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Magnepan Full-range ribbon and planar speakers

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Old 03-25-2013, 08:29 AM
djcxxx djcxxx is offline
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Default 20.7 audition underwelming

Saturday I drove to the local dealer who had a set of 20.7s set up for me. I had fully intended to make the purchase w/ a 10K deposit in the bank. They were using Classe amplifier and Ayre pre-amp w/ a server for their music and I brought some CDs and LPs but they don't demo LPs regularly and I forgot to ask. In any case after 2h listening I found myself rather perplexed. Overall the 20.7 delivered more than my 3.7s in every area (soundstage, bass, coherence, detail, air) but not so much more that I could honestly justify the purchase. I left rather deflated, but perhaps my expectations were unrealistic. I listened to music that I have known for more than 40 years on every system I've owned (Solti's Beethoven 3rd, Ansermet's Falla Tres Picos, and Lyontine Price's Blue Album of Puccini and Verdi arias, I have CDs and LPs). The strengths and flaws of these albums are second nature to me, so it was not a lack of familarity w/ the material. Their equipment was not "blank check" but neither is mine. So there you have it. Guess I'll keep listening to the 3.7s.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:12 AM
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I think you hit the nail on the head while the 20.7s deliver more in every area, whether more is "enough more", will vary with each individual. I could have been happy with my 3.7s for years to come, in my case though, I felt the substantial cost difference to be worth it. others may not.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djcxxx View Post
Saturday I drove to the local dealer who had a set of 20.7s set up for me. I had fully intended to make the purchase w/ a 10K deposit in the bank. They were using Classe amplifier and Ayre pre-amp w/ a server for their music and I brought some CDs and LPs but they don't demo LPs regularly and I forgot to ask. In any case after 2h listening I found myself rather perplexed. Overall the 20.7 delivered more than my 3.7s in every area (soundstage, bass, coherence, detail, air) but not so much more that I could honestly justify the purchase. I left rather deflated, but perhaps my expectations were unrealistic. I listened to music that I have known for more than 40 years on every system I've owned (Solti's Beethoven 3rd, Ansermet's Falla Tres Picos, and Lyontine Price's Blue Album of Puccini and Verdi arias, I have CDs and LPs). The strengths and flaws of these albums are second nature to me, so it was not a lack of familarity w/ the material. Their equipment was not "blank check" but neither is mine. So there you have it. Guess I'll keep listening to the 3.7s.
djcxxx.......There is really nothing that unusual about your experience auditioning the Magnapan 20.7's. As you stated, you did experience improved performance, but felt disappointed by not being totally overwhelmed with respect to the cost difference over your own 3.7's. The diminishing return factor begins to come into play with all manufactures as you move up their line. Costs seem to be far greater for incrementally smaller improvements, especially when you already enjoy excellent performance at your respective price point. For some, the price difference doesn't influence their purchase decision, since it is strictly the improved performance that is sought. For others, the performance improvements are desired, but the cost factor must be weighed into the purchase. If a component or speaker's improved performance isn't dramatic enough, or doesn't measure up to our sense of value when compared to what we presently own, then we pass. It happens all the time.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
djcxxx.......There is really nothing that unusual about your experience auditioning the Magnapan 20.7's. As you stated, you did experience improved performance, but felt disappointed by not being totally overwhelmed with respect to the cost difference over your own 3.7's. The diminishing return factor begins to come into play with all manufactures as you move up their line. Costs seem to be far greater for incrementally smaller improvements, especially when you already enjoy excellent performance at your respective price point. For some, the price difference doesn't influence their purchase decision, since it is strictly the improved performance that is sought. For others, the performance improvements are desired, but the cost factor must be weighed into the purchase. If a component or speaker's improved performance isn't dramatic enough, or doesn't measure up to our sense of value when compare to what we presently own, then we pass. It happens all the time.
Well said! ...a bad analogy, but I sometimes feel "high-end" audio from a cost perspective is rather like Top-Fuel drag racing, or Nascar, or Formula one. at a certain level, the cost to gain ..one more horsepower, can be astronomical, but some people are happy to spend the dough for that one more horsepower, granted, it's crazy by any rational thought process, but I've been called far worse than crazy.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:21 PM
djcxxx djcxxx is offline
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Appreciate the thoughtfullness of all your responses. I am prone to getting caught up in the audio reviews so that may have raised expectations to unreasonable levels. Money is an issue and I have to balance out gains vs. cost which frankly was the deciding factor, not so much the speakers themselves. I had some trepidation about posting my experience but now I am glad that I did.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:12 PM
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djcxxx - think that's the issue with the 3.7s, they deliver so much. I always loved them, they almost suited me perfectly... the only "if only" thing about them was them not being quite full range enough.

So the extra 10hz costs 10k... that hurts a bit... but it did get rid of the only sticking point so I have speakers without the "if onlys". I'd probably have been happy with just that but as they also improved a bit in other areas I saw it as an expense but well more than worth it.

It's great you post your experience with the 20.7s because we all make different calls on gear and you did the best thing... you auditioned first rather than just assuming what makes others happy will be right for you. It's always better (and less expensive) if you can love the one your with rather than being constantly on the look out for something new. Lasting happiness is often the best outcome.

Graham

Last edited by audiot servant; 03-25-2013 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:26 PM
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I think the biggest area of improvement from the 3.7 to the 20.7 will be image size.
If you have the room , the 20.7's will throw a sound field that is much more realistic, especially for orchestra.....
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:16 PM
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Myles B. Astor Myles B. Astor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djcxxx View Post
Saturday I drove to the local dealer who had a set of 20.7s set up for me. I had fully intended to make the purchase w/ a 10K deposit in the bank. They were using Classe amplifier and Ayre pre-amp w/ a server for their music and I brought some CDs and LPs but they don't demo LPs regularly and I forgot to ask. In any case after 2h listening I found myself rather perplexed. Overall the 20.7 delivered more than my 3.7s in every area (soundstage, bass, coherence, detail, air) but not so much more that I could honestly justify the purchase. I left rather deflated, but perhaps my expectations were unrealistic. I listened to music that I have known for more than 40 years on every system I've owned (Solti's Beethoven 3rd, Ansermet's Falla Tres Picos, and Lyontine Price's Blue Album of Puccini and Verdi arias, I have CDs and LPs). The strengths and flaws of these albums are second nature to me, so it was not a lack of familarity w/ the material. Their equipment was not "blank check" but neither is mine. So there you have it. Guess I'll keep listening to the 3.7s.
I'd be cautious about drawing any conclusions about the sound without having heard your own discs!!!!
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:58 PM
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I thought that price difference between 3.7 and 20.7 goes "too wild", but consider this:

1.7 is about 40% of price of 3.7 and 3.7 is about 40% of price of 20.7, so I guess there is some logic in this?
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:36 PM
harri009 harri009 is offline
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I thought that price difference between 3.7 and 20.7 goes "too wild", but consider this:

1.7 is about 40% of price of 3.7 and 3.7 is about 40% of price of 20.7, so I guess there is some logic in this?
Agreed. What is the extra cost associated with. It can't be that many more man hours to build than a 3.7. Material wise I understand it has extra magnet layout but probably not 40% worth. BUT I guess you can claim this to just about every high end product out there.
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