Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 • Hot Product

What's new about Magnepan's New MMG ($595/pair) is its use of trickle-down enhancements from the company's 1.7, 3.7 and 20.7, including a new crossover topology. What's old about the New MMG are the speaker's size and planar-magnetic panels, which haven't changed since the MMG was introduced in 1995.

But at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Magnepan was actually promoting something other than the system it had set up, which featured a pair of New MMGs, a DWM woofer ($795) and CC5 center-channel speaker ($1100). The original MMG was conceived as Magnepan's "appetizer speaker," as Wendell Diller of Magnepan calls it. From the beginning, it was sold direct from Magnepan or through dealers at the same price and with the same money-back terms. This was done in order to keep the MMG's price low, the idea being to get it into consumers' systems, after which they would want to investigate -- and buy -- larger and higher-performing Magnepan speakers. Now, consumers can buy the New MMG with the DWM direct from Magnepan or through its dealers -- and get to use their purchase with the security of knowing they can return it if it doesn't meet expectations. "Will this motivate people to try other Magnepan speakers, especially in those markets where there is no dealer?" Wendell Diller asked rhetorically. Good question.

Of course, all of this is moot if the product doesn't deliver. The New MMG/DWM system (the CC5 was used purely to widen the sweet spot, so more people could listen in the room and not hear just one channel) provided Magnepan sound through and through, giving a view of the music that belied the speakers' price, especially when compared to some of the megabuck behemoths heard elsewhere around the show. The addition of the DWM extended the New MMGs' useful range down to nearly 30Hz, we would guess -- far below where any minimonitor would reach, let alone one that costs $1390 per pair.

A new speaker system sold in an innovative way that keeps its price down should be lauded as the find of the show. And that's just what the New MMG was, even though it's from an industry old-timer like Magnepan.

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