When I reviewed Magnepan’s Mini Maggie speaker system in Playback 48, I said the system “establishes a new benchmark for desktop systems, and one that I doubt will soon be equaled.” My reactions really shouldn’t come as a big surprise given two key factors that the Mini Maggie system leveraged the exact same design philosophies and technologies that gave rise to Magnepan’s award-winning 1.7 and 3.7 loudspeakers. It is also important to know that the Mini Maggie system was, from the outset, designed and voiced specifically with desktop applications in mind.
Despite the system’s made-for-desktops design brief, however, many readers (and some Magnepan dealers) have wondered whether the Mini-Maggie system might also be used as a conventional sat/woofer system in smaller whole-room applications. I talked with Magnepan’s head of marketing Wendell Diller about this idea when I was doing my original Mini Maggie review and at the time he felt strongly that the system should be evaluated purely for desktop use (the application for which the design had been optimized). In that original review I summarized the desktop vs. whole-room question as follows:
“…some listeners will inevitably ask if the (Mini Maggie) 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 specifically for near-field listening, whereas the power response characteristics of the bigger, floorstanding Maggies typically work out better in a whole-room context.”
Despite these precautions, there has been a groundswell of interest in using the Mini Maggie system for smaller whole-room applications. This makes sense, I suppose, given that listeners are understandably drawn to the idea of a compact sat/woofer system that sounds much like Magnepan’s stellar 3.7, yet sells for a fraction of the price. And so it happened that, several weeks after my initial Mini Maggie review was published, I got a call from Wendell Diller, who asked, “would you consider doing a second review of the Mini Maggie system, but this time around evaluating it as a sat/woofer system for whole-room applications? I’ll provide whatever help I can in terms of set-up suggestions, but you’ll basically be on your own to figure out how, or if, the system can be made to work well in that setting.”
I agreed to Magnepan’s request and set to work, not knowing exactly where the project might lead. This follow-up review provides observations on the sonic performance you can expect from the Mini Maggie system when used in whole-room contexts, along with practical setup and positioning tips that should help you achieve the best results.
Those of you who read my initial Playback review of the Mini Maggie system can skip this part, but for those of you who did not, here are basic things you’ll need to know about the Mini Maggie package.
The standard Mini Maggie package consists of three elements: two dipole Mini Maggie satellite speakers (9-inch x 14-inch) and a single panel, dual-channel dipole DWM lower midrange/bass module (19.25-inch x 22.5-inch).
Mini Maggie Satellite:
• The Mini Maggie satellites features true ribbon tweeter (roughly .8-inch x 6.7-inch), which are essentially a scaled-down version of the famous ribbon tweeters used in Magnepan’s larger 3.7 (and now the new 20.7) loudspeakers.
• The Mini Maggie satellites also feature compact (roughly 4.5-inch x 8.5-inch) planar magnetic midrange drivers.
• Each Mini Maggie satellite is fitted with a driver protection fuse, a set of high-current capacity speaker taps, and connectors where an optional tweeter-output padding resistor (included) can be installed, if desired.