Rockport's or Magico's


I have heard that these two speaker lines employ some state of the art design concepts.

Has anyone had a chance to compare the new Magico M5 and Rockport Altair at Goodwins or anywhere else?

How similar are they and where do they differ?

Thanks AO
aoliviero
You might want to post this question over at:

http://www.ultrahighendforum.com/index.php

I believe there are members there who have heard both.
i heard the altair and the more expenssive magico m6's in the same room. while they both sounded great, the altair with a $70,000.00 cheaper list price then the m6, sounded their equal in the mid and upper ranges. i felt the altair had the better and more impressive lower end. it is very defined, no bloom just sounds like music. the imagining is great and you can tell where each musician is standing. the built quality of both speakers(all aluminum m6's) is fantastic, although, and many may disagree, i was not impressed with the wood build of the magico V3's or the mini 11's the m5 were not out yet but i am not a fan of their look. i thought they were unattractive. just my opinion. i bought the altairs. i love them and would only consider parting with them to move up to the rockport arrakis. andy builds a great speaker. the rockpoerts are very heavy, the altair's weigh 515lb's each. jeff fritz has written a better desciptive review then i can. i am in the southen nj area if you ever wish to hear.
Koegz , what a wonderful reply , you indeed must be a special person from just your few words! Ive not even heard either.
Koegz,

Thank you for your first hand comments. I have never heard the Rockports but I did hear the Magico V3 and M6 at CES ~3 years ago. while they were powered by different systems, I did prefer the sound of the V3 over the M6 beleive it or not! I understand the M6 has gone through an update which has similar deiver materials as the V3 drivers. May things have changed.

Regarding looks, while I don't like the look of hte V3, the M5 has a cool look which reminds me of Danish furniture. Anyway, that is less important to me than the sound. Valin in TAS is saying it is the highest resolution speaker he has had in his system.

In you opinion, is the Altair exceedingly high in resolution. I'm assuming it is given the very stiff, high-tech driver materials and inert cabinet construction. On Rockports website they compare their speakers to the strengths of the electrostatic variety without having their weaknesses. Also, thanks for your offer for a listen. Ultimately I would like to head up to Goodwins to hopefully hear them sise by side.

Cjrfbw,

AO

Ultimately I plan to head up to
i love the look of the M6, very cool looking. i consider buying them. the altair has great resolution. the V3 while they are an excellent speaker, left me feeling like something was missing. good luck on your desission process.
I also have been to Goodwins and spent 2 full days there comparing the Altairs to the M6. AT the time, Goodwins did not have their M5 yet. In case you haven't been there, the room that these speakers is in at Godowins is acoustically very, very good. The electronics that I used for most of the audition were the Spectral 4000S cd player, the ARC Ref 3 and the Bolder 2050 mono block amps. The Goodwin's room is large - approx 21 feet wide, 30 feet deep with perhaps 11 or 12 foot ceilings. They bring the speakers well out into the room and are spaced far apart (about 13 feet center to center). The seating position is about 3 feet from the back wall. The M6 that Goodwins has does have the Nanotech midrange and mid bass drivers. In my mind, both speakers are wonderful to listen to and it will come down to personal preference as to which you would want to own. Also keep in mind, that both speakers are exceptionally coherent and dissapear very well. I agree with Koegz to a certain extent that the Altair with its 15" subwoofer had a more powerful bottom end with a better ability to pressurize the large room at Goodwins. But, the M6, to me, had a little more resolute bass than the Altair. Vocals on the Altair are more seductive sounding than with the M6. I felt that with the M6, vocals are also very good, but with a little more texture and slightly less round than with the Altair. But to me, the biggest difference is in the upper frequencies, where the Altair is a more laid back speaker than the M6. If you listen to alot of jazz percussion pieces with cymbals, high hats, etc - you will hear this difference between the speakers immediately. The M6 has a little more life when these instruments are played. It really is a different presentation between the speakers - overall I preferred the sound of the M6's, but make no mistake - one is not better than the other - its which presentation do you prefer. Ultimately, i did get a chance to audition the M5 at a local dealer where I live and I ended up purchasing the M5.
Hi,
I own Rockports and have heard the Magicos at length including a dedicated

listening session in a room setup by the "Wolfman" himself.

They to put it bluntly are "Digitus Horrendous". I'd look eslewhere if I was you

Not on the same planet as the wonderful Rockies.

End of rant,

DesW
I have heard the m6 and rockports at goodwins and also the m5 for 2 hours at another dealer. For my tastes, the rockports are more musical speakers. The magicos are too detailed to the point of listener fatigue that sets in after half hour. What good are highest resolution speakers if you can't listen to them. Rockports have dynamics and extension matching the magicos and have warmth and bloom that magicos lack. I was actually considering these speakers for my newly built audio room but I have found a pair of speakers I enjoy more than either of these speakers for a fraction of their price. Go figure-the most enjoyable and rewarding speakers are not these megabuck speakers stereophool and the crapsolute sound are drooling over.
The Rockports are massively deep at 3 feet, and would seem to need a particularly large room. They might sound great in the correct room, but they would not physically fit in my room. Only in comparison to Magico can they be regarded as a bargain. If you are in the US, European speakers tend to be 20-40% more in the US due to currency conversion, middlemen, shipping, and tarifs. Ditto for US speakers in Europe.

The Avalon Time may be an interesting upcoming speaker that is very similar to Isis, but probably about 30% less. There are some specs and pictures at audiofreaks. There are quite a few US speakers to consider with reasonable value.
Dracule1 you do not state what these fantastic much cheaper and better speakers are. the media has not pushed the rockports. infact almost no reviews at all(of their highend). 2 internet reviews, one of the altair in 2007 and a more recent discuss review of the arrakis on tas web sight(that i know of). hardly a push by the media. i guess i am your "sterophool" or your "crapsolute" as you so eloquently put it. to me you are simply knocking what you can't have or in you terms "ahh wannabe"!
Koegz, there was a bit of press (admittedly, not mainstream press) on the Internet for the Rockports after Jeff Fritz selected the Rockport Technologies Arrakis for his article on "The World’s Best Audio System 2009".

http://www.ultraaudio.com/twbas/twbas_20090401.htm

There is a review of the Rockport Technologies Ankaa Loudspeakers from June 1, 2009 on Ultra Audio.

http://www.ultraaudio.com/equipment/rockport_technologies_ankaa.htm

Regards,
OK Dracule1, cough it up. You can't hang that out there and not let us in on your find. That's a foul. I'm gonna take a stab that they're something like Emerald Physics, Ridge Street Audio, Intuitive Design, or NSR Sonic Research. Am I close?
i admit i read tas but not steriophile any more. i read all the reviews that intrest me and take them for what they are, opinions. i have seen, touched, listened too and compared rockport altairs and magico M6, V3 and mini 11's, they are all exceptionally made, great sounding speakers. each with their high points and each with what they do not as well. i just prefer, for several reason, the rockport, MY OPINION. i have owned or listen to B&W(entire line), focal grande, wilson alexandra 11, mbl's and many i can't remember. i am not the final word on speakers, everyone has a diff opinion and that is fine. i may have been out of line with my responce to Dracule 1, if so please except my apology. i just feel that anyone who implies someone is a fool for liking somthing you do not regardless of cost is out of line. metralla; i am aware of those articles that is what i was referring to.
koegz, I was not implying you are a fool because you read stereophile or tas. Just that those mags are highly over rated and don't have necessarily have your best interest in mind when they 20 different speakers as best of the best. I used to read those mags religiously 20 years ago. No apology needed.

Soix, looks like you have been reading up on my posts. Yes I have chosen to go with the Ridge Street Audio Sason. The improved version floats my boat like no other speaker in my last three years of auditioning for a reference speaker. I selected to get the Dueland CAST caps and resistors for the cross over. Cost is close to $13k with the upgrades but still peanuts compared to these speakers approaching $100k. I didn't want to sound like I was schilling these speakers. I have no financial ties to RSA.
Dracule1, that's great that you found a speaker that fits your discerning tastes at a fraction of the price of others that you listened with. There is probably a better way to get that across than with the snide, self-congratulating remarks you chose. Then in classic good taste you leave your own choice for people to guess at--Boston Acoustics?

Everyone has strong feelings about speaker choice and many opinions differ as strongly as the various designers that created them. We are all fortunate that there are enough lines left to give us all choices at so many price points.

Comments about the performance of speakers in shops describe only that set up, naturally. I heard the Magicos and Rockports at Goodwins as well --hooked up with Boulder electronics. I have also heard speakers from those lines at many dealers, at Jeff Fritz's place mentioned above and in peoples homes. In each system they sounded vastly different. For instance the same floor standing Magico's with Boulder at Goodwins, I would not have recognized sound-wise at the Munich show with Spectral and a Music Server. Are we getting the importance of context?

This is like the Maggie lover that hates Wilson etc...

Both speakers are chameleon-like and both have their charms, strengths and specific presentations that define them. Diversity and choice. These are wonderful trademarks of high end that we should embrace and promote.

If you have a point to make, couch it in superlatives about the speaker you chose and how it compares favorably with the Magico's, Rockports etc. based on your (context here) evaluations. Teach someone a new trick rather than the usual "I heard ABC speakers at DEF dealers and they _sucked_ compared to my new ...... at a fraction of the...., Are you keeping your new Bose Wave System a secret? :-P The same goes for the tired old magazine rips. Are you writing from a script?

Everyone has a favorite speaker because we listen for different cues in music that trip our switch. Both the Magico's and Rockports have great musical triggers given the right system. Both lines offer diversity in choice and have survived brutal commercial market tests to become and remain successful at dealers. That's more than can be said for some of the "out of nowhere" designs that get pub and sell direct based on audiogon reviews.

The best advice for the OP considering one or the other design is to buy the ticket and hear both in similar set ups. Goodwins out East would be a good spot. First hand listening is the only way to judge speakers at this level.
Samuel, I gave my opinion and don't need a lecture from you. If you found my remarks snide and self-congradulating which you seem to be so proficient at, I'm not losing sleep over it. Where did I say this speaker sucked vs another? I liked the Rockports, but found the Magicos fatiguing. I was not trying a detailed review. Context? Both of these speakers are close to 100K driven by same 100K electronics in a same 200k dedicated audio room by one of the most respected dealer in the country (Goodwins). Don't you think they should sound spectacular? "Wonderful trade marks of high end we should promote"? Do you work for one of these companies who continue to make over priced speakers (that's my opinion since you don't understand the concept of opinion)? Oh sorry, seems like you are poster boy for Wilson speakers (enough said). Tired old magazine rips? Where have you been the 30 years ago when Stereophile only had several components in their Class A category, now it's filled with so many components it's useless. All of these class A components seem to have significant amounts of ads in Stereophile. Remember the Bob Carver-Stereophile challenge debacle? Give me break. I don't need some idiotic lecture from you.

>>>" I didn't want to sound like I was schilling these speakers. I have no financial ties to RSA."<<<

That is admirable, however making the statement that you found a pair of speakers at a fraction of the price of the Magico/Rockports that you prefer and then not naming them seems to _beg the question_... Once asked.. the ready answer appears.

Those RSAD speakers must be very good. A $13k, spec'd -10db at 30hz stand mount design that best's established floor standing full range loudspeaker designs is certainly ground breaking...

To each his own. However, short-changing two established full range designs in the interests of promoting your own less expensive off-market choice with almost no context is not all that convincing.

Those custom made, upgrade option RSAD designs are not at any US dealer I've been to nor have I read, seen or heard of them off-line. There is a line of reasonable questions one can follow from that but we'll leave it there.

If the alternatives are being entertained and sometimes informed by the HE Audio press or making purchase decisions based on some of the context-less infomercials that get posted here then the choice is a pretty simple one.

Magazines, imperfect as they may be serve a vital purpose in maintaining what is left of our many purchase options and choices in this high-end hobby. As usual, ymmv. That there are still Rockports, Magico's and a host of others including RSAD for us to choose from is a _great thing_.
No lecture's. Just a different POV since yours came across as a tad one-sided. Enjoy the RSAD's. No doubt they are great performers for the money and appear to be a good value. You seem a little worked up. We're just sharing different opinions and we're both entitled to them.

I know, there should only be one or two class A product selections per category that loosely follow your own listening preferences and its all an ad-conspiracy, I get it. :o)

>>>" I didn't want to sound like I was schilling these speakers. I have no financial ties to RSA."<<<

That is admirable, however making the statement that you found a pair of speakers at a fraction of the price of the Magico/Rockports that you prefer and then not naming them seems to _beg the question_... Once asked.. the ready answer appears.

Those RSAD speakers must be very good. A $13k, spec'd -10db at 30hz stand mount design that best's established floor standing full range loudspeaker designs is certainly ground breaking...

To each his own. However, short-changing two established full range designs in the interests of promoting your own less expensive off-market choice with almost no context is not all that convincing.

Those custom made, upgrade option RSAD designs are not at any US dealer I've been to nor have I read, seen or heard of them off-line. There is a line of reasonable questions one can follow from that but we'll leave it there.

If the alternatives are being entertained and sometimes informed by the HE Audio press or making purchase decisions based on some of the context-less infomercials that get posted here then the choice is a pretty simple one.

Magazines, imperfect as they may be serve a vital purpose in maintaining what is left of our many purchase options and choices in this high-end hobby. As usual, ymmv. That there are still Rockports, Magico's and a host of others including RSAD for us to choose from is a _great thing_.
"Both the Magico's and Rockports have great musical triggers given the right system. Both lines offer diversity in choice and have survived brutal commercial market tests to become and remain successful at dealers. That's more than can be said for some of the "out of nowhere" designs that get pub and sell direct based on audiogon reviews."

Dear misguided Samuel,

By "out of nowhere" designs, I think you are implying RSA Sasons and other of similar pedigree. So you think Wilsons, Magicos, and Rockports that spend megabucks on ads in Stereophile and TAS are only deserving for your consideration. I'm not surprised by the statement comming from a typical audiophile snob like you these small but highly innovative designers have to face. And you have not even heard the Sasons. Are speakers like the Sasons below you, oh great audiophile in your ivory tower?
Your quoting the low end response of the Sasons, which you have never heard, as some great negative? The Magico Mini ($30k) does not have the bass quality of the Sasons. I have extensively listened to both, albeit in multiple separate settings. Not in one case, have I heard the Magico sound nearly as good.

Conspiracy? There is no conspiracy, just advertizing dollars the drives bulk of the reviews in HE audio mags these days. When JGH started Stereophile, the reviews were driven by magazine sales.

Have fun with your Wilsons. Those mega ads and Stereophile reviews must have impressed you.
Aoliviero, my apologies. I didn't mean to hijack your thread. But Samuel, who chose to judge a speaker by a spec without ever an audition, needs to be corrected. Like I said, I prefer the Rockports over the Magicos any day. But if you like the Magico sound, you should also consider the Wilsons.
"That is admirable, however making the statement that you found a pair of speakers at a fraction of the price of the Magico/Rockports that you prefer and then not naming them seems to _beg the question_... Once asked.. the ready answer appears."

Sammy, that is an idiotic inuendo.
Drac, I never judged your choice or characterized the Sason's LF response as a negative. Nor did I judge the Sason's other than to say they were likely a well made speaker design based on positive comments, including yours.

I never mentioned Wilson speakers, so there seems no point in dragging them in as another pin cushion for you to spike. You really do have quite the chip on your shoulder.

Had I ever seen the Sason's or knew where they were demoing I'd love to hear them. Maybe at the next RMAF. They look like a good speaker design. You found a great deal. Good for you.

So go listen and experience music's calming influence.
BTW, kudos to Baby Bear and Koegz. I had not seen their descriptions and sound comments above, before now. Really well explicated and not a hint of edge or narcissism. Both make great points about the speakers differences and defining character. Well done.
Thanks for the kind words Grant.

I agree with what you said that the Magico and Rockport speakers both have their charms, strengths and specific presentations that define them. And throughout their respective product lines and price points it will come down to personal preference, associated electronics and the listening room that ultimately will determine which brand a listener will prefer.
Sammy may be this would satisfy you. Magico M5 - extremely detailed (to the point of fatigue to my ears), tremendous bass extension and resolution, pin point imaging and staging, extremely fast but a little hard sounding, no warmth in the midrange, and in the end uninvolving for me. Sounded like this eventhough they were driven by VTL reference tube mono blocks and preamp and $22k Accuphase SACD player. I heard them with solid state electronics also and no improvement there either. I would put their sound similar to Wilsons and YG Acoustics - solid state sounding. Some people like this type of sound, I don't.

Rockport Altairs have bloom, warmth, wonderful natural staging and imaging, a little full in the bottom octive, sweet nonfatiguing highs, natural timbre, and very musical and enjoyable long term. But they do have a slight veil compared to the Magicos. These charasteristics were maintained even with solid state electronics.

Sammy I only have a chip on my shoulder when people like you try to make underhanded comments about my opinions. Your snide comments were not warrented.
As an owner of Rockport Antares, I am anything but unbiased. I realize, too, that these are now old speakers that are no longer made. I just wanted to add that I bought the Antares in 2001 after extensive auditioning of many speakers; and that I auditioned them in my home before buying them as well. My point? After about 40 years of "upgrade-itis", owning countless high-end speakers and other equipment, I have finally been content for 8 years. I believe the Rockports are generally "music-lovers" speakers. I imagine I might take some criticism for saying that (or at least get an argument). I am simply saying that - FOR ME, for the first (extended) time in my life - I just sit back and listen to music now, not worrying about resolution, imaging, bass, highs, mid-range, etc. I will also add (as I believe someone else also said) that my Rockports are very "chameleon-like".

By the way, I have not heard the Magicos, the latest Rockports, or the RSAs.
If someone were to give me a pair of Magico M5s, I am SURE I can get them to make music. Perhaps with VAC amps and gold cabling throughout. There are quite a few options out there.
Thanks again to those of you who stayed on topic and provided answers to the specific question. I think I have a good idea on the differences now but I will need to listen on my own in the end.

Dracule,

Highjacking of threads and digressions to other topics happens a lot on audiogon. It is very unfortunate because people get emotional and in the end it becomes unpleasant for everyone.

While I think people would value your feedback,and since you felt so strongly, maybe it would have been more appropriate starting a new thread on "speakers better than rockport and magico"

Anyway, thanks for your feedback
Aoliviero, you're welcome. I had no intention really of bringing up the Sason speakers other than what you asked. I, in fact, answered the same way on another thread about speaker comparison and did not reveal my speakers. But Koegz guessed correctly and asked, so I replied. Sammy is a tool and just couldn't leave it alone. Goodwins in MA has the best acoustically treated room I have ever been in. It really shows off the equipment without the room acoustics getting in the way of the music. If you can, go have a visit. They are very professional and a top notch dealer.
Sammy you remind of a college professor who held himself above his colleagues and students but was the butt of everyone's jokes. You are full of self congradulatory remarks and snobby lecturing on how one should post an opinion the way you like it. Unlike you, I actually do take a side and give MY OPINION while explaining why I don't like one product over the other. But you swing both ways and never pick a side, just like most HE press reviews of products with significant ad contributions, fear of offending the manufacturer. I let this be my last post regarding you as long as you keep out of my posts.
Obviously you took great personal offense to my comments above and are still struggling with that. My apologies if you took anything as a personal attack.

Since I have great respect for the talent and commitment of Andy Payor and Alon Wolf and feel that neither speaker is overpriced given their material and performance value, I took issue with your comments...

>>"Go figure-the most enjoyable and rewarding speakers are not these megabuck speakers stereophool and the crapsolute sound are drooling over."<<

I didn't know the thread was about naming a personal favorite or "taking sides". I was unaware the OP's question had anything to do with magazines, the value of their opinion, the relationship between ads and reviews or the fact that you purchased a $13k speaker that you preferred over the models being asked about.

My opinion of the two speaker lines is that I have heard both enough to know I could live very happily with either the M5's or Arrakis (the models I heard most recently)-- though I might choose my electronics differently depending on which I ended up with.. With the seemingly unlimited dynamics and wide-open bandwidth of the M5's I might stay with my ARC front end and Berning Quad Z amps. Were I to live with the Antares or Arrakis I might consider the Solid State Luxman, Griffin or (Hybrid) Lamm mono's and DCS or Esoteric separates at the front end. Of course I am only dreaming....

I tend to be more conservative about tossing definitive opinions around regarding electronics or speakers that I have not yet had in my home. That has nothing to do with protecting anyone, just a personal choice.

Regards,

Grant
I'm over it Sammy. You should really think before you write because your response to my posts came off as very passive-aggressive and holier than thou, on the one hand seemingly nice comments followed by stab-in-the-back, low handed remarks on the other. Apology accepted, so lets move on.
The Wilson crowd thinks that the Magico’s are too polite. The Rockport crowd, thinks they are too analytical. They are, when all is said and done, a much more resolving, and therefore, sensitive to proper setup than the Rockport (or any other speakers, IMO). They will always put out what you put into them, unlike the Rockport “colored” presentation that is often “pretty” but undiscriminating. It is interesting that Koegz, found the Altair bass to be superior to the M6. It was clearly not a match to the M6 when I heard them. In fact, my biggest criticism of the Rockport will be their poor bass integration, due to their side firing subs, to the rest of the system. BTW, before the ranting begins, just in case it is not clear, I am a Magico owner and a BIG fan.
roypan it is obvious to me that you have a much better grasp on what is colored and what is acurate, then i do. clearly no match. thanks for clearing that up.
You are welcome. Anytime, as usual.
i remember you "physics are physics". you owen the V3, therefore they must be the best. you know all there is to know about speaker design and could, i am sure, improve on andy's design. if he would only listen. M6, fantastic speaker def considered. i just love the sound and looks. far better then the V3 or mini 11,s. not a fan of the looks of the M5 either. whats up with those bolts? i mean $90000.00 and you got them nuts sticken out you have to tighten now and again. now the M6 looks and sounds great. other then the arrakis the M6 would be my next choice and may even be. again my OPINION! try not to be so arrogant. your thoughts are just your opinions as well.
Well, to each his own but the Rockport look does not rock my chains at all. What’s up with the gel coat finish? My son surfboard looks better. If you wish to use high gloss, go apprentice first at the Wilson factory. How about these deep, unproportional sides, with that large pedestal on the bottom. Looks like an afterthought to ensure the speakers will not fall to the sides.
Now for the bolts - how do you maintain perfect woofers coupling to your enclosure? You can’t even approach the woofers bolts because they are covered with that thick felt you have on the baffle. I can guaranty you that your woofers are loose ( That damn physics again). That is probably one of the reasons the Rockports sound a bit soft. AND if you are courageous and do try to tighten your woofers down, you may strip the threads that are in the resin or worst, strip an insert. The bolts on all the Magicos ensure perfect woofers coupling to the enclosure at all time for as long as you have the speakers. A decent solution to a major problem.

Tis is a pretty good example of how differently we all listen and how different our priorities are regarding the intricate cues in music that draw us in. There are many aspects to any one speaker systems performance and design but infinitely more diverse and delicate are the differences in the way we all listen for that connection to music and the aspects of sound that bring a recording to life.

Aesthetics is still another chapter. We are all fortunate to have so many choices and different ways of appreciating music through excellent systems. Two great speaker systems, no "right" answer.
TWO great speakers i have MINI 2 love them . These are too top speakers everyone has different tastes.
I hate to further muddy these waters, but I am anxious to hear the Tidal Contriva Diaceras at the RMAF. My favorite Magico is the V3 and I don't like any of the others. I have always liked Rockports that I have heard at CES but have never really thought of buying.

As always, this thread has lead to no consensus.
Why are you anxious? There are so many loudspeakers out there using the exact same Acuton ceramic drivers compilation, what surprises are you waiting for?