Speakers that are very accurate sounding but don't produce an emotional connection.


I have listened to a few speakers over the years that impressed me with their accuracy and presentation of the music, but just did not create an emotional response or connection. I have often wondered what that quality is in some speakers that produce an emotional connection with the listener. This quality has been identified by audiophiles, as "magical", "engaging"  "just right"  "euphonic"  "natural"  "true to life". " "satisfying"  "musical"....  I am sure there are at least 50  other  adjectives that could describe this "quality" of  sound . 

Considering the various aspects  of achieving  good and accurate sound by component synergy, is there a way to explain this so-called magical element that often eludes so many of us??.  I don't think such a feeling is temporal, conditioned by personal moods, or the phases of the moon or sun.  

Like to hear from members who have given some thought to the same issue.    Thanks,  Jim   

BTW, I know the thread is a bit out there, but  I don't think the topic is pointlessly pursuing the genie in the bottle. 


sunnyjim
It's the same as with instruments. I heard various concert pianos and guitars but really liked only a few. The best guitar I have ever heard was the one played by Paco de Lucia, not to mention that he played spectacularly. If there is a science behind it, it is not discovered yet. I think about it as a black art.
Check out JGH's articles on this in old Stereophiles...

Sometimes it is the type/quality of amplifier driving the speakers that can make the difference.  As an example, I heard the large TAD speakers driven by a solid state amplifier that did everything "correctly" but sounded cold and clinical when I listened to music; when the amp was switched out for a hybrid tubed amplifier the sound came to life and was involving, something I could happily live with.

I've heard multi-hundred thousand dollar systems that just leave me bored. On the other hand ... have you ever heard a pair of properly set up Harbeth speakers??
Any system, regardless of price, can provide that emotional connection.  Every system I've had started at a point where I had to work it to attain that emotional connection. Adding some new piece of gear pointed me in the right direction but it couldn't do it by itself. Sometimes (after awhile) that new piece of gear had to go. 

It could be the amp, speaker, or even a cable that completed the system.
And, it was never that particular piece alone, to begin with. 

We all have individual tastes and all it takes is what's necessary to make it convincing. It can never be real. But convincing is all it takes to complete the emotional connection.

All the best,
Nonise


Interesting thread Sunny, Somthing I have pondererd on more than one occasion. I’ve always been a fan of old ADS speakers for this reason. I had actually started a thread about it a few years ago when I was looking for a modern speaker that possesed the same magic. It took me a long time to find one. I also makes me wonder if there are speakers out there that have measured poorly but somehow just sounds right.
What speakers have you heard that you feel have these qualities?

Sunnyjim,
No this topic isn't "out there" but is very relevant IMO.
The two most important  criteria for me when judging audio components are natural tonality and emotional communication and engagement. It these qualities are lacking no other  attributes can make  up for this  critical  deficiency. We listen to music  for ènjoyment. Without emotional  involvement how can we expect to  enjoy our music? Okay, back to  ĺistening to Dexter Gordon, he's  definitely  communicating 😃😃
Charles,
To put a finer point on what I said before, the speakers I now have are very engaging, emotionally. They weren't at first. It took the right stands and placement (directly on them with no footers) and then the merry-go-round with cables before they hit all my buttons and yet I feel I could get more out them with some costlier cables but as of right now, they are very convincing. It's easy to get lulled into reverie.

All the best,
Nonoise

To Chrasani 37.  I am sure I got your blog name wrong.  Nevertheless, I have not heard anything recently that knocked me out.  Two years ago, I heard a pair of YG Carmel  (original ). They did many of things that reviews claimed, especially the TAS review.  From my perspective, they sounded commanding in how they present and handled the music. Unfortunately, the shop owner has/had a bad habit of playing what he liked, which at moment, was jazz piano. The Carmel speakers just delivered the sound in full, no gaps of incoherency or variations in sound level.  The sound was real, in the room, and visceral.  Did  it create an emotional connection, only to the extent that I was awed by its fullness of presentation. It was neither soft nor understated or sound like a "performance", it was just there,  independent of the anomalies of showroom acoustics.

The YG Carmel is in a class by itself.  But as far as engaging, I have to give a nod to two speakers of years past:.... the IMF TLS-80, and the a few years prior to their debut, the Rectilinear 3. a speaker that  even if playing in a room of people talking and laughing, the sound just drew you to it. Call it natural, euphonic or whatever,.... the sound came across as "just right" even over the chatter of people in a large room The IMF TLS 80 was that and more with a compelling depth to the sound which was stunning, especially driven by the Crown 300B amp,  ARC, or any McIntosh  amp of at least 100-200RMS.  The McIntosh fattened the sound a bit, but not to any point of distraction or incoherence.      

Early model YG speakers, B&W Diamond speakers, Wilson Alexia, Crystal Arabesque mini come to mind..

To respond to a previous member's comments about the YG Carmel, the new Carmel Mk2 is a completely different proposition & sounds musically engaging to me. I didn't like the original Carmel, but I like this one. With that said, I think the Magico S1 Mk2 will have the wood on it.
Not at all too "out there" of a topic...but, for me, too, it’s just been pretty doggone hard to ever reliably identify any real cause. Although they can certainly be pointed to as exhibiting the effect sometimes, it’s not just limited to speakers either...amps, amp/preamp combinations and amp/speaker combinations, as has been mentioned, have sometimes seemed to exhibit this problem, but also TT’s and/or carts (perhaps more particularly, it may seem, among some of the post-CD designs) have done this as well. Even some rather expensive systems based on these components from time to time have been reported to leave some listeners a bit cold - very competent sounding, but, somehow just too sterile or un-involving. This particular anomaly to me doesn’t seem to have any clear common denominator. Sometimes it looks as though it might be a setup or synergy type thing - a user problem, and sometimes it seems as though it might be a problem with particular gear - a manufacturer problem...as though it may have been designed with possibly a little too much emphasis on engineering and perhaps not enough on listening evaluations along the course of its development...or maybe simply designed by some people who aren’t exactly clued in on what real music sounds like...or who are at least not considering what would pass for a musical sound, anyway. Everybody may have a different take on what is musical, or how much emphasis should be placed on which musical aspects, or whatever. I would like to think that as a relatively experienced listener that I have a rather good grasp on that at this point, at least for my own purposes anyway, but I also know that my own definition of what is musical is not quite the same as what it was even ten years ago, nor was it then the same as it was ten years before that. Everybody’s experience level keeps changing over time and at any time, of course, there are any number of people in this hobby who have been at it longer than me, are just starting out or are anywhere in between. I’d say it’s probably the same with manufacturers...at least with the good ones who are determined to not just reach a certain plateau and stay there... But, I can only guess that the phenomenon you point out, Sunnyjim, is one for which there is not really any single cause.
there is no lifeless speaker without a lousy amp close by
Ivan,
Good thoughts and perspective.
One man's accurate and neutral is another man's sterile  and dry.
One man's natural  and holistic  is another man's too warm and colored.
Charles,

I have felt this is a problem with many "High End" speakers for many years and I agree with Rhyno, that the amp is to blame, in many instances. A particular example of this is Wilson speakers. I find their sound unlistenable with most SS amps, the exceptions being D'Agostino and Dartzeel amps, both way outside my affordability zone. Put them with tubes, particularly ARC and they are great. I heard the new Wilson Sabrina's with an ARC LS17 pre and Ref 75 power amp, at a small show recently and I loved them.

 There are a few Speaker brands with a strong following, I have never enjoyed. They include Focal, B&W and Magico and I know the latter suggestion may be received with howls of protest, but I just don't enjoy Magico speakers. I find them dry and clinical, for my tastes.

  In general, my favourite speakers tend to be relatively high sensitivity and a good match with tubes. The Daedalus speakers I use I would include of course, but I also enjoyed Silverline, particularly the Bolero, Devore and the bigger Tannoy's

SunnyJim...................

I remember the Rectilinear 3 and 3A.  I owned a pair of the original 3 speakers and kick myself for ever selling them.  I had them for 10 years, then tried the latest and greatest from another manufacturer and got on the speaker merry go round.  Still wish I had them to this day.  They always drew me deep into the music and let me forget about everything else.

Great topic sunnyjim, with a lot to of interesting and informative responses. After way too many years of pursuing the audiophile nirvana of uber resolution, detail and precision I'm enjoying a more "real" sound that emphasizes dynamics, tone and presence....i.e., recreating a live performance. Obviously what constitutes a live performance will be different for everyone and I'm not advocating one type of sound or system over another but sunnyjim hit the nail on the head for me......an emotional and engaging sound instead of a clinically accurate sound. Whether I'll achieve it or not remains to be seen, but Jeff Days blog has me pointed in the right direction with vintage WE14ga speaker wire and Belden 8402 interconnects and I absolutely love the sound from them. Vintage RCA tubes for my pre amp are on the way with  vintage tube amps and Altec speakers on the horizon. The vintage gear appeals to me for a number of reasons. They seem to impart that involving, emotional connection to music. They're relatively affordable.....and they're as old as I am!  I'm not saying vintage gear is the only way to achieve an emotionally engaging sound, it's just the way the appeals to my sensibilities and pocket book. Many years ago a local audio specialist asked me whether I was looking to enjoy music or sound. I didn't really understand the question all those years ago and only recently have, hence this topic hitting home with me. There's no right or wrong....good or bad....just whatever makes you happy. I enjoyed the so called audiophile sound for many, many years and now I'm not enjoying a more live, emotionally engaging, real sound. It's all good!
not just speakers, but also electronics that measure well but don't sound very good regardless of other equipment...measurements can only do so much...
Rather than thinking in terms of accuracy, I prefer to simply think in terms of sound signature. Because every speaker, no matter how transparent it was designed to be, is just giving you an impression of the music. And that impression either appeals to you, or it doesn’t (and that’s not even getting into the fact that the sound signature, in real-world situations, can’t be separated from the user’s listening environment).

Here’s the problem with thinking in terms of "accuracy"...if you think about it in terms of "accuracy", and you truly believe the speakers are "accurate" and you don’t like what’s coming out, then you either have to move to a new house, find a new band to listen to, or lobby the band to hire a new recording engineer for their next album (some people will say there’s a fourth choice, getting new equipment, but I think that’s too frequently cart-before-horse). Using an analogy to illustrate the "accuracy" fallacy - if you believed your kitchen windows were perfectly clean and spotless, and you didn’t like the view, would you go buy new windows?

So I don’t think of speakers that way - they can never be truly spotless windows, rather they’re paintings that give me a view to the outside world. I also completely avoid the whole "musical" and "magical" thing because for me personally those adjectives aren’t describing the speakers, they’re describing MY emotional response to that speaker designer’s impression of the music, and that is entirely personal and can change from listener to listener, room to room, even day to day.
I am enjoying my Audio Refinement separates with some ProAc Studio 125s on loan until my ProAc Studio 148s arrive.  Most engaging sound I've heard.  Took me a while to get here...
Thank you Charles.

Good OP and many good responses.
+1 with Nonoise on audiophiles being able to put together systems at any price level that can and do avoid the issue.

Merry Christmas, all!
I agree with David12. Many times, the amp makes the difference. Wilsons to me have sounded uninvolving and sterile with ss, except Dartzeel and D'Agostino-- IMHO I do not particularly care for them with the likes of other great amplifiers like Spectral and Burmester. But various Wilson speakers can  sound extraordinary, depending on the model, with Lamm, ARC, VTL, BAT, VAC and others.
Likewise, I have never been drawn in by Magico, many Focal and B&W's 800 series (except, for B&W, with McIntosh amplification which smoothes things over).
Is it possible that I have not enjoyed the any Magico because I have never heard them with tubes? Sure is. I didn't like B&W's 800 series until I heard them with McIntosh. Goes to show that the synergy between amp and speaker is critical.
Finally, David12--the Daedalus brand along with Tannoy, DeVore and other high efficiency speakers can also sound great---but I've only heard those with tubes.
I agree with David12. I have always hated Wilson speakers until I heard them with great tube gear. I am not saying they are my favorite speaker by any means. But they are definitely listenable with good quality tube gear. I have never understood people running Spectral, Boulder, etc, etc with Wilson speakers. The speakers should come with a warning sign "Tubes only please"

There are so many good responses to the thread, it is overwhelming and impossible to  answer each one.

To Melbguy1  Happy to hear that YG in the new Carmel II strove to deliver more engaging and musical sound.  The originals were outstanding, but a bit typically cold....no,.... not metallic or edgy, or bright.  I was impressed by them, but don't know how long I would have been able to listen.. I would hope for  $24,900, the YG Carmel II  is more than just engaging and  includes a paid voucher for at least 4 days/nights stay in St Thomas , VI. 


To Stereo 5,  I forgot that there was a Rectilinear 3A which I guess was a revision of the original.  One caveat, I should have added in my first response was to keep in mind,  I was awed by the Rectilinear 3 or 3A in 1972, I don't want to do the math on this one,  and heard the IMF's TLS-80   approx. in 1982 or 1983.  So, it is difficult, or maybe smart, not to be hailing a particular speaker that is over 30 years; but, only because the technology of speaker design has advanced:  testing, newer materials, both electronics and  (cabinet) materials  have considerably widened the gap  between what sounded very good then, and what sound very good now.  I happened to be checking out components on E-bay, last week and punched  up "Rectilinear"   A few of the models for sale were fairly beat-up,  with woofers yellowed by time, and tweeters that looked like hack jobs replacement from Joe's used audio parts emporium unlimited. I also noticed the faded rotary tone control which today I would howl at the moon than have on  pair of speakers. Though, in honesty,  Vandersteen's tweeter and  midrange(?) controls on some of their models do convincingly work and make a difference in the sound.    

   

I heard the Wilson Alexia’s in a treated room with top flight ARC tube gear & was underwhelmed. The bass was slow and flabby which smeared the midrange, they were not as coherent or well balanced as the S5’s, and are not as warm, full bodied or intimate sounding. Sound stage depth was good though. The Alexia’s have airy mids and highs, though I didn’t equate that with greater accuracy. The S5s are definitely more accurate and have better image specificity. I left that room after 30 minutes. I actually preferred a pair of B&W 802d’s paired with Electrocomoaniet amps that night, despite the still bright sounding top end (and I’m not a fan of the 802d).

The Magico S5’s broke new ground for Magico. If you thought the Q3’s sounded analytical, the S5’s have a more laid back presentation, deeper fuller bass & sound warmer. The S5’s are very well balanced and coherent, and *can* draw you into the music with ss gear if matched with the right amps, front end and cables. Vitus Signature series, Pass XA.8 and XS series, Soulution & Audia Flight Strumento all have excellent synergy. For cables, I’ve found Jorma Prime and Statement wire & Siltech Royal Sugnature series have great synergy. I can imagine Kubala Sosna Emotion & Elation also pairing well.

Personally I run Magico S5’s with a Vitus SIA-025, Vitus SCD-025mk2, Gigawatt PC3 SE Evo conditioner, Furutech GTX-D(g) wpo, Jorma Prime and Statement cables & Stillpoints, and find I get an emotional connection to the music which makes me want to sit down and listen. With that said, the new S5 Mk2 speakers I have on order will be on a whole nutha level such that you might have to re-assess your view of Magico speakers Gpgr...
I'm always willing to listen Melbguy. As we have discussed previously in our numerous Wilson v Magico exchanges, I have heard Alon Wolf's presentations with his choice of electronics on a few occasions (and in one system without Alon Wolf since) and always walked out shaking my head. But I have never heard them with tubes. It's also possible that the rooms were not ideal.
 Had I not heard Wilson for the fourth or fifth time under the right circumstances, I'd have agreed with their critics as previously I thought they were cavernous, sharp and cold . When I hear them at shows sometimes, I'll hear one or the other negative aspect. Under those circumstances, I can understand the criticisms.  Maybe one day, I'll hear Magicos in a set up that sounds good or great to me. One day you may hear Wilson's that sound good or great to you.
There's always room changing one's mind in this hobby upon hearing the right electronics with the right speakers and cables in the right room.
And of course, I may never warm up to Magico or you to Wilson. We would not be the only ones.  
Gpgr, likewise I’ve enjoyed our exchanges on this topic. To be clear, I heard the Alexia’s in a Dealer’s treated main room with top-line ARC tube gear. I was told by the Dealer the speakers were fully run in. I also confirmed my findings when I heard the Alexia’s at the Melbourne High End show with D’agostino Momentum mono blocks and a full DCS Scarlatti stack. But you know as well as I do that anyone who stamps thier fist on a table demanding that manufacturers put up or shut up in notoriously sub-optimal show conditions are not being honest with themselves. Too many variables. Hence I wouldn't rely on show auditions alone.

After hearing Magico’s sealed box designs compared to Wilson’s ported designs I think the former sounds correct. Magico also has greater in-house design and manufacturing capacity & are clearly ahead in technology. But that doesn’t mean Wilson make bad sounding speakers. They have a ’live’ sound & move plenty of air, so I can see why they have a big following. But for that kind of presentation, I personally prefer Marten Coltranes which sound much more musical to my ears. To each their own.
Melbguy, I am not sure that Magico has "greater in-house design and manufacturing" than Wilson, but even if it did--that would never be the measure of a "better" product. If it were, we'd all be listening to B&W , KEF and Focal who have among the biggest most advanced facilities in the world. Not that there's anything wrong with that. IMHO, it all comes down to the ear of the manufacturer. With relatively small companies like Magico and Wilson--those ears belong to Wolf and Wilson.  In some of the larger speaker companies, it comes down to a committee of listeners. I've heard great speakers from very small manufacturers that stack up with the very best-- because of the ear of the designer---Daedalus, Salk, Nola. Frankly, I much prefer all of those to Magico as they sound more like music to me whereas Magico sounds like fairly undimensional hi fi. But again--I am open to persuasion. Maybe I have not heard Magico with all factors acting in their favor despite the fact that Alon Wolf set them up himself on 2 of those occasions.
Emotional connection comes mostly from room reverb/immersion in my experience. So it’s more about speaker/room interaction. The more accurate the speaker, the less forgiving, you need to setup the room perfectly. Hence why most audiophile speakers are notoriously inaccurate, it helps to cover up shortcomings.

(If you have a non symmetrical room, you’ll never get what you are looking for) Try take that emotional speaker outdoors, I can guarantee you that the emotions will be all gone.

What I look for nowadays are 2 way horn/woofer designs or concentric designs. With certain active monitors, you can have the best of both worlds.
Sunnyjim-

no doubt that today's speakers are most accurate compared to speakers of 10years and older. The key, is to get that "synergy" correct. This reflects careful considerations w/ gear, speakers and cabling.

Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Second note;

as above, I too, was disappointed upon auditioning both TAD and Aerial loudspeakers. Despite excellent reviews of both brands over the years.
@gpgr4blu , Like I said, if you’re relying on notoriously sub-optimal
show conditions alone to judge an entire manufacturer, you’re only fooling yourself. I formed my view of Wilson Alexia’s based on auditions in a Dealer’s main treated room *and* under show conditions.

I can't comment on Daedalus,  Salk or Nola as I have only heard Daedalus, and only under show conditions.  Look out for my future review of the Magico S5 Mk2 speakers. They are completely different animals to the original S5’s & incorporate many of the innovations of the M Pro.
Melbguy, I do intend to go to a local dealer here in Manhattan that carries Magico with Constellation and DCS and listen there. He also carries Rockport which I intended to listen to anyway. BTW I have heard numerous products in a dealer's showroom with room treatments and more and thought nothing of them until I heard them at another dealer who knew what to do with that component. Case in point, I have heard Martin Logans at least a dozen times in many different showrooms throughout the years and they left me cold. I had decided that I simply did not like the sound and I figured it was probably because of the technology. Too diaphanous with a bright tonal balance and no stage depth I thought. That was for years one of my least favorite of the more popular speakers. I heard them last week at Stereo Exchange in NYC with Rogue amplification and they sounded great. In fact, I went there for something else and just happened to walk by an open area where they were located and the music stopped me in my tracks. I now view that speaker as one that can be pretty awful if not set up right and outstanding if done properly. I love discovering that I was wrong about a product. I will have no problem admitting I was wrong about Magico if I hear them sing. 
The Rectilinear speakers have been mentioned a few times in this thread. I relative has had a pair now for 40 plus years. First time I heard them, after helping lugging them into an apartment, I was blown away- they were that good . 

Heard them again a month ago- folks, speakers have gotten a lot better since the hey day of the Rectlinear. 
@gpgr4blu The Dealer I mentioned is Tivoli Hifi in my neck of the woods. The Dealer has 30 years experience and chooses good staff. Their main room is well sorted from my limited experience with room acoustics, and the night I heard the speakers was a special buying night for members of Stereo.net.au forum with a wine merchant doing wine tasting, so every effort was put into setting up the speakers properly. I think on the balance of probabilities, given two auditions, my findings are probably not going to change much. Remember, we all hear things differently and all have our own tastes/preferences.

It is clear to me you like fast, open speakers with warm, liquid sound and a holographic soundstage. From what i've read, the new Magico S5mk2 & S7 have lighter, stiffer, faster drivers, much higher quality and more powerful magnets, better materials, better cabinet design & better crossover. Paired with tube-like ss amps such as Vitus Signature series or Pass XA.8/XS series, or CJ Art/Gat or Absolaire tubes you could find the sound you like out of Magico. I haven't found a sound I like yet out of Wilson, but never say never they say.
Hello melbguy1

Did you hear TAD Compact Reference One and/or TAD Evolution One versus your Magico S5.

I heard Magico S5 last week with Zanden power, 2 X 90 W tubes and found it beautiful, especially very open, lots of detail and not harsh, but also a liitle weak at the bottom.
Heard S5 before and then there was much more low-end, even a little too much for my tastes. 
Indeed careful setup with electronics and room is highly recommended to reach audio nirvana.

So I think Magico and also TAD can accomodate listeners with very accurate sound, which however both can be too clinical for some.
I heard Magico V3 with all Spectral gear and while it was sounding very correct it left me cold as it was.


Sequence, I heard the Tad Evolution One speakers at the Melbourne Hifi Show and found the top end etched and bright. I can’t remember which amps they were partnered with, but I recall thinking the S5’s sounded a lot nicer with the caveat I have not heard the Tad CR One, nor heard those speakers in a familiar room with familar amps.

To me though, TAD is similar to Revel being the high end arm of a multi-national, broad-based company. TAD being owned by Pioneer, and Revel by Harmon. Is something lost when you have to answer to a boss in a corporate office 6000+ miles away? I don’t know.

The only tube amps i’ve heard pair well with the S5’s are Absolare & the CJ Gat & Art amps which both have solid drive. Though i’d love to hear how the Einstein or VTL mono's sound with the S5's. I think the Zanden amps would lack a bit of current to drive them to their full potential. My favorite gear for synergy as everyone knows is Vitus Sig series. I think Spectral and Devaliet are bad choices with Magico imho.
Hi melbguy1,

Thanks. As the technology of the S7 is incorporated in the new S5 MK2
they should sound wonderful!
Cheers Sequence56. The S5Mk2's cabinet is a bit more optimized than the S7, whilst the S7's driver array gives it an edge in that area. They will both be terrific speakers given the right size room.
What you're missing is mid-bass body and dynamics.

Most speakers are fairly good at resolving details in the mids and highs.

Very few speakers move enough air for accurate body.  You need 2 12" drivers or a 15" driver for the mid-bass (200hz) if you want it to have the weight of real instruments in the room.

The immediacy of real instruments comes from high efficiency.

I've never heard drums sound accurate out of a speaker with less than a 100db/1w/1m efficiency rating.

There's a relatively small list of speakers that fulfill this criteria.

http://wajonaudio.webs.com/The%20Ultimate%20Speakers%20are%20Within%20Reach.html
@fliz, the new Magico S5 Mk2 speakers use 2 x 10" bass drivers which handle the low, mid & upper bass crossing over to the midrange at about 200Hz. The new 10" bass drivers have massive magnets which help saturate the structure around the coil which prevents eddy currents forming, which in concert with the lighter and stiffer hybrid carbon Nano-tube/Nano-graphene cone material should reduce distortion & improve dynamics.

The excursion rate of the voice coil for the new 10" bass drivers is measured at 15 mm linear movement, twice as much as its predecessor, thus enabling plenty of air to be moved. The S5 Mk2 is also 1db more efficient than the old S5 (89db @4ohms), so it should have impressive bass.
Good orig. post, sunnyjim - not at all "out there," but as I see it indeed very relevant. 

+1 mac48025 and fliz; nice to read of shared sentiments, and thanks for provided link, fliz - bang on, I'd say. 

melbguy1 --

@fliz, the new Magico S5 Mk2 speakers use 2 x 10" bass drivers which handle the low, mid & upper bass crossing over to the midrange at about 200Hz. The new 10" bass drivers have massive magnets which help saturate the structure around the coil which prevents eddy currents forming, which in concert with the lighter and stiffer hybrid carbon Nano-tube/Nano-graphene cone material should reduce distortion & improve dynamics.

This sounds to be a very potent bass configuration, but in regards to the 2 x 10" woofers here used their chosen cross-over frequency (i.e.: 200Hz) sits in a rather sensitive area in the upper bass, and so would likely not have the desired effect - at least as advocated by author "W.A.J." to the article via supplied link - in regards to the equal importance of the lower mids (i.e.: ~250-500Hz) here mentioned. 

The excursion rate of the voice coil for the new 10" bass drivers is measured at 15 mm linear movement, twice as much as its predecessor, thus enabling plenty of air to be moved. The S5 Mk2 is also 1db more efficient than the old S5 (89db @4ohms), so it should have impressive bass.

Bodes well for impressive LF performance, something I'm sure my own speakers (w/15" drivers in folded horns) can only dream of. There's obviously a trade-off here; either have the dynamics, presence and physicality a horn-loaded 15" unit (cut off at ~500Hz) can present from the lower mids and down to ~50Hz, or have lots of it sacrificed for strong LF-performance further down in the 25Hz region or thereabouts from smaller non-horn-loaded units. A horn could do this as well (i.e.: extend to 25Hz), but would have to be seriously massive in size to do this.  That said 89dB is a far cry from 105dB sensitivity, and 15" horn-loaded drivers exsert very limited amounts of excursion which comes as a significant benefit in regards to their reproduction of the lower mids, also coupled with the high sensitivity and low distortion that follows. 


I got used to my speakers more than I think they're valuable. They just sound so right and no other speaker would actually please me or make me want to upgrade. I own them for over 10 years and changed one woofer because I liked them LOUD sometimes. 
As to emotional connection, I tend more to connect to performing artists that inspire me rather than to equipment or musical instruments in general. I've got back to practicing my accordion, but realized that it sounds more like train making a sharp turn almost on every note and on any reed and makes me stop practicing very soon, so looking for replacement or buddy who would borrow me a descent sounding piece for pleasure of practicing. Great sound of instrument means a lot regardless of emotional connection and so is with speaker. The better sound the longer hours you can enjoy.
phusis184 posts12-29-2015 11:54pm melbguy1 --

@fliz, the new Magico S5 Mk2 speakers use 2 x 10" bass drivers which handle the low, mid & upper bass crossing over to the midrange at about 200Hz. The new 10" bass drivers have massive magnets which help saturate the structure around the coil which prevents eddy currents forming, which in concert with the lighter and stiffer hybrid carbon Nano-tube/Nano-graphene cone material should reduce distortion & improve dynamics.

This sounds to be a very potent bass configuration, but in regards to the 2 x 10" woofers here used their chosen cross-over frequency (i.e.: 200Hz) sits in a rather sensitive area in the upper bass, and so would likely not have the desired effect - at least as advocated by author "W.A.J." to the article via supplied link - in regards to the equal importance of the lower mids (i.e.: ~250-500Hz) here mentioned.

Note: The estimate of 200Hz was based on the previous model. That spec has not been published yet for the Mk2. None the less, the subjective balance and objective measured performance of the original S5 suggest that Magico was successful in integrating the upper bass to lower mid frequencies. The new S5 Mk2’s bass drivers use more powerful magnets in an underhung motor system, together with a lighter and much stiffer cone. Thus the drivers should be up to task.

The excursion rate of the voice coil for the new 10" bass drivers is measured at 15 mm linear movement, twice as much as its predecessor, thus enabling plenty of air to be moved. The S5 Mk2 is also 1db more efficient than the old S5 (89db @4ohms), so it should have impressive bass.

Bodes well for impressive LF performance, something I’m sure my own speakers (w/15" drivers in folded horns) can only dream of. There’s obviously a trade-off here; either have the dynamics, presence and physicality a horn-loaded 15" unit (cut off at ~500Hz) can present from the lower mids and down to ~50Hz, or have lots of it sacrificed for strong LF-performance further down in the 25Hz region or thereabouts from smaller non-horn-loaded units. A horn could do this as well (i.e.: extend to 25Hz), but would have to be seriously massive in size to do this. That said 89dB is a far cry from 105dB sensitivity, and 15" horn-loaded drivers exsert very limited amounts of excursion which comes as a significant benefit in regards to their reproduction of the lower mids, also coupled with the high sensitivity and low distortion that follows.
I understand the theory of what you’re describing, and yes many hybrid horn speakers i’ve heard have a live presence to them. Mind you, there is a reason Magico don’t use paper cones, or doped paper cones. I can assure you the previous model S5’s have plenty of physical presence and impact. You wont hear a midbass hump as with many other speakers. The NRC said the S5 was the best measuring speaker they ever tested. Magico’s transparency and linearity can take some time to get used to, but once aquainted, is addictive.

Designing bass drivers with a large amount of linear movement is ok if they have enough flux density generated from the magnets and motor system & the cone material is light and stiff enough to move in perfect piston motion. The S5 Mk2’s bass units now use much larger magnets similar to the Q series & a lighter and stiffer cone, so there shouldn’t be any issues with distortion or lack of speed/dynamics. But as I mentioned, compared to a traditional horn-loaded speaker, this is the harder and more expensive route to take.

If I was a millionaire, carte blanche i’d buy the Magico Q7 Mk2 which are more sensitive (94db @4 ohms) & employs 2 x 12" bass drivers, 1 x 10" midbass coupler, a 6" midrange & 1.2" diamond-coated BE tweeter. Obviously with that amount of cone area, cabinet volume and efficiency there are fewer trade offs, hence being their cost-no-object model. But within my budget, i’m happy with the S5 Mk2 which has quite acceptable trade offs which none the less should still enable the speakers to portray life-like scale, impact & speed given optimal amplification.

In summary, every speaker has some trade offs. It’s just a matter of whether you’re happy with the strengths vs trade offs of a given loudspeaker & how that loudspeaker synergizes with your system and room according to your tastes and listening preferences.


I don't post much here on Agon, but being the owner of one of those speakers that have the reputation for being technically excellent but emotionally uninvolving (Magico S5s), the topic is of particular interest to me. :-)

I think Ivan's post comes closest to how I think about this.  I think there are about 5 different dimensions that affect one's emotional involvement in a 'speaker', and I use speaker in quotes because unless you listen to different speakers in the same exact room with the same exact setup, it's difficult to isolate the speaker's contribution to what you are hearing.  Anyway, I think the 5 different dimensions are (and I think many of the previous posts mention these, too):

  1. The speaker itself.  It's design choices, it's components, it's build quality.
  2. The upstream components.  All of them, not just the amps but the sources themselves as well as the cables.
  3. The room.  Its size (volume), its dimensions, its acoustic treatments, etc.
  4. The setup, listening position and speaker position, within the room and relative to one another.
  5. And finally but definitely not least, the listener themselves.  How are ears are calibrated (listen to live un-amplified music alot?  rock concerts?  are you a musician?  intimate with your favorite dealer's demo room or a friend's listening room?) and I think to some extent, what we read in reviews and on forums formulates what we think is musical truth.  And when we hear that musical truth in some speaker or system, we respond emotionally to it.  

So like everything else in this crazy hobby of ours, it all depends...:-)


Great topic, Jim!

allen





Allen  thanks for the compliment.  The points listed are very relevant to our individual apprehension of sound and  the consistent enjoyment of music
melbguy1 --

Note: The estimate of 200Hz was based on the previous model. That spec has not been published yet for the Mk2. None the less, the subjective balance and objective measured performance of the original S5 suggest that Magico was successful in integrating the upper bass to lower mid frequencies. The new S5 Mk2’s bass drivers use more powerful magnets in an underhung motor system, together with a lighter and much stiffer cone. Thus the drivers should be up to task.

Oh, without having heard the S5 Mk2’s I’m quite sure they managed to integrate the upper bass and lower mids in great fashion - I had no intention to question that. What I like about the bass system of the S5’s, on paper at least, is that it sports a sealed chamber as opposed to the more widely used reflex-loaded designs, plus the added benefit of a large air displacement area here. My own speakers also has the bass driver placed in a sealed chamber, from where it fires into the horn section, presenting a completely different (and to my ears much better) bass respons with actual timbre, speed and integration compared to my former reflex-loaded speakers. I’ve only heard the V2’s from Magico at a hifi show, and while they had interesting qualities I felt that particular demo to be marred by issues in the upper bass area (more of a coincident in this discussion).

Speaking of which (i.e.: the upper bass), my original observation was in relation to that of author W.A.J. from above linked article on the importance of the lower mids (in the region of ~250-500Hz) being reproduced by suitable, large drive units (i.e.: ~15") to instill the proper live (/realistic) imprinting, where it seems the twin 10" drivers of the S5’s falls just outside this frequency spectrum to remain solely in the low to upper bass region - even as Mk2 editions. This is not to flaunt any "15" lower mids drivers are the only thing working"-stance, but rather to stay within the premise put forth by poster fliz via linked article.

I understand the theory of what you’re describing, and yes many hybrid horn speakers i’ve heard have a live presence to them. Mind you, there is a reason Magico don’t use paper cones, or doped paper cones. I can assure you the previous model S5’s have plenty of physical presence and impact. You wont hear a midbass hump as with many other speakers. The NRC said the S5 was the best measuring speaker they ever tested. Magico’s transparency and linearity can take some time to get used to, but once aquainted, is addictive.

I’m quite sure the S5’s are more than bass-capable within their working area, also due to the sealed enclosure design - I wouldn’t question that; it’s how their prowess here is a design choice that likely excludes them from operating much higher into the lower mids, whereas a large diameter unit bass system tuned differently could, conversely, deal with the frequencies of the lower mids, at the expense of LF-strength below some 50Hz. I’d wager the use of a lightweight paper cone and lower loss pleated cloth surround is equally well thought-out here as well, and something the designers are unwilling to stray from for the intended use of the units.

In summary, every speaker has some trade offs. It’s just a matter of whether you’re happy with the strengths vs trade offs of a given loudspeaker & how that loudspeaker synergizes with your system and room according to your tastes and listening preferences.


Indeed. It seems in your case, and from the limited experience I have with the components here used, that you’ve struck a good sonic balance. Do you use the Vitus int. amp solely on Class-A mode?
sunnyjim,
Bravo for initiating this enlightening and fascinating thread. What a great question and what great responses!
My thoughts on what makes for an emotionally involving speaker have been evolving rapidly since I began the search for a speaker to mate with my 300B SET amp. I think I may have found it, but I'm playing my cards close to my chest until I'm sure - then I'll squawk about it here.  :-)
In all likelihood I'm the youngest member chiming in here, and in my experience I have noticed the opposite effect. I find on equipment with a more organic or natural tone lost energy in transients and vocals which remove my connection to the artist even if in many cases the music is more listenable.

As I feel the 'nostalgia' answer is a cop-out I'll pose a question instead. Can you consider listening to an album mastered to compensate for a common voicing on components without said voicing an accurate rendition?
Just to add some observations.   A friend who used to own sound labs but sold them due to space issues still had his elaborate pass labs gear and elaborate crossovers and tri amp setup but was temporarily using several pairs of fairly old barely mid FI speakers. The sound was amazing and palpable and many others were shocked how good the system sounded.  

regarding TAD, I have the CR1's and have heard them with a number of amps over the years from solid state to tube to hybrid and with various sources.   Any shortcomings I felt they had were in the electronics as they now sound far better with better electronics, although I have now augmented them with a super tweeter and subs.  

I do love the Magico sound and I'm sure they have gotten even better since hearing the q1's at a dealer demo.   I was wowed by them on some unfamiliar audiophile material but after hearing some standard recordings requested and I knew well, they sounded rather flat, and the dealer took them off before the song was done .   Back at my place an hour later the same tracks I asked to hear (bill Evans, rickie lee jones ) now sounded like audiophile recordings!  And my current electronics are a far better match for them now than those years ago.  

I'm not knocking Magico by any stretch, just pointing out that Tad's set up well with the right match gets you somewhat  close to the real thing, which I hear quite often and from up close.   

In my systems current evolution , the recordings are the weak link in the chain.  The gear is capable of being much more accurate and musical than current recordong technology allows.  
"In my systems current evolution , the recordings are the weak link in the chain. The gear is capable of being much more accurate and musical than current recordong technology allows". emailist

Well said and the underlying truth in pursuit of audio nirvana. I learn a great deal from this forum, and yet; always remember that no matter how much I spend, equipment rolling, tweaks I make....the most critical factor is in the recording quality of the source material we use. 

When I have the time to hang back and engulf myself in audio pleasure, there are times when I think I hear aspects that move me to make changes. Invariably now I will pull up the trusted recordings that I have come to respect the most. I am reminded that the only things I hear that are lacking is the recording.

There are many wonderful speakers, amps and source gear available today. System synergy remains an important factor as does room acoustics. That said, our recording media seems to me to be what influences a non-emotional connection more than anything.