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High End 2016: Magico is getting there, slowly

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Last year the at the time under development Magico S7 left me perplexed on what they were or were not capable of doing, as at least under show conditions there was clearly a lack of emotional engagement with the music. This year the S5 mark II gave a much more convincing demonstration with a way more coherent top to bottom frequency extension paired with the company’s notoriously detailed and fast sound.

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Behind the speakers there was a Dr Feickert turntable with Lyra Etna cartridge, a Pass Labs XP 20 phono stage along with the Argo preamp and a pair of Centaur II mono power amplifiers from Constellation, both from the Performance line of the company. The new Spectral Audio Studio Reference CD processor was acting as digital front end and part of the merit for this year’s sweet demo must have come from the Analog Devices AD1853 multi-bit Sigma/Delta DAC used inside this beast of a CD player. For someone like me who no longer has a CD player in his rig saying that I almost craved for the Spectral should be considered as a serious compliment, but the company’s commitment for studio quality equipment is second to none. Back to the Magico S5 II, I think they are finally getting there. You might ask there where? Bottom extension and detail was never an issue, the good thing is that they seem to be moving towards a less techno-fictional sound (my term, feel free to bash me) and a more musically focused one.

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About Panagiotis Karavitis (179 Articles)

Doctor and Editor @ Part-Time Audiophile
Publisher @ Audiohub.gr

4 Comments on High End 2016: Magico is getting there, slowly

  1. magico – the most overrated speakers in the industry. just listen on youtube and point me to ONE good example which is less than S7. there is none. the reason? the f. enclosure. it’s bad, as simple as that.

  2. Panagiotis,
    Please be careful if Wolf (Magico owner) is present during your next visit to a Magico display. When I met Wolf at Las Vegas CES he had only a server and no silver disc player. I requested a particular piece of music he did not have, to which Wolf replied, “If I don’t have it, it’s not worth hearing.”

    Pompous, much?

    Must admit, though, sound quality was good. Speakers circa $80k-$100k/pr sited diagonally across the darkened room. The presentation was eerily similar to the classic late 80s-early 90s (19, not 18) then-$60k-ish USD Australian John Dunlavey designed Duntech Sovereign 2000. Magico had greater detail but less heft, drama, sweetness, and draw-you-in musicality.

    Not a coincidence; both speakers feature sealed bass loading, with bass roll off rate that mimics the reverse of natural domestic room gain, the most audible difference between sealed/reflex, and likely sole reason some persons prefer sealed bass loading.

    If one prefers bass “transient” performance of a sealed system vs. reflex, the difference is a secondary effect of the roll off rate vs. domestic room gain. In an anechoic setting there’s no audible difference in transient response, sealed vs. reflex. Bring the two speakers outdoors and see for yourself.

    A few studios still monitor w/the 2000, also the case with the original B&W 801.

    • Thanks for your thoughts James.

      Actually I’ve met Alon Wolf several times during shows, he has an opinion and stands by it, no matter what. The most intriguing thing I can tell is that last year in Munich he brought a Pacific Microsonics instead of any given modern DAC, which speaks volumes about how he sees the audio industry.

  3. Better sonics can be had for far less money if you’re willing to forego the aluminum cabinet. I’ve yet to hear a Magico speaker that draws me into the music..

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