“Exceptional”: Hi-Fi News reviews Magnepan’s Magneplaner 20.7 loudspeaker

“There is nothing else that sounds quite the same,” says Nick Tate in the April issue of Hi-Fi News. “The Magneplanar 20.7 appears to be some sort of magic window into the world of music.”

Standing apart from the crowd, Magnepan’s loudspeakers (‘Maggies’ to their many fans) are tall, slender flat-panel designs which, unlike most standard cabinet speakers, use planar magnetic drivers rather than the conventional cone and dome approach.

The 20.7, which stands at just over 2-metres tall, is “a three-way design, with treble frequencies delivered by a full-height, genuine ribbon driver set close to one edge of each speaker.” As with many of Magnepan’s models the 20.7 comes in mirror-image pairs so the customer can choose whether they want the tweeters on the inner or outer edges of the panels, tailoring the sound to their room. Bass and midrange frequencies are handled by two isodynamic quasi-ribbon panels.

Magnepan 20.7 planar magnetic loudspeaker

“The 20.7s delivered a seamless and exceptional expanse of sound from top to bottom.” Even with a compressed and heavily processed ABBA track, “the 20.7s seemed able to unwrap it, revealing all the goodies inside.”

The 20.7s deliver “a degree of transparency you don’t get from conventional box speakers. Elements in the mix that are not always apparent were now in front of us, clear as day.” As for ABBA, “the girls almost became ghostly apparitions in the room, so spookily realistic was the rendition of their voices, shimmering with life.”

Moving onto a different genre (electronic, from 808 State) but again with a mediocre quality recording, “it was as if this speaker had an x-ray scanner than penetrated behind it. Hitherto unheard backing vocals rang out…” Timing of massed instruments was “even more impressive” – “I was charmed by the way the cymbals on the right channel were playing off the tambourines on the left.”

Meanwhile, a “louche jazz standard” gained new life: “suddenly everything was super taut, tight and snappy.” And, as you would expect from a large panel speaker, soundstaging was “superb… almost supernaturally large and three-dimensional.”

“There’s absolutely no sense of anything struggling to get out of a box,” Tate concludes. “Most music lovers will be beguiled by this exceptional loudspeaker.”


Read Nick Tate’s full review in the April 2018 issue of Hi-Fi News

To find your nearest Magnepan dealer contact UK distributor Decent Audio