|Magnepan Magneplanar MG 3.6 Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Thursday, 01 February 2007|
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Magneplanars are big and they aren't exactly subtle in the looks department. Some people have very strong reactions to the look of the speakers. Even competing MartinLogans have visually transparent panels. Maggies are far more imposing. with a larger footprint and non-see-through grille covers. If the 3.6s are too big for you for any number of reasons, I really do suggest you look toward some of the other speakers in Magnepan's arsenal. No matter how you look at it, Maggies of all sizes need a subwoofer, but don’t think that you need to spend a fortune on one. I used an Outlaw LFM-1 Plus subwoofer left over from another review to stellar results.
In terms of the 3.6’s fit and finish, more expensive and exotic fabrics would help. More exotic wood sides and finely made hardware would really help make the speaker look more twenty-first century. One only has to look at the MartinLogan Summits (a far more expensive pair of speakers, you will note) to see how such a feat can be achieved.
The 3.6's crossover is a bit clunky-looking and not exactly stable when mounted on the back of the Magneplanar's frame. In fact, the crossover is the only thing that somewhat indicates the 3.6's price bracket. Simple engineering could have cost-effectively solved this design issue.
Lastly, the 3.6s do need a quite bit of power. Any Maggie dealer will tell you that this is not a speaker that you should ever hook up to a receiver. Even so, you don't have to spend a fortune on power the way some other folks may have you believe. I found the Outlaw 7200 amp to be very good at controlling the 3.6s’ large panels, while allowing the ribbon to just sing. With any luck, your dealer will have a barrage of different amps to test with the 3.6s. Just be sure you start with the cheapest and work your way up, so that you can hear what exactly you're paying for. Beyond Outlaw, Rotel and NAD come to mind as good matches for some 3.6s.
The biggest downside to the Magnepan 3.6s is the fact that they've been plagued with so much audiophile misinformation and stereotyping that this has limited their market share. Their own singular focus on the audiophile market for marketing hasn’t helped them achieve the mainstream consumer demand they could and should have. At this level, they could learn a lesson from Bose and open up to new (in Bose’s case – all) market channels, because I think that if more people could hear these speakers, they would learn to love them.
Let’s not beat around the bush. The 3.6s are amazing speakers. With a base price under $4,500, it becomes more and more difficult to justify buying more costly high-end speakers. Sure, the 3.6s are large and they may be a bit old-fashioned looking, but their sheer musicality and live sound is just staggering. They sound like no speakers I’ve ever heard before, in that they don’t sound like speakers at all. They sound like music.
At no point during my time with the Magnepan Magneplanar 3.6 speakers did I ever feel as if I was listening to a prerecorded event. Everything through the 3.6s sounds either live or somehow authentic to the studio. Sure, there are those out there who will say, “Yeah, but Wilson WATT Puppies will give you a better soundstage, and Revels will do deeper bass, blah blah blah.” I don’t care. That’s more of the audiophile crap that I was talking about. The 3.6s aren’t perfect, but for my money, they are the most emotionally honest and involving speakers I have heard anywhere near their price range.