Budget AV Receiver with Magnepan


I'm looking to build a 5 channel home theater/music system using Magnepan MMG-W's and CC2 (or possibly MC1's for FR and FL) with a Monitor Audio sub. Now I'm looking at inexpensive used high end AV receivers to tie it all together:

Rotel - 1055 75x5

NAD - T744 (can be had refurbished with warranty) 5x50W, not sure if this is enough to drive the Magnepans?

NAD - T754, a bit more power, can be had with warranty

B&K AVR 202 - 105 x 5, I've heard one of these and liked it, it's a bit older than the rest

Cambridge Audio 540R - 80 x 6, nice looking unit but haven't heard much about them compared to NAD/Rotel/B&K

And advice/experience on any of these would be greatly appreciated. I'm happy with 5 channel DTS, don't need HDMI (although would be nice), want something that can drive the small Maggies without struggling (don't need ground shaking volume here), and I want something that sounds *good*. I'm coming from a small Denon 75w x 5 Dobly Digital surround receiver (driving Monitor Audio Silver 5i's). I know seperates are better, but I'm trying to keep the wife happy ($$$). Thanks!

Brad
bfrank1972
"Anyway, I'd say your done shopping. The 1065 is actually overkill for your setup" (Ekobesky)

I would disagree wholeheartedly with this statement from my years of experience selling the Magnapan products, among others. Even the reviews on Magnapans website on the MMG's state that the speakers are a challenging load for receivers, even substantial ones!
Yes, they can drive them. But again, it's like the difference between a Porche that does 120mph, and a Honda Civic that gets up to 120mph! - The Porche does 120 RIGHT NOW, with torque, and lots of control and dynamic power, while the Honda eventually gets there, but with less performance. Same basic analogy I think.
So, as long as you are a casual, "soft listener", who doesn't care so much about dynamic realism, maximizing micro dynamics, weight, and efficiency in your system - but settles for a flatter, less audiophile sound. Than, I would say the reciever will "get by" for you. It will not perform to any pinnacle, if that's where you're leaning. I'm just saying.
So to say that it's "Over-kill" - I would rather say it's not even remotely the case, even if you never crank the volume, you're dealing with other factors, like current delivery, and refinement into the mix. And those speakers need all the help they can manage!
I personally would be looking to do something like a Parasound HCA1205 with those, MINIMUM!...and preferably more wattage - closer to 200watts! But, that's me.
I'm simply saying I've experience with teh Maggie line-ups over the years, and I know what they like.
To be true, they're a bit on the shy side of dynamic prowess and impact, if a bit delicate with power. DEFINITELY don't run em bellow 80hz, or full range! You'll be likely getting em repaired or replaced if you "push em". Otherwise, can't knock the clarity, detail, and soundstage they throw.
Good luck
Wow, don't go scaring the guy, Iplaynaked.

On Magnepan's own website they quote a reviewer stating:

"Using my Sony receiver, I was able to drive the speakers to satisfyingly loud levels, but I had to crank the volume control higher than usual. My receiver displayed no signs of distress during the auditioning; I’m confident that if your receiver puts out enough current, you shouldn’t have any problems."

I just got the new Absolute Sound and one of their recommended systems has a budget 100wpc integrated amp driving big Maggies. I think he'll be okay for now.

Remember...the guy was originally looking at sub-$500 receiver models of the sort you'd find at Best Buy. Now, he's driving $949 worth of speakers with a $2,000 receiver. We can sell him some Musical Fidelity Superchargers later. Let's let him enjoy what he has for now.
In Bfrank's own words:

"want something that can drive the small Maggies without struggling (don't need ground shaking volume here), and I want something that sounds *good*.

He's done shopping.
Hehe don't worry Ekobesky, I'm not scared :) I couldn't pass on the Rotel, and some day I might just try an outboard amp... but for now I think I'll see how it all sounds. I think I'll be pretty happy compared to my little Denon. I think everybody has very valid points, they're just from different perspectives. There's plenty of time in the future for me to go down the 'slippery slope' - I'm just taking 'baby steps' right now.

Oh and one last question - I have decided to go the route of having two MMG-W's flanking my flat panel instead of one center channel above or below the screen. It's sleeker and I hear it works pretty well - only caveat is I will be driving two 5 ohm speakers with one channel. That's supposedly a nominal 2.5 ohms in parallel, or 10 ohms in serial (and if in serial I'm not sure how one speaker will affect the other). I know the MMG-W's in particular have a pretty flat impedance curve (no crossovers). Anyone have recommendations on how to handle this? Should I wire in parallel and adjust the center channel down to match the others? I plan to call Magnepan but I thought I'd throw it out here first.

Thanks!

Brad
"...My receiver displayed no signs of distress during the auditioning; I’m confident that if your receiver puts out enough current, you shouldn’t have any problems." (Ekobesky)

Yeah there's simply no doubt that the receiver WILL MAKE THE MAGGIES PLAY SOUND. I have no doubt of that.
However just listen to the tone of your comments, regarding how there's simply "no signs of disstress", it will put out "enough", etc!
For the record, i'm not saying he won't get enjoyment out of the system. Maybe he will. However, FOR A FACT, you will not be getting even 50% off the performance that's capable, with only a little extra help in the system! That's all I'm saying.
I would say, if someones simply trying to get the speakers to play volume up to a certain point, than just plug a boom box into the speakers!!!
Like I said, it's a matter of Honda vs. Porsche. And, in this case, for very little money, you can get much closer to the Porsche's performance, if you want it. It all comes down to CHOICES here. Actions and consequences/results.
All I'm trying to do is offer a little informed education, and some suggestions on how to PROPERLY DRIVE those speakers! I know, I've dealt with them and installed them, for years now!- if that helps you.
Simply stating that you could HEAR NO SIGNS OF DISTRESS, does nothing for me as an audiophile who would rather be hearing ACCURATED, DYNAMIC, CONTROLLED, WELL DEFINTED, SOLID, IMPACTFUL, REALISTIC, FULLBODIED SOUND! -even if that' means low volume level, casual listening.
Not making a deal of it - not at all. But if you are interested in the same level of flat, un-dynamic, un-realistic, blasse, "nothing special sound", than I suggest just getting any recevier that will simply put out "ENOUGH" power to make sound through the system!
Again, if you're buying Maggies, you're obviously after SOUND QUALITY! I say, why feed it 87 octane, junk gas, when you can fill it with 112 octane, racing fule, for a few nearly the same money?! The performance level will EASILY BE 100% BETTER!!!! Otherwise, don't have your friends all over, and say to them "listen to my system...isn't it great sounding?!" Because you're not going to impress anyone. Of that, I garantee it! Been there, heard that - basically.
If this extra level of sound quality doesn't matter, I say, why even bother? Just get home theater in a box...I say.
I mean, if someone's going out of their way to educate themselves enough to "hunt down" Maggies in the first place, then they obviously care about performance and sound quality -or at least it matters to some significant degree, agreed?
So I say why are you falling short on the end that needs the most help, the amplification?!
I guess I speak from years of selling, auditioning, using, and installing even the biggest Denon AVR5800 level receivers, and knowing what they DON'T DO, compared to even modest separates systems! I would ANY DAY, buy some small, otherwise clean sounding processor, and add a modest, used, $300-500 multi-channel amp on the market, before I ever plunked down thousands for an otherwise sonically compromised receiver! But that's just me.
All I'm saying is that you should DEFINITELY give an outboard amp a try in your system. My guess is that you'll never go back! There's simply that much more performance to be had, with little effort.
So, for the record, what others here are suggesting, and what you are obviously agreeing with, is that "enough", is good enough for your otherwise VERY INEFFICIENT speakers, which will be STARVING FOR MORE POWER, to otherwise "play right"!
So, just be informed that you have more options, and likely advantages than what you're getting. And I say this from someone who's worked in and around high end audio since the early 80's! In short, I know my audio.
Hope this helps. And, no I'm not offended. Just trying to help you CLEARLLY SEE THE OPTIONS, so you can make your best decisions. Otherwise, we are all just talking to kill time here