03 September, 2010


Note: After the big job of re-labeling I just performed on this Blog, as part of my re-organization, I'm going to eliminate my other sister audio Blog (Review and Overview), to let everything be archived here. Today I'm duplicating all reviews from my sister Blog here. This may cause inconvenience for a few users who follow some of my items; my apology. In the long run, this shall be a lot more efficient. For regular posts, scroll down to 01, Spetember and below.


Last time, my MMG got approximately 200 hours before I packed them up and returned for HK. This time, the first thing I did upon arrival was to unpack these. Those DAMNED "binding posts"!!

My living room is about 12.5 ft x 20 ft (not bad), and I could normally have these 1/3 way up from the back wall. Due to furniture, I could not have these close to the sidewalls, instead about 2' from the right and 3' from the left. During the first days when mother was in the hospital I moved the dining table and achieved more symmetry, though sound did not change that much.

Much have been written about these and I need not wax lyrics, but some pointers and personal experiences:

1. I have long been an SMG user. There is a possibility the older models sound a little smoother. The MMG is super transparent and needs no apology even if compared to its bigger brothers, but it is less forgiving than older models.

2. Feikeung's MG-12, the next model up, is still in my home in HK. It sounds similar to my SMG but is significantly harder to drive. Note that a very recent issue of TAS lumped MMG and MG-12 together as almost similar. They are, but subjectively and in recall I feel the MMG is leaner in the bass and a little sharper sounding than the MG-12. If we look at the specs you shall discover a curiosity. The MG-12 is rated down to 40 Hz, 5 Hz lower than the MMG and I think you can tell that by listening. The MMG however is rated a full 2 kHz higher than the MG-12, and I think you can hear that too. This is not difficult to comprehend, basically a balance between the bass panel and treble ribbon. The MMG is noticeably easier to drive than the MG-12, surprising given that the surface area of MG-12 is only 25% greater than MMG (867 vs 696). Perhaps there is a difference in crossover? In my room here driving then with the McIntosh 2200 feels effortless but even a Rotel 325BEE works quite nicely, though you can hear clipping if you really turn it up ("soft-clipping" not engaged). If you don't believe that, read Dick Olsher's excellent review. The important point is that the minor differences may prove important depending on one's room and circumstances. In my room I really would like to have the 1.6 and I can get much of my MMG money back if I trade it in (or keep them in the event of a planar 5.1, Ha!) but since the surface area of 1.6 is almost twice of the MMG (1235 vs 696) I really hesitate. No doubt my McIntosh 2200 and Marantz 9's can do it but it would be a pain.

3. Magnepan advises OUTER placement of tweeters for their products. I have tried both and surely find for the MMG at least outer placement yields better imaging and balance, a finding similar to Dick Olsher. No disrespect to those who insists inner placement is the only way. I'd say there's no harm in trying and each model may be different. As for placement I'd only say not everyone likes to have their Maggies' bottoms near-field and in-the-face.

4. After a period of dis-use (mine was about 5 months) sound would be lackluster at first. I had to run them in about 2 days before improvement was heard. And surprise, this time, even with the same gears bass went lower and was fuller. I think mine has reached ripeness. Even with my leftover and unappetizing Cable Talk speaker cables screwed in permanently on the speakers' sides (I hate hex-wrenching), sound was super transparent. Together with the direct-drive AT turntable and cartridge sound could even be a little too revealing. Thorens TD-125 is just about perfect.

Question: Is the treble and mid-range unrivalled? The bass? Next article.

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