Magico, Aerial, Dali

I have my next speaker upgrade narrowed down to the Magico V2's, Aerial 7t's, and Dali Helicon 400 MK2's. The only problem is I haven't heard any of them in my own system consisting of ARC LS17SE pre, and Bryston 4Bsst2 amp. I can get the Magico's for a decent price but they're still more expensive than the other options and the dealer will not let me demo at home unless I pay him. I thought this was odd and kind of turned me off to this dealer in general. Seems like for that kind of money in this economy the dealer should be willing to let a serious buyer demo at home.
I heard the 7t's on ARC reference and Levinson amps and was very impressed. Hard not to be with those kind of components. The Dali's are less expensive and I heard them on much cheaper gear but they still sounded fabulous. The dealer has arranged a demo later this week. If I went that route I'd have some money left over to buy a phono pre. I currently have the Aerial 6's and like their sound but they're not enough speaker for my room and if I sell now I can get the same amount that I bought them for.
Does anyone have experience with these three speaker's and/or companies? I am looking for detail, transparency, and realism. Any suggestions? Are the Magico's worth the extra money? I know it comes down to subjective taste, but is there a consensus on what the strengths are of each of these speakers?
I gave a serious listen to all three. These were on different days, in different stores, with different front ends. That said, I would rank the Magico above the others, especially given your criteria. For the money, I was disappointed with the Aerials, and they were in a good room with a superb front end. I agree the Dalis offer a lot for the money. I wanted to hear the 800 MK2 but did not get the chance. I liked the Wilson Sophia III's better than the Magicos. If you haven't heard them, I suggest you consider putting them on your list to hear. I ended up buying maggie 3.7's.
Intrigued by your statement that the 6s aren't enough speaker for your room. Please describe your room.
Don't mean to hijack the question, but is anyone able to compare Legacy's to this trio? I believe I have a room issue as well (20x20 with a high ceiling.)
I heard the wilson's on the same components as the aerial's and overall I was more impressed with the wilson's although I felt the aerial's had a deeper sound stage and imaged better. They're also 8k less. I haven't heard the magnepan 3.7's but I've heard the 1.7's and was very impressed but I would definitely need a sub. I'm also not quite so sure my wife would approve of maggies in the living room.
I agree that the Dali's are a lot of speaker for the money and are the cheapest on my list which puts them near the top. The Magicos are pricey but I'd be getting a demo pair and that knocks off a couple grand, which puts them close to the aerial's. I agree that the Magicos are the most impressive of the bunch but it's still a tough decision when you factor in cost.
My room is 15X20 with an 8 foot ceiling. The aerial 6's did great in the small room I had them in previously which was 11X10, but I need something with a little more powerful presentation in this room. I also have the power on tap to do it with the 4b sst2
The Dali is a tremendous speaker in its price range that will probably work well with your equipment, IMO. I owned the 400 (not mk2) for many years with different front ends and it is tolerant of mediocre equipment, but responds nicely to a better front end.
Minibox, As I'm sure you can imagine, the 3.7's are a much better speaker than the 1.7's. As it turns out, I auditioned the 3.7's and the 7Ts on the same day in the same room using the same superb front end. On the music I listen to, mostly orchestral stuff, I did not really miss the lower octaves that the Aerials bring to the party. I may add a couple of subs at some point, but its not a high priority for me. I found the bass on the Aerials somewhat tubby, but that could have been room placement issues. For me, there was something not quite right with the Aerials. The timber seemed off just a bit. The Wilson's hit instrumental timber dead on. I am sensitive to pitch and timber, to the point where something being just a tad off is a show stopper. The Dali's also got that right, as do the maggies.
With respect to WAF, my wife thinks the maggies look cool, and they are in our living room, 5 feet out from the back wall. She hated the appearance of the Wilsons, and fortunately, I had the good sense not to show her the Dalis and Aerials, both of which are just drop dead gorgeous visually. Any chance you could audition the Dali 800Mk II's? I really worried about the 400's with orchestral stuff. In the end, you are probably not going to go terribly wrong with any of the 3 you are thinking about.
Have you considered going with any of the higher sensitivity speakers? Your Bryston is a stout amp and I suspect would work well with any of the speakers you're considering, but conceptually there are limits to pairing low/mid sensitivity speakers with high powered amps. At least that's the thinking in some audiophile circles. I'm not sure I completely buy into this line of thought, but is interesting. Have you heard the Coincident loudspeaker?
I had some experience with Dali Helicon 300 mk1 paired with a Bryston combo, i.e. the 4BSST power amp and the BP25 pre. The combination was not bad. Also, to me the Helicon 300 complemented with a sub were much much better than the Helicons 400s and more satisfying than the Euphonia 400.

The Helicons are extremely beautiful (see my old system page). My wife still remembers them. However, while good speakers, you can find better speakers. The Focal Micro Be that I own now easily outclass the Helicons 300 (IMO). Have a look at Focal Alto Be for example. Also, you might want to check the new flagship series from Dali, Epicon. They are quite nice and sound very very clean.

Regarding the Magico dealer, I agree with you 100%. I would definitively not give him my business.

I do not have any experience with the other two speakers ...

Best wishes,
If you like the Aerial 6, the 7b and 8b have a very similar sound and are a lot more speaker for your room. I have owned all three and still have the 7b. I believe the Dali MS4 is way better than the Helicon 400. I owned the MS4, actually replaced Aerial 8's with them, and a close friend had the Helicon 400 and replaced them with the MS4.
Sonus Faber Cremona will likely sound better than all those three...
Have you considered the new Joseph Audio Perspectives?

They are around the price range of the others you are looking at and work well in the room size you have.

***Joseph Dealer Disclaimer***
I'd love to hear the Cremona's but I can only find a listing of 7 total dealers in America and Canada. They have a very good reputation but they need to expand in the U.S. and make themselves more available.
What's odd about the Magico dealer is that he only lives 40 minutes from me and still won't let me demo at home.
Minbox, the cremonas are terrific speakers but if your priorities are detail and transparency they may not be the way to go. They are superbly musical, and I almost pulled the trigger on a pair at a great price.
If you don't mind me asking, what kind of music do you listen to? The dalis are superb on vocals. If I were an opera fan, I'd lean hard in that direction. I thought they beat everything I heard (including the maggies that I bought) on vocals. I thought there was too much congestion on complex orchestral passages with the 400's, hence, my interest in the 800's which ought to handle climaxes better. At some point, I will probably buy the 400s for my bedroom. Loved those speakers. There are just too many wonderful speakers and I would love to own them all.
I mostly listen to vocals but depending on my mood I'll listen to almost every genre with the exception of hip-hop and rap. I've been listening to a lot of acoustic guitar and percussion guitar lately too. When I'm working, I'll listen to classical and speakers that can recreate the feeling I get when I go to the symphony impress me the most. I asked the local Dali dealer about the 800's but he said the midrange on the 800's wasn't as good as the 400's. He also mentioned that if I wanted the impact of the 800's he knew of some subs that would be more than adequate for less money than the difference I'd be paying for the 800's.
I need to ask my dealer more about the ms4's. Did your friend have the original 400 or the newer 400 mk2's?
He had the original 400, and while for the price it was quite good, the MS4 was significantly better in all ways, as it should at double the price.
Hi Minibox,

I have heard all three speakers you are interested in and wrote a review on the 7T for my website It's always personal taste and system synergy, but I found the Aerial Acoustics 7T to be a much better performing speaker then your other choices. For details why take a look at my review.
I've heard the Sophia III on the same amp I use for my 7Bs, but different front-end and cables.

While the Sophia had the edge as far as tight, deep bass and a bit more clarity, I wouldn't say they had a $10k edge (about how much more they cost, used). In general I'd say the sound is somewhat similar, with the 7B being a bit more overall "musical" to my ear (and definitely better looking), and the Sophia having just "a bit more of everything". Not that I was ready to spend 10k+ on speakers when I bought. When I am, I'll look at more than the Sophia's, although I did definitely like them.
I agree, the Sophia III did have "a bit more of everything" but you are right, "I wouldn't say they had a 10k edge." I was especially impressed with their lower end over the Aerial's but I believe I could get the same results with a good sub to match either the Aerial's or the Dali's. I will say that Beethoven's 9th sounded incredible on the Dali's and beat the pants off my Aerial 6's.
I read your review previously on Thank you for such an in depth and well written review of the 7t's. My jaw dropped when I read about your friend selling his recently purchased Q3's after hearing the Aerial's. I've heard the Q3's and was extremely impressed, although I do believe they're overpriced. Each time I heard the 7t's I had a "wow" moment with their transparency and detail but I really need to get them in my own room and hear what they do.
If your budget includes the Aerial 7t, you should also check out the Dali MS5, a significant improvement over the MS4.
My vote is for the Magico V2 solely based on one incredible dealer demo with my own LPs. At demo or used prices, I have not heard anything that I like more. Obviously I haven't heard everything and I'm not familiar with the Dali or Aerial models you mention, so mine is not an opinion based on a lot of experience.

I would forget that Magico dealer and buy it used on Audiogon or from some other dealer. You can't always hear a component in your own system, and it might be a mistake you will regret if you eliminate those from your options. The Magico will require lots of good clean power to sound its best and very careful set up.

I heard the V2 at a Boston dealership and it was the best dealer demo I've ever heard of a speaker in this price range.
Are you located up near Belews Lake?
Yes, that's me.