Sean Killebrew began his writing career in the '90s, covering football for UCLA (his alma mater). His first foray into publishing was in 2000, with the below-the-line film- and TV-production guide books LA 411 and NY 411. For the past decade, Sean's passion for audio/video has been poured into writing for HomeTheaterReview.com. When not chasing A/V deals, Sean spends time skiing and losing to his son in basketball.
The Magnepan MMG is the smallest and least expensive speaker in the Magnepan line, priced at $599 per pair and coupled with a very generous 60-day return policy. Magnepan also offers the option of trading in your "Maggies" for full credit on a higher-end model within one year of purchase, which speaks to the "first rock of crack is free" phenomenon among drug dealers, as well as the old-school audiophile upgrade path, depending on the analogy you like better. The MMGs have two choices of trim, black or natural oak, coupled with black, off-white or gray fabric.
Set-up is painless. Simply attach the legs (two per speaker) with a Phillips screwdriver and you're off to the races. Should you find the treble a bit too harsh, the angle of the speaker can be adjusted by simply flipping a small metal bracket on the back of each leg. This is not a traditional "box" speaker; it's a one-and-a-quarter-inch thick quasi-ribbon with a planar-magnetic driver. This type of design provides a broad sound field, which emanates from the entire surface area of the speaker (both front and rear). As a result, speaker placement is extremely important. Basically, you want a few feet of space between the back wall and the speaker. By experimenting with the placement, you'll find substantial differences in the sound.
Competition and Comparison
To compare the Magnepan MMGs against their competition, please read our reviews of the Klipsch Synergy F-1 floorstanding loudspeakers and the Aperion Audio 4T tower speaker. There is also a great deal of information available in our All Things Floorstanding Speakers section. Discuss floorstanding speakers at hometheaterequipment.com. Find your nearest Magnepan dealer.
Read Page 2 for The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion
• If properly driven and positioned, you'll find a soundstage that is
absolutely stunning, putting you right there in the concert hall.
• The treble is as open and airy as you're going to find in any speaker, especially in this price range.
• Magnepan MMGs speakers are not necessarily known for their deep bass response,
although I found the bass to be more than adequate on just about any
type of music, sans some of the heavy-hitting urban tracks in my
• The MMGs need to be driven at four ohms and, due to their design, require a decent amount of good, clean power. I'm using an NAD C325BEE
two-channel integrated amplifier (160 watts at four ohms) and it's a
great match. You don't have to break the bank, but you do need a proper
amp. Most receivers can't cut it on Magnepans.
• For the best performance, you need to get the Magnepans away from walls, so make sure this is feasible in your room.
• For any level of home theater application, you will need a subwoofer,
which other speakers at the MMGs' price point might not fully require.
Personally, I think everyone needs a sub, even for a music system, but
with MMGs, you really need one.
As I write this review, I'm listening to older Peter Gabriel
on my Magnepans and they're putting a smile on my face. These speakers
make listening to music fun and engaging, just as it should be. The
economy is a mess, so why spend a fortune on speakers when you can pick
up a pair of Magnepan MMGs for well under a grand? With this type of
sound quality and price point, not to mention a 60-day trial period,
it's sort of a no-brainer. I try not to be overly effusive in my
reviews, lest I convince someone that I have an ulterior motive. In this
case, I'm throwing that out the window in order to make it clear that
these speakers have no audiophile rival at this price point.