On Friday, February 7th, Wendell Diller and his wife, Galina, visited our store in Champaign to demonstrate the newest prototype loudspeaker system from Magnepan. This new system is a departure for Magnepan in that it employs a di-pole (open baffle) bass system utilizing eight powerful, long-throw 6.5" dynamic drivers per channel in two small footprint structures that are only 36" tall. In other words, they are very compact for woofers dedicated to the purpose of reproducing impactful, yet tuneful, low bass. They are respectively paired with narrow (12"wide) mid-range/tweeter panels that stand six feet tall. Through the implementation of powerful DSP (digital signal processing), Magnepan has been able to properly "blend" the woofers to the incredibly fast ribbon panels - all in an effort to mimic the effect created by the state-of-the-art flagship 30.7 system which we previewed here last year. Unlike the 30.7, the "Condo" system doesn't require a large space. In fact, it's designed to work in small to medium sized rooms. Wendell surprised us by insisting that he set up in our "Maggie Theater" room which is 18' long by 13.5" wide by 8" high. When we reviewed the 30.7 last year, we used our reference room - 26' by 17' by 9' - and the 30.7 system still visually overwhelmed the space. The sound, though, was incredible!
So, how does the "Condo" system compare to the venerable 30.7?
The most challenging aspect of this effort was getting the blend right in the lower midrange to the upper and mid bass. This challenge has proven futile for some of the most respected manufacturers in our industry. I won't name names, but most of you know what products I'm referring to. Well, trust me, when you hear the new Maggie "hybrid", you won't hear where the bass modules blend with the ribbons because the "blend" is truly seamless! And what slam! Listening to Kodo Drums was way beyond expectations. I could feel it in my gut, and the timbral richness was like what I heard with the 30.7s. Like the 30.7s, the "Condos" are time and phase coherent, so you'll hear the fundamentals along with the harmonics in time! Having been part of Dunlavy Audio Labs at its inception, I understand the challenge of making time and phase coherent loudspeakers, so Magnepan's efforts, beginning with the MG-1.7, has been a revelation - elevating Magnepan to new levels. The Condo system, despite being a hybrid, carries on (with the aid of DSP) this ability, allowing the listener to overcome placement issues - all while maintaining linear phase! This rare quality, coupled with its startling speed, clarity and frequency linearity make the new Maggie a genuine State-Of-The-Art contender. Plus, one doesn't have to have a big room to get the effect of sitting in a large concert hall. A truly amazing speaker! Let's hope we see the "30.7 for Condos" in production form sooner than later. It really is a revelation.