Magneplanar for Home Theater ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-11-2007, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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total audio newb here -

I plan on getting Magneplanar / Magnepan :
an MMG C (5 ohm)
and a pair of MMG W's (5 ohm)
plus an Earthquake nova Sub-80 (4 ohm)

for 90% home theater use with a Panasonic xr57 receiver
any opinions or advise regarding this set up for HT would be appreciated
also, will the xr57 rated at 100w @ 6 ohms handle these ?


I currently have Klipsch :
an RCX-4
two RSX-4's
and a RW10d subwoofer
all 8 ohm

I like 3.1 but would consider 2.1 if the Magneplanars could pull it off

thanks
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post #2 of 24 Old 08-11-2007, 08:33 PM
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I think you may be disappointed by the center channel performance and that receiver is going to have a rough time with those speakers. If I'm not mistaken it's 4 or 5 ohm nominal, but drops well below that for some frequencies. I have a pair of Logan's and think they're great for 2 channel, but I wouldn't use them for HT. Just my opinion of course, YMMV.

 

 

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post #3 of 24 Old 08-11-2007, 09:10 PM
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Maggies are incredibly power hungry and all but top of the line amps (and maybe a few top end receivers) will have trouble pushing them at decent volume. They also have an incredibly narrow soundstage.

I definately do not recommend them unless you like them for whatever reason.

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post #4 of 24 Old 08-11-2007, 09:20 PM
 
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Maggies can sound absolute fantastic, so that would be the "whatever reason." That being said, they can be very difficult to drive, significanly moreso than those klipsch, you likely would need some serious amplifier capability especially if you want to drive them at volume for HT use. Also, quality subwooferage will be a must. I wouldn't put them on a receiver, that's for sure...
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post #5 of 24 Old 08-11-2007, 09:52 PM
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Another factor to consider with planars in general, and Maggies in particular, is that they are not the last word in dynamics, which I personally feel is very important for HT. Having said that, Maggies are tough to beat at a given price point for detail and transparency. Back to dynamics: It's ironic that you're considering Maggies in lieu of Klipsch, as the latter has a well earned reputation for superb dynamics.
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-11-2007, 09:58 PM
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I'll second/third/fourth the comments. Maggies sound very beguiling but after having a Klipsch system (a small one...but still pretty surprising), I'll bet you will be pretty disappointed with the lack of dynamic punch. Maybe look into getting a pair of the Klipsch RVX-54's which are supurb and will be a huge upgrade in soundstage, etc. Your RSX-4's will be a perfect surround speaker for them. Add in a larger sub and I think you'll be a happy camper.

And yes, I'm familiar with Maggies having owned MGII's, MG III's, SMG's, MG-3.6's and MG-20s and sold every model they make.

"Did you make 'em fine-ass-soundin' speakers over there what would sound gooder than hell comin' out of the back of my truck-boat-truck?"

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post #7 of 24 Old 08-11-2007, 10:58 PM
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Remember always that what you read here are personal opinions (including my own!) that may or may not reflect your experience. The only thing that really matters is what you think. However, there are a couple of statements in this thread that are patently false, and need to be corrected.

"If I'm not mistaken it's 4 or 5 ohm nominal, but drops well below that for some frequencies."

Maggies have low impedance (4 or 5 Ohms) but it's a very steady impedance. It never drops below 4 Ohms! It basically resembles a 4.5 Ohm resistor modified by a crossover, leading to a peak at 600 Hz. Any amp or receiver designed to handle a 4 Ohm load will drive Maggies without problems.

"They also have an incredibly narrow soundstage."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Maggies have incredibly wide soundstage that will put the majority of boxed speakers to shame.

There is also a widely perpetrated myth that Maggies are lousy speakers when it comes to dynamics. Maggies have fairly low sensitivity (about 86 dB or lower), and will need a lot more power to reach the same SPL relative to your Klipsch speakers. However, given enough (!) power, Maggies will be very dynamic indeed. The size and layout of your room, as well as your personal preferences will play an important role in determining how much power you will need for Maggies. What do you like in movies? Do you want to be blown out of your chair by high sound pressure levels, or do you want startling realism that will make you grin in disbelief as you turn your head around to look for sound sources.

I suggest that you try Maggies. You can do so at no risk directly from Magnepan. You may want to replace MMG-W with MMG for L-R duties down the road, and move MMG-W to surround location. If you have enough money now, I would recommend getting MMG right away. That speaker cannot be beat for the money or even twice the money. You may find out (like many other people) that Maggies have uncanny transparency, soundstage, immediacy, transient quickness, and just plain simple sound more like live music than many speakers costing several times more.

Your receiver (XR-57) should be fine. The lowest subwoofer crossover setting is fairly high at 80Hz, which means that your Maggies will not have to be driven very hard, and the receiver will not have to struggle too much. With MMG-W and MMG-C, you will likely have to set the crossover at 120Hz. If you don't like your set-up, you can simply return the speakers to Magnepan. Based on my experience, I don't think you will.
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post #8 of 24 Old 08-12-2007, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow ! - thanks for all the responses ( quick edit )

I do love the dynamics and efficiency of the Klipschs
but they seem to be quite bright ( to me ) at times - dialogue especially
- 20x16 room with hard wood floors

the receiver is brand new , speakers a year old - is there such a thing as receiver break in ? maybe its because I'm coming from Harman Kardon , although the clarity has improved with the Panasonic

I only listen to HT/music at moderate levels and do not need to be blown away -
more importantly, my wife is hard of hearing ( 2 hearing aids ) and I seem to be searching for the ultimate , low cost, solution to smoother / clearer dialogue
whether it be a dedicated center or phantom

I do like the sound of this quote - but am weary of power needed - maybe I should just go 2.1 channel / MMG s instead of 3.1 ? - doh ! brain hurting -

"Maggies have uncanny transparency, soundstage, immediacy, transient quickness, and just plain simple sound more like live music than many speakers costing several times more. "

I guess I will take Magnapan up on their trial offer, before I sell the Klipsch
and hope my receiver dosen't blow - lol
believe it or not , I'm in San Francisco and there is not one Magneplanar dealer ( ? )
so, I've never heard them

and sounds like I should stick with my Klipsch sub - unless theres better in the $300 to $400 range - stay home Dad right now

thanks again everyone
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post #9 of 24 Old 08-12-2007, 04:20 PM
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The narrower and thus smaller the planar, the lower the output and dynamic range will be. This is because a planar driver, though large in comparison to a conventional driver, can only move a very limited amount. There is a cap on the amount of output a planar can have and in his sized room, he will be unlikely to be able to reach reference levels on dynamic peaks at the seats with those models. Thus, the single biggest problem with planars...to get higher output and better dynamics, you need bigger planars. With dynamics and the startle factor being such a big part of many modern films, it is a serious limitation. Also, it is a fallacy to think that a highly dynamic conventional system CAN'T have a high degree of transparency.

Many people have also had an issue with the center. It is small and thus dynamically limited. Not only do you need a very dynamic center for home theater, but dispersion is extremely important. There is simply no way to do a horizontal planar center that doesn't cover the entire width of the room that doesn't have compromised dispersion issues. That is because unlike a standard driver, a planar has near zero dispersion in the vertical dimension. This is a big advantage of a planar placed conventionally as it massively limits the bounce off the floor and ceiling. But turn it sideways and your dispersion in the horizontal plane where the planar driver is working will be limited to the width of the speaker and your ceiling and floor bounce will be far more severe as compared to the left and rights. Take a look at the Martin Logan Planar centers. Notice anything? Conventional tweeters and woofers combined with angled planar drivers.

Another issue that may pop up... Planars are dipoles and throw as much sound off the back as off the front. In a room that is untreated and reflective, you are going to get issues with specific directionality. The same big beguiling spacious sound that sounds so cool with 2 channel music since it brings a sense of dimension also will be present with home theater sound tracks. Problem is...it is wrong. Home theater tracks, particularly the front channels, are supposed to be directional and are mixed that way. The rear surround speakers are supposed to add the sense of immersion. This becomes very evident with an AT screen setup with a di or bi-pole speaker placed behind it vs. a conventional monopole. With the more diffuse sound a Maggie system has a much harder time with specific placement of sounds across the front stage in an untreated room. Things tend to sound big and a bit diffuse instead of specifically located. To be fair, Bose, Martin Logan and Definitive Tech have the same issues.

Easy solution...treat the room. Problem...now you are absorbing more energy...so you need more output and you already have a cap on output. So you buy bigger planars, but now your horizontal dispersion is more limited. See where this is going?

Do I hate planars? Heck no. For 2 channel music they are flat out awesome and I've owned tons of them from Maggies to Martin Logans to Acoustats all the way up thru 6+6's. They are one of the most transparent speakers out there. But they do have some fairly major compromises for home theater use that folks need to know about.

"Did you make 'em fine-ass-soundin' speakers over there what would sound gooder than hell comin' out of the back of my truck-boat-truck?"

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post #10 of 24 Old 08-12-2007, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks Soundood -
fantastic explanation and breakdown - cleared up the haze quite a bit
I don't think I can afford a new amp , bigger planars and/ or better room acoustics
right now
actually, I know I can't
good thing is, I do like my current set up just enough to hold off a little while longer
but, I will be out there, hitting the streets , forever testing the tired speaker selection I can afford, in search of better, clearer, more life like dialogue
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post #11 of 24 Old 08-12-2007, 06:27 PM
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Your XR-57 ( I own one in the bedroom) should be paired with efficient speakers, its basically has the features of a 200 dollar receiver with the watts of a 350 dollar receiver, not exactly something I would consider driving Maggies with.

My 800 dollar Pioneer receiver couldnt run Maggies adequetely, so ...

Get speakers that are anchored by a nice 3-way center speaker, and the dialog will come alive.

Try the lower-end ********** speakers, try the Infinity Betas ....

Do not buy speakers that you have to cross over at 120hz just to drive them ... you want to be able to hear deep, resonant voices on that center speaker, preferably down to about 50-60 hz !
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post #12 of 24 Old 08-12-2007, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B72 View Post

thanks Soundood -
fantastic explanation and breakdown - cleared up the haze quite a bit
I don't think I can afford a new amp , bigger planars and/ or better room acoustics
right now
actually, I know I can't
good thing is, I do like my current set up just enough to hold off a little while longer
but, I will be out there, hitting the streets , forever testing the tired speaker selection I can afford, in search of better, clearer, more life like dialogue

Have you taken the time to align/calibrate your current speaker system? If is free and can make a TON of difference. Setting the delays properly also makes a big difference in vocal clarity. Area rugs on the floor can't hurt either

"Did you make 'em fine-ass-soundin' speakers over there what would sound gooder than hell comin' out of the back of my truck-boat-truck?"

-Early Cuyler. Poet Liquoreate
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post #13 of 24 Old 08-12-2007, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
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OK,
xr57 = not exactly Maggie material
3 way 50-60hz center channel , yes that sounds good ( does the human voice/ dialogue go that low ? )
delay/ distances have been measured - yes
speaker levels have been adjusted by ear ( and not a very good one at that )
align/ calibrate ? please explain if more than position, distance and levels
two throw rugs already on the floor - not much help I guess
8 1/2 foot ceilings
90 year old S.F. house
- check

seriously, thank you - I appreciate the help and the suggestions
( which I will look into post haste )
I'll have to visit the Audio side more often
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post #14 of 24 Old 08-13-2007, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

Maggies can sound absolute fantastic, so that would be the "whatever reason." That being said, they can be very difficult to drive, significanly moreso than those klipsch, you likely would need some serious amplifier capability especially if you want to drive them at volume for HT use. Also, quality subwooferage will be a must. I wouldn't put them on a receiver, that's for sure...

By "whatever reason" I meant that he would have to go pre/pro -- likely something that he does not want to do (spend additional $).

Maggies can sound very good but only with a LOT of equipment to push them....for most people, that is too big of a negative...thus the reason I recommended against them for the OP unless he is willing to meet their requirements.

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post #15 of 24 Old 08-13-2007, 03:53 PM
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QUOTE (sdv5): ..."There is also a widely perpetrated myth that Maggies are lousy speakers when it comes to dynamics. Maggies have fairly low sensitivity (about 86 dB or lower), and will need a lot more power to reach the same SPL relative to your Klipsch speakers. However, given enough (!) power, Maggies will be very dynamic indeed. The size and layout of your room, as well as your personal preferences will play an important role in determining how much power you will need for Maggies. What do you like in movies? Do you want to be blown out of your chair by high sound pressure levels, or do you want startling realism that will make you grin in disbelief as you turn your head around to look for sound sources."...

Given the Maggies B72 had in mind (MMG W and MMG C), I definitely stand by my dynamics opinion, regardless of amplifier power available. I tried these speakers on an ATI 2005 amp (a relatively potent 200WPC amp) and they just didn't deliver the goods dynamically. Clean and clear sound? Absolutely. Punch-you-in-the-face dynamics? No. I will conceed that a MG 1.6 or 3.6 driven with very high power can deliver decent dynamics, but still not as potent as say, a Klipsch RF82 or 83 floor standing equivalent. I mention these speaker models specifically because I've auditioned all of them on the same electronics over time. One other thing about the MMG W as left-right main speakers: Because they use a single, relatively large driver to produce its full frequency range, higher frequencies are going to beam in a narrow pattern horizontally and vertically. If it's just one or two people sitting side by side it's no big deal, but if you have several people sitting the same way some may not hear the higher frequenices.

Having said all this, I still think in terms of overall sound quality Maggies represent among the best bang for the buck speakers in the field.
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post #16 of 24 Old 08-13-2007, 06:38 PM
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I second the post fro sdv 5. After having used my maggies for nearly 10 yrs in my home theater, I have trouble enjoying much of what is out there. They just sound real(funny since most movie soundtracks are just the opposite, artificial sound effects). The do give you a wide soundstage, and if set up properly do very will sans center if you prefer a slightly richer sound.
As for receivers, my panny(xr-25) did fine and they could be pushed fairly well also. Yes, they do love my acurus a-250 when I like to play, but the panny does an amazing job for such a modest receiver. As the previous post mentioned, they are not as tough a load as everyone thinks. It is only now that I recentlyy moved, that I can no longer keep my maggie HT. I went to a HTM-200 rig and am adjusting, albeit with a lot of longing the my "natural" maggie sound. Go for it.
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post #17 of 24 Old 08-13-2007, 07:03 PM
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This is what I was thinking of doing for my home theater to be built by the end of the year.

Fronts: MC1 Maggies (wall mounted as far as I know only the MMG-W and MC1 can be)

Center: Two MMG-W vertically on each side of the screen (between fronts) When I called Magnepan a woman there suggested two MC1 as the center and reminded me that the pic on their site showed this. I can't afford two MC1 as center channel so I am thinking of MMG-W (two of them) as the center.

Rear: Two MMG-W

Sub: I don't know yet. The only sub I have around right now is a Boston Acoustics Micro80PV. I have no idea if that would work very well (probably not?)

To drive all this, I was thinking of getting a B&K AVR305 (or AVR307 to expand later) Oh, yeah, it will be used off of eBay.

That would make my system cost something like this:

2 X MC1 (fronts): $750
4 X MMG-W (center,rears): $600
1 X Sub: undetermined
1 X AVR305: $850 (approx.)



Any opinions on this? And what do you guys think about the idea for the center channel?


Notice the second pic on this page shows two MC1 as center and two MC1 as fronts.


And at the bottom of this page shows the very big difference in frequency repsonse between the MMG-W and MC1.
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post #18 of 24 Old 08-13-2007, 08:04 PM
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I'm currently setting up a maggie HT as well. I should have all my speakers delivered this week. I'll be running the new Onkyo 805 receiver initially, but plan on adding a nice amplifier as soon as I can get a good deal on ebay. Looking for something with at least 300 wpc into 4 ohms for the front 3.
I'm using 1.6s as the fronts, a CC3 as center, and MC1 as surrounds in a 5.1. I'll eventually be purchasing some MMGWs for rear surrounds for 7.1.
I have auditioned this very system at least a dozen times and am continually awed by how 'enveloping' the sound field is. Nothing I auditioned over a 5 month period came close, except for a system set up with Vandersteen 3a signatures, but that system would have cost me 3X as much!
As sdv5 said: "do you want startling realism that will make you grin in disbelief as you turn your head around to look for sound sources?" I sure do!
This is absolutely true with the maggies.
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post #19 of 24 Old 08-13-2007, 09:36 PM
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SeanCJ is on the right track for powering maggies.

All you other guys need to pay attention to what he is doing, because your clueless.
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post #20 of 24 Old 08-14-2007, 07:48 AM
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Can a room be too small for certain speakers? More specifically for the Magnepan setup I mentioned above. My home theater yet to be built will only be about 80 sqft.

TIA
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post #21 of 24 Old 08-14-2007, 08:39 AM
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hmmm yea thats too small. Thats the right size room to put a killer 2.1 system in it featuring quality bookshelfs and a nice musical sub.
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post #22 of 24 Old 08-20-2007, 11:59 AM
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I just need to add to this thread. It so depends on taste and opinion. Some like the dynamics of cones, others like the natural sound of planar, you just have to listen and find out what you think. You will find MANY people that have Magnepan speakers, never go back to box speakers again.

I own Magnepan MG-1c's w/ MMG-C and MMG-W's for surrounds. I run all of them with the Panasonic XR-57.

I got the MG-1c's used on craiglist, but in AMAZING condition. They sound fantastic. They are almost 20 years old, 1.6 are the newest successor to these panels.

The Panasonic has NO problem driving all these speakers, sound quality is just great. The Digital Amps of the Panasonic Receiver never even get hot, and sound crystal clear. I am passively Bi-Amping them as well with the Panasonic - it is still using the internal crossovers of the speakers.

They are all running off Belden 5000 - 12 gauge speaker wire. ( http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/speaker/index.htm )

I also have a HSU subwoofer. My MG-1c's go down to 45 hz - so I set the receiver to LARGE Left/Right speakers-NO SUB, and I run speakers cables from the Left/Right panels to the sub. I use the internal crossover of the sub set at 45-50 , and the HSU subwoofer picks up the last 50-24 hz- sub frequencies. Integration with the center and surrounds is MUCH better this way - because the crossover on the reciever for the center and surrounds is at 100hz and it sends that low end to the Left and right mains.

You really do need room for maggies, as they are large, but if you take the time to setup them up correctly, you will be amazed at the clarity and quality.
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post #23 of 24 Old 09-19-2007, 03:57 PM
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Just a quick point on th XR57. I am using the XR57 to power a seven speaker theater (1.6s, MG12s, MC1s and a CC3) in combination with a Paradigm PW2200 v2. The XR57 powers the speakers effortlessly and sounds excellent at high or low volumes in a room that is 14x18 with a 9 foot ceiling.

The XR57 replaced an Anthem AVM20 v2 and Bryston 9B-THX, and I found it sounds better in the upper end. The XR57 doesn't have the bottom end that the Bryston did, but I don't notice it as the sub covers that anyway. Cost was not a factor for me, I just decided to try the XR57 after hearing all the hype. Needless to say, after a few weeks going back and forth I was sold on the XR57.

I will eventually replace the XR57 with a receiver or pre/pro and amp when I find something that sounds great and has the new surround formats available. But for now, the XR57 works perfectly in my set-up.

Darren Hedley
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post #24 of 24 Old 12-09-2007, 09:05 PM
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I bought a pair of SMGa Maggies 20 years ago and have built my surrounds around them. I have a relatively small room so I went with Orbs for the surrounds and center. I'm sure that I would replace the SMGa speakers with Maggies once I've gotten their full life out of them. The SMGa was designed to be powered by lower power equipment and I've never had any problem driving them. I'm currently driving them with a Denon 2307CI. Personally I think if you like the sound of Maggies then you'll like them in a home theater setup as well.

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