Remember the song from Sade of the same title?

That's exactly the kind musical tone, un-explained feelings of lushness that Maggielurva's system imparted when I heard it.

I think regular readers would be sufficiently familar with Maggie's system details by now, and new curiosisties can look at the older post to get an idea.

The sonic presentation of the system starts off pretty nicely with some girl & guitar music, which shows off the contrast in the dynamics shading of the vocals. The voices had strong density, some would call it body, and always sounded real, by the way, did I tell you about the formation of the mouth, lips teeth and all(only if it's in the recording)?

As the music progressed, I slowly found my self admiring the total cohesiveness of the whole sonic picture, i.e the staging & imaging! The soundstage, as wide as the lounge permits, was completely filled in 3D, layered, no holes, just audible air(if it can be heard!) between singer and instruments. A little note about Maggie's soundstage, despite not sitting at the throne(a.k.a. the sweet spot), I was at one point, sat facing direct to the left speaker and yet the soundstage never fell apart, as it naturally does with most other systems, It held on from the same view as if you'd be in a less than ideal off center seat in a concert, the stage perception only slightly skewed. As this is my first true Magnaplanar experience, perhaps it's an advantage of the planar speaker design? Still I was not prepared for what was about to happen within the next half an hour or so. You can say that I slowly warmed up to it.

Maggie's system has a way of slowly creeping up on you, working it's magic slowly but surely, before I knew it, I was admiring the naturally rich tonal colours presented when playing string instruments with a wooden body like the violin, cello, double bass and piano. Only truly high end systems can replay such acoustic instrument's timbre with startling beauty. The piano notes attack, sustain and decay was convincingly long, but never was a note elongated for the sake of it.

Then how can a visit to Maggie's system be complete without a dose of Teddy Robbins Goes To The Movies? The CD had a feeling of an intense jam session and the system just lets all the energy flow convincingly. The snare drums, located on the back of the stage in track1 Dim Je Ping Ping, had skin texture, attack and post attack air. However, if there was a shortfall in Maggie's system, it was revealed at track6 Sai Hei. This track is filled with raw angst. If you're familar with the cantonese dialect, you'd understand the anger, frustration and disappointment, if you had to tell someone off "Sai Hei lah lei!" At the high point of the long electric guitar solo rift, with drums, rythm guitar and gutsy bass guitar notes blaring in back ground, the system just wouldn't completely let loose and let it rip. But then again, it's just a personal interpretation of the song and how it should sound like I've heard on some other systems, for better or worse.

Did I not mention about tonal balance of the system, in a well sorted out system like this, all I can say is you'd take it for granted, other wise how on earth would it be reproducing the beautiful tonal colours of the acoustic instruments mentioned earlier? But the high's deserves a special mention here, pristine, extended, unvarnished as in never shiny/showy, understated perhaps even with a hint elegance. I could hear on high hats each hit by the drum stick, distinct and with varying degree of strength use by the drummer. It's one of best that I've heard at any given system price tag, it's almost as good as a system I referenced for a long, long time, costing several times more. Mids are open, no edginess at the higher mids to outline imaging, just natural. The bass of the system is adquate but had a nice bounce to it. The start/stop of a double bass note followed by the next is a good example, handled very well. I think many are of the opinion that planars don't do bass well, but in a well set up one like Maggielurva's, it's the quality, rather than the quantity bass that matters. Most of us are perhaps just so used to the dynamic cone type bass, slightly bloated by an reinforced ported box. And I shall make clear that during the audition session, we(me and Wong) was never left with the impression of lack of bass. If the Wilson speaker owner didn't complain about the bass, then it's good sign.

System transparency is first rate, when listening to 2V1G's master copy, I heard vocal emotions, micro guitar playing details on track4 Tempting Hearts, that I've never felt/ heard before. Maybe it's the master copy, may be it's the system. I also note a chameleon like effect on the system that trully indicates it's superiority in this respect, it has that ability to convey a subtle stage, studio or hall effect in a given recording and a diferent venue on each recording apparent. It's as good as they come! That is unless Maggielurva executes his next up grade plans off course!

From what I can see, other than 1 pc of Shun Mook and some sponge pads to isolate overlaping cables, Maggielurva doesn't do much tweaks. I find that tweaks are pretty much band aid at best. As you move up in high end hi-fi, getting your system sounding balanced, the less tweaks you probably need to make it all come together. I think that pretty much sums up Maggielurva's system at present.

11 comments:

liq said...

well,in my experience listening to planar,you do need to sit on the sweet sport.,to get the sound..

so maggielurva must have done something here...

Anonymous said...

ML,
What's the black box in front?

dan said...

The moment i saw ML check list I knew we are in for a treat.Hey, how many malaysian audiophile talk about correct phase,yet it is arguably the single most important factor to get 3 d

Kimaf said...

I think MaaggieL has to tell us the secrect..Like what liq said my planar experience shows that the sweetspot tend to be small..

this is different.Is it the Stage 3 Gryphone playing the tricks here

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

panzer,
thanks for the insightful review ;-)

liq and kimaf,
it could be the gryphon because i didn't use to have that much soundstage "energy", if you know what i mean. panzer didn't mention about the sheer energy that the gryphon brings about to the entire soundstage. every musical note is purposefully charged. the soundstage envelopes the whole of space behind the maggies and the back wall, that's why off-axis listening is still enjoyable.

anonymous at 6:39pm,
haha. my camera is spoilt so i took back an old photo with the ps audio ppp! ;-)

hifikaki said...

Hi panzer,
Welcome aboard!
Excellent write-up.

Ken said...

Hi Panzer,

Welcome onboard.

I don't agree with you assertion that tweaks are mere band aids. People who has not tweaked their system are not listening to their system at their best performance. I won't say that all tweaks work but if they are applied well, the system would sound even better.

ML has not use much Shun Mook. If he has used more at correct places, the soundstage would gain much more depth.

Again YMMV

km ng said...

Ken,

Fully agree with you on the subject of tweaks.

For me, as in most applications, tweaks when correctly used, enhance the sound of the system - especially on the colors, nuances and micro details which when deliciously combined together give emotions to the music.

Tweaks are just like a woman's make up which enhance her features and beauty.

Main caveat for tweaks, make up and most other applications - must know how to use them correctly otherwise can be quite disastrous.

Harry said...

Km Ng and Ken,

I think when it comes to tweak we have to first agree with the definations..

1]a lot of items like resonators and stands are consider tweaks,but to me these are essentials items..

2]Some tweaks are system dependent...eg I do not find using using walker's Talisman beneficial whereas my friend swear he could hear better..

3] I think most people would be better off spending money on meaningful upgrades,and use tweaks sp[arringly.

YMMV

Panzer said...

hifikaki, master ken,

Thanks for the warm welcome.

Tweaks are as such that YMMV really does apply. If it works for you, great!

If it doesn't, well no harm done, at least you can remove them and things can go back to normal. Hopefully it did not cost you a lot too.

But hifi as in life, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

juju said...

panzer
"
But hifi as in life, nothing "ventured, nothing gained."

brilliant!!!!!!