Magnepan DWM Bass Panel – Features
Think of it like the difference between a 12-inch and a 15-inch dynamic woofer. What does the extra 3 inch diameter of the larger woofer accomplish? Accoustically, the Maggie Bass panel is the same as the extra 3 inch diameter of cone woofer. It increase the total bass diaphragm area of your existing Magneplanars. Yes, the Bass Panel provides deeper bass by getting a “bigger bite on the air”, but the Maggie Bass Panel is all about quality bass, not quantity. Getting a little deeper bass is nice, but getting the bass smooth and deep is better.
Most of the area of any full-range Maggie is devoted to bass reproduction. (In the case of the 20.7, 76% of the total radiating area is devoted to bass.) Audiophiles can be nostalgic about the 6-panel Magneplanar Tympanis of the 1970’s and ’80’s. But, they could sound like a trombone in a telephone booth in a small room. The Magneplanar Bass Panel offers you the flexibility to add bass diaphragm area to fit the needs of your room. From the $600 pair MMG to the 20.7, the Maggie Bass Panel can get the bass/midbass “just right”.
The Magneplanar Bass Panel (DWM) is a dipole, thin-film, planar/magnetic bass panel. It is two bass drivers in one panel. Two “voice coil” grids drive one bass diaphragm. The Bass Panel is essentially a small section out of the 20.1 and 20.7 bass drivers. But, please don’t call it a “subwoofer”. Subwoofers are a separate category from woofers. Subwoofers are intended for below 40 Hz and are known as “slow” and “muddy” when used above 40 Hz. Subwoofers can be adjusted higher than 40 Hz, but you will achieve better sound by using the Bass Panel to optimize the bass of your Maggies. The DWM Bass Panel has no problem integrating with a full-range Maggie because it is “all Maggie”.
But, the Maggie Bass Panel affords far more than increasing bass/midbass output. It is common knowledge that multiple subwoofers can be used to fine-tune and smooth the bass. What is not common knowledge is this technique can be used up to approximately 200 Hz. Through trial-and-error, the position of mobile bass panels can smooth both phase and amplitude response for the preferred listening position. Often the ideal listening position for imaging is not the optimum position for the smoothest bass/midbass. Standing waves can be trouble-some, creating peaks and dips in the bass response. The Maggie Bass Panel can help fine-tune any of our models, even our flagship 20.7s.
Chris Martens of Hi Fi Plus had this to say about the DWM Maggie Bass Panel—
“Let the Maggie Woofers carry most of the Systems Bass Workload. With typical speaker systems, its normally a good idea to hand off much of the systems overall bass workload to a powered subwoofer, but with a Magnepan system this is not the approach you’ll want to take at all. The reason is that Maggies are so fast and so pure-sounding that they make most subs sound thick, slow, and sluggish by comparison“.
“DWMs are designed with dual, interlaced sets of ‘voice coils’ so that the DWM can be run either as a two-channel or single-channel woofer. When measured in isolation, the DWM’s bass extends only to about 40Hz, but when coupled with larger Magnepans an interesting phenomenon occurs; specifically, the low-frequency outputs of the DWM and of the main speaker couple with and reinforce one another such that bass response extends considerably lower than either unit used individually. Just as importantly, the DWM is perfectly voice-matched to the larger Magnepans and is likewise a dipole radiator.
I wound up using two DWMs with our 3.7i’s, using beefy Magnepan-supplied 1400 mH inductors to roll-off unwanted and unnecessary mid-bass, while taking advantage of the extra low-bass power and extension the DWMs provided. The results were well and truly spectacular, yielding very low-frequency (think mid-20Hz) weight and authority, yet without muddying the inherently transparent sound of the 3.7i in any way.”
If you have a high-current amplifier, adding the Bass Panel is easy and inexpensive. Better bass for those difficult rooms and no subwoofer discontinuity issues.
“Hiding” the Maggie Bass Panel
For optimum time-alignment, the Maggie Bass Panel should not be placed off in the corner like a subwoofer, however, since it only produces bass and midbass, the design has the flexibility to be hidden or incorporated into furniture. For example, a cardboard cutout, the size of the Bass Panel, can be taken on a shopping trip for furniture. As long as the furniture piece is approximately 30% open space for bass frequencies, the Bass Panel can be placed behind the furniture. Another option is plants of flowers.
In addition, Magnepan offers several optional cosmetic kits which allows the Bass Panel to be “hidden in plain sight”.
Another example of creative installations that fulfills the wishes of both audiophile and interior designer comes from a relative. The sister of our marketing manager can have most any model she would like. Many years ago, his sister had MG Is in her living room. Not any more. He likes to tease her that since her handiwork has been featured in the Portland, Oregon Sunday paper in the section of “My Home is Better Than Yours”, something changed. To keep everyone happy, our marketing manager, his sister and his audiophile brother-in-law did some creative thinking. There is a Maggie system in their living room, but, it is TOTALLY invisible.
His sister designed a dual-function piece of furniture (shown with the young lady) that she would like to own–irrespective of it’s “stealthy” function for audio. Hidden inside is a DWM Bass Panel. The furniture is both a stand for artwork or it can be used for additional seating for parties, etc.
SPECIFICATIONS – Magnepan DWM Bass Panel
Description System Description: Planar-magnetic dipole bass panel.
Freq. Resp. Frequency Response: 40-200 Hz*
Sensitivity Sensitivity: 86 dB @2.83V/1 Meter/50 Hz
Impedance 4 Ohm
Dimensions Dimensions: 19.25Hx22.5Wx1.25D (inches)