Rockport Avior or Magico S5


Well I am selling my Verity SarastroII and looking at the Rockport Avior or the Magico S5. From what I am hearing the Rockport's are a darker presentation than the Magico's. Both seem to have great sound stage and depth. My Sarastro's I think are more like the Magico S5's and I am thinking of going in a different direction with the system.
What do ya's think?
hevac1
Speakers and audio are very subjective and one man's poison, is another one's medicine. I've listened to Aviors several times and just can't understand the appeal. The best speaker that I've heard in that general price are the Raidho C3.1s.
I looked over your system and quite frankly I wouldn't sell the Verities so quickly.

I would look at upgrading the electronics and getting a unified set of cables. Also the PS power conditioners can be improved upon, and you have no room tuning.

Changing speakers may not really get you there.

I wouldn't say either the Rockports or Magiocs are really better than your vefities.
Magico S5 used best sound with the best system.
I've heard both with SS and tube gear. The Rockports just aren't my cup of tea, however they are loved by many. I'm not a Magico guy for the money either. Personally, I've heard far less expensive speakers sound better IMHO, but again, it's all about what YOU like, listen to, room and what you feed them.

Personally, in that 30k under range I'm giving strong consideration to the Vandersteen 5CT's...Like Rockport, they use carbon extensively, but the difference is that they also use it for their tweeter. That opens them up and makes them more dynamic and musical. I have yet to hear a BE, diamond or metal tweeter sound as good as Vandy's carbon tweeter. It just sings for me and I've heard them on the same equipment for the most part as the Rockport and Magico's.

I've learned a lot about audio since 69 and I assumed by now folks would want a more realistic presentation of their music, however I've noticed from various audio groups as well as stores that people still seem to want the tipped up highs that they associate with 'more open' etc...There are many of the 'name' brand high end speakers that I personally can't listen to without getting a headache from fatigue. For some reason I'm very susceptible to that while many others don't seem to be. I remember listening with a few guys to an expensive 'major name' set of speakers. I've heard the rest of the system a fair amount with a few other top speakers and I hated the big name speakers we were hearing. I left the room and about ten minutes later everyone was talking and getting up and moving around. They lost interest in what they were hearing. I think they heard what I did, but didn't even realize it. How many demos do you go to and you end up talking through them or just not engaged? I recently ended up with Vandy's after a long search because I was always engaged. From the 7's to the Treo's they just sounded closer to what I heard at live venues (we go a lot). They weren't the most exciting in the stores, but they were the ones I wanted to live with.

I also love the Avalons and the NEW (not the old) Legacy Aeris speakers, but they are so big and didn't go in my room. They would have been a push for me, but in the end, they didn't beat the Vandy's for me.

What is it that you like to listen to? What does your room sound like? Are you sold on only these two speakers or are you open to a bunch of the others ones in this price range (so many choices). What equipment do you have now and what other upgrades may you do?

You ask what direction you should go......(serious question). Shouldn't you go in the direction of what you can listen to and tap your toes or sign along? At this price range every speaker better get out of it's own way and be fast and as detailed as the signal you send it's way. The carbon tweeter and mids on the Vandy 5CT's have been as detailed and extended as I've ever heard when fed a great signal, but they were still musical. Are your speakers the problem right now or is it what you are feeding them? Just another way to look at it.
I have a slightly different take than Ctsooner. Its exactly why you need to audition both speakers before purchase - this is very subjective when you get to this level of loudspeaker and system/component matching is also another variable.

That being said, here is what I have heard and taken away....

Rockport Avior - I found these to be quite musical, especially on tube gear. Soundstaging width is phenomenal with images well outside the speaker cabinets and wall boundaries. Soundstage depth also very good, but not at level of Avalons. Solidity of images is incredible, very dense images. Dynamics were exceptional too. This speaker plays great on just about anything - rock, classical, jazz, etc..

Magico S5 - heard these with only solid state stuff. Build quality exceptional as were the Aviors. Imaging was great, but images seemed a bit thin to me compared to Aviors. Bass was fast and tight, but not as extended and full as Aviors. Soundstaging was great, dynamics were above average. But something was 'missing' with the Magicos - it didn't draw me emotionally into the music. They were a bit too analytical for me.

I liked the Aviors so much, I actually initially placed an order for a pair, then changed the order and upgraded to the new Rockport Cygnus.

Both Magico and Rockports (and Avalons) are world class loudspeakers. It really comes down to how these integrate with your room and system. Audition is a must, even if it means traveling somewhere for a weekend.
IMO... How many systems have you built with the Verity? I say this because you are not assured to have superior performance/preferable result from either of these speakers you are considering. Do not expect them to be unfailingly a step up. It is almost assured that at the level of sound quality you are experiencing there would be trade offs in terms of the finer aspects of performance when moving to either of these other speakers. i.e. soundstage character, treble nuances, LF cleanness and how it integrates with your room, etc. The speaker you own, as well as the others, are capable of stunning performance.

If you have not conducted several significant changes to your system, I would urge you to do so. Your speaker is a very fine product, and it can be made to sound fabulous. I certainly would not push you to part with it under the assumption that simply dropping in one of these others will transform the rig.

OTOH, you seem to know what you're doing in terms of putting a rig together; you have good gear. So, if you simply want to blow the money and try something different, it's all good.

Finally, my foremost recommendation: why suffer with one set of speakers? You seem to have some means; why not live the alternative experience and expand your harem of speakers? Keep the Verity's and go for a panel, an Omni or a horn speaker! Expand your world! You may find your musical bliss is in variety, not simply a narrow focus chasing minutia! :) I couldn't find satisfaction long term with one type of speaker even of the finest pedigree, but having variety has been THE panacea for my wanderlust in terms of speakers (i.e. flipping them in an effort to find "the One"). Something to consider. :)
Add me to the chorus who say you simply must hear them both and judge for yourself. There are it seems countless threads about Magico compared to this or that. By now the same responders are pretty much known and understood. There's just no substitute for your personal/direct listening. I've heard both brands numerous times with a variety of tube and SS amplifiers. I'd choose Rockport every time but that's me. You could prefer the polar opposite of what appeals to me. Go listen to both of them.
Good Luck,
"Try" some MIT speaker cables. Then their i/c's and hear just how fine your speakers are. Your speakers aren't your weak link.
If it was me, I would add stereo RELs to the Veritys. The dimensionality and scale that double RELs add to an existing excellent system such as yours is just this side of astounding. 2 S5 or G2 subs would be way less money than replacing your speakers, and the improvements would be huge.
i agree with the above posters. Your speakers have more soul than the Magicos. I cannot comment on Rockport as I have only heard them once and I cannot remember the model although, as I recall, I left very impressed. But with proper placement and ancillaries, yours are among the best speakers I've ever heard.
I have tried EAR, Audio Research for tubes. The speakers sound different with tubes but still not the sound I am looking for. I am open to other speakers and will listen to others at the stores I go to. I have moved up the Verity line starting with the Fidelio to the Parsifal Encore, Ovation and the Sarastro II. I think it is time to try a new speaker and take the system in a different direction more to the music I mainly listen to, rock. I stayed with the Verity line because I felt they sounded very good to excellent with all the types of music I was experimenting with, but in the long run rock wins over other types of music.
I will not buy anything I cannot listen to first.
Agree with Charles1dad there is no substitute for auditioning both speakers yourself. They are both great speakers and have a lot in common. It'll all come down to a matter of taste. If you have the opportunity, go to Goodwin's High End where they sell both models, and usually on the floor for demo that you can play with a variety of gear.

FWIW, I own the S5s and absolutely love them to death.

You are choosing from two very good speakers. Good luck with your choice!
Hevac1, hope all is well, it's been awhile. I would never say the Rockports are dark. They do present things in what I'd call a very natural way...incredible detail and this draws you in with a wetness/density to each note I find incredibly life like.

Not sure what you're doing for a audio rack, other than the pics above, I'd suggest trying a dedicated stand - I think you'd be surprised what better isolation will reveal in a system like yours. Lot's a great advice above...

I take it your still loving your Nagra VPS...It's now the oldest component in my system-I've had the Nagra about 7 years now...other things come and go but Nagra just sounds beautiful.
Jfrech,
Compared to my Verity's & the Magico S5's I feel the Rockports do not sound as analytical. I have to do more listening but am waiting for my Verity's to sell so I know how much cash will be on hand and how much I have to make up.
I am still very happy with my VPS as you are. I cannot find music that sounds bad with it.
My oldest piece is my Meridian G68.
My source equipment sits in a closet on the other side of a main carrying beam. I can bounce a basketball in my room while playing vinyl with not transfer to the turntable. The closet isolation works so well that even the JL Audio subs while playing Pink Floyd at high levels I have no feedback to the cartridge.
Hifibouncer,
I had 2 Rel Stadium III's in my system and moved 1 of them to the rear for surround sound after selling 1 of them. I found JL Audio f113's that I have 2 in the front to be much faster for music than the Rel's. They load the room and the crossover is very low 35Hz because the Verity's have 11" woofers and go very low themselves.
Gpgr4blu,
John Quick who was the distributor for Verity came over and setup the Sarastro's when I purchased them. I do need more treatment but want to wait on the new speakers. I want to hear the new speakers under the same conditions.
The sound of the Verity's is excellent. They are Very revealing sometimes to a fault and work well with a wide verity of music. I have been very happy with Verity speakers for a long time at least 15 years and feel it is time to move on. I want speakers that have very good depth and sound stage but are a little more forgiving with rock music in particular, but also sound very good with other types of music. I will have to make trade offs as I am very familiar with the Verity sound and making a change will take lots of time listening.
Hevac
If you recall we had exchanged notes on the Nagra VPS many years ago. Threads like these will have the protagonists lining up on both sides. Both are outstanding speakers and I am sure you will demo both and let your ears decide. FWIW I'll add my 2 bits. If you are looking for a speaker that can handle a whole range of music from loud rock, symphonic crescendos, chamber music, female vocals, acoustic music and in my case poorly recorded Indian music, all with ease and aplomb, the Aviors would be my choice. Even discounting owner bias, the Aviors have equals at their price point.
All the best
Pradeep
Lot's of strong suggestions, but it comes down to YOU. Go listen. Make a list of 4 or so maybe and bring your music and see what you like. Then try and get them to let you bring them home to eval. Then you can get what YOU love and not waste money or time always chasing your tail. We all have own bias and we should as long as we love our systems. There are only a few lines I'd buy as I may like a speaker in the store, but couldn't live with it for the long haul. Since finding the speaker line I love, I only look to upgrade within that line, even though I'm still listening to other lines as I have an open mind. Then I look to upgrade the components (I LOVE my source (Empirical OSDE upgraded with synchro mesh and top silver cables and a Basis TT with Benz cart)). I didn't realize HOW MUCH difference power cords and line conditioners make and am really looking into those. Maybe you should look elsewhere in your system as newer components and cords will surely upgrade your sound greatly I bet. Room too as many others have suggested. JMHO..
Did you ever try alternative jumpers on the Verity speakers? Something to consider, for there is a strong chance you can capture the sound you want by trying several different jumpers, and save about $20K+ in the process.

IMO, you have an advantage in the jumpers in that you can contour the Verity speakers quite a bit, whereas the others you are looking at you have one option for sound.

I have no doubt you can improve the Verity speakers significantly over the stock jumpers, and for a relative pittance.
Given what you're looking for I don't think Magico would be a good choice as they are probably too analytical, and Rockports would seem to be more in the right direction. As you're looking for soundstage depth and an ability to play various recordings while sounding musical I would highly recommend also giving Joseph Audio Pearls and Vandy 5s a listen as well. Best of luck.
Magico is not analytical if you have a very good preamp power amp and cables.
I agree, but this is relative. I like Magico very much too, but relative to Verity it will likely be more neutral or analytical than this OP may be looking for given his system and what he's trying to achieve. Verity and Magico are not, in my experience, substitutes. Especially given what the OP's stated goals are.
My only rich friend has Magico 5's with Lamm pre and amp plus 30 K worth of MIT wire ,a 50K TT with a 8K MC.
Sounds OK.
Don't agree with CTsooner regarding the Vandy 5CA. Heard them, didn't do much for me, even had Richard Vandersteen there.

Sounded good, but still didn't sound real to me.

Heard the Aviors that Phil was talking about - my dealer told me about some guy who bought the Aviors and then upgraded to the Cygnus sight unheard. Must be him... hehehe

But yes, I agree, Aviors have dense imaging on Ayre electronics. I found them a little harsh at first, but then when we switched the amps and pre to the Ayre updated "twenty", it was no longer harsh up top. I think the Aviors are great speakers and you would be happy with such.
Joey, what did you hear the Vandy's with? I realize no speaker is everyone's cup of tea as we all hear so differently. We do agree on the Ayre 20 gear though. I've heard them on a few top end speakers and the sound was outrageous.

For every person who loves a speaker there is someone who doesn't. that's why folks really need to go listen and why dealers need to be supported. Many of us refuse to buy sight unseen or pay up front to have someone ship something to us and then have to ship it back if we don't like it etc.. That's really not realistic when you are talking about these larger components from heavy amps to large speakers.

I would think that anyone in this range would want to hear the Magico, Rockports and Vandy's to get an idea of what three totally different sounding speakers sound like. Many of us do feel that the Vandy's sound lifelike and coherent with no smearing. Some like the 'detail' of the Magico or even Wilson and some like a compromise. All speakers are compromised and it's up to you to figure out (by listening) what compromises you like or don't like. We all can post about what we own or want to own, but we don't have your ears or your room or your.....you get it.

All well built and great choices. Wish I could play in this league. I'm in the AAA league I guess, lol.
I have listened to the Vandersteen 5A carbon and would agree with Joey V that they didn't really do anything for me. The electronics were acoustic research at a dealer event. The midrange seemed a little thick to me and the bass was bloated and overdone. Perhaps it was the dealers room but Richard was there so I don't know what was up. I have also listened to the Wilson offerings including the new Sophia, Sasha and Sabrina. I don't care for the Wilson top end. It grates on me with a certain hardness and glare. In the next two weeks I will listening to the Magico S1, S3 and Rockport Atria and some Focal offerings. Perhaps then I will have a different perspective.
Audio research upstreams.
Joey V - you must be in DFW! Its true, it was me more than likely if you are in DFW.

I auditoned the Aviors extensively twice in a one mnth period. Loved them. It's interesting that you mention harshness with Ayre, but with the new 20's, its more liquid. That is exactly what I thought about the initial Ayre set up. But one could certainly hear 'through' that and know what the Aviors are capable of and more.

I talked with both Vu after he heard them at CES and Andy at Rockport - it was enought to know that the signature sound of Rockports/Aviors would be there with the Cygnus - except just more open and 'bigger' sounding and of course, more bass.

Small world! By the way, I can't say enough good things about Hi End Audio and Home Theater in Plano. Vu is a great dealer and person!
I listened to the Cygnus at CES, it was very nice. Philb - I think you made a good decision changing your order from Avior to Cygnus if you have room for them. When do you think you will get them? Post some pics of your room here or whatsbest forum. I ordered our Altair's in November - it was torture to wait for them - but worth the wait! I'm excited for you -

We are a Rockport dealer located in Southern CA and have the Atria, Avior and Altair's here, got the Altair's here last week. Just setting them up - they are amazing. But all the Rockport's have the same beautiful presentation - kind of reminds me of a Planar speaker with a large, deep soundstage - but with more dynamics.
Thanks Ken, I'm told the Cygnus should arrive sometime in June or July (late Q2). I was updated last week that it is still on track for that timeline and no delays are expected. I loved the Aviors when I auditioned them too, the Cygnus just offered a chance at the latest design implementations of Andy Payor. Combined with my keeping loudspeakers for several years and not 'flipping them', and it seemed like a wise move.

My room is 21x15x9 and some pics are on my Audiogon system page. Andy felt like either the Cygnus or Avior would work well in my room. I was concerned that I might be pushing it with the Cygnus and my room might not be large enough. But as an empty nester, we may be moving in the next two years and I will definitely get a larger room if we ever move.

Congrats on your Altairs! I can only imagine how incredible they sound!
Guys, I have read and reread this thread and a few things stand out to me in regards to the last couple of comments on the Vandy's. First off if the only times you are hearing ANY speaker is during an event, then you aren't hearing the speaker properly. I've learned that I can't make any evaluations on any product during an event when you aren't in the sweet spot plus there are too many people in the room and that changes the acoustics greatly.

Someone brought up the mids being thick and bass bloated. Just by reading those two comments I can tell you that they were no set up properly or there was something else wrong in the system. First off the bass on the Quatro up to the 7's is fully adjustable. If set up correctly you just will not get either of those characteristics on the carbon Vandy's. I've never heard anyone who's properly auditioned them say either of those two things.
If you can't trust that a dealer can properly set up a speaker, then who?

Richard should pull all his inventory from a dealer who can't get it right.

Shakey
From my experience listening to Vandersteen 5A's and 7's, I think there are truths to what everyone is saying here.

I will use the Vandersteen 7's for an example. I heard them extensively with an empty room early in the morning the last day of the show. Richard was there as well as Dave Gordon from ARC.

First, the solidity of images and the liquid mids and highs the 7's portrayed was exemplary. Some of the best I have ever heard. Images were so solid that you could almost reach out and touch the performers. Realism was great.

If I had two complaints about the 7's set up in a large room at RMAF, it would be the following:

1. Bass - the bass had a huge overhang. Bloated even. I was really surprised that by the last day of the show this wasn't addressed better. Later from talking to others in the industry that don't have a 'dog in the fight', I was told that the 5's and 7's are particularly hard to set up and they think only a handful of dealers can do it properly. One would think with the active bass module in the 7's you could 'dial' perfect bass for any room or placement. I'm sure you can, but it will take a lot of time and expertise to do it.

2. Soundstage image height - caveat here - I'm 6'4". But I was constantly slumping in my chair to get in the middle of the soundstage. In my opinion they throw and deep and incredibly wide soundstage, but the soundstage height was not much higher than the top of the speaker cabinet. It was unrealistically low in my opinion.

All that being said, the 7's are a GREAT loudspeaker and does a ton of things incredibly well. I can certainly see how some would pick this loudspeaker as a destination/end of the road one. And no loudspeaker is perfect!
Ah so Phil you are the Cygnus owner... Hahaha!!

Congrats man!
Shake obviously has it out for Vandy's since he's trying to add things to what I post that aren't there. I never said a dealer didn't set them up right. Just said that you can't pop into a room at a show and say you've heard anything properly. I've been to many Vandy dealers over the country and all have set them up correctly and the end results were astonishing.

Phil, at your height to you have to set up most speakers a bit differently ? Just curious as I"m only 5 11 and never have a problem with tweeter hight. Since they are time and phase correct, you do have a window to hear them at their best, however they do still sound darn good even off axis a bit if you are just listening for fun. At least they do in my room. I've never heard bloated bass from the Treo up. I haven't found them to be as difficult to set up as others claim. Any speaker must be set up properly to sound it's best and you have to dial things in constantly until you get it right. I personally love adjustable bass as you can dial it in. That's why I"m going up to the Quator's as soon as I can afford them. Audio Connection (Johnny who posts here) will walk anyone through set up if they need it. it's actually easier than many other speakers I"ve had in my house, or at least that's how I feel. If you have someone to help you, a tape measure (or long piece of string so you can set the tweeters the same distance from your ears when you are seated where you want to be and a laser to focus the red dots on the far wall then you can easily set the toe in as well as the tilt back so that anyone of any height can hear them properly). Johnny came into my house and set up the Treo's in only an hour or so and I haven't had to move them at all.
I am friends with the local Wilson dealer and they are great guys. Done plenty of business with them too over the years and when the owner left the room, the sales guy opened up and complained about how difficult the Wilsons were to set up to get the most out of them. Same with a Legacy dealer I know and honestly, I've heard the same thing for many dealers over the years about nearly any speaker. To get the most out of them it's not always easy and quick but it's well worth it. Just part of the fun of being an audiohile. To me it's easier than tube rolling and much less expensive but that's just me, lol.
Yeah, Ctsooner, I was surprised at the bass with the 7's at RMAF. I used a Dead Can Dance track I am very familiar with to assess bass and I played it in that room. The bass was very extended, just not tight and focused in the lower midbass making things feel 'thick' and 'bloated'. The set up was vinyl, and they had a Brinkman table and Lyra Atlas cart. ARC preamps and the Vandersteen custom amps that mate with the 7's. Can't remember the cables. Maybe they didn't have the Atlas dialed in to the proper SRA and VTF?

As far as soundstage height, I don't have to do anything special with my loudspeakers or have noticed the 'lowering of the soundstage' with the exception of the 7's. It was weird - the depth and width of the soundstage was world class, and images were as solid as they get. But the center image was only around 2-3 feet off the ground and the height barely made it a few inches above the speaker cabinets. The room and ceiling were quite large so I'm not sure what was going on there.

I really liked everything about the 7's except for the above. They were on my short list for a new loudspeaker. After hearing everything at RMAF and auditioning several, my top three were the Rockport Avior, Vandersteen 7's and Lansche 5.1's.
The poster was asking opinions about the Rockport Avior vs. the Magico S5. Somehow this thread got diverted to discussions on the merits of various Vandersteen models.
Phil, what state do you live in? I can promise you that the 7's bass is about as good as it gets when it's cooking. The one thing that impressed me about the upper end Vandys when I started to give them a shot a couple of years ago was their FAST, detailed, tight, but mainly natural sounding mid bass. We all know that it's the mid bass that is so critical to get proper sound from any speaker. That's why if a smaller speaker can nail that part of the spectrum, then you can listen to them for a long time and enjoy the music.
Personally I just don't ever make a true judgement of any component at a show. Too many variables, but if I hear something special I certainly put it on my must audition list, that's for sure. We probably should have started an original thread, however folks got their thoughts out on the original and started to add a few other options in that range. Doesn't that happen all the time?
Vandersteen start you own thread.
"The poster was asking opinions about the Rockport Avior vs. the Magico S5. Somehow this thread got diverted to discussions on the merits of various Vandersteen models"

Yes, that tends to happen when ctsooner comes on the scene. We are used to it by now......

Shakey
Ebm made a good suggestion. That may steer this thread back on its original track.
I'm as much to blame as Ctsooner for taking this in a tangent direction. I just thought it would help the OP see my course of listening to several speakers - Lansche, Magico, Vandersteen and Rockport before deciding on Rockports and why.

Ctsooner - if you would like, just PM me through Audiogon and we can continue to discuss my Vandersteen experience.
Phil,will do.Some get touchy if you don't talk about their gear, lol. Guys, it's easy to steer any thread back on track by posting about the two speakers he asked about. Based on his comments it seems as though he should probably open himself up to a few others in that range and others have said the same. I wonder which speakers would have the best synergy with his other components.
I dont know how much you are willing to spend Sir but as you said you listen most to rockmusic - I am a rock lover too - then I definitely recommend you to listen to a pair of q3. If you are intending to buy a new pair s5 then an exdemoed or used-as new pair of q3 would be far more superior to you.

I am using the q5 and everyone who heard they play rock music was stunned about the dynamic and lifelike presentation. I did listen to the rockport akkaris mk2 but I do not really like the 'big sounding' of those speakers although they are truly superb.

I have not heard the avior so dont know how they sound.

So as many others pointed out, home audition is the best for you to decide which ones are the most relevant speakers.
Interesting reads. The Magico neutrality is well known. The Rockport is harder to come by for auditioning. I haven't heard the Rockport, and interested to know whether it sounds thick and warm, like the older Sonus Faber, perhaps a bit lacking in clarity and sparkle?
I've heard them a few times in the last 6 months or so.  Different gear and different rooms.  They aren't thick or warm to me.  I thought it was a large presentation.  Sounded very good I thought.  I wouldn't buy them as I like a couple of others in their ranges, but many love them and I can easily understand why.