The surround panels worked about as well as any surround speakers I’ve heard when it came to reproducing subtle ambience. It was nearly impossible to pinpoint sound coming from the panels themselves, and special effects in Armageddon often sounded absolutely eerie.
The baby Maggies do many things so extraordinarily well that it’s worth the effort to fix their shortcomings. Here are several possible ways to add a touch of missing mid-to-upper bass while preserving clarity.
First, instead of a single, large subwoofer crossed over at 80–120Hz, consider using two smaller subs (one on each side) crossed over much higher (maybe even as high as 200Hz). Small, fast subs would better match the MC1s and draw less attention to themselves at higher crossover frequencies than a larger sub would.
A second idea would be to use either an aftermarket bass management device (e.g., Outlaw Audio’s Integrated Controlled Bass Manager) or a good A/V receiver controller with flexible bass management functions to set much higher subwoofer crossover frequencies for the center channel.
Finally, consider using a pair of MC1s as the standalone speaker system for large, wall-mounted displays. The Maggies’ sound quality beats anything plasma manufacturers offer by a huge margin, and at a bargain price. Just be sure to drive them with a good amplifier that puts out at least 60Wpc.
Magnepan’s MC1 system looks unconventional, but it can blend beautifully into many rooms. To further enhance aesthetics Magnepan is finalizing a custom mounting kit that lets the panels fit flush into the walls until motorized arms swing them out into playing position. Ingenious.
The MC1s are capable of truly beautiful multichannel sound, though they need greater mid-to-upper bass power and presence. You can compensate, however, by carefully choosing ancillary components with the Maggie’s mid-bass requirements in mind.
The Maggies can’t do fight scenes in The Matrix with the impact of larger dynamic speaker systems, but none at the MC1 system’s price can approach its clarity and coherence. There’s just something about that Magnepan sound. It hooked me 33 years ago and I haven’t been able to shake it since.