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Affordable Luxury: The Magnepan 1.7 Speaker

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
My favorite speaker brand, Magnepan, is releasing new ribbon technology in their new 1.7 speaker. At $2,000 this looks to be a great speaker value for those considering a move into better quality audio. I currently have the prior 1.6s speakers which sound phenomenal and I have had really good after-sale customer service from Magnepan so I figured I would post this in case anyone is looking for speakers in the $1,500-$2,000 range.

Here is an article on the speaker:



http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-10...ag=mncol;title

Quote:
When I first heard the Magneplanar 1.6 back in 2008 I said it was the best under-$2,000 speaker on the market. Incredibly enough it was 10 years old at the time! The Magneplanar 1.6 has stayed in production for 12 years, but now it's about to be replaced with the new Magneplanar 1.7.

Magnepan, based in White Bear Lake, Minn., builds nothing but panel (boxless) speakers. Not only that, Magnepan designs forgo conventional dome tweeters and cone-type woofers. As I pointed out in my August 14, 2008, blog that's why the company's Magneplanar 1.6 speaker mostly avoids sounding like a speaker. The speaker earned the top position in my Top 10 greatest audiophile speakers blog earlier this year.

The new Magneplanar 1.7 is also a flat-panel design, 64.5 inches tall and a mere 2 inches thick! The new speaker looks a little more contemporary, thanks to its aluminum, wrap-around edge molding. The old model was a two-way design, with a 48-inch-tall aluminum ribbon tweeter and a 442-square-inch mid/bass panel. The Magneplanar 1.7 is a three-way design, with a woofer, tweeter, and super-tweeter. The super-tweeter comes in around 10,000 hertz and is said to produce wider dispersion and better-resolved treble than the Magneplanar 1.6 did.

The other big difference is the Magneplanar 1.7 is a "full-range" ribbon design. The ribbon terminology refers to the way the woofer, tweeter, and super-tweeter drivers incorporate thin-film aluminum foil mounted on a Mylar substrate, suspended in a magnetic field. Conventional tweeters and woofers are "driven" in the center or edge by a voice coil, so the surface of the tweeter or woofer is free to deform its shape as it makes sound. The Magneplanar 1.7's woofer, tweeter, and super-tweeter's entire surface area remains under full control by the signal it's reproducing, so it can't change shape. Translation: it sounds clearer and more lifelike than cone and dome driver designs.

The Magneplanar 1.7 is the first full-range ribbon speaker from the company, and it may be the only such design currently on the market (Apogee Acoustics started making full-range ribbon speakers in the 1980s and went out of business in the 1990s).

I'm using "perfect" in the sense that Magnepan speakers sound less like speakers than any box speaker you're likely to hear that sells for less than $10,000. Down sides? Magnepans need to be partnered with powerful amplifiers, they're picky about speaker placement, and they usually need to be placed a good 3 feet away from the rear wall. The new speaker probably will be just as demanding. I will be among the first to review the Magneplanar 1.7 in 2010, so I'll let you know if it's truly an advance over the Magneplanar 1.6.

The Magnepan 1.7's suggested retail price starts at $1,995 a pair. Too expensive? Magnepan's MMG speaker runs just $599 a pair. They're sold directly in the U.S. from Magnepan, try calling them at 800 474 1646 after the holidays.

Magnepan and Canadian electronics manufacturer Bryston have something special planned for CES 2010. The two brands will be demonstrating new products at T.H.E. Show at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, and consumers are welcome to drop by.
post #2 of 76
Thread Starter 
Anyone else like Magnepan speakers or own a pair?
post #3 of 76
I've always been curious about these. A friend in college had the giant 6' tall model in his tiny dorm room! Roxy Music's Avalon sounded otherworldly.

Is the sensitivity really low on these smaller guys? My little 50w amp might not be big enough. I also prefer the old wood-frame, cloth-grill aesthetic.

I've been looking for some discrete looking speakers in the $1-1.5K range. As well as a low-cost turntable, as you know!
post #4 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post
I've always been curious about these. A friend in college had the giant 6' tall model in his tiny dorm room! Roxy Music's Avalon sounded otherworldly.

Is the sensitivity really low on these smaller guys? My little 50w amp might not be big enough. I also prefer the old wood-frame, cloth-grill aesthetic.

I've been looking for some discrete looking speakers in the $1-1.5K range. As well as a low-cost turntable, as you know!

The entry level ones have decent sensitivity. You can drive MMGs with 50-60 watt amps.
post #5 of 76
crazy, why must they be kept so far from the back wall though?
post #6 of 76
They also do wall-mounts. Any idea of how good those are (thought is to put them on either side of a TV screen)?
post #7 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan View Post
Anyone else like Magnepan speakers or own a pair?
Fabulous speakers. Great company. One of my reviewers has the 1.6s. He's incredibly fussy and took a long time to chose his reference. I remember a matched pair X2 of Timps. OMG!
post #8 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post
They also do wall-mounts. Any idea of how good those are (thought is to put them on either side of a TV screen)?

Quite good on side walls. Not really good as fronts unless you hang them on a stand like my brother did for a while until he upgraded to 1.6s.

The smaller more wife friendly MMGs are $600 direct from Maggie.
post #9 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiophilia View Post
Fabulous speakers. Great company. One of my reviewers has the 1.6s. He's incredibly fussy and took a long time to chose his reference.

I remember a matched pair X2 of Timps. OMG!

I first heard Timpanis and instantly loves the sound. I really love my 1.6s. I'm very intrigued by the 1.7s as I will upgrade in a couple of years.
post #10 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan View Post
Quite good on side walls. Not really good as fronts unless you hang them on a stand like my brother did for a while until he upgraded to 1.6s.


These are the MMG Ws that aren't so hot? Too bad-- those plus the center panel in one of Salamander's cases could be a wonderfully unobtrusive solution for a TV room.
post #11 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post
These are the MMG Ws that aren't so hot? Too bad-- those plus the center panel in one of Salamander's cases could be a wonderfully unobtrusive solution for a TV room.

You can hang them on the front of the sidewalls but I think for L + R it is better for the panels to have some isolation. Maggies always sound better that way. The dipole design interacts better with the room in my experience when this is done.
post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post
These are the MMG Ws that aren't so hot? Too bad-- those plus the center panel in one of Salamander's cases could be a wonderfully unobtrusive solution for a TV room.

These speakers need the sound emitted from the back to interact with the front, so putting it in an enclosed case isn't a good thing.

For the front left-right speakers standing in relatively free space, these kinds of speakers (dipoles) can work very well because you can point the side of the speakers into the TV to reduce sound reflections off the screen. Dipoles have little sound output directly to their sides, and you can exploit this to reduce reflections off the screen and the sidewalls by aiming the sides of the speakers appropriately. Sometimes this can be difficult because their dispersion at higher frequencies is a bit ragged, so you may have to compromise their positioning to balance the sound you hear with the reflections you want to reduce.

One caveat with using these speakers for home theater (or music in general) is that they have fairly limited dynamic range and not much bass.

--Andre
post #13 of 76
Their website says to bracket them on each side of the screen and face them in 30 degrees toward the listener. Presumably this is for the dispersion patterns but also to put a little space between it and the wall.

The reviews I read do point out the lack of bass-- luckily, MMG also sells small sub-woofers.

Must look at other options. I've always liked the unboxed sound of Gallos, and they now have a double-ball thing that can be used for any of the 5 channels. More expensive, sadly.
post #14 of 76
I dare say that "affordable luxury" is a little bit of a misnomer. Spending $1000+ on a speaker is DEFINITELY a luxury luxury. Sure you can always spend more, but that's not what constitutes affordable, is it? Do you think that most people could afford $1500-$2000 speakers?
post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim View Post
I dare say that "affordable luxury" is a little bit of a misnomer. Spending $1000+ on a speaker is DEFINITELY a luxury luxury. Sure you can always spend more, but that's not what constitutes affordable, is it?

Do you think that most people could afford $1500-$2000 speakers?

Why not? Most people own 1-2k TVs these days. And if 1-2k isn't affordable, I don't know what is. 1-2k is not even close to the mid-end of speaker prices.
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