Magnepan 1.7 Amp Shootout

Tech HiFi -- Thu, 01/05/2012 - 20:19

Currently, I have the Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000 monos. Last night, I ordered a set of heavily modified Khartago monos from Klaus at Odyssey Audio. I'm also going to get a Parasound A-21. After letting all the amps break-in, I'm going to do my own $2500 amp shoot out. Am I missing any other contenders? Maybe the Hk 990 integrated that Stereophile just reviewed??? Anyone in the Hampton Roads area who wants to join in, I should be ready for some serious listening in early March.

staxguy -- Fri, 01/06/2012 - 01:41

How about the Cambridge Audio Azur 840W? Looks budget priced (in today's terms, not the 90's :), and very well done inside - very nice back panel, too!

http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/assets/documents/TheAbsoluteSoundUSNov0884...

SundayNiagara -- Fri, 01/06/2012 - 13:53

More money, but what about the ARC VS115?

Tech HiFi -- Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:24

The Cambridge is a good idea, Audio Advisor has them for $2,000... the ARC is too expensive. 

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

SundayNiagara -- Fri, 01/06/2012 - 22:35

How about a used ARC VT-100?

Zach -- Sun, 01/08/2012 - 23:37

 Take a look at the Krell S-300i. Its a great integrated amp for $2500 with power for the 1.7s (300w/ch into 4 ohms). 

SundayNiagara -- Mon, 01/09/2012 - 08:51

Jon Valin, where are you?

Tech HiFi -- Tue, 01/10/2012 - 07:13

Talked with Klaus again last night and upgraded to Stratos Monos with all the same upgrades as the Khartagos.  Little more expensive but still close to the $2500 limit.

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

johnigel -- Fri, 02/03/2012 - 11:09

 Why don't you try the Emotiva XPA-1 mono-blocks?  I have the XPA-2 and I'm very impressed.  It would be interesting to see how Emotiva stacks up against more well-known brands.
http://emotiva.com/xpa1.shtm
 
-John

Tech HiFi -- Sat, 02/04/2012 - 07:12

Great idea, but due to the way Emotiva places their speaker terminals so far apart, my speaker cable won't reach.

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

jax4736 -- Tue, 02/07/2012 - 12:08

I had the Emotiva XPA-2 stereo amp. I noticed that the XPA-1 seems to use the XPA-2 chassis, and I think this accounts for the +/- binding posts being so far apart. I don't really know of any speaker cable that even fits the XPA-1, short of using bare wire. I know my Cardas Golden Reference would not fit it.
 
Emotiva are great amps for the money. My previous experience with Magnepan is that they need a hefty amplifier to sound their best.

stewp -- Thu, 02/09/2012 - 18:06

 ok, from a little experience...
a buddy had some large Maggies (1.6? or larger...) years ago, and unless the power requirements are much different with the 1.7s, I'd suggest any good amplifier capable of some big current swing. From my audio past, something that sounds as good or better than a HK PM665 or better (I think this had something like +/- 30A swing available).  It's not the power per say that is needed, but the current. So anything that could be used as a arc welder that sounds good. If a Bryston ST3 or similar can be had. My friend used a ARC Classic 120/SP11 combination and other than the speakers were too large for his room, the pairing was quite successful.

Tech HiFi -- Mon, 02/20/2012 - 08:21

 I have decided to get the Bryston 4B SST2 instead of the Parasound A21. Yes, I know the Bryston is twice as much, but is it twice as good??? We'll hear...

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

stewp -- Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:15

Then current should never be a problem:)

stewp -- Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:15

Then current should never be a problem:)

Ejcj -- Fri, 03/30/2012 - 23:57

 I have had the Parasound A 21 now for several months.  Dring that time I also had a Brston 4B (an original not the more recent version) and a Krell KAV500.  I also tried the Vincent Audio Tube Hybrid Monoblocks, I forget the model number but they were well reviewed and about 100 watts a piece.  I have settled on the Parasound.  The Bryston was probably my second favorite out of that group.  The vincent audios were powerful enough but bloated and overly ripe in the bass as in big fat not realistic bass notes.  I would imagine the newer model Brystons to be more resolving than the model I had.  The Krell which has been one of the best regarded multichannel amps sounded cold and anticeptic compared to the Parasound and the Bryston amps.  I have not yet had the chance to hear any of Klauses newer amps.  Though when I was in graduate school a friend of mine bought a Symphonic Line amp from klause which sounded amazing.  I bleieve the amps are related as I understand it.  I find the parasound to be warm yet resolved, powerful and lucid.  It matches really well with the Maggies.  At some point I may purchase a second one to try and run them in Mono.  My preamp is also a parasound (the P7).  But even my audiophile buddies that love tubes enjoyed my system a lot.
 
 

 The Big Blueberry

Tech HiFi -- Sat, 03/31/2012 - 06:01

I have not heard the Parasound. I chose the Bryston.  It was slightly better than the Odyssey in every regard except in the bass were I felt it was a little better.  I also thought the Bryston had superior build quality.  Remember we are discussing shades af grey.  Odyssey sound quality - 9.0, build quality - 7.0, value - 10.  Bryston sound quality - 9.25 (bass 9.5), build quality - 10, value - 7.  I also had the W4S SX-1000 monos: Sound - 8.5, build - 9.5, value 9.5, lots of power, although they sounded slightly edgy/hard compared to the other two.  For comparison my Bose Wave radio is a sound - 3, build - 9.5, value - 5.   

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

musicman -- Wed, 04/04/2012 - 22:03

Tech, are you done playing the reviewer? Are these negative numbers? For comparison: BOSE WAVE RADIO!!!!!! Hopefully these are negative numbers! Here is where you lost credibility. Klaus deserves better, Odyssey's Stratos and Khartago's are excellent sounding products, customizable and biased to your system by the factory, excellent warranty (20 yrs on all parts and transferable) talk to the owner customer service and Made in the USA. Try that with Bryston or Parasound. I've owned Stratos for years without a problem and the sound is excellent, you should look into who recommended the Khartago's from no less than Magico, a top speaker manufacturer. Don't bother I know about the Bryston warranty and made in Canada, they sell in Cuba to the bourgeoisie, that is, in this case, the communist elite. The proletariat (from Latin proletarius, a citizen of the lowest class) can not even afford food. The good thing is that you tried them and to you, one sounded better, that is what matters........ but Bose?

Tech HiFi -- Thu, 04/05/2012 - 07:48

Thanks for your feedback.

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

Tech HiFi -- Fri, 04/06/2012 - 04:16

Dupe

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

Ejcj -- Mon, 04/02/2012 - 00:18

 Interesting.  The Bryston that I owned was an older model with the hard wired power cord.  I am sure the newer ones probably have greater resolution.  I think the parasound excels at revealing the nuances of the music in a non harsh way but yet not rolled off either.  My speakers MG 12 do not have the top in that I understand the 1.7's to have.  I debated about buying a pair of 1.6's used.  After reading extensivel peoples thoughts about Magnepans, especially the Magnestand guy I decided on MG 12's  So far I think these are my most favorite pair of speakers ever.
This is a different subject but I noticed you listen to music from your lap top.  May I ask if you are runing that direct into your wired for sound dac?  And related to that how is it connected?  Right now I am using Naim 3.5 cd player with the flatcap power supply.  I love the sound but I also have a great deal of music on my computer.  I only recently started experimenting with how I put cds on the computer.  lately it has been as wave files which I found to sound way better than the other options available.  I don't have a dac right now but it is on the list but the options for getting music off the computer seem overwhelming.

 The Big Blueberry

Tech HiFi -- Mon, 04/02/2012 - 15:44

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/JRiver-Media-Center-17-Detail

I use JRiver 17 on my laptop connected via USB to the DAC2.

Magnepan MG 1.7, Bryston 4B SST2, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Kimber Kable 12TC and Hero, PS Audio Duets, Shunyata Venom 3, Toshiba laptop with J River 17 and Windows 7

gbdrummerguy -- Thu, 04/05/2012 - 14:48

I recently purchased the 1.7's after having 1.6's for 6 years.  The improvement was very dramatic in every way.  Two years prior I managed to snag a GREAT deal on an Audio Space Ref 2.1 with KT 88's rated at 44 watts ultralinear or 23 in triode.  I don't have a huge listening room roughly 14' x 11'.  I've made sure that the 1.7's are 3 to 3.5' from the side walls and 2.5 to 3' from the rear walls and about 6-7' apart.  My previous amp was a Musical Concepts/Hafler 220,  the only Hafler part left was the case everything else was changed.  Black Gate caps, torodial transformer, new circuit boards, Cardas posts & RCA's and Kimber internal wiring w/silver solder.  Output @ 4 ohms roughly 200 watts/side.  Also have a Cary hybrid pre-amp.
When I acquired the Audio Space I was very concerned that there would not be sufficient power to drive the 1.7's.  Low and behold the Audio Space will play easily as loud as my Musical Concepts with a much more natural and timbre correct presentation.  Even when in triode mode I'm NEVER wanting for more power.  Bass definition is very good and the mids and highs are marvelous - that little bit of tubey-ness, sonic heaven.
If you have the chance ignore what the mags say about needing "gobs of power" not so.  Do yourself a favour and audition the Maggies with a good to premium 40-50 watt tube integrated amp and you'll be amazed what a great combo this can be.  I happen to have a very good hi-fi shop in Winnipeg - Advance Electronics where Al is very accommodting when it comes to trying out gear at home for a decent period of time.
The rest of my system consists of:  Shanling hybrid CD-300 player, Rega P5 w/TT PSU and "white" belt and Denon Anniversary 100 mc. Shunyata ac power cord, Kimber power cords and anti-cable speaker cables.
Greg B. 

BobWestcott -- Thu, 04/05/2012 - 18:16

 Maggie 1.7, Sanders Magtech Amp, Audio research LS2 (with Amperex 6922), NAD M5, Rega DAC.

josephamico@com... -- Fri, 04/06/2012 - 10:34

I am using the not so well known but highly rated (Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award) Marsh A-400s amp and it is absolutely wonderful with the 1.7's. It is rated at 330 watts per channel at 4 ohms. Here are some review links;

http://marshsounddesign.com/review.html

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_3/marsh-sound-design-a-400-ampli...

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/marsh_a400s.htm

thotdoc -- Mon, 04/09/2012 - 21:02

Similar to dbdrummerguy, I drive my 1.7s with either Atma-Sphere M60s or MA1s (60 w triode and 130 w triode).  THe Maggies need current, not power, so much. The need for big power is an 'urban myth'. Listen to the 1.7s through good tube amps and you will never go back to ss.

ilxman99 -- Wed, 04/11/2012 - 08:46

I owned the giant-killing 1.6s for years. The need for amp muscle with these speakers is not an urban myth--it's real. That is, if you want to experience the full gamut of power symphonic music, bass-laden pop music, and/or incorporate the speakers into a music/HT system (as I did) you do need power--and quality ss power is generally cheaper than quality tube power. The key here is that realistic dynamics in a planar takes real power AND current; I heard these speakers with an excellent 30W Class-A Pass ss amp but it just didn't have enough power despite its high current--for my tastes. But if you have a smaller room and/or listen at lower volumes to less than Mahlerian music fare, I have no doubt the above tube suggestions would be fine.

gbdrummerguy -- Wed, 04/11/2012 - 10:40

There again the "power" aspect for the 1.7's is current and a reasonable amount of power.  The Audio Space in my room with ~ 42 watts ultralinear & 23 in triode gives me as much volume and timbre and bass authority, more than my ~ 200 watt solid state power amp did.  I don't think it's fair to frighten away potential "maggie" owners with the "bring a bucket full' of power to the table syndrom.  I was very concerned with the Audio Space Ref 2.1 KT-88 integrated tube amp but on first listen absolutely NO problem.  In fact I seemed to have as much if not more volume if needed than with my ss amp.
If you are concerned take the 1.7's home and listen.  If they work with what you have keep them you'll not be disappointed and down the road check out a good quality tube integrated i.e. in the $3-4000.00 range.  As long as your room is not the size of a small gymnasium you'll be a happy camper.  The 1.7's will play plenty loud - their presentation is hard to beat with anything less than $5-6000.00 for a pair of something else.
The Audio Space Ref 2.1 330 B got a stunning write up in "The Absolute Sound" a few years ago.  Now the 330 B version has 23 watts/channel where as the KT 88 version is switchable on the fly between 23 w in triode or 43 w in ultalinear with a slightly more robust and detailed sound.  It's very nice to have that option as I find I'll sometimes switch to triode for some "edgy" CD's and use ultrlinear with all vinyl and better recorded CD's.  It also has a lovely tube mm phono section whch is extremely QUIET!  I'm currently using it with my Rega P5 w/ Denon DL 100 Anniversary mc running into a Klyne SK-1 step up device.
If you'd like any further info please don't hesitate to write.
Thank you,
Greg B.

gbdrummerguy -- Wed, 04/11/2012 - 10:40

There again the "power" aspect for the 1.7's is current and a reasonable amount of power.  The Audio Space in my room with ~ 42 watts ultralinear & 23 in triode gives me as much volume and timbre and bass authority, more than my ~ 200 watt solid state power amp did.  I don't think it's fair to frighten away potential "maggie" owners with the "bring a bucket full' of power to the table syndrom.  I was very concerned with the Audio Space Ref 2.1 KT-88 integrated tube amp but on first listen absolutely NO problem.  In fact I seemed to have as much if not more volume if needed than with my ss amp.
If you are concerned take the 1.7's home and listen.  If they work with what you have keep them you'll not be disappointed and down the road check out a good quality tube integrated i.e. in the $3-4000.00 range.  As long as your room is not the size of a small gymnasium you'll be a happy camper.  The 1.7's will play plenty loud - their presentation is hard to beat with anything less than $5-6000.00 for a pair of something else.
The Audio Space Ref 2.1 330 B got a stunning write up in "The Absolute Sound" a few years ago.  Now the 330 B version has 23 watts/channel where as the KT 88 version is switchable on the fly between 23 w in triode or 43 w in ultalinear with a slightly more robust and detailed sound.  It's very nice to have that option as I find I'll sometimes switch to triode for some "edgy" CD's and use ultrlinear with all vinyl and better recorded CD's.  It also has a lovely tube mm phono section whch is extremely QUIET!  I'm currently using it with my Rega P5 w/ Denon DL 100 Anniversary mc running into a Klyne SK-1 step up device.
If you'd like any further info please don't hesitate to write.
Thank you,
Greg B.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Wed, 04/11/2012 - 14:02

The well documented and proven by experience rule of thumb (and therefore not a myth) is that all Magnepan models require not only high quality amplification and source components, but also for that high quality amplification to be able to produce as much current as is needed at any given moment for as long as it is needed without inducing any clipping of the waveform; be it one half or both halves. (and yes, waveforms can and often do clip in asymetrical ways as I saw many times while working as a test technician at Cary Audio) The speakers do not care whether that needed current comes from a solid state or tube or hybrid amplifier from any manufacturer past or present or future as long as they receive what they need for as long as needed.
As a reminder, tube amplifiers are (primarily) voltage amplifiers and solid state amplifiers are (primarily) current amplifiers. With that being said, Magnepan speakers (all models) are (for the most part) a resistive load with little reactive load components; be it inductive or capacitive or both. With that being said, any amplifier type will therefore see these speakers as a resistive load which affords a variety of benefits to the amplifier, speaker, and sound quality. Keep in mind that most high quality amplifiers (tube and solid state, but solid state especially) can usually produce more power (current and voltage versus just one or the other) than what their specified rating states; which gives you more dynamic headroom for musical transients, peaks, etc.
Keep in mind that Audio Research uses Magnepan speakers (and other brands and types) to test and voice their gear; so that says a great deal about the validity of using tube amplifiers with Magnepan speakers; regardless of the brand, tube type, etc. In contrast to that point though is the validity that certain brands and types of tubes and circuitry arrangements (i.e. push pull versus single ended versus otl, etc.) are better or worse than others at producing current, high power, both at the same time, etc.
Personally, I like the Parasound Halo products for their sound quality and cost to performance ratio. You get fabulous sound and build quality and reliability from a well established and reputable company for not too much money. I also seriously like Audio Research's sound, and the suggestion to use their VS115 stereo power amplifier is a sweet set up for Magnepan 1.7's. I would, any day IF I had that much money to put into the stereo amplifier for them. If I did not, I would get a Parasound A21 and try that out for a while. If you want or need more power, then buy a second one and bridge each one into mono. If you want a different option, then perhaps either a Bryston 3B-SST2 or their 4B-SST2 (at about $4,300 or $5,000 respectively) would be a great match and at a price in between the Parasound A21 at about $2,300 and the Audio Research VS115 at about $6,800. While one brand or model may have more or less watts per channel than another, it is not necessarily about sheer power in watts as it very likely may boil down to cost (your budget) or sound quality or a mix of both. Audio Advisor sells Parasound and Bryston by the way.
Allow adequate room in your budget for either a dedicated new AC line and audiophile quality outlet to plug into or a good quality power cord and surge suppression system like those from Shunyata Research, PS Audio, etc. as it can make a wonderful positive difference to the sound quality of the amplifier and your system overall. The Audio Research VS115 needs a 20 amp IEC connector just so you are aware, and Shunyata makes many of their cords in that configuration so there is no need for an adapter to go from 15A to 20A IEC. Music Direct sells Shunyata and PS Audio by the way.
Go with what your budget can truly afford and your ears and heart like the sound of the most, and enjoy it as much as you can as often as you are able to.

SundayNiagara -- Wed, 04/11/2012 - 14:33

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Wed, 04/11/2012 - 15:59

I just got a photo on here on yours truly. My wife wanted me to take a silly photo of me a few years ago reading my TAS issue of the time. Enjoy.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Wed, 04/11/2012 - 16:54

For the initial entry's limit of $2,500 for a stereo amplifier, you could also go with the hybrid Vincent Audio SP-331 for $2,500 on Audio Advisor with 150 WPC RMS at 8 Ohms and 300 WPC RMS at 4 Ohms (such as the Magnepan speakers are) with the first 10 WPC RMS in legitimate class A mode. The Krell S-300i soild state integrated for $2,500 on Audio Advisor is also a highly valid possibility and would eliminate an extra interconnect and power cable for a simpler and more cost effective set up. It has the same power spec's. as the Vincent, but no class A mode power.
Keep in mind that all Magnepan speakers are moderately to highly inefficient transducers with typical spec's. of about 85 to 86dB; so they electrically require several times more power (watts in general) to produce the same acoustic sound pressure level as a more efficient speaker of perhaps 90dB regardless of it is planar or another type. Musical Fidelity's power requirement charts over the past few years are not just marketing hype to gain sales. Solid state amplifiers also typically have more energy reserve due to the typically high and sometimes inexpensive ways of achieving that high wattage rating (when compared to high end or comparably equipped tube amplifiers of similar or high watts per channel ratings) due to the high amounts of storage capacitance to draw upon and the high current amounts they can provide if designed well in that aspect; which primarily comes from the power supply via several means.
Also, the back EMF produced by a mostly resistive load speaker is significantly less than a highly reactive load such as B&W 802's that are well known by many qualified professionals to be hard to drive due to their impedance curve. That being said, the amplifier; be it solid state or tube, will have an easier time driving Magnepan speakers in that context. However, with a more reactive speaker load, the amplifier's output impedance will vary and increase substantially as frequencies dictate which lowers the damping factor of the amplifier at its output terminals which yields less bass control and causes more distortion in the signal which is never a good thing. But, then again, what do I know ?
When I worked at Cary Audio as a test technician, Dennis Had asked me, "Do you know what back EMF is ?" to which I replied, "Yes, I do." to which he asked me to prove it to him; so I did ... for over an hour ... in a very technically thorough manner with applicable drawings and formulas and calculations and even correct answers to them. His reply was, "Well, that's certainly good enough for me." I hope that what I said about it is good enough for this forum.

Ejcj -- Thu, 04/12/2012 - 02:48

 I owned the Vincent Audio SP-331 monoblocks and at the time I had a pair of MMGs.  I found the Vincent amps to have enough power to drive maggies ok.  But the sound especially in the mid and lower bass was about as fat and bloated as a whale.  I sold the amps pretty quick.  They are beautiful to look at though with the tube window glowing in the dark.  I also owned a Krell integrated, the 300i.  It was good sound but not great sound.  Good definition but not as resolving as my current combo a Parasound P7 and Halo A 21.

 The Big Blueberry

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Thu, 04/12/2012 - 08:26

Thankyou for the info. on the Vincent Audio SP-331's and the Krell 300i integrated. Like you, I am very fond of the Parasound sound.

Steve A -- Thu, 04/12/2012 - 09:19

I'm using a Classe CA-2200 to drive a pair of 3.6s.  While very good in bass definition and control, where this amp really shines with the Magnepans is its finesse, imaging, soundstage depth, width, sweet unetched highs, and beyond everything else transparency.

Steve A -- Thu, 04/12/2012 - 09:19

I'm using a Classe CA-2200 to drive a pair of 3.6s.  While very good in bass definition and control, where this amp really shines with the Magnepans is its finesse, imaging, soundstage depth, width, sweet unetched highs, and beyond everything else transparency.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Thu, 04/12/2012 - 12:55

To be candid, I never liked any of the Magnepan or Martin Logan speakers until the new "X.7" version of each model. I am mostly a fan of dynamic driver speakers even though ML uses a dynamic woofer as we all know. Ironically, now though, I would be thrilled to have any model of new "X.7" series, but I would very likely add one or possible even a pair of JL Audio Fathom F112's with either a Bryston solid state or a Marchand tube active crossover for a true bi-amplified system (if using the 3.7's or 20.7's as the 1.7's are sadly not bi-ampable). Also, from calling one of the technicians at Magnepan, all of their speakers can only accept a maximum wire gauge of 10AWG as the connection terminal (as he described / in his own words and as many of us have seen) is nothing more than a hole drilled into the crossover housing. While few of us would ever use bare wire, it may need to be done and knowing that limit could be helpful. I made the suggestion to that technician to add that information to their website, but it has not been done. He even said that it would be a good idea to make things easier for the customer, but he is not in charge of such things.
Steve A: Your description of how your Classe amplifier sounds with the Magnepan 3.6's is what Classe sounds like in general. Greate taste by the way.

gbdrummerguy -- Fri, 04/13/2012 - 11:20

Hi Twochannelman:
It really doesn't matter that the 1.7's are not bi-wirable if you're planning on an active cross over. As you know with an "active" x-over the signal runs from the pre amp into the active x-over, it splits the signal ( which is generally selectable ) and sends 24kHz-200Hz to the 1.7's main amp and 200Hz-20Hz to the sub amp. Doing this will result in the 1.7's not haveing to produce the deep bass allowing you to us a smaller higher quality tube amp for the 1.7's and a big ss amp to control and produce the very low bass. I had a set up like this for my old MG II's. At the time I used a Hafler DH 220 for the Maggies and a Phase Linear 400 for the sub's ( transmission line Kef 109's ) and the Hafler had MORE than enough power (current) to easily drive the MG II's and the Phase Linear was more than capable of handleing the lows. It seemed to allow the MG II's to be a lot more open sounding when they didn't have to produce the low end signal.
Initially I was slightly dissappointed that the 1.7's weren't bi-wirable, but they sound so amazing that I can tell that a lot of thought has been given to the x-over. The only other issue is finding a sub capable of matching the speed of the 1.7's - the current Rel's come to mind.
I hope this may of helped if you're considering bi-amping with a high quality active x-over. Passive x-overs are not as good a choice as they tend to suck to much power where the active does not.
Greg B.
P.S. Having the 1.7's I'm going to try a Rel sub without bi-amping, Rel has a little 8" & 10" that seem to work extremely well with the 1.7's i.e. very fast.

gbdrummerguy -- Fri, 04/13/2012 - 11:20

Hi Twochannelman:
It really doesn't matter that the 1.7's are not bi-wirable if you're planning on an active cross over. As you know with an "active" x-over the signal runs from the pre amp into the active x-over, it splits the signal ( which is generally selectable ) and sends 24kHz-200Hz to the 1.7's main amp and 200Hz-20Hz to the sub amp. Doing this will result in the 1.7's not haveing to produce the deep bass allowing you to us a smaller higher quality tube amp for the 1.7's and a big ss amp to control and produce the very low bass. I had a set up like this for my old MG II's. At the time I used a Hafler DH 220 for the Maggies and a Phase Linear 400 for the sub's ( transmission line Kef 109's ) and the Hafler had MORE than enough power (current) to easily drive the MG II's and the Phase Linear was more than capable of handleing the lows. It seemed to allow the MG II's to be a lot more open sounding when they didn't have to produce the low end signal.
Initially I was slightly dissappointed that the 1.7's weren't bi-wirable, but they sound so amazing that I can tell that a lot of thought has been given to the x-over. The only other issue is finding a sub capable of matching the speed of the 1.7's - the current Rel's come to mind.
I hope this may of helped if you're considering bi-amping with a high quality active x-over. Passive x-overs are not as good a choice as they tend to suck to much power where the active does not.
Greg B.
P.S. Having the 1.7's I'm going to try a Rel sub without bi-amping, Rel has a little 8" & 10" that seem to work extremely well with the 1.7's i.e. very fast.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Fri, 04/13/2012 - 12:56

Hi there Greg,
Thanks for your reply and information and ideas. I too like the REL brand of subs, and a good quality 8" or 10" (or a pair of either as well) would be a great match for the Magnepan 1.7's.
If I understand you correctly, you seem to be describing using a non-powered / passive subwoofer that requires some type of amplifier to supply power to it after the active crossover outputs ? (which is one way that a sub could be used with Magnepan 1.7's unless the sub has its own / built in amplifier as is usually the case). I would not use a subwoofer's built in crossover to feed the high pass signal to the high pass amplifier(s) for any system as those built in crossovers are usually very poor quality.

You can use passive crossovers at low signal levels in between the preamp and the amplifier(s) so long as they have the inputs and outputs as RCA or XLR type connectors and even have them be adjustable in some ways via DIP or toggle switches perhaps for whatever aspects you wish with the exceptions of the obvious and inherent limitations of not being able to boost or amplify any signals for level matching, etc.

The active part of an active crossover comes from the use of powered tube or solid state devices to primarily increase (amplify) or decrease (attenuate) the signal level or polarity / phase, etc. for one or more functions. Very high quality passive crossover components could be used to make a very high quality and very good sounding (no sound at all) passive crossover that is placed in line between the preamp and power amp(s) at the low signal level if you chose to do it that way. The same brands and model series of crossover components that high end speaker manufacturers use are available to the public via sites like Madisound, Parts Express, Parts Connexion, and some others. The amplifier(s) receiving and amplifying a processed signal will not care if that signal was processed via a high quality active or passive crossover. As for the proper and optimal design for the crossover circuitry itself in regard to the speakers you have; that remains a totally separate endeavor as there are many factors to consider and measurements required and that gets more into "loudspeaker and their crossovers design" in general. Any one of us could buy the highest quality active or passive crossover on the market and it may not be suited for the speakers that you or I or someone else may have due to the physical aspects of the speakers from type of drivers to time alignment of the front baffle, diffraction, polar radiation patterns (horiz. and vert.), number and placement of drivers, diffraction, etc.

gbdrummerguy -- Fri, 04/13/2012 - 13:50

Hi Twochannelguy:
Thanks for your indepth and thoughtfull reply, sometimes one can open a can of worms by trying to add a sub to certain speakers especially Maggies. I've known people who've had Martin Logins with the built in subs and have not been very happy with their integration. As I'd mentioned I'd done that years ago and now have dicided that one should "kiss" - "keep it simple stupid". I'm more apt to follow that philosophy now, that's why I'm going to try out the Rel subs ( 8"' or 10" ) with their built in sub amp and see how well they match up to the 1.7's speed and clarity. I've heard form some reliable sources that they do make a very nice match but like anything "one mans soup is another mans poison". As you're well aware rooms vary so if there's too much of a trade off I'll go sub-less as I'm quite content with the bass from the 1.7's in my room.
I was curious - what does your system consist of, I know you said you weren't big on the earlier Maggies - any favourites?
Thanks,
Greg B.

gbdrummerguy -- Fri, 04/13/2012 - 13:50

Hi Twochannelguy:
Thanks for your indepth and thoughtfull reply, sometimes one can open a can of worms by trying to add a sub to certain speakers especially Maggies. I've known people who've had Martin Logins with the built in subs and have not been very happy with their integration. As I'd mentioned I'd done that years ago and now have dicided that one should "kiss" - "keep it simple stupid". I'm more apt to follow that philosophy now, that's why I'm going to try out the Rel subs ( 8"' or 10" ) with their built in sub amp and see how well they match up to the 1.7's speed and clarity. I've heard form some reliable sources that they do make a very nice match but like anything "one mans soup is another mans poison". As you're well aware rooms vary so if there's too much of a trade off I'll go sub-less as I'm quite content with the bass from the 1.7's in my room.
I was curious - what does your system consist of, I know you said you weren't big on the earlier Maggies - any favourites?
Thanks,
Greg B.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Fri, 04/13/2012 - 14:55

Hi there Greg,
If you are happy with the bass response of your Magnepan 1.7's in your room as they are, you may be able to improve it by repositioning them a bit this way or that way as per the owner's manual's suggestions and critical listening for a while or getting a good quality power cord and AC outlet for the amplifier driving them. Also, have you tried a pair of the Mye Sound stands for your Maggies ? http://www.myesound.com/Home_Page.html Their prices for the model for Magnepan 1.7's range from $590 to $630 within the continental USA. They support the entire frame much more (very stiff) and improve the sound quality in a variety of ways that their site can tell you about in detail. Those ideas could (hopefully would) improve the bass response to where you no longer even consider adding a sub or two that could actually lower the sound quality of the entire system once added. Tweak out what you have as much as you can in safe, reliable, and cost effective ways as you are able to and then add a sub or two if you are still just lacking what you want.
As for my system now, I have nothing at all. Literally, nothing. My wife and I chose to sell it a few years ago in September 2008 to be a stay at home father for our two sons so that we do not have to put them into day care with strangers raising our kids at over $325 per week. That is why I said that I would be thrilled with having any of the Magnepan models. Sacrifices for our children are worth it, but no music bites.

SundayNiagara -- Fri, 04/13/2012 - 15:09

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gbdrummerguy -- Sat, 04/14/2012 - 13:54

Hi Twochannelman:
I have a Shunyata AC cord for my Audio Space and that is plugged into the Monster Cable HTS 2000 w/stage 3 clean power that was highly recommended in the Absolute Sound a few years ago, that in turn is plugged into a Shunyata AC recepticle. All of this contributes to a very "black" background. I also have a Shanling CD 300 (CD 3000 in the US) hybrid CD player with cryo tubes and a Kimber AC cable. The Shanling also has balanced outs but using them by passes the tubes which I would rather not do. It also upsamples to 24/196 a very usefull feature which can be selected on the fly. All in all a very musical system. My analogue set up consists of a Rega P5 w/ TT PSU and a Denon DL 100 Anniversary mc. I'd never had a Denon mc before but had read many sterling reviews about the DL 103R so I decided to order the DL 100 which is a step up from Music Direct. They had them on sale for $299 reg $499! After setting it up I was totally amazed with this cartridge. I had a Benz Ace low output but the Denon is much better i.e. musical cartridge in every way! I can't believe the sound quality that you can extract from this cart. I had to add a bit of mass to the cartridge, a 3 oz brass shim between the headshell and cart to increase the mass of the RB 700 as the Denon is a low compliance cart and is best mated to a med - high mass tonearm. The tracking is exceptional, also very smooth. I'm runninig the P5 into my Klyne SK-1 step up device and then into the tube phono section of the Audio Space - a very sweet sounding set up.
As for the Mye stands I did talk to him and was tempted when I had my 1.6's but the 1.7's have a extruded aluminum "I" beam that runs the full length on each side of the speaker and replaces the wood trim that was standard on the 1.6's. This results in a much more rigid frame assembly according to Magnapan. Hence, I've decided to forgo the Mye stands.
I know some times you have to make sacrifices and you've made the right ones! Once your kids are a little older you'll find the money to start piecing together a good system. I'm a professional musician and have to have a good hi-fi in order to be fully aware of a good to excellent sounding recording. I've done a lot of recording and touring in the past and unfortunately many of my contemporaries have very marginal systems at best - go figure! I've always wanted and had above average systems to listen to and at this point could not be with out one. But as you know it's a slow process and every time that I manage to save enough to acquire a new "piece" I'm very pleased. I also tend to hang on to my stereo's for a long time, I had my 1.6's for 8 years and only decided to upgrade to the 1.7's after having them at home for a week so I could make a thorough comparison, the difference was very immediate and obvious.
Thanks for the advice and we'll chat soon,
Greg B.

gbdrummerguy -- Sat, 04/14/2012 - 13:54

Hi Twochannelman:
I have a Shunyata AC cord for my Audio Space and that is plugged into the Monster Cable HTS 2000 w/stage 3 clean power that was highly recommended in the Absolute Sound a few years ago, that in turn is plugged into a Shunyata AC recepticle. All of this contributes to a very "black" background. I also have a Shanling CD 300 (CD 3000 in the US) hybrid CD player with cryo tubes and a Kimber AC cable. The Shanling also has balanced outs but using them by passes the tubes which I would rather not do. It also upsamples to 24/196 a very usefull feature which can be selected on the fly. All in all a very musical system. My analogue set up consists of a Rega P5 w/ TT PSU and a Denon DL 100 Anniversary mc. I'd never had a Denon mc before but had read many sterling reviews about the DL 103R so I decided to order the DL 100 which is a step up from Music Direct. They had them on sale for $299 reg $499! After setting it up I was totally amazed with this cartridge. I had a Benz Ace low output but the Denon is much better i.e. musical cartridge in every way! I can't believe the sound quality that you can extract from this cart. I had to add a bit of mass to the cartridge, a 3 oz brass shim between the headshell and cart to increase the mass of the RB 700 as the Denon is a low compliance cart and is best mated to a med - high mass tonearm. The tracking is exceptional, also very smooth. I'm runninig the P5 into my Klyne SK-1 step up device and then into the tube phono section of the Audio Space - a very sweet sounding set up.
As for the Mye stands I did talk to him and was tempted when I had my 1.6's but the 1.7's have a extruded aluminum "I" beam that runs the full length on each side of the speaker and replaces the wood trim that was standard on the 1.6's. This results in a much more rigid frame assembly according to Magnapan. Hence, I've decided to forgo the Mye stands.
I know some times you have to make sacrifices and you've made the right ones! Once your kids are a little older you'll find the money to start piecing together a good system. I'm a professional musician and have to have a good hi-fi in order to be fully aware of a good to excellent sounding recording. I've done a lot of recording and touring in the past and unfortunately many of my contemporaries have very marginal systems at best - go figure! I've always wanted and had above average systems to listen to and at this point could not be with out one. But as you know it's a slow process and every time that I manage to save enough to acquire a new "piece" I'm very pleased. I also tend to hang on to my stereo's for a long time, I had my 1.6's for 8 years and only decided to upgrade to the 1.7's after having them at home for a week so I could make a thorough comparison, the difference was very immediate and obvious.
Thanks for the advice and we'll chat soon,
Greg B.

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Sat, 04/14/2012 - 13:06

Hi there Greg,
To answer your question of what some of my favorite brands of speakers are, I really like Usher (dancer series only though), Focal / JM Lab, Wilson, Magnepan (now in the X.7 series), Sonus Faber, and when I heard one of the Gilmore Audio hybrid ribbon / planar / dynamic woofer speakers with Atma-Sphrere OTL's on them ... WOW !! I also like Dynaudio, Magico (only heard the Mini for a few minutes a few years ago), and JL Audio and REL for subs. I'm sure there are more brands, but those are the main ones. I've sold 78 brands of audio and speakers and auditioned or at least heard another 132 brands of audio and speakers, so I have a fair sampling of what has been and is out there. Being a stay at home father, my opportunity to go listen to the latest and greatest is somewhat limited, but once in a while I go to a dealer and listen to this or that ... only after telling them on the phone first that I am not interested in purchasing and not in a fniancial position to purchase and would just like the privilege to see what this or that sounds like for a little while in between and out of the way of their customers. Most are willing to let me do that for an hour or two, and to me, that's cool.
What are your favorites so far ?

gbdrummerguy -- Sat, 04/14/2012 - 14:52

Hi Twochannelman:
I've been a Maggie fan since my first pair of MG II's which I got in the mid 70's.  After the MG II's I had a pair of Acoustat 2+2's for about 10 or 11 years.  Sold those after the tweeter adjustment began to fail.  Bought a pair of B&W 601's, a very nice small 2-way which I still have and may us in a surround system once we redo our basement.  If not I'll use them in a small 2 channel set up for my upstairs system.  Once the "new" 1.6's came out I went down to Advance Electronics and took them home along with a pair of B&W 605's for comparison.  Listened to the 605's for a few days which were a step up from the 601's. I hope I'm not getting the numbers mixed up, my 601's were roughly $600/pair and the 605's around $2000/pair - about hthe same as the 1.6's.
Then I set up the 1.6's and it was love at first listen!  Much larger presentation, sound stage, better timbre and all around more natural.  I haven't really auditioned much else, once you get a planar it's VERY hard to be attracted to a "conventional" speaker.  I know there's some great one's out there, in particular the "Golden Ear" speaker in the $2000 price range with an integrated powered sub has been getting some great reviews.  My price range is $2-2500/pair. Also my room is not huge so I must keep that in mind.  Audio Physic is another brilliant speaker - heard a system with Sim Audio power & pre amp ~ $10,000/pr, PS Audio CD & Dac ~ $6000/pr, and Audio Physic $6000/pair - a lovely system but out of my price range unless I win the Lottery.  That's why I keep coming back to the Maggies - for the money they're very hard to beat unless you're willing to spend $4-5000/pair i.e. the 3.7's!  A little big for my listening room unfortunately.
Those are some of my faves, I know there's more.
Greg B.
 

earwaxxxer -- Wed, 05/16/2012 - 11:32

Hey Greg - Interesting that you actually owned a pair of the MGll's back when. I was in high school in the 70's when I heard a pair. I never forgot the sound of those speakers! I now own a pair of modded MMG's that I have been hacking for about 8yrs. Quite happy. I think I have them tweaked about as good as I can (afford). Ditched the inductor altogether, and have settled on some premo caps. I agree with planar sentiment. Never going back to a dome tweeter.

Eric

Maggie MMG's (modded), Squeezbox Transporter, Emotiva XPA-2, HSU Research sub, Sub amp - Crown, MSB Link DAC lll, Bottlehead Quickie preamp (modded), JPS Labs Digital powercord, MIT Z-cord, JPS Labs Ultraconductor 2 interconnect and speaker wire

Twochannelman (not verified) -- Sat, 04/14/2012 - 17:20

Greg,
It sure does sound like you have had a good time with your Maggies. Isn't it nice (and such a relief) when you just know that you know that the ones you went with are the ones you will stay with ? It makes it all so simple from that point on, and so much more enjoyable.
Is the "Golden Ear" speaker you mentioned with integrated subs from Definitive Technology by any chance ? if so, I sold DT's back in the mid 90's. I have only heard a few pairs since then and was not fond of what I heard at all, but in fairness to some of those, they were at a local Best Buy; so how good could they have sounded ? One of those pairs was the Mythos ST or STS a few years ago at a local dealer who powered them with a pair of McIntosh MC275 KT88 tube amplifiers and other McIntosh gear for the preamp and CD player. It was not very impressive as they sounded very muffled and dull. Maybe it was the aluminum tweeters not being as revealing as the Focal or Wilson or Usher Beryllium tweeters. Anyway, enjoy your Maggies.

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