Magnepan LRS+, Ohm Walsh, or Zu dw6?

Anyone have experience with all three of these systems? I’m hoping to get my first large speaker and I want it to really have a wow factor. All 3 seem to do something special for a speaker with the LRS and Walsh being described as having an impressive soundstage where the Zu’s are described as being giant speakers in a “small” package. The only speaker experience I can have is at the Best Buy show room and the only thing that stood out as wow were the MartinLogan ElectroMotions with a sort of airy sound that none of the other box speakers have. I’m in an apartment so I’m not too focused on earth shaking boom. With headphones I’m usually drawn towards detail.
Any other recommendations are welcome.

How big is the room you’re going to put them in, and what can you do for treatment.
The Magnepans need space.

What will you be driving them with

In an ideal world you want to hear speakers on the space you have for more than a short period, living with something isn’t the same as being impressed for a small demo.
I haven’t heard the Ohms, but I have heard other omnidirectionals, and they sound different to more conventional speakers, wouldn’t be MY pick as an only speaker. But they neither would the Magnepans for other reasons (amp limiting high power requirements).

But speakers are almost all presentation and what you value in the sound, very few have anything close to flat FR in a room, and the way they interact with the room is critical.
I have a soft spot for ribbon drivers, because I appreciate the speed and focus, but they are difficult to drive well, and have issues off axis.
Some people love horns. A lot of very highend designs are single driver, which eliminates the crossover/phase issues. I just don’t think anyone is going to be able to tell you what you will like.

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Relatively small, apartment sized, so don’t need to fill a giant room. I’d get a Schiit Vidar 2 or Aegir. I’m open to another amp recommendation if there’s one better.
What do you recomend for ribbon speakers?

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Lots of speakers have ribbon tweeters, there used to be a few with midrange ribbon drivers, the only one I’m aware of anymore is the PSAudio ones, which are out of your price range and too big for a small room.

personally for a small room I’d start with a pair of conventional bookshelf speakers and a sub.
Short of filling a big room, I’d probably go that way at anything under $10K in speakers, but this more reflects my tastes, than any absolutes.

You do need space for Maggies and the LRS is not where I would start in the lineup. Needs the bass panel. 1.7 is really the entry level, and I like Maggies. As @Polygonhell says, omnidirectional is probably not first choice either— I have not heard the Walsh but have heard the F in a big room. Impressive but advanced tweaking and setup. I have two way bookshelf speakers and a small sub (not really needed) in my office.
What’s your price range?

Wrote the above while on iPhone, so not very detailed. I have not heard the Zu DW6, but [Steve Guttenberg likes it a lot,]( and I find that his ears and mine usually agree. They are two-way, which is my current preference in smaller speakers, and it looks like the Supreme package contains some worthy upgrades in the crossover, which can be critical. I suspect it will be just fine in your apartment. Either of the Schiit amps you mentioned should work fine with it.

The Zu is a rear-firing ported design so they should be a small distance from the wall - 6 inches to a foot should be fine.

Of the 3 choices you suggest, I think the Zu would be my clear first choice. (My wife said I can’t get Magnepan 5.7i’ in my living room…)

Steve Guttenberg says that it plays quietly really well - that’s also a critical thing for me - as my office is, in fact an office, with neighboring businesses.

FYI, I have EgglestonWorks Nico Evo speakers, about 2.5 times the cost of the high option Zu. I can tell you that you aren’t hearing much quality at Best Buy, with the possible exception of a Magnolia store. It’s hard to find Eggleston’s to listen to. Another brand I have heard and like very much is Harbeth. The 7’s or the 30.2 would be a great apartment choice.

You seem to be attracted to speaker designs with something special or out of the ordinary. The ribbon drivers on the Maggies is very nice. But you should not get hung up on special technology. The full-range driver in the ZU is a bit special - the high range extension is coherent by design.

Maggies are not a gimmick, but you really need a big area speaker and a big room to make them sound good. Ohm’s got tech, but is a bit of a gimmick - fine in it’s place, but not a daily driver for a first speaker buyer.

I hope this has been useful, @atticus_grey


No experience other than brief demos of Maggie’s and Zu’s. But I am a happy owner of Ohm Walsh 2000s, purchased in 2009, when they were a new model. The beauty of the Ohm Walsh line is that they are designed to work in specific room volumes. Also, while basically an Omni design, Ohm builds in attenuation to the rear to facilitate placement closer to the front wall behind them. IME, the Ohms will sound as good as the electronics you feed them with. As my system has improved, the Ohms have let me appreciate every upgrade. Goldilocks levels of details and transients, never strained or etched, and an incredible soundstage with well recorded material. Lifelike vocals, and excellent timbre and texture. Ohm has a generous in home trial period. I suggest you try whichever pair is appropriate for your room volume.

I have not heard the Ohm Walsh or Zu dw6 speakers, but happy to share my experience with LRS+.

First, for context, I am in an apartment, and my living room is 12’ deep (so, speaker wall to back wall) and 19’ wide (way wider than needed, but just FYI). My maggies are about 2.5’ off the front wall, and about 10’ apart. I’m driving them off of a Hegel H160, and I have stereo subs to compliment them (REL T9/x). Before, I had KEF LS50 Metas (haven’t sold them yet, but almost certainly will).

I generally can confirm the “typical” feedback and advice on the LRS+. You need to give them a bit of room to breathe off the wall (2’ +), they image incredibly well, both in terms of width and depth, and their detail and speed is amazing - they absolutely stomp the LS50’s in that regard. They appreciate some power, and roll off real quick in the bass. I personally would not have kept them if I didn’t have subs, but that’s personal preference. They’re magical with subs, but the low end of their frequency range doesn’t even capture the lowest string on a bass, so a sub really does fill it out. I also found that mine benefited from the first level treble attenuator (included w/ the speakers in the form of a resistor to put into the crossover).

The LRS+ also improve quite a bit with the upgraded stands, so definitely get those if you’re looking at them - improves image focus and staging noticeably.

Finally, I didn’t find them as offensively ugly in real life as they look in the pictures, and my wife is even pretty cool with them. As a matter of fact, she wants to keep them, both because of sound and looks.

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Ah you have the ls50’s too! I was considering those also. Can you give more comparison between the two?

Having experience with none of these speakers, but having lived in apartments, I am free of all bias in recommending the LRS+ despite the need for less-than-cheap high current amplification for full performance and patience while yours is ordered, manufactured and shipped. I’m presuming that the attractive qualities and operational idiosyncrasies are known.

  • Limited sub-bass.
    This negative for other uses is a positive for not having to worry or compromise with the effect on neighbours, dealing with problematic room modes and transmission of vibrations, or doing sub crawls then trying to run a coaxial cable.
  • They don’t take much space when not in use.
    Unlike heavy floorstanders or bookshelf speakers on stands which take a permanent place (which should be out in the listening space, but is often up against a wall and/or jammed too close against a TV or furniture), the LRS+ can be easily moved into position for listening (which is critical for their operation), then slid against the wall when not in use where they can comfortably blend in your choice of the two colours.
  • Stereo is all you need.
    While an 11.4.6 object audio setup might be an ideal immersive setup, the processor and amps and speakers and especially the wires are such a pain. The properly positioned LRS+ will give you a quality immersive experience with just the two wires from the one (or two if you monoblock) amp.
  • Upgraditis insurance
    Of course there are many options for upgrading, both to bigger Magnepans and “better” amps, but as long as you start with an amp which can drive them, there really isn’t much left to improve in a small apartment listening space.
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I’ve listened to the LRS+ and they have great detail and soundstage, but they REALLY need at least one of the DWM Bass Panels. Depending on your room and music, they might need two. You can hide the panels in plain sight - there are table kits for them.

Other than that, your analysis is fine. Plus, the LRS+ in white can be placed as a background to things like interesting asian style plants and people will think it’s a Shoji screen.

Of the 3 choices, for something to live with until upgrading both speakers and living space, I’m pretty sure the Zu will prove not only the best bang for the buck, but something that can be lived with for a few years.

If the bass panel(s) are possible, the LRS+, but see if you can go to .7s … I’m a huge fan of the next couple of steps up, the 1.7 and the 3.7 but budget and space can be a consideration.

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I need to go back to the LS50’s after spending some time with the LRS+, but in short:

  • LRS+ have way more detail
  • LRS+ have a wider, taller, and deeper sound stage
  • LS50 may edge out LRS+ on imaging specificity, i.e. getting the exact outlines and placement of instruments, but LRS+ is still good, and both require spending time to set up the speakers
  • I think the LS50’s look better as objects to observe in your home, but the LRS+ aren’t as fugly as I thought they’d be. They’re actually pretty inoffensive.
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All appearance is in the mind of the beholder. For example, I can’t look at the LS 50s after someone pointed out to me similarities to the hind end of a cat.

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There’s another speaker I can scratch off the list. Thanks for that image.

FWIW, the .7 costs less than the LRS+ / bass panel combo.

I haven’t heard the DW6 but I have the previous-gen Omen DWs. They do play nicely at low levels – mine are in a room above a bedroom and I can enjoy them without a sub and at a level that doesn’t bother my son in his room below.

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I’ve seen that but people only rave about the LRS. The .7 are never brought up.

I can see several reasons for that:

  1. The LRS (LRS+) is recent, while the .7 was introduced about 8 years ago. People are always about the latest stuff.

  2. The LRS represents a change in Magnepan’s approach to their entry-level model, so that also gets it more attention from audio journalists.

  3. Magnepan aren’t doing the .7 any favors in the way they specify the frequency response for it vs the LRS+. Magnepan says “45-22kHz ±3dB” for the .7 but rather vaguely “50 - 20 kHz” for the LRS+. Makes it seem like the low frequency performance is similar, but the .7 panel is actually about 30% bigger than the LRS+ and I can assure you that size definitely matters for Maggies.

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I think the smaller size of the LRS+ is a major selling point for a lot of folks. I’m not trying to say that the larger .7’s don’t sound better (they might), but for may people, anything bigger than the LRS+ may be entirely inappropriate - either for decor or acoustic room size reasons. That’s certainly the case for me.

I’d use a bass panel with anything short of the 3.7’s. Seriously. Even the 1.7 is borderline. But the .7 and the 1.7 sounded better to me than the LRS+. Imaging was fine, but more oomph is needed. I was really hoping to sell my wife on the 3.7, but she pointed out that the cat would probably like any of them a bit too much.

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Oh, no argument there. Essential, in my opinion. I have stereo subs! RELs rather than the Maggie panels, though. :slight_smile:

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