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David Harper
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maggie ribbon superior to dynamic speakers?

Are planar ribbon speakers superior in sound quality to dynamic drivers in wooden boxes? I've been an audiophile for 40 years and I think they are. I have not heard the most expensive dynamic speakers (Magico) so if price determines sound quality then I would be wrong. But I have the feeling that price has nothing to do with sound quality.I know I'm in the minority here. And I know that stereophile has built their readership on the idea that SQ is directly related to price. So has anyone here compared the maggie LRS to the (much more expensive) "high end" dynamic speakers?

David Harper
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maggies

I've been listening to the maggie LRS speakers for a few months now and the main thing I've noticed is how sh!tty is the sound quality of a lot of source material. Compression, low rez mp3,poor mastering, whatever. This never bothered me(so much) with my conventional dynamic wooden box speakers. I realize this is due to the superior resolution of the maggies but it's kind a drag that much music I was able to enjoy before is now (almost) unlistenable. For sure sound quality is not a priority with the recording industry. But I still have my old dynamic speakers so if I want to rock out it's pretty easy to swap out the maggies for them.Now if only I could find the best source material.I know Jazz and classical is better sq than pop and rock, but I've never been able to get into them.

Old Audiophile
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Trust Your Ears

Since I have nothing better to do for a couple hours, allow me to share a story that exemplifies a point about speaker selection.

About 3 decades ago, maybe more, I walked into a high-end stereo shop to check out what they had. Just window shopping; didn't bother anyone for demos or anything like that. I was the only customer in the shop the entire time I was there. After checking out the equipment on hand, I decided to be on my way. Upon leaving, the shop owner approached me and we had a brief and very enthusiastic conversation about stereo components; enough to convince him I knew just a little something about audiophile toys. Neither one of us had anything better to do; so, he asked if I'd like to hear the best and most expensive speakers in the shop. He made it obvious he thought these were the best speakers on the planet at the time. I can't honestly recall what they were. It was too long ago and their sound did not impress me enough to remember that. However, they were ribbon speakers at least 6 feet tall, maybe a bit taller. (To this day, I can remember models & names of speakers and other components I heard 3 and 4 decades ago because they blew my socks off at the time.) I want to say these 6 foot ribbon speakers might have been Bang & Olufsen but I can't remember if B & O ever made anything like that. So, they may very well have been early Maggies. Can't remember. I took a seat and listened to these speakers through what, I'm sure, was the best power equipment and turntable in the shop. After 15 or 20 minutes, or so, the owner asked what I thought. With my most sincere smile, I graciously said "nice". I did not say "very nice" or anything more dramatic than "nice". I tend to be painfully honest that way. Privately, to myself, I was really thinking "no way I would pay between one and two thousand bucks for these (very big bucks in those days) when there are so many other much better sounding speakers on the market?" Despite my most sincere and earnest efforts to be neutral, uncritical and respectful, the owner clearly saw through this and actually worked himself up into a bona fide, quite discernible state of anger because I wasn't agreeing with him and jumping up & down with glee to proclaim that these were the best speakers I'd ever heard in my life! I explained, apologetically, that speakers, more than any other component, are a very personal choice and that different people prefer different sound characteristics. This is something I would have thought a fellow audiophile would have known full well, especially a high-end stereo shop owner.

Anyway, this is the point. The best speakers will be the speakers that sound best to you and your ears. After all, you have to live with them. Performance specifications, alone, don't even come close to telling half the story. You really have to or should go out and listen. Some people believe ribbon speakers are the best thing to come along since sliced bread and prophylactics and that is OK! Some believe there are much better sounding speakers out there and that is OK, too! Different strokes for different folks. Vive la difference!

David Harper
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maggies

I had exactly the same experience 40 years ago. A guy demoed maggies and I commented "where's the bass" and" why don't they have any volume?". The guy got angry. I was completely unimpressed. The new LRS speaker really has to be auditioned in your house for a couple weeks.Also they require a good amp. It's not the kind of speaker that blows you away.It's main attribute is pure sound quality, not dynamics or thumping bass or room shaking volume. They just don't do that. That's no doubt what both of us were listening for back in the day.But now that I've gotten used to the maggies all I hear when I listen to conventional speakers is a box.I set up a pair of well reviewed B&W speakers( I think they were 685) and I couldn't stand them.They sounded like a box and the high frequencies sounded distorted.Also listened to some expensive floor standers.Same thing. So I took them back to Best Buy.You have to fall in love with Maggies over time.Also they need a good powered sub.

Old Audiophile
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DUDE! REALLY?

Dude, there is, indeed, doubt that both of us were listening for speakers that would blow us away with dynamics or room thumping bass or head banging, ear bleeding sound pressure levels back in the day. Some of us were into Folk music, acoustic music, classical, Opera, Jazz, Big Band, Blues, Country & Western, Rock & Roll and everything in between. Some of us, large disparate groups of us, cared about well-engineered, produced and exquisitely recorded music, music that sounded as close to the actual live performance as possible; sound(s) we've chased since Thomas Edison, Eldridge Johnson and Emile Berliner; the holy grail audiophiles have pursued to this day. Here's a little something to cogitate. In his 11-8-2013 review of the PSB Imagine T2 speaker Robert Deutsch quotes the founder of Stereophile thusly: "In his book The Audio Glossary (extracted here), Stereophile founder J. Gordon Holt defines accuracy as "(1) The degree to which the output signal from an active device is perceived as replicating all the sonic qualities of its input signal, and (2) The ultimate objective of an ideal system, which everyone claims to want but nobody likes when he hears it." Gordon's definition of euphonic is "Pleasing to the ear. In audio, 'euphonic' has a connotation of exaggerated sweetness rather than literal accuracy."

Depending upon what genre(s) of music floats your boat, some does have prominent bass, dynamics, tone bursts, crescendos and all kinds of good soul-satisfying stuff! No speaker does it all and, of course, every speaker has to be auditioned in your listening room. Room acoustics have everything to do with how they perform. Sounds like you're definitely sold on the new LRS and that's fantastic. I'll have to make a point of listening to them next time I go audio cruising. They just may be the best at their price point, for some folks. However, when you say one would need to live with a speaker for 2 weeks to appreciate it (assuming this is not part of the break-in period), I have to put the brakes on there. After a while, many people do become accustomed to the speakers they have and the sound they've been living with. Also, human auditory ability is impacted by a whole host of factors, not the least of which is the normal aging process. Most of us in our 60s likely can no longer hear anything above 14 or 15 kHz clearly. After speakers are properly broken-in, I don't need 2 weeks to convince myself I've made the right choice. I can and have usually made pretty good educated guesses during critical listening sessions in good showrooms. After the appropriate break-in time, a few days under my roof is all I need. The normal 30 day return policy any good stereo purveyor allows works just fine for this. So, bottom line? If a speaker doesn't catch my ears in an appropriate showroom set-up, they ain't coming home with me.

David Harper
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Dude, really???

I don't think I said "head-banging ear-bleeding"sound pressure levels. WTF are you talking about? Do you have any idea? And no, you cannot judge a speaker very well from listening in an audio showroom.Especially not a speaker like the LRS.
One more time; only with extensive listening at home can a speaker like magnepan be judged. That's why they have a thirty day trial period for magnepan speakers.And I didn't "convince myself" of anything. Re-read my post and see if you can perceive it's actual literal meaning this time.
Also I'm perplexed as to what the relevance or meaning was of your tutorial about what J Gordon Holt wrote.

Old Audiophile
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My Sincere Apologies!

David, it's clear I've touched a raw nerve somehow. Really, I intended nothing of the sort, meant no disrespect and, certainly, meant no offense. Honest! However, since you were/are clearly offended, I offer my most sincere and heartfelt apologies for my grievous failure in attempting to interject some element of humor into this conversation and just as sincerely wish you continued audiophile bliss with your beloved Magnaplanar LRS speakers. May the music be with you always!

David Harper
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speakers

Old audiophile,

I'm a cranky old guy. My apologies.

steve59
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Hello from Chicago

Hi Dave, Are you asking if you're the smartest guy in the room because you enjoy affordable? Yes, Yes you are...unless you're doubting yourself then you're just another audiophile.

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