Sorry this has taken so long - my apology to those who have been asking:Magnepan MG1.6QR Speaker Review – James Tanner, Bryston:
Below are my comments on the Magnepan MG-1.6QR loudspeakers in one of my demo rooms. There is a preamble I gave (room acoustics, my history and bias’s) with my review on the MG3.6’s and Thiel 3.7’s earlier this year which you can refer to if you wish.Thoughts on the Magnepan MG-1.6QR speakers:
I have 3 different soundrooms but eventually chose the smallest of my rooms for final auditions. The room is 14x11x8. The speakers are on the LONG wall and are 3 feet from the front wall – angled in at about 30 degrees – tweeters on the outside. They are 2.5 feet from the side wall and 9 feet apart center to center. I am sitting about 9 feet back. As I stated in my earlier posting the speaker/room interface has to be considered in totality when evaluating a specific speaker in a specific room and the Magneplanar 1.6QR is a very good example of why that is. The speaker is a Dipole so the radiation pattern looks like a figure ‘8’ pointing at the listener. As a result there is NOT a lot of reflected sound energy bouncing back from the ceiling, floor and side walls. The energy is concentrated to the front and rear of the speaker. With tons of reflected, though delayed, energy from the back wall.
The technical aspects of the speaker I will pass on as they are readily available in full at http://www.magnepan.com/model_MG_16
To start with I would also like to put to rest some myths about dipole panel type speakers:They are hard to place --- Wrong!
In fact, given the dispersion characteristics, as detailed above, the only concern you have with a panel dipole is the reflective nature of the front wall behind the speakers. Typical monopole (point source) speakers radiate energy in an omni-directional pattern at certain frequencies and a highly directional pattern at other frequencies so the reflective characteristics and the standing wave patterns of the listening room dimensions play a very large part in the final outcome of sound quality. In fact, I would say getting the room speaker interface correct is going to do more to providing you with state of the art sound than any other aspect of your sound system. Expensive speakers placed incorrectly can sound much worse than medium priced speakers placed accurately.
So the advantage of a dipole panel is that the wave launch from the speaker is such that the floor and ceiling and sidewall reflections and room nodes are acoustically discriminated against. There is no energy in the ‘plane’ of the diaphragm with a dipole panel. What that means is that there are no early reflections coming from the floor, ceiling, or sidewalls. Early reflections produce what is called ‘comb-filtering’ which generates dips and peaks in the in-room frequency response. So contrary to popular belief the dipole is actually much easier to place than a more conventional omni or point source speaker. All you have to deal with is the front wall reflective issue. Many people have to use their basements or spare rooms for their audio/video systems and typically these rooms leave a lot to be desired acoustically. Well, take a dipole and place it properly and that lousy sound room can come to life- reason --- the dimensions and surfaces of the crappy basement room are much less instrumental in affecting the overall sound quality.You need a big room for panel dipoles----Wrong!
Obviously the size of the speaker has an effect on the room size required (MG20.1 for example) but the MG1.6 is not exactly a small speaker physically. So on first look it would seem a larger room would be a necessary requirement. I tried the MG1.6’s in my three different soundrooms and they definitely provided the best sound in my smallest room (11x14x8). So don’t be afraid to experiment with medium sized panels in smaller rooms. It is true that larger diaphragms and multi-driver loudspeakers take some distance to integrate properly but usually if your back a few meters all will be well.