Magnepan 1.7 and Subwoofer help/recommendations

I seem to have gotten myself into a bind with purchasing a subwoofer. Hear me out. I recently acquired myself a pair of Magnepan 1.7s, and they sound great. The problem is at about 90hz, the speakers completely fall apart. Obviously, it's practically incapable of producing frequencies below 30hz, which is fine with me, but my problem is that at about 50-80hz, it's a got a big honking hump of bass that overpowers a lot of the details in the mids and highs. It's like they know that they're about to give out, so they give one last big push. I would honestly rather have less bass in that area, which is what leads into my subwoofer problem.

I use my Benchmark DAC1 USB as a preamp, using the XLR outs going to my Bryston 4B with only XLR/TRS inputs. After having read some suggestions on subs that match well with Maggies, I made a list. Practically the #1 suggestion I saw was Vandersteen 2wq. I saw one online yesterday used for a good price, and I called Vandersteen, and they said that in order for me to set it up, I would need to purchase the M5 crossover, which would cost quite a bit of money ($600 minimum), which I would rather not spend. On top of that, there is only 1 Vandersteen dealer that I know of in Canada, and they haven't called me back as to whether or not they have the M5.

After looking online at a bunch of options, I've gathered that all of them pretty much only have RCA ins and outs. So, my question is: Where can I find a subwoofer that will a)match well the Magnepans
b)I can hook given the limitations of my system
c)Under $800 used
d)Goes all the way down to 20hz (Kind of just a bonus, not really necessary)

Presumably someone here would know more about this. If you do, please help me out and offer some advice. Thanks in advance for any responses.
The Maggies are capable of very clean output down to around 50-55hz, if properly setup and in a half way decent room.

I would play around with speaker placement and add some room treatments, if needed.

Subwoofer wise, the Martin Logan and the JL Audio subs work very well with planars.
Mofi is correct. You have to work on the room.

Most think Maggies have no real base, most never heard them
with an amp that puts out a LEAST 400 watts a side at 4 ohms.
How far are you from the rear wall (the wall behind the listening position)? A distance of around 4 feet will attenuate (reduce) the bass peak you are perceiving, if that would be practical. A distance of around 7 or 8 feet will add to it (while also attenuating frequencies around 40 Hz).

Regarding subs, if I'm interpreting your post correctly you are envisioning using a sub which provides high-pass filtered outputs, which would be connected to your power amp. I suspect that using simple XLR-to-RCA adapters at the power amp inputs would work ok, although probably with a 6 db gain reduction. If not, a suitably chosen Jensen transformer, ca. $250, would certainly work ok. However, I am not aware of any subs to suggest which sell for less than $800 used, that would provide **high quality** high passed outputs with a high enough crossover frequency, and that would be suitable sonic matches for the Maggies. Also, I suspect that in order for that approach to be helpful with respect to the bass peak the crossover frequency may have to be set too high to be optimal.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al
A Vandersten 2Wq will fit all your needs--used one with 1.6s for many years with great success. Does require that you have a separate Pre-amp amd power amp as there is a crossover that is inserted in between them. This rolls off the bass freqs going to the power amp and the 2Wq compensates for the roll off. Also means your amp and speakers are not consuming power to produce lows--the crossover starts rolling off gently from 80Hz and below. The sub uses three 8" downward firing drivers in a slot load and the result is fast, tuneful sub that keeps up with the Maggie's speed.
I'll second Kjweisner's recommendation for the Vandersteen 2wq.

I have a pair of them to back up my Magnepan 3.7 speakers, and consider it a great addition. Even though my amp is more than powerful enough to drive the Maggies, rolling off the bass to the 2wq's relieves some of the load from the amp; it was immediately noticeable.
Ditto 3rd
The beauty of this is you can adjust the 2WQs high pass "in your case tighten up the Magnepan's bass" and adjust the Vandersteen 2WQ's controls for your rooms best in room response.
The assessment box that comes with all 2WQs allows one to experiment for best performance and later order the fixed affordable 140 dollar version.
The advantage here is you pre amp is going through a quality Hi pass compared to other types going through a 50 Cent integrated circuit or just adding blubber bass and clouding up the in room response.
And I'm in support of what Audioconnection says, above.

I started right away with the variable crossover. It adds to the expense, but I'm glad I did it as it allows you to play around with the settings to find the best result.

I started with the crossover at the input impedance of my amp. Sounded good. After settling in, I used one setting up, and then one setting down. The down (I think) really made a difference.

Once you get that where you want it, close up the boxes and work the dials on the back of the 2wq. If you want "bloomy" bass, you turn up the Q factor dial. Using a second dial, you can determine what frequency to roll off the bass. I'm still playing with that one, based on my tastes from day to day.
One common trait planars share with conventional box speakers in regards to bass is size...and size matters...anything smaller than 1.5,1.6 1.7 is bass compromised... That is the bass presented lacks depth and scale... This is their signature sound...and no amount of power will change that...however...surface area will. My Maggie dealer carries REL subs.
Unless you are looking for really deep bass, I would like to suggest that you try using Dirac Audio Processor or similar DSP software. I have Magnepan 1.7s driven by a Linn amplifier (100 w/ch @ 4 ohms). Without using Dirac, I have a 5dB peak at 75 hz and a 5 dB drop out at 150 hz and 250hz. Both of these distortions are well corrected by the Dirac Audio Processor. The processor allows you to tune the speakers to fit your taste (while still respecting the physical limitations of the speakers). I bump up the bass about 2dB and roll it off starting at about 55 Hz. This provides a very satisfying sound for classical and jazz recordings. Violas, cellos, and string bass all sound very full and natural. Dirac also mellows some of the glare in the upper treble of violins. Dirac provides a 14 day free trial. All you need to try it is a calibrated microphone.
Getting deep bass that matches the smoothness (and therefore subjective "speed") of a pair of Maggies is a challenge. You see, dipoles inherently have smoother in-room bass than monopoles do.

In going from two dipole speakers to a single monopole sub down low, many people can hear a mis-match. They usually blame it on the sub being too "slow", but the real culprit is what the room interaction is doing to the sub's output; namely, imposing a highly audible and detrimental peak-and-dip pattern on it. This is a virtually inevitable acoustic problem, and imo the acoustic solution would be to use multiple smaller subs... two being better than one, and four better than two.

You see, the in-room smoothness improves proportionally as the number of separate in-room bass sources increases, and you can think of a dipole as two monopoles (back-to-back and in reverse polarity, with a wrap-around path length separating them). So four small subwoofers would be a fitting bass system for use with two dipole speakers, from the standpoint of extending the smoothness and "speed" of the dipoles down into the low bass region, adding chest-thumping impact along the way.

Given the $800 budget, it might make sense to start with two small subs, and plan on adding two more as the piggy bank recovers.

"Given the $800 budget, it might make sense to start with two small subs, and plan on adding two more as the piggy bank recovers."

I'm for 2x SVS SB 1000 [2x$500].High and low level inputs,variable 50Hz-160Hz low pass filter,80 Hz high pass filter. Plenty of options to integrate the subs.
Do you have room for a Magneplanar DWM? I've heard 'em, and blending one or more with Maggie panels is a slam-dunk.

I think they're $595 ea., so adding one is well within your budget. There's a 30-day trial period with full product price refund (i.e., no restocking fee).
I had Maggie 1.7's and never had a problem with bass down to about 40 to 50Hz. After that, they were anemic. Also a little too hot on the treble end.

I traded up to Maggie 3.6's about 18 months ago and, in the last month, added one Magneplanar DWM.

Johnnyb53 is right that the DWM blends in well and you can have fun moving it around until you like what you hear.

I was surpised how much better it made the 3.6's sound. Better soundstage, better high end and more clean bass.

I am considering buying a second DWM.
The older M & K subs work well. I use 2 150's and they blend fine in my room with my 3a's. You could get 2 200's for 800.
I have the 1.7i's and run them with a pair of Rel T5's in stereo using the Speakon connection which takes a high level signal direct from the binding posts on my power amp. Rationale is that they see the exact same signal as the Maggie's (rather than low level signal via single-ended RCA output from preamp), and the Rel's are specifically designed this way to keep up with the speed of the 1.7's. After a bit of adjustment with the T5 internal crossover it's the most seemless integration I've heard.

I used to have a pair of 1.6 qr Maggies and settled on a Martin Logan Grotto sub. 

At the time I had found a 'kit' - I think just a resistor - that you could wire into the speaker wire (I think the black one) that purportedly cut the bass on the Maggies. Basically a really cheap crossover I guess! Well, it may have been my imagination but I really liked that setup.

I sold those speakers about ten years ago (because kittens) but missed them. Recently got the 1.7i's. However I sold the resistor with the speakers. Now I can't find it anywhere to buy. Any help?

Also, are the 17i's different to the degree that the resistor won't work? I had bi-amped the 1.6's but read somewhere that you can't bi-amp the 1.7i's. Perhaps whatever changed there would affect the resistor solution?

Thanks for any help!


If you contact Magnepan I'm sure you can get the resistors from them. I recently replaced the 1 ohm resistors on my 3.7i with .47 from do it yourself electronics and love the sound.

As for subs I found used 12" Sony on CL and found if you keep their volume low that they will work as an affordable solution.