Magico S5 vs Tannoy Westminster Royal SE


Hello, I need some opinion about these 2 speakers. I plan to acquire one of them.
Anyone who owned or tried these speakers please share your experience.

I won't be looking for any other brand.

I will use VAC sigma 160i to drive the westminster
Vs
Hegel H30 Stereo to drive the Magico S5.

Thank you.

Regards,
aprica
Tannoy would be my choice bar none!!!
Where is Ebm when we need him? DUDE?
My preferences are strongly Tannoy biased, so I'd take the Kensington SE over the S5, unless it's a very large room. I preferred the former, in the exact same system, for its midrange sweetness and musicality. The bass is quite different between the two; in some ways the S5 is tighter, faster, and punchier than the Tannoy, but in other ways it's also more disjointed and reminds me ever-so-slightly of a subwoofer (a very good one no doubt, but still...). Overall the S5 sounded great; very resolving and tonally very clean/neutral from the mids on up, but my preference was clear. I can understand others going crazy for the S5's qualities.

In medium-large rooms, I'd take the Yorkminster/Canterbury over Kensington. Haven't heard the Westminster, but it seems almost certain to destroy the smaller Tannoys in very large room. A VAC Sigma 160i will pair beautifully with any of the Prestige speakers.

The above demo system consisted of a Clearaudio Innovation Compact w/ Ortofon Cadenza Red, VAC Renaissance III w/ MC phono, and Rogue M180. Granted, the Cadenza Red (nice as it is @ 1.2K) was a bit out of its league here, and the M180 is probably the very *minimum* amount of power you'd want to feed the S5, and certainly NOT ideal. The Tannoys benefit from power up to a point, but don't require nearly as much and can run on far far less.
In short, your 2 choices represent 2 very different approaches to music reproduction! I have a friend that would go for the Magicos.
Entirely different speakers - in fact you are unlikely to find two different speakers anywhere.

Magico is of the accuracy detail type and, to some like me, can come across as perhaps a bit brittle, dry and uninvolving, but due to the very low resonance fast, very uncolored, and articulate. The Tannoy is full, rich, involving, and musical but with not the articulation and detail of the Magico.

I actually wouldn't get either - I would try for a speaker that combined the strengths of both - such as Rockports, Ridge St Audio Sason, or Lenehan ML2 Limited (I have a pair of those on the way) - but that's me. I was at a recent meet where some speakers similar to the Tannoy were and while I liked them the guys there were going ga ga over them. Many there have heard my speakers which are more along the line of Rockports etc, and I thought mine were definitely better, but all except one other (he also owned my speakers) much preferred the speakers at the meet.

Its a personal preference thing - listen to both and decide what floats your boat. Of the two I would go for the Tannoy - the Magico's are a little brittle for me.

Thanks
Bill
These two speakers are so vastly different in presentation and character that it's interesting you'd like both.Have you actuality had a chance to hear them? If I had to build a system around one I'd prefer the big Tannoy, it's natural in sound and permits greater amplifier flexibility choice.
Regards,.
Where is Ebm when we need him? DUDE?
Aprica, can you provide dimensions in meters of your room and describe the layout (ie: dedicated lounge room or open living/dining) & what type of music you listen to? That will enable us to advise you which speakers would likely best suit you.
Both are quite expensive. One is more dynamic than the other. One is pretty large in size.

I just went through this process last fall. I had been to both ends of the spectrum. From all the darn audio reading I had done in the last 2 years came an idea.....Zu Audio.

I purchased a used pair of the latest Zu Essence on Agon. I have never had such pleasure from a speaker system. I am so Fricken done, and very pleased that I found my sound.

Your choice's approach seem kind of like my dilemma. I am not promoting Zu, but I am simply asking you to look at what you are truly looking for, and I don't mean 'Big Name' speakers.
+ 1 for the TANNOYs ...hands down!
These two speakers are so vastly different in presentation and character that it's interesting you'd like both.Have you actuality had a chance to hear them? If I had to build a system around one I'd prefer the big Tannoy, it's natural in sound and permits greater amplifier flexibility choice.
Regards,.
03-30-13: Akg_ca
+ 1 for the TANNOYs ...hands down!
You're making that recommendation without knowing the OP's room dimensions or taste in music? There is no such think as 'one size fits all'.
I'm down for the Tannoy Royal Kingdoms.

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue64/tannoy_royal.htm
Hello, my room is about 16 feet by 26 feet
or 5 by 8 meters.
I would recommend the S5's in your room with the Hegel amp. Imho the big Tannoy's need a large room to fully open up. Your medium sized room is better suited to the S5's imho. That said, these are completely different speakers, so that has to be weighed as well.
The Yorkminster, Canterbury, and Westminster SE should all do very well in a
room that size. You may wish for another couple feet beyond that 16' with the
Westminsters...but if I could go for them in that situation, then I'd probably do
so. The 23Hz extension of the Yorkminster (vs. 28/29Hz) was incredible; the
18Hz of the Westminster should be unreal -- and at 98dB/Watt, no less. No
other point source can touch that.
Aprica, Like Charles1dad, I’m interested in the story behind your query - it’s unusual. Do you have coupons? :-)

+1 Charles1dad’s advise: All things being equal; if it’s a coin toss; go with the speaker that gives you the widest range of amplifier choices - the Westminster.
"You're making that recommendation without knowing the OP's room dimensions or taste in music? There is no such think as 'one size fits all’.”

I agree with you Melbguy1; and it’s not unreasonable to expect that the OP, who is about to spend a great deal of money on one of two very expensive speakers, knows that too.

Trying to summarize all of the characteristics and applications of these two very different speakers would take quite an effort. Why should anyone make that effort in light of the scant effort made by the OP? So, Westminster it is. Simple question, simple answer.
The only Tannoy in the prestige line that I have auditioned is the Turnberry SE. The sound character from this speaker somewhat similar to the Harbeth.
The sound is "SILKY" and a little darker compared to American and canadian made speakers that I owned and auditioned for so many years.

I did tried the Magico S5. I quite agree with Bhobba. The sound from S5 is a bit "Brittle". Detail and refine. And 1 word that that I think best describe the S5. It is Coherent.

I dont' know how the bigger brother of the Tannoy Prestige sound. I have yet to try. But I found the Turnberry is musical and pleasing to listen for long hours.

Should I buy Both :p ?
03-29-13: Bhobba
Magico is of the accuracy detail type and, to some like me, can come across as perhaps a bit brittle, dry and uninvolving, but due to the very low resonance fast, very uncolored, and articulate.
I am not sure which amps you heard those S5's with? however the S5's are best matched with warm, tube-like solid state amps and then they sound magical. I've heard the S5's with both Vitus and Dartzeel which both have excellent synergy. Anecodotally Hegel and Constellation also work well, though I haven't heard those combo's. In general, with warm, musical sounding amps like Dart, the S5's sound more relaxed, musical and flowing. You could also try cables like Jorma Prime which are very well balanced, natural sounding, harmonically rich & have a liquid flow which I think would compliment the S5's very well. Siltech Royal Sig series also work well with Magico. As always, it is a matter of synergy.
The Tannoy models with pepperpot/alnico drivers (from Kensington SE on up) are all more resolving than the tulip waveguides (the Churchill being the ONLY possible exception here), but they don't have anything close to a "hifi, edgy" character unless your upstream gear is as such. In fact, I find the alnico Prestige models to be both more resolving and more musical than the tulips -- well worth the extra cost. The aforementioned Churchill was a bit drier in the midrange compared to the slight sweetness of the Kensington/Yorkminster/Canterbury. Though, note that I only auditioned the Churchill once so my impressions on it are not as solid. From the tulip waveguide group I've heard: Turnberry, Genair 10 & 15, Dimension TD10 & 12, Definition DC10 & DC8, etc.

I also think that the Prestige models are more coherent sounding from top to bottom than the S5. The Tannoy bass is better integrated into the music, in my opinion.
04-01-13: Mulveling
I also think that the Prestige models are more coherent sounding from top to bottom than the S5. The Tannoy bass is better integrated into the music, in my opinion
Mulveling, I can see you are a big Tannoy fan, but I am perplexed by your answer as the S5's are perfectly phase and time coherent. May I ask if the S5's you auditioned were fully, or mostly run in, what accompanying components you heard them with & the approximate size of the room?
The Westminsters, which I listen to for hours daily, are far more seamless and integrated top to bottom. The distortion is much lower. They are far easier to drive. The are absolutely superior on voices, which is the toughest test. They are more dynamic. They scale far better.

Bhobba is absolutely right, the Magicos are brittle on many pieces, and he really is on the money with Rockports. Though I prefer the Tannoys for FAR less money than what I would consider a competitive Rockport, the Rockports are a very credible speaker that have a nice low distortion delivery.
While monetarily not in the same league as most of the posters on this thread, I have achieved, for far less of an investment, the kind of performance provided by Tannoys.

Alnico drivers, pepperpot high frequency drivers, and hard edge surrounds, all in ca 1975 drivers, the HPD 315.

Crossovers are custom designed and built, cabinets are custom made 150 litre bass-reflex, at nearly 2" thick and each weighing 192lbs.

They are able to provide me with musical enjoyment I could not have afforded otherwise, and in a very large room, to boot (16'.5" X 34', w/cathedral ceiling).

They are happy to be driven by 300Wpc SS, or 35Wpc (VAC PA 35.35).

Tannoy has proven to be endearingly reliable, flexible, and wonderful music makers. These will be my last speakers, others need not apply.

I wish you all the enjoyment that I am having, no matter what you do it with.

Regards,
Dan

They provide me with
Dan, you have marched to the beat of your own drummer and I have no doubt that you have benefitted hugely from doing so. "Wonderful music makers" is your quote. I could not say it better.

Most readers, unfortunately, will doubt that these speakers, not using the latest buzzwords, the latest supposed high tech materials (I doubt the words "high tech" have ever been misused and clouded reality as much as they have been in high end audio) could ever compete with the latest, greatest $50k or $100k speakers.
Kiddman, thak you for your kind comments. For me, Tannoys, at least of the time-tested Dual Concentric variety, are not known for their ability to reproduce the fine detail of some of the mega-buck speakers, such as Magico and Wilson, they just make music listening a constant joy on a daily basis.

For example, I once heard Wilson Maxx-2's, driven by VTL Siegfried mono-blocs, and found the sound to be hyper-detailed, and not to my liking.

Tannoy's get to the meat of the music, and are capable of reproducing the scale of music in a way I've heard few other speakers do.

I have audio friends that drop by when they can (it's a five hour drive). They are very well-seasoned audio enthusiasts, and members of the Portland Audio Society (in Oregon). Upon their initial visit, they described what they heard as "world class", much to my surprise.

This was before the new crossovers had been implemented, and before the woofers had been reconed with the hard edge surrounds, and improvements have been made in amplification, and both analog and digital front ends as well.

Whether or not they are "world class" is immaterial, what's important, is I never tire of listening to them, and they are a source of constant enjoyment. My solo listening sessions last from 4-6 hours daily, with no listening fatigue. I feel no need to try and improve on that.

As always, regards and enjoy,
Dan
I'm afraid I am not in the price league of being able to consider Magico speakers, but spent a long time auditioning in a top price system with Dartzeel pre and monoblocks. The rather foolish dealer was boasting that the speaker cable cost more than most peoples whole systems. I agree with Islanmadman, I found and have found in other demos, that Magico are brittle and fatiguing, even with a top flight Dartzeel amp set up. I see why people might enjoy them, but they were'nt for me.

Like Islandman, I put Magico in the same camp as Wilson. However, I went to a small show in the UK recently with Wilson speakers and reinforced my view of them, with a Krell amp. Switching to an Audio Research ref 150 and another room with D'Agostina pre and monoblocks, they were a revelation. No edge, just detailed, transparent with a wonderful deep wide soundstage. I presume Magico could also be made listenable to me, with different ancillaries.
Aprica - you answered your own question -no?
The sound from S5 is a bit "Brittle". Detail and refine. And 1 word that that I think best describe the S5. It is Coherent.
Purchase the coherent speaker. Music is about coherence.
I am positively amazed at the wisdom, at the correct take on the sound by some folk in this thread. I am used to the big, new, heavily reviewed, heavily advertised, "state of the art" (as I roll my eyes)" owners and supporters flaming the guy mentioning a classic product made by an old company. You see, unobtainium materials and mystique, and some supposed new genius on the block always seems to trump all else. Until the bandwagon wheel falls off, and everyone goes to the next flashy company.

The support the Tannoys receive in the above posts gives me hope for sanity and truth to sometimes prevail in this marketplace. The Tannoys are that good.

I have one caveat about an above Tannoy supporter's post: I get all the detail with my Tannoys that those other named speakers do. It's just that the highs and mids are not "forced forward" with aggression that results in folks thinking that it is detail. When I listen closely to each, it is all there with the Tannoy.

The Westminsters are ridiculously good. AND, you can listen for hours and hours, the next day just wanting more. That cannot be said for many speakers at any price.
How do you edit your own posts? I made a few typos and have a few missing words in my post above.

My corrections to the above post are in CAPS.

It should say: "I am used to the big, new, heavily reviewed, heavily advertised, "state of the art" (as I roll my eyes)" SPEAKER'S owners flaming a guy mentioning......."

It should say "I DO get all the detail with my Tannoys....."

It should say "When I listen closely to each SPEAKER THE DETAIL is all there with the Tannoy."

I hope the post is now more clear.
Hi Dan

Thats the exact reason I prefer Rockports and Lenehan's to the Tannoys - they seem to be as musical and satisfying as the Tannoy and yet have the detail of Magico's. But there are plenty who don't agree - viva la difference I say.

Thanks
Bill

Kiddman,
The sentiments of your post was clearly understood and I feel the same.
People are attracted to and impressed by different qualities a speaker has
to offer.Like some others here if limited to just these two, I'd prefer the
Tannoy rather than the Magico.A speaker has to be able to reproduce
music in a believable manner that communicates the emotion and soul .
Speakers that sound sterile, analytical and un involving with emphasis on
hyper detail are unlistenable, at least for me .The Rockport is an excellent
overall speaker based on my encounters.
Regards,
Charles, could not agree more on your general point.

And, though I don't own Rockports, and have several speakers I like a lot, I won't be buying Rockports in the near future, I agree with you excellent rating of them. Nice, low distortion sound, good dynamics, good extension both ends, the sound of music. I think the side firing woofers can be challenging in many rooms, so my comments are predicted on the speaker working properly in the given room, with this being a bit more of an important proviso with Rockports than with many other brands. On the other hand, there are very few brands that can soar to the heights of Rockports!
It really is interesting how everyone here has such a good word for Rockports. The Rockport Mira 2 and my new Lenehan ML2 Limited are my two favorite speakers - but the Lenehans are more of an Australian thing - if you aren't in Australia auditioning them is a problem. The more expensive Rockports are of course fantastic as well but their cost makes my eyes wince - ouch.

Thanks
Bill
They are respectable in sound, nice natural sound without glaring seams. Yes, I think they are way too high priced for the performance, but no doubt they are a real pain to build and small volume. Boutique. If the current fad brands at the high end of the industry were not so mediocre then Rockport would not stand out as much. But at least they are an example of respectable sound.
Any Final thought? will be purchasing this week.
Its your money and your room and ears dude!!
Final thought: One is fairly good hifi, for hifi folks, it will be a stepping stone for you after you tire of them. The other is a classic, something for music lovers, something folks often keep for decades, something that affords you the opportunity of using any type of amp you wish.

Simple choice: music or the "hifi game".
Any Final thought? will be purchasing this week.
The very short answer is, Tannoy.
From a sound quality, (resales) value, design, point of view Tannoy is the no brainer choice.

With all due respect to the Magico. Regards, G
Kiddman and Gregm,
Well said! These two speakers epitomize those very different philosophical designs and the resulting sound you'll hear.
Regards,
Listening to my S5s driven by Constellation Centaur stereo amp, I am in heaven.
Agree with Charles1dad.
Thanks Devilboy and Charles1. It is unfortunate most folks learn about music and the sound of instruments through stereo systems. It takes a long evolution for them to realize what they really should be after. Some never do, cycling through hi-fi sound making equipment through their career, as opposed to gravitating toward what sounds like music. If the mission of the hobby is to listen to equipment then this is great, they are getting what they want. However, my direct experience is that many are not satisfied, and forget more and more any musical interest they once had. For these ones I feel empathy.
04-16-13: Kiddman
Final thought: One is fairly good hifi, for hifi folks, it will be a stepping stone for you after you tire of them. The other is a classic, something for music lovers, something folks often keep for decades, something that affords you the opportunity of using any type of amp you wish.

Simple choice: music or the "hifi game".
Disagree! My .02 Depending on the electronics, you can make either sound "hifi game" or music.

I demoed Q3 with all Spectral and Constellation amp and EAR pre. Constellation and EAR were music and all Spectral were "hifi game". It gave me a headache after 30 minutes, was not in the mood to hear the Q7's next and just had to leave.
04-15-13: Aprica88
Any Final thought? will be purchasing this week.
I thought I would interupt the Tannoy love-in and suggest another option you may not have considered; the new Avalon Compas which retails at the same price. Avalon have always sounded natural, coherent & had great imaging and sound staging, however the Compas embodies Avalon's latest thinking, including driver technology directly filtered down from their flagship $300k Tesseract, new crossover technology and a more sophisticated cabinet design. The Compas is very dynamic, transparent and rythmic. It also has faster and better bass than the Eidolon Diamond. A polite speaker this is not! In fact it is a very well balanced speaker & worthy of consideration.
The S5's are not brittle .....the Q series is more detailed and can be more analytical if not paired with the proper amp.Most people are thinking of these I believe.

The S5 is more warm sounding to begin with. The S5 should be used with warm SS or powerful tubes....it is more forgiving than the Q series....completely different. Great imaging, very holographic, and detailed with my Ayon Triton 2 amp.
Just heard the Magico S5 and S1 combined by a relatively modest set of Audio Research SP17 and DS450 with a Moon cd-player.
Cabling Shunyata Anaconda Z-tron.
I found the S5 very relaxed, transparent and detailed which gives a natural feeling of just listening to a real instrument, eg on cello, violin. Lows were just too powerful with this combination, upgrading the amplification should be resolving this and the speaker already shows its great potential.
Overall I found S5 very pleasing and musical without fatique for the ear and no issues with brittle sound.
Did not heard the Tannoy.

About the looks: from just ugly (Tannoy) to excellent (Magico).
Your mileage will vary of course.
I have never really "got" magico at all, having heard various iterations at a number of shows. I went to a store demo of Devaliet amps, which had the D Premier and S5, this week. Now I get it, really delightful balanced sound, detailed without edge or grit, great soundstage.

Perhaps Magico fall into the same category as I would put Wilson, excellent, but difficult to match with the right electronics.

If it was me, I would still go Tannoy, for looks if nothing else. That is'nt mentioned much, but a speaker pair is a big piece of furniture you will be stuck facing for some years, hopefully, so looks do count. Again like Wilson, I find Magico have a look, only a mother could love, to put it politely
Did anyone drop this link yet?

http://www.atma-sphere.com/Resources/Paradigms_in_Amplifier_Design.php

These two speakers seem to operate under two different paradigms. The Tannoy is the Power paradigm, the Magico on the Voltage Paradigm. So you will need different amplifiers to show either one off properly (although my IME you will have a better change of getting the Tannoy to sound like real music- see the article for why).