Magico V3 with tubed amplification, will it work ?

Hello There,
I'm planning to upgrade my old Thiel 3.6 speakers.

I was considering Von Schweikert VR5 Anniversary, really liked then, divine soundstage, great transparency. But I have heard Magico Mini on some audio show, I have never heard anything like this, they sounded different then anything else, so involving, truthful, I was captivated literally... For me they bettered all speaker I have heard so far. (I know that they do not have slam of Wilson speakers). But price $20.000 for mini monitors, that is insane.
But, now I have noticed that V3 can be bought for $12.000, which is about as much I could afford. And V3 will have better dynamics and more bass which is all I would need.
I have talked with former Magico dealer and he told me that Magico will not work with 100W tube amplifier (Supratek Burgundy) or Clayton M100 (class A 100W) which I own.
He basically told me that I need strong 300W of solid state power from Spectral, ML, Krell, Ayre to make them sing. With 100W he claimed they will sound dull uninvolving.
I do not want to change amps so I’m in quandary. He was trying to convince me that Wilson Sasha is better choice and they are easy to drive and 100W will do just fine.
I’m not sure if this is genuine advice or just dealer talk, he is selling Wilson Audio now.
How can Sasha be easy load if it drops to 1.8ohm ? I’m not convinced, so I'm looking for second opinion. I heard on numerous occasions WATT/Puppy in shortcut huge soundstage big bass, but was never captivated by music the way I was with Magico. Hence my question:
Have anybody been using V3 with tube amplification ? Can Magico be successfully driven by 100W tube amp ?
I personally find your friend's advice difficult to believe. The Clayton is 100watts Class A and will give you as much current as some others mentioned when impedance changes damand it. I don't own the V3s so I will let others chime in about the sufficiency of 100 "tube" watts from your supratek. I use 78 wpc tube monoblocs to drive Focal Electra 936 floorstanders and man they sing and sing as loudly as I can take it. Theoreticaly the load may be easier electrically but they are big speakers with 4X 8 inch woofers total. I would be surprised if no one found suitable tube amps that are of average/high wattage that can't drive them, I'm skeptical.
Sorry, I think Magico 100% overrated and the Mini speakers though have amazing constructions.

Some of what the former Magico dealer told you is correct. I used to own Magico M5 speakers (harder to drive than the V3) and I have done several listening sessions with the Magico V3. Based on my experience with Magico, I would tend to agree that a 100 watt per channel amplifier will in general, not be enough power to bring the V3 to life and let you hear what it is capable of sounding like. I have no experience with the Clayton amp that you have so I can't comment on it and the V3 specifically and of course, some of this depends on your room (size, acoustic treatment of the room) and how loud you want to play them.

But, you don't need to drive them only with more powerful solid state amps - tube amps will work wonderfully, assuming you have enough power. Again, depending on your room and listening habits - the ARC Ref 210 should work fine with the V3, and I know for sure that VTL 450's will sound great with them. I am sure there are others (maybe even your Clayton amp), these are just a few suggestions.

I would say that the WIlson Sasha might be a little easier to drive than the V3, but again, depending on your room and listening habits, 100 watts per channel may not be enough to really let them shine as well (again depending on room and listening habits).
I drive my Sasha's with Densen B-350 mono-amps(125 watts)in a 20'x 26' room with no problems. That being said, everyone has different taste and Sasha's may not be your cup of tea! Try to find a way to listen to the Magico's with your amps.
I envision Magico to perform similarly off tube amps as Thiel, ie yes it will work and have some nice attributes, but low end may not be as convincing as with good high current SS gear.

I have heard Magico Minis of beefy VAC tube amp sound very nice but in line with my assessment above. Have not heard V3 but dealer seemed to prefer Minis with that system. I suspect largely because V3s go deeper and fuller and tube amp is not the best match.

I've heard V3 at show demos sound very nice with full bottom end similar to YG Anat off of good quality high current SS amplification.
The problem you are dealing with is that the speaker is inefficient. They rate the 'sensitivity' at 89 db, which is at best moderate, but when you do the math (its a 4 ohm load, sensitivity is 2.83 volts into 4 ohms) what you see is the efficiency is only 86 db!

In most rooms that is a need for a lot of power! In my room I would need 400 watts at a *minimum*. My room is 17' x 21'.

If I were you I would look at a more efficient speaker if you want to use tubes. The Sasha that you mentioned is an example- 100 watt tube amps drive it quite well despite its low impedance at 80Hz. Another speaker to consider that is in the same performance arena is the Dreammaker by Audiokinesis.
I had the Mini2, and later V3 (ar.4yrs in total with both). Cut story short, my brother ultimately loved how V3s sounded in my room driven alternately by FMA (250w) or Soulution (110w @8ohms) that he decided to take it off me. Even though his room is actually on the smallish side (ar.12'x15'), his amp then an ARC REF110 simply refused to 'wake' those V3s up - somehow sounded restrained. Later a change to REF150 improved things quite a bit, but he reckoned still not there yet.

Finally, after more in-room toying/comparing (-+3months), he ended up trading in my old pair of V3s for the dealer's brand new loaner pair of Sasha+REF150. In his simple words, he thought the pairing to be - 'more alive, more exciting'. I agree.. that that particular amp+speaker combo in synergy with his other ancillaries, in his room, playing his music, happen to do just that.

The Mini2s/V3s are undoubtedly some great speakers, even more so considering their current used prices. However, I suggest you do an in-home audition with your current amp (if no intention to change), prior to any commitment. IMO/E, in a moderate size room, you DO need at least a good 200-300w of tube power, OR--alternatively, some capable high current/quality SS amps to unleash their true/otherwise hidden potential.
With highly transparent speakers like the Magico Mini its purely a matter of personal preference if you power it with valve or high power SS.

I owned a speaker similar to the Mini, a ML1, and drove it successfully with 2 amps - a 15W Leben and 100W SS but have heard it with 500w Arions.

The 500W Arions were the best sounding overall but the 15W Leben was still very good - a divine midrange and even rock soundeed OK - just slightly compressed. The 100W SS had more than enough power for stuff at normal levels. I would get the 100W valve amp without a second thought if that's the kind of sound you like.

Here is one of the best articles about amplifier power I know:

I actually am in a similar quandary right now. I am getting some speakers a bit similar to your Magicos built and have narrowed it down to 2 amps - an Arion 500w and a 45W valve amp. Through the valves the vocals are unbelievably real and present but with the Arions it has better grip and bass and you can reach FRIGHTENING levels if that is your wont. Its purely a matter of personal preference.

I own the Mini 2 and prefer it to both the V3 and the V2. My Pass XA100.5 was not enough for the Mini 2, so I now use the XA160.5 (300 watts at 4 ohms, all Class A and then more in class A/B). I did hear the V2, which I also prefer to the V3 (more coherent) with a 100 watt Spectral amp in a small room and it sounded fantastic. The Magico specs are deceiving. They need a lot of power to sound good. The V2 is an easier load than the Mini 2. The used prices for these wooden Magicos are quite attractive, but you need good/powerful amplification.
What does 100% overrated mean? They are always overrated by every person who comments on them? Or, every aspect of every Magico speaker is overrated, or something else? Please explain your comment, Mountain-high.
Peterayer, 100% overated = hyperbole = meaningless = nothing constructive into the why "I don't like em."

I will never get these type of mono phrase comments especially when directed at highly regarded products. A "why" or "what" reason or objection regarding their presentation would be most welcome and hopefully offer some insight to the reader. Don't be "sorry" Mountain-high tell us why.

Hi,I have MAGICO MINI 2 with Rowland 8T amp 250 ch 8 Ohms,400 ch 4 Ohms works and sounds wonderful.You need a very good High Current amp with the best of everything.
I know plenty of speakers that don't need high current- that idea in the post above is an example of a common audio myth.
I think Ebm is referring only to the needs of the Magico Mini 2 speakers. I also own this speaker and in my room, the Pass XA100.5 was not enough. I find the XA160.5 to be a better sounding amp for these speakers. So the 320 watts of Class A power into 4 ohms, 52 volts and 36 amps of current is enough in my room to drive them. Beyond this I will defer to Atmasphere. There are certainly speakers that don't need high current. In my experience, the Mini 2 does.
'What does 100% overrated mean? They are always overrated by every person who comments on them? Or, every aspect of every Magico speaker is overrated, or something else? Please explain your comment, Mountain-high.'

Magico is a very expensive speaker and as such an easy target. I personally think they are way overrated compared to some cheaper stuff I know but that is not to say they are a bad speaker, nor that everyone agrees with my assessment (they don't). And besides the issue here is how to drive them, - not what you think of them.

Thanks for comments I’m getting stronger impression that marriage between 100W tube power and Magico may not work.
Magico Mini I heard on CES were driven by Jeff Rowland 300W monoblocks, and most speakers have been driven by some tubed amplifiers it could not have been an accident.

Wilson Audio dealer has given me nice audition of Sasha speakers, (he used ARC REF110 power amps, pre was from ARC too, as CDP he used AudioAero La Source all wired with SR cables. Huge soundstage , great resolution great transparency, what was lacking was dynamics, bass (strange for WA). Sound was spacious like cosmos but flesh out no physicality to it. Neither me not my friend liked it. It was very surprising to me because last time I have heard WA it was WATT/Puppy VII or VIII with Spectral; dynamic bass was humongous so was resolution and transparency. But still I could not get involved with the music. So it seems that ARC may be not a good match for WA. Actually it was first time I have heard WA fleshed out.
So I’m afraid that 100W tube of SS class A power will not make Magico work as it did not worked with Sasha. Dealer’s room was pretty big at least 450sq. feet.
Mine is 20’ by 15’.
Did anybody compared V3 with VS VR-5 which I liked ?
I have read that Magico considers YG as the only real world competitor.
I have never hear any YG speakers, at least I do not recall it. They have great press though, I have just finished reading all reviews I could find on the web. They even claimed to have best Earth speakers period. Bold statement.
It would be nice to own best Earth speakers :) if it is true of course.
Seems that their speakers are like Magico made from Aluminum but do not fall below 5ohms so they may be easier load for tube amplifier. Have anybody compared SR VR5 with Magico V3 or Magico V2/3 with any YG speakers, are that that good, maybe I should consider them ?
What is YG house sound like ?
If heard YG i like Magico better its more musical wooden body Magico will be warmer than Aluminum.Its up to you.
For a few more bucks you should look into Rockports Mira II.

It's a very subjective hobby. I've had a pair of Avalon Eidolons for some time now. Right or wrong almost all other speaker systems just don't sound right to my ears anymore. The same could be said for people used to the sound of horn and panel speaker systems.

For people who have vastly different goals Magico's direction could easily be considered overrated. I spent a little over four hours in a home with a Q5 / all Ayre MX system. The sonic direction and presentation that is Magico makes sense to my way of listening (an understatement).

I'm guessing the original poster has had a taste and like me giving up second order tube amplification is a big leap.
>>>I know plenty of speakers that don't need high current- that idea in the post above is an example of a common audio myth.

Not really, physics is still physics, even in audio. Size/efficiency/extension are entwine. If you wish to extend as low as the Magico do, and be as efficient as Wilson, you will have to have a huge enclosure. If you wish to be efficient (add a port), and not have a huge enclosure, you will have limited bass extension ( i.e. Wilson). Choose your poison. The problem is that in order to gain efficiency, many add a port which by definition limits the bass extension by doubling the bass roll off rate. Ports also introduces group delay and all sorts of other issues… Like I said, no free lunch. BTW, in Europe you see Magico pairing with Nagra and Zanden quite often.
Don't know what Ebm means, but Razmika's post makes a lot of sense. The Magico V3 is pretty inefficient and I would certainly listen to them with tube amps before I committed to buying them.
My opinion based on owning the V2s and having heard the V3s a few times is that a very powerful SS is the way to go.

My V2s sounded uninspired with not just tube amps, but even a tube pre in the mix. The midrange on these speakers are very lush and do not need tubes (again, imo).
Not really, physics is still physics, even in audio. Size/efficiency/extension are entwine.

Razmika, you might want to read this:

Physics is indeed physics! It is a simple fact for example, that no speaker needs more than 20:1 for a damping factor in the amp. But there are some speakers that 1:10 is preferred and you read that correctly.

It depends on the speaker- some have very high Q factor (that physics thing again) and thus cannot be properly driven by an amp that is 'high current'.

Your example of the port is not entirely accurate! If one is using the Power Paradigm the port might be tuned a good half octave lower to take advantage of the amplifier's power response. I can point to numerous other examples.
Mr. Karsten, are you disputing Anthony Hoffman’s (the H in KLH) Iron Law? You know; the one that says that with high efficiency speakers you can either have low bass or small size but not both. If you do, I would like to read more about it.
Neutrally your arguments are placed out of your agendas and therefore should be taken in the right context. For example; in order to create a bass reflex or acoustic suspension loudspeakers that falls under your “Power Paradigm rule” you will have to flatten their impedance curve, right? To do so you will need to create electrical “impedance traps” in the speakers XO network. That will create all sorts of other issues and will make the end results sound like crap even though they are operating under the "Power Paradigm rules" (Phase anomalies, group delay etc.). Not here to argue with anyone so that will be my only comment on the subject.