Eric Neff lives within just three hours of Magnepan’s Minnesota factory, yet has harboured an unrequited goal to listen to a pair of ‘Maggies’ (as they’re known to their many devotees) for a full 30 years.
So imagine Neff’s delight when he got the call from Hi-Fi Plus to review the ‘baby’ of the range, the .7 – and when, noting his promixity, Magnepan invited him over for a full factory tour….
“Hold out your hand,” said Magnepan’s marketing manager Wendell Diller, breaking off a foot-long piece of the company’s famous driver ribbon and dropping it into Neff’s palm.
“It weighed basically nothing. I could see it but I could almost not feel it sitting there,” noted Neff. “It’s 1/10th the thickness of a human hair, and under normal circumstances no ribbon material this thin and light could withstand the pressures of being a speaker driver. However, when applied to a Mylar diaphragm suspended in front of magnets, it works wonders with sound.”
Indeed it does. Kicking off his listening tests with James Taylor’s October Road, “the .7s were up to the task. James was in the room and had a substance I do not experience with many speakers… a strong first impression.”
Moving on to Steely Dan and a track with “more kick in the low end”, “the crisp and authoritative bass was nearly perfect in my smaller listening room. In addition, I was enjoying an almost holographic listening experience as the famous Magnepan dimensionality appeared right in front of me.”
With Linda Ronstadt’s vocals, “the sense of presence was exceptional,” while the experience of listening to Tommy Emmanuel’s acoustic guitar on the album Centre Stage came “a close second” to hearing it live (which Neff has).
“Small home owners need never look with wistfulness on their friends’ ‘audiophile’ system again,” concludes Neff of Magnepan’s 12kg ‘baby’. “This is not a compromise on any level. It is music… Most highly recommended.”
Read the full review in the January 2017 issue of Hi-Fi Plus