2-Way Advice: Magico S1,YG Carmal,Diablo Utopia

Guys I've been considering a speaker swap. Have found that I love 2-ways.

I didn't really know this until I started listening to different speakers and kept liking them more, much more than the fulls.

They present a different perspective that I prefer. I don't listen real loud and have a med size 2500 cubic foot room and I much prefer tight and accurate, faster more defined bass and don't need the real deep low stuff. I love how they image and disappear and make the music more alive to me. Listen to Jazz, Acoustic, Blues, mello rock, Indie, some classic, the usual phile stuff..

I have it boiled down to a few and really would love your opinions. Buying used and they are all over the country and just can't listen to all of them. I know listen first is best and would love to if I could. They are all within $500 of each other price wise with shipping to me.

Have you guys heard any of these and what you might think of these??

Magico S1 Black

YG Carmal 1 Silver

Focal Diablo Utopia III - Silver

Sonus Faber Guameri Momento

Langerton Configuration 217

Tannoy DC10A

Ascendo System F (Only non 2-way I'm considering)

Any info or feedback or recommendations would really be appreciated!!!

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xfsmithjack
I just purchased a pair of Magico S1s for my 12x17 room.
Previously I was using a pair of Revel F52s.

I really like the Revel's but the S1s are definitely a step up in resolution and transparency, as one would expect for the price difference. The S1s are very fast and offer very detailed bass.

They do not go as deep or have the 'punch' that the bigger Revels have. In my small room I'm happy to trade the bass accuracy for the lower frequencies. I do miss the 'punch' factor some, but overall am very happy with the S1s.

Your room is bigger than mine but your tastes and preferences sound inline with what the S1s offer.

Good luck with your search...
I would consider the Vivid v1.5....don't be afraid of it's lower price point. I use this speaker on some pretty high end gear and think it is a great overachiever (based on price compared to more expensive speakers). I have had Wilson Benesch , Micro Utopia's...
If you like speakers that disappear I think you should put Joseph Audio on your radar as well. Among the best I've heard in that regard. The Perspective is probably in your price ballpark but I think is a 2.5-way design, but the Pulsar would probably provide all the bass you need and is obviously a 2-way design if you're open to monitors.

I had a serendipitous opportunity to hear the Carmels (original version) and Perspectives back to back as they were only a couple doors away from each other at a show. And they both happened to play St. James Infirmary as I walked into both rooms (what are the odds???). Granted these were different rooms and different systems, but fwiw I thought the Perspectives brought the performance to life in the room while the Carmels sounded relatively a little flat. They sounded very good, but on that day and in those circumstances I definitely preferred the Perspectives and by a good margin. Anyway, given all the variables this probably isn't worth too much, but just indicates the Perspectives may be worth considering given what you're looking for. Best of luck in your search.
Thanks guys - I actually have been thinking of the Perspectives but was afraid they would no be as refined. as the YG/Magico/SF. I have heard everything I can that's near me so anything else anyone could add would be great. I would LOVE to buy bigger Magico's if I had the money. I read the S1 is nicer than the V2. This is a tough one - please all thoughts and idea's are welcomed and appreciated. Love my speakers but moved to a different home and in much different room and would like to nail this to get off the merry go round...
Nothing images better in both the vertical and horizontal planes than a point source (coincident) speaker.
Coincident speakers create the most consistent reverberant soundfield, and as Floyd Toole pointed out, that is preferred by professionals and amateurs alike as it sounds most "Live".

The only coincident speaker on your list is the Tannoy DC10 (as all bass is omni-directional, the extra bass driver on the Tannoy doesn't affect it's "coincident" status).
It's also the most efficient speaker on your list, and efficient drivers tend to sound faster and more "Live" (virtually all PA drivers are well over 90db efficient.)

The larger driver of the DC10 will have more visceral impact on drums and crescendos (on axis), which further enhances the "Live" perception.
The extra bass driver will extend the frequency response, which is important (no-one has ever come away from a live musical event complaining that the bass was "thin".)
So the DC10 seems to be the best choice given your priorities.
I'd look no further than a late model Merlin VSM. It's the last surviving component in my changing system, and whatever replaces it won't be a two-way.
I have heard the Carmel and S-1, but, none of the rest in your list. I preferred the Carmel to the Magico--better fleshed out harmonics of instruments and not quite as brittle sounding.

In the same sort of camp, as far as tonal qualities, I like Raidho speakers. These deliver a very clear, detailed sound, but are not harsh or brittle sounding. The downside is that even the two-way models are quite pricey.
I'll second the Raidho speakers. They are the best speakers that I've ever heard.
I've listen to many speakers and have always been underwhelmed with Magico. Everyone has a preference and no one is right. No absolutes in Audio, only preferences!
I understand, if I could afford Raidho, I would already have them. I heard the C3.1 and just love them. I've listened to many speakers, but they just sound so musical to my ears.
Raidho has three basic ranges of speakers--the top line is the D series, the mid-line C series, and a new X series. I have heard two of the X series speakers at a dealer--one is a very tiny 2-way that sells for somewhere in the $7,500 range and a much larger floorstanding speaker that is a 3-way (somewhere around $37,000, I believe). They have not put out other speakers in this low-end range that are comparable to the C & D series speakers, but, I would expect that they will shortly. The C & D series have floorstanding 2-ways, so it might be the case that a new X series speaker will come out that will be close in price to the likes of the Carmel and S1.
For those interested in Raidho but find them out of their price range, you should check out Scansonic speakers. They are designed by the same team with very similar technology but at significantly lower prices.
I know about the Magico, YG, and Sonus Faber.

The Magico and YG are dry and brittle for my taste - but some love that sort of thing so should not be dismissed on that account - however be sure to audition before buying. The Sonos Faber are good - but IMHO way over priced and over hyped for what you get. I know a speaker maker that has had a number of SF in his shop to work on and when you open them up the quality of parts for a high end speaker is disgraceful.

Don't know the others. However the speaker I would add to your list is the Rockport Alya. For me, although I have not heard that particular Rockport, Rockports in general float my boat better than SF, Magico and YG.
Take a listen to the Lawrence Violin speakers. Amazingly musical, especially given your music selection. They punch far above their weight class, IMO.
Are there any dealers in the US? What is their top speaker and how much does it cost?
Ricred1 - I don't have any first hand experience with Scansonic speakers. I have read about their association with Raidho and many favorable comments about them mostly from show reports and comments on other forums. It looks like they have a handful of dealers in the US listed on their site http://www.scansonic.dk/international-contacts.6877.aspx.
The more I read different threads, the more I realize with SPEAKERS, more than any other component, must be heard by the individual. I've listened to Rockport and although I can hear why some my like them, I don't agree with their assessment of how they sound. Maybe I just heard them in a bad room or with bad equipment.
Im biased, since I owned the Carmels for well over a year. I have heard the Magico, Focal and SF. I don't think they are on the level of the Carmel. The Carmels with my BAT REX amps mono/or stereo was the most pleasing system I have had. When I added JLaudio subs Xed over at 35, perfection. Check the reviews on them. They are special. The prices for them used now are a steal.
"When I added JLaudio subs Xed over at 35, perfection. "

I asked GTT audio at Axpona about adding a subwoofer. They didn't care for the idea. I'm paraphrasing that they generally did not like the idea of contaminating the make-up of the speakers (im guessing specifically the crossover design) with a subwoofer. Their solution was of course the Hailey$. Nice guys, I'm sure, anyways. Their advice did not make sense, but its kind of nice to see someone with good taste like myself do well with a sub in the case I decide to get them.

Great info that's really what I was hoping to hear someone that heard them all.

Thank so much!

Its pretty much the consensus it seems that Caramels are the best among this group. In fairness they are a good amount more new but their used prices do seem pretty good and its great to know that later they can be more unproved by adding quality subs. I was told the new Sonus Faber are much more neutral sounding and are lot more the like the S1, Focal, Caramel camp. Has anyone heard the new Sonus Faber Guameri Evolution. I spoke to a dealer a couple states over and he made me a great offer with my trades. Do you guys think the new SF sound is more neutral and the new model is good option in this class. Prob not as neutral as the magico or YG but curious what you think. I am told they are much more open and resolving and neutral and have a lot better bass.

Do you think these are as good or maybe better than the Caramel. They would be more money but also I could imvolve some trades which is great... Thasnk
I haven't heard the Sonus Faber Guameri Evolution's but I can tell you the Sonus Faber Olympia I's are amazing. I thought I was moving down when I sold my Wilson Duette's and purchased the Olympia I's but I was pleasantly surprised.
Raidho has three basic ranges of speakers--the top line is the D series, the mid-line C series, and a new X series. I have heard two of the X series speakers at a dealer--one is a very tiny 2-way that sells for somewhere in the $7,500 range and a much larger floorstanding speaker that is a 3-way (somewhere around $37,000, I believe). They have not put out other speakers in this low-end range that are comparable to the C & D series speakers, but, I would expect that they will shortly. The C & D series have floorstanding 2-ways, so it might be the case that a new X series speaker will come out that will be close in price to the likes of the Carmel and S1
The Raidho X3 retails for 29.5K and rated down to 30hz. Not quite as refined as the D series but pretty darn close.
"05-17-15: Ebm
Jump on everything ASAP!!!!"

+1, funny but sort of heading that way it seems! ;)

If you like the Olympia I better than the Wilson Duette that's impressive. The Wilson's a rugged little 2-way. Well no Wilson is little but that's a good speaker and I have heard it. The only Wilson in its day to use a fabric tweeter. That Focal tweeter was just too hot for me. I owned W/P 6&7 and Sophia 2 grew tiered of the W/P's and ended up despising the S2. Seems like they are all trying to meet in the middle. The new Wilson's are sounding prettier and more like the Sonus Faber and the new SF are more neutral and closer to Wilson's and the like toward the middle. I guess the question is which one of these 2-ways nails the middle the best. Seems that maybe the Caramel here but if the Olympia sounds that nice the Evolution maybe killer. New owners and designers at SF and they are trying to make their speakers much less a pretty speaker and much more a serious while holding onto a scotch of that prettiness glad to hear how nice the Olympia's. are because the Evo could be killer. wish they were closer to me so i could hear them. they made me a nice because taking multiple trades...

Nada Yet - kinda leaning toward YG Caramel or Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution. The dealer offered me the same deal as the Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution on the Sonus Faber Eclipse SE with my trades. He said the updated SE model uses the same tweeter as the much more expensive Stradivari and they are more speaker than the
EVO. Think he did it to try and make a deal with me on either vs going my another route which I appreciate. The Eclipse cost a lot more retail and I am told they are great but my love for the 2-ways has my trying stay in that lane of possible but want to not totally be unopen minded. Heck, was even thinking of the new monster JBL's that retail for $40k but thats prob a stretch but I was curious about them. Anyone know anything about the more expensive SF Eclipse its seems like it may be a better deal on an older but updated design. I wasn't going to go Sonus Faber because of their non neutral sound but everyone says forget that their new designs are much - much different and much - much more neutral and excellent speakers not be over looked because of reputation of older speakers that were too romantic.

I am getting close but if anyone knows about the SF's I would appreciate it love to hear more about their modern changes and what folks think of them?


If you are not getting the TAD CR-1 which knghifi has mentioned (and it is really the best of the best), get a Tannoy Sterling. Precision and speed a 2 way bookshelf but with a scale and dynamics that many 5 ways do not get.
I had thought a bit about the Tannoy but never heard them. These Sterling are a available for great prices. Are they really at the same level as Sonus, YG, Magico, Focal and the like? I love idea of the of coax driver. My speakers now have a coax diver and they images like a champs. Would love to know if these are really in the same league and offer the level refinement and performance? Thanks
I have first hand experience of this, a friend of mine has a pair of Focal Stella Utopia and a pair of Tannoy Turnberry GR (similar to the Sterling but slightly larger cabinet). His amplification is top notch, complete FM Acoustics pre-power with all FM acoustics cables. Front end is Esoteric K01 and top of the line Roksan Turntable with FM Acoustics phonostage.

In this system, even though the Focal can play at ear bleeding levels, the Tannoys actually overshadow the Stella Utopia when it comes to scale, dynamics and overall realism. It was quite intriguing to see a single Tannoy 10" driver taking on a full array of woofers and mid drivers of the Focal and beating the Focals on all major music making qualities. The Tannoys sound a lot less compressed. When music expands, the Tannoys just keeps growing without ever hinting its limits. The Focal on the other hand sounds like a regular speaker with a bigger sound.

I have heard the Magicos and Sonus too, but not side by side. None of them have the dynamic effortlessness of the Tannoys. And yes, the new Tannoys are extremely refined animals, they do not sound vintage or anything. They just sound more like the real thing.
The TAD CR-1 was one of the very very rare speakers which had the Tannoy like effortlessness but with frequency response reaching 100khz, the best I have heard.
I agree with you. IMHO The TAD CR-1 resides in a higher tier compared to the speakers considered by the OP(the YG and Magico). I haven't heard that particular Sonus Faber so I can't comment on it.
I would love that all world TAD CR1 but out of my range. I was offered a decent deal in the great looking Tannoy DC10A. I love the look also. Do these sound like the Sterling. Is there a chance these are superior to Caramel and Magico S1 or Sonus Faber Guareni Evolution. I have read this new Sonus Faber Guareni Evolution sounds much different than the old SF stuff and is in the mold of the Magico Mini and if so that would seem to be quite a bit better than the YG / Magico. That TAD even used is much more money. Thanks
since Andrew Jones has left TAD, I wouldn't be inclined to purchase a pair unless signficantly discounted, used.
Keithr, that's interesting news. He was still with TAD at CES in January. When & where did he go?
I was offered a decent deal in the great looking Tannoy DC10A. I love the look also. Do these sound like the Sterling. Is there a chance these are superior to Caramel and Magico S1 or Sonus Faber Guareni Evolution.

No, the DC10A is not even close to the Sterling. The Sterling belongs to the Prestige range of Tannoy which IMO is the real Tannoy. Only the prestige range carries the construction and design that Tannoy has carried for decades. Anything below the prestige range are just market (mass-market) driven products, dont bother. Yes, a Sterling can upset any of the speakers you have listed, it is a real Tannoy after all. It is not an overnight creation of some hobbyist speaker designer.

I own a pair of Sonus Fabers Olympica III's which I bought after owning the Joseph Audio Pulsars. As much as I loved the sound of the Pulsars[make no mistake,they are a great 2-way] the SF's are just in another leaque.The Olympica's are way more refined,but at almost twice the price,they better be.

The Pulsars are image champs, but for my tastes, they were not a speaker that could go loud and keep up on some material. I guess I prefer a bit larger speaker. In the past I have owned Advent, ADS,Legacy,Merlin,Talon,JA,as mentioned,and now the SF Olympica III's. I am not saying the SF's will be my retirement speaker,but,they are the finest sounding speaker I have personally owned.

Once set up properly the music just flows from these.They are sound stage champs and a pure pleasure to listen to. Voice and instrument are pure heaven... which have an organic... natural sound, that to my ears, just plain sound right...giving most material spot on tonality and gestalt. Be aware though,they are power hungry.Feed them some high quality watts and you will be rewarded for the effort in doing so. They are rated at 4 ohm impedance but I believe they drop into the 3-3.5 range,so high current will be needed to open up the virtues of these speakers to the level that will make them worth the price of admission. I'm not saying less watts are a deal killer on these but control of the drivers are key here.By the way, they sound just as good at low volumes as they do at high levels,no break-up and they love to go loud. But as usual, room size plays a key role in this.

I can give a hearty recommendation if you love Italian craftsmanship and beauty from a company that most other speaker builders aspire to be.By the way,they build everything in house,to their specs. Not to many speaker companys doing that anymore.

Good luck in your search Fsmithjack.

Thanks for that... My dealer has made me some great offers on the Sonus Fabers. I have some trades and with them here is the price difference on the difference models. I am pretty sure if I go with Sonus Faber it will be the Sonus Faber Guarani Evolution's because I am assuming they are the best speakers of the three but not positive. Here is the break down : what do you guys think is the best:

SF Olympia III's $1600 cash/trades
SF Eclipse SE $4500 cash/trades
Sonus Faber Guarani Evolution $5000 cash/trades
PBN, that's an interesting gambit both for AJ and for Elac. Elac's venture in North America may either succeed or suffer a fate similar to Renault, Peugeot, or Alfa Romeo.
Thanks for that... My dealer has made me some great offers on the Sonus Fabers."

I would definitely give a "listen" to each one and go from there. Also,I would not under estimate the Olympica III's...even though they are less expensive than the others on your trade up list. The Olympica's are the lastest design from SF [trickle down]... read some of the steller reviews.