I've probably listened to and reviewed a thousand speakers, and truth be told, the majority of them never sound like live music. They sound like speakers.
The "problem" with box speakers is that you're always aware the sound is coming out of a box, but Magnepan speakers don't have a box. And they don't have dome tweeters or cone midrange or woofer drivers, either. Magnepan technology is radically different than what you find on box speakers, so the 1.7's sound "floats" free of the speakers themselves.
The new Magnepan 1.7 ($1,995 per pair) looks a lot like the model it replaces, the 1.6, which was regarded by many of the world's high-end audio critics, including me, as one of the greatest less-than-$2,000 speakers on the market. The 1.6 stayed in the line for more than 10 years, and I have every reason to believe the 1.7 will be a standard bearer for just as long. And speaking of value, Magnepan also offers a factory-direct $599 (per pair) panel speaker, the MMG. The technology isn't as advanced as the 1.7's, but it's miles ahead of any other $599 speaker I can think of.
The 1.7 panel is 64.5 inches high, 19.25 wide, and just 2 inches thick. Magnepan builds all of its speakers in White Bear Lake, Minn., and almost all the 1.7's parts that aren't fabricated in-house are sourced from U.S. suppliers. I reviewed the 1.7 for Tone Audio magazine, where you can read the complete review.
The 1.7's technology is unprecedented for Magnepan; the speaker is the company's first "full-range ribbon" design. It's also worth noting that what makes a well setup pair of 1.7s so special isn't just something that only dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles would notice; pretty much anyone with ears will immediately grasp what's going on. Their box-free sound is astonishing.… Read more