20.7 - 2014 “Product of the Year”
The Absolute Sound magazine, January 2015
“…fully competitive with some of the most expensive loudspeakers on the planet, for a fraction of the cost.”
It had a modest beginning with the 1.7. ("Okay, that worked. Now, let's try it with the 3.7.") New ideas don't necessarily have to start from the top and trickle down. In the case of the 20.7, it was "trickle-up".
Jonathon Valin, of the Absolute Sound magazine, is a demanding reviewer of super-expensive speakers. (For example, his critical CES coverage of $25,000 pair speakers (and up) in the April issue of The Absolute Sound.) The 20.7s got the same treatment. But, in the final analysis, he said in his blog on www.avguide.com--
"The listeners for whom the 20.7s are ideal for whom Magneplanars have always been ideal are absolute sound types. This Maggies magical ability to transport you to a different space and time and to there realistically recreate (with lifelike scope and size) the sound of actual acoustic instruments is extraordinary and, of course, the very definition of the absolute sound. Indeed, the 20.7s come as close to achieving Harry Pearsons goal of reproducing the sound of real instruments in real space as any speaker I've heard. I love 'em, but then I've loved and owned more Magneplanar speakers than those from any other manufacturer. If the sound absolute is what you crave (and you can live with the 20.7s sundry demands and peculiarities), Magnepans new flagships earn my highest and warmest recommendation. It almost goes without saying (since these are Maggies), but the 20.7s are also incredibly good values. Now hie thee forth and give them a long listen, and see if you don't fall in love with them too."
Perhaps you have owned Maggies for many years. Are you considering something even better? Typically, you are not rich--nor do you care about status. The music is what it is all about--and your older Maggies have served you well. Now you have the means to consider what you have always dreamed about.
But, is there value at these prices? We are like you. We are middle-income and frugal. The price of a 3.7 seems like A LOT of money. We can't relate to some of the equipment in Stereophile or The Absolute Sound. We would prefer to buy a new house for that kind of money. So, what is the justification for a speaker as expensive as the 20.7? Good question. You really need to hear them for yourself.
How do you make buying decisions? On the one hand, there is more information and reviews on high-end audio than ever before, but the opportunity to experience these products has become increasingly more difficult. Audio specialty dealers are becoming an "endangered species". Regional audio shows have increased in response to this dilemma.
So, what will you do? Even if you have a Maggie dealer within reasonable driving distance, most likely they do not have 20.7s on display. Dealers have limited space and many product lines to support. Custom and 2-channel all create demands that the stereo stores in the Old Days did not have to consider.
What can you learn by traveling to a regional audio show? Experienced reviewers know that disappointing sound in a hotel room does not necessarily mean that the products are substandard. However, good sound at a show is pretty good evidence that the products are superior. That is not an ideal way to make a buying decision. But, it is better than nothing.
The solution for some customers was to visit a Maggie dealer in another city where the 20.1s were on display (usually when they traveled on business or pleasure). How do we say this nicely? It didn't work for anyone, including Magnepan. The dealer knows that an out-of-town customer is not likely to buy the speakers from them. Consequently, we heard reports that the experience was disappointing. That is no way to make such an important decision.
Since you probably are not rich, purchasing 20.7s is a major decision. There is one place we can guarantee that you can hear the full potential of the speakers. Instead of traveling to a regional audio show or a dealer in another city that has 20.7s on display, visit us in Minnesota. We will play the same system that so impressed Jacob Heilbrunn. You can audition the 20.7s, have a tour of Magnepan and be home on the same day.
Please make arrangements with your nearest Maggie dealer. We do not have a room set up as a showroom. Our lab can double as a showroom if arrangements are made. Of course, your dealer would love to sell you a pair of 20.7s. For customers that are seriously considering 20.7s, helping you to visit Magnepan may be the best solution for everyone. For you, a trip to Magnepan is a question of time, money and hassle-factor. Your dealer and Magnepan have some solutions.
As Jacob Heilbrunn wrote in his review — "I defy you to find [a speaker] at up to five times the cost with the scale and realism of the 20.7." A day of your time to visit Magnepan could save you thousands of dollars.
The Florida customer with the system below wrote---
"Listening to the 20.7s in my room for the first time was a "wow" moment that raised goosebumps. There was no directionality to the wall of sound that these speakers create. But, more notable to me was that the immediacy that made the experience seem live."
The 20.7 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 20.7s 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 20.7 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).
Trim options- (Wood) Natural or black solid oak, dark cherry. (Aluminum) Silver or black. Prices vary depending upon trim and fabric combinations.
Fabric options- Off-white, black and dark grey. See trim and fabric options.
Rumors of a 20.7i — While we do not discuss the specifics of product changes, one of the features of the 3.7i and 1.7i is a "trickle down" from the 20.7.
|Description||3-Way /True Ribbon Tweeter - Quasi-Ribbon Midrange and Bass|
|Freq. Resp.||25-40 kHz|
|Rec Power||Read Frequently Asked Questions|
|Dimensions||29 x 79x 2.062|