Review: Magnepan MMC 2 and CC 5 On-Wall Speaker System

Key Features
$6,875 (as tested) magnepan.com
• MMC 2 on-wall speaker ($1,995/pair): 36 x 4-in quasi-ribbon midrange; 36 x 2-in quasi-ribbon tweeter, 36 x ¼-in quasi-ribbon supertweeter; 50 x 10¼ x 1 in; 13 lb
• CC 5 center speaker ($895): 31 x 6¾-in quasi-ribbon midrange/tweeter; 31 x ¼-in quasi-ribbon super-tweeter; 10½ x 36 x 5½ in; 13 lb
• DWM woofer module ($995): 11 x 18-in planar/magnetic driver; 26 x 19 x 7¼ in; 20 lb

The perfect loudspeaker remains an elusive beast. This is primarily because people have a wide range of opinions about what constitutes perfection, making a one-size-fits-all approach pretty much impossible. Some want huge speakers that can re-create the head-slamming effect of Metallica performing live at Madison Square Garden, while others crave the sort of transparency that lets them hear what type of rosin a concert violinist is using. Then you have the decorator types who insist on speakers that practically disappear.

For decades, Minnesota-based Magnepan has built speakers that managed to hit a bull’s-eye with some of these goals while not even attempting to score with others. Magneplanar speakers (Magnepan is the company, Magneplanar is the speaker) have traditionally been a popular choice among audiophiles willing and able to dedicate the large swaths of floor space they require to deliver their magic. Nothing shouts “audiophile” more than a couple of big flat monoliths taller than an NBA center taking up one end of the living room, even though I suspect most owners enjoy the visual statement they make. These days, however, most homeowners want an audio system that’s as inconspicuous as possible.

Magnepan’s response has been to develop new speakers that stick with its proven technologies but are designed for unobtrusive wall mounting. S+V tested the company’s original MC 1 on-wall speakers back in April 2005, and now it has pushed the envelope substantially further with the MMC 2. The two models look superficially similar, but the MMC 2 introduces two significant upgrades over the still current MC 1. For starters, a three-way design adds a quasi- ribbon super-tweeter to extend the speaker’s upper-octave reach. The MMC 2’s real party trick, though, is its motorized positioning system.

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