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2014 HIGH-END AUDIO

BUYER’S GUIDE

350+ REVIEWS OF

THE BEST Speakers Electronics DACs Music Servers Turntables and More!

Turn Your Mac Into a Music Server! er! The 35 Greatest Bargains In High-End Audioo The Best Headphones nes From $79 to $5500 00


Magnepan MMG (Disponíveis apenas nos E.U.A) Magnepan’s smallest planar-magnetic (available factory-direct only), the Product of the Year award-winning MMG, is one of the best buys in the Maggie line, and one of the real bargains in high-end audio. If you have enough space and amplifier, you will be hard-pressed to find a more realistic speaker than this slim, boxless Maggie, where it plays. Though it won’t plumb the depths in the bottom end and is a bit limited in the top treble and in really large-scale dynamics, it is otherwise a model of lifelike presence, tone color, texture, and imaging. magnepan.com (121, 177).

Magnepan Super MMG (Disponíveis apenas nos E.U.A) The Super MMG System is a slightly different take on the tried-andtrue for Magnepan. The bundle includes a pair of MMGs specifically hot-rodded for use with an included Diplanar Woofer Module or DWM (dual DWMs are optional). The results are remarkable. The Super System’s low distortion and “faster than a speeding bullet” transient attack reveals the tiniest intricacies, delivering fragile percussion cues with startling immediacy. It also throws open wide windows on ambient and reverberant details, and it unquestionably rules the roost over micro dynamics gradations. The addition of the DWM lends the system a stronger sense of grounding, and with the added bass comes greater focus and clarity than that of the solo MMGs. Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Darn close. And in every other way, super indeed. magnepan.com (235)


Magnepan Mini-Maggie (Disponíveis no Brasil) The Mini-Maggie system is a three-piece, ribbon-tweeterequipped, planar-magnetic, dipole speaker system intended primarily for desktop use. Featuring small tweeter/midrange panels that sit atop the desk and a two-channel mid/bass panel that sits in the footwell below, the Mini-Maggie package is arguably the finest desktop speaker ever made. In fact, in detail, resolution, purity, freedom from grain, soundstage width and depth, and, above all, coherence, the Mini-Maggie rig sounds for all the world like a pair of Magnepan’s exceptional 3.7s on a slightly smaller scale (meaning that bass extension, the size of the dynamic envelope, and image height are reduced relative to the larger 3.7). Interestingly, the Mini-Maggie can be used for wholeroom applications, too, provided you set the system up in smaller rooms, keep volume levels moderate, and make a point of adding a second mid/bass panel for more lower midrange/bass reinforcement. magnepan.com (223).

Magnepan MG 1.7 (Disponíveis no Brasil) Prior to the advent of this new, all-quasi-ribbon Maggie, JV thought its predecessor, the MG 1.6, was the single best buy in an affordable high-end loudspeaker. For him, the 1.7 now takes that coveted title, improving on the 1.6 in just about every area save for the low bass (which, like that of the 1.6, isn’t really that low). From about 50Hz up, however, you will be hard put to find a more realistic transducer than the 1.7 for anything short of Magico/Wilson money. Stunning coherence, transparency, detail, timbre, soundstaging, imaging—you name it. Just be sure to bring enough amp to the party, and enough space to keep the 1.7s well away from sidewalls and backwalls. And be aware that above a certain very loud level, the quasi-ribbon drivers will begin to show audible signs of strain, though the 1.7s will fare better at low listening levels than previous Maggies. magnepan.com (205)


Magnepan MG 3.7 (Disponíveis no Brasil) Maggie’s new, three-way, true-ribbon/quasiribbon planar 3.7 successfully addresses three issues that have long vexed “true-ribbon” Maggies: the seamless integration of that ribbon with the other planar-magnetic drivers; the retention of detail and dynamic range at relatively low volume levels; and the reduction of “Maggie graininess.” The solution of these problems combined with the famous virtues of true-ribbon Magnepans (neutrality, low distortion, high resolution, superb transient response, lifelike timbres, and natural imaging and soundstaging) produce what is, in JV’s opinion, the best buy in a high-fidelity transducer regardless of price, provided you have enough amp to drive the 3.7 and the space to house it. Note that the 3.7 does not produce deep bass below about 45Hz and, like all planars, it runs into membrane-excursion limits, slightly limiting dynamic range (particularly in the bass) at extremely high SPLs. magnepan.com (212, 213, and 214)

Magnepan 20.7 (Disponíveis no Brasil) Magneplanar’s big, full-range, ribbon/quasiribbon dipoles may not be the ideal “fidelity to sources” loudspeakers (transparency to sources is not the strongest suit of dipoles); nor are they the ideal “as you like it” speakers (at least, not for rock ’n’ rollers looking for the ultimate in dynamic range and midbass slam). The listeners for whom the 20.7s are very nearly ideal—for whom Magneplanars have always been ideal—are those seeking the absolute sound. These Maggies’ magical ability to transport listeners to a different space and

time and to there realistically recreate (with lifelike scope and size) the sound of acoustic instruments and the venue they were recorded in is extraordinary. It almost goes without saying (since these are Magnepans), but the 20.7s are also incredibly good values, although (as with all Maggies) you’re going to have to bring a lot of high-quality power to this party, and you’re going to need a good deal of room to house two speakers the size and width of a couple of NFL linebackers. magnepan.com (Review forthcoming).


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