Less than a year ago I managed to find online a used pair of Magnepan .7's for $800 on the used market. A few days after the panels arrived I decided to experiment by placing blocks of wood under the back end of the angled L-bracket metal legs, thus tilting them to a true vertical position. The sonic differences I stored away in my memory until such time as I could consider potential stand replacements. Magnepan's own oval upgrade model held zero interest for a variety of reasons, so my options focused on 3rd party solutions.
After months of reading various solutions on the Magnepan Users page of Facebook, I contacted Robert Raus of Magna Risers requesting a pair of his Slim Line 2 stands (one of three models available for the .7's). Since Raus builds-to-order, I expected to wait until August. Like clockwork they arrived, well-packed and full of literature for best performance. Being late in the evening I chose to read first, then attach, which turned out to be a bit fortuitous.
For those who don't know, Raus spent many years as a passionate Magnepan speaker advocate, and became a well-respected guru in placement. In reading his expansive tips sheet, for the first time the reasoning for a strong toe-in with Magnepan speakers was defined. Therefore, I delayed putting on the new stands while I experimented with Raus' suggestions. Sure enough, over a couple of days in my 10x11 room the strong toe-in that has each speaker sound angled to cross the other speaker's sound just in front of the listener position sounded better to me. At that point I wrote down all-new notes on sound with the stock legs.
The SlimLine 2 legs are 15 inches long, 1.5 inches wide, and 8.75 tall. Three holes in the vertical posts allow for two height positions (due to my low ceiling and seat position I chose the lower position). The provided screws with ringlet washers are a perfect thread match for the originals. Raus recommends using a screwdriver rather than a drill in order to avoid pushing the screw all the way thru the frame. The several layer powder coat high gloss black finish is first-rate. A sticker on the top of two of the legs specifies that they are to be mounted on the tweeter side.
Once upright, the additional stability is obvious, with the Slim Line 2's bumping into and tipping are far less worrisome. This will be an immediate benefit for those with children and pets. Due to the metals and design Raus has created, there appears to be no need for loading the insides of the stands with sand or other material.
Using the original placement position as a starting point, I spent several hour experimenting before finally settling on an inch and a quarter wider, and a half inch closer to the listening chair. While this may seem tedious, it's actually a great excuse to listen to a lot of music along with feeling productive during a pandemic.
With new notes in hand, the fun commenced. Steely Dan's "Black Friday" quickly illuminated the improvement in bass detail. The punch of low notes have better definition. This translates into a sense of speed, the note hits and the music moves on. This experience was universal across the multiple weeks of the review. The cymbal crashes in "Rose Darling" show placement specific to the lower left corner. The quirky lyrics of "Bad Sneakers" become even more playful as Donald Fagan's nasally vocals has additional warmth from the tightening of musical details created by the addition of the Slim Line 2's. In this day and age of ProTools tragic universalization of vocals, hearing unique characteristics always benefits the listener.
Moving onto Joe Jackson, who's music is as detailed as Steely Dan in many ways, also demonstrates the benefit that the Slim Line 2's bring to the musical experience. In the title track "Body & Soul", the hits to the drum toms and snare are more precise. The trumpet soars with the additional definition in the lucious instrumental "Loisada". The bass pedal kick in "Heart of Ice" has a definite improved thump to it.
The underrated Doug Macleod with his very limited processed music further reveals the improvement the Slim Line 2's in sonic value. If you've never listened to Macleod, pull him up on your favorite streaming service, his music is old school, in your face, middle America rock and roll. "Mystery Woman" with his raspy vocals and live performance-like placement slightly higher on the soundstage created by the Magnepan .7's. The echo of the guitar is tighter, giving a more effective musical experience.
For female vocals, a recent reacquaintance with Heart was a big smile moment. The hit song "Alone" has always been considered well-recorded. The haunting vocals, and soaring solo chorus gain further placement definition of being slightly back on the stage. A live version of "Straight On" with its natural vocal performance showed the details of the sisters range. Finally, in repeated plays of "Magic Man" from the bass, mid-bass, midrange, to the highest frequencies, I've never heard the song sound this good.
It's rare that any add-on makes anything beyond a modicum of improvement. Though the audio community is in agreement that quality stands due improve the performance of bookshelf speakers. It's why I spent many months watching and finally pouncing on a pair of Celestion Si stands, the same ones that John Atkinson of Stereophile has used for decades. The $229 Magna Riser Slim Line 2's do the same thing for the Magnepan .7's, and by all indications the MMG, LRS, and MG 12's. The improvement in bass response across all musical genres is most obvious, using the improvement in definition and detail that's gives the listener greater low frequency experience. But it doesn't stop there, the mids and highs benefit as well. Flat out, after proper placement, the Magna Riser SlimLine 2's are the best bang-for-the-buck improvement for smaller Magnepan speakers out there. Yes, I bought the Slim Line 2 stands, it's absolutely a no brainer.
Mark, thank you for your supportive words. The Slim Line 2 is the result of over one year's design exploration. I personally resonance tune each set owners place on order. I strongly recommend that no additional mass be added to the stands. Doing so will dramatically negatively impact the sense of dynamic pacing, soundstage, openness, and harmonic refinement. I make three different designs for the .7, LRS, MG 12 and MMG. Each is sold on a money back basis-if you don't like them for any reason, just send them back. Each model also includes a set of proprietary directionally oriented replacement jumper wires that have been favorably compared to costly speaker wire manufacturers jumper wires. All three models can be seen on our magnarisers.com website.