Magnepan 1.7i VS B&W CM10s2


Active Member
Hello People,
About a year a go I got my CM10s which I quite like - at the time when I was auditioning speakers I can across the Maggie 1.7 and was blown away, but a quick check with the wife said - no way these are going in to the living room.. So I went with B&W and was very happy.

A few days ago, I showed her a picture of the Maggies again and she said she didn't realize how thin they are and that she could live with them...

So now I'm tempted to switch. Both speakers cost about the same and I think I could find an ex demo pair and do a trade in at almost no cost for me.

I know they need lots of current (4 ohms) - luckily my amp is the ATI 6002 - 450W into 4 ohm, so I hope I'll be good.

I also have a REL s/3 sub, which if I can integrate properly could take care of the bottom end.

Can I ask for your thoughts? Will this be a step up? Why aren't 'panel speakers' more popular?
Thank you!


Distinguished Member
The Magnepans should yield a clear improvement in sound quality, so in that respect you stand to gain.

Be warned though that they have limited bass, especially at volume, and that a subwoofer such as your REL S3 will be necessary (I was testing with a Velodyne DD-15).

Your amplification is adequate . What's important is not so much massive power delivery as tolerance to low impedances (the 1.7's drop to 2 Ohms, still higher than my ML Spires). See Magnepan Magneplanar MG 1.7 Flat Panel Quasi-Ribbon Full Range Speakers - for measurements.

Full range panel speakers are not popular because they need to be large to cover lower frequencies, they are dipolar and therefore need adequate rear clearance (I'd suggest 1m) and they're expensive, as they're not popular. The most successful implementation is the electrostatic, and they require access to mains power to charge the panel. Planar tweeters (ribbon tweeters) are fairly common.

As mentioned the need for adequate rear clearance means that you cannot wall mount them - they must stand free in your room or they will sound poor. If your wife's approval is based on assuming they're on the wall, you are misleading her.

In the end, I went with Martin Logan ESL hybrids, and I would suggest comparative auditioning between Magnepans, Martin Logan hybrid ESLs and Quad ESLs. The Magnepans (I was considering the 20.1) were rejected because there was no way I could live with them and I reckon my wife would have put them out for the garbage collection - and she was used to living with the Quad ESL-63's we owned for nearly 20 years. The Quads have the advantage of being pure panel speakers with a better bass response and easier impedance load than the quasi-ribbon Magnepans, but are rather more expensive. The ML's have the the best looks (the transparent panels help) and the worst impedance characteristics.

After 25 years with ESL's. I would never buy a non-panel speaker again. The audio advantages are just too significant, but you do have to live around the constraints they impose.


Active Member
Thanks guys,
I got the ML electromotions in the end (from the fine chaps at Nintronics).

They are absolutely brilliant - It'll be very difficult for me to go back to 'box speakers'! they do require lots of space - though I managed to place them about 1.5m away from the back wall and they sound great. They also need a beefy amp - but the ATI managed brilliantly.

There's so much more detail, speed and 'air' - it should be illegal ;-)

They integrated perfectly with the S/3 so I'm very happy.

Even-though they are physically bigger than the CM10s they looks lighter because of the curved and transparent panel.

Highly recommended if you can accommodate them.


Active Member
In person the Magnepans looked too ungainly and I felt didn't quite have the talent of the ML's - though YMMV of course.

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