(Review) Magnepan LRS+, The Best Speaker Under a Grand?

magnepan lrs+

While at Capital Audiofest this year, we were hanging out with Michael from The Listening Room after the show and helping him get packed up. Michael, being a Maggie dealer, introduced me to the Magnepan Team and I brought home the LRS+ for review. These are their entry-level speaker and cost $995.00 U.S. (Pair). The panels are a 2-way quasi-ribbon design. The speaker is 48″ tall and 13″ wide, so it will take up about the same space as a traditional floor stander, though you can get it closer to the back wall as it is only an inch thick so to get similar backspacing doesn’t put the face of the speaker as far into the room. I had never understood the Magnepan obsession as I had not really spent any time with them. I never had anything against them, just never had a good listen. I was quite excited to be able to spend some time with them for his review and see what they were capable of so let’s dive into what the Magnepans are all about.

Unboxing and Setup

The LRS+ comes in a thin box, stacked on top of each other, with the four legs around the outside helping protect the panels from damage during shipping. Inside the box, you will also find a packet with the instructions, hardware, and resistors (more on that later). Now there are a million ways to set up speakers in your room and everyone will have differing opinions on what sounds best. However. I started exactly how Magnepan states to set them up, with one exception, I had the tweeters on the inside as I was thinking backward when placing them. After I had that fixed (thanks Micahel) and got them positioned it was time to try them out. I messed with the angle using the little feet on the ends of the legs that swing down to get them more verticle. I prefer them leaned up for sure, though on my carpet the legs didn’t “sink in” equally and made them have a bit of horizontal lean as well. I got two pieces of wood and used those to lean the speakers up as that would spread the weight more evenly on my carpet. I will say, that I am not the biggest fan of the legs themselves, though Magnepas does sell a much nicer set ($299.00) that makes the panel vertical as well as moves it up off the floor a bit, I do think they should be the default leg.

magnepan lrs+

When you look at the back of the speaker to hook up your speaker cables, you will see what looks like an additional set of binding posts. These are for the resistors that are included. Maggies can be very bright, as any planar magnetic or electrostatic speaker can be. The resistors can be used to tame the top end of the speaker if you find them fatiguing. I thought they sounded wonderful in my room the way they come, though I have a fairly damped room. I would imagine in a room with more hard surfaces you may want to play with the resistors. You can also adjust the sound, as with any speaker with positioning. If you want more bass, move them closer to the back wall, less highs, toe out, or do the opposite for the opposite effect. It should be mentioned that moving the speakers can compromise other aspects of the sound, for example, they can get muddy if you get them too close to the wall.

Sound Quality

The LRS+ may be the best sounding Floor Standing speaker I have heard at this price point. It is hard to find any high-quality pair of floor standers for under 1k for the pair, let alone ones that sound this good. The amount of detail and speed they have is hard to achieve with traditional drivers. The LRS+ is not only very detailed but fairly neutral in my room as well. I was worried about them being overly bright, but I had no issue with thin highs or listing fatigue. That said, the bass is just not there. When I played anything without my subwoofer the lack of low end was pretty obvious, regardless of the type of music. I am sure there are plenty of people who are happy with the sound without a sub, but just know you will miss out on some of the music. I don’t find this to be a deal breaker at all though. I also prefer a sub with my Sonus Faber Sonetto V and with just about any speaker I have listened to. Most speakers just do not reach into the low end as much as a dedicated sub can, especially speakers with smaller drivers.

It is said that Magnepans, and planar magnetic speakers in general are power-hungry. That said I powered them with my MC250, a 50-watt per channel amp from McIntosh, made in the late 60s. It is not so much that want a ton of watts, but rather, they will perform better with amps that can push a lot of current. It is something to keep in mind, that if you are considering these, you may also want to look at amps depending on what you have. As you will see in the specs the sensitivity is 86dB so this may not be the best speaker to pair with a 3-watt SET amp, though in a smaller listening room, you may be able to get away with a smaller amp.

magnepan lrs+

I had to give my latest muse a listen on the LRS+, Laufey – Bewitched. I played my CD copy through with the Rotel CD-11 Tribute. I have been playing both the CD and the Vinyl, probably too much lately, but the music is very fun and melodic and her singing style is best described as classic jazz club. Hop in the wayback machine and think of a club the Rat Pack would have played in, Laufey would be perfectly at home. That said she brings a contemporary twist to the music, making it feel as new as it is, yet somehow vintage at the same time. The LRS+ really shines with vocals and it is especially true listening to this album. The space between her and the instruments, as well as background vocals, is wonderful. Everything has room to breathe and no muddying of notes or instruments. The Sound stage is fairly wide and deep, the Dipole nature helps make the speakers sound bigger than they are. The imaging is pretty precise as well really helping to build the 3d sound stage.

I had to give Serj Tankian a listen, as System of A Down will really put the speed of a speaker to the test. SOAD often rapidly changes timing signatures in songs and also has some very fast sections of their songs so it can be tough for some speakers to keep up while keeping the details intact. A song that really embodies this is Chop Suey, the LRS+ keeps up perfectly. Chop Suey goes from sections of heavy metal, to almost choir-like in a moment’s notice. Serj, yelling out, then singing softly with Darren harmonizing with him and the instruments following suit, the whole time the LRS+ keeps true to the sound. The LRS+ has good attack and gets you at the edge of your seat when you listen to exciting and fast music. At no point though did I find them to be too thin or whispy as I suspected they may be, instead they are lush with great midrange and highs that sparkle. I love hearing the crash and ride on the cymbals all through the album. While they do not have the low-end punch, they do have detail in the bass section, so the double kicks come through perfectly as well as the bass guitar building the foundation for the music.

A song I like to listen to, to gauge how deep a speaker can be is “Leave It Alone” by Caroline Glaser. The way it was mastered there are all these little details way in the back and off to the right or left. Sometimes they sound like they coming from higher up or lower. The song can really show how well a pair of speakers image and just how big the sound stage is. The Maggies have great depth and as mentioned imaging. If you close your eyes the room feels like it is easily 30 feet deeper than it really is, and quite a bit wider as well.

Another Album I have been binging is “The First Two Pages of Frankenstein” by the National. I was very excited to hear this dark and moody album on the LRS+. The first song, “Once Upon a Poolside” has this incredible aura to it, like a haziness throughout the whole song, that gives it kind of a vintage sound. The Maggies really presented this well, without veiling the rest of the track. The piano cuts through while still being soft and lending to the airy sound of the song. Another one of my favorites, Alien, has this fun guitar line through the bridge, as well as this light tap on the high hat that just makes it and the texture of the instruments is just wonderful. Matt Berninger has a great voice with a lot of air to it, and a bit of that gravel in the lower notes and the Maggies present his voice neutrally and detailed.

Something that really impressed me was the sound quality out of the sweet spot. You expect these to be lasers as oftentimes panel-style speakers can have a very narrow sweet spot. My Martin Logan Aerius Is were incredibly narrow and hard to enjoy with company. Whereas these could easily be set up in a family room and everyone on the couch could enjoy listening. I will caveat that with, so long as you can get a decent distance away from the speaker. The further back you are the more lenient the sweet spot will be. They are not quite as forgiving as a speaker like my Sonus Fabers, but much more so than most Martin Logan electrostatic speakers.


Description2-Way/Quasi Ribbon
Freq. Resp.50 – 20 kHz
Rec PowerRead Frequently Asked Questions
Sensitivity86dB / 500Hz / 2.83v
Impedance4 Ohm
Dimensions48″ high x 13″ wide x 1″ deep
magnepan lrs+


  • Great sound quality
  • detail for days
  • fairly easy to tune to your room
  • clean simple appearance


  • The stands could be better
  • your cat may like them, too much
  • lacking bass

Associated Equipment

  • Marantz SR7009 Pre Amp
  • Mcintosh MC250 Power Amp
  • SVS SB1000 Pro
  • Rotel CD-11 Tribute
  • Fiio M9
  • Audioquest Power and Interconnects
  • Prosper Cables Custom Speaker Cables
  • Audio-Technica LP-7
  • Ortofon Quintet Blue


The LRS+ very well may be the best you can get under 2 thousand dollars. They compete sound-wise with much more expensive speakers, my Sonus Fabers included. While I personally prefer my Sonetto V, it is more of a timbre and tonality preference. I am not sure I can say they outright sound better, though it is hard to say the LRS+ sounds better, just different. The fact is I am comparing a 2k Pair of speakers to a 5k pair of speakers and I am not sure there is a clear winner. If you take nothing else from this, there is incredible value in the LRS+. They play well with any kind of music you can imagine, though you will want a sub, especially if you are into electronic, hip hop or similar music. That is one place the Sonetto V is certainly better, with a pair of 7-inch woofers in each speaker. The only thing I really wish Magnepan would do is include the better legs for these as standard. The stock legs leave a bit to be desired, though I don’t think they should be a deal breaker for anyone, they do function, and are easy enough to “modify for the mission” should they not fit your needs. Something to keep in mind is that if you have cats, they very well may think these are pair of cool new scratching posts, as they kinda have that look to them. Magnepan even mentions in the manual a spray you can get to keep the kitties at bay. I will say the looks are certainly something that may divide a room, on one hand, they are sleek and can kind of hide against the wall, but they certainly lack some of the classic elegance of some of the prettier traditional speakers, such as the Sonetto V. Of course looks are completely subjective and while I enjoy the curves of the Sonetto, others will likely prefer the quasi MCM look of Magnepans. If you have never experienced Magnepans, you owe it to yourself to audition a pair of the LRS+. I had never really spent any amount of real time with Magnepans, and looking back I wish I had, but it is never too late to give them a shot.

For information on where to purchase click the link below

If you are near Chestertown, MD, and I use the term near loosely as Michael has been known to deliver fairly far from the shop, then check out The Listening Room. I also want to thank Mike for introducing me to the Magnepan Team.

Magnepan provided a pair LRS+ for the purpose of review. Magnepan, The Listening Room, nor any affiliate paid in part or full in exchange for this review.

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