FYI Magnepan MMG

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Rob Rodier, May 24, 2003.

  1. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    I wanted to share my experience with these guys. I bought them for a second system, but after about 45 minutes I found myself moving them into my main listening room (2ch) and my $3200 stand-mounts out.

    The MMG is an absolute KO. Minus raw dynamics and bass definition they embarassed my monitors. For $550 delivered they give that spine tingling, wow, you are there sound, like I have never heard before in my room. Music becomes emotional.

    If you are considering speakers
     
  2. David_D

    David_D Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been thinking about these for a while. How much space do they like?
     
  3. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Second Unit

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    Optimum is around four feet between the speakers and front wall, and around four feet between each speaker and the side wall nearest it.

    Rob found out just what I did a few years ago when trying the MMG trial... they're seriously underpriced compared to other speakers. In fact, the whole Magnepan line is seriously underpriced compared to other speakers.

    There is a downside though Rob... after you have lived with the MMG's for a while, pretty much all conventional box speakers will sound like, well, a box. It seriously limits your choices for future upgrades (though the next few speakers in the Magnepan line above the MMG are quite special), and as I'm discovering it makes setting up the "dream" home theater a bitch. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Are you talking 2-channel music or 5-channel HT?

    Please be very clear as this issue changes what is important in a speaker or system.

    And you are using an external sub with the MMG's right?
     
  6. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I too experienced the MMG sound a couple of years ago. I was, at the time comparing several well know speakers in blind testing, including Energy, Norh and Monitor Audio. I have an old pair of JBL L100 that was my benchmark, so to speak.

    I found that while the MMG were definitely different, they also required more power than I was sending them. I bi-amped with some Marantz MA500 and still found the dynamics somewhat different from what I wanted. Neither the Monitor Audio or the Norh even came close to the old JBLs. The Energys were closer but I must qualify that by realizing and saying that I know I have been tuned to the JBLs for a long time. I do feel that with some good clean power... maybe 200-250 watts... the MMG would be a great contender. At lower power, they are very airy but in need of some stronger midrange.

    I loved the looks and if I ever change out my speakers, they would once again be one of the test units now that I do have some higher power amps.

    While I did use HT as one test variable, I felt that a true test could only be done using 2 channel operation.
     
  7. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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  8. Mark Dickerson

    Mark Dickerson Stunt Coordinator

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    David D:

    I have to disagree just a bit with Richard. While I am sure that there is an optimum placement with the MMGs, I have found that I am getting incredible sound out of my MMGs, one of which has been pushed into a corner, and the other is up against a back wall. I have had speakers in my house for auditions that cost several times what the MMGs cost and they did not give me the same sense of realism (i.e., that the performers were in the room with me!) that the MMGs give, even when not in an optimal position. As I have posted before, the MMGs are more "room tolerant" than any other speaker I have ever heard. My room is very wide , but comparatively shallow (20' wide, not counting the kitchen to the left, but only 14' deep, with 18' ceilings), so I can't be placing my speakers 3' out into the room (although on occasion, the are very easily moved out into the room if I want to do that). With the MMGs, it is no problem to leave them up against the back wall. If that constitutes heresy, so be it. The sound is GREAT, so what does it matter.

    DonnyD:

    I also have to disagree with some of your comments, but I recognize that we have different experiences and the MMGs are going to sound radically different than JBLs (or almost any other box speaker). You are right that the MMGs require more power than a box speaker, but nowhere near as much as you suggest. I am running my MMGs with only 100 wpc from a sixteen year old Kyocera receiver. I have long since lost the literature that came with the receiver, so I don't have any idea what it does into 4 ohms, but it is substantially less than the 200-250 watts you suggest is necessary (probably 125-135 wpc, max). I have a very large house with a lot of open space (besides the 20 x 14 x 18 demensions, the wall behind my speakers is open on the second floor into the two story living room and dining room)and I find it sounds like a european cathedral when I get the music going (with no processing, which I don't have anyways). I have had two different dealers recommend to me a NAD 752 receiver, which is only rated at 80 wpc (8 ohms), and that was to drive my planned full Maggie HT system. Right now, I am looking at buying either a NAD 762 or and Outlaw 950/7100 combo, either of which is rated at 100 wpc. As for the sound, I have pleanty of midrange info and it is smoother than any other speaker I have ever heard. I also have plenty of dynamics, as well. I actually think that the claim of an absence of dynamics has nothing to do with the actual dynamic range of the MMGs, but instead is a function of the touch sense as the listener no longer feels the "pumping" action of the conventional speaker, which would be an subconcious sensory input.

    And Bob, no, I don't run a subwoofer, either. When I first ordered my MMGs, I was certain I would have to find a subwoofer to fill in the lower octaves. However, for music, I find I don't need it nor want it, even in my very large room. I have more clean bass extension with the MMGs than I had with several large conventional box speakers. The MMGs are specified to go down to 50 hz at -3db, a spec which appears to be very honest. In fact, when I play something like Saint-Saens Symphony #3 "Organ" (Phillips 412 619-2) or the Telarc LP of the same symphony, I hear everything! Same with listening to Stanley Clarke. However, I will allow that for HT applications, to get the really low bass info of the explosions, etc., it does require a sub, but so do conventional (box) speakers! All in all, I find that other than needing more power, the MMGs have all of the sound of any quality box speaker, and it is cleaner and more realistic sounding than any other speaker line I have heard in the less than $2K/pair category, probably because of the lack of cabinet resonance.

    I join Rob in praising the sound of the MMGs. They are greatest bargain in audio today. Until you actually hear them, you can't appreciate just how good they are.
     
  9. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Second Unit

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  10. Jason Brent

    Jason Brent Second Unit

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    How do you guys think SVS sub's pair up with the Maggies??

    I've been toying around with the idea of trying the MMG's for a while now, just to try them out, but my next upgrade will probably be the new SVS and a new amp for my HK 525 (been looking at Sunfire)

    I'm definitely curious about the Maggies...
     
  11. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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    I had a pair of MMGs in my system for the 30 day trial and absolutely loved them too. Awesome sound, particularly for the money. I ended up returning them, however, because I just couldn't live with their most significant limitation - they beam. I played with placement for days and could not get the sweet spot any wider than 3 feet in my room. Inside the spot the MMGs were pure heaven, particularly when coupled with my SVS 25-31 PCi sub (yes, it was fast enough). Outside of the spot things were less than thrilling. Detail, high frequency and midrange all rolled off pretty drastically both in the horizontal and vertical axis. I wouldn't hesitate to use them in a dedicated 2 channel system, but for me they weren't practical for general use with HT.
     
  12. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Well, I finally got things "perfect" for now at least. As Doug noted, the beaming can become a problem, in my room however, I was able to completely resolve it.

    I moved the MMGs around a lot and they pretty much ended up in the same place as I described earlier, although tweaked. I also moved the QRs back to the inside, which helped the beaming problem significantly.

    The sweet spot is small, about 5 feet for me, or my entire 3 seat sofa. Which is fine. I was never able to get much more than this anyway. Standing up does drastically collapse just about everything.

    The MMG may not work in everyones room, but in the rooms they do they dissapear and really sing.

    I am going to compare them to The Triangle Titus 202 sometime in the near future. The Titus is the "other" unbeatable speaker in this price range. $495 and it received a class "B" rating for Stereophile. Should be interesting...

    -rob
     
  13. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Second Unit

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    On Beaming...

    MMG's are significantly wider than most conventional speakers, thus they do tend to beam horizontally a bit (especially at midrange frequencies... they QR tweeter, or ribbon tweeter in the higher models, are fairly narrow so they don't beam that bad themselves). The only real solution is to move the seating back a bit and spread the MMG's a bit further apart. Unfortunately, dynamics are not really high on the MMG list, and by the time you move back far enough for a great integrated soundstage over a fairly large sweet spot, you've lost another 3db or so. This is the main reason I'm moving to larger maggies for the new HT... the seating will be far enough back to (1) allow proper integration for the larger models, and (2) demand a bit more dynamics to compensate for the distance.

    About the vertical beaming... yep, they act pretty much like line sources at all frequencies except the lower bass octaves. That means the soundstage effectively collapses above the top edge of the speaker. That's why MMG's are leaned back a bit. On the other hand, people with the taller models find the true sweet spot to be a bit higher than the average seating height, and often tilt them forward a couple of degrees.

    Moral of the story... if you want to dance with your significant other to the sound of maggies, you'll need to step up to the taller models. [​IMG]
     
  14. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    I am currently in my 60 day trial of the MMGs. This pair is for my second setup in my family room, basically for TV sound. Since I have ribbon-based speakers in my HT (Soundline Audio), I opted to stay with this technology (yes, it's hard to go back to boxes).

    I have let these babies break in for 3 weeks, using my media room to feed it almost around the clock. I noticed that the ribbon tweeter broke in much faster than the panel. As already stated, they do require a lot of juice, much moreso than my Soundlines. They're not about to replace my Soundlines in my media room, but I suspect they're a keeper for TV duties, as long as I can live with their width. I do have an interest in taking them into my favorite B&M and comparing them to something like a Paradigm Studio 60 or a B&W 80X.

    Doug
     

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