- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 01 September 2011
Although the Magneplanar 1.6's used a combination of quasi-ribbon and large surface area planar drivers (essentially, these are wide quasi-ribbons), the 1.7's use quasi-ribbons for all three drivers, one for the high frequencies, one for the mids, and one for the lows.
Ribbon speakers are known for their superb presentation of detail, which resides in the high frequencies. Some listeners find that it is too much detail, so for those consumers, there is a connector on the rear panel along with the speaker binding posts, in which you insert an included resistor, which attenuates the highs a bit. However, for me, there is no such thing as too much detail, assuming what one is hearing is musical detail, and not distortion. So, I did not install the resistor, and I suspect that most consumers would also choose not to put it in.
The binding posts accept bananas or bare wire, which are held in place by small hex screws (hex wrench included). You can see the tweeter attenuation connector beneath the speaker binding posts, as well as a 4 ampere fuse.
The speakers are "polarized", meaning that there is a left and right speaker. They are designed to be arranged so that the tweeters are on the inside edge (the left speaker with the tweeter on the right side, and the right speaker with the tweeter on the left side), i.e., the tweeters are closer to the middle of the room placement, and the woofers are towards the outside. You can tell which is which by looking through the grille cloth of the speaker from the front, with some front lighting so that you can see the ribbons through the grille. For example, in the photo shown below, which is the left speaker, you can see the narrower placement of the tweeter ribbons on the right side. The right speaker will have the tweeter ribbons on the left side of the panel. The logo badge in the top right corner is something I placed there myself. There are two of them in a plastic bag that you can choose to put on the speakers or leave them off.
Although the 1.7 is more than 5 feet high, it does not weigh very much, because there is no enclosure. There is a wooden frame that surrounds the ribbons, and the entire structure is shaped much like a door. Its slim profile is a spouse-pleaser, at least in my household.
The low sensitivity (86 dB) and 4 ohm impedance means you will need a good amplifier that is rated into 4 ohms. Don't even think of using these with an inexpensive receiver. You don't necessarily need a lot of watts (75 is enough for average listening), but the amplifier does need to have that 4 ohm rating.