Not heard of any pro studios using any of these monitors yet ....but if the sound quality is as impressive as the esthetic design then they must be very good.
Emigene: You are on the right track. The Magico is very good as is the Kharma 3.2. The Peak Consult is very musical while not having the last word in resolution. The Ultimate Monitor is another outstandign choice. I had a pair in my system not too long ago and felt the imaged better than the Kharma 3.2's and have much better dynamics and depth. I have not had the Magico's here but have heard them quite a few times. I have had the Peak Consults and while being nice, they are not in the league of the Ultimate Monitors.
The cabinet construction on the Ultimate Monitors and the Magico's are among the best in the business. Two very different approaches and very different sounding as well.
You might want to check out the Timepiece 2.1 from SP Technology http://www.4sptech.com.
Here are some of the reviews from the pros:
The sound from these monitors is not only accuate but also very musical.
I've been deep searching for great monitors and never heard of Magico, don't know how I missed them.
What I did come up with is Lipinski L-707 monitors, they're slightly large for a standmount, but are said to be really good.
I'm trying the Focus FS-688's at home this weekend, so I'll see how good these puppies sound.
I'm very interested in the other two Jtinn mentioned.
Just my two cents,but having been in the hobby for 35 yrs,it seems clear that you can now get truly BIG high end sound in some of the smaller packages.Sometimes technology is a benefit.What is best is to gain real experience,as to what is truly musical,vs "enhanced" B.S.!!
Some of the speakers here are superb.I have heard the JM Labs Micro Be design,and with good support stuff,in a realistically chosen room,it can be amazing.
Also,the Ridge Street Audio two way,looks to be KILLER,as well.
Best to all.Even you,JTINN,charletan that you are(that isn't a bad thing,necessarily).
I've only heard the Magico at a show. It sounded okay, and then I saw the price. YIKES!
I know it is not quite a monitor, but for a small speaker, I think the Gryphon Cantata is quite nice sounding. But it too is way up there in price.
Still, as good as small speakers sound, they just cannot deliver the weight and proper scale to orchestral music like the big boys. I am impressed with many of them, but they still remind me of the saying about dancing bears.
Interesting Speedo, I was unaware Jtinn was from South Carolina. I somehow was under the impression he was Oregonian. Nonetheless, he did speak of direct experience with 3 of the 4 speakers asked about, whereas you spoke directly of none, mention the JM Labs, and think one looks killer. Is thinking a speaker looks "killer" considered gaining experience as to what is truly musical? Or is it "enhanced" BS ? Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily. I could be wrong here, but I'm not so sure the original poster got the full 2 cents worth from you.
I do not know about absolute Best but for $2500, the Avalon Studio Pro provide all that I expect from a monitor. They are amazing in their ability to portrait recordings, ultimate transparency and down to 34 Hz or less in an exemplary way...a bargain IMHO...look is a different story for some though! I would put them against any monitor at any price and would not expect them to be within more than 5% of the absolute best - if it exists.
I have heard the Magico, and some of the others listed; and, having also heard the Escalante Pinyons, would have to say that they are the cleanest, FASTEST, and least fatiguing speaker in their size range. They are expensive (almost $8,000 with stands), but to my ears, they are a cut above the competition.
I actually went to the RMAF and THE Show at the 2006 CES, and hung out with the Escalante group at both shows. Hearing the theories behind the design, and then hearing them implemented, was nothing short of a revelation. I visited other displays, to see what else was out there...and bought a pair of the Pinyons. I will also be purchasing a pair of their new mega-monitors (the Fremonts) as well. Not only do both possess a ribbon like quality to the sound in terms of detail and information retrieval, but they can also play at ungodly levels without any loss of poise. Although the imaging, soundstaging, etc., are incredible, the ability to reproduce lifelike SPLs with no compression at any volume is what sold me.
What impressed me most at THE Show, however, was not only the quality of the music, but the fact that other dealers and reviewers came to sit and relax after making their rounds. Having finished reviewing equipment, they wanted to listen to music!
If you have the funds (15K) and the space, get a pair of Fremonts. Otherwise, the Pinyons may be for you.
Best speaker I've ever heard are the Intuitive Design Summits (Model is PSL 624), with the only caveat being that it's been a long time since I heard the Old, 3 box version of the Audio Physic Calderas (which are floorstanders anyway), but I still think the Summits are probably better even than those. No other speaker (including monitors) I've heard has ever come close to the Summits. I've reviewed the Summits here on Audiogon.
WHY PRE-DEFINE what "BEST" means? #1-everyone would agree that small speakers are not going to produce real bass below 30Hz, and perhaps not even 40Hz. so without a sub-woofer, you're limited, from a strictly SOTA perspective, from properly reproducing anything you wish to listen to. #2-without really deep bass you're giving up the deepest/widest possible soundstage as well. that doesn't mean i would throw a pair of magico's out of the window- quite the opposite; i would be thrilled to have a pair. but since i already have a pair of sonus faber guarneri homages, i have recently decided to go ahead and TRY a pair of JBL L-830 speakers- newly designed 6in. three-ways. BTW, they are available on U-BID for $335 shipped. but before you declare me legally insane, i also have the older jbl studio-26's (6in. 2way). after MUCH deliberation over the fact that i have VERY limited placement options without getting rid of all my bedroom furniture (except for the bed), and wanting speakers that bridge the gap between the RESOLUTION OF ACOUSTIC MUSIC and punchy dynamic sound on "most kinds of music" (fusion jazz, pop, rock, techno), i'm dying to try this experiment, pass or fail. the OLDER jbl's sound fantastic on SANTANA ABRAXAS (the latest redbook remaster) driven by a 35w/ch teac amplifier, but they muddle up the midrange on my Handel and Bach cd's; they don't image very well or stage well (no surprise there). therefore, i want to see if the L-830's with a newer crossover and a new midrange AND tweeter, can separate out the instruments with greater clarity, without ruining my enjoyment of rock and roll cd's and my large collection of cassette tapes (many of them made with metal tdk's). i still don't expect them to compete with audiophile speakers in those "certain areas". but they should be able, from what i've researched, to hold up pretty well no matter what i throw at them, and their bass performance, judging from the S-26's, should be simply phenomenal. if you doubt what i say, read the stereophile review of the S-38's; even though they're rated down to 45hz, the reviewer commented that they seemed to be producing MUCH lower frequencies with ease. cheap as they were ($400), and lacking some refinement compared to much more expensive brands, the reviewer liked the way they sounded anyway- alot. go figure...
I've audtioned a few monitors
Focus 688, Refererence De capo, Audio Note ANJ while they all had their strengths there was something missing when they were demoed in my room
I ended up trusting a friends ears and buying the Tonian Acoustics TL NFSM unheard.
I'm always hunting for better but at what price ?
this is my 2 cents ...
The Gamut L3 and the Dyanaudio C1 get my vote,closely followed by the Green Mountain Callito's,I would love to hear the Sasons and the Escalante Fremounts,I wasnt very impressed with Maggico's and the Micro Utopia's were very good in the topend and uppermidrange,but not very impressive in the bass and lower midrange.
I just recently bought a set of used System Audio SA2K monitors, and have been extremely impressed so far. These retail for around $3500 new. Quite detailed with great clarity, imaging, and fullness. They also seem to have a bit of warmth, which I really like. Surprising bass for the driver size. If you get a chance, just give them a listen. I highly recommend them. I don't know why System Audio is so unknown in the US, but they make superb speakers. They could definitely use stronger US representation.
As some have stated above, don't equate the best with the highest price tag. It seems that is all too easy to get caught up in the "best this or that under $5K or $10K or whatever." To me it is a reference point, nothing else. Just trust your ears. I have made the mistake of buying component X based on name brand, reputation, press reviews, and price before. All this when my ears told me to buy component Y, and I regreted it later. If you go with your gut (or ears in this case), you will more than likely always be happy with your choice. JMHO