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Old 26th December 2006, 09:27 AM   #1
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Default 8WPC 300B SET and Magneplanar?

Hi All,

I'm about to build a couple of Bottlehead Paramont 8wpc 300B SET monoblocks, and I'm looking for an ideal budget (say $1K/pr) speaker for them.

My tastes run to singer-songwriter pop stuff, I love the voice and acoustical instruments, and value non-fatiguing three-dimensional sound over all else.

Mitigating factors: I don't particularly need high volume levels. I could even listen to them near-field, if it came to that. And I'm glad to bi-amp with stereo woofers crossed over at say 120Hz, to take the load off the 8wpc amp driving the Maggies.

I'm wondering if it would be silly for me to consider pairing an 86dB efficient Magneplanar with an 8wpc amp in this configuration?

Any hints at what sort of volume levels I could get?

Any idea how the maggie would sound compared to 4" full range Fostex?

Thanks for any help ,

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Old 26th December 2006, 01:22 PM   #2
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Hey George,

I got your e-mail.

Anyway there are many parallels between what you propose to and what I've accidentally stumbled into.

I have a Decware SE84C-S tube amp and run a Njoe Tjoeb cd directly through it.

My original intent was to use the two pieces mentioned above with a pair of Lowther DX-3's. I first put the Lowthers in a pair of Voight pipes but didn't care for that set up. I then built a pair of BIB's for them. Well not understanding the BIB design very well I totally screwed up the dimensions and the result wasn't acceptable.

All of that led me to do some experimenting with other equipment I had around. I've owned several pairs of speakers over the years and many of them have come and gone. Currently besides the Lowther's I had a fairly new pair of Klipsch book shelf speakers I had bought for my wife to use with a receiver and an older NAD cd player we still have. I also have a pair of Infinity RS-7b's that I had the surrounds replaced on. The last pair I'll mention is an ancient pair of Magnapan MG1's. These were made sometime in the mid 70's or so. The poor things had been in storage for over 15 years.

Well I got the notion one Saturday afternoon to try all of these with the little Decware amp. Now this amp doesn't even produce 5 amps so I really didn't expect it to be able to do much with the Maggies or the Infinity's.

Boy was I wrong, dead wrong! I knew it'd do ok with the Klipsch but I didn't really care for the combination. Next I hooked up the Infinity's and was amazed at how loud I could drive them. It was the bass that surprised me most. Well this got me really intrigued so I drug out the old Maggies and hooked them up. Now I should explain a few things at this point. I do my critical listening in my office here at home so I'm not distracted by the wild little Indians the wife and I call son's. The room is small and I don't like my music that loud these days. Also my taste in music has changed greatly over time. Where I once listened to Echo & the Bunnymen & The Who, I now like calmer stuff. As an example I'm listening to Mindy Smith's "One moment more" as I type this. Scaning the stack of disc's on my desk that are in rotation at the moment are Legend/Bob Marley, The road to Ensenada/Lyle Lovett, Feast of wire/Calexico, Aja/Steely Dan.

Those selections are a good example of what I listen to these days. Hey, lose the smirk.

Simply stated this combination sounds great! I can listen to this set up for hours, as in all day. This ensemble is magic on vocals, and acoustic guitar is beautiful. One thing I was really surprised to even notice was on passages when there was silence just how noticeable said silence was. Not sure what to make of that but I like it. I guess the thing I'm really impressed with most is the representation this set up gives female vocals. Mindy Smith sounds as if she's in the room. And compared to anything else I've heard there's an almost haunting quality about this recording that I hadn't picked up on before. Now don't get me wrong these can rock a bit. Song 10, "Hard to know" off of Mindy's "One moment more" is a bit more up tempo with more punch than she normally puts forward.

I guess to surmise, and put an end to my rambling. I like this set up alot! I'm really considering keeping this system together here in the office. Once I get the DX-3's figured out I think I'll move them out into the living room and build another system around them.

I will always recommend that anyone should own a SET amp set up. If you get a good one it's a different world altogether. One I find very satisfying.

You know George if you decide to try a pair of Maggie's with your tube equipment but are apprehensive about laying out a lot of cash just to experiment MG1's and other older Maggie's can be bought cheap anytime on ebay. $400 should get you a nice pair. If you can find some that need minor repairs you can get them dirt cheap and fix them. There several good tutorials on the web that explain in detail how to diagnose a problem and then fix it yourself.

Have fun with it!

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Old 26th December 2006, 01:35 PM   #3
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I've drivven a couple different pairs of Maggies (older MMG's,and MGII's I think,I don't recall exactly.) with a small PP 6V6 amp (~8wpc)..It won't bring the house down,but it plays loud enough.
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Old 26th December 2006, 01:45 PM   #4
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Originally posted by DigitalJunkie
I've drivven a couple different pairs of Maggies (older MMG's,and MGII's I think,I don't recall exactly.) with a small PP 6V6 amp (~8wpc)..It won't bring the house down,but it plays loud enough.

Yep, I can drive the MG1's louder than I want to listen to here in my 10' x 15' office.

I think another thing that help my current set up is the fact that this is a fairly bright room acoustically wise.

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Old 27th December 2006, 04:38 AM   #5
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Thanks for the information--very kind of you to take the time.


Thanks for going into such detail--I appreciate it, and find it quite useful.

Ever since I heard active crossovers feeding bi-amped Tympanis in the 70s, Maggies have held a special place in my heart. I'd never heard such transparancy, and don't know if I have since.

My musical tastes are similar to yours, both in artist and reproduction, so we'll have to leave the smirking to others. I particularly enjoyed your description of your systems sonic strengths.

And your idea of used Maggies appeals to me, being the cheap b*****d that I am. A quick check of eBay revealed some purchases that I would have been happy to have made.

Thanks again, and good luck in all of your adventures.
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Old 29th December 2006, 03:57 AM   #6
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IMHO, one of the best Magneplanars was the SMGa, a little wonder that sold for less than 500 bucks back in the late 80's and had an efficiency of 90db 1W/1M. I think it's the only maggie that got up into the 90's efficiency-wise and the only one that I'd even consider recommending with micro powered amps. I heard a pair of them with lower (40W) powered tubes back then and they sounded GREAT. I ended up buying their larger brother (MG1.4) back then but I'm not sure that they really sounded any better. I've heard them a few times since then and have always been impressed.

They sell for a song used (when you can find them) and the crossover is fairly simple, responding well to capacitor upgrades. Just make sure that your amp has four ohm taps on the secondary of the output transformer.

My religion is the golden rule. The only time it's forsaken me is when I've forsaken it first.
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