Living with Magico S3MKII & Luxman C900u +M900u (long term Impression)
The following are impressions and personal opinions written after using
about 9 months on Magico S3MKII speakers connected to Luxman 900 series Pre + Amplifier.
There are not many audio enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with the names
Magico and Luxman, the first is a relatively young company whose origins are in
the Holy Land (CEO Elon Wolf and Chief Planner Yair Tamam).
Magico trademark is always to be on the technological front when it
comes to loudspeakers, in the recent years Magico speakers are characterized by
an aluminum body and hard-material drivers made from Kevlar and Nano graphene and Beryllium tweeters, S model
tweeters are coated with diamond for toughening purposes.
Luxman is almost the opposite of Magico, a company with a long tradition
founded in Osaka, Japan in 1925, over the years it has undergone a number of
incarnations, and if in the 1970s and 1980s its products were reserved among
the best in almost every price category towards the millennium and with customers
tastes shifting toward home theater, the company state, and its product line
To my delight the last decade has brought with it changes for the better
and today Luxman products are back on the forefront, especially the products
from the top line, they considered to be exemplary for price and above.
Magico design line symbolizes more than any, disconnection from most
loudspeaker manufacturers design, the loudspeakers box made from advanced
materials and industrial design, Luxman on the contrast choose a reverse design
line, one reminiscent of the company's big days from the late '70s and early' the 80s, in both cases the result is good.
The S series, as well as other Magico speakers, can be obtained in one of
two finish options, the first option being a brilliant paint with a varnish
that would not embarrass Rolls Royce paint finish, the second option comes in
industrial and rugged matte paint and the difference in price is not
Luxman 900's are constructed of an aluminum body, here to the level of
finish and details are done amazingly, for example, no screws can be found in
any exposed line, everything is built superbly. It seems that the heavy
amplifier and preamp can survive a nuclear holocaust.
The most notable thing about Luxman 900 amplifier are a pair of dials
located in front of the amp, the retro look may not be to everyone's taste but
to me, it gives the electronics real character.
In the preamp, you can find large selector dial and volume, large and
readable screen display (the display characters can be changed (small, large)
as needed), also found dials for Bass, Treble and Balance (not common these
I will not go into the topology and technology in which the amplifier
and the preamp are built, but it is important to note that, despite being a
stereo amplifier, it will be able to work in Bridge mode and become a powerful
mono amplifier. (The stereo power is 150W at 8 ohms while at Bridge the power
Speakers - Listening
I will start from an essential point for all Magico speakers – current. Meaning
those speakers need a healthy current amplifier to power them, as the amplifier
to whom the speakers are connected contain a more powerful transformer, the
Magico will love you back.
How do I know this, simply, in the beginning, my S2MKII were connected to
an amplifier with the same number of watts but without enough current, they
were far from sounding at their best. After consulting with Yair Tamam (the
company's planner and chief engineer) I made a change to the amplification
components by buying the Luxman M900u.
Sound Characteristics - S3MKII has a number of features
that is instantly recognizable, first is transparency, these speakers are
transparent and will continue to be so as the source improves (my sources had
been improved and replaced over time - digital and analog) you will find that
these speakers convey any information that the source can extract from the
High level - The S3MKII is a near-neutral speaker that manages to
remain analytical (not on the flip side) with my light-hearted warmth because
of the connection to Luxman (apparently the stick can be held on either end),
the S3MKII never comes out, no matter what style of music I threw in for the
past few months I have never been able to get the speaker out of comfortability
zone. The Magico twitter does not get harsh on the ear, unlike some diamond twitter
on other speakers, I have never felt any kind of ear discomfort with the
Magico, even when I play loud. The high-level sound is natural, open and airy
sounds on the good side, with good scattering and texture ability - I mentioned
before, I never felt uncomfortable at any level or any material I played.
Mid-level - Transparency and airiness continue here too,
the fast driver manages to convey depth, reveal textures and give volume, width, and height to the sounds emanating from it, it easily positioned instruments or
voices on the stage. Whether it be a human voice, a vocal instrument or an
orchestra instrument. Also excels Immediate in decay, the ability of the driver
to slow down action whether instant or rated, phenomenal. The sound capability of
the mid driver is one of the key strengths S3MKII has to offer.
Bass - Although the S3MKII drops "only" to 24Hz,
whether it is the Mid-bass sounds or the speed and depth of the lower bass that
the speaker manages to produce is remarkable. The impact and energy that the speaker manages to bring out in the lower domain may not match the most
formidable subwoofer, but in terms of speed, it's very difficult to compete with
How good the bass is, I would say that the low octave of organ sound
recordings in a large space are transmitted directly to the listener, the same
is true when playing materials like Metallica band or the fast and low bass tracks
from Yello albums. In the space of an average European living room and even
more it is difficult to imagine someone who needs for more than the S3MKII
In general, I have no measuring instruments other than my ears but I can
swear this speaker has no real-world holes in term of driver cover, the S3MKII is
very close to playing as one unit and easily disappears in space even though it
is not a small speaker. True, it won't go away like a good pair of monitors,
but when compared to large speakers, it simply evaporates from the room,
leaving the listener with a wall and depth of detailed textural sound.
To sum it up, the S3MKII is no less than an amazing speaker.
So far the good, but is there less than good too?
There is no speaker which is perfect and so does the S3MKII, they also
have its drawbacks:
Beyond industrial design that doesn't appeal to everyone (not easy after
getting used to indulgent Italian design speakers), it's also not a cheap
speaker, although the Magico entry card has become more convenient with A
Series, Series S pricing is different and not accessible to everyone.
Sound - Anyone who reads the above lines will wonder where
exactly the problem is?
As great as the S3MKII are, they are not exactly the type of involving
speakers, here Magico is a bit missed compared to the best.
These speakers were born in labs over computer software and this is felt
in the somewhat sterile approaching sound, compared to Italian speakers that
portray the S3MKII emotion as a different, more technocratic and sterile in
It's much like the difference between Porsche and Ferrari, the last is
excellent vehicle, more involving the driver but also have more disadvantages
and limited ability to use daily transport vehicles beyond being a sports car.
What is better? It's a listener's consideration and preferring, after
years with Italian speakers I chose Magico and don't look back for a moment.
All this goodness could not have come without good electronics, it is
time to shine a bit on the connected preamplifier and amplifier (with the help
of Cardas cabling).
Electronics, and several sentences to summarize.
It seems to me that Luxman released the 900 series somewhere in 2014
C900u Preamplifier - good preamplifier should be transparent as
possible and to my delight the C900u is exactly that, it manages to transmit
everything that comes out of the sources (Brinkman Bardo analog and 10.1 arm
connected to the Zesto PS phono, Digital sources - Cary Audio DMS600 and Unison
Research Due CD player).
The Luxman allows the listener to make changes to Treble, Base and
Balance, for me the fixed listening mode is the bypass, and yet the flexibility path
Luxman chooses to walk in is welcome in my opinion. you won't hear any noise or
background noise from the preamplifier, the noise floor here is phenomenal.
M-900u Amplifier - The M-900u is a heavy-weight amplifier relative to the "modest" watts it produces (150W at 8 ohms), the reason lies partly in the heavy chassis and the 1.25VA power supply that manages
to power the speakers easily. As already mentioned the amplifier can work as a
stereo or as a bridge amplifier and become a mono amplifier.
The amplifier sound is transparent with a slight tendency to warmth (compare
to my attempts to connect directly to the digital amplifier in Cary DMS). The
amplifier's ability to convey details from the preamplifier, including the most
delicate are astonishing.
The two parts (Preamplifier and amplifier) share a number of
characteristics: the excellent finish is worth mentioning again. Also, the two
sections are built in a groundless loop chassis configuration, both use ONDF 4
Even after about 9 months of use, I have not yet found a style of music
that the couple in above will find difficult to keep with.
For whom who can afford components at these prices, it is worth checking
and examining the above components, I'm more than certain you'll find them hard
Other stereo staple components:
Cabling (interconnects + speaker cables + power cables) - Cardas Clear
Digital Source - Cary Audio DMS 600, Unison Research CD Due
Analog source - Brinkmann Bardo + Phono Zesto PS1