Living with Magico S3MKII & Luxman C900u +M900u (long term Impression)

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 deteriorated.

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 negligible.

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 days).

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 doubles).


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 recording.

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 these drivers.

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 can produce.

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 compared.

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 repair system.

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 to resist.

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

Thanks for the review.
Nice review.
Looking at your system I'd be curious if throwing a blanket over your credenza or on the floor between the speakers helps with the high frequency smoothness.

I haven't heard this particular model, do you find any chestiness when playing vocals or piano?
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Thank you for reading tomcy6
Hello  erik_squires,

the photos aren't showing the room correctly.

1. i have large and heavy silk carpet on the flor
2. the speakers stand 30 cm front of the credenze and about 70 cm from the wall.

one thing that can be said about the speakers,  sound reproduction (human or instrument) are very realistic, so you can say i find the S3MKII it chestiness and without any grain.

Hope this helps to elaborate things

Wonderful musical speaker that looks and sounds great with NO chestiness I'm sure.Great review enjoy!!
E.B.M. The initials stand for Alon Wolf.
Thank you so much for reading and responding on my writing @ebm 
whishing you and your beloved ones happy holidays.

Thank You for the review. Season's Greetings!

Happy Listening!
Thank you so much for the greeting and reading time @jafant 
Happy Holidays :)
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Living with 2X M900U is twice the fun, thanks to my great Luxman\Magico distributer that all ought what’s happen in Japan, he manages to deliver me with the second M900u power amp
The sound...two-amp mange to squeeze more from my Magico S3mk2

after almost a year that i was living with Luxman 900 series pre+amp, last night i received my second M900U amp, so now i work with the luxman amp as monoblocks. the difference is there, everything is so much more precise and open, those monoblock’s treat my S3MK2 superbly
some were else you can read i wrote that the S3MK2 are not the most involving speakers....well, forgive me. adding a second amp made those speakers receive all the desired emotional i was missing before - can’t think of anything wrong with this matching.

 video of my setup (commentary aren’t in english - sorry)
Very nice review. I think the Lux/Magico combo must sound very nice. Please change the word..twitter to tweeter, as the high frequency drivers are not twitters...unless you are on twitter, and then maybe they are! Tweeter is the word....FYI.:0)

Thanks for commenting and correcting my typo, unfortunately, i cannot edit the post as there are comments which prohibit editing

regarding Amp\Speaker combo, to my ears, they sound great.
Thank you :)