Magico Q3's at Goodwin's High End

Just a quick note to say that Goodwin's High End (in Boston) along with Alon Wolf presented a demonstration of the Magico Q3's yesterday.

As usual, it was a class act by Goodwin's and a real treat overall. Mr. Wolf fielded a number of questions about the speakers (and Magico's approach to design) and his detailed responses were fascinating.

The Q3's sounded spectacular. They were setup in Goodwin's huge listening room (20x30x11) and they were positioned quite wide apart and deep into the room (almost halfway). I was transported to the symphony hall with a few tracks - like nothing I've ever experienced before. They were driven with very expensive electronics, inluding huge Boulder amps that were 1000w each (if I'm not mistaken) to compensate for the size of the room.

The Q3 is a modest size floorstanding loudspeaker, but it weighs 250lbs! Like the Q5 (if you've ever heard it) it is very clean and neutral sounding. Definitely a speaker that lets you listen into the music rather than wow you with a forward presentation. Besides classical, we heard some jazz, some instrumental and a cut from Jennifer Warnes Famous Blue Raincoat that was stunning. These speakers don't call any attention to themselves. They were so coherent and produced such an impressive soundstage that it didn't feel like they were the source of the sound. Jennifer's voice had no artifacts (sibilence, etc) that it was like she was standing there. I feel I finally heard how the record was supposed to sound.

Anyways, I'm not trying to do a proper review here, but I did want to thank Goodwins and Magico for the opportunity and I thought I would share my initial impresssions.

Would love to know what other folks at the presentation(s) thought.
I was at the 12:00 demo also. I actually preferred the Q3 demo to the Q5 demo a year ago in the same setting. I agree with Madfloyd, the sound was spectacular. We listened to a soprano on digital that was very believable and finished with a few cuts on vinyl. The acoustic bass and drums sounded the most real that I've ever heard these instruments sound reproduced through a stereo system.

I own the Mini II's so am used to the Magico sound, but this new Q3 takes neutrality, detail and transparency to an all new level. Compared to my Minis, the Q3 seemed just as coherent, but more extended, slightly clearer, and more detailed. The cabinet completely disappeared and the soundstage was immense.

I should ad that Alon Wolf was very friendly and accessible. He was obviously proud of his design and the reception was receiving. Considering that the Q3 is just more than half the price of the Q5, and except for the bottom few Hz, delivers almost all of the sound, and it is more efficient, it should be a real contender in the $30-40K range. It is a very good speaker.
I too attend the Q3 demo. It was well done and the speakers were very well presented. The amazing resolving qualities of the Q3s were most impressive. The graphic differences between the 3 formats, cd/hirez/vinyl was stunning. Truly a testament to the accuracy of the loudspeakers.
I was at the 2:00 pm Q3 demo. The set up was superb as would be expected from Goodwins. It was indeed in their large room but that was dictated by needing to accomodate large groups of people. we had 15 people in the 2:oo pm group and we did something interesting but effective. After each song we shifted 2 seats clockwise so that everyone had a chance to be in the front row center or near the center, as well as the back. Obviously the resolution increased when you were not listening through other people. It didn't really take long to hear that this speaker is extremely good. The pitch definition, speed and weight of the bass was the biggest surprise to me from these speakers in this room. I thought it was perfect. The bass however did not stick out. Everything was as it should be. The coherency all around was literally perfect. We listened to acoustic instruments, vocals, large scale orchestral pieces and jazz. I heard the recordings and not the speakers. very neutral and transparent to my ears.

It was interesting to hear us go from redbook CD to high Rez format to vinyl. All the differences of the formats were audible. Dynamics from the speaker were excellant too. We heard a 45 rpm direct to disc vinyl recording of a drum kit that was life like with unbelievable explosive hits to the snare. All in all very impressive. Best demo I have heard so far. Kudos to Alon Wolf and to Goodwins.
Had the date circled but had to cancel in the last minute. Looks like I have to schedule a demo very soon.
Goodwin's has one of the best showrooms in the world, and some great sales people who take the time. I'm glad they had a terrific demonstration. I didn't get to hear the Q3, but I did hear the Q5 there.
Are the Q3 drivers the same for the Q1?

Anybody know the cost of the Q1?
"Anybody know the cost of the Q1?"

Or the Boulders?
I forgot about that demo...damn. I did get my own demo a few weeks ago though when I stopped by Goodwin's for the first time. Heard the Q5s for a bit and they did sound great, and the cool thing was how nice the dude was who showed me around...their "no attitude no pressure" thing seems to be actually true, and refreshing.
The Q1 retails for $59 or 60K. I don't know the price of the big Boulders, but you could do a google search. They were the 1000 watt/channel monoblocks. Massive. Regarding the drivers, the tweeter and midrange are the same in both speakers, but the Q1 uses two 9" bass drivers and one 9" mid bass driver while the Q3 uses three new 7" bass drivers.

The Q3 is being moved to a smaller room at Goodwins with less expensive electronics for further, smaller/private auditions. Alon Wolf controlled the music selections during the demo, so it will be interesting to hear the speaker in a different setting with familiar music.
Sorry, I meant to say the Q5, not the Q1. The Q1 will retail for $24 or 25K. The Q5 is $59 or 60K and has the five drivers.
Goodwin's website shows the 1000 watt Bolder 2050
monos with a list price of $86K.
Several months ago, when the prototype of the Q3 came out, many said that it is warmer and fuller sounding than the Q5s. I have not read this in current comments. I suppose this is no longer true? Q3 and Q5 sound more similar now? Thanks.
Sounds great think i might want one.
Just taken delivery of one of the first customer pairs of Q3s. Only ten hours on them over the last day but I can truly say they are something special. They replaced a pair of V3s in my system but they sound completely different. Alongside the normal attributes what really astounds is the sense of lifelike scale they deliver in all types of music. Nothing is exaggerated but everything is perfectly in its place. For example Sandy Denny was not a tall or large person, and this is how she sounds through these speakers. None of my other speakers have ever gotten this sense of scale right, in fact until I heard it I would not have known I was missing it but now with the Q3s I realize how much other speakers exaggerate and distort reality. I'll follow up with a fuller set of notes once they are completely broken in
Folk- what electronics are you using?
Congratulations ...... really .... Folkfreak
>>06-15-11: Folkfreak
For example Sandy Denny was not a tall or large person, and this is how she sounds through these speakers<<


Please explain how a vocalist's size/stature have anything to do with their voice.

This should be interesting.
Thanks for the interest

In terms of amps they are VTL MB-450II (I'll get them upgraded to MkIII next month). Pre is an audio-research 40th anniversary and Phono Ref II. Rest of system see my system descripton

On my comment on singer stature. I guess this is the vocal corollary of the 7' wide guitar -- somehow there's just a size that seems natural. The same comment goes for other instruments. Take Dire Straits Telegraph Road -- on every other speaker I've had the drums are overpowering, oversized, and very impressive. On the Q3s they're just there, in scale with everything else. Every instrument seems to be at a natural scale, and natural dynamic - making it much easier to her the details and how eveything interacts. With the correct scale established it's much easier to hear the space between instruments, they no longer blur into one another. Strange that I shoudl praise a speaker for how well it resolves the absence of sound but that's whats so odd about his speaker
Please explain how a vocalist's size/stature have anything to do with their voice.

Interesting. Could a petite person have a petite voice, and as massive person have a massive voice? Are there many 92 pounders singing bass? Does a mandolin sound "smaller" than a double bass?

Sorry, now back to Magico.

"Does a mandolin sound "smaller" than a double bass?"

Yes, indeed. What Folkfreak is saying makes perfect sense. One of the way we interpret the "size" of a sound generator is via the interaction between it and it's environment. A speaker that allows you to hear better the relationship between a singer/instrument and the space it is in, will get you closer to the illusion of live music. The Magico Q5 has done that better than any speaker I have ever heard. I am glad to hear that the Q3 does that as well.
>>06-16-11: Jdoris
Could a petite person have a petite voice<<

I guess you'd have to ask Celine Dion, Linda Ronstadt (in her younger days), and Barbra Streisand.

Next question

>>Does a mandolin sound "smaller" than a double bass?<<

The issue is people's voices as they relate to their physical size.

How about another question?

Slam dunk
I think Ronstadt does in fact have a small person's voice; I don't think the "size" of person's voice is only a matter of their capacity to project volume.

I'm no expert, but I'd be quite surprised to learn, for example, that the tonal qualities of my voice are unrelated to to my having a 48" chest.

Stay outta the paint, Mr. Feil.

Bizniz must be good .. LOL.. :) Slam dunk that ...

Obvious what folkfreak is getting at,he meant she did not have the proverbial 7 ft mouth, as most of your systems do ....

Get it .. :) :) :)

What about Mike Tyson? In his prime, the baddest man on earth and not a small man. Also Aaron Neville ... I was shocked the 1st time I saw him singing.

I think Audiofeil point is there is no relationship between ones stature and volume of their voice. Definitely cannot determine the stature of a person from their voice projected out of the speakers.

I also understand Folkfreak point. He finds the Q3 projects the music in the proper scale between the singer and acoustics. SOMETIMES this can be accomplished with speaker positioning and different components.
Ronstadt, from a musicians point of view, had/has what is generally considered a kick ass voice...she could peel paint from your ceiling...strip the chrome off yer tailpipes...or something. In any case, I've never heard it described as "small" (I've also never been to Vienna)...and I have friends who toured with her (I saw her live a few times in the 70's). They said she would come through the monitors like a banshee and they'd beg the monitor mixer to turn her down. Even the drummer's monitor...
I get annoyed by the scale of some instruments in's an engineering issue but I prefer the instruments to be sort of naturally placed and sometimes the mixer will, for example, imply that the drummer has a 20 foot wide kit...or a 30' piano...I imagine if you crank Magico's up (I heard the Q5s at Goodwins) in a gigantic room you might feel like the scale is off, but the Q5s I heard had perfect scale for what they were playing at the time, as do my much less expensive but groovy main speakers. Sort of the point of any good system isn't it?.
I understand Folkfreak's comments about scale the same way Weseixas and Usermanual do. I've heard many modern recordings of "singer/songwriter" females sound as though the singer's head is huge. I think this may have more to do with recording technique/quality that system reproduction, but when I hear instruments and voices out of scale, it does hinder the illusion and is quite annoying. I don't know how much a speaker has to do with this, but I do know what Folkfreak means about space and silences. I hear this quality on my Magico Mini II's. Scale, space, air, silence is much better than with my previous speakers.

As to the Magico Q3 - based on the one audition I've had, it is a great speaker. The soprano and orchestral music I heard it play were very convincing. Also the small scale jazz. It just sounded very much like real music.

Feil does sell Pass amps and that is saying something.

Congratulations on your new speakers, Folkfreak. Nice system.
Calm down sports fans.

If you re-read my posts, this is my position:

There is no correlation between a vocalist's physical size/stature and his/her voice. Nothing more and nothing less.

It is irrefutable.

I never mentioned musical instruments which are an all together different argument.
Did I mention Ronstadt's a gigantic Mexican mellon...just frightening....scares small children...although I doubt there's a connection to her vocal chops.
I would tend to agree with Audiofeil and Peterayer´s observations. It would seem the ´size` of the voice would correlate more to mic placement more than anything else, at least that is my experience or what I perceive.

That space and silence between is resolution, getting closer to what was recorded and as a result, greater realism, no small feat with any system, and then maintaining scale. I am quite interested in the Magicos in general for what listeners have observed concerning their presentation.
Big Joe Turner (6'2"/300 lbs.):

Big Mama Thornton (unknown, but considerable):

Don't singers and guitars both have bodies?

I hope Big Joe and Big Mama sound big on the Magico's!

Does anyone seriously think that Tyson,Neville, and Barbra provide "irrefutable" evidence that there's NO (positive) correlation between body size and certain characteristics of a person's voice (pitch/power)?

It is certainly anecdotal evidence against a positive correlation, while ...say... the long, historical parade of "plus sized" professional sopranos is anecdotal evidence of a positive correlation (as to power, at least).

I can't say with any certainty, but I'd suspect from my own anecdotal experience that a statistical analysis would bear out John's point. (That there is a positive correlation.) I'd also guess that John's reasoning is probably correct - chest volume, certain muscle mass, and vocal chord length (probably among a whole bunch of other things) are probably highly correlated with pitch and/or power. Those physical characteristics, themselves, are also likely to be highly (tho not perfectly) correlated with body size - accounting both for the correlation AND for the exceptions noted above.

That is just a guess. The real point is that no one has posted any "irrefutable" evidence to this thread one way or the other.

I can say with certainly that any positive correlation (if it exists) is not perfect. I can also say with certainty that Bill's assertion is not "irrefutable". It is an overstatement. (surprise.)


BTW, I also agree that, in all likelihood, none of this has anything to do with the OP's original point.
With respect to the discussion of voice reproduction, I think that two separate issues may be getting commingled here.

One has to do with voice CHARACTER, whether the singer's voice is "big" or "small" or something in between, whether that character is reproduced accurately, and the degree to which that character relates or doesn't relate to the singer's physical stature.

The other issue, which I believe is what Folkfreak was referring to when he said
06-16-11: Folkfreak
On my comment on singer stature. I guess this is the vocal corollary of the 7' wide guitar -- somehow there's just a size that seems natural.
is whether or not the IMAGE SIZE of the reproduced voice is properly scaled. One factor that can significantly distort that is an overemphasis of certain frequencies in the treble region. I recall from listening to test tones some years ago that some parts of the treble spectrum (especially around 8kHz, although I may not be recalling that number correctly) will be perceived as coming from a point well above the speakers. Therefore an overemphasis of that part of the spectrum, whether introduced by the speakers, the rest of the system, the room, or the recording, will tend to stretch the image size vertically. Obviously that would be more likely to affect female voice than male voice.

-- Al

"Don't singers and guitars both have bodies?"

Yes. And both have vibrating strings (or cords), too.

As a singer, I am now learning to perform test tones in case of an electrical grid meltdown. I have a large head but agree that, in the words of the respected bass player Will Lee, "everybody needs a little head."
One comment about speakers portraying "the size" of the instruments right.
Folkfreak writes:
"Take Dire Straits Telegraph Road -- on every other speaker I've had the drums are overpowering, oversized, and very impressive. On the Q3s they're just there, in scale with everything else"
My first question would be: if the drums on that particular track were recorded to sound "overpowering", and all others speakers reproduced THE RECORDING correctly, and Magico somehow diminished "it's size"?
I do undestand, that heard live, the drums should sound in proportion to other instruments.
But here is my second question: do we expect speakers to reproduce the recording of the instruments correctly, or to reproduce it in a way, the same instruments would've sounded live, which would be different from the given recording?
Just a thought.
To the OP: I was at the Goodwin's demo. It was a wonderful afternoon and the Magico Q3 sounded very good in the system in the large room. To my ears, they sounded extremely coherent. They disappeared as sound sources, seemed very neutral and transparent. Soundstaging was excellent. They were very extended both in the highs and lows. They really sounded very natural. I can't really find anything negative to say about them. If I were in the market for a $30-40K pair of speakers, these would definitely be on my list.
Professional singers when unamplified and in large halls will fill the hall. They project their voice and sing deep from the diaphragm. They have a position, but the sound eminates beyond that position IN A NATURAL WAY. When the imaging is large and forward, it is not natural and we perceive it to be incorrect.

When recorded, it is the job of the engineer to convey this perspective. It seems as though light and rigid cones tend to image in a way that puts the image in the correct place and perspective in relation to the rest of the musicians. If the frequency response is linear, then nothing should be prominent or forward.

In a typical pop music recording studio, aren't the musicians often recorded individually in a chamber to be later reassembled? I cannot listen to popular music because it all sounds cut-up, 2D, and distorted to me. Too many filters and tricks. Plus, I cannot listen to electronic instruments.
Having triggered what seems to have been a very interesting discussion (if off topic) on singing I think Rtn1 gets it just right. I'd argue that in a pop music study the tricks should be in the service of reassembling that same perspective -- which is what Joe Boyd was able to do so well with Sandy Denny, and that the Q3s fed back to me.

And on singers and size, and another of my favorite recorded artists for unamplfied voice .. Thomas Quasthoff ;-) I'll definitely fire him up when I get home tonight
Whow think ill get 2 pairs.
Hmmm, interesting point about voice and scale of singers. Unfortunately, in my experience, I have not heard any stereo system that can quite produce the kind of impact that a truely large voice can produce in a concert hall or opera house. In part, that may be the false of microphone recording the voice, perhaps. Having heard Eva Marton, Alexandra Marc, Deborah Voigt, Hildegard Behrens, Nina Stemme among others and listen to their recordings, I never quite get the kind of goose bump experience from their wall of sound come crashing through. Birgitte Nilsson mentioned in her autobiography that when they tried to record her voice, the sound engineer kept asking her to step away from microphone as she kept overloading it as she sang.
Behrens is rather petite and Stemme is certainly quite slim (at least by opera singer's standard) but their voice is certainly not.
Not sure what this has to do with Q3 but oh well... our local dealer is supposed to get in his first pair to demo by the end of the month and from what I have been audition locally so far in my price range, I really think that Q3 is probably going to be the one I will get later on this year.
Finally I got to hear Q3. However, the speakers only arrived at the dealer 2 days ago and not even closed to burn in yet but it sounds very promising. Like Q5, it made just about all other cone speakers sound boxy in comparison. Excellent detail and I could hear separation of each instruments much clearer. The improvement over V3 is quite significant. My dealer is now worried that it may be more difficult to sell the remaining stocks of his V3 because the difference is price and performance seems to favor Q3 quite a bit. I should have Q3 in my living room in the next week or so after they are burned in more.
Magico does have a weird issue with these new models seeming superior to the old WAY less money. I'm waiting for the outrage among the owners of the older stuff...and I'm glad I can live with sub 60K speakers....
I think the Q3 retails for $34,000, substantially less than $60K. I too happily live with sub 60K speakers.

The Q3 will soon replace the V3. The Q3 is a better speaker, but it does cost about $7K more, not "WAY less money".

I'm one of the legacy owners of a pair of Magico Mini II's which will soon be replaced by the Q1. There is and will be no outrage from me. I paid considerably less for my speakers than what their replacement will cost. They also have a very different look which suits my living room decor better anyway. Sure the new models sound better. Technology marches on and I'm glad that Magico continues to push the envelope.

For some reason, Magico seems to be controversial. There are quite a few detractors and many pleased customers.
Yes, Q3 cost more than the V3 but the improve in performance is quite significant. What I tried to say was that, eventhough Q3 costs more, my dealer felt that most people, if they can, probably would try to stretch their budget from V3 upto Q3 because of the gain in performance.

I almost bought V3 a couple of years ago and I am glad I waited this long.

I think there are good reasons why some people may not like Magico. People who are used to big heavy bass from ported loudspeakers may not be used to the type of bass that Magico produces. They are also not easy to drive. I am not sure why Magico would list 50 watts or was it 100 watts as adequate for Q5. At least Q3 seems to be a much easier load than even V3. Th 120 watts 710 Soulution amp certainly seems to have easier time driving Q3 than V3.

All the old speakers are suddenly no good HELLO lets wake up.
I was referring to the Q5 vs. the M5 price (oops)...and for the record, I like Magico speakers (I'm sure Magico is relieved hear that). They sound great to me and I appreciate "cost no object" design even if it's doubtful I'll spend that much on speakers.
Ebm, I am not sure what you are upset about? I assume that in part, you are responding to my post regarding V3 vs Q3. I never said that V3 is bad. I first fell in love with Magico since I first heard V3. May be not quite enough that I would want to upgrade my speakers but Magico suddenly became one brand that I would like to own one day. The M5 came out which is way out of my reach. Q5 followed where the price range is almost in a realistic range but I am afraid that I will have to upgrade my amp as well to really drive it well. Suddenly Q3 came out that I think would work well with my amplifier, in a range that will not be too much of a burden to me. So I am very excited.

Why would I need a reality check or wake up as you said, just because I find Q3 better than V3. Magico releases a speaker that cost more than V3. It is bigger, has more drivers and updated drivers, at that, more expensive material which is probably more difficult to manufacture but because it is being done entirely in house rather than relying on outsourcing (and not to cheap labor country either), they could make something that is better but does not cost and arm and a leg more! Does that sound too much like a dream and not a reality?

Would it be better if Magico make something new that is more expensive but is not better than the old speakers?

I don't really get your point at all!
I agree Q3 must sound great i have no place to hear it in NYC.Im sure the new Q3 is better.I have MAGICO MINI 2 love them for now.
Nothing like a good room and good setup to make a good system sound good.
I humbly submit that I think Ebm was being sarcastic in his remark above. I usually find Ebm's comments both funny and pithy.

I'm now wondering what a future Magico Q2 will cost and sound like. I can guess what it will look like. CES 2012?