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Re: Magnepan Magneplanar MG12 Speakers

B) first. No, they are not too big. My room is about 14x24 and they work great, if you can live with a couple of "doors" in your room. Might get a few corner reflections if you put em near one of the short walls and toe them in a bit, but I found a cheap remedy that does the job and actually looks good... just get a couple of fake potted trees for the corners. They look good (especially with a slightly oriental looking decor) and tend to tone down the appearance of those two stark white panels somewhat.

A). That quite depends on what you drive them with. Some like to drive them with big old Brystons, others wax philosophical about driving them with small tube amps. I had a set of MG-12s for about a month and my little Yammie rx-v995 drove them quite beautifully. The Yammie is a bit bright as an amp in stereo mode, but the midrange and up was so smooth that I quickly became addicted to them. They can use a sub, but it has to be a good fast one or you'll find it lacking... I quit using my sub for music because it just sounded flabby by comparison (ok for HT though). Soundstage on the MG-12's seemed a little low, but you can experiment with the angle and boosting their height with stands of some sort. Traded up to the 1.6qr's about a month later. They are very similar sounding to the 12's only the soundstage is at the proper height, deliver more sound and have better bass (don't think these need a sub). Noticed an improvement in clarity when switching from "large" to "small" which cut out frequencies below 90Hz, so the 1.6's could use a bit more oomph than my little 100 watt reciever could deliver so I tried a 130 watt amp (using the yammie as a pre-amp)and was amazed at the increase in bass response when driven full-range.... unfortunately, this amp was a cheap mid-fi and was a bit weak on the high end so I lost some of the treble extension. I have a feeling that a good hi-fi amp, say 100 to 150W/channel (that won't wimp out driving 4 ohm speakers) should drive them marvelously well. Since I was already bi-wiring the 1.6's, I left the bass connected to the second amp and connected the high end back up to the Yammie and much to my amazement, it worked out exceptionally well.... nice smooth mids and highs and excellent bass (fortunately, the 2nd amp was an integrated because I even had to turn the bass down a bit on bass-heavy recordings like Enigma for fear the neighbors would complain). Surround mode is also great because there is less of a strain on the Yammie since it only has to drive the tweeters (my rear speakers are an old set of full-range dynamics, only because I couldn't afford to keep the MG-12s as well)and it eliminates the slight drop in clarity when switching from stereo to DTS or AC-3 modes. I've heard this pseudo bi-amping arrangement can cause hum and phase problems, but I have a feeling the interconnect I'm using has good enough grounding that I'm not getting a ground loop between the amps (DIY RG-214 coax...you could wire a stove with that stuff) and I lucked out with the phasing. So, this arrangement will serve until I trip over a used Bryston or something.

Some one asked about speaker cables? My old speakers were wired with 14ga zip and then I somehow wound up with a roll of Poco 12ga so I just ran that in parallel with the existing 14ga and this worked just fine. Then I tried bi-wiring the maggies using these:
http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/ubyte2e.html for the tweeters... imagine it would work quite well for a single-wire arrangement too (besides, why spend gobs of money on esoteric brand-name cables when you can make them for next to nothing ).

Anyway, If you've got a good sub, then go for the MG-12s, If you don't, then go for the 1.6's Both image well enough that you don't need a center channel for most HT setups either... just run the center in phantom mode. If you absolutely need a center, someone mentioned that B&W made one of the few that could match well with maggies. (HTM1 perhaps?)

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