My aftermarket stands for the Magneplanar 3.7 arrived yesterday, courtesy of Grant VanderMye of Mye Sound.
Okay, ignoring the clutter on the floor (yep, still waiting on AudiAV to deliver on the last few parts for my new rack ordered back in June), the stands shown here are his “basic black”. They replace the stock stands/footers seamlessly. Do note that you’re going to need a friend or something sturdy to lean them on (I used a wet bar) when you turn the speakers upside down to get at the stock footers.
Fit and finish are excellent and much better than the stock stands. They fit into the speakers simply and transparently — someone who has never seen your Maggies before will probably overlook the Mye Stands as an aftermarket add completely as they look like they came with and were expressly made for the unit. That’s perfect, in my book.
These stands bolt in to the speakers in 4 places. Two sets of bolts/screws go in to the base (where the old stands were mounted) and use the same hardware that came with the speakers. The other attach point will be two of the “stile” screws that hold the panel together, about 4 feet up each panel, one to each side of the panel. Unscrew those two screws, place the new brace/bar, and screw that down. Use an Allen key to bolt the brace to the footer assembly and you’re off. Took me about 30 minutes to do both speakers by myself.
The view from the front isn’t much changed, but the speakers sit about 2″ higher than they did with the stock stands.
After installation, the speakers feel way more rigid. No sway is possible. Solid as a rock!
I opted for some 5/8″ brass points for now, but I had Grant add some extra 1/4-20 mounting points for alternative footers so I can try out the Symposium Rollerblock Jr at some point. Barry Diament suggested “floating” Maggies, so this will provide a simple way for me to do it.
Anyway, some quick notes on the change in speaker sound. It’s significant. While it’s not quite what the hyperbole at the Planar Asylum led me to expect, it is very audible. In short, the bass tightened and the treble got even more airy and extended.
But is it better?
At first blush, I didn’t really think so. Perhaps the Maggies had been made/designed with a little low-end bloom in mind. With the increased rigidity of the Mye stands, some of that bloom is lost. With the Mye stands (and when I have the subs off), I felt that the speakers didn’t reach that far down into the deep bass. On Jem’s “Come On Closer” track, which is stuffed with super-deep bass, the Maggies now came out a bit thinner than I was expecting. I was disappointed.
Later, I was back at the rig doing some comparisons between the Playback Designs DAC and the LampizatOr Gen 3 Level 4 that I have here. Decisions, decisions. Interestingly (and a bit irrelevantly to this conversation) it seems that the LampizatOr is balanced all the way through whereas the Playback Designs isn’t — the Lamp plays 6dB louder with the same inputs, same wires, same everything. Anyway, while I was verifying this with a handheld SPL meter and attempting to do some level setting, I did the expected thing and just chose an use an easy-to-return-to number. In my case, I luckily settled on 90dB, about 10dB louder than I usually listen. I went back to my test tracks … and was stunned at the difference in sound quality. Had I been playing the speakers too quietly for the bass differences to really show? Because now, played at volume, the bass on the speakers with the Mye Stands is just stupendous. Depth? Check. Weight? Check? Subs off? Double-check. Holy crapola! I put the Jem track back on and … WHOMP. I nearly got knocked over. This was utterly different from what I’d heard before. And it makes sense, in a way. At serious volumes, the panels would vibrate quite a bit. Now, with these stands, they just don’t. Result? Mo’ betta bass. Without the Mye Stands, the bass at lower volumes does appear to be bloomy, a bit loosey-goosey by comparison to the speakers on their stands.
So, as I was saying, bass is now deeply powerful and creepily stirring. Strings struck on an upright bass actually sound like strings being struck. Shelby Lynne’s cover of “Just A Little Lovin” has a great electric bass track and the big, reverberant notes here flow from the Maggies with tremendous authority, and with the Mye Stands, they hit harder and then hang around with decays that are effortless, natural and cleanly separated. Chris Jones’ “No Sanctuary” will cause your insides to jellify. And any of Jem’s bass-heavy tracks will physically bruise you.
Another plus: the imaging is far better. “Spooky” is the word that comes to mind. Cues and microdynamics are much more apparent. Simply put, the speakers have become even more revealing, detailed and transparent. Unfortunately with this, I also found that a tweeter resistor is now a must-have feature. With the resistor and the stands, the speakers aren’t exactly bright, but I can understand how in some (not optimally matched) systems this combo could drive listeners out of the room. In my system, we’re dancing on that line and not surprisingly, bad recordings are even more problematic than they were. Tubes in my sources might be a really good thing for me to look at about now.
Midrange is where the biggest benefits lie. They’ve always been the strength of the Maggies, but with the Mye stands, they’re even more natural. Very physical. Almost tangible. Freakishly good.
In summary, I got deeper, more controlled bass (at volume), treble extension and precision, and a mid range “trueness” that is even more compelling (a minor miracle with the Maggies, which already do this superlatively).
Do I recommend the Mye Stands? For their $600 asking price, this is a very easy “yes” and with no qualifications (other than to be sure to turn it up).