Speakers: Magnepan MG 1.7i, $2200 per pair
In 2010 Magnepan brought out the MG-1.7 speakers. A couple years later they made an upgrade to the 1.7i, the current version.
The day the MG-1.7 came out, it was the best Magnepan value EVER. That’s because it was the first FULL QUASI RIBBON design.
Up until 1.7, all prior Maggies had wires running north/south on the Mylar diaphragm. They worked great and sounded excellent. But as with so many products we encounter regardless of the field, when new technology appears, the old is reveal as … yesterday’s.
The QUASI RIBBON design features strips of foil, each about half an inch wide (for the mid/woof) portion of the speaker. The COVERAGE of the diaphragm dwarfed what the wires could cover. The result is a much more responsive speaker with higher efficiency, more bass and punch. The 1.7 went further in offering a tweeter and SUPER TWEETER. Each of these voice coils is approximately 1/8” wide. This made the high end more clear and provided broader dispersion. Maggie 1.7i with this design, doesn’t require you to sit in the center- they disperse like a flood light, not a spot light.
Light. Fast. Airy. Detailed. Intimate. All are accurate adjectives for the MG-1.7i. For $2200 per pair, there is no more resolving a speaker on the marketplace.
The Maggies provide a window to the rest of your system. Hook them up to a 40×2 receiver and… they’ll sound a bit drab. Hook them up to a quality amp and WOW!
Power Amp: Emotiva XPA2G3 $1000, 300×2
You can’t beat 300×2 of massive Emo built in the USA!
Preamp: Emotiva XSP-1 Stereo Preamp $1200
You want the XSP-1 for many reasons. First of all, it’s a wonderful sounding, true balanced, fully differential preamp. It is config’d with XLR ins/outs as well as traditional RCA ins/outs. It has a dynamite phono preamp that supports MM & MC cartridges!
Since we’re going to go with a vinyl source here, the phono section is no small inclusion. Emo doesn’t know if you’re a diehard phono guy that might want to run a fantastic low output moving coil like the Ortofon Quintet Black for a grand. If so, XSP-1 is good to go with on board head amp. Or, if you just want to run MM, that’s fine too!
XSP-1 also has a unique, useful feature- a subwoofer out with crossover in the XSP-1. You can send a powered sub a specific crossed over signal, or full range signal- ideal for muscling up your system.
As you evaluate making sense of the heart of a fine separates system, XSP-1 is a legit bargain in what it offers!
Turntable: Rega Planar 3 With Elys 2 Cartridge $1145
Vinyl can sound terrific! This is providing you have a fine turntable and records in great shape. It you’re buying grizzly used records that somebody ice skated across and running a plastic turntable, the allure of vinyl can’t be realized. It’s fun to see records at Barnes & Noble, but have you seen what they want you to play them on?!
Rega is a family owned company in the UK. They make their own tables, tonearms and cartridges. They do their own machining of bearings to ensure low friction in the tonearm and platter spinning tasks. The less friction there is, the more freely all these moving parts interface, yielding clearer sound.
P3 sniffs at performance to challenge tables for many thousands of dollars. We recommend Rega’s Elys 2 cartridge. This is a synergy in rake angle, VTA and azimuth alignment. Because Rega designed the whole enchilada, these important mechanical factors will be RIGHT.
The Elys 2 cartridge has a cantilever comprised of one piece. As the stylus picks up the information and sends it up the cantilever, there is no loss due to swimming with your boots on.
When all the stars align, playing records can be a beautiful thing. P3 with matching Elys 2 cartridge lets you attain what vinyl at its best can give!