In reply to:
I haven't heard the Maggies, yet, but I've always been interested in checking them out. How do they produce the bass? Are they 100% ribbon? I've heard that they sound great and are great at imaging, however, they tend to lack the punch on the lower end. Any thoughts?
There are two "classes" of Maggies: The quasi-ribbon and true-ribbon models. These terms refer only to the tweeter driver -- their mid-range and woofer drivers are all quasi-ribbons or the "planar-magnetic"
drivers. Basically, it is a large sheet of mylar to which a linear "voice coil" (made of a ultra-thin alminum sheet) is attached in a zig-zag fashion. The diaphragm then placed in close proximity to an array of long magnets, so that the electrical current through the "voice coil" will move the diaphragm back and fourth.
The tweeter driver in the top two Maggie models (the 20.1/R and 3.6/R) is a true-ribbon. It is a single narrow, very long and ultra-thin piece of aluminum placed two long magnet rods, which doubles as voice-coil and
diaphragm. Their lower models (the 1.6/QR and below) use a quasi-ribbon driver for tweeter.
Despite the fact that Maggies are dipole radiators just like the electrostats I mentioned above, I've never got the same "veiled" impression with Maggies. I personally believe that the key difference here is the very narrow physical shape of Maggie's tweeter -- because of the horizontally narrow shape of its tweeter, Maggie's treble doesn't suffer from the "beaming" effects inherent in all electrostats (due to the large full-range radiator area, the treble frequencies from electrostats exhibit a very narrow spatial dispersion). I believe that this characteristic is heard as "veiled" sound to my ears.
In fact, the true-ribbon Maggies are the
best speakers I've listened to so far, regardless of price. Their super-deep soundstage and realistic imaging brings me an ear-to-ear grin while listening. I can just "see" the orchestra or ensemble playing right in front of me. With regard to the bass, especially the 20.1/R produces a prodigious, authoritative bass that is uniquely natural, almost "silky" smooth yet accurate...
I am seriously considering a pair of Maggies right now. I will decide only after listening to the VMPS RM40, though.