Magico S5's in the house...

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,416
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#1
On Saturday I acquired a pair of S5's. I've been curious about these speakers since last November and wondered how they would sound in my room, and how they would compare to my Wilson Alexias.

Now I'm finally finding out.

They are so different and already it's been very educational. Suffice to say there are things I like about both speakers and the things each speakers gets wrong is what the other speaker gets right.

In any case, I'm very lucky to be in a position to compare these two fine products at my leisure.

Magico S5's.jpg Magico S5.jpg

Biggest surprise was that the S5 was very rolled off in the bass - I don't hear much below 40hz. Timpani (and symphonic music) is weak and not convincing. That said, it should be fairly easy to mate subs and at some point I'll try that.

Timbre is colored on the S5 compared to the Alexia, but the S5 is much more 'artifact-free' than the Alexia (especially in the upper midrange and up).

As a bass player, I can totally appreciate the sealed cabinet of the S5.

Again, both outstanding products.
 

TJE

New Member
Nov 13, 2012
30
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#2
When you say "below 40 Hz" I wonder if you really mean, between 40-100 Hz? Try downloading a free tone generator to hear what 40Hz sounds like exactly, and see how much bass you generate at 20 Hz, 30 Hz, 40 Hz, 50 Hz, etc.
 
Jan 31, 2014
404
7
18
Italy
#3
When you say "below 40 Hz" I wonder if you really mean, between 40-100 Hz? Try downloading a free tone generator to hear what 40Hz sounds like exactly, and see how much bass you generate at 20 Hz, 30 Hz, 40 Hz, 50 Hz, etc.
That is exactly what he means. The S5 are much more extended in the bass (and highs) then the Alexia. In my room, I got almost 10 dB more output at 20Hz then I did with the Alexia, but 5-6 dB less between 100Hz-60Hz where the alexia had a broad hump (and almost 12 dB (!!) more output in relative to its 200-400Hz region) . How much I don’t miss this notorious “bass” presentation, there are no words to describe. Also, filling in the “power range”, which was completely sucked out with the Alexia (and the Sasha), was a huge deal for my listening preference. Keep listening, give your ears a chance to listen to a low distortion, properly aligned, linear speakers, and then go back and you will realize that there is nothing the Alexia do better, IF you are after the truthfulness of your source. Congratulation!
 
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MadFloyd

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May 31, 2010
2,416
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#4
That is exactly what he means. The S5 are much more extended in the bass (and highs) then the Alexia. In my room, I got almost 10 dB more output at 20Hz then I did with the Alexia, but 5-6 dB less between 100Hz-60Hz where the alexia had a broad hump (and almost 12 dB (!!) more output in relative to its 200-400Hz region) . How much I don’t miss this notorious “bass” presentation, there are no words to describe. Also, filling in the “power range”, which was completely sucked out with the Alexia (and the Sasha), was a huge deal for my listening preference. Keep listening, give your ears a chance to listen to a low distortion, properly aligned, linear speakers, and then go back and you will realize that there is nothing the Alexia do better, IF you are after the truthfulness of your source. Congratulation!
The S5's are nowhere close to being as extended in the low frequencies as the Alexias in my room so that's very interesting that you found the opposite.

Cannata, what is the power range?
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,416
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#5
Just looked at the reviews by Martin Colloms of both the Alexia and the S5 . The S5 starts rolling off around 60hz (down 10db by 20hz), whereas the Alexias don't start dropping until 20hz.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,140
136
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North Shore of Boston
#6
The S5's are nowhere close to being as extended in the low frequencies as the Alexias in my room so that's very interesting that you found the opposite.
My guess is that you will find that the two speakers are best optimized in different locations. Being a sealed design, the S5 should have a much different bass presentation and will react differently to room boundaries. Do you have a hand cart/dolly to roll those Alexias out of the listening area? You may want to do your critical listening with them out of the room.

The photos look great. Congratulations. Give it time to break in before you reach any conclusions.
 
Jan 31, 2014
404
7
18
Italy
#7
Just looked at the reviews by Martin Colloms of both the Alexia and the S5 . The S5 starts rolling off around 60hz (down 10db by 20hz), whereas the Alexias don't start dropping until 20hz.
Look more carefully. The entire Alexia output below 50Hz is coming out of the port. The S5 woofers are 12db down at 20Hz (compare to 1K), the Alexia woofers are almost 30db down at 20Hz (Look at SP measurements as well). The total in-room are similar, with one big difference, the output from the S5 is completely generated by the woofers, not a port. That is the reason you can never have real resolution with Wilson bass. Just a lot of uncontrollable air, that drives everyone crazy, eventually.
 
Jan 31, 2014
404
7
18
Italy
#8
My guess is that you will find that the two speakers are best optimized in different locations. Being a sealed design, the S5 should have a much different bass presentation and will react differently to room boundaries. Do you have a hand cart/dolly to roll those Alexias out of the listening area? You may want to do your critical listening with them out of the room.

The photos look great. Congratulations. Give it time to break in before you reach any conclusions.
You are absolutely right. Try moving the S5 back, see what happen
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,416
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#9
Look more carefully. The entire Alexia output below 50Hz is coming out of the port. The S5 woofers are 12db down at 20Hz (compare to 1K), the Alexia woofers are almost 30db down at 20Hz (Look at SP measurements as well). The total in-room are similar, with one big difference, the output from the S5 is completely generated by the woofers, not a port. That is the reason you can never have real resolution with Wilson bass. Just a lot of uncontrollable air, that drives everyone crazy, eventually.
I hear you on the resolution. Bass texture and clarity/articulation is outstanding.

One thing I found is that moving the speakers back towards the front wall doesn't produce more bass (unlike the Alexias) probably due to the lack of a port. Moving them closer to the listening position does produce a little more bass - or at least bloom. Different beast, this portless wonder. :)
 

MadFloyd

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May 31, 2010
2,416
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#11

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#12
Congratulations Ian; new or used? I agree the two speakers will likely have different optimal set ups; the bass articulation is nonpareil with sealed enclosures and my experience with Wilson has been that there is so much bass overhang that it is truly unnatural and maddening.
 

MadFloyd

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May 31, 2010
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#13
Congratulations Ian; new or used? I agree the two speakers will likely have different optimal set ups; the bass articulation is nonpareil with sealed enclosures and my
experience with Wilson has been that there is so much bass overhang that it is truly unnatural and maddening.
Thanks, Tasos.

I bought them used. Almost all the speakers I have purchased have been new, but now I only buy new when I can audition in my home beforehand (and feel I will get good dealer service).

Yes, the bass articulation is nothing short of amazing, as is the lack of distortion in the upper midrange and treble region. It's going to take a while to adapt to the sound as it's very different and to find positioning to maximize the performance.

With the Wilsons I had plenty of bass and worked hard to get it to be articulate. With the Magicos I struggle to hear the bass (volume wise) on a lot of material (e.g. 50's jazz), meaning I have a quantity, not quality issue. If only there were S7's!
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,140
136
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North Shore of Boston
#14
Thanks, Tasos.

I bought them used. Almost all the speakers I have purchased have been new, but now I only buy new when I can audition in my home beforehand (and feel I will get good dealer service).

Yes, the bass articulation is nothing short of amazing, as is the lack of distortion in the upper midrange and treble region. It's going to take a while to adapt to the sound as it's very different and to find positioning to maximize the performance.

With the Wilsons I had plenty of bass and worked hard to get it to be articulate. With the Magicos I struggle to hear the bass (volume wise) on a lot of material (e.g. 50's jazz), meaning I have a quantity, not quality issue. If only there were S7's!
I understand buying used with the experience you had with that Alexia dealer and not getting the WASP set up for which you paid by buying at the new retail price.

I have only the smaller Magico Mini 2 but hear plenty of bass on my 50's jazz LPs. Give it time. Perhaps the S5s with only 200 hours on them are not yet fully broken in. The quality of the bass is what is so different with Magico speakers. It is more linear, more articulate and more natural sounding. And you have the amps to drive those speakers very well.

With Magico, it is not about the quantity of bass output, but he quality of bass output. I think with some patience and judicious placement, you will be well rewarded with great, natural sound.
 
May 30, 2010
14,491
218
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Portugal
#15
Look more carefully. The entire Alexia output below 50Hz is coming out of the port. The S5 woofers are 12db down at 20Hz (compare to 1K), the Alexia woofers are almost 30db down at 20Hz (Look at SP measurements as well). The total in-room are similar, with one big difference, the output from the S5 is completely generated by the woofers, not a port. That is the reason you can never have real resolution with Wilson bass. Just a lot of uncontrollable air, that drives everyone crazy, eventually.
Well, thousands of speaker owners prefer the sound of a properly implemented bass reflex, such as used by Wilson and many other great manufacturers ...
 
Jan 31, 2014
404
7
18
Italy
#16
Thanks, Tasos.

I bought them used. Almost all the speakers I have purchased have been new, but now I only buy new when I can audition in my home beforehand (and feel I will get good dealer service).

Yes, the bass articulation is nothing short of amazing, as is the lack of distortion in the upper midrange and treble region. It's going to take a while to adapt to the sound as it's very different and to find positioning to maximize the performance.

With the Wilsons I had plenty of bass and worked hard to get it to be articulate. With the Magicos I struggle to hear the bass (volume wise) on a lot of material (e.g. 50's jazz), meaning I have a quantity, not quality issue. If only there were S7's!
Also, keep in mind your system is tuned around bass quantity redaction, due to the Alexia bass excess. You will need to rethink your entire equipment chain.
 

Dre_J

Industry Expert
Mar 6, 2012
478
0
0
#17
Also, keep in mind your system is tuned around bass quantity redaction, due to the Alexia bass excess. You will need to rethink your entire equipment chain.
What? Can you expand on this comment with some kind of example or suggested equipment changes?

BTW: I'm fully aware of the differences in the sound reproduction of the two speakers in question. But I'm really interested in your suggestion for the equipment chain.

Thanks
 
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rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
6,950
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Northern NY
#18
Well, thousands of speaker owners prefer the sound of a properly implemented bass reflex, such as used by Wilson and many other great manufacturers ...
Think there is a bit of Magico bias at all costs going on here ? I think Floyd said with regard to the S5 bass...."Where's the bass ?"
This clip is apropos
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,416
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38
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#19
Also, keep in mind your system is tuned around bass quantity redaction, due to the Alexia bass excess. You will need to rethink your entire equipment chain.
Yes, this is somewhat true. One of the ways I made some strides in this area was to change from Transparent to MIT speaker cables. The MIT did wonders for clearing up the mud I was hearing in the mid bass. Ironically I just sold my Transparent cables.

Another thing I've noticed is dynamics - reduced - on the Magicos. It's got me thinking about what is more natural. For example, one of my favorite tunes (both from audiophile and music perspectives) is The Girl From Ipanema by Getz/Gilberto. The bass in that song is pretty darn robust and would almost overwhelm on my Alexias but is rather subtle on my S5's. But that's beside the point. When the sax comes in, I'm used to it being huge and a couple phrases into it, some notes JUMP out at you and almost bowl you over they are so dynamic (i.e. they are so much louder). On the Magicos this is not very pronounced - the volume doesn't change much. You sense some amount of emphasis on Stan Getz' part, but nowhere close to what the Wilsons deliver - it's like the performance itself is different. Now, sometimes dynamics are unsettling - I would sort of 'brace myself' for those notes where as now it just sort of floats by...

I'm not sure what to make of this just yet.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
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San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#20
Well, thousands of speaker owners prefer the sound of a properly implemented bass reflex, such as used by Wilson and many other great manufacturers ...
Sure, I was one of those, before I heard properly done sealed box bass.
Give it time, as more and more people hear Magico/YG or other sealed box speakers, and they'll find out what they're missing.

And MadFloyd, my guess is that you got used to hearing bass that just wasn't there in the original recordings. That was your Wilson bumping up their bass/midbass that's so typical. You had some effort to tame that bump, and I understand other ex-Wilson owners end up selling the speakers because they just can't deal with that bump anymore...


alexandre
 

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