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

Al M.

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You are trying to convince people whose idea of good sound is a flapping cardbox with a megaphone in the center. It does not matter how Magico performs or sounds; they just listen to what they are used to or like, and if they don't hear it, its bad.
I tend to assume more from people in terms of willingness to listen.
 

Lagonda

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You are trying to convince people whose idea of good sound is a flapping cardbox with a megaphone in the center.
LOL, that is funny. Kudos to you for ingenuity !:)
 
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PeterA

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The first of many speakers that Nelson Pass has designed was made out of cardboard. The cabinet that is.
 

MadFloyd

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It seems pretty clear to me that different speaker house sounds exist not so much for the artistic goals of the designer but because listeners have different tastes. Magico has always been polarizing and I get it. They are known for being analytical, but one person's analytical is 'natural' and another's is 'non-musical'.
 

Al M.

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Probably the most successful hi-end loudspeaker company of the 21st did not get there by having "disastrous" showing. If you like Magico (or willing to keep an open mind), you will find their showing decent to spectacular (M2/M6 in Munich).
Except that I like Magico, and I have also heard them sound plain awful. As far as "decent", I don't care about that either. I can get far, far better than "decent" at home ;). Perhaps that's also why I usually don't care about shows. Why should I?

Spectacular, well that's a different matter.
 

Al M.

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They are known for being analytical, but one person's analytical is 'natural' and another's is 'non-musical'.
Except that on your M Project speakers you can get a similarly saturated tonality as I do on my Reference 3A speakers, and with more authority than those on, for example, piano or orchestra.

And I guess there is hardly anyone who would accuse Reference 3A as sounding "analytical".
 
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Blackmorec

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Just a note about shows
Shows have some of the worst, saggy, highly impedance, overloaded, noise polluted mains on the planet....way beyond what an average conditioner can fix
Shows are also literally EMI/RFI soup and who knows what the quality of network feeds are like given the amount of bandwidth being consumed.
The rooms are generally asymmetrical and the furniture is removed to make room for seated listeners, who come and go, changing the room’s RT from under-to over and occasionally perfectly damped.
Speakers are set up to allow the maximum number of listeners to get a reasonable impression of performance, so there really is no sweet spot and most seats will not enjoy proper channel balance and symmetry.
The partnering equipment is often loaned and may well include items not fully run in. In addition, all equipment has been packed, transported and only installed the day before the show. In some cases, speaker manufacturers may not really know the sound they are aiming for
Typically the hotel has very high levels of ambient noise...while this may not be heard directly it certainly masks a lot of ambient detail and subtlety .
Earthing at shows is probably both highly polluted and high impedance.
Foot traffic and multiple systems will massively increase floor borne vibration

So all in all, if any manufacturer or dealer can achieve even half decent sound at a show, it demonstrates an extraordinary level of skill, or a highly refined and stable process based on a carefully chosen set of ‘show components’ in order to make the set up as reproducible and stable as possible.
 
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Certainly people are free to have differing opinions.
Except if they don't like Magico sound in a WBF thread on Magico ... :eek:
 
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bonzo75

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Just a note about shows
Shows have some of the worst, saggy, highly impedance, overloaded, noise polluted mains on the planet....way beyond what an average conditioner can fix
Shows are also literally EMI/RFI soup and who knows what the quality of network feeds are like given the amount of bandwidth being consumed.
The rooms are generally asymmetrical and the furniture is removed to make room for seated listeners, who come and go, changing the room’s RT from under-to over and occasionally perfectly damped.
Speakers are set up to allow the maximum number of listeners to get a reasonable impression of performance, so there really is no sweet spot and most seats will not enjoy proper channel balance and symmetry.
The partnering equipment is often loaned and may well include items not fully run in. In addition, all equipment has been packed, transported and only installed the day before the show. In some cases, speaker manufacturers may not really know the sound they are aiming for
Typically the hotel has very high levels of ambient noise...while this may not be heard directly it certainly masks a lot of ambient detail and subtlety .
Earthing at shows is probably both highly polluted and high impedance.
Foot traffic and multiple systems will massively increase floor borne vibration

So all in all, if any manufacturer or dealer can achieve even half decent sound at a show, it demonstrates an extraordinary level of skill, or a highly refined and stable process based on a carefully chosen set of ‘show components’ in order to make the set up as reproducible and stable as possible.
Nice summary. Additionally, there is a lot of sound leakage sometimes, especially at Munich, as walls are weak. Sometimes you can hear the neighboring rooms sound.

Many just match their components up with whatever the distributor advertising has at that point, or what the people sharing the room's cost bring to the table.

At Munich, some who rent the same room year after year sometimes have an improvement in sound due to past learnings, but they can implement the learnings only next year. I know two big brands who brought in smaller speakers the following year because they learned their flagship ones did not work in that room, there was no point.

What does irritate me though, is that fans of components go to these rooms where clearly their favored component is sounding sub par, yet come and report back it was one of the best rooms at the show. They are clearly being dishonest, or their own components must be set up pretty bad if they think this poor sounding show room is a reference
 

Al M.

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Just a note about shows
Shows have some of the worst, saggy, highly impedance, overloaded, noise polluted mains on the planet....way beyond what an average conditioner can fix
Shows are also literally EMI/RFI soup and who knows what the quality of network feeds are like given the amount of bandwidth being consumed.
The rooms are generally asymmetrical and the furniture is removed to make room for seated listeners, who come and go, changing the room’s RT from under-to over and occasionally perfectly damped.
Speakers are set up to allow the maximum number of listeners to get a reasonable impression of performance, so there really is no sweet spot and most seats will not enjoy proper channel balance and symmetry.
The partnering equipment is often loaned and may well include items not fully run in. In addition, all equipment has been packed, transported and only installed the day before the show. In some cases, speaker manufacturers may not really know the sound they are aiming for
Typically the hotel has very high levels of ambient noise...while this may not be heard directly it certainly masks a lot of ambient detail and subtlety .
Earthing at shows is probably both highly polluted and high impedance.
Foot traffic and multiple systems will massively increase floor borne vibration

So all in all, if any manufacturer or dealer can achieve even half decent sound at a show, it demonstrates an extraordinary level of skill, or a highly refined and stable process based on a carefully chosen set of ‘show components’ in order to make the set up as reproducible and stable as possible.
Thank you for expressing, much better than I could, what are also my concerns about show conditions. As for the AC mains quality, it might explain in part why at times some of the best sound at shows seems to be from small systems with smaller amps. Whereas big, power hungry amps, such as those typically needed to drive Magicos, just "die" on the miserable mains conditions.
 
Likes: bonzo75
May 30, 2010
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(...) What does irritate me though, is that fans of components go to these rooms where clearly their favored component is sounding sub par, yet come and report back it was one of the best rooms at the show. They are clearly being dishonest, or their own components must be set up pretty bad if they think this poor sounding show room is a reference
IMHO they are not being dishonest, most of the time they are simply presenting us their surely biased opinion. Once you get used to a component you easily forgive some sins of the system in favor of the good things. My attitude at shows is looking for everything and mostly listening to the positive outstanding sonic aspects.

Sorry to say , but again IMHO inferring about other people audiophile behavior or character is extremely unfair and unfriendly.
 

bonzo75

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IMHO they are not being dishonest, most of the time they are simply presenting us their surely biased opinion. Once you get used to a component you easily forgive some sins of the system in favor of the good things. My attitude at shows is looking for everything and mostly listening to the positive outstanding sonic aspects.

Sorry to say , but again IMHO inferring about other people audiophile behavior or character is extremely unfair and unfriendly.
Sorry, if you know a component well and what it can do, if it is sounding bad at a particular show due to improper set up, I expect you to tell me this is not representative. Not that wow, this is the best of the show. But you are right. Honesty can be unfriendly.

Listening for some positives has no relation to putting an unnecessary positive spin on the negatives
 
Last edited:
May 30, 2010
16,755
1,589
720
Portugal
Just a note about shows
Shows have some of the worst, saggy, highly impedance, overloaded, noise polluted mains on the planet....way beyond what an average conditioner can fix
Shows are also literally EMI/RFI soup and who knows what the quality of network feeds are like given the amount of bandwidth being consumed.
The rooms are generally asymmetrical and the furniture is removed to make room for seated listeners, who come and go, changing the room’s RT from under-to over and occasionally perfectly damped.
Speakers are set up to allow the maximum number of listeners to get a reasonable impression of performance, so there really is no sweet spot and most seats will not enjoy proper channel balance and symmetry.
The partnering equipment is often loaned and may well include items not fully run in. In addition, all equipment has been packed, transported and only installed the day before the show. In some cases, speaker manufacturers may not really know the sound they are aiming for
Typically the hotel has very high levels of ambient noise...while this may not be heard directly it certainly masks a lot of ambient detail and subtlety .
Earthing at shows is probably both highly polluted and high impedance.
Foot traffic and multiple systems will massively increase floor borne vibration

So all in all, if any manufacturer or dealer can achieve even half decent sound at a show, it demonstrates an extraordinary level of skill, or a highly refined and stable process based on a carefully chosen set of ‘show components’ in order to make the set up as reproducible and stable as possible.
All good points - and they only add to my belief that we should be thankful to the people who work hard to carry demos in such hostile conditions and respect their work. If we do not find anything good in it - and it happens some times - we also are the loser.
 

ack

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What does irritate me though, is that fans of components go to these rooms where clearly their favored component is sounding sub par, yet come and report back it was one of the best rooms at the show.
LOL - is that true?
 

cannata

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Except that I like Magico, and I have also heard them sound plain awful. As far as "decent", I don't care about that either. I can get far, far better than "decent" at home ;). Perhaps that's also why I usually don't care about shows. Why should I?

Spectacular, well that's a different matter.
What is "plain awful" to you may be "decent" or even "spectacular" to others (and vice versa). All this subjective stuff is nothing but an ego war :(
Too bad objectivity is a bad word here.
 

bonzo75

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Alrainbow

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You are trying to convince people whose idea of good sound is a flapping cardbox with a megaphone in the center. It does not matter how Magico performs or sounds; they just listen to what they are used to or like, and if they don't hear it, its bad.
Probably the most successful hi-end loudspeaker company of the 21st did not get there by having "disastrous" showing. If you like Magico (or willing to keep an open mind), you will find their showing decent to spectacular (M2/M6 in Munich). Like any precision tool, they will benefit from careful setup, but that's not going to change the minds who think that a 60 year old Tannoy is where sound reproduction progress stooped.
I was told by industry insiders that WA is the most successful of the Hi-end speaker companies ...
 

Alrainbow

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Dec 12, 2013
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Just a note about shows
Shows have some of the worst, saggy, highly impedance, overloaded, noise polluted mains on the planet....way beyond what an average conditioner can fix
Shows are also literally EMI/RFI soup and who knows what the quality of network feeds are like given the amount of bandwidth being consumed.
The rooms are generally asymmetrical and the furniture is removed to make room for seated listeners, who come and go, changing the room’s RT from under-to over and occasionally perfectly damped.
Speakers are set up to allow the maximum number of listeners to get a reasonable impression of performance, so there really is no sweet spot and most seats will not enjoy proper channel balance and symmetry.
The partnering equipment is often loaned and may well include items not fully run in. In addition, all equipment has been packed, transported and only installed the day before the show. In some cases, speaker manufacturers may not really know the sound they are aiming for
Typically the hotel has very high levels of ambient noise...while this may not be heard directly it certainly masks a lot of ambient detail and subtlety .
Earthing at shows is probably both highly polluted and high impedance.
Foot traffic and multiple systems will massively increase floor borne vibration

So all in all, if any manufacturer or dealer can achieve even half decent sound at a show, it demonstrates an extraordinary level of skill, or a highly refined and stable process based on a carefully chosen set of ‘show components’ in order to make the set up as reproducible and stable as possible.

Apart from the mains , everything else can be controlled ..
 

Alrainbow

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Dec 12, 2013
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Thank you for expressing, much better than I could, what are also my concerns about show conditions. As for the AC mains quality, it might explain in part why at times some of the best sound at shows seems to be from small systems with smaller amps. Whereas big, power hungry amps, such as those typically needed to drive Magicos, just "die" on the miserable mains conditions.
Presenting a $1M system and not taking everything into consideration for those power hungry amps ..

:)
 

bonzo75

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Presenting a $1M system and not taking everything into consideration for those power hungry amps ..

:)
These systems are rarely bought on sonics, so it doesn't make a difference.
 
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