For all their highly resolved and revealingly honest reproduction of source material, the 30.7s also promise remarkably non-aggressive and non-fatiguing listening—even comforting, when called for—but that’s not to say they’re lacking in impact, speed, or energy. I’ll say more about this in listening examples below.
Some weeks into listening, JV suggested we try moving the treble/midrange panels on each side backward, aligning them within the same line/plane as the bass/woof ones—to approximate how they might be positioned if they had been within a single oversized panel. As you might imagine, the speakers sounded more “of a piece.” I noticed greater coherence, along with seemingly less midrange and treble emphasis. On some musical selections, the soundstage seemed deeper and perhaps more focused. However, one tradeoff in gaining focus might have been a touch less of that hugely expansive dispersion and sense of power range immediacy.
Historically and by reputation a Maggies-associated sore spot for some listeners has been the speakers’ shortcomings in treble and bass reproduction. So those who favor hard-hitting rock ’n’ roll served up with slam might well have wanted to look elsewhere. However, in the 30.7’s development these were areas of focus where Magnepan has made outstanding improvements. I’m an omnivore of a music lover so I felt compelled to try out a little of everything, but had some initial reservations about spinning LPs that fell into either the rock or even heavier pop categories. I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t ever disappointed (though a couple friends mentioned they missed some of the sock and hard-hitting impact of, say, Magicos). OK, so I didn’t spin Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” at concert levels (though Maggies benefit from a boost in volume and power) or even certain bass-laden tracks from my beloved EL VY. But a listen to cuts from the Police’s Synchronicity highlighted Stewart Copeland’s incredible percussion snap on “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and the make-you-jump drum-kit attack after the intro piano chords on “King of Pain” resonated in their sweet, simple progression. And Sting’s upright bass on “Every Breath You Take” throbbed along, as equally compelling melodically as it was rhythmically.
Early on in my time with the 30.7s, what actually wowed me—even awed me—was a listen to JV’s Masterpieces by Ellington LP [Acoustic Sounds]. Although all the instruments blew me away, what really hit me was when the baritone sax came in: that unbelievable and uncanny sense that the musicians were there, in their correct places, in my room. I know it sounds like an audiophile cliché but this the only way I can describe it. And the thrill of experiencing it with this splendid recording from 1949–50 was almost like traveling back in time.
Even though I haven’t been immersed in this hobby as long as some other TAS staffers, I can say that the 30.7s are among a rare breed of loudspeakers that possess the power potential to reignite the sonic passions of even the most cynical audiophile. And while not cheap, they offer an amazing cost-to-performance ratio. Is the 30.7 destined to give the competition—in its price category and well beyond—a run for its money? All signs point to yes.
Specs & Pricing
Type: Four-way, dual-panel, planar loudspeaker system
Drivers: True-ribbon tweeter, quasi-ribbon midrange, quasi-ribbon transitional line-source mid/bass, and quasi-ribbon bass
Frequency response: approximately 20Hz–40kHz
Impedance: 4 ohms
Dimensions: Bass/transi-tional mid/bass panel, 29.6" x 79" x 2"; midrange/tweeter panel, 16" x 79" x 2"
1645 Ninth Street
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
JV’s Reference Systems
Loudspeakers: Magico M Project, Magico M3, Raidho D-1, Zellaton Reference Mk II, Avantgarde Zero 1, MartinLogan CLX, Magnepan .7, Magnepan 1.7, Magnepan 30.7
Subwoofers: JL Audio Gotham (pair), Magico QSub 15 (pair)
Linestage preamps: Soulution 725, Constellation Altair II, Siltech SAGA System C1, Air Tight ATE-2001 Reference
Phonostage preamps: Soulution 755, Constellation Perseus, Audio Consulting Silver Rock Toroidal, Innovative Cohesion Engineering Raptor
Power amplifiers: Soulution 711, Constellation Hercules II Stereo, Air Tight 3211, Air Tight ATM-2001, Zanden Audio Systems Model 9600, Siltech SAGA System V1/P1, Odyssey Audio Stratos
Analog source: Acoustic Signature Invictus/T-9000, Walker Audio Proscenium Black Diamond Mk V, TW Acustic Black Knight/TW Raven 10.5, Continuum Audio Labs Obsidian with Viper tonearm, AMG Viella 12
Tape deck: United Home Audio Ultimate 1 OPS
Phono cartridges: Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement, Air Tight Opus 1, Ortofon MC Anna, Ortofon MC A90
Digital source: Berkeley Alpha DAC 2, MSB The Reference DAC
Cable and interconnect: Crystal Cable Absolute Dream, Synergistic Research Galileo UEF, Ansuz Acoustics Diamond
Power cords: Crystal Cable Absolute Dream, Synergistic Research Galileo UEF, Ansuz Acoustics Diamond
Power conditioner: Synergistic Research Galileo LE, Technical Brain
Support systems: Critical Mass Systems MAXXUM and QXK equipment racks and amp stands
Room treatments: Stein Music H2 Harmonizer System, Synergistic Research UEF Acoustic Panels/Atmosphere/UEF Acoustic Dot system, Synergistic Research ART system, Shakti Hallographs (6), Zanden Acoustic panels, A/V Room Services Metu acoustic panels and traps, ASC Tube Traps
Accessories: Symposium Isis and Ultra equipment platforms, Symposium Rollerblocks and Fat Padz, Walker Prologue Reference equipment and amp stands, Walker Valid Points and Resonance Control discs, Clearaudio Double Matrix Professional Sonic record cleaner, Synergistic Research RED Quantum fuses, HiFi-Tuning silver/gold fuses