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RE: Maggie madness

Second the odd soundstage on the Focal.

At the dealer's they were setup in an acoustical disaster room with insane treatments and the Utopia's mtm portion's lobes were not aimed correctly. I had to go on my knees behind the listening seat to find the correctly reinforced lobe.

At my friend's the well engineered acoustics and did provide very good tonal performance for the Utopias but the soundstage was a weirdly deep box between the speakers. Detail retrieval was very good, not far from a planar. BTW it was powered by a big Moon integrated, which was very good. It does not sound lean or thin at all - now heard on 4 or 5 different speaker systems (nova Utopia, Cremona M, Joseph Pearls, Revel Studios, focal MTMs).

Comparing these Utopias and other speakers from Magico, B&W, Sonus Faber, Revel etc, to a plain jane stock maggie - 3.6 or 1.6, there is a very obvious superiority in midrange detail against both, but it is not night and day, and a superiority in treble against the QR tweeters. The bass is not as tight on the box speakers, but there is way more of it, it has more impact, and extends lower.
There is more to be had from maggies via mods. with the ribbon tweeter powered directly by a class A amp with a cap and resistor line level filter, there is nothing at all superior to it among the best box speakers. However, even with direct drive via multiamping, the midrange is not as transparent with the wire mid maggies. That said, none of these top end box speakers have the kind of soundstage and image presentation that the maggies produce. Imaging may be more stable and less ethereal, but there is a smaller scale and less natural feel to them. With bracing multiamping and sufficient power, the maggies have decent bass, superior in tightness, competitive in medium volume dynamics, but not in uncompressed loudness and definitely not in extension.

However, Tympani bass panels when braced and supplied with ample power can do far better in the bass than the 1.6 and 3.6, that are just too small to do it. They are competitive in uncompressed mid bass down to 40 hz with most of the top end box speakers. They only lack in the bottom octave against the biggest of the box speakers, but don't think your little Bryston 4B.x will do the job, nor would anything less than 1 kw at 4 ohms with stability at high current draws. You also need to have the XO active at line level. I have mimicked the Utopia's tonal balance successfully down to 30 hz, below that I don't get the substantial power tha the Utopias can output. But it is not by that much.

I would presume that the thinner midrange QR drivers in the 20.7 will give the kind of detail that is just not quite there on the other maggies' midrange. In the case of the Tympani models, the midrange was downright thick in high end terms. I replaced mine with a BG Neo8 line array. This is easily as good or better than all of the box speakers I have ever heard under any circumstances anywhere.

I kept looking for speakers that can give me a direction as to where to aim in further tweaking my speakers. The only thing that I have found was the unreal bass heavy balance of the Utopia line, which I actually liked better than the more neutral balance I had aimed for before. It is terrifically disapointing that there is nowhere to go from here without taking a second mortgage or pimping my neices and probably nephews too for the likes of an MBl 101.


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