Magnepan MG 20.1 Loudspeakers
Description: Full-range planar loudspeaker using a ribbon tweeter and “quasi-ribbon” mid- and bass drivers.
Frequency response: 25Hz–40kHz ±3dB.
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms.
Sensitivity: 85dB/W/m at 500Hz.
Recommended minimum power: 100W RMS (8 ohms rated).
Recommended maximum power: 300W RMS (8 ohms rated).
Crossover system: single-amp operation with optional XO-20 passive network; bi-amp operation with user-supplied electronic crossover.
Dimensions: 79″ H by 29″ W by 21/2″ D. Shipping weight: 250 lb/pair.
Serial numbers of units reviewed: 0163-1 & 2.
Price: $12500/pair, $695/pair for XO-20 passive crossover (1994); no longer available (2019). Approximate number of dealers: 23.
Manufacturer: Magnepan, 1645 Ninth Street, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. Tel: (612) 426-1645. Fax: (612) 426-0441. Web: magnepan.com.
There’s not much that’s missing, but as good overall as the 20.1s are they are not perfect. As noted, they will play very loud but won’t blow down the walls without unduly stressing the drivers. While the bass is fast, full, and well defined without boxy colorations, it is not the equal of the largest dynamic driver systems in terms of mid-bass slam or subterranean extension. Instruments and voices have great body but I have heard some cone-and-dome speaker systems that infuse the instruments with a slightly greater sense of reach-out-and-touch- it palpability. Similarly, while the 20.1s are wonderfully transparent and pure, they may be edged out in these regards by the best electrostatic models.
Likewise, imaging is far more than satisfactory (and more precise than what I actually hear live), but may not completely satisfy the needle-in-a-haystack crowd. Finally, percussive sounds like sharply struck piano, rim shots, and woodblocks are ever-so-slightly softer than the real thing.
But picking nits would miss the point of the 20.1. Simply stated, its overall balance of musical virtues is almost peerless. Factor in a relatively affordable price, which is far less than the competition (such as the largest offerings from Wilson, DALI, Rockport, Dynaudio, and Avantgarde), and it must be considered one of audio’s great bargains.