Opinions needed on magneplanar SMGa's

I recently came across a nice looking pair of Magneplanar SMGa's at a local flea market....the fabric and frames of both speakers looks fairly mint for thier age. They are listed for $140.00 firm. I am going to attempt to contact the booth owner and see if I can arrange a test listen.....But....is it worth it?

TIA for the input and advice...

Wayne
 
I had the opportunity to hear a pair recently. Firstly, there was a lot more bass than I was expecting from a planar speaker. Second, was the huge sound stage. It is quite an experience to hear a wall of sound coming at you. Unusual, but not bad. Third: the sound was effortless and was presented as a cohesive whole; it was also very detailed. It is what I would call a very romantic sound (not the most accurate, but very much enjoyable). I was very impressed.

To put things into context: we had been listening to a comparison between a pair of Thors and Small Thors (which are actually larger than the Thors!). We heard the Maggies last; it was just like dessert after a gourmet meal. My home speakers are Yamaha NS1000's.

I don't know what the going price is for these Maggies, but I would jump at the opportunity. They are apparently relatively easy to service (compared to a conventional driver). The owner of said Maggies is currently searching for amplifiers that can drive them without fuss. Some amplifier short-circuit protection circuits have a habit of tripping when driving them. Amps that worked are my Douglas Self-based Load Invariant amp and another DIYer's Leach amp.
 
wboyd said:
I recently came across a nice looking pair of Magneplanar SMGa's at a local flea market....the fabric and frames of both speakers looks fairly mint for thier age. They are listed for $140.00 firm. I am going to attempt to contact the booth owner and see if I can arrange a test listen.....But....is it worth it?

TIA for the input and advice...

Wayne

I have a pair of Magneplanar MMGs which are a newer model. The X-over on the SMGa's are considered superior to the newer models. The overall sound of the SMGa's are said to be close to the newer MMGs although I've never heard them myself. I think you would be pleased with the SMGas. You might even be blown away!

The price seems a bit low so you may have a pretty good deal on your hands.

Be aware that the problem with older Maggies is that the aluminum wires can sometimes delaminate from the mylar film. This happens with age. Apparently the glue deteriorates in certain climates. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. You can run your fingers up and down both sides and feel for a seperation or an elevated wire.

The Magneplane Factory Tech Support will tell you how to repair I think you can send them in to the factory for repairs as well. They accept phone calls only; no email.


Good luck!
 

john65b

Member
Paid Member
2005-01-09 2:32 am
Chicago
I have had SMGa, MMG, MMG-W, and currently have the MGIIIa.

I love thes maggies, but they need some serious power.

As mentioned earlier, run your fingers up toward the inner top of frames - it is here that the wires tend to de laminate.

I have rewired many SMGa and it is not difficult. Plenty of internet sites to show you how to do it. Google "SMGa rewire Peter Gunn" and you will find the best site. Just use a little bit of FRESH can of DAP Weldwood to glue them back down. If not glued down the panels will buzz. Using Weldwood, they will never de laminate again.

The only thing that can be a major problem is a torn mylar. I have had to scotch tape sections of torn mylar, and result was never perfect. You get a little buzz from the taped section. As far as a Tweeter rewire, I just used Rat Shack Magnet wire (36 guage?) instead on Aluminum. Work perfectly.

$140 is a great price as long as the mylar is not torn.

The crossover on the SMGa was a 1st order serial, not a typical parallel. Single cap and inductor. The serial crossovers are difficult to get right (critical on driver matching) but works very well with the SMGa.

The MMGs sounded brighter/clearer, while the SMGa sounded more warm and fuller. This could be due to the crossover differences.

If it were me and there were no issues on mylar, I would buy them and look into an active crossover (and biamp) and ditch the crossover altogether.

One caveat - You will want its bigger brothers very soon. And you may never want to go back to boxes ever again.
 
kuroguy said:


Lets not start quoting bloated amplifier power ratings. My 832 puts out about 5 watts per channel and works my Maggies hard. The Maggies rate about 86db/w at one meter. You should be able to figure out the required power from that.

I don't think your opinion on 5 watts is in the mainstream. I'm not disputing your experience but in general, most Maggie owners recommend well more power than 5 watts.
 

john65b

Member
Paid Member
2005-01-09 2:32 am
Chicago
My MGIIIa usually have a Class D UCD400 (400wpc @4 ohm).

I was surprised to see my Krell KSA Clone ([email protected] ohms) able to make them sing even better.

Unless you have a pre with decent gain, I do not see how 5 watts can achieve decent sound levels on a pair of SMGa.

For the hell of it, I tried putting a 10 wpc Tripath TA2024 Sonic Impact on a pair of SMGa. Not very loud or good.

Tube amps are typically underrated in power anyway.

Just my 2 cents.
 
Maggie and I have been living together for close to 20 years. She is starting to show a little of her age, but she still sings like the day I met her. A little room sensitive, you may have to move her a couple of feet off the wall. Unlike other ladies in your life, she may actually disappear when set up correctly. She does like her juice as they are normally 4 ohms. I have an older Hafler pushing her along and am going to try a chip amp out of her soon.

Eric
 
I've driven SMGa's (my first remotely good speakers) with an adcom 535 & 555, as well as a Dyna SCA-35. Both worked quite well but I'm not a window rattling music kind of guy. For those playing at home, the adcoms are 60wpc and 200wpc, and the dyna is about 14wpc.


I have a friend with the 1.6QR's I think who has been driving them for years with a HK Citation II (60 wpc).

Sheldon
 

john65b

Member
Paid Member
2005-01-09 2:32 am
Chicago
Now I used to think the UCD400 Class D was perfect for the Maggies, but I have to say I like the Krell KSA clone much more.

I also have a home built 45 watt 6SL7/6L6 ultralinear tube amp that sounds good. Just lacking some sparkle the Krell has.

Tried the Panny XR25/45/50/57 and sounded good, the UCD180 better, UCD400 better yet, but the Krell rules. Also played a bit with the TA3020 tripaths and the ICEPpower (Bel Canto S300), but the UCD400 was the better class D in my opinion.

I am also building a Aleph 60 class A. It should be nice, but I do not believe it will unseat the Krell.

I have also noticed a good tube pre in front of the SS Krell makes a huge difference too. Aikido tube pre, an Audio Note M7 clone, and I also built a 12B4 (all of which were built from designs on this site).

Also, a JFET Bride Of Zen pre that sound terrific (very easy build too)
 
Mass market receivers are probably the most likely to have problems with Magnepans. They certainly "cooked" a Sony I once had. Any good power amp with 75W /channel or greater should be OK.

All the positive comments, above, about sound are essentially correct in my opinion. I suspect a large part of the reason due to being dipoles rather than just being planar. Suggest to look at www.linkwitzlab.com for info on what is special about dipoles. I think the key phase is something about the "null in the plane orthagonal to the axis of radiation" or similar words.

Mine are currently stored in the garage -- there are some issues regarding physical dimension and the room we listen in. Hopefully this will get resolved some day.