Magico Q3- Impressive listen

scouter

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Oct 31, 2012
241
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Wrightsville Beach, NC
#1
I finally got the chance to listen to the well regarded Magico Q3's last night. I took my MacBook Pro, loaded with a wide range of music I REGULARLY listen to (not super resolution, show off my stereo productions), running Audirvana Plus with iTunes. The room was medium sized, with the speakers in a room friendly position- i.e., not 1/3 into the room, but rather where one would have them if the room served multi purposes. Playback was through a Berkeley Alpha DAC with USB, Plinius Preamp and amp, Audioquest cables and an Oppo 105 disk player when playing discs.
The speakers were outstanding. Resolution was incredible (even at low levels), imaging was superb, and tonal balance was realistic. (I detected a slight harshness at a loudness I would never listen to, and it may have been from the Plinius clipping, not the speaker- I didn't hear it at a normal listening level for me). Attack and decay of individual notes sounded real. The musicians were placed in concrete positions in the sound field, and their dimensions were realistic. The best part was that it was easy to listen to music, not the speakers. The music flowed effortlessly, even though the resolution was off the chart of my previous speaker experiences. WOW was a frequently used word throughout the session. I didn't want to stop listening, but after several hours at my gracious host's house, I forced myself to say goodbye. While these speakers may not be everybody's cup of tea, everybody should at least give them a listen. I still want to listen to Rockport's latest, but baring them usurping the Q3's, I think I've found my next speakers.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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#2
Agreed, and wait till you hear it with your Spectrals
 

scouter

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Oct 31, 2012
241
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Wrightsville Beach, NC
#3
I can't comment on the Plinius sound, as I have never heard any of their products previously, but yes, I can't help but dream of the Q3's in my house being driven by Spectral. I confess- I'm a Spectral addict! Yes, I've had ARC, Levinson, Melos, PS Audio, etc. in the past and really enjoyed what each had to offer. Spectral seems to put it all together in a complete package -IMHO- for me, myself and I (and my wife). Don't want to get into what sounds "right or wrong", just to say Spectral (and Magico) hits the magic spot for me. My money, my preference. Someone else, their preference. Everyone should at least give these products a listen, like or not. Best to be educated on everything that's out there! You've got to love a hobby that hits you in a special part of your soul with music being conveyed via a medium you research, listen, and then pay for!
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
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La Jolla, Calif USA
#4
I think the Q3's are a superb speaker. Whenever I have heard them, they seem to allow the music to flow. If I had a larger room, they would definitely be on my short list. I would go as far as to say that I even prefer them to the Q5's! Not only are they a lot easier to drive than the Q5's but I think they sound more of the same cloth ( which I could not say about the Q5's, whenever I have heard them). Naturally, YMMV.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,486
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North Shore of Boston
#5
I'm another huge fan of the Q3. I also preferred them to the Q5 heard in the same room, though at different times and with different amps. The Q3 just disappeared and the music filled the room. They have beautiful tone, extremely low distortion, and they are so detailed yet natural sounding. I would love to own a pair. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my Mini 2s.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
5,466
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Boston, MA
#6
I spent a long time today auditioning the Q3 yet again in preparation for potential purchase, with the Spectral 4000SL->30SS S2->260 and virtually the same cables, in a smaller room about the size of mine. Compared to my modified MLs the results were interesting, but somewhat inconclusive; partly because the electronics are slightly different... the Q3 is clearly exceptionally resolving in the lower registers and rendered a realistic well-recorded piano image (very impressive, in fact), was superb with small ensembles, has a clear advantage in the dynamic headroom dept, but fell short with large wind instruments and massive orchestral pieces - RR organ, large-scale chorus/Mahler 2nd, Guilmant Symphony #1, et al - where I could easily hear everything coming out of the midrange driver (meaning too small). Part of the problem here is that the distance to the speakers was 9ft, and these speakers can do better with more room to breath. But at home and a smaller listener-to-speakers distance, the panels literally blow the Q3's socks away with the same large-scale material - the wall of sound when full chorus, then orchestra plus chorus, kicks in is something to behold, and the Q3 was nowhere close. My audition was cut short as I was about to play even more large-scale music, so I need to go back; but the difference is quite literally night and day when it comes to rendering Mahler or similar, and the panels are just so hard to part with, and I mean that with every sense of the word. This limitation is something I expect of every speaker which attempts to reproduce the midrange with a single 6-inch or thereabouts driver, so it feels I need something like the Q5 instead, or a D'Apollito design. But at the moment, I am thinking of bringing them home to eliminate all other variables... This is not going to be a clear-cut decision.
 

MylesBAstor

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Apr 20, 2010
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#8
I spent a long time today auditioning the Q3 yet again in preparation for potential purchase, with the Spectral 4000SL->30SS S2->260 and virtually the same cables, in a smaller room about the size of mine. Compared to my modified MLs the results were interesting, but somewhat inconclusive; partly because the electronics are slightly different... the Q3 is clearly exceptionally resolving in the lower registers and rendered a realistic well-recorded piano image (very impressive, in fact), was superb with small ensembles, has a clear advantage in the dynamic headroom dept, but fell short with large wind instruments and massive orchestral pieces - RR organ, large-scale chorus/Mahler 2nd, Guilmant Symphony #1, et al - where I could easily hear everything coming out of the midrange driver (meaning too small). Part of the problem here is that the distance to the speakers was 9ft, and these speakers can do better with more room to breath. But at home and a smaller listener-to-speakers distance, the panels literally blow the Q3's socks away with the same large-scale material - the wall of sound when full chorus, then orchestra plus chorus, kicks in is something to behold, and the Q3 was nowhere close. My audition was cut short as I was about to play even more large-scale music, so I need to go back; but the difference is quite literally night and day when it comes to rendering Mahler or similar, and the panels are just so hard to part with, and I mean that with every sense of the word. This limitation is something I expect of every speaker which attempts to reproduce the midrange with a single 6-inch or thereabouts driver, so it feels I need something like the Q5 instead, or a D'Apollito design. But at the moment, I am thinking of bringing them home to eliminate all other variables... This is not going to be a clear-cut decision.
I think you're experiencing and describing the quandary that anyone who listens to stats has when considering upgrading to dynamic speakers. There are just things that electrostatics do that dynamic speakers can't dream of doing such as their seamless quality and ultra resolution and microdynamics. And vice versa. Though electrostats are closing some of those gaps particularly say in the case of the MLs, dynamics.
 

FrantzM

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Apr 20, 2010
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#9
I think you're experiencing and describing the quandary that anyone who listens to stats has when considering upgrading to dynamic speakers. There are just things that electrostatics do that dynamic speakers can't dream of doing such as their seamless quality and ultra resolution and microdynamics. And vice versa. Though electrostats are closing some of those gaps particularly say in the case of the MLs, dynamics.
Hi

I am due to a re-audition of the Q3l likely at Goodwin. I believe that planars/line sources have a different way of presenting/reproducing music. The bigness of planars is matched only by very big multi-driver dynamic speakers. On those terms only, the Q3 may disapoit those that are expecting the big wall of sound that planer even the smallest (take Maggie SMG for example) do with ease.
OTOH the Q3 resolves to my ears as well or better than any stats I have heard and in term of low level dynamic gradients is almost spooky. I don't find it wanting in this regard. As a matter of fact, it is as seamless as a single driver speaker, extremely coherent. Low level information reproduction, it trumps most speakers I have heard planar or otherwise. Seems to not like big swings in the low registers ..For that one may need to upgrade to the bigger brothers the Q5 or Q7. I am very partial to subwoofers as many know by now and would love to use this speaker with active crossover (Say the Lyngddorf) and crossed very high with a smooth slope say 6 dB/oct at 100~150 Hz... Just a thought.. To repeat .. This speaker is near or at the top of muy list when will come the time to go to a dedicated room.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,486
376
83
North Shore of Boston
#10
Hi

As a matter of fact, it is as seamless as a single driver speaker, extremely coherent. Low level information reproduction, it trumps most speakers I have heard planar or otherwise.
Frantz, this seems to be at odd to what Ack observed when he wrote that on complex, large scale music, he clearly heard the midrange driver attempting to reproduce everything. I heard the Q3 sound extremely coherent as well, but I did not hear it with complex, large scale music.
 

asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#11
Can you guys give me an example of this "complex, large scale music", so I can try on my setup, with a Q3?

From all the music I've tried, I'm actually left wondering what would the Q7 provide that this one doesn't. Perhaps in a larger room...


alexandre
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,261
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Manila, Philippines
#12
You just answered your own question Alex, scale.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#13
Alex, here are a couple of examples:



The finale is spectacular on the MLs - chorus, orchestra and pipe organ; the Q3 struggles to render the complexity, sounds quite a bit "tiny" in that region; you just can't render 100+ orchestra and 100+ voices plus organ pipes well enough out of solo 6-inch drivers.



Track #1, Guilmant Symphony #1, transcripted for solo pipe organ - organ's pipes too small, timbre though very accurate



This is the same Guilmant Symphony #1, but performed as per original score (organ and orchestra); the Q7 will literally floor you with this recording; the MLs sound sensational but a bit noisy and somewhat distorted; the Q3s struggle during heavy passages



The opening solo timpani on the Charpentier Te Deum did not have the fidelity of the ML panels, and the margin is quite significant; during track #2, the wind instruments are much smaller scale as they should be or as they are rendered by the MLs.

@Frantz: other than your coherency comment - which I found to be lacking with large-scale music (where clearly the Q7 is king among that bunch) - I agree with the rest of your comments.

@dafos: I had an order ready back in 2011 for the Summit X; unfortunately, the amps would shut down at fairly (but not overly) dynamic passages and killed the deal. I feel the modifications I made have pushed these Odysseys past the Summit X - I have very little remaining vibrations (mostly from the stators themselves), the bass cabinet is dead quiet unlike the X's, I get the quality Spectral bass unlike the X's ICE-based (here, the Mundorf components made for a tremendous difference, and don't forget I was replacing electrolytic caps:confused:), and the entire panel passband is incredibly clear with very low noise courtesy again of the Mundorf components and structural mods; I still lack in dynamic headroom and contrasts...

I am going back today to focus more on large-scale material.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
3,157
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San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#14
Still, I'd love to hear some of those albums that the Q3 can't reproduce well enough...
Are we talking about Mahler, things like that?

ack,

Thanks :) Yes, Mahler indeed! I don't have that performance, but I do have a Zubin Mehta doing the Mahler 2nd on 2/496. Should be good enough :)

I also saw your recommendation elsewhere for the Charpentier, and I've already ordered it, so I'm going to try that as well...

As for the others, I've put them on the want list!

Oh, and I just got a call from the importer -- my Q7s are arriving next week :)

alexandre
 

MadFloyd

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May 31, 2010
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Mass
#15
Pardon my ignorance, but are panels known for handling complex music? I didn't know that they were known for creating a wall of sound either (even though I've been to many shows I don't really have much experience with panels; I have a memory that goes back 20 years that has the soundstage tiny and very 2D...)

I am intruiged.
 

FrantzM

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Apr 20, 2010
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#16
Hi

I didnt hear the Q3 on big scale Classical music. So I can't say. I have noticed that reproducing big scale music is often a function of adequate amplifier power and ability to drive the speaker load. Also I believe a 6 inch is plenty to drive midrange sounds to high SPL. I will certainly pay attention to this. I will also try to see if they can change amps, this could be the issue.

This speaker deserves an audition by anyone researching accuracy in music reproduction. The low bass power can be an issue for some, I find the very low bass ( under 40 Hz) good but not record-setting. IOW I have heard better from single box speakers, since I am an ardent fan of multiple subwoofers with any speaker not named Genesis 1.2 ... :) The very low bass capability of a speaker is not as important to me as it once was

I also need to Audition the Q5, maybe next week in NYC and also the Q7. I will be in Boston in 3 weeks does Goodwin carry it?.

Much has been said about the Magico sound to be dry or "analytic".. Not in my experience from the Q3, very far from it. It is however revealing. If you're looking for a speaker that will push a layer of syrup on everything or a warm,overly ripe midbass and midrange. look elsewhere. Imaging is spectacular in line with what you expect from the best mini-monitors and this speaker does a job of disappearing that few speakers can even begin to try .. Remind me of the Spica TC-50 in this regard .. IMO a superlative transducer. One of the best (to my ears) around
 
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Elberoth

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Dec 16, 2012
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Poland
#17
Obviously, the Q3s are not for headbangers.
 
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
#18
Pardon my ignorance, but are panels known for handling complex music? I didn't know that they were known for creating a wall of sound either (even though I've been to many shows I don't really have much experience with panels; I have a memory that goes back 20 years that has the soundstage tiny and very 2D...)

I am intruiged.

I can not speak for all panels, but from my experience both Sound Lab's and Apogee's sound great playing complex music, if properly amplified - this means plenty of quality power.
 

FrantzM

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Apr 20, 2010
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#19
I can not speak for all panels, but from my experience both Sound Lab's and Apogee's sound great playing complex music, if properly amplified - this means plenty of quality power.
Agreed and you can add to that most if not all Maggies with your caveats too i-e with plentiful quality power.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
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San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#20
Obviously, the Q3s are not for headbangers.
Well, I don't know, but it handles heavy rock just fine here :)
Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin never sounded so good! Actually one of my test tracks is "All of my love", from Led Zeppelin. I've heard that bass drum sound like cardboard in other systems, and it's very lively and real here.
It doesn't go that low, sure, but it is fairly impressive, mostly because of the quality/definition of the bass.


alexandre
 

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