I'm a life-long (speaker) piston-head and I've given it all up for Maggies. So much so that I've read this entire thread from beginning to end. With the imminent arrival of a whole lot of flat boxes at our door I thought it was time to stop lurking and post what's happening. I'm not only planning to provide some feedback, I'm looking for any additional hints that haven't already been posted.
Our 1-year old house has a 17 X 18 x 8 room over the garage that I claimed for "a TV room" (it also has a couple corner-bumps of about 2.5 x 5 so it isn't totally rectangular). My claim was, of course, pre-approved by the "acceptable use policy manager" who is also a degreed interior designer. The room is dark (indigo), carpeted, has a large sectional "wedged" in between the two "bumps", and is heavily draped (two large windows on the two outside walls). I have an 8' wide (114" diagonal) screen on the 17' wall. I'll post some new photos later after the new system is fully installed and dialed in; I've inlcuded one photo from before deconstructing the current system and selling off the speakers and amps.
I've had B&W speakers for years but I've always been carried away by the ability of Magnepan speakers to take me from the room I'm in to the music. What I didn't care for was the "head in a vice" sweet spot. Yes, I'm aware that the various dealer demos, etc. could have been flawed but here in Seattle the dealer does know a thing or two about Maggies and the guy I deal with has two sets of his own. A couple years ago I heard the "what's behind the curtain" demo that Wendell did using two sets of mini-Maggies and in addition to the incredible reproduction, the execution was such that there really was no single sweet spot. Fast forward....in lat 2012 for some reason the B&Ws started to sound edgy had higher volumes (Don - could that be the "age of the ears" thing?). Combined with some exceptionally good fortune in my sales world in Q4 of 2012, the time was right for a change.
Gone are the B&W 803s and the B&W HTM-3 speakers and the three Musical Fidelity XP-200s (bridged) that drove them. Remaining are the Meridian G61r/HD621, Oppo BD-83, Paradigm Seismic 12 sub, and Rotel RB-1562 and B&W ceiling-mounted surrounds (unfortunately there is not a good solution for wall-mounted surrounds, including Maggies). Useage: about 30% TV (the PJ is LED-based so we use it a lot), 40% movies, and 30% music (mostly concerts). Speaker cable is Transparent 12 gauge (not pre-made with networks) and a mix of interconnects (however, after doing some ABX listening at the dealer, I'm taking the plunge on some Transparent lower-mid-range networked interconnects for LCR from the G61r to the NAD; the science (and sound improvedment) appeals to me even if the pricing does not).
I've added the following:
2 x 3.7s; matte black/gray (as are all the Maggies I've ordered)
Tri-center (CCR + 2 x MMC2 - but "manual" MMC2s - no motors, etc., this is a dedicated room and I didn't need the motors)
2 x DWMs (I wanted more mid-base "slam" in movies)
Aftermarket stands (still debating, have quote from Grant Mye and I had a Sound Anchors stand for the HTM-3 so I know their quality)
NAD Masters M-25 7-channel (I like the Masters sound, the 4 ohm specs for "bursts", and the per-channel line-out adjustment)
As for room treatment, the carpet, U-shaped sectional, and heavy drapes (windows and to the left/right of the screen) make for some room treatment but I know I might have to do more. The room has just a slight hand-clap echo and with the prior set up, for whatever reasons, the room loads bass really well with no apparent peaks at any of the listening positions (using the Meridian correction program undoubtedly helps - it covers 200Hz and below).
The gear arrives this week and due to travel we'll probably install late next week, then turn on AXIS TV and let it run until 4/9 (we're taking a short holiday). We'll dial-in the system sometime between 4/10 and 4/13. I'll have one NAD channel for each of the seven panels. I'll be using a "Y" adapter to share some of the channels across the amp (e.g., left to a 3.7 and a DWM, etc.). At this point I don't have a DWM configured for the tri-center but I realize this might be necessary.
I take what I've read about the cautionary approach to the tri-center, yet I'm very attracted to this approach because of the potential to eliminate "the vice". I'm moving forward based on what I've read, what various reps at the dealer shared about their experience, and because if the whole thing doesn't work I can return it for full credit (and if that did happen I'd probably pick up a demo trio of Meridian DSP5200s).
However, I'm not anticipating "failure". We've sent drawings and photos to Wendell and he's had a hand in how we're moving forward. So failure isn't really something I'm concerned about. In fact I'm totally excited - so much so that I decided to expand my horizons by purchasing a few Blu-ray classical concerts and some opera.
That night of music at the Seattle dealer a few years ago was one of those "hair raising on the back of my neck" experiences that I haven't forgotten and I'm fortunate that I can finally act on that recollection. This is certainly not a"low cost" set up that attracts so many to Maggies (and rightfully so) but I think the result will be the equivalent of systems costing much, much more (or perhaps there are no "piston" equivalents to a well-executed Maggie set up). I suspect that there are others who are interested in the "textbook" tri center set up and perhaps other aspects of this installation so I do plan to follow up with additional comments and some pictures after we get through installation, "burn-in", and set up.
My whole-hearted thanks to the many contributors to this thread. There is a lot of valuable information and informed opinions. As forums go, the posters manage to stay on topic and stay away from the oft-vituperative rants and hyperbole in so many other sites (I only read the phrase "blow away" a couple times in hundreds of posts and posters, you know who you are - shame!).
Okay - long post but hey, I'm excited!!!!