Magico Comparison

I noticed that there is currently for sale a pair of Q3's for $23k and a pair of M5's for sale for $22.8. That is quite a discount from list on the M5's which retailed for $89k and a reasonable reduction on the Q3 list of $37k. Has anyone listened to both of these speakers? I think the Q3 sounds really great but I also have been very satisfied with my used V3s. It will be interesting to see if the tremendous depreciation that marked the previous generation of Magicos (Mini I and II, V2, V3 and particularly M5) occurs with this new generation of CNC machined enclosure units.
The M5s are being auctioned I believe. I would much prefer them to the Q3s, although they require more amplification.
I have heard both the M5 and the Q3. These were in different dealer systems and about two years apart, so I think any comparison from me would have little value. I can tell you, however, that the M5 sounded like a bigger version of my Mini 2. Very coherent, great tone, great detail. Very convincing IMO, especially on symphonic music. Very good speaker, but large and hard to drive.

However, compared to those, the Q3 is just better. Even less cabinet sound. Very little sense that music was coming from a speaker. It just disappeared. Ultra clean, clear, transparent and effortless. If my room could support the Q3, and I could afford it, it would be my next speaker. I still remember that demo at Goodwin's High End and it is perhaps the best demo I've heard. A very special speaker in the right system and room.
I am not impressed with Magico - brittle comes to mind. Also a guy I know has a LOT of experience with Magico being invited to private demonstrations by the maker, Wolf. He is even less impressed, telling Wolf just what he thought - and it was not complementary. For my money the Rockport Mira 2 murders any Magico's as well as some others I know by a small maker where I live - but unless you are in Australia I wont mention those because there in no way for you to hear them.

If you are spending that sort of money you must listen to them - sorry no shortcut. But do check out the Rockports - I think you will be impressed.

The Q3 is one of the poorer speakers Magico has made...not that I really like any of them. Audio is such a "what's new, I'm bored already" world these days, so the Q3 got lots of news. Wolf proclaimed to the top of his voice how much better the Q3 was over the M5. In reality, the M5 is a lot better in a musical sense and is one of the better Magicos ever made, maybe the best.

The Q3 will soon be yet another abandoned speaker by Magico, so the value there will suffer as much as the M5. M5 sounds better, better deal, nicer looking.

Inspect the M5 for delamination of the stacked ply, there was a problem with this on several units and he cannot fix them.
Magico is wonderful sounding with high resolution amp and preamp etc Wolf is not wonderful everyone knows that.Rockport is another great speaker thats what makes a horse race.
I second the Rockport's. I have heard 4 different model Rockport's at Goodwins High End and I would die to get any one of them.
Bill finally someone who can hear. I agree with you 100%.
Jwm, I take offense to that. And the OP stated clearly that he likes the Q3. Why
come onto a thread and insult the OP and other participants.

The OP is asking about Magico speakers. I tried to provide him with some
information about the specific two models in which he is interested. If people
don't like Magico, that's fine, but please, don't hijack another Magico thread by
criticizing Magico and promoting another brand. The OP had not yet asked for
other suggestions.

I used to own the M5 speaker and I have listened extensively to the Q3 and Q5. If it was me, and you have a larger room with top notch amplification, I prefer the M5 to the Q3 (anD perhaps the Q5 to the M5). While I agree to some degree with Peter, I find the sound of the Q3 to be a little lean sounding in the lower midrange and mid bass in comparison to either the M5 or the Q5. After longer listening sessions I found that not to be to my personal preference. The M5 to me was overall the better speaker.

You make a good point, Teeshot did inquire about Magico.The Rockport and Magico based on my listening to both brands are very different altogether and have little in common. What one likes is personal and subjective. I prefer Rockport but Teeshot may not and finds the Magico more to his taste.That's exactly why so many choices exist in High End audio.
Peterayer, finally someone with common sense, I agree with you 100% and I don't own Magico.

Jwm, what speakers do you own?
I own the ESP Harps model down from the concert grands
I heard the sason and the original Magico years ago
The sason to my ears definitely better
This is only my opinion but to me it's the only one that counts
What is the original Magico? Do you mean one of the bespoke designs designed for individual customers or an early production commercial product? Did you compare them in the same system?
Teeshot, keep the V3s. They are the best sounding Magicos.
I heard both speakers but in different systems with different room acoustics and different upstream components. I remember thinking the M5s were more listenable -- smoother with more body while the Q3 speakers were faster, more detailed, but one or two clicks toward center of gravity in the upper registers. Disclosure, I own S5 speakers (could not be happier with them...wonderful on every dimension that is important to me). I had one interaction with A Wolf at Magico and he was very responsive and friendly. I admire a man who can create something so wonderful... nothing but compliments from here. And people who work for Magico (e.g., Irv Gross) are exceptional and consumer + music focused.
I believe it was the magico v1 bookshelf it was not in the same system but components that i'm very familiar with
Musicfile, Perhaps you are talking about the original Mini. I've now heard the Mini 2 in six different systems and they have each sounded very different. I don't know what that means except to say that for a comparison to mean anything valid to me, it needs to be direct, that is in the same system. Otherwise, I can't learn much from it. Perhaps others are better at this then I am.

I also am concluding that the Mini 2 (and other Magico speakers, especially the new Qs) are fairly transparent to upstream components, and they will take on the character of what comes in front of them. I find it therefore pretty difficult to ascribe a character to these speakers. They have all been quite revealing though.

I have also had good conversations with Mr Wolf and Irv Gross.
Compering the above mentioned brands to Magico is like comparing 80’s American cars to current German ones.
The comments you often see on hi-fi forum toward Magico reflects the sad state of the high-end industry today. Here you have a truly innovative company, a rarity in the hi-end, being criticize constantly by closed minded, ill-informed, outdated crowd. In what industry “weekend hobbyists” stuffing off-the-shelve parts in a box, can be compared to a SOTA organization with a full R&D department and manufacturing capabilities? Instead of cheering the fact that someone is still willing to invest in R&D for this dying industry, something that potently can benefit all audiophiles, they go out of their way to rant about it. I understand that people are not happy with Magico pricing, but I don’t see Chevy owners trash Ferrari just because they can’t afford them. Unbelievable.
Mariv26, Well written and I fully agree. Though, there are a few other speaker
companies that are also doing some R&D. Magico happens to be doing a lot of it
and look at how many small, serious, and high performance stand-mounted
speakers have been brought to market since the Magico Mini. The industry does
Magico does alot of marketing
They are way over priced for what you're getting
My two cents here
As the original poster, I have to say that I wanted people who had heard Magicos to weigh in on the models noted. I own Magicos and made that clear in the post. So for some of you, who would trash a speaker brand I more than admire, I own, is disappointing to say the least. And if you think they are overpriced, don't buy them; but do not impugn the intelligence of those that do.
Teeshot, just ignore the posts that have nothing to do with your original topic, or move the discussion over to Whatsbestforum. That is a generally more serious, less contentious forum.

I happen to think that your original question is pretty interesting. The speakers do sound different and they are quite different in size. Perhaps the size of the room and the amount of power that your amps have could be the determining factors. The Q3 is an easier load to drive and might be more appropriate in a slightly smaller room. The M5 is less efficient, has lower extension and will pressurize a larger room more easily. The M5 and Q3 are also quite different aesthetically.

Then there are resale and repair/support issues that you might consider also.
You post expresses genuine emotion but is poorly reasoned.New and innovative with much R and D is admirable but doesn't ensure good sound in the end, different sound, sure. People who like Magico have no more valid opinions than those who've heard them and rejected the product. The automobile analogy doesn't hold up to scrutiny. TheMagico is no Ferrari to a Rockport's chevy (maybe a Ferrari to a Rolls Royce). Both exotic and exclusive yet very different appeal.Those who have posted their opposing viewpoint dont seem jealous, ignorant or closed minded, they simply don't find the speaker special or to their taste after hearing them, that's ok.

Magico will have its strong supporters as do other successful brands, why should they be an exception to critical assessment? You assume too much to suggest others are closed minded (they just don't get it) if they fail to appreciate the Magico as you do.To some listeners the Magico is amusical and sterile andto others it's pure sonic bliss. Both camps re entitled to their polar verdicts.
Sorry Charles, it is the 21st century, and the world is no longer flat. Building loudspeakers is a science. Science is about facts, not opinions. If it is better, it is simply better, not just different. Now if you don't like better, that's a whole nother story...
The entire purpose of audio components is to reproduce music in our homes and hopefully sound good doing so. Don`t misunderstand my point, I`m not crtical of anyone who likes the Magico speakers. That`s nothing more than preference.The idea you put forth that simply 'new' and innovative engineering automatically means superior is wrong.New directions can also lead to failure and steps backward.If someone auditions the Magico they either like what they hear or they don`t. If they really are drawn to their sound and decide to buy them that`s just individual choice,the converse is also true.You can tout the most impressive test bench specifications and razzle dazzle engineering applications.It doesn`t change this point,it does or doesn`t sound good to a given listener.

Do you mean to say that by virtrue of new/different approach it is by default better? That isn`t sound logic. People choose a speaker based on how it sounds,that is the only point of placing them in an audio system,sound quality is the bottom line. Who built them, materials used,construction methods etc. are irrelevant if the final result is poor sound( a subjective decision). If the Magico sounds great to you then that`s certainly a good sensible reason to buy them.If you don`t enjoy listening to them then you`d simply reject them.
There are other high-tech, exotic material, speakers aside from Magico and they sound completely different. If modern technology has "objectively" improved speaker design there should be a convergence in the sound of such speakers. But, just listen for yourself and you will find that YG Acoustic, Magico, Vivid, etc. do NOT sound the same.

We have a wide range of products in the market not entirely because the consumer is stupid and easily duped by hype, but, at least in part, because tastes differ, and priorities in sound reproduction differ. Even though scientific research has correlated subjective preference with specific measurement in speaker design (e.g., Floyd Toole and the Research Council in Canada), that remains a crude measure of what the majority like--designs based on this research vary widely, and certain people (myself included) simply don't like the sound of designs based on those principles. Why do people buy such a wide range of different ornamental plants and flowers--shouldn't they just buy the one objectively superior variety?

As usual, well said Larryi.
Teeshot ,Well said as a Magico owner i agree 100%.
OP, what difference does it make what others think or like?

Magico brand and its appeal is clear. Like any product, you either like it or not. IF you like it, and can afford it, then by all means go for it!


- very high build quality
- relatively compact designs with good aesthetics that should fit well into most any listener's space


- expensive
- small size in general may not be best solution for larger rooms for the money.
- needs right high power high current amp to get the most out of them
Finally, a reasonable post, thank you Larry.
Yes, there are handful of other brands that do offer better performance than the average high-end product, but they are few and far between (Vivid is indeed one of them). However, since you mentioned Toole, let me point out that in blind testing, people opinions become much more predictable. Therefore in a control environment it will be easy to determine which is a better product. and if people will buy strictly on sound, we will have fewer brands around.
Marin26, and many others, are not really paying attention to that which they do not want to admit: the possibility that there are some true sonic characteristics of Magico that put off some listeners in a major way. Some aggressive types frequency response anomolies and/or distortions really stand out to many folks. That many others do not hear these characteristics does not mean that they are not there, it means that certain listeners are not sensitive to them. And the fact that those sounnds so irritate some people results in frustration that others do not hear it and note it.

If it were just that Magico is expensive then the same sort of vitriol would be present with Rockport speakers, which reach as high as Magico in price and have so for a longer period of time. But we do not see those very negative comments toward Rockport. Neither do we see that polarized response toward the Vandersteen model 7 or the Revel Ultima Salon 2. How about the super expensive large Focal? They do not represent state of the sound to many of us, but they do not become targets of such vocal derision, I believe mainly because their faults are not ones of an irritating, somewhat aggressive sonic nature. How about ESP, for another brand? Never do I hear "they are awful, they hurt my ears, they are full of distortion."

We can name too many brands of prominent, highly reviewed, expensive speakers, such as I started naming above, that are not attacked. I think folks should consider that quite possibly there really are some negative sonic traits of the Magico models that do represent some distortions or problems that make sensitive listeners ears hurt.
Mapman says:
"OP, what difference does it make what others think or like?"

When one is buying an expensive item, listening to what a broad group of folks say are negatives can be valuable so that one can go listen for those purported weaknesses, which might have slipped under the radar, to see they might become bothersome. Very often, where there is a lot of smoke there really is some fire.

If after scrutinizing the product to see if you notice what the major complaints are, and you don't, sure, after buying it makes no difference what anyone else says.
Magico is a wonderful sounding speaker.If you don't like them keep on trucking Everyones perception of great sound is different.You must have the best components all through the chain.Some people that can't afford something love to knock it.
The biggest issue I see with very expensive lines like Magico is the extreme depreciation that occurs in the used market. These products do not appear to hold their retail value any better than others, and perhaps worse so in some cases. The used market is really where one can determine worth and value. Magico would seem to hold value about as well as other competing lines. So it would seem to be a good idea to make sure if you buy very expensive gear like Magico new, to make sure you are not going to want to change and sell in the foreseeable future. In general, I am skeptical (interms of value) of companies that do a lot of expensive marketing for very expensive products, but that is just me.

I've heard Magicos and they are certainly very fine speakers. BUild quality is Magico's focus it seems and is in fact top notch, but that necessarily constrains how big the product can be. Bigger rooms require bigger speakers. That's pretty much dictated by physics.

Used prices I see these days seem pretty competitive. I would probably look towards Magico new only if I were much wealthier and living space were at a premium.

I would guess they do best in large metro areas where people have money but not necessarily large homes or rooms to run a system in.
Only a fool will pay full list for Magico.The reason used prices are what they are is Valin etc from Absolute sound run down the old speakers.The Sound is a Magico sales tool.My Mini 2 is STILL a wonderful sounding speaker.
There are currently seven bidders in the auction for the Magico M5. So there is plenty of interest at some price point. Resale value is also often effected by how many units of a particular model were originally made and for sale at any given time. And how often models are updated or replaced.
From reading this thread I've concluded that Magico is the new Wilson.
Onhwy61 says: "From reading this thread I've concluded that Magico is the new Wilson."

Right on! Not too refined (mass market does not need to be, but plenty of tizz in the treble, they reach out and grab you, and ads and reviews (is that redundant, "ads and reveiws"?) built the house.

Mass market product, pushed hard by $$.

Well said, Magico is the new Wilson. The Olive Garden of speakers.
What is so unusual about a product that generates varying impressions pro and con?
Name an audio component that everyone agrees on and lacks any difference of opinion.Magico is a successful enterprise and has loyal support. It doesn't suit everyone's needs or taste,what does?Is Magico supposed to be above any form of criticism?
I think people have got a bit off track here.

I am not a fan with Magico having issues with them but some love them and I have no problem with that.

All I was trying to get at with my previous post about Magico and Rockport is the OP is looking at spending a considerable amount of money and with that sort of cash at risk it would be wise to have a listen to some other brands as well. That's it, that's all.

I have re-read the original post and think I misunderstood it at first reading - I thought at first the OP was asking for possible alternatives to the Magico's but now think he has made up his mind on the Magico's. That being the case I don't think the direction this thread has taken, namely Magico 'bashing' (for want of a better word) is what should be happening.

If anyone wants to Magico 'bash' feel free to start another thread and myself, and I am pretty sure others, will be only too happy to contribute.

Charles, Magico is certainly not above any form of criticism. I will say that it seems to me at least that threads about Magico, Wilson and TW Acustic are more contentious than threads about most other brands.
USED Q1 vs USED M5?? I will definitley go for M5 if you have the room.

But I wont pay more than 15k for any of these 2 used speakers.
"From reading this thread I've concluded that Magico is the new Wilson"

Onhwy61 you mean as new whipping boy? I've never heard any of the Magicos but based on the polar positions regarding this line I would sure like to hear. It is hard to get a true sense of these speakers by reading comments of the yeas vs nays.
wow lots of about retiring the keyboard and turn on the music. i'm listening to magico s5 plus constellation centaur and am hearing a beauty and delicacy beyond what i ever imagined was possible.
I heard M5 awhile ago, was a big fan of V3 and almost bought one. Now I have Q3 and could not be happier. First, I think Magico is very transparent and upstream electronics will be very important. I heard various Magicos with Spectral, Soulution,Krell, Air Tight, Lamm, Burmester, Plinius, Karan, ASR, Aesthetix among others, whether the tonal balance is lean, dark, rich, fast, fat, bright, brittle, I think that is really depends on the upper stream equipments and cables. They all share similar traits as far as the ability to disappear, absence of cabinet sound (may be lack of wooden enclosure might be a better word). Bass may not be as big or powerful as Wilson but tight, clean, lots of detail and fast.

I heard M5 in a relatively small room, I think around 4.5x6-6.5m at most with Krell Evo 1. The sound was well extended, treble was clean, clear. Bass was powerful. At the time I thought both M5 and V3 was already very low in the boxiness coloration and only ML CLX and Maggie would better Magico M5/V3 but at the expense of bottom end weight and authority. Q5 and Q3 however up the ante in term of absence of boxiness and pulling a disappearing act with weight and authority.
Personally, I would go with Q3 as I think it still has a slight edge over M5 in the midrange and high frequency. Cymbal had a bit of a whitish coloration but that might be Krell electronic talking. Unfortunately I never heard M5 with other electronics to be really sure. Q3 will play loud and is not all that difficult to drive. A friend was using his with Air Tight ATM-3 monoblock (90 watts, I think) in a rouhgly 5x8m room with plenty of loudness. Now he is using CJ ART which really rocks. Beside an all Spectral system, I think Magico benefit from a bit of tubes rather than an all solid state equipments. Again, this is more likely my preference but also shared with 3 other friends, (3 Q3 and 1 Q5). A couple of friends use ARC pre with either Plinius or Karan and the sound is anything bit thin or brittle. When I was breaking Q3, it did benefit from using my Lamm M2.2 in 8 ohms mode which delivered 440 watts in 4 ohms. However, once the speakers broke in, I prefer the 4 ohms mode which give 220 watts with more bias into class A operation.

In current Magico line, I think Q3 is the sweet spot. Q5 is has more extension, a touch cleaner but a lot less choices for suitable amplification, often more costly choice. You can get more quality and quantity bass with Q5 with the right amp but it is easier to achieve excellent bass and dynamic with Q3. Q7 would be the next upgrade I would buy if I could afford it over many other super speakers that I heard. S5 has a bigger, more powerful bass but midrange and treble is still not quite up to Q3 class.

Before I bought Q3, I heard Rockport, Sonus Faber, Wilson, Lumen White, Marten, Dynaudio, Usher, Focus, ML among others and living with Q3 for awhile now, I would still make the same choice as I did 2 years ago. However, this is for my own personal taste though.

Magico Mini I/II are the only 2 Magico speakers I only saw but never had a chance to listen to which is a pity.
What I meant by my earlier comment is that this thread reads just like various Wilson loudspeaker threads. "Should I buy a used Alexandria I or a new Sasha?" Wilson owners then say all the Wilsons are fantastic, but different sounding and Wilson haters beg to differ. Wilson owners then get overly defensive and take the criticism personally while the haters make go overboard and call Wilson a white van speaker. Yada yada, yada yada...

I've never heard any of the Magico loudspeakers, but I do have a question about them. Engineering-wise, if you have to go to that much effort to suppress cabinet sound, then why not get rid of the cabinet altogether?
I don't see any point in making this a Magico bashing thread, what will that serve? There are very proud and content Magico owners who have contributed to this thread.It they're happy that really is all that matters, I happen to love products that others may not care for, why should that bother me?

My reason for posting was to reply to Mariv26 who suggested that people are ignorant, closed minded and think the world is flat if they can't recognized Magico as a world class and state of the art speaker. That attitude struck me as ludicrous and narrow minded. He can admire the speaker all he wants but it's foolish to denigrate those who simply don't share his viewpoint. Whatever component you find that brings great sound into your home, buy it and be happy.If others have alternative impressions, that's life.
I think that if you are looking to purchase any speaker at these price points you are one lucky audiophile. There's a lot of people out there who are just jealous of your committment to the hobby and the money you have to spend on it.

Speakers are an individual choice. It is often confusing when other people hear the same demo I hear and come away with a distinctly different impression than me. But that's what makes thew world go round.

Enjoy the purchasing process, and your new speakers, whatever you decide.
My reason for posting was to reply to Mariv26 who suggested that people are ignorant, closed minded and think the world is flat...

just read Kiddman posts (-;