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REVIEW: Magnepan Magneplanar MMG Speakers Review by Dave at Audio Asylum

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Speaker: Magnepan MMG


Goal:
To Actually replicate the original acoustical music event--this cannot currently be done, and may untimately prove to be impossible but the pursuit of this goal is a fun, rewarding, and engaging hobby that keeps bringing us a little closer to musical truth.

For the purpose of the MMG's??? Well, I sort of bought them on a lark, just to see what Magnepan was up to, and I was simply curious to see what they could do for only $500. [Before Magnepan found new life with the MMG's the 1.6's, 3.6, etc., I had become bored with them because they didn't seem to be doing anything new and interesting. And until a couple of years ago, big panel speaker OEm's had really been struggling to stay afloat]

I called the factory and spoke with an engineer; thats easy enough to do you just tell the CSR that you want to have and engineer confirm the equation they used to get the crossover network to compensate for the phase cancellation below 300hz (seriously, its scares the CSR's right off the phone and you get to talk to an engineer). Then I talked to a very friendly customer service rep who took my order. I had the speakers in less than a week.

The speakers are a wonderful example of product efficiency; everywhere Magnepan could save money without compromising sound quality they did so. All the money went into "most bang for the buck" category. Nevertheless, the speakers are attractive and arrived in flawless condition.

Set up:
Right out of the box they sounded alive, open and very natural. Its normal for Bass to be very disappointing in speakers until they are broken in, but the MMG's were dismal. I ran then on a swept sine wave for and hour to limber them up, and then let them play my FM tumer for 40 hours. Every day I was pleasantly surprised at how dramatically the Bass improved. I think the Maggies took a bit more time to break-in than conventional do. You can move them pretty close the the side walls, even within a couple of feet, but they really need to be pulled out 5' from the back wall to perform at their best.

Sound?
In a word, "Wonderful". I have never heard any speaker anywhere at $500. that even approached being as open, uncolored, more natural, or conveyed as convincing an illusion of "Being There"--to my knowledge they have no equal in these ares at this price range. Yes they are terribly inefficient, have now bass in the bottom 2 octaves and are rolled off on the top octave, but they are nothing short of magic over the other 7 octaves. This illusion of "Being There" is often fleeting but it remained with me as long as the Maggies did. On the other hand, the Bass, or lack of Bass became more distracting as my ears became accustomed to the other wonderful features of the MMG. If I only listened to chamber music, or acoustical guitar, I would run with the MMG's and never look back--but I love and listen to almost all music, and any music with lots of low-end power--particullarly Rock was a big disappointment; this loudspeker needs a subwoofer but if I were going to go to that expense, I would buy a larger Magnepan speaker.

Wishful Thinking:
Sometimes a really wished for a little more detail, but I would gladly live without the last bit of detail if it meant I could keep the wonderful, open, unfatiguing sound of the MMG's. No matter how long I listened, I never felt listener fatique.

Stands:
The stands leave something to be desired. If I left the speakers in their tilted back position, the sound seemed like it was comming out of the floor when I backed up from the MMG's, and if I moved them into their upright position, then I had to be seated very low and close for good soundstage. I experimented w/ different stand heights by placing them on books until I found the height I liked best, 8"...The light came on; I ran out to the garage and grabbed to 8" cement blocks and the problem was solved! More attractive stands for the MMG's are easy to make, cheap, and effective.

I suspect the MMG's are really designed as just a marketing tool to introduce people to the merits of Magneplanar sound and by giving people a taste of what they can do--with the hope that someday we'll trade up for a much larger, much more expensive version. Magnepan was right; after 7 weeks, I decided to buy a pair of 1.6QR's and returned the MMG's for a full refund. The MMG's were a nice attitude adjuster; had I read the review I just wrote before I heard the MMG's, I would have said, "No Way, It Can't Be Done--not for $500."


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Topic - REVIEW: Magnepan Magneplanar MMG Speakers Review by Dave at Audio Asylum - Dave 19:04:47 07/12/00 ( 2)