Magnepan announces the 20.7

Jacob Heilbrunn has a first look on The Absolute Sound's site.

"But here’s the skinny: no other speaker at this price will offer even remotely similar lifelike performance, and it should—no, will—scare the bejeezus out of most of its competitors. It’s no accident that Audio Research, which I also got to visit, has 3.7 loudspeakers as part of its reference system. So go ahead. Search for another loudspeaker. But I can only wish you good luck. I defy you to find one at up to five times the cost with the scale and realism of the 20.7."
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thanks for the heads up!

interesting read

I think it is impressive that Magnepan has kept the pace like it has for over thirty years.
Well, this is just great. I just took delivery of my new 3.7's 2 weeks ago, now I have the upgrade bug before my 3.7's are even close to being broken in. My only piece of mind is knowing if I went with the new 20.7, I'd have to upgrade my house. The 20.7's aren't going to fit in any room I have. It is really nice seeing some American companies excelling in value.
I have nothing but respect for Magnepan who makes great speakers for very fair prices. I have been a MG-20 owner for close to 20 years and still find my bi-amped and Myestand pair to compete with virtually any speaker on the market.

However the hype about the new .7 series speakers, not by Magnepan, but by the high end reviewers is starting to get a little absurd. The 1.7's and the 3.7's are not transformational steps above the 1.6's or 3.6's but evolutions on this generation of speakers.

I have heard both generations of speakers and the new .7 series does not "kill" the .6 speakers, they are different, but not necessarly significantly better. For a matter of fact the 1.6's and 3.6's allowed the user the option to bi-amp either speaker. The new 1.7 and 3.7 does not allow this option anymore, it is not clear if the new 20.7 will or will not have this option. I have never heard either 1.6's, 3.6's, 20's, or 20.1's ever sound their best when they were not bi-amped and had to use the rather poor passive X-over that comes with the speaker.

At least three individuals that I know wanted to upgrade from their bi-amped 3.6's to 3.7's and found the performance of the 3.6's bi-amped compared to the 3.7's with their passive x-overs, chose not to make the move because they thought the performance of the 3.6's bi-amped was still better then the 3.7's.

They are all great speakers and bargains for what they cost, however if I was in the market right now and could get either a pair of 3.6's or 20.1's for what they are being sold for and then Myestand and bi-amp them I would have one of the best performing speakers for a very reasonable price.

So I want to be clear the 1.7's, 3.7's, and new 20.7's are terrific speakers and well worth the money, but not "heads and shoulders" over the last generation of Magnepans as the always looking to create a buzz highend reviewers would have you think.
You are not the first person to feel the 3.7's were not "significantly" better than the 3.6's. My take is different. I had the opportunity to buy 3.6 demos at half the price of the 3.7's and said "no thanks." For me the 3.7's were clearly substantially better than the 3.6's, very clearly worth an additional 3K, and yes, head and shoulders above the 3.6's.
I can't comment on the 3.6's biamped with an external crossover having never heard them set up this way. Urging caution about accepting exuberant "hype" from reviewers serves a purpose, if it gives people second thoughts about buying speakers unheard. The same caution is in order with respect to your judgement, which is stated as fact, not opinion. I accept and respect your opinion on what you heard, but I and others have clearly formed a very different opinion. I bought based on what I heard over almost a year of careful auditioning. Not because of hype.
TeaJay...I agree with you... Josh 358 seems to be gushing too much. I love Maggies, ... there are things they do very, very well, and things that other speakers do better.

Perhaps if you listed the system you heard the 3.7s in, it would give context to your comment.


I know where you're coming from, I've seen your system listed, and I do admire it.

Now that Magnepan is going the same route as Wilson, ie:
one set of binding posts, it will require larger amps or larger monoblocs for sound quality & woofer control.
The biamp/biwireable 3.6, 3.5s etc., allowed for more amplifier options...
Stringreen, just to clarify, that "gushing" was a quote from Jacob Helibrunn's review. Since I haven't heard the 20.7, I can't say anything about its sound!
Elizabeth, if I can fit Tympanis, you can fit 20.7's! In fact, I doubt you'd even score a diagnosis of "insane," once the doctors got a look at my place . . .
Very interesting. Very, very interesting. Hmm. Now, where did that sack of cash go?
After 9 months of ownership I think the 3.7s are very good, but as well stated above, an evolutionary step beyond the 3.6, and no more. I would be very surprised indeed if the 20.7 could not be bi-ampable at its price point. The amplification and space requirements leave the 20.7 off my list. I believe the TAS over hype actually does a disservice to Magnepan.
The 20.1 is no more inefficient than the 3.6, so I wouldn't worry about amplification. If people put bigger amps on it it's likely because it *can* play louder, not because it needs them to produce the same SPL as the 3.6. Also, as someone pointed out in another thread, the 20.x's are only 5" wider than the 3.x's, there's more of a difference in height.
I prefer to believe that my ARC VT200 is totally inadequate to drive the 20.7s! (:
"Are they (magnepan) simply going to 'skip' 20.2->.6?"

Either that, or they have a lot of failed models littering the workshop floor. :-)
the 20.7 must designate that similar technology is used throughout these models now.
You're right, latest word is that they have both the series crossover and a quasi-ribbon bass panel.
Will be interesting to see how other reviewers feel about these. I have a pair of 201's and love them. Will be interesting to see if the new models are really noticeably better than the old ones. Problem with selling my 20.1s is shipping them unless I could find a buyer in the Atlanta area....Hmmmmm..............
Because of that review, a friend just got some MMG's for his HT. He's going to try them in the 2ch room and if they're successful, he'll order the 3.7's and sell his big Usher's.
If the 20.7 series is not bi-ampable and if your current 20.1's are bi-amped then it seems a little hard to compare. You can't compare bi-amped speakers with single amped speakers - on the other hand if your 20.1's are already bi-amped that's what you have to comare.
I bet no one will make such a comparison.
I do not bi amp my 20.1's. I do biwire them, however. I just am powering them with Cary 500MB amps and that seems a sufficient amount of power (1000 watts into 4 ohm load). Really enjoy the music--listen primarily to classical and jazz. Great soundstage. Have the extreme low end supported by a REL B1 but only at lowest half octave or so.
I hope Gifted Listener in Centreville gets them early on so I can hear both the 3.7 and 20.7. If the 20.7 can be bi-amped that would give them a huge advantage in my situation.

I still have my MGIIIAs which have been refurbished a couple time over the years ( My original Maggies were the 2Bs).

I now bi-amp then with 2 ARC D400s and a Marchand external XO along with a pair of velodyne subs. The D400 could run in bridged mode to take advantage of all the power and the guys at ARC said they could handle the current requirements, but I would still rather bi-amp if possible. Guess I have become a convert :-)

Bottom line is I think I have done all I can do to get the most from the old girls and the new "7 series" has got me drooling.
The best speakers in the world?
Apparently, the same guy, Steve Guttenberg, CNET, praised so much about the Tannoy Kensington on May 1, 2010 while he also praised the Magnepan 3.7 on Dec 29, 2010 as the best sounding speakers.
Which one is which one; and it all depends on the advertising dollars, right?
Is there anyone out there can comment on the two: Magnepan and Tannoy.
Disclosure: I own the Magnepan 3.6 and currently listening to the Tannoy, if for a change.
I have Magnepan speakers for the last 20 years and never have any intention to change until now.
Please advice
There's an awful lot of gushing in speaker reviews! Part of that I think is just that there are lot of good speakers out there these days. Part of it is that some reviewers have tin ears. :-) But that of course is just my personal explanation of why some people have the temerity to disagree with me.

Anyway, since no speaker is perfect and they all have different strengths and weaknesses, it seems to me that the only way you can make this decision is by listening yourself. Clearly, the .7 Maggie are highly regarded by the critics, as well as the people who have bought them. And it seems that the Tannoy is highly regarded as well. For the kind of money we're talking about, I'd go out of my way to hear them both (the Tannoy and the 20.7, I mean, since you have the budget).

I've seen so many debates with people who insist that the speakers they own are great and everything else sucks -- while some speakers are obviously better than others, there really is a lot of personal taste involved in the choice as well.
Despite the hyperventilating expect an incremental improvement, as I predicted with the 1.7 and 3.7.
Doug, I'm trying to understand why people are having such different reactions to their auditions of the .7 series. I wonder how much of this comes down to semantics. I'm asking myself "At what point does an incremental improvement cross the threshold and become something more?" Can you provide more specifics about your audition of these speakers?
I auditioned 3.6's with some pretty decent Electrocompaniet equipment. Yes, they sounded very good. I was struck by how similar they sounded to my 1.6's. The 3.6's had more at the frequency extremes, and the presence of the ribbon tweeter certainly added much over the 1.6's. These were demo's that were well broken in, driven by a decent front end, and in my judgment were worth considering as an upgrade given the modest cost of swapping my used 1.6's for demo 3.6's. I would have called the 3.6's an incremental improvement over my 1.6's.
My audition of the 3.7's came 4 weeks later, in a different store, and my reaction was very different. I won't recite all the improvements, it would just be a repeat of what you have read in the reviews. I placed an order the next day and have had them in my home for 3 weeks now. The 3.7's in my home perform consistent with my expectations based on my audition, and I remain extremely pleased. I had no problem justifying a 5K investment on the 3.7's vs a 2K investment on the 3.6's. For me that does not constitute an incremental improvement but something much more. For me, the 3.7's were more than an incremental improvement over the 3.6's and my 1.6's.
Part of the problem I think is that "incremental" is a relative term. What's huge to one person is small to another. But I'd say in the case of the 3.7's, the typical reaction seems to be more in keeping with yours -- the improvement is more than incremental. But I've heard someone else say as Doug did that he thought it was in incremental change.

One thing that's true, the .7's have major changes -- quasi-ribbon rather than wires, single-pole crossovers, improved power response, better midbass. So technically, there's a much bigger difference between a 3.7 and a 3.6 than a 3.6 and a 3.5. Magnepan has made it clear that they weren't going for an incremental improvement on the 20.7 -- Wendell Diller was quoted as saying they wouldn't release it until they could make a significant improvement.

But even if the difference is bigger than it is for the typical new model, there's still going to be an element of subjectivity in the description. It's entirely possible that two people will hear the same exact sonic changes, and one person will say "nice but incremental," while another will say it's the best new thing since sliced bread.

Ultimately, I think the only thing we can do is listen ourselves, as you did.
Brownsfan, You are right that semantics plays a large part in the matter. For me an incremental change happens when a speaker retains its basic character and is improved. I believe that is the case with the 1.7 and 3.7, and I believe it will be the case with the 20.7 as well.

I owned the 1.6QR for years and can't recall all the times aside from shows that I've heard the 3.6 in dealerships and at shows. My impression at the shows where these speakers were revealed was that they were not vastly different from their predecessors. I agree that the bulk of the improvement is in coherence.

When I reviewed the Eminent Technology LFT-8A and did the conversion of the speakers to the LFT-8B I was shocked at how one change, replacing the tweeter with an upgrade, made the entire speaker sound different top to bottom. Keeping that in mind I felt I heard similar improvements from the 1.7 and 3.7 which could be caused by incremental improvement.

One reason I would suggest that this is incremental improvement is that the bass has not been improved appreciably in terms of extension. The design of the speaker has always dictated a shallow low end and this has not been addressed; I believe technologically it cannot be ameliorated or else Magnepan would have done so. If that had been altered appreciably then I would be much more inclined to call it a sweeping change.

To be fair, I enthused about the change from the Legacy Audio Focus HD to the Focus SE and felt it was a profound enough difference to merit the cost of the upgrade. The driver set was the same but tolerances matched to +/- .25dB, and the cabinet was new as well. The tweeter received a silver wiring upgrade and Solen caps were used. Finally, the M/T drivers were set higher in the cabinet than with the HD version. The low bass response of the SE version was improved by 2dB.

It is possible that if I had the 3.6 and 3.7 or the 20.1 and 20.7 in my room I would conclude likewise.

They could probably increase bass extension -- the Apogees, for example, had more extended bass than Magnepan speakers of the same size. But AFAIK, doing so would mean increasing plate separation and magnet strength so the fundamental resonance could be moved lower without diminishing efficiency, and that would increase the cost of the speakers. I assume that they've decided that the cutoff frequencies they use, and the tradeoff between baffle size and plate separation + field strength, offer the best bang for the buck.
My 3.7's were delivered Friday before Xmas. I have about 35 hours on them. They have a considerable way to go. But even at this early point they outdo my 3.6's of 12 years. When I brought home a well broken in pair for demo I was amazed at how much better they were, hence the purchase being made. My room is 16' wide where they stand and about halfway down opens on an angle to 19' towards the back. Depth is 23' to a 14'by 4'high wall with kitchen beyond and 5'openning to short hallway. 9' ceiling. After commenting on the 20.7 the installer admitted that this room would be about minimal in width for them but would work ok. I will be very anxious to hear them and might be doing a trade up in the very near future.
For those who have been asking, it seems that the 20.7's are now available for sale, and the price has been announced:

Members of the Press,

We apologize to our loyal customer base, but we had no choice.

With the 20.7, we had to raise the price more than we would have liked.

The 20.7 MSRP is $13,850 pair. That is an increase of $855 from the 20.1. But, we think the improvement in sound will mitigate any resentment of this regrettable price increase.
This looks like an incredible deal to me.
I have my order already placed.

I would like to thank Roger - who is replacing my stereo amps with monoblocks (since the 20.7 does not support bi-amping)

My only regret is to the people who have recently purchased the 20.1's. Suddenly a new speaker is available that is so superior. Yet they just paid almost the same price for a speaker that likely has reduced resale value.

Is this fair to these people?

If the 20.7's came in a price of 16,000 or more then this would not be a problem. Two different speakers at two different price points.

It seems to me, to be fair to the recent purchasers of the 20.1's that Magnepan should increase the price of the 20.7.
Always a risk when you buy anything! Amazon, for example, inevitably releases a new Kindle a month after I buy one. Some tech companies, e.g., Intel, price new stuff at a premium to milk the early adopters. They also cripple microprocessors to force them to run at lower speeds so they can charge huge premiums for the uncrippled ones.

Personally, I prefer a pricing model that's straightforward and fair. I think it's also important to remember that the difference between loudspeaker generations isn't huge. Some people describe the difference as subtle, some don't, but it isn't as if new models are so improved that you can't continue enjoying last year's model because something new is out. Some of the best audio advice came from a friend who advised saving money by buying "last year's state-of-the-art." Guess I've taken that to extremes, because my "new" Tympani IVa's are something like 25 years old!
Can you 20 owners make a comment on the absolute minimum sized room that you feel would properly accomodate the 20.1's or 20.7's?
My dealer has a trade in policy. Within one years purchase date you can get full price towards a more expensive Magnepan model. A very attractive trade in value is given once past the one year anniversary. The year I bought my 3.5's was the same year the 3.6's were released. I traded up at full value. 12 years later, I received a nice trade allowance on the 3.6's when I bought my 3.7's. Once the dealer has a 20.7 demo I will be taking a hard listen at possibly moving up again.
I think the limit is front wall and ceiling height. WRT the latter, the simply have to fit. The way they transmit, it's pretty much directional so you have limited interactions with side walls and floor/ceiling. WRT the former, you want them 4-5' off the front wall in order for the back wave to not "smear" with the front wave. Ideally, they should be 5-6' apart to really get the sense of scope, but I've seen 20.1s with as little as 4' between them, inside edge to inside edge -- quite an imposing sight.
So, if your listening room is a basic 'shoe-box' , 17.5 w x 26 l with a 9' ceiling 20's should fit quite well?
I have 3.7s (6" narrower and 6" shorter) in a room with a 13' front wall and an 7.5' ceiling. The back wall is 40', of course, so I'm able to pull them a good 5' from the front wall with no issues. I think the sound is amazing.

And I'm still considering upgrading to the 20.7s.

But then, I have problems.

Your room is plenty big for 20.7s. Should sound amazing in there.
Once the 3.7s were introduced it made little sense to jump into the 20.1 unless they were used at an attractive price. There was little doubt that the QR technology would be applied to the 20 series within the year. No manufacturer is going to announce near future changes at the expense of current inventory or near future sales. Caveat emptor as they say. I plan to listen to the 20.7 when they become available; however, I purchased the 3.7s a year ago without listening first to compare w/ my 3.6s and I would not go that route again.
I had 1.7's and felt that, among other postive things, they sounded sterile compared to my 1.2's utilizing the same Pre amp and amp (W4S products).

I traded up to a dealer demo pair of 3.6's at a steep discount and a one year full trade in value option.

The warmth is back, plus I obtained all of the other attributes of the 3.6's over the 1.7's.

My point is I agree with Djexxx that an updated model may not necessarily sound better once you get past the "its new and sounds different" stage.
I've heard excellent things about the W4S amp with the Maggies. Caveat being that I haven't heard the combo myself. Not sure about the pre.
If there are separate drivers with separate terminations then the 20.7 can be bi or tri amped. Of course we are talking modding the thing. Stock it may have just one set of speaker posts and an internal series xover. This does not mean you cannot take the speaker apart and wire it any way you want. You could use a seriously tweaked analog or digital xover and get as crazy as you like. The first thing you would want to do is build some serious damped and braced frames/baffles for them. The magnepan stock frames are not very serious.
This is in regard to what Teajay said about the new 3.7
I have owned and still do the 3.6 so when the 3.7 came out I had to hear what it was all about. It was me and my wife and son who went on the trip and took along our own music to play on the new 3.7 When we were all done listening all three of us agreed that the 3.7 sounded great but not enough to let go of our 3,6's The 3.7 to us just sounded different but not miles and miles better than the 3.6's as all these reviews will lead you to believe. What's next for the 3.7 ? They now just turned the mid-range driver into a ribbon when it could have been done when the 3.6 first came out. So now when the 3.8 comes out maybe it will have a ribbon bass driver and then Magnepan will not be able to call it a Magneplanar, they will have to call it a Ribbonplanar LOL. In any case I would not recommend 3.6 owners not to get all feeling bad about owning the 3.6 when the 3.7 is out. Here you have three people who took the test with each of us listening to two of our favorite songs from two CD's for a total of six tracks and all of us agreed that the 3.7 was most definitely not significantly better that the 3.6
I have to agree with about 99% of the above letter written by Teajay. He really hit the nail on the head. The other thing I would advise new Maggie owners is not to invest in the myestand. I tried it and I did not like what it did to the sound. The Magnepans are designed to stand straight up and that is the way it sounds best. The mye stand tilt's the speaker and aims the sound over your head.
My son is a engineer and I am pretty mechanically inclined and to us after looking over Magnepans stand that came with our 3.6, there is to us no better way to have a Maggie to stand up. There is nothing wrong with the way Magnepan makes their stand. It works, and it keeps the speaker standing straight up as magnepan intended. I reall do not want to get in to any arguments with fellow member's here on Audiogon as this is just my opinion. Thank you Audiogon for allowing me to respond.
The 3.7 already has a quasi ribbon woofer, they changed both the woofer and the midrange. The 20.1 already had a quasi-ribbon midrange, the 20.7 apparently has a quasi-ribbon woofer as well.

Re 3.6 vs. 3.7, I think that's something people have to decide for themselves. Some have raved about the difference. Others perceive it as incremental. I don't know that there's any way to make the decision for people, it's something people have to decide for themselves.
In regards to Exrons' opinion about the 3.7's and Myestands it sounds like they wern't given much of a chance. I mean 6 songs at the dealer made up your mind? When I bought my 3.7's my wife and I listened at the dealer for about 2 hours. When we decided that they were worth the effort I said that I needed to hear them in my home, in my room with my equipment. About 30 mins later they were in my car going home with me. I had them for 5 days. I listened to my 3.6's on my myestands and then made the change. No, never listened to the 3.7's at my home without the myestands. They did amazing things to the 3.6's so why would I not use them on the 7's? I should mention that the myestands have adjustable feet that actually tilt the speakers ever so slightly downward if you want. I don't know where you saw them another way. I've had them for about 3 years now and they've always been tilted forward/downward just that little bit. After 5 days, a total of about 15 to 20 hours of testing we realized that the 3.6's didn't come close. Actually, it was more like an hour of serious testing and the rest just enjoying them. Upon their return, I bought the 3.7's. They are on myestands. When the dealer has a pair of well broken in 20.7's I will try them and if a purchase is made I'll immediately order up a pair of myestands to put them on.
Oh, I had a feeling someone would be upset about something. In any case Mrschret I decided with my wife and son that we should only use two of each of our favorite tracks so as not to be a hog at the dealer. I was just being polite. We were there listening to the 3.7's for 3.5 hours as the dealer provided his own music for us after we listen to our own. I would have loved to see how you managed to fit the 3.7's in your car because I couldn't do it, I had to go home and get my GMC Yukon and drop the back seat. The 3.6's just fit and I was barely able to close the tailgate LOL.
As for the myestands, we did give them a chance and all three of us did not like what they did. We also feel that they are a complete waste of money which can be better put towards more music. I had those myestands for two weeks and much prefer the maggies without them and I do know about their ability to tilt. The Maggies actually look better without them. Mrschret, I'm not here to battle with you, I'm just stating my opinion. If you think, or even if you know that the 3.7's are better than the 3.6's then good for you, and if you know they sound better on a myestand, great, I'm happy for you, I don't. To us, it's just not worth the money,I don't like how they sound, nor do I like how they look. If you look at the response from Josh358 where he says people have to decide for themselfs, he's right. I have decided for myself and you have decided for yourself. Let's drop it. I also do not feel the need to go into great detail of what I listen to, or how far away from the wall the speakers were or anything like that I was just merely stating that I thought the 3.7's were really not that much better than the 3.6's and for owner's of the 3.6's not to feel they should quickly sell to get 3.7's
If one has 3.6's keep them, if you don't then get the 3.7's because they are great, but getting the myestands in my opinion is just not a good idea as they do nothing for the great maggies in sound quality and they look terrible.
I'm not telling anybody what to do, I'm just making suggestions. Good luck to all.