After a 12-year history, reaching a near-iconic standing, the Magneplanar 1.6 has been improved with value engineering. No costly tweaks of questionable sonic value. Magnepan is all about better ideas which give verifiable, high-value sonic improvements. All members of a listening panel chose the 1.7 or the 1.6 in a blind listening test.
The 1.7 is a departure from Magnepan’s 41-year history of using planar magnetic drivers for the bass or lower midrange. The use of quasi ribbon technology down into the lower midrange and bass will provide a new level of coherence.
What is a quasi-ribbon? The quasi ribbon driver is a deviation from the true ribbon design. A very thin film backing is used to hold the delicate ribbons in place. One of the advantages of quasi ribbon drivers is extremely wide frequency band width and high power handling. The result in the 1.7 is low distortion and seamless ribbon clarity–a sound so clear and effortless that it has changed the thinking of thousands of audiophiles about planar speakers.
The 1.7 also boasts a quasi ribbon super tweeter with a wider “sweet spot,” and one step closer to the delicacy and detail of Magnepan’s true ribbon design.
The 1.7 was subjected to “blind testing” by a panel of audiophiles and casual listeners. In addition to better sound, there is one more important improvement that you can test for yourself. If you have the opportunity to hear the 1.7s at your local dealer, try this experiment—Ask the dealer to place the speakers with the tweeters on the outside. Note how the imaging remains remarkably stable when seated far off-axis. With some speakers it is necessary to sit in the “sweet spot” for good imaging. With the tweeters on the outside, the 1.7 has the widest sweet spot of any of any previous Maggies. If you prefer to sit only in the “sweet spot”, try the tweeters on the inside (Be sure the speakers are toed-in).
Then, the 1.7 became the 1.7i
In past model improvements, driver changes and factory retooling were extensive. It is rare when improvements can be made that are audible in a blind test and do not require a major investment. So, in view of this good fortune, we chose to pass on these small improvements rather than save them for a 1.8.
Will you be able to hear the difference between the 1.7 and 1.7i? Yes, in a careful A-B test, but we don’t do sales hype. No, it is not a 1.8. It is simply “trickle-down” ideas that were incorporated in the 3.7i