“Magnepans don’t look like typical box speakers and don’t sound like them either,” writes Chris Martens in the March issue of Hi-Fi Plus. He means it in a good way. A very good way, in fact, having long used the company’s speakers in his reference system. Here, he reviews the new flagship 30.7 four-panel dipolar loudspeaker system.
Visitors who see Martens’ ‘Maggies’ (as Magnepan’s speakers are affectionately known to their many fans) for the first time often find it difficult to believe what they are: “as in, “Riiight, they’re ‘loudspeakers’ if you say so – now what are they really?”. Magnepan loudspeakers are tall, slim, panel-shaped and look more like a stylish room-divider than a boom-box. “However, disbelief typically turns into a good kind of shock and awe,” says Martens, once he treats the visitor in question to a musical track or two. That shock and awe could be about to seriously intensify…
“The 30.7 is by far the highest performance loudspeaker Magnepan has ever made,” writes Martens. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a physically commanding presence in any room. Each 30.7 speaker consists of two panels: a large bass/lower-midrange panel and a narrower midrange/tweeter panel, the latter being designed to stand beside and slightly behind the former to achieve optimum time alignment. Dimensions-wise, both panels stand 2 metres high (200.7cm to be precise) yet have a depth of a mere 5.2cm. The larger panel is just shy of 74cm wide and the smaller panel just shy of 37cm.
But perhaps the more important ‘dimension’ is that the 30.7 is Magnepan’s first ever four-way speaker. Martens discovers more about the design through discussions with Wendell Diller, the company’s head of marketing and sales. “By dividing its workload between four groups of drivers – a set of two planar woofers, a transitional line source lower-midrange driver, an extremely low-mass midrange driver, and a pure ribbon tweeter – the 30.7 aims, says Diller, to provide “lower mass (vs. frequency), better power response and better bass” than any previous Magnepan design.”
“The good news,” writes Martens, “is that the 30.7 can be made to work well in a surprisingly large variety of rooms (and to fit a broad range of listener tastes).” In fact Magnepan is so keen to ensure that customers can enjoy the 30.7’s full performance potential that the company requires all dealers wishing to sell it to commit to providing a full set-up and adjustment service.
With the review set-up handled by Diller himself, Martens’ first finding is that the 30.7s are “well and truly full-range loudspeakers with all the top and low-end extension one could possibly want.” Next, he is struck by the superb sense of openness, transparency and focus. “This speaker is a master of textural nuance, transient acuity and dynamic expression.” Moving on, Martens is then “won over by the 30.7’s ability to convey sonic images and soundstages that are remarkably realistic in size and scale.”
“Magnepan’s 30.7 is a landmark design – one that does all things well and some things extraordinarily well… the fact is that the 30.7s deliver sound quality competitive with (and in some respects superior to) loudspeakers ranging from two to nearly ten times their price.”
Whether they happen to be within your budget or not, he strongly recommends a listen, “if only to experience what a world-class loudspeaker system can do.”
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Read Chris Martens’ full review in the March 2018 issue of Hi-Fi Plus