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Thread: Magico Loudspeakers -- Los Angeles Audio Show 2017

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    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Magico Loudspeakers -- Los Angeles Audio Show 2017

    I have a confession to make at the outset: I have never cared much for the original versions of Magico loudspeakers. I found them dynamic and transparent and neutral and extended in the low frequencies and the high frequencies and very well-made --but I never felt that they sounded like live music They never connected me emotionally to the music. They were, to my ears, technically accurate and very competent, but not pleasurable or musically enjoyable or emotionally engaging. It was not lost on me that these impressions were highly correlated with listening to Magico speakers in systems invariably with solid-state electronics and often with digital sources.

    Since these early impressions two important developments for me have occurred: 1) Magico has replaced most of its speakers with Mark II versions, and 2) I have four times now auditioned Mark II versions of the speakers driven by tube electronics.

    I heard at Rhapsody Music and Cinema in Manhattan, New York, the M3 speakers driven by 50 watt Class A single-ended triode Kondo Kagura monaural amplifiers.


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    I have heard at Myles Astor's home the S5 Mk. II driven by Conrad-Johnson ART amplifiers.

    This weekend at the Los Angeles Audio Show 2017 I heard in the Brooks Berdan Ltd. demo room the S3 Mk. II speakers driven by Jadis JA120 100 watt mono amplifiers ($23,900) using KT120 output tubes. The pre-amplifier was the Jadis JP80MC ($19,900). The Vertere MG-1 Magic Groove ($13,000) with the Vertere SG-1 tonearm ($3,200) played the vinyl. On the tonearm was mounted an Acoustic Systems The Archon ($3,295).


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    In the Scott Walker Audio demo room I heard the S5 Mk. II speakers driven by VAC Signature 200 iQ mono amplifiers. Scott was using Arian Jansen's Sonorous ATR-10 reel-to-reel tape machine. This machine, based on a Revox PR99, has an on-board tube pre-amp stage.


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    I want to disclose, also, that in each of these four last auditions the source was analog -- both vinyl and tape -- my extremely strong preference.

    In all four of these cases the tube amplification transformed the sound coming out of the Magicos. Gone was (to me ears) the edginess, the overly detailed presentation, the “clinicalness” of the sound. What remained was Magico’s legendary dynamics, transparency, driver coherence and transparency.

    I am sure a lot of the difference has to do with the Mark II versions, which, to me, has made the speaker models less edgy sounding in general. But the tube amplification I think played an even bigger role.

    Between the Brooks Berdan Ltd. room driving S3 Mk. IIs with all Jadis tube electronics and the Scott Walker Audio room driving the S5 Mk. IIs with VAC electronics I personally preferred overall the Brooks Berdan Ltd. sound. With the Jadis electronics the sound was especially natural and sweet. I heard nothing harsh or edgy whatsoever.

    I kept looking at the S3 Mk. IIs in the Brooks Berdan Ltd. room wondering who put different drivers in a Magico cabinet! If I had listened to this system blind it never would have remotely occurred to me that I was listening to Magico speakers. I also want to note that as much as I loved the sound from this system, I think the Jadis electronics were obscuring a bit of the transparency I am used to hearing from Magico speakers driven by solid-state electronics. For me personally, however, that trade-off of a bit of transparency for all of the musicality I heard from that system is a great trade to make.

    It is baffling to me that it has taken Magico and Magico’s dealers this long to realize that Soulution solid-state electronics are not necessarily the right solution to making Magico speakers make music. I am grateful that Magico’s team seems finally to have realized this. I am confident that demonstrating tubes on Magicos opens up for Magico an new market segment of audiophiles who like the slightly softer, sweeter presentation of tubes.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Benz-Micro LP S; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse; line stage: Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse; amplifier: VTL Siegfried II; speakers: Gryphon Pendragons; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel; Torus AVR60BAL; JPS in-wall wire; Furutech NCF outlets; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; treatment: ASC Tube Traps, Lumitex drapes; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks

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    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    Wow Ron impressive. And hearing it with both Jadis and VaC at that. I agree, Jadis can be hazy but I love it, there is something very natural about that sound
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

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    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Resnick View Post
    It is baffling to me that it has taken Magico and Magico’s dealers this long to realize that Soulution solid-state electronics are not the right solution to making Magico speakers make music. I am grateful that Magico’s team seems finally to have realized this. I am confident that demonstrating tubes on Magicos opens up for Magico an new market segment of audiophiles who like the slightly softer, sweeter presentation of tubes.
    Magico/Soltion, Magico/Boulder, etc. reflect Alon's preferences for type of sound you described.

    david
    Audio Industry Affiliate:Lamm, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformers, Pheonix Engineering.
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    System 1: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 1
    System 2: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 2- Near field setup

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    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] Folsom's Avatar
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    The M3 is a huge step up for sure.
    Industry Affiliation: Folsom

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    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Resnick View Post

    It is baffling to me that it has taken Magico and Magico’s dealers this long to realize that Soulution solid-state electronics are not necessarily the right solution to making Magico speakers make music. I am grateful that Magico’s team seems finally to have realized this. I am confident that demonstrating tubes on Magicos opens up for Magico an new market segment of audiophiles who like the slightly softer, sweeter presentation of tubes.
    I'm glad you have had those recent experiences with Magico speakers, Ron. The only tubes I've heard with Magico is MadFloyd's MPro/CAT combination. I understand that you don't like the Magico/Solution pairing, but have you ever heard Magico with either Pass or Spectral SS? I am partial, surely, but I really like Magico/Pass, both with the legacy Mini IIs and with the contemporary M Pros. Some of the Magico speakers are fairly difficult to drive, especially to loud levels in large rooms. Did you hear any strain with the tube pairings?
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

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    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Folsom View Post
    The M3 is a huge step up for sure.
    Ron, what were your impressions of the M3 at Rhapsody compared to the S mk2 series?
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

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    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Magico/Soltion, Magico/Boulder, etc. reflect Alon's preferences for type of sound you described.

    david
    David, is this observation about Alon's preference based on historical pairings or has he spoken or written about this specifically? I know at the factory, they have many different electronics in and out for audition, both SS and tubes.
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

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    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] Folsom's Avatar
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    M3's sound like they have really made the crossovers work better to me. They seem a lot friendlier between different amps, and you get a much more cohesive sound between top to bottom of the frequency range. Where as the S series I heard didn't like amps without higher dampening factor, and there was some tension between bass and highs.
    Industry Affiliation: Folsom

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    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    . . . have you ever heard Magico with either Pass or Spectral SS? . . .
    Dear Peter, No I have not -- but you know what I am going to write.

    It would be a very risky bet that I would prefer Spectral or even Pass on Magicos over high-power tubes.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Benz-Micro LP S; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse; line stage: Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse; amplifier: VTL Siegfried II; speakers: Gryphon Pendragons; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel; Torus AVR60BAL; JPS in-wall wire; Furutech NCF outlets; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; treatment: ASC Tube Traps, Lumitex drapes; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks

  10. #10
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Ron, what were your impressions of the M3 at Rhapsody compared to the S mk2 series?
    There is no way for me even to hazard a vague guess. All I know is that the M3 and the Mk. IIs in general sound different to me than the earlier speakers.

    When I saw and heard the S3 Mk. II in the Jadis system on Friday and then again with Keith on Saturday I thought to myself that you should buy that speaker.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000; tonearms: SME 3012R, Schröder LT; cartridges: ZYX UNIverse Premium X-SB2, Benz-Micro LP S; tape: Studer A820 Mk II; phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse; line stage: Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse; amplifier: VTL Siegfried II; speakers: Gryphon Pendragons; cables: MasterBuilt Ultra; stands: Herzan + Taiko Tana for Io, custom for turntable, Stacore Basic+ for amps; power: Benjamin Electric subpanel; Torus AVR60BAL; JPS in-wall wire; Furutech NCF outlets; room: 19' wide X 24' long X 14' tall; treatment: ASC Tube Traps, Lumitex drapes; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks

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