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

Jan 16, 2013
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Hi Bob,
Thanks. Very interesting. Yeah, I am curious if this is specific to your clientele or whether it's a general trend in the industry.

We also hear about vinyl "coming back". But my gut is telling me that "Dad" or "Grandpa" buying this expensive gear is tired, fat, lazy, got bad knees or bad hips, and doesn't want to get up from his chair. Other than to grab his phone or ipad from the charger, so he can tap on the Roon playlist.

The good news is that people are interested in "good sound". Any young people or all alter cockers?
I believe every dealer is different, even in the same geographic territory.

I have customers in all age groups. From 20's to 90's, yes I have 3 customers in their 90s and they still buy something occasionally.

The 70+ group do not purchase all that much in general. I would say 75% of my sales are to customers between 40-60, then another 15% in their 30's with the 5% on both ends of the curve.

I sell a lot of Magico M2/M3 with a server/streaming and a Devialet. Sounds great, easy to place in rooms, completely hassle free.

Then the more exotic systems are leading with Alsyvox, Diesis or Bayz and all types of electronics/sources with these systems.
 

caesar

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Jadis are excellent amplifiers , I went though some of them. But curiously IMHO the best of the brand I owned was the JP80 preamplifer - I could happily live with a JP80 and a pair of JA200's, I have a feeling they would sound very good with the Q7mk2 ... ;)

Jadis ignored market trends - for example they did not have remotes for the preamplifiers, no easy adjustments of bias in amplifiers, obliging people to buy very expensive matched tube sets for their equipment, no handles to help moving them. Also they went though several distribution problems in several countries, something that severely affects brand reputation. There is no consistent discourse or technical information about the brand online from the factory - just rumors. See what happened with the last JA 200 Stereophile review ...

IMHO when a brand keeps the same model designations for 40 years the evolution must be very transparent. Unfortunately no one knows seems to know exactly what are the different mk's of Jadis models along the years.

Just to end the JA200 sounded delicious in vintage Soundlab A1's. Colored, the bass was too full and the combination lacked articulation, but a real pleasure to listen.
Hi Microstrip,
I don't doubt one bit that other than CAT amps, Jadis could Magico Q sound good.

A big problem for Jadis is that they need to design for Wilson. And getting it to non-analytical reviewers.

They gave a review sample of JA200s to Stereophile's Victor Sirinous, and being the typical Wilson-first Stereophile reviewer, he shat all over the JA200s - "colored", boring, ...". Stereophile equally fukked over Bricasti amps and Aqua Fina DAC - anything that's not Wilson - D'Agostino - dCS - goes to an early grave.

And I agree with you on the need for better marketing and the remote control.
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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I believe every dealer is different, even in the same geographic territory.

I have customers in all age groups. From 20's to 90's, yes I have 3 customers in their 90s and they still buy something occasionally.

The 70+ group do not purchase all that much in general. I would say 75% of my sales are to customers between 40-60, then another 15% in their 30's with the 5% on both ends of the curve.

I sell a lot of Magico M2/M3 with a server/streaming and a Devialet. Sounds great, easy to place in rooms, completely hassle free.

Then the more exotic systems are leading with Alsyvox, Diesis or Bayz and all types of electronics/sources with these systems.
Truly is fascinating. Thanks for sharing! Are you Kondo customers audiophiles with horn speakers or just collectors who enjoy luxury items?
 

PeterA

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Yeah, we are getting into personal preference territory - which kind of is this hobby and 75% of all posts on web-boards and arguments, but it's hard to find good SS... But there is a handful of exceptions: Symphonic Line, Gryphon, Luxman (on easy to drive speakers), nothing else jumps into mind immediately... slim pickings. :):) :)
Caesar, is this post getting into preference territory, or does it belong in the other 25% of all posts on web-boards?
 
Jan 16, 2013
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Truly is fascinating. Thanks for sharing! Are you Kondo customers audiophiles with horn speakers or just collectors who enjoy luxury items?
My Kondo customers ALL have vinyl. They are much more music lovers than equipment aficianodos. Most do not participate in forums. All over the board with what speakers they have-. ie, Alsyvox, Kaiser, Diesis, Avantgarde, OMA, several more I'm not remembering. The owners that I have and know don't really consider the Kondo gear "luxury" items. It's just their audio system, just like Lamm, Wavac, Aries Cerat would think of their systems.
 

cannata

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Jan 31, 2014
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Hi Cannata,
For those of us that are not technical, can you please explain why being "reasonably smooth and balanced on and off-axis" is important. Isn't this a primarily solitary hobby, with our seat firmly planted in the sweet spot?
Do you really want to know? If so, Magico has wrote this especially for you:
https://www.magicoaudio.com/news/magico-news-for-fall-2019

Go down to: "Why We Do the Things We Do"
 
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bonzo75

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PeterA

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Do you really want to know? If so, Magico has wrote this especially for you:
https://www.magicoaudio.com/news/magico-news-for-fall-2019

Go down to: "Why We Do the Things We Do"
I think it has to do with the spectral balance of direct sound and reflected sound. Thanks for this post. I read that a few months ago. The current Magico newsletter about driver technology and pistonic movement is also fascinating.
 
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cannata

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totaldac

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I have a pair of Magico M6's for one and a half year now.
When I drove them using a 80W triode push pull amplifier I have some strange sound in midrange. I found that the relatively high output impedance of the amplifier made a wrong matching with the rather low and un-even impedance of the M6's. Yes the M6's difficulty is it impedance far before its efficiency, because its efficiency is not bad at all.
So I developed an impedance matching box made to be connected in parallel to the speaker binding posts. It makes the speaker impedance not lower but much more flat. So it prevents from getting the curve of the speaker impedance copied into the frequency response (easily visible on the frequency response). This clearly improved the sound of the M6's when driven by this triode amplifier.
More surprising, this impedance matching box also improves the sound even with all transistors amplifiers I tried although the effect on the frequency response was not really visible (because the output impedance of these amplifiers is low).
This may be because the load seen by the amplifier is very different in each frequency range. The distorsion of the amplifiers are also different on a 2.5ohm load or on a 8ohm load for example.

I also made another impedance matching box for a Vivid Audio Giya, with the same result.

About Magico sound, I would say the M6 sound clearly different than a speakers made of paper cones, and people may prefer one or the other.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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I would love to have some conversation with those that have heard the A5's. Once one hears the A5s my perception is that their Magico perspective will change. Not saying there is anything wrong with the existing Magico speakers house sound, BUT imho the A5 is an inflection point for Magico. Time will tell as it does with all things......
106069240_10222254767059128_8281199091331715026_o-2.jpg 105362985_10222254767179131_2605298055274614677_o-2.jpg 106554984_10222254767219132_157918081680171994_o-2.jpg
 
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cjf

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Nov 19, 2012
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Interesting read this thread has been.

Being an S3 MkI owner I feel the Magico sound is hard to find or notice as they are more like microscopes for everything that comes before them in the source or connectivity chain. Hearing differences in "tweaks" comes forward fairly quickly, IME.

I think this is what ultimately drove me towards buying them after careful comparisons of similar priced speakers back when I was shopping. I felt having a dead neutral speaker was the best choice long term and I could add "Flavor" later, if needed.

Some other brands I auditioned sounded more exciting/impressive when I heard them but I ended up taking the gamble that the more exciting speaker was going to be less flexible later on so I went with the neutral one. I'm glad I did!

I would fully agree with those who mentioned their difficultly to drive behaviors and that they require a well sorted and robust amp to wrangle them in a bit. Class D need not apply (Trust me, I've tried).

But with the right amp, cable combo to add some seasoning (if you feel so inclined) in addition to a few well integrated subs I think they can sound any way the owner wants which I believe is made easier by their original inherent neutrality to start with (ie..little to no sound signature)

I'm a fan of the music they make in my room :)
 
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TLi

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May 27, 2016
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I heard A5 in the dealer showroom. The impression was very good. It can easily beats other speakers at its price point or some more.

Yes, A5 does have the Magico house sound, ie very detailed and neutral.

I used M Project for 3 years before switching to M6 and have listened to virtually all Magico models except Ultimate 3. The house sound changes with time and the cabinet material. A5 has the midrange of M6 but not the extension of both ends as M2 and M6. IMAG3318.jpg IMAG3319.jpg
 

Alpinist

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I heard A5 in the dealer showroom. The impression was very good. It can easily beats other speakers at its price point or some more.

Yes, A5 does have the Magico house sound, ie very detailed and neutral.

I used M Project for 3 years before switching to M6 and have listened to virtually all Magico models except Ultimate 3. The house sound changes with time and the cabinet material. A5 has the midrange of M6 but not the extension of both ends as M2 and M6. View attachment 67747 View attachment 67748
Does the A5 have better midrange than the M2 and M3?

Ken
 

PeterA

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I heard A5 in the dealer showroom. The impression was very good. It can easily beats other speakers at its price point or some more.

Yes, A5 does have the Magico house sound, ie very detailed and neutral.

I used M Project for 3 years before switching to M6 and have listened to virtually all Magico models except Ultimate 3. The house sound changes with time and the cabinet material. A5 has the midrange of M6 but not the extension of both ends as M2 and M6.
Congratulations TLi on the M6. I am very familiar with the M Project as it belongs to a good friend. I have also heard the M2 and M3 but not the A5. Are you saying that you think the M2 has great low frequency extension than the A5? That would surprise me given the drivers. Very interesting.
 

TLi

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May 27, 2016
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Congratulations TLi on the M6. I am very familiar with the M Project as it belongs to a good friend. I have also heard the M2 and M3 but not the A5. Are you saying that you think the M2 has great low frequency extension than the A5? That would surprise me given the drivers. Very interesting.
M2 certainly has stronger bass and deeper low frequency extension than A5. I know it sounds odd, it may be due to the crossover design. The cabinet also contributes. A5 has a slightly boxy bass, not as clean and accurate as M2.

M2 projects a sonic picture like a large speaker, while A5 can't.

M2 and M3 are quite different speakers. M3 has a tropical sound of Q series, analytical and clean, but can be a little dry and harsh. M2 and M6 are a lot warmer due to the carbon fibre cabinet and they repesent the new house sound of Magico. I am sure M9 will follow the same trend.

As for the midrange, A5 is really good probably due to the new driver. It is accurate but not dry, but I can't tell if it is better than M2 and M3.
 

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