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Whats the general feeling in regards to magico speakers serving purpose in a movie and music system. There's a dealer distributorship within my area and I'm contemplating an audition specifically the S3mk2 series.
I've tried Maggie's and considered electrostatics but somehow for all they're qualities they possess they leave me feeling flat. I believe cones pressurise the room which seems to involve me more emotionally. I've done a search here but most inmates report bad expos or CES showings which I don't put much thought into,looking for more information in personal setups along with any caveats IE.. amplification, cabling etc... And of course satisfaction
Anyhow has anyone had positive experiences with this line in either hometheatre or stereo settings, and thanks in advance for any input.
/// Tim W. ///
If you want a "magic" box speaker, let me suggest Avalons. I've been a
planar/electrostatic speaker enthusiast for a long time, but a pair
of Avalon Eidolons would make and keep me happy for a long time. They
are expensive, however.
I auditioned the S3 Mk I twice at a dealer in a good listening room and I have the S1 Mk I. They are very neutral speakers. By that I mean nothing sticks out or seems emphasized across the whole frequency range, and everything sounds natural and tonally correct. They are also very, very clear. And they excel at information retrieval at all frequencies. I think that some speakers which are known for sounding detailed and highly resolving are mostly emphasizing treble detail, whereas the Magicos seem highly resolving at all frequencies. I know some people have criticized Magicos for having an "analytical" sound, but the S series don't sound tipped up in the treble to me, not like Focal or Raidho for instance. From what I've read, the new tweeter that they are rolling out is a bit softer but no less detailed, so even people who didn't really care for Magico before are liking the S series Mk II versions.
The bass is tight, fast, accurate, and extended. I'm guessing they were flat in-room to ~30 Hz, with some output in the 20s. If you have a good, treated room, you will hear every bass note played accurately. What you might find lacking is bass weight and slam. When powered by a strong solid state amplifier, they have some punch, but the bass range overall is a bit lighter than most other floorstanders of similar size.
In a good room, they throw a wide soundstage with very precise imaging, but the soundstage depth and height is merely good. The smaller S1 seems a little better at disappearing like a minimonitor.
I used a variety of music while auditioning the S3. As you might expect, they make well recorded acoustic music sound incredibly good. Especially jazz. For big, dramatic orchestral music, you might wish for a little more weight. I have some well recorded trance, EDM, and some eclectic electronic music which they handled very well. They are fast and can play a rhythm and get your feet tapping. Good pop & rock music sounded good. Old classic rock recordings which are a bit on the thin side sounded thin. Highly compressed pop music sounded compressed and hot, but not uncomfortably hot.
I heard the S3 with Ayre, Simaudio, Hegel, and Linn amps, with Linn streamers and Berkeley DAC as sources. Because they are neutral and transparent, they pass on the sound of the source and amplification better than any other speakers I've heard. My personal preference is to pair them with a good solid state amplifier which leans toward the warm side in the upper bass and lower midrange. That helps give them more weight and scale on orchestral music and make them more forgiving of poor recording quality. At home I have a Luxman M-600A and a Simaudio W-5 LE. The Luxman, which is Class A but just 30W, has the warmth I was seeking but the bass is a little soft and it's not as dynamic as I'd like. The Simaudio is good in those areas, and is better at soundstaging, but it's a bit lean in the upper bass. The amp I really want to try is the Vitus RS-100. With the Mk II models, maybe a more "neutral" amp would be better but I'm not sure.
I have not heard Magico in a home theater. I also don't know how much you prioritize HT performance vs. music. But I don't think Magicos are as well suited to HT as they are music. One reason is that the quality of their bass makes it harder to integrate them with a subwoofer, which is pretty much a requirement for HT. They are also a little bit dynamically limited at higher volumes compared to other speakers of similar size. I use the Dynaudio C2 for HT and music upstairs. They are neutral like the Magicos, but they play with greater force and drive at higher volume levels.
I have heard S5 with Vitus , never heard the SimAudio thou ....
How was S5 + Vitus? Was it the Class A or Class A/B? I've heard the big Class A Vitus amps are great, but way out of my price range. The RS-100 stereo amp or the RI-100 integrated are where I'm at.
Simaudio is great with my Dynaudios but not the best for Magico IMO, especially newer Simaudio.
I Loved the build quality on the vitus , Im not sure if it was a class-A model now , but it was huge , not roasting hot like Pass , so maybe an A/AB and stereo , not mono bloc's. The Vitus was also plugged into a power / noise/ UPS type device and i felt at the time it was killing the drive of the amp , it was clear but soft , very little jump or drive , the owner later confirmed after taking the amp straight to the wall the difference was night and day ...
I now have to go back and hear it ...this is why i go straight to the wall with power amps...
Thanks. I'm with you on plugging amps directly into the wall. Magicos are not kings of dynamics, but from what I was told the Vitus Class AB amps are good with dynamics, and the big Class A monos too. But the 25W Class A integrated is more about finesse.
I may move on from the Magicos anyway.
Vitus is on my list as well.
A very kind and special Thank You for your very thoughtful and we'll written post. Very informative.
Your last comments in regards to the magicos not being easily mated to a sub woofer for hometheatre purposes is something I'd already had concerns about, not a deal breaker though.
/// Tim W. ///
I own a pair of Magico Q3 towers, so I may be biased. But I've been more than pleased for the two years plus that I've owned them. However, it's important to know that Magico speakers will tell you the absolute truth vis a vis the quality of the electronics upstream from them. In other words, crap in = crap out.
I drive my Q3s with a Hegel H30 power amp, and the combination is fine, fine, fine.
I just received the February issue of Stereophile and there's a rave review of the S5 MK2 by John Atkinson. Other than a bit less bass and probably other small differences the S3 MK2 and S% MK2 are similar(different woofers but the same mid and tweeter). So this thorough review with John's measurements, of course, should prove useful.
In fact the smaller speaker has technically more advanced woofers. The S5 MK2 uses aluminum with carbon fiber dust cap. The S3 MK2 uses full carbon fiber cone sandwiches. It will be interesting to see how listeners compare the two.
I was given a tour of the Magico facility in late 2015. From the aluminum machining area, to assembly, testing and cosmetic finishing, I was very impressed. When I heard the final result through their S7 speakers in their very well-designed listening room, it was "game over": Those were the best-sounding free-standing speakers I've ever heard (although I've not heard the Q7), and they beat the pants off most professional built-in studio monitors. If I had the money, I would not hesitate to buy them.
On a second point, regarding the owner, Alon Wolf. Some posters in this thread, and other places, have cast him in a bad light, personality-wise. That is an incorrect and unfair judgement.
It is almost universally common for people who are "driven" and "determined" and highly successful to have strong personalities and confidence in themselves. That's a big part of what makes them successful. Of all the highly successful people I've met, confidence and a strong personality are two of the most common traits. They tend to "cut to the chase" in professional conversation. This to be expected - they've already been down the road which many amateur and mid-level professionals want to rehash for the umpteenth time. They draw conclusions and make declarative statements because they know what they're talking about.
Obviously, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses when dealing with people, especially on a personal or casual basis. Some might have a "Let's get a beer and pizza, how's the wife and kids" personality, while others don't. Not having an outgoing social warm fuzzy personality with people they don't know doesn't make them an asshole or a jerk. Pick any field - sports, entertainment, engineering, politics, business, academia, etc., and you'll find this to be true. As with all of us, some folks are better at showing their soft side than others.
I found Alon Wolf to be quite cordial and personable, even though it was 4:30 on a work day and he had better things to do than talk with me.
eff that! there's ALSO "the customer is always right"
if i want to the kingsmen howling louie louie, that's my business! i'm the customer, and want to listen to music i like, not some bland lifeless hi-fi fodder, and sorry people, MOST SACD music sucks butt! if i was serious about buying speakers, not that i could afford magicos, but if i could, they'd be my first choice as i despise ports, i'd tell what's his face to eff off and walk out of his showroom.
i read a show report, probably in absolute sound, if not that, stereophile, where a reviewer put a CD in at a show and control freak came in and threw a tantrum. i have this tendency to really want to beat control freaks down 'til they STFU and the fact that what's his face is such a character, i would NOT buy his gear even if i had the money for the simple fact i wouldn't like where it's going. such people really need a reality check and a beat down for their insolence.
FORTUNATELY, if i ever win the lotto, raidho has learned that distortion isn't acceptable at $200k and now offers port plugs. now if only wilson would remember their watt puppy roots and offer port plugs too... they'd be worth consideration too.
one cannot learn ANYTHING about a speaker with unfamiliar music, especially if it's music they don't like. jazz is pure torture for me, and even in genres i like, i have little patience for vocals, so for me, a track with thumping bass drums and crisp cowbell is essential. no-one records hi-fi funky instrumentals sadly and there's so many annoying hi-fi snobs out there, including condescending reviewers, that are too white to appreciate dance music.
if i can't put "the tide is high" on a piece of gear, i ain't buying it. keep your schwag and stick that attitude up your butt!
"if i want to the kingsmen howling louie louie, that's my business! i'm the customer"
"not some bland lifeless hi-fi fodder"
"MOST SACD music sucks butt!"
"not that i could afford magicos, but if i could, they'd be my first choice"
"i would NOT buy his gear even if i had the money"
"i'd tell what's his face to eff off and walk out of his showroom."
"i have little patience for vocals, so for me, a track with thumping bass drums and crisp cowbell is essential."
"that are too white to appreciate dance music."
Went off your meds again?
i am with you on the cowbell. i was listening last night to el34 tubes that i own and a friend's set of kt77 tubes. the cowbell really came to life and kicked butt on the 77s. the 34s gave that holographic voice presentation. i liked both, but i say: "more cowbell".
Perhaps Mr Wolf is just a timely misanthrope. However most people have two sides to they're character and it's good to here an alternative perspective.
Good to hear more positive listening impressions in regards to the Magicos. Not really what I perceived in my search.
Thanks for your post.
/// Tim W. ///
Well, see, now I've learned something. I had to look up "misanthrope". :)
I don't think Mr. Wolf fits the description, though. He's a musician, and his entire business is focussed on creating and building loudspeakers for people to enjoy listening to reproduced music. It'd be pretty hard to do those things if he had a disdain for people.
Here's a story: Back in '73 - '74, French trumpet virtuoso Pierre Thibaud was my trumpet instructor for a couple of semesters. I'm tellin' ya what, he didn't pull any punches. He told me flat out that my attacks were sloppy and not well-defined. He told me that I didn't have a good tone. Heck, sometimes, I'd come out of lessons thinking I couldn't even play the trumpet. On the other hand, he GAVE me two books of studies to work out of: The Balay and the Chavanne books, which I still have and cherish today. THAT, and his continuing to try to teach me, was the peek inside the man who, fundamentally, wanted to be helpful.
Ya see, some people are harder to get along with than others, but that doesn't make them a bad guy. "Consumed by their passion" is more appropriate. I know several people who fit that description, and can be a bit hard for some people to get along with, but they're still nice folks once they get to know you.
You can have strong opinions and not be an A-hole. I'll have to listen to the Magico's again. They didn't impress the first couple auditions.
p.s. If it wasn't already obvious AA has a strong political bias. And I'm not talking about their no-politics rule.
Well at a CES I sat down to listen to his creations--
he obviously didn't think I looked like the sort of dude that would buy his Speaker
--he just came me and said he wanted me to leave his room
WTF??? ----I'd only just sat down and did not say word to a anyone.
I,not wanting to argue just meekly left and continued down the hall.
Since then I have listened to his creations and frankly like him --
I find both thoroughly unlikeable
I believe what you are looking for is what an old friend called dynamic linearity, that is linear changes in level from micro to macro, not just the ability to play loud. It is a quality that allows a system to sound really good outside a room.
I've had the opportunity to listen for good periods to both the S5 MK2 and S1 MK 2 and they are among the most dynamic speakers(other than horns perhaps) that I've heard along with very low coloration and wide band width. As they become very loud they have as small a change in character as I've ever heard. A member of my hi fi club is notorious in dumping on very expensive speakers as not worth the dollars. And when he heard the S5 MK2 even he said with no hesitation he thought they were worth the money.
Magico is one of the leaders in speaker design at this time and an excellent reproducer of sound especially when the listener is looking for jump factor(assuming it's in the recording).
Nice post and Thank you, I would agree with you that Magico is taking unique steps in engineering and cabinet,driver design. Your comments regarding dynamic linearity is a first for me but it makes sense for it was enough to make me continue my search from the very well regarded magnepans.
Thanks again for your time.
/// Tim W. ///
Leaders in current alloy speakers, maybe, leaders in speaker design, me thinks not, not even close.
Simple minded statement that means nothing unless you explain what you mean and what you value in speaker performance with perhaps what you like better and why. And no I don't have Magico speakers though they would be in my small list to audition futhur if I had the money along with Rockports, ATCs and a few others.
Well OK , after you , Alon has built up his Magico Brand nicely and I'm respectful of his work and success, But leading in design, what are they specifically leading speaker designing with , i see nothing new design wise , manufacturing yes , as they are taking advantage of modern techniques.
And what's bad about that? You implied they weren't good speakers and I asked why you felt that way. Some of their design is detail, other is at the forefront of conventional design. Who do you respect as a leader in design. There's very little that's not a variation on old principles in that.
Never said they were not good speakers and i dont comment on others subjective analysis unless intrusive ..
You like what you like, it's audio , I'm a fan of Audio , love to look , touch and listen ..:)
Go for the in-home audition -Tim W.
not to worry, I did not find Maggies "all that" either. If you like that kind of sound and presentation w/ more 3-D presence and better timbre, seek out Thiel, Verity Audio and Magico.
I am interested in reading about your thoughts/impressions post-audition, keep me posted. If you have any queries about Thiel I will be happy to assist. Happy Listening!
Ah, the sound of money burning....
Over the last 45+ years I have had too many speakers to count. After extensive listening to the Magico S1 MK11 at the 2016 CES, audio retailer and an home audition I decided to pull the trigger and purchase the MK11s. I drive these speakers with an Wells Audio Amp and use a Auralic Vega DAC/Pre, all Synergistic Cables and power conditioner and lastly a Torus Power generator. I have various SR room treatment devices placed strategically around my dedicated listening room.
I never fail to be amazed at how realistic my system sounds. I absolutely love my Magicos and feel they are easily the finest, most satisfying speakers I have ever owned. Magicos in general are quite pricey so I would recommend a home audition when possible before purchasing.
Magico loudspeakers are well designed and executed. Although I have no experience with the S3 Mk. II, the S5 sounds quite good in my experience. It is important to choose a loudspeaker that will take full advantage of the room and the Magico needs to operate well away from corners and walls, much like planar magnetic and electrostatic loudspeakers. Does your room allow for such placement? Appropriate acoustic treatment of the room is vital and is often more important than the ancillary components.
If "pressurizing" the room is important a pair of mid-sensitivity acoustic suspension loudspeakers based on dual 8" woofers may not be ideal. "Chest pounding" bass is actually found between 60Hz and 100Hz and requires sound pressure levels of about 100dB for most listeners. A pair of freestanding S3 Mk. II speakers should produce that at 12 feet with 260 watts per channel. The addition of subwoofers may be of substantial benefit, particularly if the room is large or first octave extension is desired.
Consider Ohm Speakers. You can likely get their top of the line and great amplification. The really present an immersive sound. The have a lengthy in home demo direct from the mfg.
I've tried Maggie's... I believe cones pressurise the room
Your profile indicates using SMGs. Heard anything using larger Maggies?
HP's "Super Maggie" HT/MC system using 20.1 mains, 3.6 rears, dual CCRs for center and five Nola thunderbolt subs most certainly pressurized the room. While it wasn't a great movie, I recall watching Blue Crush and very much felt the weight of the waves.
He was definitely a bass enthusiast. :)
While not a big fan of Martin logan ESL's on music, but for movies i have heard non better , they easily beat anything i have heard done by Maggies in either application ( 1.6/1.7/3.5/3.6/20.1)
I would suggest the OP give the new ML speakers a listen especially if doing a Multi purpose system .
I would suggest a home audition if possible , the enclosure has a different tone for those used to standard fair loudspeaker cabinets. The Magico speakers i have heard, were a bit soft, very clear, but Meh i have heard them on both Toobs and SS gear ..
You'll doubtless get conflicting opinions on SQ, but I will say this: get an in-home audition! Like Ivan said, considering the amount of money you're looking at shelling out, the dealer SHOULD accommodate your request. If they don't . . . well, that's your decision to make.
This is a public service announcement . . . WITH GUITARS!!!
always in rooms either too small or too big or...
Also participated in a factory visit to the Magico in Oakland a year or so ago and got to listed to a pair play in their custom designed listening room, which was pretty impressive, but should be, yes?
That said, Mr. Wolf has a bit of a well-earned reputation for being a $^@* (you pick the word here) and will usually not allow ANYTHING to be played on his speakers during a demonstration but music HE picks.
If your dealer will allow an in-home demo, go for it. At Magico price points, an in-home demo is NOT an unreasonable request.
"participated in a factory visit to the Magico in Oakland a year or so ago"
Magico isn't in Oakland. They're in Hayward.
is 'Oakland' to me. ;-)
Then, you haven't been to Berkeley, where I'll be next week.
Berkeley and Oakland are two different worlds.
why are you guys discussing Oakland vs. Berkeley? Laughing...
Now in Hayward but...
It's all East Bay to me. :-)
Maybe closer to 1970 than 1969?
Who remembers the 60's?
Don't go over there much anymore, except for the occasional concert at Zellerbach Hall or something good going on at Berkeley Rep.
Did attend a 'reading' given by a friend of mine at Moe's Books a few years ago.
bud fried was a real stuffed shirt about playing anything that was recognizable or dynamic. usually, he would play some obscure classical piece and stop you from making any kind of selection.
at last the show newport, a local dealer of magneplanars had a RIGID demo where ONLY what he had selected was played. further, that fuhrer conducted a militarized demo schedule. many potential customers left disgruntled.
fortunately, there are multiple magico and magneplanar dealers in LA, not so in many another city.
For what it's worth Bud hated anything that wasn't classical music, barely recognizing it as worthwhile. I knew him well and I loved Folk music and would take it with me when visiting him. Fortunately we were friends so he tolerated it but I still recall him calling it tinkle music.
But to call what he played non dynamic is totally incorrect. The most dynamic music, meaning contrast and sudden changes in level, occur in classical music, not in any other format. Popular music is loud; it's not dynamic. And Bud was totally aware of that which was why he got into transmission line speakers after a love affair with the original Quad electrostatic.
well, in my brief contact with him, that's what he did. i will admit to his genius (i have a copy of his newsletters) and STILL use my Model RIIs, which i love the sound of.
As a lover of live classical music Bud had a very good ear for its reproduction, especially the dynamics of it and that made for some very good speakers.
I choose insecure bully for the $^@* part, just to remain on the polite side.
"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination" -Michael McClure
This guy sounds like King Ass or he's very insecure and hiding something. A person I would avoid. If the OP is dropping this kind of money I would move onto something a little more "buyer friendly". There's plenty of "friendly" great speakers out there for that kind of cash.
If I had a good stereo or speakers I would let-em rip!
especially where all of the music is on computer (with DSP/room correction software, who knows what?). The days of walking room to room with your favorite CD may soon be over.
Had the chance to speak discuss this at length with a 'well known, name brand' speaker designer recently; one who attends all of the shows to show off his gear. It's pretty frustrating when someone walks up and asks to hear their favorite CD and one minute into something REALLY AWFUL begins to play everyone in the room rushes for the door!
So there are two sides to every issue, I guess.
We had the same rule, we never play anything not known to us.....
The New Klipsch Forte III $3800 a pair, were one of the best sounding speakers at the 2017 CES and cost much less money than the Magico speakers.
selected variety of CDs? Say some 20-30 that a potential buyer can choose from? That, IMO would
be a valid, acceptable alternative. Even a playlist from a pad.
Choosing the actual song though seems like a really poor selling point.
And if someone can't bear a "bad" tune for a couple minutes, well I guess they are SOL.
"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination" -Michael McClure
will pick well recorded tracks that are not likely to chase anyone out of the room during a demo.
I think Mr. Wolf has a very controlling personality near to a personality disorder which causes him to want to control ALL aspects of the design and production of his speakers as well as the demonstration of his products.
I would too, if I spent the $$ and effort to put together the speakers and company as he has.
But I'm a bit of a 'dick'. ;-)
Heard 3 Magico systems at the 2015 CES. In all three rooms the sound was outstanding. If I didn't love my Maggies so much and could afford it I wouuld by Magicos
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