Thinking of Magnepan ... finally!

Until recently, most of my amps have been tube-based with the exception of a few great SS integrateds thrown into the mix for fun. That's probably the main reason I have stayed away from Magnepans (or other speakers of its ilk) thus far. Now that I have an Aavik U-280 integrated amp that can do 300 watts @ 8 ohms and doubles to 600 @ 4, I would love to scratch that itch finally. Keep in mind that I do not intend to get rid of my other speakers (Joseph Audio Perspective2 Graphene, Harbeth SHL5+, Fritz Carrera BE) since I love them all for different reasons. The Magnepans will be rotated in the main listening room with Joseph Audio Perspectives. One thing I like about Maggies is that they are relatively lightweight so I can move them to the closet without breaking my back when not in rotation.

Since I've never owned Magnepans before, I have a ton of questions and doubts. So here we go ...

Bass (or the lack thereof) -- I've been told that the Magnepans are very light on bass and definitely require at least on subwoofer. Is this true in all cases? Anyone using them without subs and happy with the performance? TBH, I really would prefer that I don't use subs but not set in stone for sure.

Breathing Room -- my room is 20' x 15' with 12 foot ceilings. The speakers will be placed along the short wall (15'). I can pull them out by about 4.5 feet from the front wall and 3 feet from the side walls. Seating distance will be approximately 8 - 9 feet. Is this good enough or do you think more distance, especially from the front wall, is required to truly enjoy the speakers?

Mods -- I've also heard that the stock components (crossovers, fuses, etc.) and stands are suboptimal. Is this true? If so, what are the minimum requirements to bring the speaker to a higher standard and at what cost? 

Value -- For someone who is just starting out with Maggies, which model is a good entry point? I know that LRS+ is a good value, but my other speakers are very very good, so I want to do justice to the Maggies as well. But at the same time I don't want to spend more than I need to. Where do you think the sweet spot lies, i.e. which model(s)? I will be looking for used only since I've already spent way too much on other speakers.

Imaging -- I've also been told that imaging on Maggies is not that great. I have never heard Maggies before so I have no idea if this assertion is true or not. Your thoughts?

And finally, I want to hear from folks who love their Maggies. What is that you love most about the speakers? What qualities do they bring to the table that no other speaker does? Are there magnetic planar speakers from other brands that I should also be considering? Keep in mind they have to be readily available in the used market. So please don't suggest something that doesn't meet this requirement.

However, to bring some balance to the feedback, I would also love to hear from those who tried Magnepans and moved on to something else. Why? What was it that you didn't like about them? What did you move on to?

Thanks in advance and a sincere request: Please keep it civil ... no need for haters of Magnepan to use this as an opportunity to diss the brand.


I have the 3.7's and use 12" sealed box sub.  Wonderful upgrade from the planar-magnetic panels.  Plan on spending time on placement, listening position, etc.  Subwoofer settings are crucial to good sound.  What I like about Maggies is they are non-fatiguing.  They are true to the source and will point out any flaws in the rest of your kit.


Life is too short, get them and get it out of your system, or keep them…lol. 
All jokes aside, consider Alsyvox and Wolf Von Langa to your must audition list before you buy any speakers.

 Speaking as a 3.7i owner …. and 1.6, 1.7i, .6. They have been the most frustrating speaker I’ve owned. Everything said about them can be true but doesnt need to be. There will be a sweet spot in your room where they come alive and image quite well. Mine are currently 9 feet into the room. Amp quality first then power. Mine are underpowered with my Audio Research Ref 75 SE but sound sweet with good image at around 80db. Really Sweet! Fuses, crossovers, stands all need replacement to get that nth degree out of the speakers. With the right juice and location bass is tight and articulate but not heart interrupting so a sub will add some foundation but be prepared for further frustration getting it to mate with the panel. Get it right and the speakers really unfold. The speakers are all a great value in sound quality but are a commitment. Nothing less than the 1.7 is my opinion but that said a friend owns the LRS plus with two subs and exposure amp and it sounds quite good. Will it compare to your Joseph set up…. probably not even close.

I found 20.1s right here on Audiogon for $5,500 (originally $12,500) and snatched them up instantly. As others have said, add a sub if you want some real bass slam because Maggies don't do that, but they do reproduce bass well. I don't have them away from a sidewall because I don't think that matters, but I do have them 3 feet out from the back wall. As far as imaging, it's my opinion that for the money, nothing else compares, Maggies are simply the best. Of course that means sitting in the sweet spot to hear the imaging properly.

DWM bass panels use magnets on BOTH sides of the vibrating mylar film. This results in the very linear push-pull effect, which gives minimum distortion. The 20 series does that too for the bass panels IIRC. That’s why the best panel bass is qualitatively better than, and qualitatively different from, bass from enclosed speakers.