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rongon 28th June 2012 02:24 PM

Magneplanar MG1 - opinions?
I have a chance to pick up a pair of Magneplanar MG-1. Seller wants $250. The owner says they've been in the original box for the last 20 years. Is $250 completely unreasonable, if the speakers are clean and working properly? (I'm in the NYC area, where everybody seems to know what everything is worth. Difficult to find a bargain here...)

I've read about the usual failure modes of these speakers, with wires that come unglued from the low-mid frequency panel, and thin wires that detach from the high frequency panel.

If my current weenie PP triode amp lacks the oomph to drive them, I'd build a new one with more power (maybe a 30wpc PP class A pentode or UL thingie... That's the DIY part for me).

I'm most interested in what anybody has to say about their sound quality as compared to something like Snell Type J/III or Tannoy System 10 (both of which I have experience with). I remember hearing these speakers back in the 1970s, and I thought they were pretty astounding. But that was a long time ago, and I was a teen then.

I'm not looking for loud (I live in an apartment with neighbors close by). I'm looking for midrange realism, non-fatiguing high freqs, reasonable bass down to about 60 Hz (-3dB).

tyu 28th June 2012 05:18 PM

MG1 are over 30years old...........
I have done Magnepan rewire...I never pay more than $10. for the MG1..Working or NOT...If you send them to Magnepan to do a about $6-$700.With shiping...So you have what $1k......not.....You can get a NEW pr of the MMG for 60days inhome $600.Some say the MMGs are better than the biger maggys...
An as to how thay sound you best go hear a pr at a shop...goodluck.

moray james 28th June 2012 05:26 PM

buy them try them you can always sell them, offer less if you think the price is too high what do you have to loose? Remember these are dipole and you did say you are in an apt so you will need to have space behind them. If you like them you may want to consider fresh caps for them as they are getting long in the tooth by now. Good luck. Best regards Moray James.

rongon 29th June 2012 01:58 AM

Thanks for the info. It turns out that there is another pair of MG-1 in the same town where I live, which the seller describes as mint, in the original box, not a scratch, etc. He can demo them with an older Marantz receiver. He also wants $250, down from his original $300. I guess that's still on the high side. He does say they're mint, though, and that they sound great.

Anyway, I'll find out tomorrow when I go see/hear them.


moray james 29th June 2012 07:07 AM

Ask him if his definition of mint means that there is no de lamination of any of the VC and tell him you are good to pay his asking price as long as he will guarantee to refund you some amount if you buy them and open them and find any problems. Tell him he is welcome to watch. Best regards Moray James.

SY 29th June 2012 09:09 AM

30W is a bit marginal- I ran mine from 60W monoblocks and that was almost adequate. 100W is not too much.

You had some good advice- the price is a bit high. These went for $500 new and don't have collector value. A truly mint pair might be worth $200.

You'll almost certainly want to replace the tweeter caps, which have probably drifted off spec in 30 years; use the same kind of bipolar electrolytic, don't be tempted to change to polypropylene! If you can run a frequency sweep and an impedance curve, you can verify that there's no delamination or broken/burned voice coils. Listen for rattling, and look for the HF impedance to not be infinite. Impedance curves between channels should track pretty closely (within 10%).

MG-1s have no highs from a standing position. They are insanely room position dependent. They are not efficient. But set up properly, the sound is quite seductive and satisfying. I used a pair for almost 10 years and still miss them from time to time.

tyu 29th June 2012 01:29 PM

It only money....your money....
There is some guy near me who wonts $400 for a pr of MG1.6qr, then there a pr of MG2s on CL for $500.... Nuts... being in the box means nothing.... it not a good thing...well mabe looks...but it the wire inside the rotes...The tweeter wire well trun to dust...
The resion i pay so littel is the when you go to fix the tweeter or base wire the mylar can rip...then thay go in the trash can....Goodluck

rongon 29th June 2012 02:57 PM

Thanks again, everyone.

You're beginning to scare me off from this -- Or is it that you're finally making me see reason? The last thing I need is yet another Grand Audio Restoration Project. I already have a Thorens TD124 that needs a complete rebuild, and two pairs of Alpair drivers that I really should put into cabs. I also need to build a better amp around my lovely Tango XE-45-5 OPTs. Maybe I should forget this Maggie business and concentrate on what I have.

I do know that a 60 to 100 watt per channel tube amp will be insanely expensive to build. Just the cost of transformers and chassis will hurt.

My speakers right now are a nice pair of Snell Type J/III, and a pair of slowly decaying Tannoy T185 Dorset. Both are 8 ohms (nominal), both are 91dB/1w/1m sensitivity. They go loud enough in my small living room, even driven by my 6wpc or 11wpc tube amps. I have a pair of Alpair 7.3 and Alpair 10.2 waiting in the wings...

So, let me ask for your collective opinions on this question:

- Would I be better off getting on with the Alpair builds, or playing with these MG-1's?

tyu 29th June 2012 03:59 PM

Look i Have Magnepans ...An tube amps to drive them...but for the money you can do better than the MG1s....I have ML B&W piston type..An even have a pr of the frist Big Snell A....With crossovers hand mad by Mr Snell...Killer sound for the time.....R.i.p.. Mr Snell.... I Always say... out of the box with NO Mods..{working} Magnepans can give 80% of the best sound i have ever got...Out of any panel...Magnepans Are A lot of fun.....
This is just my 5cent...
My bud Moray know what going on....goodluck

rongon 29th June 2012 04:25 PM

Well, I guess I should go give the MG-1's a listen. If I fall in love with them, then that'll be that. I won't stress too hard if they don't float my boat.

I don't know for sure if my audio generator is working (it's an old tube HP). I'll have to check when I get home. Maybe I can make a CD of an audio frequency sweep. Hello Google...

Over this past year or so, I went a little crazy experimenting with mid-line Klipsch speakers, based on lots of ecstatic comments out on the innerweb. I took a pair of KG 4.5, added the Crites titanium tweeter diaphragms, upgraded the crossover, lined the cabs with felt... Got a nice improvement, but still not a *great* speaker. Too many response anomalies, not as easy to drive as I had thought. I need to get rid of them. Also got a pair of RF-3, but they are too harsh in the highs for me. I need to get rid of those too.

I bought a pair of decent condition Snell Type J/III and was bowled over. Those Snells are great. My little tube amps drive them just fine.

Any experience with the Alpair drivers?


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