MAGNEPLANAR MG .7 loudspeakers
ONE crucial contributing factor towards the optimum performance of Magneplanar speakers is the room in which they have to operate. I’ve heard the same model Maggies sound horribly thin and anaemic in one room, and totally rocking in a different room.
Then, there’s the space consideration with Maggies – their footprint may be small, but the vertical acreage they occupy can overwhelm a small room. So, minus points most likely when it comes to WAF (wife acceptance factor).
The latest offering from Magnepan Inc addresses this issue for those who found the highly-acclaimed MG1.7 (now the MG1.7i) too big for their rooms. The MG .7 is designed for small rooms of about 10-12 feet across and 12-16 feet long. They don’t dwarf your furniture the way a 1.7 (and anything above) does. And they have quite a bit going for them.
BITS AND PARTS: It’s important to note the the .7 is based on the newer 1.7i and 3.7i and not the non-“i” models. These earlier units were tweaked hardly four-to-five years into the market, and I’m told in the crossover area. If you’re asking what the difference is between the 1.7 and 1.7i, you’ll get some answers when listening to the .7.
The .7 has a smaller bass diaphragm, so the lows are naturally going to limited but reinforceable with the addition of the DWM Bass Panel that Magnepan offers as a supplement for those seeking more heft from their Maggies.
The two-way .7, like the recent Maggies, uses a full-range, quasi ribbon that has a frequency range of 45Hz to 22kHz. The other specs remains unchanged – 86dB sensitivity and and impedance of four ohms. There’s no option for biwiring – on the small plate at the rear where the terminals are located is the jumper tweeter attenuator and a fuse for protection.
Each panel, measuring 15.25 x 54.25 x 1.25 inches (w/h/d), is available in off-white, black or grey fabric with an option of black aluminium, cherry or natural trim.
The transparent acrylic oval stand, supported by two short columns, is a big departure from the traditional metal struts that Magneplanar speakers have been spotted with for decades. The design allows the panel to be be set straight up, or tilted back or forward slightly. Installation is a breeze with this new support.
IN CONCERT: “Take these home and run them in for us,” the dealer implored and I was only too glad to cart the flat-packed rectangular box away – note that both panels are packed into a single box, so you’ll be well advised to get help to transport them. Happily, I ended up having the .7 for more than two months.
Run in or not, from the start, I observed that the .7 wasn’t exactly a smaller 1.7 (which has been in my system for around four years) in sonic attributes. While the Magneplanar trademarks of transparency and immediacy were present, the .7 seemed to sound more open and relaxed, even when new. The treble areas seemed sweeter and cleaner, and more natural in texture. This general first impression was reinforced along the way. But let’s take a listen to the bass, first…
Obviously, there’s less low reach than the 1.7 and if you’re playing a track that’s heavy on acoustic bass, the bass diaphragm will start distorting when the player hits the very low notes… a scary thing to hear, giving the impression the ribbon is going to be annihilated any time. With the 1.7, there still was a bit of distortion in a similar situation, but more controlled. Certainly, I would get the DWM bass panels if I were buying a .7… heck, I’m going to try those panels with my 1.7 soon.
While still on bass, it was remarkable how I was able to head clear and well-rounded notes while outside the room in which the .7 was running… with the 1.7, the lows get shy the further I’m out.
In fact, the .7 is less dependent on the “sweet-spot” factor than previous Maggies. Imaging is stable off-axis, with a side sweet spot when you place the speakers with the tweet array on the outside.
So the .7 is also different in this aspect from the 1.7, which requires more focus on part of the listener to enjoy the finer elements of its sonic presentation. The .7 sounded better with the tweeters in the outside, at least in my room. The trebles and mids of the 1.7 snapped together with the tweeter on the inside.
Despite the smaller size, I felt the .7 projected a spacious and natural stage… in my room, it was physically less intimidating than the resident 1.7 and conveyed the music with ease, presenting spatial cues that were as vivid as they were essential in the overall mix. The clear and crisp highs and mids, I was expecting, with a transparency I’ve seldom heard from “box” speakers at the price. What the .7 did was deliver the overall sonic with clarity, staying out of the way to the extent that you tend to forget there are a pair of panels in front of you.
APPLAUSE: Everything I love about Maggies is present here, the smaller panels never once indicating a smaller stage or projection. The compact size means easier integration into the home decor. Transparent and engaging as heck, and always communicative.
BUT…: Bass is limited in reach – acoustic bass that’s attacking and dynamic, and demands low-frequency heft, will leave the .7 flapping.
FINALE: So good is the overall balance and musicality that I was sorely tempted to let go of my 1.7 for this… but the bigger picture prevailed – my next one will be the 1.7i, because of what I heard from the .7.
Well done, then… I highly recommend the Magneplanar MG .7, but with the caveats of room acoustics and ancillary equipment.
Sources: Ayon CD-1s, VPI Classic 1-Dynavector XX2 MKII, Toshiba laptop running foobar2000, Marantz CD6005, Apple iPod Classic (final generation) / Amplification: Odyssey Audio Tempest SLB preamp, Odyssey Audio Khartago Extreme SE monoblocs, Rega Elex-R / Speakers: Magneplanar MG1.7, ATC SCM11 v2 / Interconnects: MIT, Gotham Cables / Cables: MIT, Gotham / Power cords: Furutech / Power accessories: Frank Acoustics Power Bank, AVIA balanced Powertrans