THE Show Newport Beach 2015 • TABlog

by Marc Mickelson | June 2, 2015

Magnepan called its strategy for THE Show Newport Beach . . .

. . . an "Intramural competition. Magnepan vs. Magnepan." Using the .7 ($1400/pair) in two rooms, Magnepan let attendees decide which system sounded better and revealed different facets of the speakers -- a true experiment.

The differences between the systems were important to understanding the sonic result. In Magnepan's own room (top picture), Wendell Diller used three .7s in his preferred "three-channel stereo" configuration, so anyone sitting off axis could hear a credible center image. He also included a pair of the DWM woofers ($795 each), but they were just for show and not connected. The electronics here were all Bryston, except for a vintage Denon CD player used as a transport -- in other words, nothing esoteric. In the room of Woodland Hills dealer Shelley's Stereo (above), a stereo pair of .7s was used with a full complement of Simaudio Moon electronics and a pair of soon-to-be-available JL Audio subwoofers. Magnepan played CDs exclusively, while Shelley's Stereo played high-resolution files and vinyl.

There were distinct sonic differences between the two systems. In the larger of the two rooms, Magnepan delivered sound that was all about space, especially the panoramic right-to-left spread of the music, while Shelley's Stereo emphasized tonal color and impact. Which system sounded better? I preferred the Shelley's Stereo system, but if it were mine, I'd want a mixture of the two sounds, which the speakers can obviously deliver.

We in the press often have trouble uncovering angles to write about in show coverage in order to keep articles fresh and interesting. Thankfully, Magnepan seems unable to do things in the usual way and has once again created the angle for us. This was an intriguing and revealing experiment, and it created traffic for both rooms -- which was the point.

The Audio Beat • Nothing on this site may be reprinted or reused without permission.