Budget amp that will give Magnepan 3.6Rs better depth of soundstage

I have 3.6Rs and using Emotiva UMC200 pre/proc and an Outlaw Audio 7100 in a 14 by 14 foot room. So I don't need to turn the volume up to massive levels. The amp will do 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 165 watts per channel into 4 ohms. I have been thinking of getting a separate two channel amp for the 3.6Rs. I have read that it takes lots of current to get the best soundstage with instrument placement and depth. I am getting wide soundstage and good sound, but the depth is somewhat muddied enough to not get instrument placement. I am looking for a two channel amp that will give me more of the potential of the 3.6Rs, but be able to be purchased for less that $750 used.  Is there any amp that will be worth upgrading to for that kind of money or do I need a new pre/proc as well?


Before you spend money on amps you might want to get your room analyzed for free from auralex:


As a fellow Maggie owner I agree with your assessment that another amp / pre will sound much better I just don't think you'll be able to do it in that price range. Maggie's need quality high power equipment. I would start with Parasound and work up from there as budget allows.

not gonna happen

that is the hidden cost of owning maggies... you need damn expensive associated equipment to make them sound their best

That is a big set of speakers for a fairly small room! I had a pair of Maggie 1.6QRs when we moved some years ago and I tried to use them in a 14 X 15 room. They just didn't work well and I sold them.

And squareness doesn't help. My 2 cents is that your room is likely a bigger problem in terms of the placement of instrument imaging than your power amp. Not saying a better amp might not help, but probably is not the major issue. 

The post above suggesting a room analysis is a better start, IMO. The next step would be acoustic room treatment. Only then would I start worrying about changing amps.

Great little amp over 200 wpc into 4 ohms ,

the parasound  A23+   I bought one for my wife she is very happy with it 

perrotta consultants got a great deal , judt put in a decent aftermarket power cord like a Pangea AC- very high current and a decent aftermarket fuse.

I would try hanging  a curtain  behind the speakers about three inches away from the wall. You want sheers or better yet a sheers with small holes in them. That will eliminate  your muddy  part likely. Very cheap to do it helps control  the back wave ant the top end makes it much clear. 

I ran Maggie 3.3s actively  bl amped with s pair of moon w3 amps. Lots of power grip speed. Huge sound stage. 

I have a bit of good news for you. If you can be patient, and stretch the budget a bit, find a Music Reference RM-10… 35 watt per channel tube amplifier. They are usually around $1000-$1200 used, so definitely north of your budget, but they sound absolutely incredible with Magnepans…. As long as you’re not trying to play music at 100 dBs. Your 14x14 room is helping you. A number of people will likely chime in and tell you it won’t work, but it does work. I’ve owned six different models of Magnepan speakers over the past 37 years, and I’ve tried dozens of amplifiers to drive them, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that the RM-10 I’m listening to right now is the best sound I’ve heard in my room. My room is 14x22, and I listen mostly to rock, blues, and some jazz, at an average of 80-85 dBs, measured with a sound meter, at ten feet back from the plane of the speakers (they’re about 52” out from the front wall). My speakers are MG-3.7s. I’ve been experimenting with lower powered, high-quality amplifiers with them over the last couple of years. Those who insist Maggies “need” hundreds of watts of power are either using the wrong amps, or have completely different priorities than I. By the way, I’ve used big, heavy, monstrous amps capable of outputting several hundred watts per channel with these speakers. Some have sounded very good, some not so good, but sound quality, for me, has never followed a “watts per channel” model. *Caveat: I recently purchased a pair of zero autoformers from Speltz audio to increase the 4 ohm impedance of the speakers. Roger Modjeski, designer of the RM-10, assured me, before he passed, that his amp would be up to the challenge of driving Magnepans to the level I listen, with the music I listen to, in the size room I’m in. He was correct. 

A used Acurus A 250 is within your price range and will give you at least 250wpc into 8 ohms. But will it be of sufficient quality to get the best out of your Maggies is a question I can't answer.

I agree with misstl, Maggie 3.6s are a lot of speaker for your room. So, making the room ’seem’ bigger acoustically would be the logical first step. That means acoustical panels. They will reduce the level of reflected vs. direct energy and in doing so increase the Critical Distance, that point at which direct and reverberant field levels are the same. My personal preference is Acoustimac for construction quality, fair pricing, and a wide selection of fabric options. Their Home Theater Package 1 would be a great place to start in your room.

Don’t believe that spending more on tweakier panels is money well spent. Inside all of them is either Corning Fiberglas 703/704 or Rock Wool or a paper based material called Eco Core. Rock Wool is the standard works just fine. Much as I believe ceiling panels area Very Good Thing, because Maggies are dipole radiators, I would consider trying 2 of the 6 panels or mounting the bass traps behind the speakers to help control reflections from the back wave.

It’s not so much the watts as it is current and stability at lower impedances. If you have a subwoofer, 100 watts should be more than sufficient.

If you don’t mind an older amp, look for a Proceed HPA-2. it is 250 w/ch at 8 and 500 w/ch at 4 ohms, good down to 2 ohms and will drive virtually anything with a neutral sound and a black background. Know that you will be buying about a 20-yr old amp.

The good news is that its design shares the basic features of dual mono Levinson amps. There are three authorized Levinson service firms that will repair them, if needed, Pyramid Audio in Austin, TX is one of them and does great work, having used them myself. One warning - the amp weighs over 80 lbs. For any needed repairs, however, each of the two amp modules can be separately removed from the case. A local repair firm, technician or Levinson dealer can help with that. They are available used for under $1,000. I have one and it is still going strong. It is a great prescription for any low efficiency, power hungry speaker that requires high current.

I agree that those speakers are too big for the room. I would move down to 1.7’s. Which are excellent.

I had Maggie 3.6Rs on loan for close to 20 days in a 12’ x 16’ room with a 220 wpc dual mono solid state amp with 75amps of current. A capable amp.. The room was the limiting factor. Just did not work very well at all. Sound stage was all wrong.

Same day of evaluation, swapped in a friends pair of much smaller pair of Maggie SMG-Cs just for grins (at his suggestion) and it was drastically better. It was a quick lesson in room acoustics and speaker response. Needed a much bigger room in retrospect. 



OP, I have been running Maggie 1.7i's with a Parasound A21+ , and a PrimaLuna Evo 300 preamp in a open plan room of 20 x 30ft., 9ft ceiling. The right side of the room is open to the front of the house, with only a staircase in-between the two large rooms.  The Parasound, (400w into 4ohms) completely pressurizes this space with the Maggies.  I play everything: jazz, classical, rock. I was just listening to "Kid A" by Radiohead, (Tidal MQA).  It was holographic in this space. A good friend is into blu-ray surround music (I cannot do it), and I sat him in the sweet spot. He was dumbfounded by the soundstage that expanded to the sides and overhead.  I use two Martin Login subs as well. But the Parasound is the heart and soul of the system.  Give it a listen with your bigger Maggies...I'm sure it won't disappoint. Oh, room acoustics: I have a large, deep sectional in the middle of the listening space and a large area rug underneath that, about 1.5ft in front of the Maggies.  That's it. My sound meter reads 30db avg. for pre-music sound, 25db when no one else is home.  My average listening is around 75 - 90db

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I believe you could probably use those speakers in your room if you can get the room right as panzrwagn has suggested. I suggest consulting a professional for advice. Jeff at hdacoustics is very good. I was told my speakers would not work in my smaller room but with Jeff’s design they are fabulous! Good luck!

You didn’t mention how far away your Maggies are from the front wall. In my experience with Maggies, they MUST be a minimum of 4 feet out to get optimum front to back imaging. Anything less and the soundstage will suffer and no amp is going to make it much better. While a lot of people say 3 feet out will work, they don’t fully open up until they’re out 4 feet or more. If you are unable to bring them out that far, diffusion and not absorption behind the speakers will help with imaging. Try pulling them out to 4 feet (if they’re not already) and toe them in slightly, before spending money on an amplifier.

The room would need addressing before considering more power, but a better amp can make some significant improvements to the presence, dynamics and stage. 

What about wood diffusion behind the speakers along the front wall and then on the first reflection points? I purchased some cheap and very effective BXI quadratic panels on Amazon that did amazing things for the imaging and stage depth. 


I’ve owned numerous Magnepan models spanning 40 years time, and currently use MG 20.7’s.


in this order:

6’ from rear wall (put them on casters with locking wheels if need be)

experiment with toe in-mms matter

cheap but great amps? Crown Pro series, carver sunfire, parasouund. Adcom


good listening!!!

I am currently running Magnepan 1.7i in an 11' x 14' room with two REL subs.

Speakers need to be 4'-5' from the front wall.  

I have used as little as 25 watts to 50 watts from a good tube amp.  Only bass was improved with big SS power.

For $750 or less, you are looking at older amps.  I had an ATI 1502 (225 watts @ 4 ohms) that did fine.  Look for high-current more than just a watt rating.  

Unfortunately, a lot of these older amps are due for service.  







I agree with those who suggest room treatments 1st.

If you want to try an amp less than $750 that can definately drive them, Ive got a recapped Carver M400 I would  part with. 200wpc 8ohms, over 300wpc 4ohms. It drove my 1.7i s at high spl for hours without getting warm. 

My new $2k + amp sounds only a little better in detail, but same as far as soundstage.

in my experience the most cost effective amps (used) to drive big maggies well enough in a regular size room to normal levels are

klaus’ odyssey amps (even the less expensive older ones are excellent, khartago or stratos -- caps upgrade helps)

primare i-30 integrated 100 wpc, 180 wpc into 4, stout and very musical

older musical fidelity a308 or similar

older van alstine synergy or similar (a little more sharp sounding)

older audio research 100.2 (100/200 into 4) - lovely tube like warmth, if you can find one



Hello Cdavis2260! As a fellow Maggie owner and amp snooper, Starke Sound's 4 channel amp will give you great performance in the stereo mode. New, thay are $1400, but go on sale now and then for as low as $1000. Maybe you can find one used. I have five of them in use. They are the best power amps I have ever used. I used to build my own amps, but not anymore! Happy Listening.

You need a powerful amp and no tube i try a lot of amps but with the cello duet it was great.

You will not be disappointed in Odyssey ... the last used unit sold  a week ago but they list frequently.  


You may want try a graphic equalizer. They fell out of favor in the 1980s but have become very popular with the headphone community in recent years. They can also allow you to tailor the sound of a speaker system to your particular listening room.

Schiit Audio sells three graphic equalizers: Loki Mini+ $149, Lokius $299, Loki Max $1499. I use the Lokius and it works quite well for my headphone system. It will also offer an inexpensive way to experiment with your Maggies.

I had 3.5Rs and tried lots of SS amps, but in your price range I seriously doubt you can find a better amp. Hurry!'


First thing to do is can those stock steel jumpers on the back.  I used a pair from Anticables to replace them and was blown away.  Number 2, take care of that 1st reflection off the sidewalk.  Now you're ready for an amp.  I had both an Emotiva and an Outlaw.  The Maggie's ate the Outlaw alive and the Emotiva just never let the Maggie's sing.  Had a pair of Odyssey monos made up and told Klaus (the builder) what I was trying to drive and they brought out everything I had been missing from the Maggie's.  I fronted the monos with a Don Sachs tube pre and everything that was missing came to life. Bass, which is always tough with Maggie's, became much fuller while the kids and highs just became so real.  Piano sounded like a piano.  Acoustic guitar the harmonics were all there.  Cymbals and percussion were all so dynamic and accurate.  I dont know of a budget amp that will really let those things sing.  And a budget integrated will probably let you down.  It certainly wont give you all that mb Maggie's have to offer.

First thing to do is can those stock steel jumpers on the back.  I used a pair from Anticables to replace them and was blown away.  Number 2, take care of that 1st reflection off the sidewall.  Now you're ready for an amp.  I had both an Emotiva and an Outlaw.  The Maggie's ate the Outlaw alive and the Emotiva just never let the Maggie's sing.  Had a pair of Odyssey monos made up and told Klaus (the builder) what I was trying to drive and they brought out everything I had been missing from the Maggie's.  I fronted the monos with a Don Sachs tube pre and everything that was missing came to life. Bass, which is always tough with Maggie's, became much fuller while the kids and highs just became so real.  Piano sounded like a piano.  Acoustic guitar the harmonics were all there.  Cymbals and percussion were all so dynamic and accurate.  I dont know of a budget amp that will really let those things sing.  And a budget integrated will probably let you down.  It certainly wont give you all that mb Maggie's have to offer.

I’ve had Maggies for years and I have found after trying a few different amps that if you can utilize or locate a true class A older Bedini amp, you will have phenomenal full natural sound with great warmth, exceptional clean highs and excellent separation. I use a Bedini 125 watt per channel amp  now. Just a thought. 

Your room will work. Pull them out 5 feet, tweeters in. But you'll need a real amp, Parasound A21 is my budget recommendation. Second choice would be the Adcom 555.

Give nice Class D a try? You can get a Hypex NC502MP based amp new for that much. It's 500 watts which your Maggies will enjoy, especially for transient peaks. Suggested brands would be VTV and Audiophonics. I use a March P502 with my MMGs, and they've never been driven so well before for me. Incredible clarity, detail and drive. With Magna Risers, my MMGs have supplanted my Vandersteen 2ce Sigs as my faves. 

Mine are actively biamped with a Marchand crossover and a Classe CA-200 (treble, mid) and a Nakamichi PA7.  Active biamping is really the way to use budget amps; Maggies are very easy because of the external crossovers.

Look for an amp that doubles watts from 8 to 4 ohms.  That means good high current.  Don’t listen to anyone who suggests bridging an amp into your Maggies.  Not a great idea with most amps to bridge into 4 ohms.

budget amps used with decent success on my Maggies:

Krell KAV 250a - doubles into 4 ohms and stays cool

Parasound A21 - also muscular 

Levinson 23

i also love the Proceed HPA2 as suggested above.  

Maggies are incredibly sensitive to placement and toe in angle.

I've experimented with several sub $1k power amps with my one-year-old Maggie 3.7i pair, which should have similar power characteristics to your 3.6R speakers.

Here are some of my observations which of course are entirely subjective-

An older Conrad Johnson Sonograph SA-250 amp did a very nice job of bringing out the big, beautiful Maggie sound.  It is not as detailed as my newer, much more expensive Bryston 3B3, but well worth a try for about $650. I would say it has about 80% of the characteristics of the newer Bryston, with to my ears, no significant problems with the Maggies.  If I hadn't bought the Bryston, I would keep the Sonographe.  I will be selling it soon. The is also a SA-400 model out there occasionally for sale.

I also tried a $550 B&K EX-442 which has higher rated output to the SA-250 above, but to my ears did not control the Maggie bottom end well.   Sort of muddy and indistinct sound with the big panels

Still one of my favorite amps with the 3.7i pair is the vintage Counterpoint tube hybrid SA-100.  It has a distinctive transparent and live sound, maybe a little shy on heavy bass, but overall, extremely natural sounding with the Magnepans.  They can be found between 500 to 1000 dollars but be careful that it is working as they are difficult to fix.  I have one and don't intend to sell. This amp brings out natural instrumentation the best, like unplugged piano, guitar, orchestral music and voice.  The piano sounds like the piano is in the room. The instruments and voice sort of jump off the panel.  I would use this amp only but my newer Bryston 3B3 is more well-rounded in other respects.

Although they are more expensive than your price range, I've tried both the Rogue Pharaoh integrated and the Rogue Stereo 100 tube amps.  I didn't like the characteristics of either of these units with my 3.7i set.  The Stereo 100 tube amp was not necessarily underpowered but created a kind of filmy overlay in the base/mid base that to me was objectionable.   Maybe this was some tube that creates the "tube" sound, but to me it was a problem with the Maggies. The Maggies need an amplifier that can grab the panels and make them sing with control, not add coloration. Maybe it is not as noticeable with traditional cone speakers.  

Again, this is all subjective but maybe helpful to you as a fellow Magnepan owner. 😁 






Three things going on.

Room is too small for panel speakers.

You’ll likely not find an amp that has high current AND great sonics in your price range.

Magnepans are never going to have a deep soundstage. It’s the nature of the beast. They do what they do well, but aren’t all things to all men.

I say this as a former Maggie owner.


I would look on Audiogon or another site for any vintage Classe Amp with 200 wattsper channel. CA200, CLASSE 15. something like that. You might get lucky. 

They are good power hungry panels, but they do reward you when you feed them well.

Many years ago I tried a Classe CA-200 on a pair of 3.5rs and I didn’t think it was a good match. I didn’t keep the amp long at all.

I'm reading posts from people telling you , your room is too small, get a tube amp and so on.  My first pair of Maggie's I listened to them in a small room, I still enjoyed them. Of course after I moved and got a larger place, they sounded much better.  There are so many people saying, it's not the watts, it's the current,  guess what, good high powered amps have high current to push those panels. As I stated earlier along with a few others,  look for and older Classe, Parasound,  older amps in that power and class range.  Enjoy the Music...

One of the first amps I had to drive my Maggie's,  (2.5r,IIIa') was the Harmon Kardon Signature 1.5, that was a great lil power house. Very musical. I'm sorry I sold it.

+1 on room

clean room, carpet, or hardwood?


you will need sufficient current for those speakers, and congrats o n the Maggies, those are wicked good speakers. May need corner traps, etc. I have pillows behind my 2nd system, they are in the,same situation as I mentioned in previous message. 
soaks up excess boominess. 

those things are way too big for 14x14 room.  Room open on any sides,? As mentioned, you get that airy open sound from reflection, and the highs from the Maggie’s,…oh,did I say they are awesome speakers?


took me 3 weeks of nightly moving speakers, swapping rca cables, swapping CD players,  etc etc. 

the most important would be the amp, audition if possible, and check audiogon daily for a stereo amp or. Monoblocks.

you need to look for a high current amp, those bad dogs will suck up 100w easy, and the amp will clip.




SEARCH FOR A MIN 250w high current amp or monos.


keep checking reputable shops and audiogon, usaudio,mart. 

good luck

I’ll toss in another Maggie/B&K EX-442 (Sonata) combination.

Maggie model: MMG

B&K EX-442 Sonata - dual mono - (1993 w/Toshiba cans), 200/350 wpc 8/4 ohms, 75 amps P-P current (operative measurement, more important than watts) coming out of a Parasound P5 preamp.

I run my Maggies with a Rythmik F12G (paper cone) sub. I also have a smaller, M&K K-10 sub in an opposite corner to round the sound out. Not sure if davidlatzko was running a sub, I’m thinking not with his larger model Maggies, but my system is highly resolving with a very respectable soundstage and I have no control issues at all, but again, our systems are apples/oranges. MMGs are not bass-heavy speakers by any means. And I, too, have a "problem" room with one wall missing (family/listening room opens into kitchen/dining room). Yes, it’s wonderful if you have the space to get them out 4-5’ from the front wall, but some of us just don’t have the option (mine vary from 27" - 36"). The speakers certainly sound better the farther out they are, but my system sounds exceptionally good with my current configuration. Could it sound even better? I’m sure it could. But my amp/speaker combination works really well.

I just wanted to toss in another Maggie/B&K amp experience (love the EX-442 Sonata, btw; it replaced a modded Hafler DH-220 that did a decent job, but not as good as the Sonata that just carries more current; the Hafler is now on office duty running some wonderful, little Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers).

as a longtime maggie owner of various models (mg 3a, .7, 1.7i, and currently 3.7i), i heartily support the worthwhile pursuit to try to identify and catalog suitable amplifiers to drive maggies to satisfying volumes while producing the tremendous sonic purity the speakers are capable of -- done right, sonic ’nirvana’ can be obtained on a very reasonable budget

i shared some of the experiences with specific amps that are more value oriented in an earlier post, but let me add some add’l thoughts here

-- in general, going for older well made well reputed upper tier solid state amps is a very good idea (classe, bedini, bel, belles, muse, threshold, better musical fidelity, older krell class a and so on) provided the amp is well kept and carefully checked out for aging internal components, usually power supply caps - amps approaching 25-30 years in age will usually need at least a proper health check by a qualified tech, some may need recapping to manage their idle noise levels etc if the intent is to use the amp for another decade plus 

-- historically brystons are well known good mates with maggies, in the 90’s and 00’s, wendell often used brystons with maggies at shows, at a point in the 2010 era he switched to pass labs amps -- my own experience with brystons (and sanders magtech, incidentally) is that these are stout amps in power delivery but lack the nuance, silkiness and tonality of the best ss amps on the market (admittedly more expensive ones)... latest gen brystons (cubed series) are said to have closed this sonic gap (i have not heard this series but they’ve also gotten quite expensive, so the price gap to pass, ayre, hegel, coda etc has narrowed as well)

-- older adcoms to my ear are similar to older brystons - have the brute force needed but lack the fineness of sound, they can sound strident and grainy, flatten apparent soundstage

-- want to call out odyssey once again, these are somewhat large somewhat clumsy looking boxes with very very fine sounding, very powerful, very capable amps inside, symphonic line (germany) designs and parts in economized chassis (cosmetically not functionally) -- in my experience they give you top of class sound at a very reasonable price

-- if one goes integrated, the hegels are absolutely top notch sonically - stay with h160/190 and above for maggies


@ozzy62  "Magnepans are never going to have a deep soundstage."

What? I'm sorry but you must never heard a proper pair. Few loudspeakers can do deep and wide as Magnepan.