Magnepan DWM woofer panel:
• The DWM woofer features a wideband planar magnetic driver that in essence is a scaled-down version of the woofer section of the flagship Magnepan 20.1 speaker.
• Quoted frequency response of the DWM module is 40Hz – 5 kHz, which is remarkable bandwidth for a bass module.
• The versatile DWM is set up so that it can accept either stereo inputs, which is how it is used in the Mini Maggie system, or mono inputs (which come into play in larger Magnepan systems where listeners might use one DWM per channel for added bass reinforcement or system tuning).
The Mini Maggie crossover system:
• The Mini Maggie crossover section is a built-in feature of the DWM module.
• Wendell Diller, Magnepan’s head of marketing, states emphatically that the Mini Maggie system’s crossover design leverages the firm’s latest design thinking as drawn from the company’s two newest full-size loudspeaker designs: namely the award-winning 1.7 and 3.7.
Other important points:
• Given the fact that the Mini Maggie systems sports advanced technologies drawn from the firm’s more expensive full-size speakers and also quotes quite wide-range frequency response, some listeners will inevitably ask if the system can be used as a near full-range satellite/woofer-type system in smaller rooms settings.
• Wendell Diller fields such questions by emphasizing that the Mini Maggie system was designed from the outset for near-field, desktop listening applications—applications where the speaker’s performance is simply spectacular. While conceding that the Mini Maggie “will work” as a sat/woofer-type system in some small rooms, Diller’s opinion is that listeners who want a whole-room speaker system might be better off choosing one of Magnepan’s larger floorstanding models.
• There are two reasons why the Mini Maggie system is best used in a desktop context. First, as Diller points out, the phase response of the Mini Maggie system is “incredibly easy to get right” in a desktop setting, but much harder to get right when it is set up as a whole-room system. Second, the power response characteristics of the Mini Maggie system are geared for specifically for near-field listening, whereas the power response characteristics of the bigger, floorstanding Maggies typically works out better in a whole-room context.
• At present, the Mini Maggie system is offered only as a three-piece system, meaning that the Mini Maggie desktop panels are not sold separately.
Before describing how the Mini Maggie system sounds, I first need to ask you to set aside any preconceptions you might have regarding the levels of performance that can be expected from “desktop speaker systems.” I say this because, in my experience the Mini Maggie system simply tears up the established, unspoken rules of desktop sound, throws them in the trash bin, and start all over again at a much, much higher level of performance than I frankly would have thought possible.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the sheer size (that is, depth, width, and height) of the soundstages that the Mini Maggie system produces. In the past, I’ve heard fine near-field monitors that offered excellent levels of clarity, definition, and imaging precision, yet none of them have ever really produced soundstages that had the sort of expansiveness and holographic depth you might hear from a great full-size loudspeaker in a large listening room. The Mini Maggie system, however, is different, and shockingly so. When you listen to the Mini Maggie rig on a desktop, you have little if any sense that the desktop modules are even the sources of the sounds you are hearing, because the soundstage you hear is almost unbelievably wide and—on good recordings—tends to unfold in a convincing three-dimensional space that extends far behind the speakers and, in fact, extends far behind the back wall of the listening room itself. No other desktop system that I have heard even comes close to the Mini Maggie system in this regard, and frankly not many full-size speakers can do as well. Granted, the Mini Maggie system may not fully equal the soundstaging capabilities of the firm’s much larger and more costly model 3.7 and 20.1 floorstanders, whose very tall midrange panels and ribbon tweeter do a superior job of conveying the sheer height and volume of large scale listening environments (realistically suggesting, as they do, the size and scope of large concert halls, for example). But even so, I think it’s fair to say the Mini Maggie establishes a new benchmark for desktop systems, and one that I doubt will soon be equaled.