Quandry: Used Magico V2 vs. new S1


It is time to update my speakers. I have a lead on a nice used pair of V2's which probably can be gotten for $9 -$9.5K, vs a new pair of S1's that list for $12.6K. I like the Magico sound, have heard the V2 but not the S1, although I will try before making a decision. There will be no opportunity to hear them side by side so separate auditions may not be meaningful unless the S1's greatly disappoint.

Any thoughts, Comrades? You know how traumatic it is to change speakers.

Thanks,

Neal
nglazer
Would you also consider a used Mini2? That would be my choice, but then I own a pair. My dealer described the S1 as sounding very close to the Q1. I have not heard the S1. The V2 is less tonally neutral and coherent than the mini2.
I would buy the S1. I just did, after comparing it with quite a few speakers. It is absolutely exquisite. I am a Magico fan but I wanted to have something different for my office system. It simply did not work out. I ended up pretty much where I started.
I listened to the used V2's and was surprisingly underwhelmed. Bass was shallow and flabby and top end lacked sparkle. Would be a step down from my VSA VR5 HSE's. heard the Marten Django's and they were very good, but huge -- too big for my LR.

Will try to audition Magico S1's someday. Thx.

Neal
I heard the S1 with Vitus integrated and higher end Ayon cd.
I was also really underwhelmed and stopped listening within 10 minutes. To much low and high which did not sparkle either. The midrange was fairly ok. In total I found it not balanced out.
It did not help that the Ayon was not fully broken in.

A whole other level was Magico Q3 with ARC Ref5SE, D'Agostino Momentum mono's, MSB dac/Powerbase/transport, Transparent Reference.
Easily the best sound I ever heard, very lifelike, at another pricelevel also.
Hmm, there seems to be a pretty big discrepancy in opinions on the S1. I will just have to hear them some time for myself.
Strange comment. I own both speakers, and yes the Q3 are much better, but it is not a night and day comparison. You can clearly hear that these are of-the-same family. Particularly the highs, which have the same amount of sparkle. Sounds to me like there was something wrong with the setup you heard.
Usermanual, It was indeed maybe the setup, which was quite different than the setup with which the Q3 was heard.

I give it another chance next week, when I am going to listen to S1 and S5 on the D'Agostino Momentum/ARC Ref 5SE/MSB set, so S1 will show it's capabilities much better.
S1 did not play in the S5/Q3 league however!
I auditioned the S1 5 months ago. The stage is like all Magico's very deep. I also heared the S5 and it gave the same deep stunning sound. I did not find them were wide according to the stage. This serie does not have a very fast respons of the low freq. like some other Magico's can. The S1 is a good looking speaker. The S5 is by far not that good looking.
I would not put the S5 in the same "league" as the Q3. I've heard both at the same dealer, though with different equipment and in different rooms. I thought the Q3 was much more evenly balanced, more transparent and far more coherent. It just did not make me think about the equipment. The S5, on the other hand, did not disappear and sounded very mechanical with an emphasis on the lower frequencies. I did not hear the magic. But then they are at different price points.

The dealer did tell me that he thought the S1 was closer to the Q1 than the S5 is to the Q3.

To address the OP's original question, which will be preferred should be evident after you hear them in similar settings with familiar music.
I also did not like the low freq. of the S5. It also gave acoustic problems with the lowest freq. I missed the layers I want to hear in the lowest freq.
Peterayer,

I have been wondering how the S5 images. Having the tweeter and mid mounted to such a wide baffle seems like and odd design choice. Your comment about them not really disappearing makes me think I was thinking along the correct line. I would like to see some measurmets of these speakers and see if diffraction is an issue.
I should have added, and I think this is critical to what I heard, that the set ups were not valued equally by the dealership. I heard the Q3 during that speaker's introduction/debut in New England. Alon Wolf was there and much effort was made to have them sound their best in from of an audience.

In the case of the S5, the set up was less serious. The previous day the S1 was in the room and I returned the following day to give it a listen. That morning the S1 was removed from the room and replaced by the S5. It did not seem to me that the same degree of care went into placing the speaker in the room. Perhaps this is why the imaging was not as impressive and the speaker did not disappear to the same extent. Of course, the associated equipment was also not of the same caliber, but more appropriate for the less expensive speaker.

I'm sure with more time and effort, the S5 could have been made to sound better in that demo. Perhaps your comment about the baffle width being bigger is important and clearly, the speaker is not built to the same level of excellence as the Q series. The cabinet is not as inert, the driver mounting method is different, the baffle is flat, not curved, etc. etc.

The Q3 is just an extremely refined and accomplished design which is only limited by its driver dimensions, IMO.
The demo I heard with the S5 the speakers dissapeared fully. I personal prefer a wider image. I like the image about 1 metre beside the speakers as well. The timing and speed of both the S1 and S5 did not convince me.
Guys,
Please... Diffractions are caused by corners (which the S5 does not have) not baffle width. In fact the ideal speaker will have an infant baffle... Most, if not all these discrepancies you are describing are due to poor set-ups. These are extremely reveling speakers, and one has to use utmost care in setting them up. Unfortunately, there are very few dealers that takes the time and/or have the knowledge to do that.
It's no quandry, go listen and decide for yourself. Ultimately it's your $$ and have to live with them unless you want Bol to move in. I'm surprise you haven't got a recommendation for Vandersteen, JBL 1400 or Monitor Audio yet. LOL!!!

When I was in the market for speakers ~7 months ago, I demoed Magico Q3 for 5+ hrs at Goodwin High End in 2 systems. One all Spectral and the other MSB Dac, Constellation amp and EAR pre. Spectral system gave me a headache after 30 minutes. Overall I found Q3 is a bit lean in the mid bass region but a nice speaker. It's high resolution, detail and very transparent but just not for me.
I can't say I found the S5's slow at all Bol. They use the same midrange driver as the Q3, although optimized for that speaker of course & basically the same berylium tweeter, only not manufactured in house. As for the twin 10" bass drivers, ok they may not be as fast as the smaller 7" bass drivers on the Q3, but imho they are plenty fast and more importantly, give a solid foundation to the sound with large orchestral pieces with kick drums, timpani, organ pipes and double basses. Perhaps most important of all (for me atleast), the S5's are wonderfully balanced and coherent, and a bit laid back and very easy to listen to. Some speakers like YG & Marten can be fatiguing to listen to in long listening sessions. Yes, the Q3's may be better, but for $10k less, frankly i'd rather put that into adding some Stillpoints isolation & bringing forward electronics upgrades. In other words, build around your speakers and optimize your system to get the very best out of them.
I did not say slow, I prefer a faster response in the low freq. Other Magico's were better in response.
@Bol, most high end speakers have some level of compromise, unless you're as rich as you apparently are.
Nothing is perfect, and we are not perfect either. Money often does not garantee you the best sound. It is all about making the right combination of stuff. The art of sound! Audio becomes more clear wenn you know the properties of an amp, source, cable or speaker etc. Wenn you did hundreds of tests you can give every single part the properties it owns. Properties together can create the sound you are looking for. For example: Pass Labs gives a very deep and wide stage. But the individual focus of instruments and voices is not sharp enough. I talked many times about this to the people of Pass labs. So you need sources and cables to solve this. Many times people use stuff with the wrong properties. Wenn a client sends a list with all the parts of his set I know how it wil sound and how the stage will be build. ( wenn I auditioned the things he owns)
@Bol, that's true. No loudspeaker can claim to be capable of faithfully reproducing the live event. I also agree throwing money at audio along does not guarantee good sound. I think what you were trying to say is the secret to great sounding audio is system synergy. We're on the same page here. The S5's for example due to their resolving nature and tonality can sound rank with some amps and haunting with others (eg: Vitus). Cables also make a difference. Siltech and Jorma both have great synergy with Magico. In the end it's all about personal taste.
I am from Holland and Siltech is made overhere. I did test many of there cables. To be unnest there not the best. That is an understatement! In a-b shoots I always won. I do not like the filtering in the mid freq. You think you get more, but you get less. Audioguest in superior in timing and also in blacks. In the past I won Always wenn I was with Nordost Valhalla powercables and other shop with Emperer powercabels. At shows we Always were teasing them. We call it overhere Slisssssstech. I hate worse demo's. They were good at giving worse demo's. Then I Always put the mirror in front of you.
Bol, I respect your view of cables as we all have a subjective view of what sounds good or not. I personally find the top Audioquest cables such as Wel bright and lacking musicality. In comparison, I find Siltech's Royal Signature series has much better presentation of tone and timbre, better bass and are the quietest cables i've ever heard. Also, Siltech's metalurgy is the best there is. That is why their cables actually improve, not degrade in sound over time. That is also one of the reasons their cables hold their value so well over time. The other is their awesome design/build quality. Siltech use the same computer program that Porsche use to design their cars and have sota build quality. In regard to Nordost, I have a buddy who has a good ear. He compared Odin to Jorma Prime and preferred Prime in every application except between his turntable and preamp. In that application, he preferred the silver cable for synergy, but he preferred Prime everywhere else. Jorma Prime to my ears are the most natural sounding and musical cables i've heard & is half the price of Odin!
I only like there digital cables. In the past I compared Valhalla with the best Siltech. There were a lot details missing with the Siltech cables. I sold Nordost over 9 years of time. Nordost is not easy to use because you need to use it very precise. Nordost misses a sharp and small individual focus of instruments and voices.You only can use Nordost for a part in an audio system. The difference between the best Siltech and Audioquest is blacks and timing. With Audioquest I can create the focus and touchable image I experienced at classical live music. In the past the demo's of Siltech were worse because the high freq. were soo bright. The difference between the Valhalla Powercable and Emperor was very big. The Valhalla was beter in speed and timing. Focus of every singel part of the recording was a lot better. A few times the client had Emperor cables as well. I Always won and got the deal. The mid freq of Audioquest is more open compared to Siltech. This is why you get a sharper individual focus of instruments and voices compared to Siltech.
Bol, your views regarding Siltech vs Nordost are quite unique. By that I mean I haven't run into any such similar comments before.
Hi. I have the very same question above (used V2 vs new S1). Since it's been a year since the original thread got started, I would be interested in updates. Now, V2 or Mini at used prices are cheaper than S1.
I chose a Mini II over the V2 and did not really like the S1 when I heard it. The S1 is the entry level speaker, has lower quality parts and sounds fairly thin to me. The Mini II was an all out effort for state of the art in small speaker designs. It is a much more refined and capable speaker than the S1, IMO.
Peter is fully right, but don't forget that they have different
prices. I love the looks of the S1. But when you compare them
with the more expensive Magico spakers you are aware of their
limitations. I heard both S1 and S5. They are nice speakers but
they still miss something. Peter calls it 'thin'. I call it lack
in timing. A better timing would have given them more layers in
the low freq.
10-20-14: Peterayer
I chose a Mini II over the V2 and did not really like the S1 when I heard it. The S1 is the entry level speaker, has lower quality parts and sounds fairly thin to me. The Mini II was an all out effort for state of the art in small speaker designs. It is a much more refined and capable speaker than the S1, IMO.
+ 1. Though I wouldn't say the S1 has lower quality parts per say. The Bass-midrange driver is a version of the current Q series drivers. But I agree with your sound description though. I heard the S1's a couple of times and they just don't do it for me. The Mini II is a classic speaker & as you said, was an all-out effort to build the best stand mount. It also looks beautiful and has a very solid integrated stand. If you find they're a bit bass-shy in your room, you could always add one or two Wilson Benesch Torus subs which i'm told is a good combo. Of course not on the same level as the Q-sub 15, but still very good.
Hi Bol, i'd be curious to ask what upstream gear you heard the S5's with? Were they fully played in? & What size room did you hear them in? A fully played in pair, in a medium to medium-large size room matched with Soulution, Vitus or Vac amps and the sound is rich, smooth, coherent, notably well balanced and has many layers in the bass. The S5's are fairly neutral, though are a bit on the warm side and transparent to source. They need a lot of run in time (500+ hrs). Would the Avalon Eidolon Diamond or Vandersteen 7 have better time coherency? Yes perhaps a little bit, but to my ears the S5's are plenty coherent. But if you weren't hearing many layers in the bass, I wouldn't blame the speakers. I would be looking at the upstream gear or run in time as likely culprits.
The S5 was with D’Agostino power, Audio research Ref pre amp
and Puccini cdplayer and Audioquest Wel Signature cables. The
S1 was with Zanden. The S5 had colouration in the low freq
caused by the woodenfloor. I missed the different layers in
the low freq. The S1 didn't have this problem.
But I still didn't find it fast enough. I didn't ask about how
many hours the S5 had played. it is possible that they didn't
play 500 hours. The only things I missed was that I prefer a
wider stage. I play far beside my spakers. With this set the
stage was within the speakers.

The natural sound of the S1 and S5 are both very good. I only
miss a faster response. I prefer them over Avalon because they
can give a sharper what I call; individual focus or intimate
focus. I want to touch an instrument or voice like I can when
I listen to a classical concert with a few instruments in
real. This part I judge in every system I audition.
Hi Bol, I don't think that setup you heard did the S5's any favors. Firstly the ARC preamp would be a bit slow for the S5's fast drivers. Also I found once my S5's reached 500+hrs they begun to open up, sound more relaxed and graceful, more beguiling, with faster transients, deeper imaging and greater micro detail. The S5's size allows them to throw a wide sound stage in an appropriate size room, but need some experimentation with setup. DCS to my ears is very good "hifi", but lacks the heart and soul of the Vitus SCD-025 for example. I've heard the D'Agostino mono's with Wilson Alexia's & a full DCS Vivaldi stack which didn't do it for me. I think any of the amp choices I mentioned before would have been a better match. Re: the coloration issue you heard, placing a set of Stillpoints Ultra 5's + Ultra bases under the speakers would have likely addressed that & further improved the sound. I agree with your description of their stage focus which is excellent.
I never liked DSC. Because it does not have a heart, this is an essential part for the emotion in music. So we agree on that.

Avalon and Wilson never will be a speaker with who I could life. It is not my tast in sound and from both I don't like how they present the individual focus of instruments and voices.

You always listen to all parts togheter including the acoustics. I became a stillpoint dealer a few months ago and yess they are great.

I had a rethink about why I didn't like the sound of that setup with the Alexia's, D'Agostino mono's & DCS Vivaldi stack. I couldn't escape a sense of 'noise' (distortion?) and brightness which gave me listener fatigue. Surprising really considering the tremendous cost of the amps & front end. On reflection, the culprit may have been the DCS stack. I don't know if any amps could fix those speakers. But Vitus would make them suck less.
Classical music doens't work with Wilson. Take a violin, it sounds so much different in real. Soon I will audition a DSC again. I will bring in my own music. It never did move me. This will be with tubes pre and power. That is different compared to all other times I auditioned a DSC.
Melbguy, Pass Labs is another amplifier brand that sounds great with Magico.
Hi Peter, yeah I'd believe that as the smaller Pass amps in particular sound warm and a bit tube-like. The new XA.8 series is apparently very good, though as far as integrateds go, Pass don't have anything to compare to the SIA-025.
Golden ears my butt (with all due respect)…..I've spent 4 decades in some of the most respected recording studios in the world. Consider this. Pick a vocalist. In the most basic studio recording set-up, he/she would sing into a maybe an $8000 condenser microphone which is connected to (usually) a $100 Mogami cable which is plugged into a pre-amp and then an EQ device and then a compressor, before going into an AD converter thru the computer software and exiting into a DA converter……at this point, the audio could easily run thru 3-4 additional processing devices before traveling on the final cable to the speaker monitors.

And this is the point where the engineer wants to be absolutely sure that Luciano Pavarotti SOUNDS like Pavarotti sounded when his voice was entering the studio microphone!!! Pavarotti's voice travels thru many hardware devices and many feet of cable, again, all of which is generally inexpensive (by home audio standards) but excellent quality Mogami cable. ANY cable should properly address issues of impedance, capacitance, resistance and Rf Shielding. Hence, an inexpensive copper cable that effectively addresses these issues can sound as REALISTIC by studio standards as Nordost Odin for example. AND THE ISSUE BECOMES THAT OF REALISM - What one person considers "realistic" will be very different from what others consider "realistic" because we've all been conditioned to hear differently. Even two people with identical hearing characteristics (as measured by an audiologist) will hear a given system differently due to psychological and learned perceptual characteristics.

What most so called audiophiles are doing, with tweaking cables with various components and speakers, are merely seeking out a PARTICULAR SOUND that is pleasing to their ears……some like warm and lush while others like bass slam and some prefer brightness with hyper detail (like myself who's lost much frequency resolution as I approach 60 years).

I'm simply saying that no one is right or wrong. Only you know when you hear a combination of gear (and cables) that you like. Whether you have achieved your quest for the ABSOLUTE SOUND, that is purely subjective for EVERYONE INCLUDING THE BIG TIME REVIEWERS.

Lastly, on the Magico topic, I perceive the Magico S1 to be tonally accurate and pleasing by my listening standards recognizing the inherent volume and deep bass limitations of the sealed cabinets.
I've been to a hundreds and hundreds of Symphony Concerts in the last 60 years which were not amplified.
I know what they sound like and my system is designed to come very close.
Instrumental separation and location are the hard part, and for that you need to know how the hall sounds and lose the recordings that miss that.
no disagreement from me Schubert. My only argument is that you ATTEMPT to duplicate at home what YOU hear at a live concert. I could be sitting right next to you at the concert and hear something slightly different from what you're hearing. Duplicating that experience for different folks might involve Magico, Rockport, Raidho or even B&W.

As I've said, I've lost some high frequency acuity. At the same concert, you are likely hearing more sizzle in the cymbals, violins, oboes than I am. Hence, many of us are inclined to build and tweak our systems to compensate for our personal hearing differences/deficits. And the recording process is a tricky proposition balancing acoustical science with subjective creativity that rarely captures all attributes of the performance.
no disagreement from me Schubert. My only argument is that you ATTEMPT to duplicate at home what YOU hear at a live concert. I could be sitting right next to you at the concert and hear something slightly different from what you're hearing. Duplicating that experience for different folks might involve Magico, Rockport, Raidho or even B&W.

As I've said, I've lost some high frequency acuity. At the same concert, you are likely hearing more sizzle in the cymbals, violins, oboes than I am. Hence, many of us are inclined to build and tweak our systems to compensate for our personal hearing differences/deficits. And the recording process is a tricky proposition balancing acoustical science with subjective creativity that rarely captures all attributes of the performance.
no disagreement from me Schubert. My only argument is that you ATTEMPT to duplicate at home what YOU hear at a live concert. I could be sitting right next to you at the concert and hear something slightly different from what you're hearing. Duplicating that experience for different folks might involve Magico, Rockport, Raidho or even B&W.

As I've said, I've lost some high frequency acuity. At the same concert, you are likely hearing more sizzle in the cymbals, violins, oboes than I am. Hence, many of us are inclined to build and tweak our systems to compensate for our personal hearing differences/deficits. And the recording process is a tricky proposition balancing acoustical science with subjective creativity that rarely captures all attributes of the performance.
no disagreement from me Schubert. My only argument is that you ATTEMPT to duplicate at home what YOU hear at a live concert. I could be sitting right next to you at the concert and hear something slightly different from what you're hearing. Duplicating that experience for different folks might involve Magico, Rockport, Raidho or even B&W.

As I've said, I've lost some high frequency acuity. At the same concert, you are likely hearing more sizzle in the cymbals, violins, oboes than I am. Hence, many of us are inclined to build and tweak our systems to compensate for our personal hearing differences/deficits. And the recording process is a tricky proposition balancing acoustical science with subjective creativity that rarely captures all attributes of the performance.
no disagreement from me Schubert. My only argument is that you ATTEMPT to duplicate at home what YOU hear at a live concert. I could be sitting right next to you at the concert and hear something slightly different from what you're hearing. Duplicating that experience for different folks might involve Magico, Rockport, Raidho or even B&W.

As I've said, I've lost some high frequency acuity. At the same concert, you are likely hearing more sizzle in the cymbals, violins, oboes than I am. Hence, many of us are inclined to build and tweak our systems to compensate for our personal hearing differences/deficits. And the recording process is a tricky proposition balancing acoustical science with subjective creativity that rarely captures all attributes of the performance.
no disagreement from me Schubert. My only argument is that you ATTEMPT to duplicate at home what YOU hear at a live concert. I could be sitting right next to you at the concert and hear something slightly different from what you're hearing. Duplicating that experience for different folks might involve Magico, Rockport, Raidho or even B&W.

As I've said, I've lost some high frequency acuity. At the same concert, you are likely hearing more sizzle in the cymbals, violins, oboes than I am. Hence, many of us are inclined to build and tweak our systems to compensate for our personal hearing differences/deficits. And the recording process is a tricky proposition balancing acoustical science with subjective creativity that rarely captures all attributes of the performance.
Jymc, it is WELL documented that Conductors in their 80's and even 90's who can't hear 6k on a hearing tester routinely correct musicians playing at twice that frequency.
If something is burned in your brain it can recreate it, hearing has to do with memory as much as physics.
Human brain is just starting to be understood.