Magico vs the world


Everywhere I look I only see people (end users and professional reviewers) raving about magico. Build quality, incredible sound, etc... everyone just loves them, especially the modern series, A3, M series, S series (mk2 variant). It is impressive for sure. But I am curious, what speakers have you heard that you compared to magico that you like as much or maybe even better?
smodtactical
If you're gonna pay homage, the original is Trump vs the world- anything less wouldn't be fair. 

Then again maybe you're right. The jury's still out on Magico. They probably will have a tough time with Tekton. Some of them anyway. Soundwise. 
"We" can't isolate the speakers, we're listening to a system. So, my answer is based on the overall sound. I've listened to Magico S5, S3 mkii, A3, and M2 speakers in various systems. I prefer the systems I've heard the Vivid Giya G1 and Von Schweikert VR55 speakers over the systems I've heard with Magico, to include the M2 speakers.
I prefer the systems I've heard the Vivid Giya G1
Yep, I would take Vivid Giya or Vandersteen 7 over any Magico. Then again, it's just Monopoly money at that point - just in my imagination.
@ smodtactical
Are you paid by AG to generate traffic?
Anyone who spent any time here, on AG, will know that for every Magico fan, there are 10 detractors, so where is this imaginary “everywhere” of yours is?
How can anybody make a better speaker than magico? Its a cost no object speaker designed to be the absolute best. What are you supposed to do to make it better? 


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Of course, this is all my humble opinion. Please keep things civil and love them if you love them. :)

I’ve gotten to hear the Magico S1 in the Magico demo room, and the A3 at a local dealer.

Here’s what they do well:

  • Glass smooth mid to treble
  • Fantastic off-axis imaging
  • Very good dynamic range

But are they perfect and perfectly neutral? Not to me. What keeps them from that:

  • Slightly cool tuned treble
  • Scintillating color in the mid to treble, kind of makes them sound like ribbons (in the sense of adding things not in the recording)
  • Extra resonance in the bottom of female vocal range / piano makes them sound chesty to me, like they hit a range where it is going to be more pronounced.
  • That extra wide imaging also needs a great room or lots of space.
The Revels do as good a job with off-axis imaging, and modern Wilson’s have a better tonal balance with similar or better dynamic range. The humble Fritz line to me sounds overall much closer to neutral with great dynamic range and live-ability ( low total cost of ownership, small size, affordable), while the top-end Vandersteens sound great in a number of rooms neither Magico or Wilson would.

As always, buy what you like. This is of course based on my personal preferences and limited experience, and I don’t really need to impose my beliefs or values on you, so please afford me the same level of respect.

Best,

E

Given the sales volume of speakers like the Magico A3, I would think they have a ton of fans. I have heard a lot in the line Magico lineup with reference caliber gear and my 2 favorites were S3 MKII and the A3 (cost wise). I would not have bought any of the more expensive models even if money was free.

if I had to spend my own money here are some speakers I would take over my favorite Magico, the S3 MKII.

KEF Blade 1 or 2
Vivid Giya Series II (only heard Giya 1 but room size would dictate mode)
Yamaha NS 5000 (buying this or maybe smaller variant when Covaid-19 goes away)
Parasound Persona 5F (or 9H though not heard 9H)
TAD ME1 (does not have the low end but in a small room it is amazing)
Thanks guys for your thoughts.
@mheinze I wish! I've never seen a critical professional review of magico and what I mean by that is a review where they talk about their modern speakers having  an obvious weakness (obviously pro reviewers are not going to bash a product).
As for other people and all these detractors... I have simply not seen them. Im not saying everyone  in the world loves magico. But I would the vast vast vast majority that hear the newer magicos all seem to gush about how great they are.
@yyzsantabarbara  nice list... definitely those are some solid speakers that can compete. Actually I found impressions on the NS5000 from TAS that actually put them above many heavy hitters except for the magico m2 and even then it was just slightly worse (they gave grade rankings).

Oh ya its here: https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/jvs-tokyo-international-audio-show-report/
I think magico definitely has competitors like vivid... maybe persona. But that tank like build quality and pretty much universal praise makes them sell incredibly well. This is what left me with the impression that in high end speakers it really is like magico vs the world. Again I am not saying people don't like other speakers but just that magico seems among the most praised and popular in the high end ($10k speakers and up).
@erik_squires,

For once, I agree with you completely on the sound of Magico vs other brands.  Seems like we heard exactly the same things.  I could not have said it better myself. +1.  I wish you would give GE another chance, it may change your mind about them. 
Hey @stereo5

The more modern GE speakers may sound much better than the Triton 1 I originally heard, but given the quarantine it is going to be a very long time before I listen to any commercial speaker again. :)

I'm also ridiculously happy with my current speakers, so I can't possibly justify spending money on speakers.

Best,

E
I will also add the 10 year old Thiel 3.7 in my list. Just love that speaker.
I’ve heard Magico. Very nice! But Ohms do it better for way less IMHO.
Yeah those GE speakers are so good that you can put them haphazardly anywhere in the room and achieve excellent sound. One right next to your chair and the other somewhere in front of you (location not important)............
     I happened to hear a demo at a local dealer of the Magic A3s being driven by a Mark Levinson 5805 integrated with hi-res digital files as a source.       I noticed the glass smooth midrange and treble mentioned by Eric, not as powerful but I thought better and more natural bass than the SF Strads and excellent imaging with a wide and deep soundstage illusion.
     I’m a big Magnepan fan and thought the A3s sounded very close to as smooth as my 3.7is on the midrange, treble and imaging.  Those were their most surprising qualities to me.

Tim
@ozzy62,

Just what are you talking about?
Last time I heard an A3 they sounded bottom heavy in a Spinal Tap'ing way, but it might have been the rest of the system.  Moving up the Magico line, I'd detour to the Vivid path.
Appearance is part of build quality. Outside of how they sound, Magico designs their speakers to stylishly fit into a rooms decor in a restrained manner as possible for something that size. To my mind many, if not most, other floor standing speakers are designed as individual self contained pieces of commercial art. Unless you happen to have the same style of room furnishings they usually stick out. Magico’s are designed to complement a rooms’s setting, as well as sound great which is the main thing.

Some of best sounding speakers really clash with many home environments, and it’s no wonder our spouses are appalled by us having them in our homes. These same ones might look fine in a strand alone setting or in a commercial modern art museum setting, but not too many other pre-existing locations like our living rooms. Magico’s look has to have added to their sales appeal as they’s fit into many a home decor. Appearance wise I've not found any other line I've liked any better that sounded as good as Magicos. 

How's that for a different take.

Mike
Well, in my opinion, the A3 and the S3 mk2 with the proper room and proper system, are very revealing speakers, with very nice sound stages. IMO, the S3 mk2 are better than the A3. But for the money, it may not be worth the difference in money. But that is dependent on whose wallet we are talking about and other factors. After careful listening and comparisons to other speakers I went for the A3s. Without the side by side comparison to the S3 mk2, the A3s are very satisfying. Plus there are logistics in my listening room which would make it very hard to integrate the bigger and heavier S3mk2s. But it’s not just the speakers. It’s about the room and the rest of your system. I’m not saying that you can buy lousy speakers and bring them to a whole large other level like putting lipstick on a pig, so to speak. But with the proper cabling, power management and other components, you will put what ever speakers you get, in a position to perform up to their potential. 
What other equipment are you using with your A3's, king barbuda?
I have listened to numerous Magico speakers, and I would take the PMC fact .12 or IB2 Se speakers or the Acoustic Zen Crescendo speakers, and as soon as the shelter in place order is lifted in my state i will be picking up a pair of the Adagio speakers.
You're going to end up Wilson's,  I just know it.  ;)
I have listened to numerous Magicos  from the year the company reached these shores to the current line from A to Q.  I admire the build quality which is extraordinary.  But I have not heard one model that sounded like I was in the presence of live music. I frankly don't understand the fuss. 
OTOH, I own Wilsons and many Magico fans (as well as others) say the same thing about Wilsons.
When we purchase high end speakers, we make a highly personal decision to buy into the aural sensibility of the person or team that develops the brand. Wolf? Wilson? Vandersteen? Dudleston? Walker? Sanders? Winey? Jones? None are "wrong".
 To quote Bo, it boils down to "Who do you love?"
@alucard19 I really want to hear some Acoustic zen speakers but worried about lack of support. Robert is really hard to communicate with or get a hold of.
Ilumnia Magister, and - Vocalis. Gorgeous!!
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I went the other way, Wilson to Magico. I have a tiny lounge, I listen near-field, there is a lot of glass in the room etc. I went through endless speakers - floorstanders are an absolute nightmare in my room, many bookshelves sounded too bright or were not good enough or sounded too small or too big or or or.

A keeper was the WA Duettes but after about year of constant arguments with my neighbours they had to go.

I then settled, as a last resort, for the TuneTots, ridiculed by many but, in my particular scenario, the perfect fit for the job. Good size, perfect output - never overpowering the room but at the same time never sounding small, great tonal balance, smooth treble, minimal room interaction (they are very directional and one has to be in the sweet spot).

But after about 6 months I started to crave the sound I have had / heard in the past from other speakers. Yes, the treble was sweet and smooth but, as someone said in a thread in the past, it was like there was a veil, a blanket covering the speakers. They were not the most transparent. They were not the most detailed. The magic worked with plenty of recordings but failed with others.

So at this point I read about the A1 and how they were built with more or less the same principles in mind - to work in a room where their bigger speakers wouldn’t.

I have now had my pair for about a month. And while for the first 100 hours or so I regretted my decision, they are growing on me and they now sound quite compelling.

The treble, unmistakably a metal tweeter, is very detailed yet smooth, the voices are very natural (I would say more so than the bigger speakers), they are fast, the soundstage among the best I have heard.

These are not big speakers for a big room, they are quite inefficient, I feel right now that they could do with a bit of reinforcement in the bottom end (something I didn’t experience with the smaller Tots funny enough). So a sub might be in the books. But they sound superb for what they are and at this point I would say "better" is just a matter of different flavour. They also do better at low volume while the Tot’s had to be played fairly loud to deliver the goods.

One could prefer a warmer sound, a more resonant cabinet, a non-metal tweeter but I would argue that these Magico’s are up there with the best. Again, whether your cup of tea or not (and I can certainly see people coming from Sonus Faber or Harbeth or even WA struggling a bit to adjust to this hyper-detailed, hyper-transparent sound), one can not ignore their many talents.

Are they the best? As some of my colleagues have mentioned above, the speakers are only part of the equation and, ultimately, "best" is a matter of personal preference and choice. I think people looking to spend this sort of money on a speaker should certainly have them on their list. Unfortunately there is no perfect speaker, there is no perfect system and there are no perfect recordings. Some things sounded better (as in more fun, more engaging) on the Tots but, overall, in my room, with my electronics, today, I prefer the A1s.

And that’s all I can give you. My choice, today. I am not in love with them, I don’t think they are the alpha and omega, I am pretty sure that in a year or two or three I will start to look for the next best, but right now that’s where my money went.
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What I can share from own experience is that with Magico there is certainly a magic sound I enjoyed a lot. I used to have until recently the S5 MK1 and I loved them. After many years of joy some time ago they replaced my beloved JM Lab Mezzo Utopia and this was an incredible upgrade for me. Their sound was so detailed, with such an extension in the bass that gave me pure pleasure to go again and again through my recordings and rediscover them.What I enjoyed the most was the air in their sound, but in the same time very solid bottom, just underlining the choreographic images. Apparently, I changed them recently with the times more expensive YG Anat III professional, which are again very different in sound and stage. Lots of advantages, although I had to upgrade DAC, streamer and speaker cables with much more expensive stuff in order to get good results. The main advantage for me is that whatever I play now, sounds just great and very enjoyable regardless the volume level. However, I am still missing that very special transparent sound, somehow floating in the air. This actually the reason I found very valid this topic. It is Magico vs the world :)
P.S. obviously I meant holographic images

Poor Value, butte ugly but one of the best sounding dynamic speakers out there if that is your cup of tea. I prefer Sonus Faber. Much better value, beautifully made, sound just as good. Wilson is a running joke in this family. 
The only audio shows I've been to have been TAVES (Toronto Audio Video Show), and Montreal's Son & L'Image. Toronto 4 times, Montreal, 3.
I've been to countless high end stores across Canada, and the Northern US.
Magico is consistently some of the best music makers I've ever heard.
Like Erik, I'm a speaker designer/builder. Magico is the 'goal'. Can I build a speaker which rivals Magico. I can give them no higher praise. 
Wilson Audio makes the best speakers in the world. They use science and experience. They also have sold more high end speakers than all others combined.
it is impossible to build serious speakers from aluminum, which cannot be damped.
i certainly prefer Vivids and Personas as well.
Magico reviews and the obvious lying on the part of reviewers is why I cancelled my TAS subscription.
smodtactical, sure, you! You know how it goes... search the world over, then end up with something different. You get to a dealer, hear something you would not have considered, and before you know it, you have a new favorite... 

Well, it could happen.  :) 
for cost no object the Meridian DSP 7200 and dsp 8000 speakers have cabinets that have no measurable resonances, not sure any other manufacturer can say that. Buy used for a song and upgrade to the se kit and for a total system cost of $25k with the included tone controls they should sound great in any room. I can’t imagine how much time and money it would cost me to get this level of fidelity in this room with passive speakers and separate components. Magico is the flavor of the month because the new A line is new territory for the company, affordable that is. They still don’t defy physics and will need the same care as any other speakers regarding room size, characteristics and component matching to get the best from them. I’m not going to suggest advertising has anything to do with their popularity but it can’t hurt.
 I want to hear the new A5.
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Basically a repeat of my first posting, almost 2 years ago:
I am a professional musician, and I do a lot of recording, mainly chamber, and small ensemble. I need a tool to hear my work, but as an audiophile, albeit a modest one, I also wanted to have a speaker I can enjoy listening to when I am not critical at the recording. I spent over a year listening to as many speakers as I could; my budget was up to 20K Euro. In the end, it came down to the Wilson Sabrina vs. the Magico A3 (I can't afford the S3, and the S1 limited bass output was an issue for me). Although the Sabrina were  very enjoyable, they did lack the resolution the A3 has, and also the bass and treble extension. Ultimately, the A3 won, and I now believe you can have it both, resolution and musicality.
Almost 2 years later, I will say it was a smart move, I never regretted the choice, and never got tired of the A3, to the contrary, they keep surprising me. I am looking forward to hearing the A5.
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Whatever you do, don't ever suggest Paridigm.  They might be too good.  I think their 85F Prestige speakers are incredible for the money.  I still think you can never beat the sound quality of the SALK Sone3 Encore's.  However, they sell direct and do not sell through dealers because this allows them to use expensive and superior drivers.
MAGICO A3s are a wonderful sounding speaker of superior built quality.They are MAGICOs most popular speaker by far selling over 800 pairs worldwide.This being said you must have the best quality preamp,amp and cables(I love Purist copper) to make them sound the best.They are other great sounding speakers out there its all a matter of personal preference.
@ mtdining
You should refrain from using the word "science" in your posts, it's not your strongest suit, for sure, no need to display it time and again.
i’ve never heard a magico speaker but from what i can gather one has to purchase ‘warm’ gear to enjoy them? is this true?
i personally enjoy wilson’s very much and simply want a neutral front end for them. of course who can define neutral? 
i’ve never heard a magico speaker but from what i can gather one has to purchase ‘warm’ gear to enjoy them? is this true?

@4425

The only true answer to this is how you like your balance.

They are not harsh or biting like B&W and their ilk. They also don't share the Dali treble lift.

You might like this balance, especially at lower volumes.
my guess is that they are really good. they certainly seem well built as are wilson speakers.
First heard Magico’s when that Chinese Tool was in office, Barry O... o sorry stereo5.... not
i've heard a3 and s3 mk ii 
i preferred the a3 actually, but i preferred a 4500$ pr. of Dali rubicon 6 over either of them cost no object - much more open sounding and a broader and deeper soundstage as well to be honest 

definitely agree with some above posters - not a good value at all 

the magicos weren't bad but they didn't provide anything really special and certainly not for how much they are 

absolutely nothing anyone says here means anything you really need to listen for yourself 
@needlebrush.,

Just what are you referring to, enlighten us?