Magnepan to PAP or Spatial

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luke357sig

Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« on: 15 Jun 2018, 04:12 pm »
Group,

Have any of you had a chance to compare Magnepans ( I have the 1.7s) to Pure Audio Project or Spatials?  I've not heard OB speakers before but look interesting.

Thanks!

Wind Chaser

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #1 on: 15 Jun 2018, 07:24 pm »
I wouldn’t mind hearing some Maggie’s, it’s been a while but they are by definition OB. I believe there are some crossover mods that can kick them up a good notch or two ... like so many speakers, the stock parts are of marginal quality. The fuse is something I’d bypass as well; I did that with mine many years ago and it made a noticeable difference.

As for Spatial, they are far more efficient and dynamic. The Hologram 3 & 4 Turbo S versions are controlled delivery point sources, which limits the dispersion in the room - thus reducing the need and benefit of room treatments. The point source is second to none when it comes to imaging. Properly set up, broken in and driven with the right amp, they are really special.

sfdoddsy

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #2 on: 16 Jun 2018, 03:52 pm »
As mentioned above, Maggies are open baffle. But they are planar as opposed to dynamic driver OBs.

At one point I owned a pair of Maggie 1.7s and a pair of dynamic driver OBs (Linkwitz Orions) and spent much them comparing them side by side. I've also owned other planar OBs like Apogee and Martin Logan and designed my own dynamic driver OBs.

All share the same strengths that OB fans love. The transparency of no box, and the naturalness of dipole radiation.

I'm sure that's why you and so many others bought your Maggies.

However, Maggies have  a few issues. They aren't the most dynamic speaker out there, they have a restricted sweet spot, they lack true bass extension, and they can sound a bit 'muffled'.

A well designed DD OB can overcome those issues, but there are two schools of thought about the best way to do it.

One is the wide baffle passive xover pro driver school such as Spatial. Very dynamic, easy to drive, decent bass. Like a Maggie on steroids.

The other is the narrow baffle multiple drivers active EQ school such as the Linkwitz LX521. Truly full range, more neutral, more natural imaging. But needs active crossovers, considerable amounts of EQ and multiple channels of amplification.

IMHO, the latter school provides the ultimate in performance. But they are much more expensive, overly complex, finicky and too tweaky for most. The few commercial manufacturers that sell them charge big money:

http://kyronaudio.com.au/

http://www.perfect8.com/index.htm


I lived with such a system (4 way active, digital crossovers and EQ, 8 channels of amplification) for ten years. Great sound, but finally too much hard work.

I've since simplified my system to somewhere in-between the two schools, but it is still in no way plug and play.

So unless you are a masochistic speaker nerd, I would go for a turn-key solution like Spatial. Actually, you have no choice since Spatial are currently the only turnkey dynamic OB solution unless you find a Gradient dealer.

It's not last word in OBs, but still better than any planar I've heard except Apogee ribbons. They will give you everything you love about Maggies without their main weaknesses.

Personally, I would get the smallest cheapest ones. The effort and cost involved in trying to reach Stygian depths and volume with any OB (planar or DD) isn't worth it.

Some (like those on the GR Research circle here) claim otherwise. Do not believe them. OB bass can go very low, but you need multiple high excursion drivers and lots of EQ to get respectable volume.

Just cross to sealed subs below 40Hz.


Wind Chaser

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #3 on: 16 Jun 2018, 04:59 pm »

I would go for a turn-key solution like Spatial...

Personally, I would get the smallest cheapest ones. The effort and cost involved in trying to reach Stygian depths and volume with any OB (planar or DD) isn't worth it...

Just cross to sealed subs below 40Hz.

Putting a sealed sub with the Spatial M4 instead of going for the M3 doesn’t make any sense for 3 reasons.

Number 1, boxed bass is inferior to OB bass.

Number 2, the M3 will get you to 32Hz, anything lower and the difference is negligible in terms of real world listening.

Number 3, the cost of adding a decent sub with the M4 vs. M3 will end up being higher than the M3, and you’ll be stuck with inferior bass.

As for respectable volume, the M3 will give you that and a whole lot more without sacrificing bass. Anyone who would suggest otherwise doesn’t know what they are talking about.

JohnR

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #4 on: 16 Jun 2018, 07:01 pm »
I agree with sfdoddsy. YMMV etc. There is another approach other than more drivers (or sealed), though, which is to move the dipole subs into a "nearfield" position. The difference is pretty dramatic (measurably as well as audibly). Not sure why nobody ever tries it. Not very domestically friendly though..


gregfisk

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Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #5 on: 18 Jun 2018, 05:58 am »
The reason the people on the GR Research circle claim what they claim is because it is true.

I'm not sure what you consider multiple subs but I have speakers that incorporate (2) 12" OB servo subs per speaker and they go incredibly low in my 600 sq. ft. room. Down to the 20s with no problem and I have never heard better bass anywhere, at least none that comes close to being as musical. And since my room is designed for music it is all that I need and more.

sfdoddsy

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #6 on: 20 Jun 2018, 01:19 pm »
I had modified Linkwitz Orions using a pair of AE 12 drivers a side for ten years, plus I experimented with standalone dipole subs.

You can see the math on SL's site,  but (in spite of what some say) you would need four 12 inch dipoles a side to match the output of one 12 inch sealed sub down low.

A far more practical solution is to use a sealed servo sub (or subs) below 40Hz and EQ.

I used a pair of Rythmik FS12s for this purpose.

I do have a very large room (over 900 sf with high ceilings).

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #7 on: 20 Jun 2018, 05:59 pm »
Group,

Have any of you had a chance to compare Magnepans ( I have the 1.7s) to Pure Audio Project or Spatials?  I've not heard OB speakers before but look interesting.

Thanks!

I own Magnepan 1.6's and had the non turbo M3 Spatials with the older crossover for 1 week.   My electronics are a Pass X250 amp. BAT VK51se preamp and Luxman DA-06 DAC.  My son and I plus a couple of friends thought that the 1.6's sounded much better in almost every way.  The Maggies were much more musical and dynamic sounding.  Resolution and clarity was better with the Maggies.  The Spatials had a little more air and transparency with slightly better imaging though.  The Maggies had a deeper and fuller sound stage with better bass.

I really wanted to love the Spatials but it would have been a step down.  I did like them though. 

I would love to hear the newer turbo Spatials with the newer crossover though.

Ok Spatial fans, let my bashing begin :D

Wind Chaser

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #8 on: 20 Jun 2018, 06:08 pm »
One week isn't very long, are you certain the Spatial's broken in?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #9 on: 20 Jun 2018, 06:41 pm »
One week isn't very long, are you certain the Spatial's broken in?

Yes, they were.  They had been at a reviewers for several weeks before they came to me.  I really wanted them to sound better than my Maggies as I would have bought a pair.

I will say this  about Maggies.  To get them to really sing, you need great electronics.  Most people do not pair the lower end Maggies with high end gear like mine or one of my friends that has the 1.7's.  The Spatials were more forgiving, the Maggies are not.  Although, this applies to all speakers but more so with Maggies.

Wind Chaser

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #10 on: 20 Jun 2018, 07:07 pm »
Well that is interesting. I have the latest incarnation of the Turbo S version so I can't comment of previous versions. Without hearing the Maggies, I might be inclined to agree with you on resolution and clarity as ribbons typically excel in that area; but when it comes to dynamics, compression drivers / high efficiency always trumps low efficiency in that regard. Of course the standard disclaimer applies... YMMV

IMO every speaker benefits from having the best possible electronics upstream. Back in the late seventies I heard a tiny pair of Szabo speakers ($200) driven with a Michelson and Austin TVA-1 and was completely amazed at how Stravinsky's Firebird Suite sounded thru them with that amp.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #11 on: 21 Jun 2018, 02:20 am »
Well that is interesting. I have the latest incarnation of the Turbo S version so I can't comment of previous versions. Without hearing the Maggies, I might be inclined to agree with you on resolution and clarity as ribbons typically excel in that area; but when it comes to dynamics, compression drivers / high efficiency always trumps low efficiency in that regard. Of course the standard disclaimer applies... YMMV

IMO every speaker benefits from having the best possible electronics upstream. Back in the late seventies I heard a tiny pair of Szabo speakers ($200) driven with a Michelson and Austin TVA-1 and was completely amazed at how Stravinsky's Firebird Suite sounded thru them with that amp.

I talked to Clayton and we discussed my assessment of the speakers and he stated that the Turbo model and the new crossover really improved the midrange.  He agreed that the mid range "sounded sucked out".  I would love to hear the latest turbo model M3.

Wind Chaser

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #12 on: 21 Jun 2018, 04:12 am »
Still I wouldn't be surprised if there are certain aspects in which your Maggies sound better. There are always trades offs when it comes to these price points.

sfdoddsy

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #13 on: 21 Jun 2018, 08:23 am »
I own Magnepan 1.6's and had the non turbo M3 Spatials with the older crossover for 1 week.   My electronics are a Pass X250 amp. BAT VK51se preamp and Luxman DA-06 DAC.  My son and I plus a couple of friends thought that the 1.6's sounded much better in almost every way.  The Maggies were much more musical and dynamic sounding.  Resolution and clarity was better with the Maggies.  The Spatials had a little more air and transparency with slightly better imaging though.  The Maggies had a deeper and fuller sound stage with better bass.

I really wanted to love the Spatials but it would have been a step down.  I did like them though. 

I would love to hear the newer turbo Spatials with the newer crossover though.

Ok Spatial fans, let my bashing begin :D

I've not heard the Spatials so my opinion is somewhat suspect. But I owned several other dynamic dipole speakers for many years, and also owned and directly compared Maggie 1.7s to those speakers.

Your experience is pretty much the direct opposite of what I found.

All of the DD dipoles I've compared sounded more transparent, dynamic, and had better bass than the Maggies.

The Maggies were perhaps a little more coherent, and as true dipoles a little airier in the treble than DD OB speakers which become monopole above 2K or so unless the baffle width is narrowed.

Both were equally 'musical' as that is the essence of OB sound.

I've also owned other panel speakers (Martin-Logan CLS and various Apogees) and the only ones which made me ponder the DD OBs were the Apogee Duettas. They, alas, have their own issues.

Assuming the Spatials are as good as their pundits say, and I have no reason to believe they don't given every well-designed DD OB I have heard shares a common sound,  it just goes to show just how subjective such things are.

Mind you, there are also many people who hate the sound of open baffle speakers and choose to spend thousands on vastly over-engineered boxes, so who knows?










I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #14 on: 21 Jun 2018, 03:33 pm »
I've not heard the Spatials so my opinion is somewhat suspect. But I owned several other dynamic dipole speakers for many years, and also owned and directly compared Maggie 1.7s to those speakers.

Your experience is pretty much the direct opposite of what I found.

All of the DD dipoles I've compared sounded more transparent, dynamic, and had better bass than the Maggies.

The Maggies were perhaps a little more coherent, and as true dipoles a little airier in the treble than DD OB speakers which become monopole above 2K or so unless the baffle width is narrowed.

Both were equally 'musical' as that is the essence of OB sound.

I've also owned other panel speakers (Martin-Logan CLS and various Apogees) and the only ones which made me ponder the DD OBs were the Apogee Duettas. They, alas, have their own issues.

Assuming the Spatials are as good as their pundits say, and I have no reason to believe they don't given every well-designed DD OB I have heard shares a common sound,  it just goes to show just how subjective such things are.

Mind you, there are also many people who hate the sound of open baffle speakers and choose to spend thousands on vastly over-engineered boxes, so who knows?


I can't explain your experience vs my experience with Magnepans.  All I know is that 4 people heard the Spatials vs my 1.6's and all agreed that the 1.6's sounded much better in most respects.  We did not feel that the Spatials were bad sounding and we did like the sound but the Maggies just sounded better.  And I certainly am not putting down the Spatials, they are a fine speaker and clearly perform above their price point like the Maggies do.

I agree that Maggies are not the end all in transparency and the Spatials were more transparent. But the Maggies were more dynamic and musical by a long shot.  I have friends that have the 3.7's and 1.7's and theirs are very musical as well.

To get Magnepans to come alive, you need the proper electronics.  I use to run a Parasound A21 amp, Van Alstine Hybrid preamp and hybrid DAC.  My system sounded good but not great.  When I remade my system with the Pass amp, BAT pre and Luxman DAC. it was a revelation.  In addition, I tweaked the speaker placement just 3 inches after the electronic changes and even more musicality and transparency was gained.  My point is that even though all speakers are electronics dependent, I feel that Maggies are more so.  They will let you know if your electronics or recordings are not up to snuff.  That and speaker placement make Magnepans sometimes frustrating to own.  Also, they greatly benefit from subwoofers to fill in the bottom end.  I run dual subs crossed over at 45hz.  Subs definitely contribute to musicality and dynamics with both the Maggies and Spatials.

By the way, when I was looking to upgrade my preamp, I went to the local Magnepan dealer and listened to a pair of 3.7's with an Ayre amp and Atma-Sphere M3 preamp and ARC LS 27 pre and I was not impressed with the musicality of the system until we  changed amps to a Mac 452, then the Maggies came alive.

I did use the Spatials with and without subs and played around with speaker positioning to get the most out of them.  My listening area is 17x17 with 10' ceilings with a wood floor and area rug, so it is a live sounding room.

But as always in audio, YMMV! :D

sfdoddsy

Re: Magnepan to PAP or Spatial
« Reply #15 on: 27 Jun 2018, 03:01 pm »
Yep, that's the fun part of our hobby.

Everything goes out the window when people listen.

Were audio an objective science you wouldn't need more than or two speaker companies, let alone the hundreds we currently have. We'd all be listening to Revels.

I do like Maggies a lot. More than any box speaker I've heard. Even very expensive ones.

Before getting the OB bug I used to own Wilson W/Ps and I've owned various other pricey monkey coffins.

IMHO, the strengths of every decent OB I've tried outweighs their disadvantages (size and bass for panels, size and complexity for DDs).

It's easier to get flat extended response from box speakers, but the fact that by far the most expensive and important part of a box speaker is over-engineering the box (to reduce the problem of using a box) speaks volumes.

My $15K Wilsons used $500 worth of drivers and 50kg of super-secret aerospace type cabinet material to minimise the effects of 50kg of cabinet. They sounded very good.

My $3.5K Orions used $2.5K of drivers, a plank, and sounded better.

My $2K Maggies were somewhere in between.

I agree that Maggies need power (and subs) but I must confess to being a non-believer when it comes to electronics. I've had very expensive amps, and less so, and can't tell the difference.

It's probably heresy, but I had very good results with Maggies (and Apogees and Martin-Logans) with a big 4 ohm stable pro amp. I used a Crown Xti, which also has built-in EQ and crossovers.

IMHO an active crossover/EQ would improve Maggies considerably.

Of course you don't have much choice these days since Magnepan make the only widely available OBs (Spatial is for speaker nerds).

Given that, the only way to really push the envelope is to go nerdier still and try DIY.

You can build a world-class OB speaker for under $2K using BG Neo3 and Neo10 planar drivers from Parts Express, a dipole bass driver from Acoustic Elegance, a miniDSP, and a six channel amp.

But it is the opposite of plug and play.