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Florida 2019: Magico, Luxman, Audioquest, Critical Mass Systems







Suncoast Audio had another fantastic-sounding room nearby on the seventh floor and Peter Mackay was on hand playing some righteous digital through the A3s.  The Magico A3s ($12K) have been an unqualified success for the company and it’s easy to see why.  They have the classic Magico sound with deep and tight bass and a nice open sound for the mids and highs.  They also are solid being constructed of machines 6061 aircraft aluminum cabinet similar to the firm’s far more expensive offerings.  Internal “sub-enclosures” isolate each driver in a way to better control the back wave.  The finish is a gorgeous brushed black aluminum.  The tweeter is a 28mm beryllium dome that has been optimized based on work Alon and team did for the M Project tweeter.  The midrange driver was quite special.  In Magico’s own words,

A newly designed Magico 6-inch midrange driver sets a new benchmark of measured performance in both frequency bandwidth and time domains. The cone material is formulated using Multi-Wall carbon fiber and a layer of XG Nanographene, which provides optimal stiffness to weight ratio with ideal damping properties. A new overhung neodymium based motor system incorporates extra-large magnets to ensure a stabilized magnetic field in the 75-mm pure titanium voice coil.

Two 7″ graphene Neo-Tec bass woofers complete the driver selection.  A “3-way dividing” crossover network uses Mundorf capacitors features a 24db per octave Linkwitz-Riley filter that maximizes frequency bandwidth while preserving phase linearity and minimizing intermodulation distortion.  Frequency response is 22hz (!) to 50khz.  Sensitivity is 88db with 4 ohms impedance.  Total weight is 110 lbs.  The speaker sits on a rounded-corner base plate protruding a half-inch or so and supported by spikes.  It’s a good value for all the Magico learnings built within.  The A3 reminds me of the new pencil-shaped building going up in Manhattan.  Elegant, thin towers (44″ x 11″ x 9.5″) and this may be appropriate as the A3 could just be the ideal speaker for smaller space living like that found in the Big Apple.

Supporting the speakers was the Luxman L509-X integrated amplifier ($9,495) which was quite a nice match I have to say.  This piece uses Luxman’s Only Distortion Negative Feedback circuit:

An integral part of the design of the L-509X is LUXMAN’s original ODNF* amplification feedback circuit, featuring a high-speed primary slew rate, an ultra-wide bandwidth and a low level of distortion that is achieved by feeding back only the distorted components of the audio signal from the output of the amplification circuit. The L-509X is equipped with the latest Version 4.0 ODNF providing a dramatic enhancement of accuracy in distortion detection due to the triple-paralleled first stage error detection circuit. Lower impedance and a higher signal to noise ratio have been achieved due to the paralleled first stage and Darlington equipped second stage amplification circuit. A 3-stage Darlington circuit and a 4-parallel push-pull structure is used for the output stage, similar to the M-700u power amplifier. This achieves output at 120W+120W(8Ω) and 220W+220W(4Ω), enabling the L-509X to drive speakers powerfully with rich dynamics and full expression. *ODNF stands for “Only Distortion Negative Feedback”.

This reminds me of the classic receivers of days past but updated with an audiophile sensibility to have better performance, higher build quality, and more flexibility.  There is the LECUA 1000 stepped attenuator with 88 steps of volume.  There is more power supply than maybe needed (10,000μFx4 per channel).  There are two sets of inputs from balanced sources.  There are even tone controls.  This is a serious attempt at an integrated.  Luxman even offers the “Luxman Audio Player” for playing music files and it is compatible with both windows and mac computers.

This room was rolling digital only via a Luxman D-08u CD/SACD player.  This component uses dually-configured Texas Instruments’ 1792 chips to achieve a dynamic range of 132db.  One can play PCM up to 32/384 and DSD to 5.6Mhz.  Distortion is super low at 0.0015% for CD and 0.0011% for SACD playback.  A new Lumin T-2 server was serving up files to the DAC.  The T-2 uses ESS 9028 chips, 32-bit internal volume control, and is fully compatible with Roon, MQA, Tidal and Qobuz.  An AudioQuest Niagara 5000 ($4K) was providing clean power with Hurricane power cables ($1,250) throughout and Audioquest interconnects and speaker cables connecting it all.  A Critical Mass Systems stand was supporting the CD player, integrated, and Niagara.  It was a nice, compact-looking system.

But how did it all sound?

Musical.  Un-digital.  Powerful in the bass.  Continuous in the midrange.

In my experience, Magico speakers have two hallmarks: a sublime presence in the midrange and deep, rich, tight bass.  Two seven inch woofers from Magico were definitely setting a foundation down below.  The graphene midrange driver was sublime.  The beryllium tweeter was keeping all fluid and airy on top.  The imagine was good as well.  We listened to Malia’s Convergence album.  Celestial Echo’s bass was appropriately deep and slightly distant on the opening of Celestial Echo.  The presence on Malia’s voice was present and clear as she sang, “I’ll be your torch, your light, your umbrella…”  It’s hard to beat this quality of sound over a full range for the $12K price point of the A3s.   Genuinely solid engineering.

A terrific showing for Magico, Luxman, and Audioquest!  And another outstanding room from Mike Bovaird at Suncoast Audio!







About Lee Scoggins (125 Articles)
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area. Lee's current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Wilson Audio speakers.

3 Comments on Florida 2019: Magico, Luxman, Audioquest, Critical Mass Systems

  1. does the Luxman Integrated have a phono stage?

  2. M. Mahon // March 17, 2019 at 3:41 PM //

    To my knowledge, your comments are the first semi-formal review or comments, other than You Tube on the Magico A3 speakers. I wish the speakers still cost their initial cost of < 10K/pr.

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