Magnepan front stage but other surrounds?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Charles J P, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Hey all, I currently have a Mirage Omni setup (omni 260 fronts, omni cc and omni fx) I have always been in love with Magnepans ever since a nearly half day audition at one of the local hi-fis (MGMC1s and MG 1.6s). I upgraded about a year ago from an all Paradigm setup. I chose the Mirages because, at the time, the only Magnepan CC was ~$1000 on top of which, I was using a receiver and it wouldnt drive 4ohm speakers. Now I have a 7 channel amp and now, Magnepan has released more "home theater" geared speakers with their MMGW and MMGC as well as the budget MMG floor standing speaker.

    However, if I decide I can finally pull the trigger on what may be my dream speakers, I will not be able to incorporate the MMGWs as surrounds due to room issues. So here are my questions:

    1) If I go with MMG floor standers is the new $300 MMGC a GOOD center channel speaker or is it just an attempt by Magnepan to get SOMETHING out there for the HT market

    2) I think the MMGs would be an upgrade for me in terms of stereo listening, but will it be a "downgrade" for my HT experience by not having matched surrounds? My front stage would be all maggie, but I would use the Mirage Omni FX surrounds.
     
  2. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Charles:

    Even though I'm not going to be able to answer your question directly, I thought I'd share with you my own experience.

    I purchased some MMGs in October after having to sell off my beloved Paradigm Studio/100s and 20s. They were pretty good out of the box, but after about 100 hrs of break in time they just came alive. I still have them in my set-up (though I'm planning an upgrade to the 1.6s soon) and they never cease to amaze me.

    Anyway, I use the MMG-Ws in back for surrounds, so I can't offer much help to you there. As far as the center goes, though, I'd like to encourage you to consider running a phantom center. The majority of people on this forum will advocate a center speaker. But interestingly enough, if you go to the maggie forum you'd see that the exact opposite is true of those folks. There is even one guy who owns a CC3 but as decided he likes the seamlessness of the 1.6s by themselves in phantom mode. So that's my first suggestion: Try going without a center channel first. If you decide you want to give one a shot, Magnepan has a 60-day return policy on the MMG-C.

    Just make sure you give them plenty of time to break-in before you really do any critical listening. And don't forget on the MMGs you have a one year trade-up policy [​IMG]
     
  3. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Thanks Alan, I think I saw your thread. A good way to do this might simply be to order the MMG and MMG-C at the same time and then play with both phantom and MMG-C as a CC over the time that the speaker break in. I would also be able to evaluate the whole setup with my mirage surrounds.

    That being said, does Magnepan charge shipping on the original order, and what would return shipping be?
     
  4. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Charles:
    Yep, they do charge shipping but it's not all that much since the speakers are relatively light. I'm not sure what the return shipping would be, to be honest. The only way I'll find out is by upgrading to the 1.6s, cause I think I have to ship them back to Magnepan even though I purchase the 1.6s through my local dealer.

    By the way, you'll see for yourself, but don't let anyone tell you these speakers are not good for HT. That ended up being the biggest surprise for me, cause I'm primarily an HT guy and several people told me they'd be lacking in that dept. What I've noticed about HT is that these speakers extract every bit of detail from the soundtrack. The trick with HT is the volume. YOu can literally turn up the volume on these speakers without them getting much louder. They just come more alive. My brother is the GM of a local theater and he's very picky about audio with regard to HT. I brought him over for a demo of Cast Away shortly after the speakers had broken in, and he was nearly in awe of them. You could hear so much damn detail from that film that you literally felt as though you were with Tom Hanks on the island. It was awesome!

    Anyway, I digress........I'm not sure what help I can be other than to continue to go on and on about how impressed I am with these speakers (for $500 I don't see how you can beat them). But I will tell you that I think you made a great choice in bringing them into your place for a listen. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised [​IMG]
     
  5. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I havent brought them in yet. Is there a waiting list from Magnepan do you think?
     
  6. Alan Bakken

    Alan Bakken Extra

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    I just bought a pair of MMG's. I actually drove up to the factory to pick them up, so I can't comment on shipping. I doubt there is a waiting list, because when I ordered, mine were out of stock, but they were in stock the next day when I went to get them. hot off the press

    Magnepan sound = amazing

    anyways, given the unimportance of the rear channels in any sort of surround sound experience, I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  7. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Many a conversation has been hammered out about the importance of center channel speaker using the argument that 80%+ of all sound comes from the CC. Obviously not even the remaining 20% would ALL come from the surrounds, so you are right about the surround issue.
     
  8. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Charles:
    There was no waiting list when I ordered my MMGs. They shipped the next day. Same with the MMG-Ws. It may depend on what color you choose, but as far as I know they are up to date with their orders.

    I hope you'll post your experiences here and/or at the Maggie users forum.
     
  9. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Where is the Maggie users forum!? and how did I not know there was one?
     
  10. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Charles:
    Sorry, it's just the one on audio asylum....looks like you already found it [​IMG]
     
  11. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    LOL, yep. Audio Asylum's format is not as nice as the forums with fancy software, but there is far too much knowledge there to ignore it for that fact.
     
  12. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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  13. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Alan and Alan,

    I posted over at AVS and I'm getting a couple (not all, but some) responses saying basically the MMGs are nice, but really you need to step up to 1.6s. So here is my question. Do you guys agree or is it just like any other speaker. For AlanZ, have you spent considerable time listening to the 1.6s since you are thinking of upgrading? Is the difference similar what you'd find in any speaker line? I'm a former Paradigm Monitor line owner. Is the difference like going from a Monitor 7 to a Studio 100 or is it more like going from a Studio 40 to a Studio 100? Also do you guys know is there is a 1 year trade in policy on the MMG-C? I can see that IF I found any deficiency in the first year, I might try to save up for MG12s and the BIG CC.

    What I'm getting at is when people say that the MG 1.6 is the TRUE entry point for god Maggies, is that just like someone saying the TRUE entry point for Paradigm is the Studio 40 when obviously poeple are happy with the Monitor line and the line below that?

    Also, I'm getting some hints at AVS that you need some REALLY good amps to run maggies. I know my maggie dealer runs the smaller maggies (the old wall mount ones that were like $750 a pair) off of a Rotel receiver (not seperate amp) and runs the 1.6s off of (I think) Meridian gear. I have an Atlantic Technology amp which is rated to 240watts at 4 ohms and is a beastly hunk of metal.

    What are you guys' thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  14. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Charles:

    I had many of the same questions as you when I first picked up my MMGs......I'm still a Maggie newbie for the most part, but I'll give it a shot [​IMG]

    As far as the MMGs, Magnepan told me directly that they designed that program specifically as an "appetizer". It is their hope that you will love the MMGs so much that over the course of a year you'll decide to upgrade to a larger model. That being said, if my budget for mains was $500 and only $500, I would have absolutely no problem keeping these MMGs. In fact, what you find on audioreview.com is that the majority of people love their MMGs so much that even if they upgrade they retain the MMGs for a secondary system. The only reason I'm going to upgrade is because my budget for mains is around 2k. Ideally, I'd like to have the best speakers for my situation at or around that price point. But just because the MMGs were designed to be an affordable way to give the maggies a try in your own home doesn't mean the speaker can't function on its own, too.

    As far as amplification, from what my dealer told me, 100 wpc of good clean amplification should be sufficient up to and including the 1.6s. I currently use Outlaw Audio 200wpc monoblocks (300wpc into 4 ohms) and they do a hell of a job. When I had Paradigm studios, 100wpc was sufficient, too.....but 200 wpc was better [​IMG] The need for lots of clean power is even more important with the Maggies, though. Some of the complaints I've read about people with MMGs usually correlate to their amplification. If your amp is stable at 4ohms and can put out 240 wpc, I think you'll be just fine.

    As far as comparing the sound, that's really hard to do. Planars sound entirely different than box speakers. In addition to that, my ears may hear differently than yours. What I've found for myself, however, is that the MMGs excel with detail. Voices are crystal clear, instruments are well-defined and natural sounding, etc. When you first fire them up, they may sound a little bright and edgy, but that really does go away as they break in.

    But anyway, you don't have to feel pressured to move beyond the MMGs in any way if they work for you. In fact, if you go through the pics of some of the peoples' systems on that webpage I mentioned above, you'll see that a lot of them keep their MMGs as their main speakers. Others keep them and do a few modifications to improve the sound. So trust me, not everyone upgrades to the MG12s or 1.6s. A lot of folks just continue to enjoy their MMGs [​IMG]
     
  15. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Cool, that's what I thought, but I've never encountered a situation where I've asked for advice on a particular model and essentially gotten a "if you are going to buy that brand, dont bother unless you get XYZ model." It wasnt worded so strongly, but that's what I read between the lines.
     
  16. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    You know, another determining factor will be the size of your room. The MMGs aren't quite as fussy as the larger models from what I've been told, so that's also a consideration as far as upgrading. My current listening room is about 15x25 with the maggies on one of the short walls. I have them 3' from the front wall and 3' from the side walls and they sound great. They are relatively light and easy to move, so you can always keep them closer to the wall until you're ready to listen, but definitely conisder the room variables if and when you ever think about a larger Maggie.
     
  17. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    I'd agree with Alan in that the MMG's definitely give you the same "type" of sound that the 1.6's do, just on a smaller scale, if you will.


    Could you clarify this a bit? I'd agree that timbre-matching in surrounds is not nearly as important, and hardly possible given the radically different acoustic environment in which a surround is typically placed, but I'd think surrounds would be important for...surround.
     
  18. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Jack, do you own Maggies, too? Or are you familiar with them through demo sessions?
     
  19. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Hey Jack,

    What I took it to mean (and I agree) is if you randomly selected 25 DVDs from your collection and played them only with the surrounds hooked up, you wouldnt get a ton of sound on the whole, unless your collection is all action movies. There are a LOT of movies out there that just plain dont have a lot of surround action (or maybe mine blend so well that I just dont notice [​IMG])
     
  20. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    You know what source has a surprisingly ample amout of surround info? The Fox 5.1 DD feed. When I was watching the Super Bowl I was amazed at how active the surrounds were. It completely enhanced the experience. We had American Idol on last night, and it was more of the same. I have never used my HT for television viewing on a regular basis, but that may change when I watch a show on Fox.
     

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