Does Magico have a "house sound", and if so, how would you describe it?

One reads many comments about this brand, both positive and negative. Often the opinions are quite strong and infer, to me at least, that people think there is a particular "sound" to the brand. I would like to better understand what people think Magico speakers sound like.

I wrote a long post in another thread describing my thoughts on the "Magico sound" and thought I would start this thread by copying that post here:

Thank you Bob (Rhapsody). I think that is a pretty tough question. I am curious because you have referred to the "Magico sound" a few times in this thread when suggesting that if one likes the "Magico sound", he will like the Magico A5. This suggests that you think there is such a sound and hence my interest in how you and other people might describe it.

It is clear that some people simply don't like Magico speakers, and they too must be referencing a particular "sound" when making such comments.

I have heard many different Magico speakers in many different system contexts and rooms. They have sounded sufficiently different to me, that I find it challenging to identify a brand signature. The degree of dynamics and tonal colorations seem to me to be more dependent on the amplifiers driving them or even the cables than on anything inherent to the brand.

The specific lines do have some traits in common, and this seems mostly based on the construction of that line to meet a certain price point or value proposition, or some idea of "voicing" to please a particular type of customer. Pass Labs seems to have a similar approach with their various amplifier lines, the X and the XA, and then their .5 and .8.

The few attributes I have heard consistently from all of the Magico speakers I've heard, except for the V3, is incredible driver integration, very low cabinet coloration, and timbrally accurate low frequencies. This then leads toward transparency to the upstream components. In that sense, I would describe the brand as chameleon-like: very responsive to system and room context and to set up with very little coloration or character of its own.

For instance, I have heard Magico speakers with the clarity and speed of some panel speakers, the dynamics of some horn speakers, and the coherence of single driver speakers. I have also heard them disappear as some omi-directional speakers do. This is why I find it quite difficult to describe a "Magico Sound."

Finally, the brand does tend to be inefficient and somewhat difficult to drive. This requirement for robust amplification combined with the brick and mortar dealership model might well lead to the favoring of certain types of speaker/amp pairings which may also be very responsible for a type of "house sound" in so much as people generalize about "solid state" and "tube" sound which is then reflected in the listening experience because the speakers are to my ears so transparent to amplification. One is probably less likely to get certain attributes that one associates with SET amplifiers from a Magico system because the speakers can not be driven by such amplifiers.

I admit my experience with a broad range of alternative typologies or even with typical cone/dome drivers and enclosed cabinets is much more limited than to what other audiophiles may have been exposed over time.

Anyway, those are some musings about how I would describe the brand sound, or lack of it."

Magico.jpg
 

Comments

bonzo75

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#42

Folsom

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#43
I mean, in the internal airspace. Like wool or a synthetic fibrous tangle or open-cell foam or somesuch.
Yes, behind the midrange. I'm not sure about the bass drivers. I still think the benefits are limited to how much damping you can use behind a driver. If the Q is very high you have to limit bandwidth or you get big dips and bumps. If it's very low it becomes counter productive. In the middle it sounds ok sometimes, maybe. I've pretty converted to only ape vents and maybe no-rez, where was I've had to de-stuff/de-line a few experiments to make the sound complete again.

Yes they seem to like loud and I think this is Folsom's argument above that they lose some subtle detail...what I THINK he meant was at lower volume levels. Many speakers lose believability quickly as the volume goes down.
I didn't know I was...

I think Magico are perfect if you're into soundstages and attention drawing detail of stuff going on in the images, with a very authorative wholeness. In which case I just don't think you could go wrong as long as you have an amplifier that matches well with the specific Magico speaker (even Tubes, VAC's 450's go great with several models). But if you want resolution and from-the-next-room realness it's not them.
 
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#44
Yes, behind the midrange. I'm not sure about the bass drivers. I still think the benefits are limited to how much damping you can use behind a driver. If the Q is very high you have to limit bandwidth or you get big dips and bumps. If it's very low it becomes counter productive. In the middle it sounds ok sometimes, maybe. I've pretty converted to only ape vents and maybe no-rez, where was I've had to de-stuff/de-line a few experiments to make the sound complete again.



I didn't know I was...

I think Magico are perfect if you're into soundstages and attention drawing detail of stuff going on in the images, with a very authorative wholeness. In which case I just don't think you could go wrong as long as you have an amplifier that matches well with the specific Magico speaker (even Tubes, VAC's 450's go great with several models). But if you want resolution and from-the-next-room realness it's not them.
Folsom, Have you heard the A5's? Just curious and to all that think they know the "Magico sound" and have not heard the A5's I would love to hear your impressions after actually hearing the A5's. imho the "Magico sound" has reached an inflection point with the arrival of the A5 and it's driver technology, which will in the future have a lot to do with the "new Magico sound". Nothing more than my opinion.
 

MadFloyd

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#45
Folsom, Have you heard the A5's? Just curious and to all that think they know the "Magico sound" and have not heard the A5's I would love to hear your impressions after actually hearing the A5's. imho the "Magico sound" has reached an inflection point with the arrival of the A5 and it's driver technology, which will in the future have a lot to do with the "new Magico sound". Nothing more than my opinion.
You think the A5 sounds vastly different from the A3?
 
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#46
You think the A5 sounds vastly different from the A3?
I think it's a different planet. Actually I don't even think it, I know it as having listened now for five days.

As crazy as it sounds, I don't even think there is much of a resemblance in sonics (they do look very similar) between the A3 and A5. The A5 for me is in another league and will compete with all of it's current big brothers in Magico Land.
 
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morricab

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#47
I deleted my comment and decided I will no longer comment on equipment I don't have actual experience in my system. Live music doesn't grab my attention all the time. Do you always go wow on live performance?
No, but you are almost never in doubt about it's "liveness".
 

morricab

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#48
Yes, behind the midrange. I'm not sure about the bass drivers. I still think the benefits are limited to how much damping you can use behind a driver. If the Q is very high you have to limit bandwidth or you get big dips and bumps. If it's very low it becomes counter productive. In the middle it sounds ok sometimes, maybe. I've pretty converted to only ape vents and maybe no-rez, where was I've had to de-stuff/de-line a few experiments to make the sound complete again.



I didn't know I was...

I think Magico are perfect if you're into soundstages and attention drawing detail of stuff going on in the images, with a very authorative wholeness. In which case I just don't think you could go wrong as long as you have an amplifier that matches well with the specific Magico speaker (even Tubes, VAC's 450's go great with several models). But if you want resolution and from-the-next-room realness it's not them.
Yes, but this feeling is information from the system, nonetheless. And if that is not being put out into the room then it is being lost...somewhere. Until I hear a Magico with electronics that I consider to be top notch I will reserve judgement as to where that lack of a bit of realism has gone missing. It is a very easy thing to destroy...but I suspect that this brands overall highly damped concept is leading to a lack of dynamic jump that hurts microdynamics...but that is not confirmed.

On the other hand, I recently heard some Live Act Audio speakers in Germany that capture this liveness and feeling that you are hearing the real thing very well. The Be compression driver sounds like magic on the highs.
 

morricab

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#49
Folsom, Have you heard the A5's? Just curious and to all that think they know the "Magico sound" and have not heard the A5's I would love to hear your impressions after actually hearing the A5's. imho the "Magico sound" has reached an inflection point with the arrival of the A5 and it's driver technology, which will in the future have a lot to do with the "new Magico sound". Nothing more than my opinion.
Just out of curiosity, what electronics are you using on them?
 
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Just out of curiosity, what electronics are you using on them?
To break them in running 24/7 for the last five days I had them connected to the Extreme server then into the AF xHD dac into the Devialet ExPro 1000.

I connected the A5's up to the Constellation pre and Centaur II and sonically it was a big step up as expected, BUT for some reason I love the sound with the Devialet on them. Just something about it. I know I will sell many systems with the Devialet on the A5s. Such as simple and wonderful sounding system, especially for those that want/need a simple but great sounding system.
 

Lagonda

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#51
Are you referring to these, these were the old M5 with wood on the sides that we heard at Gian's friend audio graffiti, with spectral pre, basis audio work of art, and MBL amps.

View attachment 66744
Is that one of the systems you have judged the sound of MBL electronics by Ked ? Those are really old amps, not current version.
 

bonzo75

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Is that one of the systems you have judged the sound of MBL electronics by Ked ? Those are really old amps, not current version.
No, I compared MBL 2008 amps with spectral on 101, and then the MBL integrated with Ypsilon integrated on 111
 
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PeterA

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#53
This is a fascinating thread. Some responses suggest that there is little or no Magico "sound" because the speakers more or less disappear leaving only the music and the attributes of upstream gear. Others suggest that the speakers have a very strong sonic signature which they do not like, while still others suggest that each line, and now a new speaker within a line, all sound remarkably different, perhaps radically with the A5, so that there are many Magico "sounds".

I think Magico is one big 15-20 year experiment. There have been many different products priced and voiced for different customer bases. Most of the products demonstrate serious efforts to push driver, crossover and cabinet technology in new directions. Where many well known speaker companies are mature and have developed a particular sound and direction, perhaps the founder's vision, Magico seems restless and searching for constant ways to change, innovate and push the envelope. They are certainly not alone with this approach, but they do seem to garner a bit more attention than most.

I see a few consistent attributes over the years: drivers with lightweight cones and massive magnets approaching pistonic behavior controlled by sophisticated crossovers all housed in sealed, inert enclosures designed to disappear sonically. I generally hear low distortion, good driver integration, minimal sound from the enclosure, and transparency to upstream gear. There seems to be a relentless drive to improve these few common attributes through research and development.

Magico is not alone in these pursuits, but they do seem to move at a rapid pace and garner much attention in the process. Progress is not linear, but it does seem fairly regular with an occasional breakthrough. Whether the resulting sound is to your liking or not, I can not help but be impressed with the company and their efforts in the pursuit of what they feel is progress.
 
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morricab

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#54
This is a fascinating thread. Some responses suggest that there is little or no Magico "sound" because the speakers more or less disappear leaving only the music and the attributes of upstream gear. Others suggest that the speakers have a very strong sonic signature which they do not like, while still others suggest that each line, and now a new speaker within a line, all sound remarkably different, perhaps radically with the A5, so that there are many Magico "sounds".

I think Magico is one big 15-20 year experiment. There have been many different products priced and voiced for different customer bases. Most of the products demonstrate serious efforts to push driver, crossover and cabinet technology in new directions. Where many well known speaker companies are mature and have developed a particular sound and direction, perhaps the founder's vision, Magico seems restless and searching for constant ways to change, innovate and push the envelope. They are certainly not alone with this approach, but they do seem to garner a bit more attention than most.

I see a few consistent attributes over the years: drivers with lightweight cones and massive magnets approaching pistonic behavior controlled by sophisticated crossovers all housed in sealed, inert enclosures designed to disappear sonically. I generally hear low distortion, good driver integration, minimal sound from the enclosure, and transparency to upstream gear. There seems to be a relentless drive to improve these few common attributes through research and development.

Magico is not alone in these pursuits, but they do seem to move at a rapid pace and garner much attention in the process. Progress is not linear, but it does seem fairly regular with an occasional breakthrough. Whether the resulting sound is to your liking or not, I can not help but be impressed with the company and their efforts in the pursuit of what they feel is progress.
There was one Magico that definitely sounded different than all the rest:

https://magico.net/product/ultimate.php

This is one I can get behind at least in design terms if not in cost terms... :cool:

Dynamics were NOT an issue with this system...;)
 

morricab

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#55
This is a fascinating thread. Some responses suggest that there is little or no Magico "sound" because the speakers more or less disappear leaving only the music and the attributes of upstream gear. Others suggest that the speakers have a very strong sonic signature which they do not like, while still others suggest that each line, and now a new speaker within a line, all sound remarkably different, perhaps radically with the A5, so that there are many Magico "sounds".

I think Magico is one big 15-20 year experiment. There have been many different products priced and voiced for different customer bases. Most of the products demonstrate serious efforts to push driver, crossover and cabinet technology in new directions. Where many well known speaker companies are mature and have developed a particular sound and direction, perhaps the founder's vision, Magico seems restless and searching for constant ways to change, innovate and push the envelope. They are certainly not alone with this approach, but they do seem to garner a bit more attention than most.

I see a few consistent attributes over the years: drivers with lightweight cones and massive magnets approaching pistonic behavior controlled by sophisticated crossovers all housed in sealed, inert enclosures designed to disappear sonically. I generally hear low distortion, good driver integration, minimal sound from the enclosure, and transparency to upstream gear. There seems to be a relentless drive to improve these few common attributes through research and development.

Magico is not alone in these pursuits, but they do seem to move at a rapid pace and garner much attention in the process. Progress is not linear, but it does seem fairly regular with an occasional breakthrough. Whether the resulting sound is to your liking or not, I can not help but be impressed with the company and their efforts in the pursuit of what they feel is progress.
If you go back and hear a pair of the old M5 and compare with something comparable from the lineup do you think there will be a breakthrough in the sound quality? Serious question because I am not so sure all will prefer the newer speakers.
 
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Folsom

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#56
Folsom, Have you heard the A5's? Just curious and to all that think they know the "Magico sound" and have not heard the A5's I would love to hear your impressions after actually hearing the A5's. imho the "Magico sound" has reached an inflection point with the arrival of the A5 and it's driver technology, which will in the future have a lot to do with the "new Magico sound". Nothing more than my opinion.
I haven't heard the A5 yet, just the S5 if we're counting 5's.
 

PeterA

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#57
how could you not place Magico in the middle of your own sweet spot? and how could ddk not put his favorite cartridges in the middle of his sweet own spot? does the scale have widely held truthful relevance? for some obviously.

i'm the one who mixed cartridge presentations with speaker presentations, so blame posting the scale here on me.
Absolutely Mike. We could all make such charts with our individual thoughts on our gear relative to what else is available. Such illustrations are graphic representations of our opinions if we make the effort to produce them.

DDK made that chart to share with others his thoughts about cartridges. It is clear and informative, and therefore quite useful it seems to me. It quickly and unambiguously shows to others where he thinks various cartridges lie on the neutral/natural scale. Others might place their own cartridges on such a scale in different locations. I know my Japanese cartridges would end up away from my vdHs. Most would probably agree with that.

It is not at all clear to me that everyone would place his own gear in the center of such a neutral/natural scale. Many people like components and systems that do not sound neutral or natural. That is the utility of such a scale.

I posted DDK's scale for illustration purposes, in part because you compared vdH to Magico, an analogy with which I happen to agree. I'm sure others do not. Rather than blame you for the analogy, I thank you for making the comparison. It contributes to my description of what I think of as the Magico "sound".
 
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PeterA

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#58
If you go back and hear a pair of the old M5 and compare with something comparable from the lineup do you think there will be a breakthrough in the sound quality? Serious question because I am not so sure all will prefer the newer speakers.
I heard that M5 once at Sound by Singer in NYC, years ago. It was when I was researching the eventual purchase of my Mini II. In one afternoon, I heard the Mini II, the V3, and then the M5 in three different systems at that dealership.

I was incredibly impressed by both the Mini II and M5. I thought that the ladder actually sounded like a scaled up Mini II - same lack of distortion, same coherence as a small 2-way, same disappearing act, same natural resolution. I was extremely impressed, but alas, I could not afford the $90K asking price, nor did I have the space in my room.

I did consider buying one when I saw it for sale on Audiogon in mint condition for under $25K. Perhaps I should have. The M5 is a fantastic speaker.

I agree that not everyone will prefer all of the new models to that classic speaker. It was built with few considerations to cost or effort. This is why I think of Magico as one giant experiment. The company is like a teenage, still searching, experimenting, finding its way. It is not mature like Wilson, or Tannoy. It is young and growing and developing. Speaker technology is not mature like vinyl technology where most seems known. There are many approaches, many technologies, some better than others, and some are not improvements, they are steps backwards.

I think the M Pro sounds better than the M5, but not all current Magicos do.
 

Folsom

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#59
Yes, but this feeling is information from the system, nonetheless. And if that is not being put out into the room then it is being lost...somewhere. Until I hear a Magico with electronics that I consider to be top notch I will reserve judgement as to where that lack of a bit of realism has gone missing. It is a very easy thing to destroy...but I suspect that this brands overall highly damped concept is leading to a lack of dynamic jump that hurts microdynamics...but that is not confirmed.

On the other hand, I recently heard some Live Act Audio speakers in Germany that capture this liveness and feeling that you are hearing the real thing very well. The Be compression driver sounds like magic on the highs.
Damping is complicated. Your favorite compression drivers are internally very damped (they have QTS below .3) but they don't lack dynamics. This is why I say not all damping is equal for the type of sound you'll get. The frequency range and damping is another interest factor since it doesn't seem to sound universally appealing at any given amount. It also varies with speaker type etc.
 

Mike Lavigne

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#60
Absolutely Mike. We could all make such charts with our individual thoughts on our gear relative to what else is available. Such illustrations are graphic representations of our opinions if we make the effort to produce them.

DDK made that chart to share with others his thoughts about cartridges. It is clear and informative, and therefore quite useful it seems to me. It quickly and unambiguously shows to others where he thinks various cartridges lie on the neutral/natural scale. Others might place their own cartridges on such a scale in different locations. I know my Japanese cartridges would end up away from my vdHs. Most would probably agree with that.
honestly Peter; ddk's use of the term "disturbing hifi trend for new boutique cartridges" is disturbing in itself (in his typically 'in-your-face' style) and makes it anything but useful unless you jump on the ddk freight train. i guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

yes; we could all make charts. but most of us would not stick it to everyone with it. but his fans surely love it.
 
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