David Wilson must be a little annoyed...


the Absolute Sound has pronounced the relative new-comer Magico as having designed the least-flawed loudspeaker in the world (the Q7). the Wison XLF is described as the best "cost-no-object" speaker, and while "flawed" in some respects, is the company's best effort yet. given the lengthy history of attempts at making a perfect transducer, Wilson and its many devotees might take all this as a funny way of saying "better luck next time" instead of "this by far exceeds all that has come before which was already pretty darn good".
i have little doubt that, for $180,000 (or name another huge number) the Q7 is very VERY good. the cabinet is "inert", the drivers weigh next to nothing, and the crossovers are made from premium parts arranged as carefully as technology allows. But once upon a time, the B&W 801 Matrix ($5500) was
called the "audio end of the road" by Stereophile. so ACCURATE was this loudspeaker that you could tell what kind of bassoon the guy in the orchestra was playing, and on what row, completely distinct from every other instrument being played. you needed a chain of superior components upstream of course. but i will never forget personally auditioning this speaker and thinking "WOW"
as the music was clearer and cleaner with the best bass extension than anything i had ever heard before.
of course better speakers HAVE since been designed and the bass i was so impressed with turned out to lag behind the other drivers and needed a better design, better parts, etc. to catch up. but the Kevlar midrange unit is still with us in various forms, and the isolation of the "head unit" from the low-bass is also still a common technique. but how many multiples of $5500 (even allowing for inflation) does it take to clean up the sound of a loudspeaker, and also keep it from "shaking and baking" if you really crank up the volume?
I think everyone knows that probably $20K, maybe $30K, should give the speaker manufacturer a lot to work with. And for $50K you could wrap it in the most attractive materials on the planet Earth.
After 60 some odd years of reading about "OMG" components in the audio press, I would love to congradulate Magico on the one hand, and express my annoyance from another (and another ad.infinitum) article about the new greatest hi-fi thing for [you can't afford it]. personally i just happen to like the shape and appearance of the Q7 a lot, very clean, very uncomplicated. i do favor using grill coverings however, and feel that should always be an option
lest someone comes along "poking" the drivers to see how they move. there might even be some "contour" controls on the back turning up or down the tweeter or attenuating the bass to allow for a less than perfect room (although how could one place a "perfect" speaker in an imperfect environment?)
if this entire argument is exciting, or conversely tiresome, i just would like other persons' reactions to these pronouncements in the audio press.
and WHAT IF the Wilson XLF was placed side by side with the Q7 and you asked pro reviewers as well as music lovers to decide which speaker was better and/or which would be easier to live with long run?
while you're at it bring in a Rockport, MBL, Kharma, Nola, etc. set of speakers and try to decide all over again. Make it even more fun, and limit
the selling price to $50K or below, and see just how close you can come.
Just some random thoughts as we enter into the Audio Cliff....
french_fries
Absolute Sound...just one magazine's opinion. Too big and too heavy for my room anyway.
Not after 327 all-purpose yards in a big win over the Saints. Oh, you mean another David Wilson...
Awaiting Ebm's response of approval, DUDE!!! <3
I have my Merlin TSM's (I've had for years) that I'll be sending to Bobby P shortly to upgrade . . . in hopes of avoiding the 'audio cliff'.
How annoyed can he be,the guy drives a Ferrari!
Well, I am not so impressed. I read the article and then erased every "7" and replaced it with a "9". then I gushed a little more and BEHOLD, the newest greatest bestest mostest transducer (I like this word, seems to get a lot of use lately) of transducence ever. And because it hasn't been invented yet I can afford it and enjoy my old Verity's some more in the mean time.

PS, I am ready for the budget when the "9's" are out, just change the same article to read "11".

In all honesty, I would love a pair of magico's or wilsons, but as I also love my Verity's and they are MY Verity's I will just have to let my delusions work for me.
David is crying all the way to the bank...
The more experience I`ve gained over the years, the more inconsequenial these proclamations by reviewers have become.To really enjoy music you don`t have to get caught up in the merry go round chase for the temporary "best" component.Go listen to live musicians and use it as a template to recognize and appreciate natural sound. You`ll be happy and spend far less money.
Regards,
The Q7 is amazing. Listened to them for a while at Goodwin's in Waltham MA. Never heard a Wilson speaker that I would want for myself. Davt I'm with you on the Verity's.
But this one goes to eleven.... (And amen).
I doubt it--David's Speakers are everything Magico always wanted to be.

Team212
It's funny...I've been to Goodwin's and also thought how sad it would be if somebody poked a tweeter in the Magicos as it is kind of an exposed and I assume fragile little bugger. I like tweeters with permanent screens for that exact reason.
Interesting thread. There are those who love Magico and those who love Wilson or many other brands. I listened to the Q7 at Goodwins with eight of my own LPs and can only say that the review describes pretty much what I heard. Despite the speakers being very big, they simply disappeared. The tonal balance was unbelievably balanced and natural sounding to the point that I had difficulty hearing the system and just became overwhelmed by my music.

I think it will be difficult for Robert Harley to soon write another such enthusiastic speaker review. What would a speaker have to do to be better in his opinion? If the review encourages a few people to seek out a dealership to actually listen to some of the Magico Q-series speakers, so much the better. Magico is pushing technology IMO and the hobby is better off for it.
****To really enjoy music you don`t have to get caught up in the merry go round chase for the temporary "best" component.Go listen to live musicians and use it as a template to recognize and appreciate natural sound. You`ll be happy and spend far less money.**** - Charles1dad

Amen to that!
"Go listen to live musicians and use it as a template to recognize and appreciate natural sound. You`ll be happy and spend far less money." Charles1dad

Amen I say to that again!
I really doubt that Mr. Wilson gives a rat's ass !!!!
Gotta get me one (pair) of each of those nice expensive toys!
""Go listen to live musicians and use it as a template to recognize and appreciate natural sound. You`ll be happy and spend far less money." Charles1dad"

Good advice!
No speaker plays as well away from home in an away game in an opponents venue. Kinda like most NFL teams.
Have we reached "the absolute sound" yet?

If not how will we know it when we hear it?

IS it better than sex?
Perhaps as an adjunct to reviews about almost-perfect speakers, amps, etc.
would be a blue-print of a room to set up this equipment in, with a full set
of specifications on materials needed, including wiring, and all other household appliances taken into consideration in minimizing intereferences (especially when the air-conditioner kicks in)., then come up with an approximate price range to build such a room.
i would still have a problem with a room without comfortable furniture, pictures and other art-works to look at, etc. I have been to many auditions where there is literally nothing in the room besides an equipment rack and a chair.
SO you would have to contemplate perhaps building a house from scratch with a special area in which strict control over noise and other distractions is a priority, and a separate living area to hang out in for everything else.
Would that be Weird, or the only way to enjoy a $150,000 turntable, a similarly priced pair of amplifiers, and so on down the line? Wouldn't you HAVE TO do it after attending an audio show with scores of components that can run up a total of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and voices that keep whispering in your ear that THIS is what you need to experience total immersion in fully-realistic sound? I have to confess to having such thoughts over the years (and then shrugging the whole ridiculous notion off- even if i had the money, etc. i still wouldn't do it. Would I?
And i wouldn't have a 25 car garage like Jay Leno either....

12-11-12: Mapman
Gotta get me one (pair) of each of those nice expensive toys!
Mapman (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Why? You already have an "ALL OUT ASSAULT" system.
"even if i had the money, etc. i still wouldn't do it. Would I?"

I'd like to think I would not in that I like to keep things simple (having been born and raised in AMish country after all), but I'll let you know for sure after I maybe hit the lottery someday.
Of course, the guy listing his Q7s on audiogon at the moment begs to differ and found himself something he likes better (the Evolution Acoustics MM7 to be precise). And then there is a pair of Evolution Acoustics MM3 listed. The seller of these is in the market of a pair of ....Wilsons! So now we are full circle. Sonics aside, I like the aesthetix of the Magico's and find the Wilsons butt ugly.
Of course, the guy listing his Q7s on audiogon at the moment begs to differ and found himself something he likes better.

Maybe he didn't have the nuclear reactor needed to drive them ?
The point of SOTA speakers like the Magico and Wilson is to push the limits of what we can do to reproduce live music at home. Even their designers will admit that they have not reached that point, and so they continue to tweak. At their level, those tweaks are increasingly expensive. I mean, you can design an enclosure, but you still have to build one to see how it actually will sound, and after milling out tons of aluminum, you find no improvement? Well, back to the drawing board. I wonder how many expensive prototypes Magico went through before finalizing their design and building the first one. For a comparatively new company, they have certainly stepped up and taken a run at the best. Whether they are, I will never know, since I have neither the funds nor the inclination to make that evaluation. But I do appreciate the effort being made, and the risks taken and hope to see the downstream results of their research and development to more affordable products, either by Magico or others.
I think companies like PSB have used some of their concepts in speaker enclosures to make better speakers at reasonable prices, ie syncrony and imagine series, with layered enclosures and curved sides.
"But I do appreciate the effort being made, and the risks taken and hope to see the downstream results of their research and development to more affordable products, either by Magico or others. "

For extreme comparison/contrast, John Strohbeen at OHM Acoustics has been doing this exact thing now refining his CLS Walsh driver and speakers for over 30 years. They are now in their 4th generation of refinement, or essentially 1 marketed revision every 7-8 years or so, and sell for a small fraction of Magico cost regardless of room size or bass level requirements. Also totally different company styles and target markets, I would say, OHM being about as blue collar/pedestrian a small business operation as there is (despite JS's MIT engineering school credentials). OHM targets the best performance possible for minimal cost always. Magico targets the best performance possible at any cost and provides several smaller and lesser models for less but still most pricey.
Or maybe it is just one more of JTinn tricks. He has got a bag full of them, designed especially for the gullible audio nuts.
"Why? You already have an "ALL OUT ASSAULT" system."

One can never have too many toys, right?

Well, maybe expensive ones......
I look at a lot of the "ultra high end" stuff as being works of art, and in that context a bargain. $4 Million for a painting by Richter or $175 grand for some Magicos...and the Richter doesn't require an amp. On the other hand I've always felt it's more fun to indulge in the art of assembling inexpensive stuff that sounds great.
Of course, the guy listing his Q7s on audiogon at the moment begs to differ and found himself something he likes better (the Evolution Acoustics MM7 to be precise). And then there is a pair of Evolution Acoustics MM3 listed. The seller of these is in the market of a pair of ....Wilsons! So now we are full circle. Sonics aside, I like the aesthetix of the Magico's and find the Wilsons butt ugly.

to clarify, the Evolution's that the Q7 owner preferred to his Q7's were the MM Micro One's he had purchased for a second system in his home. he has not yet heard the MM7's.
They're not just speakers, they're status symbols and deserve every bit of mockery and insult as much as praise. Perhaps more.
Prefers the MM Micro Ones to the Magico Q7? How can this be?
Well,TAS may want to review these Micro one speakers.
Jonathan Tinn said the same thing Mike Lavinge said when I enquired which EA model they compared the Q7 to. I was schocked and surprised the same time. I thought it was the MM7. Although the MM7 and Q7 are full range, and close in price, I don't know if a Magico with driver configuration like the MM7 would be more appropriate in comparison, having 4 bass drivers, 2 midrange, and four mid-bass drivers just like the MM7's. I don't know if Magico is dreaming about such a speaker. But to hear someone trade in a Q7 due to the sound of the MM Micro One just blew me away. I also read on Mike Lavigne's system threads that A'gon user "Stereotaipei" sold his Evolution Acoustics MM3 to replace it with the Magico Q7. So I guess it can go both ways.
My experience is different. I had a pair of Evolution acoustic MM3 for 5 years, and sold it in September. I have replaced it with two pairs of speakers: one pair of Q1 (already arrived before I sold the MM3) and one pair of Q7 (to arrive at completion of my dedicated room)
I had the Q1 and MM3 in the same (fully treated) room. Tested them both with Dartzeel 108 amp and Devialet (both are great amps). The Q1 crunched the MM3 (more transparent, better dynamic, tone quality, precision of imaging, absence of coloration), it was shocking, and I was very surprised as originally they were planned for a secondary system. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean the Evolution acoustics are bad speaker (I would chose them over most Wilson), but the Magico Q serie is in a different league. Four friends who were there during the comparison arrived at same conclusion. Only advantage of the MM3 was in bass extension... but this advantage was gone when we tried to connect also my 2 Fathom subs in parallel with the Q1: you end up with a cheaper solution than the MM3, with better WAF and better sound. Of course, the Q1 is not a show off speaker like the MM3, not a big monster 700lbs speaker to impress my non audiophile friends (they type of guys who ask me "how many WATTS?"... it is a speaker you buy for yourself, to enjoy music.

The Q7 is a completely different animal. I have heard several times most of super speakers on the market (Tidal T1, X2, XLF The Sonus Faber, Grand Utopia, big TAD...), the Q7 is in a league on its own. For the first time I listened to a speaker above 100k where I felt the price difference was justified. Given that the Q7 beats hand down the Q1, and that the Q1 is way better than the MM3, I have difficulties to believe somebody may prefer the EA Micro Ones (but who knows... all tastes are in nature.... some people even order their Ferrari with a pink interior): .

Last, build quality of Magico speakers is no comparison with my MM3:
- on MM3, woofer is screwed on the cabinet with MDF screws. I would expect this on a $500 speaker, not a 40k one.
- on MM3, I had to unscrew one woofer to be able to extract one cabinet screw which was stuck in the thread of one spike.... so I couldn't spike them: great quality control!
- on MM3, both speakers started to delaminate (in exactly the same position, next to plate of bass amplifier) when I shipped them to the new buyer. EA explained me it must be coming from the air freight transportation, and refused to admit it was a manufacturing or design problem.
So sorry guys.... there is no miracle... quality has a price: Magico speakers are expensive, but you get a piece of technology built like a Swiss clock, with real R&D behind, with both drivers and cabinet designed in house, and with the best Mundorf crossover components. I don't believe that the Magico team is stupid: if it was possible to reach the same sound quality by using cheap off the shelves components and MDF instead of 350kg of machined aluminium like most other brands, of course they would do it...

Now back to original post.... I listened to (and measured) the XLF in a custom designed auditorium. It was very disappointing, aggressive highs, without bass below 60Hz. Contact me if you want to see the measurement. I was so shocked that I went to listen to it in 2 other rooms, not much better (listen to a double bass, you may not recognize the instrument if you are used to go to concert...). Very strange - but that demonstrates that more expensive doesn't always mean better. Power of marketing and loyalty of customer base...
So one guys likes a Q1 better than the MM3 and another guy likes the Micro One better than the Q7. I say call it a draw and trust your own ears. Thankfully, most of us will never have the face the agonizing dilemma of having to choose between the MM7 and Q7.
All is great. Even more when it is expensive. You will hardly find an Audiophile who owned a 100k Speaker and replaced it with a 40K Speaker because it is better.
Take it the way it is, someone wants to spend a sum and he wants to have something. 'Then he finds his arguments for buying. But please stop to tell how good and great the new super expensive unit is.
I listened to endless ultra expensive Systems and most were cold, dead, boring and far away from the real thing. What they have is a top finish and they can play loud.
The Magico Q5 was also the super-duper-ultra-speaker (same with Wilsons or others, it is the rule of Marketing), all told me, they have to be used with Spectral, listened to them with Pre 30, mono 360, their most expensive gear, when I left the house I never thought about it again. I heard the same clinical Sound from 5k Systems, not so loud, but same detail. Music sounds definitely different.
I am also not such a big Fan from Wilson, in a way they aren't so different. wilson simply has a finish to die for, extremely good. Chassis, X-over? Nothing to write home about.
Easy goin' ..Christmas is coming and we need presents :-)
(For ourselves)
For me, speakers (or rather, an audio system) are like women; sometimes the stars align and you fall in love with them for myserious reasons. It happened to me a few times (first time it was a JBL monitor playing master tape, second time Avalon Radian HC with Spectral electronics, third time large Apogees).

I have been chasing the dragon ever since, and never quite got there with my own system, despite spending inordinate amounts of money on electronics. I think it has more to do with my state of mind than the actual system; theoretically what I have should be as good or better.

So now I am married to a very good system, that I learned love and live with. I think it is like this for most of us, at any level of budget for our system.
And if you need something else to whine about then I think your dog is also stupid.
Edorr, you are exactly right. And our ears change, our listening psychology changes, etc. etc. How many times have we reached semi-nirvana, only to begin to find faults or realize that our expectations and listening experiences have somehow mutated.

Mapman, you simply can not be serious calling Ohms high end on the same level with Magico, Evolution Acoustics, or even the flawed but still enjoyable Wilsons. I owned and enjoyed the F's waaay back in the day, but everything Ohm has made since is boring and quite simply average mid-fi, regardless of so-called call 'refinements'. I think your comments and marketing here may be the only thing keeping Ohm going. Give it a rest - enough already.
"But to hear someone trade in a Q7 due to the sound of the MM Micro One just blew me away"
Seriously... how many people do you believe would buy a 100k+ speaker of brand X after comparing their current superspeaker with the 2k, made in China, entry model of brand X, without direct listening of speaker they want to buy? heloooo? People may be rich.. doesn't mean they are crazy...
Would you believe such a story if posted by owner and "head of sales" of brand X?

Yes... someone may have replaced a pair of Q7 by a MM7... but I doubt this is the full story...
"So now I am married to a very good system, that I learned love and live with. I think it is like this for most of us, at any level of budget for our system."

I believe you have the perfect approach: chose something you like, and stop looking around, just enjoy music for a few years. Personally, I kept the MM3 for 5 years without any change in my system before upgrading to Magico, and even stopped visiting audiophile websites. But when I decided it was time to change, I spent more than one year listening to a lot of systems before choosing the Q1 and Q7. Listen to your shortlisted speakers in different set ups, with different upstream components (e.g., I don't like Magico with Spectral (too cold), I love them with Vitus or Constellation). Don't trust opinion on forums.... every time I bought something based on online opinion and without listening in advance, it ended up being a big disappointment.
Syntax,
Very thoughtful and truthful post.Much wisdom.
Regards
Stereotaipei,

if you really need to verify what happened just ask the dealer who sold the Q7's to the guy. Alon can put you in touch with him.

i know where all the MM7's are and that the Q7 owner has not heard any of them yet. at some point he may travel to hear them.

it's not the end of the world. someone simply preferred one speaker to another. just like you.

time to listen to more music and kick back.
Mike,
as I wrote, I have no problem with anybody preferring the Q7 or a MM7, or a big Wilson or Rockport, or a G1.... but what you describe is like the story of a guy entering a BMW car dealer, trying an Audi A1 diesel.... and liking it so much that he decides to sell his Ferrari for an Audi R8... how much would you value the opinion of such a guy? since you are in the car business you get what I mean ;-)
"everything Ohm has made since is boring and quite simply average "

Westborn, I think there are a lot of OHM owners, both new and old, that would disagree.

I have heard Magico minis set up very well. They sounded nice for what they did, but I would question the value. Its hard to question the value of the OHMs.

Have you heard the most recent OHMs, serie3 or current X000 line? If so, running on what system? They might sound as you describe if not set up properly with the right amp. OHMs over the years are reasonably affordable and many are run off systems that cannot make them sing. Setting up properly with the right amp is part of the secret sauce (as it is for most speakers).

Stereophile pointed out some flaws of the original 1980's vintage OHm 5s back in 1987 and said if those were corrected, you would really have something.

I can assure you the issues have been corrected since and they are now very competitive with the best most expensive systems I have heard (I have heard quite a few including Magico and others in recent years for reference).

SO I think your assessment of OHMs is not an accurate one. They may not be for everyone (what speaker is?)but labeling them mid-fi would definitely be a disservice, though the cost relative to Magico alone might lead one to think that way.

COme hear my F5 series 3 OHMs in my rig and I'll see if I can change your mind.
Looking at all this... it's a very costly endeavor. I'm saving up for some used Sashas.. but I've been in this hobby long enough to know that something else is around the corner and that will be proclaimed better and cooler and fancier and more sota.

It's a never ending hamster wheel...
Don't trust opinion on forums.... every time I bought something based on online opinion and without listening in advance, it ended up being a big disappointment.

Quote of the year :)
Stereotaipei: I've read your car analogy at least 5 times and cannot, for the life of me, understand your point.

I'm a longtime MM3 owner and recently bought Micro Ones for a 2nd system. The Micro Ones are remarkable in their ability to mimic the MM3 sound, albeit without the bass extension, last few percent of resolution and complete effortlessness of their big brothers.

You state that the delimitation cracks appeared after your shipment to the new owner and not during your ownership period. How is this now a manufacturing problem rather than one related to the packing, shipping, unpacking and set-up routine which we all know can be problematical?

As for bang for the buck- At $40K the MM3s are a flat steal- all MM3 owners should be arrested!! At $165K I doubt many would describe the Q7s as a steal. You can go ahead and justify the BIG $$$ you spent on the Q7s with your ridiculous attacks on the MM3s and then praise the swiss watch quality you perceive in your new Magicos. That is human nature and this is still a free country.

I truly hope you continue to love your Magicos, they're very nice speakers.
go to listen to a new pair of Magic S5 or a Gyia before buying the sasha... and yes, at the end it is your decision to stop spinning the hamster wheel!