Magico A3 vs S3 MKI


I have been a long time lurker and wanted to get some help with a decision. 

For the past 3 months I have been auditioning speakers in the 10k-15 range (both used and new) and have largely decided upon A3. 

Source gear
1. Hegel H360
2. Music played via Tidal

I had gone into A3 Audition as a skeptic and was expecting it to be clinical/ analytical. However I was surprised
1. It felt music and laid back (in a good way). Kind of speaker that I could listen to for hours and not get fatigued
2. Really liked the texture of the bass
3. Vocals made me feel I was right in the room

While I didn’t like some of the R&B music I played through them (eg Amy Winehouse), overall this met more of my needs than 10+ other speakers I have listened to. 

I wanted to check if anyone has had a chance to compare them to S3 MKI. I am getting a barely used S3 for almost the same price. However it might not be possible to do a fully controlled comparison of the two. So I wanted to get views from those who have listened to both. 

At at this stage not trying to broaden the search and simply trying to pick between these two. 
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I should add that with its rose cast color, curved sides and outriggers, I visually prefer S3. So if from a sound quality standpoint they were comparable, I would probably go for s3 
I have never heard either of those two speakers but I would assume they both have the same house sound.  Only you can make that decision.  I do believe the A3 are a lot more money than the S3.  You would have to ask yourself if it is worth the extra money to you.  
@stereo5 you may be mixing A3 with something else. It’s $9800. Original S3 MKI was $22600

Also while Magico sound may have a signature, it has changed over time and become more neutral/ musical. One couldn’t call original Q3s neutral. 
If it doesn’t work with R&B then I would re-examine your choice or determine if it was the listening room or something else.

A good speaker should work equally brilliantly with absolutely anything - absolutely anything. A speaker that works with some kinds of music but not others is obviously coloured and or distorting.

The only thing that should differ between recordings or styles of music is how loud it needs to be played to sound its absolute best. Most recordings have a loudness sweet spot that was determined by the engineer and producer. This sweet spot is the volume level where the recording overall sounds best.

Where there seems to be the most disagreement about the Magico’s has to do with the lower voice and piano registers as well as the treble tilt.

I encourage you to listen for yourself, and make sure these areas are what you like.

Some have suggested these two areas are THE difference between the series.

I’m deliberately not making a recommendation. Buy what you like, but pay attention to these two areas if given a chance to audition, and try to audition at your actual listening levels.


oops, you are right.  I was thinking of the Q3, my bad.
The only thing that should differ between recordings or styles of music is how loud it needs to be played to sound its absolute best.

So are you saying that there are no bad recordings??

Unfortunately, the better the speakers the more it will reveal recording flaws (Sadly, most of Amy Winehouse recording are awful). Doesn’t have anything to do with music type.
@vinoacustics If you end up with a Magico I would recommend the Mark Levinson 585 over the Hegel 360. I have heard both, though Hegel with KEF Blade 2, and my feeling is that the ML 585 is one of the best integrated out there (definitely fatigue free). I could listen to that amp for hours with the A3. 

I saw today on A'gon a used ML 585 for $5.7K (MSRP $12K). Check it out. I cannot buy that used unit myself for a few good reasons but if circumstances were different I would be all over that unit for the A3.
@yyzsantabarbara thanks for that recommendation. I will check it out. 
I owned a pair of S3 for a year. Pretty good speaker. I have heard the A3 at Axpona and the S3 is a much better sounding speaker to me. 
Of course you are comparing 22600 new vs 9800. I just sold my pair a few mos ago for 9500. (Just what I paid for them 1 year earlier)
I have always loved the S3 Mk I, and I had hoped to get a nice, used pair for $11K or less, which was my budget. I looked for months, checking HiFiShark daily, but a pair never came up that was in the color and condition that I wanted. When I heard the A3 at Axpona, I knew I had my answer, and I ordered a pair. While the A3's do not have the same chest-caving oomph on the low end as the S3 Mk 1, they are still very strong. As far as the midrange and highs, I find them to be the tonal equivalent, at least, of the S3 Mk 1. From an imaging standpoint, the A3's are fantastic. I went to a demo the other night with a $30,000 pair of Gamut speakers, and my A3's just crush them, even with the less expensive electronics in my rig. I feel very good about the A3's, and I don't have the uncertainty associated with buying used speakers. A3's highly recommended!