Planar Magnetic Loudspeaker Aficionados!


#1

With the IRS system in Music Room 1, is there any planar magnetic speaker fans out there. I fell in love with the detail and speed of the planar magnetic drivers. Here is my introduction to the planar magnetic speaker, it was an upgrade from the Paradigm Bipolar series. I purchased a set of Wisdom Audio M-50 speakers and ran them bi-amped with Bryston PP120 monoblock amps. Awhile later, I got bit by the upgrade bug and graduated to the Wisdom Audio Adrenaline Rush with Edge Electronics G8+ amps. Since then, a wife and 2 kids later, I downsized and am still listening to planar magnetic speakers with a pair of Wisdom Audio NS27 for my main system and BG Radia Z-1 speakers powered by a PS Audio Sprout for the bedroom.
With the increased cost of neodymium magnets and BG out of the market, there are less to choose from. Any similar stories or better ones. Looking forward to hearing your stories and thoughts.


#2

I owned a pair of Magnepan 2.5R back in 1986 (?) and was totally taken in. Magnepans need power… I then moved up to a Bryston 4B… was in heaven. Then I purchased two VTL 300 Deluxe Tube amps… over the moon.

So then I moved away from Magnepans and purchased a pair of Martin Logan Quest Z… I was traveling heavily back then and listened to them in a few shops… they used transistors to power these things… their load was punishing. I didn’t realize they would sound poorly with my VTLs… they sounded glassy. So… new amps or new speakers? I ditched the Martin Logans and not the amps because I thought the VTLs were fabulous and there was something about the Magnepans… so I went all out and Purchased the big Magnepan 20. Wow… weak in the bass… I friend brought over some big transistor amp and the bass was there… but the magic was gone… stuck with the VTLs.

I kept this setup for about ten years… then lifestyle changed, and I just wasn’t listening to them anymore… long story… one of VTL amps failed for the last time… those amps were flaky and a labor of love… I soldered in myself new caps, switches, posts… 16!!! 6550s each retube… sheesh… and they still popped fuses every so many months. Anyway, sold the VTLs, sold the Magnepans… Now I have a kickass system in my office of Focal speakers, PrimaLuna HP integrated (once tubes… always tubes)… and now the Junior DAC.

There is nothing like a big planar dipole. If you get the setup correctly and in a good room… well I never heard imaging like that… Nothing even close. Play Electric Lady Land… he was doing wacky crap with the stereo image I’ll bet few ever heard the Strat floating in the room. You better have horsepower, a big room, and plenty of patients with setup.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


#3

Upgraded Apogee Duetta Signatures here, driven by JC-1 monos from a DSD.
I had a pair of MG3s some years ago, but the Apogees are far more convincingly real-sounding.


#4

Of course I am a big fan of planar magnetics owning the beast of all planar magnetics, but I don’t know of anything in the works except our own loudspeakers and we’re still sorting through which drivers to use, though planars are high on our list.


#5

@Paul please check the Piega Line Source Speakers. They are basically a modern and better constructed version of your IRS system. The ribbons in this system are unbeatable. Nothing sound like Piegas. Even the Coax speaker line of Piega is absolutely mind boggling. Among the top 3-5 speakers in the world. For me the best. It’s the competition to beat.


#6

Yes, they look awesome. http://www.piega.ch/en/products/master/master-line-source

How much are those bad boys?


#7

Built my own totally open baffle multi-amped system centered around BG’s RD75 driver and I get lots of compliments on it. I was smitten by Magnepan in the late 70’s and have never looked back. Dipole planar magnetics are just the sound that I like.


#8

Piega… wow never heard of them… The woofer stack should address the Magnepan problem of rear wave cancellations. Interesting…

Peace
Bruce in Philly


#9

I did a quick search and found a reference to an Absolute Sound article/review which said $195K (in 2014)! I saw something else in Europe that said 97K Euro, but no indication if that included VAT. The box is made of aluminum and they weigh over 400 Kg (wasn’t clear is that was preside or total). I think you can safely say they are a Statement product!


#10

wglenn, care to share details of what you built there?


#11

Fell in love with Maggies at first listen. Had Martin Logan SL3 for a while, but I’m back to two systems with Maggies on both. For whatever reason, Maggies and the PS Audio Stellars work really well together. I’ve got an S300 on one system and am saving up for a pair of M700s for my other maggies.


#12

It always baffles me that Americans don’t know Piega. The marketing in the US seems to be on the low end :slight_smile:

I heard Piega 711 vs Focal Grande Utopia (latest version) vs B&W 800d3 vs Magico S5 last month. The Piega leaves them all in the dust with ease!!

More natural, less grainy, more detailled, better bass due to better box construction, much better spatiality L-R back to front because it’s a Coax.

I will compare them soon with big Quad ESLs but so far I have not heard speakers that can compete also not in the active speaker world as those often have the following problems: digital sounding amps, mediocre box constructions, bad damping, ported bass audible, unwanted AD/DA conversion in the speaker that renders good external DACs pointless…

I don’t know the Infinity IRS system but I can tell from the construction principle how speakers sound previous to having heard them and that’s why I know that they must be sublime. But I’m sure the Piegas are better. Better Ribbons, better enclosures, less colorations, lower distortion…

PSaudio & Piega are the two best HighEnd companies I know of, PSA for electronics & PIE for speakers.


#13

@lmf22-2 here re is the setup.


#14

Magnepan’s are funny speakers. Hook them up to a many channel AVR that is 8 ohms and done and they will sound mediocre. Insert a good 4 ohm amp and they come to life. Hook them up to a a couple PSA M700’s and coming to life gets very real.


#15

Thanks. Got lost, though, on the actual baffle design. (“Accordion”, “splayed”, “inner”, “outer”, and “waveguide” all confused me). Any better pictures? Or maybe a quick sketch or two?

Will Glenn wrote:


#16

Agree… My 2.5Rs were really weird in that they had an optimal volume setting to sound best… an adequate volume but not a rockin’ volume. My MG20s were more versatile… ribbon tweeter was really nice… bass was odd as is a common complaint with Magnepans in general. Imaging is scary wonderful. While I did not swap in/out alot of amps, the few I had showed this brand to be very sensitive to amp choice.

Tube amps, in my experience, can be flaky and in general, get a powerful one. Transistor, get one that put current into tough loads… look for the 8 ohm spec… say 100 watts, and then look at the 4 ohm spec… if it denotes 200 watts, then you have a current dumping amp that should handle about any speaker. In my experience.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


#17

Agree on the Piega Coax series, just mind blowing sound quality, and also super coherent sounding. @Paul you might also want to check out Apogee, the company was bought 18 years ago by an enthusiast (Graz), he has all the original documents of how the speakers were made, etc. Long story short, they are selling new models (same names as the old, ie Apogee Scintilla, Apogee Full Range) via installers, the speakers have all new and improved construction, CNC machined drivers, options for transformers to up the speaker impedance and active driving via an external active analog crossover (which can be a Pass Labs XVR1, for example). The speakers have none of the problems the originals had. Check out “truesoundworksaudio.com” and “apogeeacoustics.com” An Apogee Full Range as described above, including the pure Class A Pass Labs XVR1 external active analog crossover would run at 30k, more or less. While it is a “niche of a niche”, it may be wise to check them out as a benchmark (and also the Piega models) and comparison to the PS upcoming Audio speaker line, as Apogee is the holy grail of planar/ribbon speakers.


#18

I’ll send more photos next week. I have the luxury of making them any way that I see fit and don’t need to conform to any industry accepted norms. My goal was to get them as natural and “live” sounding as I could with other issues, like frequency response smoothness and “WAF” taking a back seat. Obviously, my wife is a saint. With the loft being what it is, the speakers are very far apart so in order to get good solid imaging out of them I tweaked the two baffles on the inside edges forward which made a very large improvement. I got this idea from another forum member whose line source speakers have this sort of forward slanting baffle on both sides of the driver (in a carefully designed complex curve, not just flat like mine). In the end, the two “outside” baffles splay back at 17 degrees. I arrived at this carefully derived angle using the, “Hmm, that looks nice” algorithm.:grin: Having both the inside and outside baffles angling forward was too glaring in the midrange (by ear and by analyzer), probably due to resonance created between the baffle surfaces like a poorly designed horn would.
Yes I am a nerd.


#19

Love my Maggie 20.7s. I moved from ML Odysseys - so I guess I just like ‘that sound’ and hey- I can’t spend 195k for a speaker. That would become - well I didn’t see god so they suck!! :slight_smile:


#20

:joy: