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 had the .7 and the 1.7i driven by amps that delivered 150watts @ 8 ohms, 300 watts @ 4 ohms respectively and never had an issue. Right now as I wait for the arrival of my LRS+ I am enjoying the hell out of a pair of original MMG’s. With an integrated with the power output rating mentioned above. 

I listen at very conservative volume levels. I once sold off a Threshold amp at a significant loss - not that I’ve ever profited from selling a piece of gear - because I assumed the meters were malfunctioning. The buyer sent me an email a few days after the sale to tell me that everything was fully functioning, it was simply that the level I mostly enjoyed just wasn’t moving the meters. Sheesh. 

Now that may appear to be really low, but it wasn’t. I think many people would be surprised to learn how meager the output may be at a consistent volume level that doesn’t shake the window panes. When I buy amps or integrateds I do look for those that double the 4ohm load from the 8ohm load - it’s the current that matters most. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but the amps/integrateds that I’ve found to be the best matches for Maggies and Thiels all did that. 

I fell in love with Maggies years ago when the first released the MMG model. $600 was a bargain. I’ve had 5 models to date, and five different Thiel models, and now I’m sticking to Maggie, specifically the LRS+. I haven’t heard it, but I’m relatively sure they will be an improvement over the MMG. 

Because the MMG “only” reaches 50hz I bought a REL T5 sub as a complement. After a few extended listening sessions I removed it. No slight against the REL, but when I listened at slightly higher volume I felt that the sub wasn’t needed. I’m not talking Led Zeppelin IV here, that just won’t do, but the genres I listen to most nowadays simply do not require that degree of bass. 






as a public service, let me post here what is stated at the magnepan website... in their faq section

it is always good to know what the manufacturer of the speaker says about how to use it how to drive it...  you can choose to debate or ignore the advice, but it is useful to know what they say, given they have a stake in users enjoying the speaker



We have a very small staff and none of us have the time to test amplifiers. But, we have decades of experience with a class of amplifiers that work well with Magneplanars.

The short answer is direct-coupled, Class A/B designs with high current capability. But to learn more, you’ll need to read further.

First, let’s address a misconception: The more expensive Maggies require better amplifiers.

It is true that most customers use better electronics on our more expensive models. But technically, it is not because the more expensive models are more demanding on the amplifier. The loads and efficiencies are very similar. Typically, the customer has a larger budget for amplifiers and, of course, the speakers respond with better sound.

Some individuals assume we won’t make product or amplifier recommendations for "political" reasons. Not true. We CAN’T make specific recommendations because WE DON’T KNOW. It is too much work to keep up with changing models and the vast number of products. As it is, our small staff is not getting all of our work done. However, the following guidelines will be helpful. Class A/B amplifier designs that come close to doubling power at 4 ohms have a long and successful track record.

The most common question is about the amount of recommended power for Magneplanars, but, first, it is important to understand the role of current and the power supply. High current and the capability of the power supply is a good indicator of the QUALITY of the amplifier. The amount of power you will need is a matter of QUANTITY. High current and total power are two separate issues. The ratio of the power at 8 ohms and 4 ohms defines the quality of the sound probably more than any other aspect of the sonic performance. Typically, if the engineers got this right, they probably did a good job in other areas of the design.

The power supply is "what separates the men from the boys." A receiver is very efficient and cost-effective way to get is all in one package, but there are "issues". Unfortunately, consumers want all the "bells and whistles" without understanding the importance of power supply. Many manufacturers offer the "bells and whistles", but, compromise the power supply to be price competitive. There are a few manufacturers that are the exception.

Everyone understands they need plenty of power, but the role of power supply is not understood. There is one important concept you need to understand when shopping for an amplifier or receiver: and it is somewhat like understanding "good" and "bad" cholesterol. The ratio is very important. An Gold Standard for an amplifier would be to double the power at 4 ohms. This concept is important even if you are buying an 8 ohm speaker. If the amplifier is rated at 80 watts at 8 ohms, it should (ideally) produce 160 watts at 4 ohms (or close to it). None of the receivers will do that. However, this is the benchmark of a good amplifier design. A 10 watt amplifier that produces 20 watts at 4 ohms "speaks volumes" about the PHILOSOPHY of the designer. (But, of course, it does not tell you if a 10 watt amplifier is enough for your room.) In the final analysis, buy an amplifier that comes as close to doubling the power at 4 ohms as your budget will allow.

A good receiver might produce 30-40% more power at 4 ohms. Most receiver manufacturers don’t want to talk about 4 ohm ratings because they have cut the "guts" out of their products to keep the cost down. Some receivers produce the same power at 4 ohms as the 8 ohm ratings. Or they use a switch on the back for 4 ohms to reduce the power and to prevent the receiver from self destructing. Others warn against 4 ohm speakers and will only offer a 6 ohm power rating. Regardless of what speaker you buy, we don’t recommend any of these receivers. There are a few manufacturers making receivers with good 4 ohm capability. But, we can’t keep up with who’s doing what. All you have to remember is to ask: "What is the 4 ohm power rating?" If the 4 ohm rating isn’t available, find another model or brand. It may take some digging to find the 4 ohm rating, but there are a number of receivers on the market that are rated for 4 ohms. For example, the THX rating requires that the amplifier section must be able to drive 4 ohms continuously. Even an inexpensive receiver like the 50 watt NAD C725 BEE (suggested retail of $799) is advertised to be stable with impedances down to 1 ohm and has peak power of 200 watts. So, don’t be fooled by pretty front panels. Its what is on the inside that counts.

A new type of amplifier (Class D) has become more popular because it is a "green" design and uses less power plus it is smaller in size compared to conventional amplifier designs. We have heard reports of Class D amplifiers shutting down when driving 4 ohm loads or sound quality that is less-than-desirable. Quite frankly, some sound very poor on Maggies. However, more recent designs of high-end models are much better. Because we do not have the time to determine which models of Class D designs are compatible with Maggies, we must take a conservative approach. Direct-coupled, Class A/B designs with high current capability have proven a good choice for many decades.


We are asked this question every single day. We wish that we could be of more help, but individual tastes vary. If someone tells you that you need an amplifier with ___ watts, how can they be so sure if they are not listening with you in your room?

You can get a lot of free advice in the chat rooms on the internet. Most of it is of very little value (or misleading). Often, their power recommendations are influenced by their listening habits and room conditions. If they have a strong opinion of what you need for power, take it with a grain of salt.

Personal tastes are "all over the map". We hear of customers that are perfectly happy with 50 watts and others using 1000 watts. Without the option of listening with you, we have no way to give meaningful advice. The most reliable way to answer this question for your particular needs is by visiting a dealer or arranging to hear a pair of Magneplanars. If you listen to your music at your normal volume, in a room that is approximately the same size as your room, with an amplifier similar to what you plan to use, an accurate power requirement can be determined for your listening habits. This is a lot to ask, but it is the only reliable method of determining the power needs for a specific individual.

There is a persistent impression that the larger Maggies require more power. It is true that most customers with the more expensive models have more powerful amplifiers. But, the popular assumption is not correct. They typically have a larger budget. If and when you upgrade your electronics is a separate decision.


Lots of great info here already.  I'll just chime on to say go for it.  I just put my LRS back into the mix.  Whenever I do this, at first I am not really impressed.  Going from a box speaker (in this case Snell type D) my first thought is - where is the bass and fullness?  But that goes away fairly quickly as the Maggies open up and do their thing.  After a few hours I forget all about the box coloration and just become immersed in the music!  And yes, I agree that the more quality power you can give them, the better off you'll be.  They sound great with my McCormack .5 and tube pre and my Rogue tube amp.  But, my Hegel H360 gives them another added something that really satisfies.

Best of luck!

RE: Magnepan’s amp recommendations 

The good folks at Magnepan, God bless’em, need to listen to some good modern class D amps with their speakers and then update that FAQ on amps. Then there is this quote from that FAQ “WE DON’T KNOW. It is too much work to keep up with changing models and the vast number of products.” 

That FAQ has been there for a very long time (outdated?). At some point, they’ll need to update it even though most of it still stands true.

I’m not recommending anyone run out and buy a class D amp or an A/B amp (personal choice). Just saying that class A/B amps may not be the end-all/be-all for Maggies and certainly not the only choice these days.

@jjss49  Thanks for the FAQ.

When I read it I also wondered when it might have been updated as I have read that many Maggie owners have driven them with a modern class D amplifier.  At least the Magnepan people admitted that they have no experience with more modern class D units and did not rule them out. 

I recently purchased a pair of LRS+. My 1st pair of Maggies. I am go'ing to try them out with two amplifiers I now have in possession. The Rogue Audio Sphinx V3 and a Pass XA-25 ( with tube preamp). My room has volume of a 11x17x8.5' however somewhat irregular shaped. Also highly treated with sound panels. 

Given that I take heed for the need for current over watts with Maggies, I suspect that the XA-25 may not be the best match even in my room. It does have the current, however still a low watt amp. I intend to be cautious.

It is likely that I will be looking for another amplifier for the LRS+ as I have need of the Rogue in a secondary system.