Considering Maggies or Rockets

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lon, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Hi guys, been lurking around here for about 2 years now and am finally taking the plunge to upgrade my existing system. I'm replacing everything except for the Dual SVS-Ultras. My home theater room is in the basement and measures 17 x 11.5 x 7.

    I'm currently considering going with the following:

    Rockets:
    RS750 - fronts
    RSC200 - center
    RSS300 - surrounds

    or

    Magnepan:
    MG1.6 - fronts
    MGCC2 - center
    MGMC1 - surrounds

    I've already auditioned the Maggies and love the crystal clear sound. The bass was there, but not "slamming". I'm working on auditioning the rockets through audioenvy.

    If anyone who has had experience with comparing the 2, I'd love to hear your thoughts on pros and cons.

    In terms of pre/pro I'm looking at the Outlaw 950/755 combo. I've also heard good things about the ATI's. For the amp I'm looking for something that's going to give good clean power and not cost a ton. The 755 seems to fit that bill but I've had no first hand experience with them. Any other alternatives I should be considering? Would the same amp work for both the rockets/maggies?

    For the Maggie center I know there's a problem with the reproduction of the 80-160hz range and it seems the best fix so far is the Outlaw Magnepan ICBM. Or a dedicated sub (which I don't want to do). Any other alternatives?

    Thanks.

    -Lon
     
  2. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Hi Lon,

    I use a Maggie HT setup w/ 1.6 mains, 12's for rears, and a virtual center (w/ a pair of SVS's also). While the subtlety is impressive, extracting dynamics and all that the speakers were capable of required some really expensive electronics. They can sound good with less expensive gear, but to really sing (in HT), I feel you need first class components (I wound up with Theta Digital and Krell gear--lesser gear either didn't offer the dynamics or limited music reproduction).

    For an HT-oriented setup, my recommendation (of the two choices you suggested) would be to go with the Rockets. You'll still get really good music, but you'll get great HT. If you were heavily biased towards 2-chn music, then my preference would be maybe the maggies but with an inexpensive 2 chn analog preamp in between an HT processor (or a receiver using preamp outs) and a quality, high-power amp. For HT use you'd set the preamp on unity gain (effectively a straight pass through), and send all the digital signals to your processor. For music use, you'd send all your analog signals (i.e., your CDP would be doing the D/A conversion) to the 2 chn preamp--you could leave the HT processor and rears/center amps turned off.

    Have you had a chance to compare a Maggie HT setup vs. a cone-type speaker HT setup, either next to each other or in adjacent rooms at a brick-and-mortar? Try that at moderate to high volumes so that you can get a good feel of the dynamic differences. Make sure they're not using expensive electronics behind the maggies. . .

    Either way you go though I think you'll have a whale of a setup. [​IMG]
     
  3. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    Hi Lon,

    The Maggies and the Rockets are very different speakers. I have heard both and they have very distinct qualities and room interactions.

    The qualities you like in the Maggies, no doubt, stem from the abilities of their ribbons to produce a crystal clarity within a sonic "bedding" imparted by their dipolar dispersion pattern.

    This very component however is also the limiter to their dynamic range and air moving capabilities in reproducing bass.

    The Rockets on the other hand are very dynamic loudspeakers and while some might disagree, seem to have the ability to play with great dynamic range for HT applications.

    As a dealer of many speakers, I might suggest that you could find a "hybird" of sorts in the VMPS line, where you have a "ribbon" speaker that also has "greater" dynamics than most cones and does not suffer from the dipolar radiation sonics of the Maggies.

    Other speakers like the Maggies might be the Martin Logans and other speakers like the Rockets, might be the Polks new line, but if you want a Hybrid that can likely give you the performance you're looking for, I would suggest finding a VMPS owner and asking for a listen.

    Just my opinion.

    John
     
  4. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the info. Which specific Thetas and Krells are you using?

    Right now I'm about 50/50 on HT vs music.

    So far I've auditioned Klipsch, B&W(nautilus 802, 804, 805), Thiel, Sonus Faber and Martin Logan. Out of those the high end Martin Logan and the 802 were amazing, but also quite out of my price range. I own Klipsch now and find them a bit on the bright side. The Sonus and the Thiel didn't have the sound I was looking for either. I had originally planned on looking into the B&W's, but the dealer steered me towards the MG1.6 and that really caught my attention with music.

    I plan on further auditioning a Maggie HT setup tonight and will ask to hear it on their lower end electronics.

    -Lon
     
  5. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Hi Lon,

    Specifics: Theta Casablanca II w/ Xtreme DAC, Krell KAV-250 & KAV-250a/3.

    Really pay attention to what the dealer is driving those 1.6's with--and make sure it's HT gear and not 2 chn purist stuff (unless you're considering that as an option). I didn't originally and wound up going through a number of iterations of gear (each more expensive) until I reproduced that original sound ("magic") I'd heard at the dealer.

    Think you'll be able to audition a cone-driven system at the same time as the maggies to compare?

    Also be aware of setup limitations of the Maggies--they need a lot of room around them. Many significant others seem to be disappointed with having "black doors" standing three feet into the room, etc. And if you don't give them their space, they don't sound nearly as good.

    I'll second John's recommendation to explore the VMPS line of speakers. Depending upon where you live, arranging an audition may be difficult (or not). But they offer a tremendous value. Outstanding sound; great prices. Similar to your SVS Ultra's there. (www.vmpsaudio.com)

    I'm actually planning to step up from my Maggies to a full VMPS setup myself soon (RM40's, LRC, maybe 626R rears), just fyi.

    Hope you have enjoy your audition and find some answers in terms of what will work best for you,

    Mike
     
  6. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Hi John,

    Good call on the ribbons.

    I looked at the VMPS site and it left me a bit confused on what their product line is and where to buy. Any particular VMPS site/dealer I should try?

    *edit* Oops, I found the "continue" button at the bottom of their price lists page. All is clear now. [​IMG]
    */edit*

    I did read over some reviews/specs on the VMPS RM 40 and it sounds impressive, but at 4600 just for the fronts I think that's out of my range.

    Thanks.

    -Lon
     
  7. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Lon,

    Maybe explore a setup with 4 626R's and one LRC. Much less expensive but still outstanding sound.

    There are a number of VMPS dealers active on the various HT forums (particularly w/in the VMPS forums at www.audiocircle.com and www.harmonicdiscord.com), but you can always contact VMPS directly, indicate where you live, and they'll let you know of dealers in your area.
     
  8. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Hm, I can't seem to find an entry for LRC?
     
  9. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Hi Lon,

    "LRC" is Large Ribbon Center. Here's an URL:
    http://www.vmpsaudio.com/lrcpic.htm

    Click on the pic to get info. You can get to that pic/URL via "The Large Ribbon Center" link under Hot Topics of the home page.
     
  10. Jack Dotson

    Jack Dotson Agent

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    Hello Lon. I'm currently going through a similar ordeal, except I dumped my Klipsh years ago. :) I do kind of miss the Cornwall's. I heard the Maggie's a couple of weeks ago and was blown away. They are very inefficient and lack dynamics and bass, but man, what sound! They're the closest to the real thing that I've heard. A piano sounded like a real piano. The dealer had two listening rooms, one with the 3.6R's connected to some really awesome AR components and the other with the 1.6's and 12's hooked to some fairly modest NAD components (not their top of the line silver stuff either). Yes, the 3.6 set-up was much better, and it should have been. However, the 1.6's with the NAD stuff was great too. I currently have the Outlaw model 755 and 950 that your looking at and couldn't be happier. BTW, you do realize the Outlaw amps are really ATI's in disguise don't you? Sherbourn and Atlantic Tech also sell the same unit as the 950 with a different face plate for hundreds more. Check out the Audioholic article about the clone processors, very interesting. Small differences here and there, but basically the same stuff at a cheaper price. The 750 had less power and output devises than the ATI 1505, but the 755 has more power and 10 output devises compared to the 8 used in the 1505, not to mention the 755 has two transformers. So and energetic two thumbs up for the Outlaw stuff from my stable. My speakers are PSB Stratus Gold i mains, Stratus C6i center, and sonanance in-wall surrounds (need to be changed, not a good match). I just received my SVS 20-39PCi today and won't be pulling it from the box until tomorrow, so I can't comment on it yet. However, since I was so thrilled by the Maggie sound, but still had questions as to whether or not I could live with the limited dynamics, etc., I ordered the MMG's with the 60 day in-home trial. I plan to try and integrate them with the SVS. I've heard the SVS's are pretty fast, so I'm hoping for good results. I realize I'm not going to get the performance from the MMG's that the 1.6's have, but if I can get that a taste of that magical sound in my room, I will take them up on their trade-in offer and get the 1.6's or move them to the rear and add the center on down the line. I'll let you know how it goes, but they are up against some still competition with the Stratus line-up. Don't know how my Stratus' compare to the Rockets, but I've compared them to the Paradigm Studio line, B&W's (only liked the 802's better), Energy's, etc. and IMO the Gold's had the best sound for my money. However, the Gold's are also very inefficient and hard to drive, but the Outlaw does a good job. Although the Maggie's are a 4 Ohm speaker I don't think they will be as hard to drive as the Gold's. The Gold's drop to below 3Ohms and have a really nasty phase shift in the lower bass registers. Their sensitivity rating is [email protected], but in a Sterophile review they noted it was actually much lower, about 84Db if memory serves. Should be getting my Maggie's the day after tomorrow and I'll let you know what "I" think of them.
     
  11. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Hi Mike,

    I suppose I'm a little prejudice against the bookshelf speakers now. I have yet to hear one that I really liked. Thoough I wonder if the LRC would work with the Maggie 1.6...


    Hi Jack,

    Sounds like we are in a pretty similar boat. I listened to the Maggies in an HT environemt and the center channel sounded somewhat lacking.. My dealer said that they were coming out with a new center that will fix the problems of the existing center, but he's the first I've heard this from. Can anyone else confirm this?

    Fortunately in about 2 weeks I'll be able to demo the 1.6's in my house to get a better feel for how they are going to sound in my HT room. Unfortunately I only have a Denon 2802 to power them with. I suppose if I like them with the Denon, I'll love them with the Outlaw.

    Looking forward to see what you think of the MMG.

    -Lon
     
  12. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Hi Lon,

    I've wondered about the LRC w/ Maggies as well. Almost worked it up for myself to justify an early LRC purchase. [​IMG]

    Have you had a chance to hear really good (i.e., typically really expensive) bookshelfs? They tend to have outstanding imaging and may seem almost boxless in sound. They just don't tend to go that low--but that's where your ultra's would capably take over. In a lot of cases bookshelf style (i.e., not floorstanders) offer more flexibility in terms of placement and height.

    Any chance you can also borrow an equivalent amp to the Outlaw you're considering at the same time as you have the 1.6's at your place? Whether the same dealer or another? You could use the pre-outs of your 2802 to drive the amp.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts when you have the maggie's in your room.

    Regards,

    Mike
     
  13. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Hi Mike,

    I listened to a pair of b&w 805's and they just didn't seem to have the "presence" I was looking for. Another possibility I had considered was the norh, but it seems they would be pretty hard to find someone to demo them.

    Not likely on the amp borrowing. I don't have the interconnects yet either... Maybe I can step up the Outlaw buying process. [​IMG]

    -Lon
     
  14. Russell _T

    Russell _T Supporting Actor

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    I am using the Rockets with the Outlaw setup, and so far, have not found any speakers I can afford that sound better to me.
    This Monday, I will be doing a side by side comparison between the Rockets and the VMPS 626's using both the Outlaw gear and an H/K 8000. The CD player is a Sony 555ES, and for DVD and DVD-A we'll be using my Panasonic CP72. Subs will be both an SVS 25 39 PCi, and a Hsu VTF-3.
    I would be happy to post my opinion of the results sometime next week if anyone is interested.
     
  15. Andy Nanton

    Andy Nanton Auditioning

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    Russ,

    I'd be very interested, particularly if they are the 626 ribbons.
     
  16. Russell _T

    Russell _T Supporting Actor

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    Yes, they are the ribbons.
     
  17. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Russ,

    Please do post your opinions. Would love to see how the rockets compare. Just curious what speakers you've listened to within the rocket's range?

    -Lon
     
  18. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    What Rockets are in the comparison?

    John
     
  19. Jack Dotson

    Jack Dotson Agent

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    Yes, by all means, please post the results. The Rockets look interesting.
     
  20. Russell _T

    Russell _T Supporting Actor

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    The only other speaker I have demoed side by side with the Rockets are the Diva by Swans and Klipsch RF7's, but some brands that I have listened to seriously in the last year include M&K 150's, M&K 750's, B&W N805, 803, 801 Cmt NT 7 and 9, Sonus Grand Piano, Vienna Acoustic Beethoven, Infinity Kappa, Infinity Interlude, Martin Logan Odessey, and Aeon, Boston Acoustic (can't remember the model)some big Maggies, Def Tech BT3000's, Klipsch RF7 and RF3, Monitor Audio Gold Reference, Paradigm Reference 40, 60 and 100. Oh yeah' and some big black NHT's.
    This will be primarily a 2 channel comparison as the owner of the VMPS's only has a pair of 626's and is coming down from Prescott, a 4 hour drive.
    I have all the Rockets and Divas, so if there is interest in putting a specific model in the system, let me know and I will try and do it.
     

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