Magnepan .7 Alternatives

Looking for suggestions…Currently I have Magnepan .7’s and am generally happy but at times they just don’t do it.

I find these speakers to be schizophrenic, sounding great on some tracks and other tracks leaving me wondering what the hey !… I’d say probably 30-40% of the time I’m feeling this way. Either too much treble, not clear or not tonally balanced. I’m no expert but just my opinion, it often comes off as the midrange being pushed to it’s limit trying to be treble. I assume I feel that way being the speaker’s lack of accuracy, although what Maggi’s do they do well, just not an accurate speaker.

I experience this pretty much no matter what source or style of music I play, certainly a non forgiving speaker. Yes, I’ve played around with Toe-In, tried various resistors & jumpers…sounds great on everything I adjust, just not a consistent sounds great.

Lets get it straight, I’m not a “Magnepan Hater”, there’s certain qualities I truly love about my Maggi .7’s, the open sound, the transparency but hoping I may be able to find a speaker that’s not as finicky and can give me the open feel, transparency and clarity that I seek.

My set up consists of:

Odyssey Khartago Extreme Amp

Tubes4hif SP-13 Preamp

Bluesound Node

EAT B Sharp TT w/Sumiko Moonstone Cart

Pro-Ject Tube Box S Phono Pre

(2) REL - T5x Subs


Room dimensions: 11.5’ W x 12’ L

10’ Ceilings -

Listening Distance from Speakers

8.5’ - 9’

Carpet, Curtins, (4) 48” x 12”Acoustic panels on wall behind sofa facing my set up.

Not a fan of bookshelf’s and rather would prefer recommendations on

Floorstanders but will listen and research any suggestions you feel would work.

Note: I’m just starting my search, so don’t beat me up if I don’t go right out and purchase your suggestion as others have done in the past.

My Budget is around the $3k mark.




A few things jump out to me. That’s a fairly small room for you to be sitting that far from the speakers. Maggie’s need to be out in the room. They should be at lease 4 feet from the rear wall. Second Maggie’s do not integrate well with subs. Planar speakers and cones in a box don’t work so well. 

In that size room a sealed 2 way LS3/5a type stand mount. But if you want a floor stander the Vandersteen 1c or the Spendor A2 might work in that size room!

Spendor-A-Line-Product-Data-Sheets_A2.pdf (

Speakers are out 3’ from wall, 2’ from Side Walls and on Airborne Magna Risers …Subs I feel are dialed in very well….Off a CD Calibration Disc, 1st set sub gain to match and not overpower my mains, Then Used a 60hz to 20k Frequency Sweep while adjusting the sub’s crossover and was able to obtain ZERO gap or dip from Sub to Maggi as it went up the frequency scale…. blended beautifully…

At times… Other times, the most amazing speaker I’ve ever owned and then can jump to foggy, etc… Very finicky 🤦‍♂️

on paper, regarding the equipment it all looks like it should sound great

so for my money it has got to be the room, the setup, or listener tastes

not an easy room, basically square

suggest as @yogiboy said, smaller box monitors with sub support listen nearfield or semi nearfield

btw, good subs like rels do exceptionally well with maggies, no problemo

I think at least some of your issues are related to your listening position. The centerlines of your speakers are probably 6’ apart. You’re seated 8.5-9’ away. That’s far from ideal. What happens if you put a chair six feet from each speaker?

LFT-8b or LFT-8c. This will get you up to Maggie 3.7 level for not many bucks. I gave up on my .7 Maggies, I thought my MMGs sounded better. 

I compared the Magnepan MG1.7 to the Eminent Technology LFT-8b. Close in price, not in sound. Why the LFT-8 is not more well known and widely owned remains a mystery to me.

Everyone acts like Magnepan is the only maker of planar-magnetic loudspeakers in the world. Will the op even bother to go to the Eminent Technology website? I predict not.

VPI’s Harry Weisfeld on the LFT-8b (I paraphrase): This loudspeaker provides the best midrange reproduction I have ever heard, regardless of price.

The quality of the recording is going to show when you’re listening to a high resolution system. I’m not sure if you’re using the Bluesound Node’s internal DAC but seriously consider purchasing a separate DAC to improve overall sound quality. I’m running SMSL SD-9 media player into a Musician Pegasus DAC into a Wyred4Sound STI-500 integrated amp into Magnepan LRS speakers, and I’m well satisfied with how the music I listen to sounds.

I have been at this for over fifty years. I was absolutely transfixed by a set of Acoustat 2 + 2 in about 1980 (electrostatic… one form of planar, like Maggie’s). I owned planar for the following 30 years. Putting more and more money into the electronics to get them to sound right. I have heard Maggie’s over and over again since the 1970’s. I did hear a set of Maggie’s 20.x that sounded really great… with $40K of electronics behind them… about 20 years ago. But, note, I never bought any.

Let me say, for the money, and your price range… I am not sure you are going to hear anything better. but my experience has been you have to keep putting more money into the electronics driving them… and… well, until you have a fortune invested… they just don’t quite get there. My experience.


About 15 years ago I started rethinking my approach to audio. I started listening to live acoustic music, and trying to understand the shortcomings of my system. One of my thoughts was: “why are most speaker designs dynamic” (cone), and I am chasing these oddball designs? Also, I had heard a few years earlier a small tower speaker that had such a really organic sound… even after years, it stuck in my head. The small towers were Sonus Faber… not completely sure which model.


So, I found a used pair of Sonus Faber Cremona a few hundred miles away. One Sunday morning I drove up to Seattle and bought them. This was the most pivotal moment in my audiophile history. While these older speakers were really warm… their coherence of sound from top to bottom were simply stunning. My infatuation with planar was gone.

I talked to my local dealer who carried Sonus Faber… about 2010. The first shipment of SF Olympica 3 were on water. I ordered a pair. These newer speakers added detail and were not as overtly warm as earlier SF speakers. But they were absolutely mesmerizing, with top to bottom coherency and incredible punch. I finally understood why most speakers are dynamic.

Since then I upgraded again, to Amati Traditional… and completely upgraded all of my electronics a couple times to all tubed Audio Research.

Maggie’s, are probably the most cost effective speaker in their class. But, they have some shortcomings. It is hard to come up with an alternative in less that $3K. Probably $5K… a dynamic speaker… maybe Sonus Faber… or other… depending on your taste. Your experience with real acoustic music may impact this.



@flasd  You didn't mention what kind of music you listen to. If it's heavy rock forget Maggies or Sonus Faber for that matter. If you don't play rock I can only think the speakers are emphasising poorly recorded material or as has been mentioned you need a better DAC. Electrstatics/ Planar speakers are hard to beat for highs and mid range but can be disappointing if you really relish deep bass. Vandies could do it for you. 

Try auditioning a pair if Totem Arro or Sky Towers. They work well in a small room and can be placed fairly close to a rear wall for a rear ported design. Very transparent and surprisingly good bass for a two-way. Reasonably efficient. They will fill your room and image well. I own the Sky Tower fed by an NAD C658 pre-amp/streamer/DAC and a Rogue Super 100 tube power amp. I sit about 6 feet from speakers that are about 6 feet apart. The sound is room filling and lifelike. On good recordings I feel like the performers are in my room, particularly with small jazz groups and vocalists. Good luck!

Thank you for the responses and recommendations…keep ‘em coming.

I listen to Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock (Not Head Banging Stuff), Reggae, etc.

I did look into the LFT’s prior to my purchase of the Maggi’s over a year ago, but what scared me away was his website was not up to date, the site’s info was several years old as if he was no longer in business. I was extremely interested but was not comfortable based upon very little info on the line was available at the time.

I listen to a lot of vinyl, all very well cared for and have just begun streaming Amazon Prime Unlimited using the Blusound Node and like the idea of a better DAC. I recently had a NAD C658 that was so buggy with issues, besides having no sub output level controls and on top of having to do 3 factory resets in less than one week of ownership to unfreeze the unit that I had to return it. Way too much under the hood for one power supply and non responsive app, can’t believe NAD put something like that out… Used to think NAD was the pinnacle of all the “Mass Market Brands”, seems they’ve become another “Me Too” product.

Think I’ll research some DAC’s …Any suggestions on an inexpensive DAC that will make what comes out of the Blusound Node sound better ?


The bigger the panels, the more they can reproduce well. I still have a pair of Acoustat Model X speakers and are still the best sounding for voice and most instruments. They will never move the air like a cone speaker, but a couple of smaller subs go a long way.

@mschott I think this narrative about Maggies not integrating well with subs is a myth. Maybe it was started by folks who did not know how or take the time to properly integrate subs with speakers. But I can tell you from personal experience with my own Magnepan 1.7i panels as well as LRS that I have heard, that, 1. It isn’t hard to integrate subs (I had a pair of REL T/9i subs using high level connections) with my 1.7i and 2. IMO Maggie 1.7i and smaller need subs. They are a requirement. Adding subs to smaller Maggies revolutionizes the sound as Maggies do not play low enough and definitely have no sub bass, no air movement and no bass slam.

Maggies DO integrate well with subs and using subs are a requirement for smaller Maggies.

@flasd wrote:  "Either too much treble..."

"Too much treble" can be a symptom of "not enough bass".

@flasd:  "Room dimensions: 11.5’ W x 12’ L... Listening Distance from Speakers 8.5’ - 9’..."

This implies your Maggies are pretty close to the wall behind them.  In such cases, it is the out-of-phase backwave which is getting the benefit of strong boundary reinforcement from the nearby wall, resulting in greater cancellation of the in-phase front wave and therefore weaker bass.  I know it's counter-intuitive to think that pulling speakers away from the wall will result in more bass, but that is what happens with dipoles.  On the other hand the closer your listening position is to the wall, the more bass you will hear, in general.

You might try this if you have the freedom to do so:  Since your room is almost square, set up your system on a diagonal, with your chair in or near a corner, with the midpoint between your speakers about  2/5 of the way out from the opposite corner along that diagonal.  I haven't tried this but it might be a way to pretty much maximize the low end and thereby fix the tonal balance.


dipole speaker dealer since 1999

that room is both way too small [maggies need much more space due to the requirement of being away from the back wall at least 3 feet] and also that room is almost a perfect cube, unfavorable acoustics as there are standing waves at the same frequencies both horizontally and vertically, causing severe lumpiness in the bass and lower midrange. bass damping is mostly futile [you’d need to take up even more of what space remains in that room with bulky bass traps] in a room of that size and dimension. IMHO your real-world choices are nearfield with compact monitors, or headphones. maggies OR Vandersteen speakers will not sound [as designed] in THAT room. that was my experience, having to save up [for years] to move someplace roomier was the result.

@kingbarbuda: "I think this narrative about Maggies not integrating with subs is a myth." One guy perpetuating this "myth" is Wendell Diller of Magnepan. In his recent introduction of a prototype dipole sub the company will soon be offering, Wendell made the statement that using a monopole sub (a woofer in a sealed or ported enclosure) with a dipole loudspeaker "doesn’t work" (his exact words).

The failure to get a monopole sub to integrate with a dipole loudspeaker is not new, nor unique to Magnepan; QUAD ESL users were attempting it back in the 1950’s. The Finnish company Gradient designed and built an OB/Dipole sub specifically for the QUAD 63, and later one for the original QUAD (aka "57"). The problem with the Gradient sub was not in its design, but in it's execution.

The Rythmik Audio/GR Research OB/Dipole Subwoofer has been available for over 10 years, as has a similar OB/Dipole sub from the loudspeaker genius Siegfried Linkwitz. Eminent Technology recently introduced their new dipole sub, so the consumer now has the choice of a number of excellent subs to use with his or her dipole loudspeakers.

I used Maggie SMGs, MMGs and the 1.7s over a 40 year period. I was one of those Magneplaner devotees.

BTW, as several have said, they integrate beautifully with REL subs.

I down-sized to a smaller home 2 years ago. My previous listening room was 16x15 feet. The Maggies were great in that room, although the 1.7s were straining trange a bit. After down-sizing to a room only 12' deep, I started having issues with the 1.7s. I just couldn't get the "Maggie sound" that I was used to from them...they were dull and lower level listening made them sound like damp cardboard. After enjoying Maggies for so long, I hated to do it, but I sold them. I picked up a pair of Kef r300s to go with the RELs, and was amazed at how much better they sounded in my room. No, they aren't 5½ feet tall, with a 4 foot tall tweeter, but they gave me much better sound in my room at all volume levels and excellent soundstage and imaging. No regrets!

The Kefs are very nice, but I got a ridiculous deal on them, so I can't say how they'd compete against other speakers in their respective retail price ranges.

1th the most recordings are bad but really bad, why do you think if you listen in a shop it sounds great? Because they take the best recordings you can sell an aiwa set with this recordings. 2th tubes with maggies is not a very good combination they like more a power and fast amp. 3th mine son plays the .7 with two svs subs sounds ok. I have the 1.7i i do it without, i had the 3 and . 20 i listen mine whole live to magnepan the weak thing is the filter you can upgrade this. 

Any other speaker, I just don’t think any Maggie speakers are that good when you want to play a variety of music thru them. I have friends with the 3.x and 20.7’s.

For you smaller room and in your budget for used speakers, check out the Totem Model One, Hawks, or the Revel F206/226 since you have subwoofers.

As mentioned, your room size may be an issue.  Also, many mention the quality, or lack of it, in the recordings you listen to.  I have found over the years that some recordings sound horrible on Maggies.  BUT, some bands mixed-down on them and their stuff sounds awesome!

Best of luck in your search. Remember, it is all about the MUSIC in YOUR ROOM!


Your biggest issue is with the room dimensions. Basically those are the wrong speakers for that size room or the wrong room for those speakers. Good luck!

Post removed 

I would like to interject, the concept of source. I engineered at an analog studio years ago. When we would bring our half track to have the record cut, the engineer would tell us listening to less than 15 seconds of the first track what we had for equipment to do the recording. This illustrates the variation in recording techniques, analog or digital so when we actually listen to music on the other end, of our expensive audio lenses. We are hearing the variations in the actual recording. Good bad or indifferent. I have 1.7’s Bryston 4stt3 . I’ve tried three streamers in German RME English Cambridge, audio, and blue sound. Each one rendered the recording in a slightly different manner. To somehow believe that the recordings are same same is a misnomer. The process is very subjective. Obviously one can find a sweet spot starting with the music. One listens to. But there has to be some level of acceptance, the origin recording the digital mapping technique of the analog sound. Causes one to hear this variation.

I haven’t even mentioned that I’ve listen to three different streaming services of the exact same song and have three different renderings and subsequent sound.even though it states the same sample rate


I’m sure each of you have looked at what audio lense hardware, and its high resolution rendering of a particular musical instrument and sound. I guess I accept the variation to me that is part of why I spent serious money to hear, & listening, as each of us have our unique systems that allows us to hear these variations, if one were to drill down on the liner notes of each of our songs, we would probably have. In analog days, a favorite engineer places it was recorded. 

New recordings however, have introduced in my view at least 100 to 200 maybe more unusual artifact introduced into recordings. The logic of how the a/d conversion treats a sound. And on consumption end we hear such. 


The original post, at first read, reinforces above. One thinks you need to swap your equipment it will merely make different source song now sound better. And what was great before not.

other comments here discuss rooms placement of Maggie’s and subs if your single or have a dedicated listening room, unlimited budget construction wood sheet rock etc . A 70’s recording studio built a room as close to completely silent really like anechoic chamber. I walked into it back then they closed the huge door. I couldn’t stay in there more than 10 minutes scary silent. It turned out no musician would be in there more than 10 minutes because of that although I’ve been perfect to record things in a silent kind of way. 

I just accepted there’s imperfections all the way along the Audio food chain. The variation is just that I spend it a particular amount of cash and for me that’s stationary. I’ve adjusted the speakers to the room optimally. And enjoy listening that I can actually hear these variations. 




Happy, listening.

It's been said many times before: Harbeth. I use the Bluesound Node with a outboard DAC, configure Bluesound to disable it's DAC/clock when doing so.

I am very acquainted with Maggies as an owner (MG3s, similar to today’s 3.7i) and a retailer. As others have said your room is too small to adequately play any Magnepan model. Get some direct radiators with 6.5 or 7” bass/ midranges on stands. People enthuse about Philharmonic Audio BMR monitors. Other options abound. Also, get a Wellfleet stylus and keep the Moonstone around for yard sale records. Your electronics seem to be solid.  

Hello flasd!  The Maggies are telling you the truth. If the music sounds bad, it's because the music was badly recorded. Although dynamics are a bit compressed with Maggies, the details are what they are famous for. I'm on my third set of Maggies and a friend brought over his favorite CD. It sounded terrible. Genuinely unlistenable. It was a "rock" recording of a famous band. We were shocked! I immediately played some known good music and it was fine. Bad recordings will sound bad on really good systems. Be proud of those Maggies and get  few well regarded CDs as "proof."  Happy Listening.

I have had Eminent Technology LFT-VII(a) upgraded to (b) and thanks to your question will be up grading to (c) shortly, for better than twenty years. I am still extremely happy. One of the best deals ever. Why they are not more popular? Remember, audio is only half the battle, marketing is the other. Next time you read a review take note of the prominent full page ad that happens to be published in the same issue. It is a business after all.

I don't respond often on the forum here but thought I would try and help.

I brought home a demo pair of .7s for a 3-day trial. They sounded great and I decided tto order a pair from the dealer. I had the dealer hold onto them for 3 weeks after they were delivered. Since I live in an apartment they could break them in for me. Got em home and the first week was nothing much to write home about. They were just ho-hum. Didn't understand why the demo pair sounded so good and but the ones I brought home sucked. Thought maybe they weren't broken in completely. So, they were bound and gagged with several layer of blankets and comforters and taped tightly. I then ran them at high levels of pink, white, and brown noise and played music through them during the day. Signal was being pumped through them 24/7. They were being thrashed at around 80 watts of steady conditioning noise according to the meters on my power amp. Listened again after the 10 days so I could get a better read on them. Bass was better. Highs were better but they just didn't invite me in. Nothing compelling about them at all. My son lent me his REL T/5 subwoofer. His is the original, around 7-years old. It was immediately apparent the sub added much needed extension on both the lows and highs, rounded out the imaging so much more, and added much needed presence while expanding the soundstage. But, they still seem like they need a measure of clarity and speed to get them where I think they should be.

Still, I was impressed enough that I bought a new REL T/5x. It will be arriving around 9/20 or so. I will break it in per REL instructions and should have it in place next weekend to change out my son's T/5 starting with identical settings. Stay tuned to see what that brings. Since the T/5x is the third generation of this sub, there are many improvements over the original, according to REL.

Also to add, a life-long friend of mine has a room with similar dimensions. He is absolutely thrilled with his Magnepan LRS (original versions) using a REL T/Zero running them with a Willsenton R8 integrated tube amp. He has it running in the triode mode exclusively with only 25 WPC. Possible the .7 Maggie's may be too much for the size of your room? The room I am using the .7s in measures 24'x13'.

I'll post my impressions of the new T/5x sometime next weekend. Check back here later.



Your room is the obvious limiting factor, with both size & dimension issues.  A smaller Maggie might improve the situation, but not likely to cure it.

The safest approach is switching to nearfield monitors.  You've already got the subs, so they don't need to go deep.

If you live near Boston, are feeling lucky (or just experimental) and want to remain out-of-the-box(-speaker), I see there is a pair of used Linkwitz LxMini dipole speakers available online (check hifishark).  Warning - guaranteed negative Spouse Acceptance factor, unless they have a quirky sense of humor!  I haven't heard this design, but his larger speakers are spectacular.  The smaller form factor here probably works better nearfield.

Most of the time my .7 Maggi’s sound fantastic, just a little finicky.

I know my room is smaller than I would like, but unfortunately this is the room I have to work with. I certainly understand the “bloom effect”.

My (2) REL T5x Subs blend beautifully, they’re fast, musical and appropriately sized & placed for the room. The Maggi’s are 3’ out from rear walls & 2’ from side walls, spread is 6-3/4’ apart, After hours of listening and adjusting, I’ve tried them both ways and have opted on having them towed in with Tweeters on outer edge so every seat on the sofa is a sweet spot. Played a lot with placement as well as researched a lot on their nuances and I get it, but have to work within the constraints thrown at me. 

Think I’m going to try running the Blusound Node’s output to a better DAC… Being I mostly listened to vinyl prior, pretty sure it really wasn’t as profound an issue till I started streaming. I’ll be researching the speaker suggestions and trying to figure out how and where and I can audition.  All comments are read and appreciated. Keep those suggestions coming.



Work up stream from preamp. A-B dacs streaming serivices they very greatly in resolving on type, sample rate.format all play math in a peculiar way.

No two r the same in the sweat spot point, equilateral triangle in front of your Maggie’s.

Or if material you listen to is on CD or DSD. Buy a cd/DSD spinner which is a dac

Lastly, If you still have all the vinyl collection and your turntable, convert the library to various hires formats on pc/Mac you probably can find an a/d converter then stream library from networked drive from that.although that rabbit trail extends Another six months and $$$ to short to ground variable.

Or just work the preamp upstream angle. If you listen to piano reel piano, my experiences difficult at best to beat vinyl OR well recorded CD/DSD . But I recorded a lot of piano and analog so my opinion is skewed.

digital done well . It’s Not perfect but nice to play ability from your sofa.

Ag insider logo xs@2x


479 posts


@mschott I think this narrative about Maggies not integrating well with subs is a myth


Truest thing ever posted here.

lots of good comments here, valuable reading not just for the op, but for many having or interested in the smaller maggies

key points:

-- room appropriateness and setup for any speaker choice is always critical - the dipole maggies illustrate this in spades

-- subs are needed for little maggies and many work well, despite wendell saying they don’t (god bless wendell but he is salesman and he is trying to sell his new bass panels lol!)

-- maggies are very very revealing, and like any truly hi-rez transducer, the resolution can be a dual edged sword -- poor recordings are revealed to their full extent

Problem with system interface!

the amp has a10 k input impedance 

tube pre amps are not at their best here

Get a real amp with a friendly 100 k input impedance 

or get a matching pre amp for your solid state amp

in the meanwhile take the Bluesound directly into the amps rca inputs and be sure to activate the nodes volume control.

just to test please respond asap




Magnepan dealer


If a low input impedance in the power amp is the problem, there are four tube pre-amps which will drive a load as low as even 600 ohms: two from Atma-Sphere, and two from EAR-Yoshino. EAR's Tim de Paravicini did a lot of work in recording studios, where 600 ohms is the rule, not the exception.

I would consider switching to a more relaxed sounding speaker. Some would say a musical speaker. The music I like never sounds edgy, so I tend to enjoy that sound ProAc speakers with the dome tweeter, haven't heard the ribbon tweeters but have never heard one I liked. Get a monitor so you will eliminate the cabinet resonance to the greatest degree possible, They will sound very clean and more like your Maggies. 

Post removed 

Been a very rough couple of days, especially the last day and a half, Mother In Law just passed away this morning around 2:00 am, So I won’t be able to get back to the discussion for several days.

Thank you all for understanding and will try to return shortly.

Please keep the suggestions coming…been trying to juggle things along with all that’s been going on with this post as a little escape from what’s been happening and please don’t think I’ve abandoned the discussion or your comments & recommendations.


First off, my condolences for your loss—this is a great hobby—but your family comes first…

Many great thoughts posted thus far but since you seem married to this room, let me suggest a loudspeaker option that could work and falls in your budget.  The Ohm 1000 Tall is a hybrid omnidirectional loudspeaker that should work with your present gear. They like being placed close to your front wall/corners. Should also benefit from your REL subs with some care in placing these subs in your room.

I have owned the Ohm F5’s now for almost one year now and find them to be the best loudspeaker in my room by a long shot.  Ohm’s will energize your room like nothing you have ever experienced. Great company in Brooklyn with a very generous return policy if you don’t like them…

Good luck with the journey…




 What part of this do you not understend?

 With his system, the way it is tube preamp running into a 10 K load kills the extremes.

The same issue will; happen even with different speakers. 

that's why I told him to expose the issue by taking the Bluesound node directly into the amp bypassing the tube preamp.



OP was asking for Maggie alternative. Obviously, building a great system means everything works synergistically—being an audiophile beginning on my journey into this hobby—I’ll trust what you say about preamp impedance matching. I was trying to offer an alternative loudspeaker design option that would work in his room. I believe the loudspeakers are the most critical piece in the puzzle in creating a great system…