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  1. #1

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    Default Bridging the Gap: SDA to Magnepan

    I have two pairs of speakers in my two-channel system that I alternate between regularly. Here's what they are and why I like them:

    Polk Audio SDA-1C's: warmth, liquid midrange, enveloping soundstage, powerful but natural bass.

    Magnepan 1.6QR's: detail, speed, delicacy, imaging, realism, transparency.

    I leave the SDA's setup in their perfect positions at all times and move the maggies into or out of position when I am or am not using them. This is pretty easy because the maggies are so light plus their stands slide nicely on the linoleum floor, and I have their positions marked on the floor with duct tape. See pics. The longest I go without switching is a week or two; other times I switch 5 times in one day.

    I absolutely prefer the SDA's on some recordings, and I absolutely prefer the Maggies on other recordings.

    I want a loudspeaker that can be the best of both worlds and do what I like about both the maggies and SDA's, but better.

    *** I am not looking for a compromise or a middle ground. I am looking for a loudspeaker that does what the maggies and SDA's do at least AS WELL, if not BETTER. Otherwise, I'll just keeping switching between these two; I don't mind.***

    I'm only looking to spend between 1k-2k on the used market, so I don't know if what I'm looking for exists in that range. I could get a pair of 1.7's, but I'm too early in my audio career to get pinned into a brand; I want to try new designs.

    I'm thinking Theil. 3.6 or 2.3.

    Other suggestions?

    Thanks for the help, dudes!
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    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  2. #2

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    Default

    Good luck, because I doubt one exists that isn't some level of compromise. I'll wait for PFB to comment about Martin Logan's being it, but they aren't, not really close. I have the same dilema, as I have a couple friends that have modded Maggies. (Ricardo, DKG999, AL212) and I love them on some material and not so much on others compared to my 1C's.

    I still contend for myself and my listening habits SDA's are a great compromise and great all around performer, they don't one or two things really well, but they do a lot of things well enough to strike a nice balance that is easy to live with with all types of gear, rooms and recordings. Mine are modded and it does take them to the next level.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  3. #3

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    TL your 2Bs, then report back;)

  4. #4

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    -Get rid of the MDF frame on those maggies and make a wood frame.
    -Get some room treatments

    You won't want to listen to the 1C's anymore (Hi Brock..)
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by sda2mike View Post
    TL your 2Bs, then report back;)
    You totally stole my thunder on this one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Smith View Post
    WOW!

    That's like working your way through Katie Perry in order to get to Rosie O'Donnell.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
    -...-Get some room treatments

    You won't want to listen to the 1C's anymore (Hi Brock..)
    Room treatments are definitely coming. It is a VERY lively room. The ceilings are only about 7.5 feet, and I think they are the worst contributor for the maggies. I put down a couple rugs that helped, but the walls and ceiling need help big time.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  7. #7

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    Maybe go 2.1 and add a sub???

  8. #8

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    You have the best of both worlds why mess with it??

    Mod your 1C's!!!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    ... Mine are modded and it does take them to the next level.

    H9
    hmm. It might be worth it to hot rod'em fully before moving on...

    I've got 194's, but the crossovers are stock.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Maybe go 2.1 and add a sub???
    I run a Mirage BPS-150i with the Maggies. It does great. Very quick and accurate, as it uses 2 opposite firing 8's, and it's flat to about 22hz.

    Maybe I could get more bang for my buck if I went with monitors and kept the sub?
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by sda2mike View Post
    TL your 2Bs, then report back;)
    hmm. TL'd 2B's vs modded 1C's. Tough call...
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  12. #12

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    I wonder if the Maggie 3.6 QR would get the job done for you. They dig quite a bit deeper and have a ribbon tweet in them that is supposed to be superb.
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    I wonder if the Maggie 3.6 QR would get the job done for you. They dig quite a bit deeper and have a ribbon tweet in them that is supposed to be superb.
    I've thought about that.

    The true ribbon in the the 3.6's is supposed to be where it's at, and they difinitely dig deeper than the 1.6's. hmm.

    It's actually a good time to buy them now that the 3.7's are out, but 3k is still a lot of money... eff it, maybe I'll just save up and delay the purchase; I'd probably be happier in the long run.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  14. #14

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    I really enjoyed the Thiels I have but didn't have the bass as others. I liked them and they are very coherent compared to other things. I would think the 2.3s would be even better but haven't had a chance to hear them (would like to at some point).
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
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  15. #15

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    I would take SDA2BTL's all day over 1C's. But that is just my opinion.

    How big is the room?

    Can you set the Maggies on a longer wall? They like room to breath.
    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Smith View Post
    WOW!

    That's like working your way through Katie Perry in order to get to Rosie O'Donnell.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Good luck, because I doubt one exists that isn't some level of compromise. I'll wait for PFB to comment about Martin Logan's being it, but they aren't, not really close.

    H9
    Martin Logan's are all that and a nickel bag of chips :tongue:

    If you go with the big Theils you better budget for a bigger amp dude.
    Huh? Wot?? Dig it :tongue:

    Where can I get me some??

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by stuwee View Post
    ...If you go with the big Theils you better budget for a bigger amp dude.
    Really?

    My 2200ii is rated at 250W into 8 ohms, 385W into 4 ohms, per channel, and it's fairly high current at 50 amperes continuous, 90 peak.

    What kind of power would you recommend?
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by stuwee View Post
    Martin Logan's are all that and a nickel bag of chips .

    Are there specific used models that show up regularly in the 1k-2k range that you would recommend?

    Aerius i?

    reQuest?
    Last edited by falconcry72; 08-05-2011 at 07:51 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe08867 View Post
    ...
    How big is the room?

    Can you set the Maggies on a longer wall? They like room to breath.
    The room is essentially 40 ft long, because it opens to other sections, but only 13 ft wide. 13 ft is a little shallow to set them up the other way.

    Right now they're 3 ft from the side walls and 5 ft from the front wall. Bringing them that far off the front wall made a HUGE difference from when they were only 2-3 ft off.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  20. #20

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    After Magnepan and other equally superb loudspeakers....SDA just isn't what it used to be. They will always be special to me which is why I'm holding onto my CRS+ and SRT. The perfect extremes of the entire brand....in two distinct models.

    There is one thing that Polk SDA's will always edge out almost every other speaker on the market, new or used. The fact you can pick any model....ANY model and have an excellent if not outstanding demo and experience. Other manufacturers should be so lucky.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
    -Get rid of the MDF frame on those maggies and make a wood frame.
    -Get some room treatments
    This guy is pretty smart, so I'd listen to him. I'm smarter though cause I had acoustic treatments before him. Make room treatments a priority.

    My second choice for speakers would be maggies with a sub. I already own my first choice and had SDA's.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  22. #22

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    Speaker listening is so subjective, but I will give my opinion. I have had SDA 1C's, and loved them. I think a good compromise may be Carver Amazings. I have heard them in an awesome system. They are also ribbon speakers, but with the bass that the Mangepan's are most likely missing. They may be the best of both worlds. They are huge, but it's an easy sacrifice. I would also throw into the ring, my speakers - the Sony SS-M9's. They are, by far, the most natural sounding, smooth, easy to listen to, balanced speakers I've heard. I don't have as much experience as many on here, but anyone who's heard my speakers has been wowed. If you find them on the used market, they go anywhere from 750 - 1500 dollars. I see them sometimes for upwards of 2500, but they can be had for less - but they are a rare find. If you do find them, make sure the tweeter, woofers, everything is intact, because it's very difficult to find replacement parts for the speakers. Any questions - don't hesitate to ask. I did write up a review of the speakers a while back, and a few others on here have them and I'm sure would be glad to talk about them.

    James
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    I want a loudspeaker that can be the best of both worlds and do what I like about both the maggies and SDA's, but better.
    There in lies the dilema for alot of people. You like x speaker but only on certain recordings, you get another set of speaks only to find out you only like it for a different set of music. I was in your shoes plenty of times. I wanted a speaker that could play any type of music and do it well enough to put a smile on my face no matter what I threw in the cdp. I found that speaker in the Legacy Focus 20/20, though someday I may hit up the newer HD model. Now, everyones mileage will vary on opinions of loudspeakers, there's just too many good speakers out there to get an ear on these days so don't limit yourself to SDA's or Maggies. You have to kiss alot of frogs to find your prince,so to speak. Other speakers you may want to give a whirl are the CS 2.3's, Vandy 5's, Salk HT3's, just to name a few that have stuck out in my memory. Montana also has my SQ nuts by the short hairs. Used, alot of these speakers can be had fairly reasonable but I feel any of them will take you to the next level, and thats not to say theirs another dozen or so speakers that would take you up a few notches too. Good luck on your journey.

  24. #24

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    My room is pretty similar at 14 x19. Spend $600 and get the Skiing Ninja crossovers for the Maggies, the difference is amazing. I always like the Maggie sound before, but the resolution improvement, etc. is worth every penny plus some. Of course, you could do the same for the SDA's, and experience the improvement as well.

    But definitely invest in some room treatments.
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    What about the Vandersteen model 2 signature.
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  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    hmm. TL'd 2B's vs modded 1C's. Tough call...
    The only thing I have to toss in is that in that size room, TL'd 2B's would shine.
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  27. #27

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    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. This can be a consuming hobby, and part of what I need to do is sit back and enjoy some tunes.

    I've narrowed it to two options:

    1) Room Treatments

    2) Magnepan 3.6's

    It makes the most sense to me to do the treatments first. Room acoustics is without a doubt the weakest link in my system, so I should bring that up to par with the rest of my system. Once the room is treated, I will be able to more accurately evaluate my current speakers and associated gear as well as any future gear.

    Now to go dig up some threads on budget, but quality, pre-made panels. I don't have time to make my own, and I'm going to need 7 panels and 2 bass traps without breaking the bank.

    Thanks again fellas!
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  28. #28

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    I'm a big fan of GIK. Some folks like RealTraps. A couple of my friends went with ATS. Here is a thread by Blake. He treated his room after a visit here. I pulled treatments out of the room while he was listening so he could hear the difference they made.

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...room+treatment


    http://www.gikacoustics.com/

    http://www.atsacoustics.com/

    http://www.realtraps.com/

    GIK gave me their recommendations based on pictures and dimensions of my room. They also offer a broad array of Guilford of Maine fabrics that allow the treatments to match any decor. Dear wife picked the fabric out cause I am partially color blind. I experimented with different acoustic panel placement for my dipole speakers and did some burst frequency tests to confirm results. (In my experience, long duration frequency sweeps tend to load up the room and skew the readings).

    I wouldn't rush to replace your 1.6's yet. I have a South wall setup similar to yours that has both speakers boxed in symmetrical to corners. Behind my listening position is open to the main level with the nearest wall 25 feet away. My South wall setup requires more acoustic treatment for bass loading than my West wall setup which has the right speaker open to the main level.


    EDIT: Wanted to add a link to Ricardo's room. IIRC the width is similar to your room.

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...p?userid=64116
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 08-07-2011 at 03:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    hmm. TL'd 2B's vs modded 1C's. Tough call...
    Not at all, 2BTL's hands down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Really?

    My 2200ii is rated at 250W into 8 ohms, 385W into 4 ohms, per channel, and it's fairly high current at 50 amperes continuous, 90 peak.

    What kind of power would you recommend?
    I remember one of the Stereophile guys testing a monster McIntosh pair of mono's rated at 1000w, and they said they got the clip lights lit with the big Theils. Or maybe it was a Boulder amp, anyway they like the juice.
    Huh? Wot?? Dig it :tongue:

    Where can I get me some??

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