Spotlight on Magnepan
By Larry Goldberg, Natural Sound General Manager
We sell many absolutely terrific lines of loudspeakers. (Bowers & Wilkins, Focal, PSB, Revel, Sonus Faber, Wilson Audio--to drop a few names on you!). All of the home speakers from these fine companies have one thing in common: they are in some form of a box, although there is now a lot of creativity in the shapes of many of those “boxes.” Moreover, all of these speakers use “conventional” moving coil speaker drivers, or woofers, tweeters, and, sometimes midranges. (There can be a wide variety in the type of materials used in said drivers.)
And then there are Magnepan loudspeakers. They are different. They are panel speakers that typically stand on the floor and are about two inches thick. Some of the panels are fairly small and some can get quite large. They look and sound different than most other speakers on the market.
When I think about the sound of Magnepans and what makes them so unique, I come up with the word “immediacy” as the best one-word explanation I can find.
For instance, there is the feeling that the singer is in the room with you, the guitar player to her left with every chord remarkably clear, the drummer’s brushes in the middle behind the singer circulating on the drum head softly yet precisely.
The sound is very present and very real. It’s as if a veil is removed from the sound of “normal” speakers—and it can also be spatially larger than their counterparts. There is no box resonating in any way along with the music, no back wave of a woofer that has to somehow be absorbed by the box. (You’re not paying for a box, either, which is often the most expensive part of conventional speakers—hence why Magnepans are amazing values.)
How do they do it? The drivers in Magnepans are very thin-film “ribbons” or “quasi-ribbons” that can move super fast—much faster than conventional drivers. They produce a wave front that allows all of the frequencies to reach our ears at the same time. There isn’t any discontinuity from what one hears from a woofer versus a tweeter. There is no “box” to color the sound and that “you are there” quality is the result!
Caveats: They need somewhat more amplifier power to drive them than conventional speakers. Although they have extremely tuneful and tight mid bass, some of their models can use some help in the deeper bass if your tastes in music lead you in that direction.
As an example, an unbelievable combination can be to run either a pair of .7’s ($1450/pr.) or 1.7i’s ($2200/pr.) “full-range” and add a REL powered subwoofer like the T/7i ($999) or T/9i ($1299) to augment bass below roughly 60HZ. The combination can be stunning in its realism and dynamics.
When you move into the larger panels like the 3.7i’s and the 20.7’s, there is less need for a subwoofer although one can make the argument that a good one will always improve the dynamics as well as midrange clarity and the sense of acoustical space.
And now we get to the new four panel 30.7’s, which have generated quite the audiophile buzz. Guess what: You have a chance to actually hear these gems!
THE MAGNEPAN 30.7 ROAD SHOW IS COMING TO FRAMINGHAM, MA!
Wendell Diller, the esteemed “voice of Magnepan” for many years, has been touring the country a region at a time and presenting the flagship 30.7’s in select locations.
We are honored to be included and want to invite you to attend our event.
WHEN: Monday, March 11 from 6 PM until 8:30 PM
WHERE: The Amazing Things Arts Center, 160 Hollis St (Route 126), Downtown Framingham (NOT AT NATURAL SOUND!!!)
Tip: Amazing Things is 2 miles south of Route 9, but during rush hour allow 10-20 minutes for this stretch. Take Route 126 South off of Route 9, which is just a bit east of our store. After crossing the railroad tracks in downtown Framingham, bear right to stay on Route 126 and you will find the Arts Center in a restored fire station a block or two further on the left. There is parking behind the building.
A little about the 30.7’s:
They are the best speakers Magnepan has ever manufactured and were named Absolute Sound’s 2017 Overall Product of the Year. (The other choice that year was the majestic Wilson Audio WAMM Master Chronosonic speakers at $685,000. No roadshow tour for those babies!!)
The 30.7’s are a four-panel system that will deliver full-range power, dynamics, and a vast soundstage if that is part of the recording. Of course, if your recording favors delicate intimacy, the Magnepan 30.7’s will convey that as well.
They are superstars when it comes to inner detail and fast transient response but not in a way that detracts from their overall musicality. By the way, they retail for a cool 30K---but that is a bargain in the eyes (and ears) of some reviewers who compare them to speakers that are 100K and up. They have been called “one of the all-time best buys in high-end audio.”
Wendell will be at our event to answer questions and we will be playing select music on the 30.7’s for everyone to enjoy! (There will be appetizers, coffee and tea.)
About the Author
Natural Sound General Manager