Consider this system if: you are the sort of listener for whom “pretty good” or even “very good” sound just isn’t good enough. This system is geared for music and movie lovers who are keenly appreciative of the finer points of sound reproduction and who therefore prize superb levels of sonic detail, resolution, purity, and that oh-so-elusive quality of cohesiveness (one of the keys to realism). When set up properly the Magnepan system also offers incredibly compelling, 3D imaging—the kind that can seem almost scarily realistic at times. Indeed, this whole system is all about the pursuit of realism—a quality that reaches beyond excellence in hi-fi to achieve a higher standard of performance.
Finally, note that this system, unlike others that Magnepan offers, stands a very good chance of winning approval from the “interior designers” of this world. It sounds big and three-dimensional, but (mostly) gets out of the way when it’s not in use.
Look further if: you are on a tight budget, require a system that effortlessly achieve monstrous “bringing the house down” volume levels, or if you would prefer a system that is dirt simple to set up. In truth, the Maggie system is more than fairly priced for the quality if offers, but it is by no means cheap. Note, too, that the Magnepan system is relatively insensitive and thus requires a powerful AVR or A/V controller/amp combo to give of its best. With sufficient power, the Maggie system can play quite loudly, but note that, when pushed too far, the DWM woofer panels can “bottom out” momentarily (this doesn’t hurt anything, but can sound pretty nasty if it occurs). Third, as noted above, the Maggie system requires several simple but admittedly unorthodox setup steps, which some users might find daunting.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced surround speaker systems):
Transparency and Focus: 10
Imaging and Soundstaging: 10
Tonal Balance: 9.5
Value: 9.5 (but note that while the Magnepan system does a beautiful job with frequencies from about 40 Hz on up, you will need to add a supplementary subwoofer to handle frequencies between 20 – 40 Hz).
This is Part 1 of 2. Click here to read Part 2.