAR too revealing for the average persons system that wants to buy speakers at this price point. Makes the majority of lesser electronics show off their inherent weaknesses thus most people won't like them. One caviat... for HT use, the MMG (like the MGMC1) will not work well without a dedicated sub. For audio yes, video, no...

MG12: Much better low frq performance than MMG and almost as good in audio as the MG1.6's... a very good compromise.

which may just be revealing how poorly mixed some of the soundtracks were

How interesting you would mention this... in any system, you have to be the one to decide exactly what it is you really want. Unfortunately, even the best HT setup will not do justice to pure audio and a really good audio system will not be ideal for HT. IMHO, the Maggies are the best possible compromise... I have had and heard a LOT of really nice audio speaker systems and many high-end HT speaker systems but I have never heard a more realistic sounding system than the Maggies. Nuf said... anything more than this statement will p**s off many here! Posted Image

To me, the re-creation of the most realistic sounds possible outweighs all other parameters. I am not interested in a system because the speakers make the DVD recording sound brighter or more forward like your typical neighborhood theatre (ala THX Ultra specs); I'm not interested in the speakers making the sound more "balanced" because the studio did a lousy job of mixdown and I'm certainly not interested in "enhancing" my video experience by exaggerating the effects in video. I just want the most realistic sounding system possible, especially in plain ol' music. But thats me... you have to choose what it is you want.

BTW, my 11yo son is a HUGE Jaws fan (what can I say Posted Image ) and after having seen it a the theatre and then at home, he wrote a letter to the studio telling them just how lousy the transfer ended up, both visually and audibly. Posted Image

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Michael Roderiques

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Posted August 19 2002 - 04:48 PM

Luis
Don’t knock the MMG for use in a HT system. I have a 5.1 system with MMG’s for mains, MGMC1 for surround and the MGCC1 For centre channel. I do have a Velo HGS15 in this system. The MGCC2 was out for it’s first reviews and Wendell could not get me one for too long of a time. I guess I could call and ask to upgrade. With the deal they have going for the MMG’s and the MGMC1’s right now, it would be a difficult choice to make. From some things paul has said, the MMG's may actually work better in his room.

Outlaw has a modified ICBM for the maggies. They bring the Xover point up to something like 270Hz. They do charge $75.00 more for this option.


Paul
The NAD surprised you did it. That is a common thing to happen. I have used NAD equipment for a number of years. I have a full NAD two channel system at home. For the money, you will be hard pressed to find a better sounding equipment. Only reason I did not go NAD on the HT is the T761 was not out.
Check audiogon, you can find some good deals sometimes.

If I was to upgrade the hardware end of the HT, I would be considering the new outlaw pre/pro, the ICBM with the Maggie mod. For amps I would go with ATI.
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#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Luis C

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Posted August 19 2002 - 05:03 PM

Actually Michael,

I wasn't knocking the MMG at all! I love them! Posted Image
Nothing close to them, especially for the money. I have an extra pair I am using in my family room right now. I was just commenting on the HT need for really deep bass extension, which not even my 3.6's will do well (they do go down to 34Hz measured in-room).

Paul mentioned that he did not want a seperate sub so thats why I commented on the bass extension of the MMG for HT use. To be really honest, I would gladly add a sub to an HT setup to have the MMG's for audio-only uses.

And as far as the ATI Michael, wait about a month and see whats coming! Posted Image

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Michael Roderiques

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Posted August 20 2002 - 03:50 PM

Luis

In a months time, what could be available that would out perform the ATI amps.

Unless it was a new ATI amp that not only has a few more watts, but a lower cost.

ATI's are not that well known and at $1.65 a pound they are a h*ll of a deal
Michael Roderiques

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   SkiingNinja

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Posted August 21 2002 - 08:14 AM

Quote:
Michael, i actually think the threads might start doing a disservice to the line.
i wouldn't be surprised if backlash start to set in just in response to the fervency of first eurphoric and obviously enthusiatic posters.
its kind of typical human nature, to want to tune out when the hype reaches a certain spl, which i think is close to happening w/ the rockets.
i sympathize with internet marketers.
on the one hand you desperetly need to develop word of mouth and want to stimulate discussion of your product, but then there's a chance that the fans will go overboard and you'll end up turning potential customers off.
Star Trek's a good show, but i'm glad i wasn't surrounded by trekkies before i was exposed to it.


Excellent point Paul and I like the ST reference Posted Image

I remember this quite well when I purchased my Divas one year ago. Too much tends to turn some people off...they don't want to hear it anymore Posted Image Personally, it tells me that there are a heck of a lot of happy owners which is why I looked up AV123, SVS and Outlaw at the time and I own several products from each company and am quite pleased with my set up.

Ultimately, it's the customers that spread the word, good and bad Posted Image

Regards,

Sean
Owner, Skiing Ninja