Magnepan MG – .7 $1400
Magnepans have been among my favorite speakers forever. Given proper placement and amplification, they’re impossible to beat at what they do. Specifically, they provide a large and spacious image that is more like the real deal than practically all cabinet speakers. You just have to pay attention to placement and have enough amplifier to suit your musical needs.
As good as Maggies have always been, they upped their game substantially a couple years back when they went to the .7 series. Before the .7 series, Maggies consisted of wires adhered to a thin mylar diaphragm. With the .7 series introduction, the technology improved to FOIL STRIPS adhered to the thin mylar diaphragm- instead of round wires. Magnepan terms this technology QUASI RIBBON.
The coverage of the diaphragm is now much greater, which provides an even more responsive performance. The sound is more clear, bass is stronger and efficiency is improved. All things good about Maggies got better with the .7 series!
Magnepan recently replaced the venerable MG-12 with the MG .7. As you can infer from the .7 designation, MG .7 has a full QUASI design- the least expensive Maggie to ever do so. The MMGa for $600pr is a Magneplanar (wires) design.
The obvious question is, how close is the MG .7 to the 1.7i. First of all, the .7 is a two way, woofer and tweeter. The 1.7i is a three way and features a super tweeter from 10k up. The advantage of the 1.7i is improved dispersion- as well as bigger bass due to the bigger panel.
But the good news is, if you’re sitting in the middle, the broader dispersion of the 1.7i doesn’t really matter much. It’s possible the extra bass of the bigger panel on the 1.7i doesn’t matter much to you either. With the much more subtle footprint of the MG .7, we’re finding people (OK, wives!) who will gladly let the .7 in the living room- but object to the size of the 1.7i. And of course that’s the goal- to get YOU an audiophile speaker with huge image and clarity while she accepts the cosmetics.
The physics of how Maggies work in your room haven’t changed. Because they radiate front and rear, they need to be off the back wall by about three feet. This prevents the back wave from canceling the front- and killing the bass. Some well meaning audiophiles have bought Maggies and been coerced to keep them near the back wall for domestic tranquility. The down side is, they have no bass and don’t sound rich set up like that. If you pull them into the room about three feet, they warm up and come alive.
This really isn’t a tough thing to accomplish. Virtually all cabinet speakers are about a foot deep. They ALL sound better a couple feet out from the back wall. So the fact is, if the nose of the MG .7 ends up three feet off the back wall, I’ll bet ya any box speaker would end up in the same place to deliver its best, least boxy sound.
On to the issue of power. Audiophiles have spread the rumor that Maggies need 200 w/ch. There’s nothing wrong with using that much power. I love them with the PeachTree Nova 220SE integrated amp (220×2 $1600). But there are many applications where you don’t need anywhere near that much horse power.
In fact, musically the most precise and immediate sounding integrated for $2k is the Hegel H80 (80×2). It has a current dumping design with no negative feedback. That extra bit of clarity makes the Maggie grills absolutely sonically invisible.
Consider… Maggies are extremely light, tall diaphragms- large headphones almost. With the small excursion they need to travel, they sound outstanding at lower volumes than box speakers. We have many a Maggie running with a fine integrated amp of about 70×2 if you’re not trying to blast urban music. Keep in mind, your amp will muscle up its power into Maggies, a truly resistive 4ohm load.
If we use Marantz’s PM-8005 as our example… it’s a fine sounding, $1200 integrated amp with an excellent phono stage aboard. It is rated at 70×2 into 8 ohms and will pump out well over 100×2 into 4. It has a PURE AUDIO mode which provides the best sound (says me!). But it also has treble/mid/bass tone controls if you’re a dial tweaker. This amp at just over a grand is an outstanding integrated that will let Maggies do their thing beautifully. While we’re at it, get the Marantz SA-8005 SACD/CD player ($1200 also). It will allow you to play SACDs. Red Book CDs, and use the on board DAC to shake hands with your computer or iPhone/iPod. With this plan in mind, you’re sitting at only $2400 before speakers. Toss on the 7s and for $3800 you have a GREAT system!
Now… we do have customers that throw state of the art electronics at Maggies. This is kosher too. If you run them with Bryston separates for example, the improvement is well worth it. The .7 is so good that it just keeps revealing more and more musical goodness as you provide it the opportunity.
We have numerous systems running with the Bryston 4B-SST-2 power amp ($5k, 300×2) and even a handful with the 7B-SST-2 monoblocks ($5100, 600w each). We’ve recently added Emotiva. The Maggies sound wonderful with the XPA-200 ($500, 150×2) and XPA-2 ($900, 300×2).
Mg .7 brings a true slice of Maggie heaven to the lowest price point and size ever.