"Magnepan paired with Clones Audio just a purely coincidence, as I just became dealer of Clones Audio, I have a 25i demo unit undergo burn-in process, paired with KEF LS50, rather than Magnepan MMG as I used a lot of High Power Integrated Amplifier with over 120W of power to drive MMG, but most of them end up stop working by triggering various protection like over-current or over-heated, by the nature of extremely low impedance at low frequency playback, even its smallest brother of Magnepan family.
Later I got my MSB The Analog DAC, with built-in Passive Pre-Amplifier Section, I planned to re-organize my whole system, so a pair of nice Power Amplifiers would be nice addition. In the search of power amplifier, I tried every amplifier I have to the Analog DAC, some with bypass input, while 25i don’t having any bypass, but turn the volume to the maximum still a possible way to made it like a Power Amplifier for the evaluation.
In the evalution, 25i do the job nicely, at lease it will not refuse to work, even at loud tutti passage of orchestral pieces, it will clip but still give comfortable sounding. So 55pm come to my mind naturally, the next thing to evaluate are 55pm pair.
Clones Audio customers know the trade off every well, when 25i/25p/25pm give more magical sounding, while 55pm sound less refine than its smaller brother in return of more muscle, but Magnepan family were not the league of very delicate and refined sounding speaker (unless driving will high quality Tube Power Amplifier at least ten times the cost, Like Conrad Johnson, Audio Research, for example), the sound quality difference between the 25 and 55 family is less than expected.
When the 55pm arrived, funjoe also witnessed the first encounter of 55pm and Magnepan MMG, I give the 55pm an ultimate test pieces as first assignment, Reiner/CSO plays Scheherazade reissue by Analogue Recording on Vinyl, it’s killed a several Power Amplifier and triggered protection. As an Amplifier just freshly out of the box, the Bass region not really in well controlled manner, but better than expected, after the finale, the 55pm didn’t shown any sign of overloading distortion, and the temperature rise was acceptable.
As time goes by, the playback of low frequency simply getting more grip and bass slam with ease, that’s a nice pair of Planar Speaker should be, and the soundstage also opened up, making all the amplifiers paired in the past were lack of power and control.
It’s almost a month of 55pm paired with the MMG, my conclusion is 55pm is more than capable to drive MMG, and it’s thinking of stepping up to 1.7 in near future.
And most importantly, the form factor is excellent, 3 pieces of 25/55/AP1 components can be place on single 19” wide rack platform, to enjoy flexibility of pre-power amplifiers combo in the expense of same foot print of common integrated amplifier, that’s very favorable for small home in Hong Kong.
For the tonal quality, 55pm reminding me sound of the finest pull-push tube amplifier, without the residual noise of tube, hardly heard any hum and hiss from the MMG.
The Magnepan is a strange pair of speaker, the soundstage is the best in the same class, but bass is limited and hard to control if matching with wrong amplifier and misplacement (the room is the cabinet of the panel speakers, back firing sound may cancel with the front firing bass if coupling with the room goes wrong), both contribute to no bass slam impression on some system. Luckily, my listening solved the latter one.
The High Frequency extension are limited due to Quasi-Ribbon Mechanism, high frequency were reproduced from same Mylar Panel, but thrill and harsh is almost absent from 16/44 to Hi-Rez materials. The tracks of La Campanella from Diabolus in Musica by Accardo, a solid imaging of Violin Solo is simply like playing in front of me, the bowing, breathing and resonance from the wooden body of the Violin is clearly audible and realistic, string never sound thrilling and fatigue, the metal percussions like triangle contains rich harmonics with well-defined positioning, and well dispersion into hall acoustics.
For the midrange, the reference disc of Elgar Cello concerto by Jacqueline Du Pre with LSO under the baton of Sir John Barbirolli, before using with the 55pm, the Cello voicing was never been so attractive, swiftly and colorful bowing technique, to nearly crying tone of Cello in slow passage, and tutti in the finale of the Cello, and Sea Pictures sung by Dame Janet Baker, the high density and voice with projection and penetration power making this recording into another level up.
The reproduction of Orchestral Music is sound much closer to Concert Hall, so the 55pm should be stay with my system in foreseeable future."