The Sophia Baby is perfect for the Mini
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Just went to a demo last weekend to hear the Mini II and V3 with Alon Wolf the brain behind the Magico speakers. They were using all VAC amplification equipment for both speakers.
Front end was provided by Metronome. With the V3, they had used all reference level Metronome and VAC equipment, and less expensive equipment from the same manufacturer with the Mini II.
I am probably in the minority. But I thought the V3 with all that expensive equipment did not sound THAT impressive. The Mini II system had that midrange bloom that would draw you emotionally closer to the music, albeit the fact that the bass was not extended and tight as the V3.
I was at the same demo that Gundam91 was reffering to.
the system being used was not tailored to the Magico but rather what the demoing dealer sold.
I believe Alon mentioned the Mini II needed over 100 watts of power and he designs/voices the amps with solid state gear and many amps, but he knows people listen with tubes.
I do agree with Gundam91, the Mini II sounded much better than the V3.
I left the demo impressed, but with the knowledge that a state of the art system which retailed for over 60k, did not trounce or provide significantly more enjoyment than my 'modest' 30k system
My dear friend has recently gotten the Mini II's.Stunning speakers,and replaced Kharma 1.0's.
He drives them to a fabulous degree with Rowland 8t SS amps.To voice the system,to his tastes,he uses tubes in the phonostage only.
A wonderful set-up.I heard the VAC stuff driving the Minis,and felt it was a wonderful combo,but believe me the *t was "made" for these speakers.Magical tonality(you would not know they were SS designs)and the BASS is on another planet from what I could have ever expected from these great speakers.
BTW,at 22,600 dollars the price is approaching the limit of where this speaker should be marketed.Just my opinion,and I do think they are expensive to mfgr.
I was at the first demo session for BAAS members. I first want to say that Alon, Bob and Jeff have done a great job accomodating our large group in two sessions on two different weekends. They let us listen rather than give the group a long sales pitch and I wish all demos would go that way.
Definitely well appreciated was the fact that Alon was there to answer all sorts of questions, and it was a revelation to hear why he chose specific construction and design methods. You could tell that this guy knows what he's doing. Alon has a lot of proof for his skills as a designer and a person genuinely interested in promoting the art. Just check the pics in the following article: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/magico/mini.html
Back to the specific demo. The room itself was not ideal and Alon admitted that right away. Personal taste plays a huge role in what we like or don't like, so it is unlikely for a large group of 20 people to come up with a unified concensus. Some people thought the V3 sounded better than the Minis, some thought it was the other way around. The two systems in the demo changed slightly between the two sessions. One member who attended both sessions liked the Mini's better in week one and the V3's better in week 2!
Like in all typical demos, there are flaws in the setup, not all listening positions sound alike, etc. When I attend such an event, I try to take with me something that I believe represents the product and not the demo as a whole. What first impressed me were the build quality. Not many speakers in the 20K price range use proprietary drivers. I'm not talking Scanspeak drivers with slits on the membrane but a whole driver designed in-house and fabricated in limited quantities per Magico's specifications. That is rare even for speakers costing twice their price.
The use of expensive crossover components is another little detail that leaves a real impression that not many corners were cut in these products. I've seen other manufacturer's electronics. Magico is at the top, and these are components you don't even see, so it wasn't done to increase the visual effect of the product.
All this means nothing if the sound is not good, which brings me to the second significant note from that demo. Despite the acoustics in the room, I could definitely tell that these speakers have very little coloration. Listening in close proximity to one speaker reveals nuances in the music and overall a feeling of extreme coherency. I've heard more expensive speakers that don't get near the Minis or the V3 in that regard.
For me, I heard and seen enough to have a tremendous respect for these products and for the company. If I were in the market for speakers in these form factors and price then I would definitely arrange for a private demo. That's not only true for Magico products but for any audio product. I've never ever heard a demo unit in similar situations that wanted me to cry because I want it now. It's always an initial "spark" that starts a lengthy audition. Impulsive buys are utterly "dangerous"... I think you all know what I mean.
Most of us went back home and listened to our own systems and possibly liked them more than the demo system. That is a reasonable scenario. But take away the distracting factors, many would not have said no to an opportunity to have these speakers at home for a more serious audition. And like one lady (yes, not only men love audio!) at the demo said, they look fabulous!
Thank you, everybody, for your responses. Especially Serus and his detailed response. To power my Mini IIs, I am considering the following amps. Please let me know if you have any thoughts and/or additions/deletions to the list. Note, I have added the Rowlands to the short list per recommended post above. In alphabetical order:
Audio Research 210 or 610T
CAT JL2 or JL3
Goldmund Telos 400 or 600
Wavac HE833 (not sure if this will have enough power)
Concerning listening tastes, assuming an overly warm sound is a 1 and an overly etchy, bright sound is a 10, then I would say I prefer a 5 or 6. Most important to my listening tastes are a) transient response and dynamics followed by b) tonality. I want to be engaged in the music. A "hi fi" sound is not critical to me, rather true to life musicality is important.
Your comments are welcomed/encouraged. Thanks in advance.
FWIW, Magico's in-house system is Spectral electronics but they also have some VAC gear. Alon told me they had just brought in some Odyssey amps and he was amazed at how good they sounded with his speakers.
One your 1-10 scale, my impression of the Minis is that they fall in the 5-7 range (others will disagree I'm sure). So you want a neutral amp.
If I may humbly submit a new line of Italian electronics we will introduce at CES08 - Delta Sigma.
Linestage and amps that are flat to 3Mhz. The model at CES will provide 150w/ch and Peak Power of 2,000 w/ch. Amazing designs!!!!
Jim Ricketts/tmh audio
BTW,just to add some spice to these posts....Though I know how effective the Rowland 8t is on my friend's MINIS(you really could never tell this was a SS amp,until bass demands are needed,and then WOW)there are some excellent alternative amps out there.
The VAC stuff is fabulous,as would be the Ayre MXR's.I believe the Clayton M-200's would be "to die for",and are extremely well priced,for what you get.
Of course there is always the big/bold Push-pull tube stuff,as the speaker definitely likes power,and there are numerous fine products here.
Another tube product looking interesting would be the Cary 211 Anniversary(great amp,and has clout).
Not to mention stuff like Pass 200.5(out soon?),or the rediculously good little(in price only)Nuforce v2 amps(don't laugh,these are inexpensive,though far from cheap,and sound "great").
The Dartzeel is a wonderful amp,but runs out of steam at times,so I have been told by a Mini owner.LOTS of great alternatives,but believe me the Rowland 8t is "dead perfect" on this speaker.You want great tube bloom?It has it.Great soundstage?No problem.Depth,and inner detail?To "die for".Most importantly..the tonal characteristics,and harmonic envelope that have always been the domain of tubes,is here in SPADES!!...A bargain on the used market,and built for a lifetime!If you have not heard this amp on Minis I can understand one thinking I am bloviating.
Best to all.