It might shock some people to learn that the Magnepan LRS are my daily drivers. Yes — these $650 loudspeakers are my benchmark for affordable high-end loudspeakers and it’s not something that is going to change anytime soon. I’m almost two years into my journey with these exceptional loudspeakers and while I think I have them mostly figured out, there are some areas where they can be improved.
I do drive them with two amplifiers that are slightly out of whack considering the price differential, but the sound quality makes me listen well into the early hours. The Cambridge Audio Edge A and Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 sound so good with these speakers, but I can understand why some would take issue with me using a $6,000 amplifier with $650 speakers. I purchased one before the other thinking I was going to end up with a very different pair of loudspeakers — but things just worked out this way.
I do plan on trying the new NAD M23 with the Maggies but that will also require a preamplifier and DAC; something both the Edge A and Ragnarok 2 offer.
If you’ve ever wondered what all of the high-end loudspeaker fuss is all about, you owe it to yourself to audition a pair of Magnepan LRS speakers. Or any other loudspeaker from the Minnesota-based manufacturer. Magnepan is rapidly approaching 50 years in the game and that makes them one of the oldest and most successful loudspeaker companies in the world.
I’ve vacillated back and forth between Magnepan and MartinLogan for almost 30 years, but the LRS have become my daily driver. Did I mention that they are only $650? If I have one complaint (and it’s honestly the only one) with the LRS it is 100% the base and feet (I’m being kind calling them that). Enter Magna Risers.
The LRS are planar loudspeakers; sound is reproduced out of both the front and rear of the enclosure. Magneplanars don’t suffer from the “boxy” sound that plagues traditional loudspeakers because they don’t have a box. There is no cabinet.
The panel is framed on either side with a very thin wood border but the absence of a cabinet does something very special with music.
Transparency. Clarity. An almost see-through quality with music that will blow your mind if the speakers are setup properly and the amp can deliver enough current.
Power and current are not the same thing. Stick with a class AB amplifier than can double its output into 4 ohms and you should be fine.
NAD, Schiit Audio, Emotiva, Audio Research, Bryston, and Pass Labs all work exceptionally well with Maggies.
Back to the feet. Brutal. I understand trying to keep the manufacturing costs down but a major negative for such an incredible loudspeaker.
There have been 3rd party risers/feet and stands available for all of the Magnepan models for many years; they provide better stability, tighten up the bass, and improve the overall resolution of the loudspeaker.
Maggies are not bass monsters so anything that can tighten up the bass and bolster its impact is a win.
The LRS have a degree of tilt with the stock feet and they certainly benefit from being completely perpendicular to the floor. Imaging and clarity improve.
One of the keys to getting great sound out of the LRS is proper setup; the inner portion of the panel need to be further from your ears than the outside edge. In my particular room, the bass ribbon is 2-inches closer to my listening position than the tweeter portion.
You also need to position any pair of Maggies 3 feet (at a minimum) from the wall behind them.
All of this requires a better pair of stands. Both in terms of setup (you can slide these back closer to the wall when not listening) and getting the most out of these speakers.
$650 speakers that sound more like $2,000 speakers and I may be insulting the LRS in that regard.
One of the things that I love about the Magnepan community is that owners share their experiences with amplifiers and accessories and it was through them that I was introduced to the folks at Magna Risers who manufacture these amazing stands.
I’m pulling out the wallet and ordering a pair without any previous demonstration because I’ve heard from enough Maggie owners that they work really well.
Each Magna Risers stand uses the existing mounting holes on the back of every Magnepan model to make installation easy.
The stands were designed to maximize the sonic performance while also allowing the speakers to be easily moved by not adding excessive weight. The LRS are very slim panels but they’re anything but lightweight.
The Magna Risers are constructed from high quality metals that are nearly indestructible and the stands are finished in an attractive high-gloss commercial powder coat to provide a durable finish.
The waiting list for the various stands is pretty long but we’re getting in line and hope to have a review soon.
For more information: magnarisers.com
Related reading: Magnepan LRS: Audiophile System Builder