Floor-standing Speakers

Magnepan Magneplanar MG 1.7 Flat Panel Quasi-Ribbon Full Range Speakers

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I tested the MG 1.7's using an OPPO BDP-95 Universal Player, BAT VK-5i pure class A tube preamplifier, and BAT VK-75SE pure class A tube power amplifier (75 watts per channel). Cables were Marc Audio and Emotiva.

I was fortunate enough to have a pair of 1.6's on hand, as they had been my reference speakers in the two-channel room, so I could compare the sound between the two models.

Placement of the speakers is critical. They should not be too close to any wall, and they need to be toed in at about 150 or so.

The difference was obvious, but not massive, because the 1.6's are really good speakers. The most noticeable improvement was in the high frequency response. The 1.6's tend to roll off somewhat, but the 1.7's didn't do that so much. The bass was slightly cleaner and tighter. However, there was not as much deep bass as I would like, but that is the nature of flat-panel speakers.

I used a number of albums to solidify my conclusions about the above statement, including violins playing in harmony, trumpet concertos, and some powerful music that included deep bass.

For example, this Telarc SACD has some terrific string pieces, and I could tell that the overtones had more presence with the 1.7's than with the 1.6's.

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Alison Balsom's trumpet solos came through with a crystal clear vibrancy and transparency, but without being overly sibilant. Flat-panel speakers reproduce high frequencies extremely well.

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Like the 1.6's, the 1.7's had some difficulty with the deep bass. This is not a problem with the quality of the speaker, but merely a manifestation of not having a lot of surface area reproducing the signal. The plastic ribbon cannot move back and forth a great distance, so it cannot move enough air to reproduce 20 Hz like a 15" conventional cone driver can. This is the one area where a conventional speaker does a better job, as all flat panel speakers have the same problem to varying degrees, depending on their size. However, this can be remedied by the use of a subwoofer. My electrostatic speakers have twice the surface area of the 1.7's, and I still use a subwoofer (actually, three 18" subs), crossing over the electrostatics to the subs at 60 Hz.

magneplanar-1.7-speaker-music-handel