Undeniably big yet unquestionably beautiful, the latest pair of planar magnetic loudspeakers from Minnesota-based Magnepan stand over 6.5 feet tall and are 29 inches wide. But being flat panels, they’re also cannily thin at just 2.5 inches deep.
Unlike several other flat panel speakers, ‘Maggies’ (as they’re known to devotees) are not electrostatic but ribbon loudspeakers, in which a light mylar film carries ribbon electrical conductors set between magnets. No need to plug them into the mains then.
So how do they sound?
“Crucially there is no box to smear the sound nor introduce its own colourations into the mix,” writes Jon Myles in the August 2016 issue of Hi-Fi World.
“There is a huge advantage of… the same type of drivers from top to bottom,” adds Raphael Todes. A conventional box loudspeaker may use a range of different materials for the different drivers, and this will always act against the unity of tone.”
Both Myles’ and Todes’ last experience of Magneplanar came in the shape of the smaller 3.7i model, which Todes previously hailed as one of the best loudspeakers he’d ever heard (in his review for Hi-Fi World, March 2015).
“The 20.7s, by contrast… are taller and wider than the 3.7is – and with that comes a much more impressive frequency spectrum,” says Myles. Moreover, “what they do is something utterly remarkable. Set up properly the music simply floats fee of the loudspeakers in an eerie fashion, giving an almost holographic soundstage quite unlike anything else… akin to being transported to the concert hall.”
“Every note had body and presence, while the timing was immaculate.” “Most impressive was just how natural these loudspeakers sound.” “The sound swelled to fill our room; I could sit, stand or walk around and individual instruments were anchored in place in a lifelike manner.”
Would Todes agree, or is he sticking with the 3.7is? “[These] Maggies are deeply musical, plenty of subtle micro phrasing and detail, even more so than the previous Maggies I reviewed.” Well that seems to settle it. “They are tall and imposing so may not be as wife friendly as the smaller models,” he concedes, “but certainly have more bass extension than their little siblings.”
The final verdict? The full ‘outstanding’ rating with five stars. “Whether it be rock, classical, jazz or acoustic music,” writes Myles, “[the 20.7s] come the closest I’ve yet heard to reproducing the true experience of live music.”
Read the full review in the August 2016 issue of Hi-Fi World
Find out more about the Magneplanar 20.7 at www.magnepan.com
For details of local dealers contact Magnepan’s UK distributor, Decent Audio