I didn’t know what was going on in the room. The music sounded amazing, there was a cool-looking turntable, there were amps, and speakers I’ve never seen, Spanish was being spoken, there was a flash of bright light, and then I woke up in my hotel room three hours later… OK, OK, I made up the bright light, and the vanished time, but this room featuring Margules amplification, and transducers was joyously disconcerting.
The Margules U280 Black Edition amplifier ($4,900 USD), Margules SF220 Black Edition preamplifier ($3,700 USD), and Margules Orpheus Loudspeakers ($12,000 USD) were the centerpieces of the room, with a very stylish Magenta TT-10 Turntable ($2,700 USD) with Rega Exact moving-magnet cartridge ($595 USD), and Magenta FZ47db Phono stage ($599 USD) over to the side wall. A Magenta DAC-2.1 ($899 USD) was also on hand, but I did not get a chance to hear it while I was in the room.
The U280 amp is a bit of chameleon. It outputs 75 watts in ultralinear mode, 135 watts in mono-ultralinear, 40 watts in triode, 80 watts in mono triode, and can run 6550, KT88, KT99, KT100, KT120, and KT150 output tubes which can be cold-swapped without any additional fuss: a swoon-worthy factor for tube rollers.
The speakers were conveying a huge, majestic sound stage with astonishing cohesion for a 2.5-way design. Closer inspection revealed a transducer that was equipped with aluminum-ceramic mid-bass drivers, and tweeter featuring low-mass titanium voice coils, and a solid-wood fronted cabinet with separate acoustic chambers for each driver segment. The Orpheus utilizes a first-order crossover, is a 4-Ohm design that is 88dB sensitive, so SET-owners may want to look elsewhere, but those with at least 30 watts on tap will be pleased at the weight these beauties can fill a room with.
The Magenta TT-10 was kitted with the juicy, and bouncy Rega Exact MM cartridge, which is a real party cart in my books. This is a super fun moving-magnet that translates a lot of meat, and bone from your vinyl with a healthy dose of air up top, and having never heard the TT-10 before, I can say pitch was spot on. The fit, and finish of the ‘table was flawless. While few of you may be familiar with Margules or their Magenta line, I strongly suggest you try to hear this gear. It was a fun, dynamic, punchy, and classy sound at a price point – that while rife with stiff competition – it easily holds its own against.