AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love the Maggie sound - I am totally sold on it. Therefore, I am seriously thinking about plunking down the cash for a pair of 3.6/R's as L-R fronts as well as some other Maggie models for center and surround duties. However, I have a few concerns about their real-world compability in my HT. I know that the Maggies have been discussed to great length on the forum, but feel that I still have not been able to get a satisfactory grip on some of my own issues. Thus, your input would be greatly appreciated and help me a lot in both my purchasing and HT designing decisions.


My living room measures 26.8’ x 16.4’ x 7.8’ (L x W x H) for a volume of 3,515 cubic feet. Is that large enough for a pair of 3.6/R’s to breathe sufficiently?


Can the 3.6/R’s play at reference levels (105 dB peak) effortless without distortion, given they are driven by an amp with sufficient power? If yes, how loud can they go before clipping?


In my living room, at a listening distance of about 12-16 feet, how much power in 4 ohms would be required to ensure that the panels would clip before my amp does? IOW, I want to ensure that the amp would cruise at ease at the SPL limit of the speaker itself and never run out of headroom in even the most demanding transient attacks.


If the speaker is bi-amplified, would the power recommended above be split in half or is there a minimum power requirement for the bass panel alone required to meet the SPL requirement? For example, although the recommended power would be 1 x 400W @ 4 ohm, bi-amping the speaker with a 2 x 200W @ 4 ohm stereo amp would not be sufficient, since the bass panel require more like 300W out of the required 400W. In this case, a stereo amp of 2 x 300W @ 4 ohm would be needed.


Theory says that a dipole speaker should be placed at least 5 feet out from the back wall in order to delay the front wall reflection by at least 10 ms, the delay required for the ear to distinguish direct sound from reflected. Anything shorter would cause smearing. Does this hold up in reality, or could the Maggies be placed closer to the front wall? Is there a threshold where sound stage depth would significantly suffer?


Assume that I like the sound field produced by a dipole planar speaker and I would not want to “tame†the rear wave by using absorptive treatments. Assume also that for aesthetic reasons, I could not place the Maggies further out from the front wall than 2.5 feet gross. In this situation, would I be best of leaving the front wall totally reflective to maintain a distance of 2.5 feet net, or by treating the front wall with diffusors that may have a depth of ½ foot, leaving a “distance†of 2 feet net to the (treated) front wall?


Does the minimum 5 feet distance rule even apply if the front-wall is diffusively treated or could one go much shorter without sonic penalties?


Given diffusive treatment of the front wall is desired, and to use RPG terminology, would 1D or 2D diffusors be preferable? 2D (omni directional) diffusors scatter incident sound uniformly so that the acoustic glare in all directions is minimized, while 1D diffusors only scatter sound in the lateral plane. Although the dispersion characteristics of the 2D diffusors have benefits, the 1D diffusors strike me as having a dispersion pattern more similar to the planars themselves, i.e. limited vertical but wide horizontal dispersion. Please set me straight here.


Finally, I would appreciate some feedback on an idea of mine. Lets say I build a fake wall 2.5 feet in front of the existing front-wall out of Guilford of Maine fabric on a frame. Behind the fabric, most of the actual front-wall would be treated with diffusors. The FP screen goes in the middle, maybe even a micro-perf with the new Maggie center speaker that is supposed to surface by summer behind it. On each side of the screen, there is a “hole†in the wall of the same size as the speaker (a frame uncovered with fabric), which allows the Maggies to appear flush-mounted with the fake fabric wall when positioned in the “holeâ€. The speakers would be positioned this way for HT, but could easily be moved further out in the room for critical stereo listening, say by another 2.5 feet. Now my questions: Would this set-up work well, especially for critical 2-channel listening when the speakers are brought forward? Would the GoM fabric be transparent enough to allow the speaker to operate and breathe as if the fabric wall did not exist at all? At what frequency would the fabric start taking on reflective properties and smear the reflected rear wave?



As I said, your input would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
In terms of the size of your room, I have heard MG-20s in rooms of similar size with fantastic results. Your room is by no means too small for the 3.6 and if anything you could even move up to the 20.1 if budget permits. You will find that the 3.6 or 20.1 will have the bass panels flap if being used to drive a HT without augmentation of a subwoofer. They can definitely drive to the SPLs you desire (assuming sufficient power) but won't do so well in the bass department on loud thunderous explosions (aforementioned panel "flap"). The Maggies need a big high current amplifier. I have heard the 20s run exceedingly well with Bryston Monos on the bottom and the smallest Levinson on top. If you are going to biamp, run the speakers active and bypass the internal x-over and get an external x-over such as the Bryston. If you aren't going to run active, then I wouldn't suggest bi-amping. If you aren't looking to go overboard in electronics, I would suggest the mono Brystons... they offer a lot of power and high current capabilities for not a lot of $$$...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
I used to run MG3.5Rs in a 3100 cu ft room. With a full 5.2 setup, I was able to achieve peak SPLs in the 110dB range. This was using 2 400W amps for each MG3.5R, and 400W for the surrounds (MG10.1) and for each sub. At those SPLs, I was clipping the bass panel amps from time to time, and blowing mid fuses. If I were to do it again, I'd run 1000W on the bass panels, and around 200W on the high end. The Bryston 7BST (or a 14BST for two speakers) is the best option for the bass, with a Mac amp a great option for the highs (due to its clip-proof circuitry). You definitely have to use a sub for HT, I crossed over the 3.5s at 100Hz, fourth order. Mine were placed around 3' out from the rear wall. I used 1" acoustic treatment, which helps tame the Maggie's high end, without reducing air. I would recommend this treatment or diffusion for similar installations.


The Maggies are fantastic speakers. In my opinion, the hassles of making them work right in HT aren't worth it. I personally recommend using hybrid ribbons. Soundline (what I'm using for the new theater), VMPS and Newform all offer excellent options. Others of course will disagree, and recommend sticking with Maggies all around, and I fully respect that opinion.


Seth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,284 Posts
Maggies are good for when people want to use them for music, not when they want maggies for HT. There are probably better solutions for HT only application.


It doesn't matter if speaker are placed close or far from the rear wall, diffusion should be the way to go. Since w/o diffusion, you get a phantom first reflection from the wall. Popular methods are ficus trees (real or fake) behind the speakers near the wall. Another popular method is the Argent Room Lens behind the speaker setup and its popular home made version of Noodle Lens.


Moving speaker closer to the wall will result not just in shorter first reflection time, but also in 1/2 wave cancellations.


Active bi-amplification requires less power than single amp. In theory, 2 100w amp bi-amplified actively would be the equivalent of 1 400w amp. But in practice, it is not always the case because a certain amp would run out of steam before the other.


Maggie's SPL capability seem to reach its limit on low freq sound, so keeping the LFE seperate and maybe having the option of limiting freq below 40-50hz from the main speakers and diverting it to the sub if it is of musical quality type. But having each speaker reach 105dB at the listening position would not be easy. The fuses for the mid and/or tweeter might blow on some of the insanely loud passages that are in DD/DTS.


The weakest link in the setup would be the center channel, since it has the least power handling capability. You have to make sure you cross over from the center at around 160hz, either by your processor if it is flexible enough, to its own dedicated sub, or to the mains via Outlaw's ICBM. If you don't, alot of power from the amp will go to try to move the MGCC2's panels in which there would be minimal sound coming out, but alot of current drawn from the amp.


To increase power handling capability, you could get stacked MGCC2, a single magnepan speaker, either MG-IIIa, 3.3, 3.5 or 3.6. The 2nd choice is possible since you were going to get a micro-perf screen. Magnepan actually sells single speakers since dedicated people are getting matched center speakers, especially when it came to multichannel music.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
As a long term Maggie user I disagree with:


Maggies are good for when people want to use them for music, not when they want maggies for HT.


I have heard wonderful sounding HT setups with Maggies.


Lee
 
  • Like
Reactions: psyduck103

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,284 Posts
Lee,


You are taking my words out of context. I mean if somebody whose main goal is HT, there are better things than maggies, not that maggies would not sound good in it.


Maggie lacks the distorted slam that so man HT people love, it is not forward sounding, does not go LOUD, and sucks the life out of amps that cannot provide the juice.


You could make a maggie system sound good in HT, but it would take alot more effort than regular old box speakers. I would say if you are going to use the system for more than 30% music, then the maggies would be worthwhile.


I have a Magnepan HT system and some custom sound installer friends that works in high end stores thinks it sound better than pretty much all the in-store or custom installs that he has come about. But it still has its limitations. Fuse blows, amps loosing it completely, panel bottoms out...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
lwang,


I did not mean to take your words out of context, as I quoted the beginning of your post directly.


I still disagree, however, Maggies are not as fussy as box speakers for HT if you have a decent room. Maggies do go loud in my experience they just need good amps (current, not watts).


Stereophile magazine heard a recent HT setup and felt it was one of the best sounds of a recent show. Also, that matches my experience in the field as well.


I think that high end two channel and good Home Theater are not mutually exclusive, you just need to take a little more care. The only thing about the Maggies is that they are dipoles so placement is critical.


Maggies, in fact, in many ways may be ideal HT speakers since they (1) do high frequencies great and (2) have natural sounding midrange. As for bass, all the HT setups I have heard use a subwoofer like a REL.


As for fuses blowing, this is a problem with older models and not newer ones like the 1.6 or 3.6s, I should know I saw my share in the 80s and 90s.


:)


Lee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,335 Posts
Lee,


I understand both sides of the equation here.


lwang's point is that while the maggies are quite capable speakers, they do have acoustic output limitations when the panel reaches maximum excursion.


This will almost certainly happen if your goal is achieving reference levels in large rooms.


Besides, everyone knows that for true dynamic performance, you need speakers like my Soundlines for the job ;)


Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
John,


You said:


This will almost certainly happen if your goal is achieving reference levels in large rooms.


(where's the quote button on this forum?)


I still have to respectfully disagree here...I have heard very loud maggie HT systems. In fact, plenty loud-I have 15 years experience with Maggies and they play very loud when done right. My neighbors can attest to this.


I have also heard loud electrostatic systems like a Martin Logan setup at my local dealer. Panel excursion is not a problem above 50hz with the right amp on Maggies and it is not a problem on the Martin Logans. Below 50hz you really need a sub as I stated before.


As for Soundlines, these are not very easy to find. I would like to hear them.


Lee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,335 Posts
Lee,


You should be familiar with reference level in the theater context. This is 105dB at the seats. This means a fair amount more, depending on how far from the seats the speakers are. In this case, it was 5m.


I'm familiar enough with Maggies, and have heard the panel "bottoming out" even when run above 80Hz in a large room (30x23ish) below Reference level. These were 3.6s, run off of Bryston 7B-STs -- the amplifiers weren't running out of steam.


It takes a large room for this to happen, but it can indeed happen.



The quote button is at the far right of the post you are reading.


Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
I had an all maggie home theater. I ditched it for a number of reasons:


o space. I had the room for them, but all the panels were in the way.

o SPL. To play *loud* was difficult.

o I determined I am not that into HT.


As a result, I went for a cheap axiom setup and still run my MGIIIa mains for 2 channel. For me this has worked out extremely well. I have put more money into 2 channel and for movies, I am getting everything I want to (and to tell you the truth.. it is more satisfying in some ways than the planar setup).


My choice was one of priorities. For whatever reason, I find HT audio is rarely that satisfying to me beyond the wow effect. Two channel is just on another level for me.


med.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
276 Posts
Remember that Maggie's can be very dependent not only upon amplification but also upon the remainder of the electronics used as well (at least in my experience).


For instance, I was pretty disappointed in the dynamic capabilities of my Maggies when using a Lexicon DC-1 processor. Even started shopping for new speakers. Stepped up to a Theta Casablanca II and suddenly I have dynamics. Now the speaker buying is on hold--not as obvious a need to upgrade (good thing, given the cost of the CB2). Similar with amps. You need not only enough power, but a high-quality amp to really make the Maggies sing. After many inappropriate purchases (most of them based on specs) I now only buy after hearing the component in my system or one similar. Component choice doesn't seem as critical with many other speakers; with Maggies, if you don't demo, I feel you'd be doing yourself a disservice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
John,


I guess we can agree that Maggies play loud enough unless you have a very large room then.


I don't think most Home Theaters will present a problem then.


The fact is Maggies do play loud and I have also found that more accurate reproduction seems louder than it is in db anyway.


Mike,


You are very correct. You must use very good front end electronics, but when you do MAGIC! I have also found the Lexicon DC1 processor to not sound good on music.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Matheson
Remember that Maggie's can be very dependent not only upon amplification but also upon the remainder of the electronics used as well (at least in my experience).


For instance, I was pretty disappointed in the dynamic capabilities of my Maggies when using a Lexicon DC-1 processor. Even started shopping for new speakers. Stepped up to a Theta Casablanca II and suddenly I have dynamics. Now the speaker buying is on hold--not as obvious a need to upgrade (good thing, given the cost of the CB2). Similar with amps. You need not only enough power, but a high-quality amp to really make the Maggies sing. After many inappropriate purchases (most of them based on specs) I now only buy after hearing the component in my system or one similar. Component choice doesn't seem as critical with many other speakers; with Maggies, if you don't demo, I feel you'd be doing yourself a disservice.
In my former all Maggie system, going to a Casablanca II also made some strong changes (I went from a Proceed PAV/PVSD). The Casablanca made me dissatisfied with the MGCC1 center (replaced it with a Soundline SL6-6, the experience sold me on Soundlines, which I'll be using throughout my new system). On the plus side, it reduced incidence of clipping (not sure whether the clipping was caused by the amp or the bass panel running out of room) by using the Casa's 100Hz, 24dB/octave crossover. On the other hand, I'd love to see a theater with MG20.1s used for LCR :).


Seth
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top