Sanders Magtech Amp or Bryston 4B-SST2 4 Mags 3.6

Hi, looking to match a new amp with Mag 3.6 or 3.7 and I've heard about the Sanders but would like more feedback, especially comparing it to the Bryston or another amp you like under 5k (preferably less if used). System: AIFF files on Itunes Computer server -> DACPORT DAC via USB -> BYPASS FILTER AT 80 -> split less than 80 to JL Audio F112 Sub and over 80 to Bryston 4B-SST2 or other amp and on to Mag 3.6's (or 3.7's). No preamp in this system since volume is controlled by the cigar-sized Dacport which has worked great for me on other systems. Thanks. Laurence
There is a sidebar review associated with a review of the King Sound Prince II electrostatics in the February issue of The Absolute Sound page 92. I'm guessing You've already read this comparison of the Bryston 14 500 wpc. with the Sanders.

I find most electrostatic speakers provide an interesting presentation. After a few hours there seems to be something missing. With out some dynamic speakers in the room to compare I can't put into words what I'm hearing. Robert Green's review of the sound of the Prince II's before and after using the Sanders must be what I've been missing. By the electrostatics very nature it could very well be the fault of the amplification.

If I owned any electrostatic speakers I wouldn't hesitate in getting an amplifier designed by one of the premier electrostatic designers of our time. It seems power supply regulation is a serious shortcoming when it comes to driving demanding loads.

This could also be what I find fatiguing about many linear solid state amplifiers and what lead me to switching amplifiers. I'm very interested in the Sanders especially at $5 per watt.
No surprise that you started a new thread.

You can ask for amp recommendations all day long and members will chime in with their opinions, but until you actually get something in front of you and listen for yourself in your room, you will have no clue on how it sounds.

There are to many factors that come in to play....your room, source, other equipment, the best thing to do is get the system up and running , listen for a while and then make changes as needed.

Sorry if it seems that I am being rude, but there is plenty of info in the forums regarding Maggie / amp combos + members have chimed in to your previous posts ....and members have even mentioned that the 3.6's are probably to big for your room, but yet you are still determined to get them.
So, if they end up being to big for your room, then what are you going to do ?
I'm new to Audiogon so excuse me for infringing on any rules, but to me one of the great things about Audiogon is to do research before one makes a decision. I agree, in a perfect world, I would have a stereo dealer in my town who would let me borrow different amplifiers to pair with my speakers. I would have a dealer who would take back the Mag 3.6's if they didn't work. But from my limited experience, that doesn't seem to be the case any more. And if I buy a Bryston and don't like the sound, I would then have to go through the process of selling it. Why not tap this vast community of knowledge first? Thankfully, many people have been generous with their time and experience. I'm also still not familiar with how to access some of the past threads, but I'm learning how to do that more every day. Laurence
"If I owned any electrostatic speakers I wouldn't hesitate in getting an amplifier designed by one of the premier electrostatic designers of our time "

If so then you must consider Spectron Audio Musician III amplifier. It has been designed by John Ulrick co-founder (w/A. Nudell) of famous Infinity.

My speakers while not electrastatics are extremely power hungry Sasha by David Wilson - the most power hungry speakers in his line. I own pair of Musician monoblocks and I enjoy musicality, finesse of the sound. These amps provide efforless presentation, huuuuge dynamic range and furious slam - exactly what I hear in the concert hall.

I know many owners of Maggies 3.6 and 20 etc are also have these amazing amplifiers and also immensely happy with them.

Michael, you bet. After reading Sanders white paper his Magtech has many of the attributes class D switching amplifiers minus any of the RF emissions they seem to produce. This one issue has been addressed by many switching amplifier designers by various means but the basic high speed switching is the nature of the beast and that is still happening. Unless someone can explain to me how they've eliminated the RF completely then it's just a band aid.

Another compelling attribute of the Magtech's regulation is its ability to maintain voltage from AC mains. Considering all the money we invest in our systems we're forced to feed it crap for power like putting kerosene in a Ferrari.

I'm so not a fan of electrostatics but to be honest Sanders has a whole system approach worked out which I haven't heard. I'm also taken by all of his white papers but I'm typically a sucker for sensible sounding theory from someone with a substantial reputation.

Ldwort, Riley is right but it has become very difficult to audition equipment even in a large urban area. My suggestion would be to contact the manufacture and discuss auditioning. Some charge full price until it's returned or they may suggest someone in your area who owns the product and is willing to help you with an audition. Another switching amplifier that was designed for electrostatics and can be found used is H2O.
Thanks for all your responses. Here's part of a note I sent Riley04:
Yes, I've heard the 1.7's and 3.6's at the closest dealer. Note, Magnepan has a funny relationship with dealers (since I know an upscale stereo store owner who related his experiences in trying to become a dealer). Magnepan has very few dealers in the U.S. Only 8 in all of California. None in Nevada. One in Pennsylvania in some small town. One in the entire state of Colorado. It seems that all the local dealers (and by local, they seem to mean 100 miles or less -- even with an LA population of 8 million or more) -- have to approve of any new dealer. There's clearly no incentive for any dealer to want another one; ergo, so few dealers.

I'm a former professional musician. I love detailed music. I used to have Mag Tympanis in the 70's. Loved them. So did my cat who used to rip them apart with his claws and climb them like a tree and then jump off them. More than once he knocked them over. That was it for the Mags.

I listened to the Mags 1.7 and 3.6 at 6 feet in listening rooms about my room size. I need more detail than what I heard in the 1.7s (that's just me; I know they're great). The 3.6's are much closer to the detail I want. Both were driven by similar Mac amps/preamps. Some well known recording expert I know said I should even put the Mags closer to me -- eg, 3 feet away and use them like headphones and that the sound won't get that much louder with decreased distance on the Mags.

The local dealer emphatically would not let me take the speakers home and then return them (even if I paid for them).

I listen to everything from rock to Yo-Yo Ma to a ton of jazz to renaissance choral music so I need a speaker that can really handle an eclectic mix. I have a great sub (just picked up a JL Audio 112) so it's just the mids and highs that I need. If you know of another detailed, really alive speaker in the less than $8,000 range (this is my last big speaker purchase and that's all I have to spend, and that's stretching the budget big-time), please let me know.
The maggies aren't electrostatics. I have sanders stats, amps and preamplifier and it is the best sound I could hope for, for the money I spent. If you have to have the maggies, I would jump on the magtech. Maggies do not play quietly. They need juice, which sanders amp has. And they need to play loud.

Good luck with whatever you do.
If you haven't already purchased speakers I can't recommend these Avalon Eclipse enough. An unassuming timeless two way, the most copied cabinetry out there and for a good reason. You'll never get tired of their appearance. They can be driven very nicely with a 75 watt tube amp.

Detail at any volume, sound staging to the hilt, and their biggest asset is their musical rightness. They work great in a traditional stereo setup and they're simply magical when brought a third of the way from the wall behind them with the listening position a third of the way from the back wall. Yes, it's an old design but it's one that flat out works.

I've suggested these to many people and none of them have traded them out. After years of buying and selling speakers I finally bit the bullet and bought some Eidolons and haven't looked back.
Ldworet, I have heard the $13,000 total Sanders Audio system in this last CES. The dynamic woofer and the arch-less electrostats mate seamlessly and play very loud. I own a Sander Magtech amp but have not used it on electrostats.

I should also note that John Ulrick and Infinity only had two electrostatic speakers, the Servostatics and the partial electrostatic T-1000, I think it was called. I owned the Servostatics for several year. They were very troublesome. The Sanders are not.
I don't know where you live, but I didn't have to migrate all the way to LA for my panels.....I very nice, friendly place right here is San Diego was very helpful and easy to deal with.
I own a Sander Magtech amp but have not used it on electrostats.

That is good because the Magtech is actually designed for dynamic speakers not ESL's. Mr. Robert E. Greene of TAS used the Magtech during his review of the Kingsound Prince II speakers which is really a bit unfortunate when Sanders actually builds an amplifier dedicated for ESL speakers call the "ESL Amplifier".

I have listened to both the Magtech and ESL amps and both offer outstanding value. Back to the OP's question i would take the Sanders over the Bryston
From personal experience and having owned several different versions of Magnepans I can say in no uncertain terms Bryston amplification was my preferred choice.
Markwatkiss: Have you ever heard a Magtech on your Magnepans? Or on any speaker? You really should hear one. Sanders Sound Systems has a free 30 day trial on all their equipment. You might be pleasantly surprised if you ever heard it. Just my two cents worth. Happy listening. They also have a lifetime warranty which beats Bryston's 20 years warranty.


Please allow me to clarify this for all. While the Magtech was originally designed for magnetic speakers, it kicks butt on ESL's as well! Roger loaned the Magtech to Robert Greene specifically for his review of the Kings speakers.

So, either amp can be used on ESL's; but the Magtech has more power and you know how Roger feels about amplifier power [like "Tim the Tool Man" except focused on audio :-)]

Angela Sanders
(Sanders Sound Systems)

Here is Roger's latest white-paper on this amplifier:
Thanks for all the posts. Any thoughts on the Sanders Magtech vs. the Spectronic Musicians III Mark 2? See the specs at The Spectronics seems to be quite an amazing amp and is currently on sale via direct buy. There were some terrific reviews at
Another question: small speaker and stereo companies seem to come and go. Bryston seems to be very well established. I could be wrong but Sanders and Spectronic seem much smaller. Should I worry that in ten years or so, if the amp breaks, I may not be able to find someone to service it or to get the right parts? I've run into this on some other electronic gear. This would have to factor into the decision albeit obviously secondary to the musicality. Note: Spectronic also offers 30 day free trial. So one might get both amps at the same time and A and B them.
Soundlock.Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of auditioning a Magtech.I'm a big Roger Sanders fan and have no doubt that a Magtech would be a top tier performer.Up until 2010 my reference speakers were Innersound EROS III's,Sanders former company,so I am very famaliar with the quality of his gear.

I have the Spectron Musician III mono-blocks with Bybee purifiers driving the Maggies 3.6r and they are spectacular.

At the current asking price, you can't go wrong with it. Lots of control and very clean, tight and articulate sound.

One thing I would like to emphasize is that with this much power, you would need a decent (not necessarily expensive) set of speaker cables. I just recently started trying different DIY cable gauges with the same twisted configuration and the double-run 10 gauge cable I'm using now is totally amazing. Total cost: $35. That's a proof that with the Spectron amps you don't necessarily need expensive cables, but just the "right" cables for the application.
Another way to consider is finding a used Audio Research D-400II to drive the Maggies.  I know folks love Bryston but I have used this amp, in fact two of them for years on MGIIIas bi-amped and 3,7s and now 20.7s bridged when I am in the mood for 800 watts available.  Believe me though, 1 will drive the Maggies fine, and sounds wonderful and can be had under 2 grand,

Just something to consider
The huge difference between Bryston and Magtech is the shopping experience itself. Buying Bryston is as buying Apple, HP, Dell, GM or Mercedes with formal contract document with receipt as proof of purchase and buying Magtech is like buying a plier at the swap meet by handing cash and shake hands. 

As far as the sound is concerned, I see no difference between Magtech and the demo of Magnepan with Bryston at the show in Mandalay Bay. 
I hope the warranty as a word of mouth be effective even after Roger quit doing business.  
I have absolutely no problem recommending the Magtech for your speakers. I promise it will blow you away and it is absolutely no risk as Sanders gives you a 30 day in home trial. No brainer. And don’t forget to tell everyone how it worked out.

Johnwern, you obviously have not had any conversation with Roger Sanders. He is far more interested in his customers experience than anyone at Bryson. He is very much like Ralph Karsten perhaps a bit more opinionated but absolutely no bull. Having been in both Bryston and Sanders amplifiers I can attest to the fact that although rather plain looking they are built to a higher standard. Exactly what you want, no show and all go. 
Apology if my comment offended you. But I didn't mean to degrade Magtech. I like Magtech and believe it is as good as Bryston or better according to half of reviews. I just expressed my concern for Magtech's going concern as a business entity and its support as stated, a lifetime warranty. Appreciate your input and it comforts me though. Thanks.