Alon Wolf, founder of high end loudspeaker brand Magico brought his latest loudspeaker, to show the press just what could be done if you make the decision to invest in building larger quantities. Big outfits do this all the time and reap the rewards of economies in scale, usually to the benefit of the consumer. However, Magico inhabit the world of high end audio with essentially bespoke, to order manufacture, with small batch quantities of raw materials, hand crafted assembly and resulting high prices.
Taking the decision to crack the $10,000 dollar a pair market, well below current price points, Magico have commissioned their first A3 batch. Having offered the first production run to their dealers found that it sold out immediately, such was the compelling value equation. Certainly $10,000 (UK price £11,998 inclusive of VAT) is not cheap for a pair of loudspeakers but in context it is right in the mainstream of quality brand floor standers from the likes of B&W, Focal, Sonus, Faber, KEF, Monitor Audio and many others.
While not employing all the build features of the Magico S3II, which design is a noted $30,000 loudspeaker, the production specification of the A3 is actually not all that remote, as it also has an all alloy braced and fabricated enclosure, a four-driver sealed enclosure line-up with proprietary Magico units. These are a 27mm beryllium dome high frequency, operating from 2.5kHz to 22.kHz , a 155mm graphene reinforced mid range working down to 300Hz and two 175mm graphene reinforced long-throw bass drivers. Their characteristic elliptical crossover topology is also used to optimise the acoustic transitions between the drivers. The quoted sensitivity is 88dB/1m 2.83V, (Alon mentioned 87dB), the impedance is 4 Ohms (not less than 3.2 ohms), while the nominal frequency response is quoted as 22 Hz - 50 kHz ( these presumably the -6dB limits). The minimum recommended power is quite high at 50 watts RMS so a pretty powerful amplifier, say 100W rated, is a good idea. The maximum input is a massive 300W so it will play pretty loudly, in theory to over 110dB at one metre and thus will drive larger rooms to 104dBA if required. It measures a trim 44"H x 11"D x 9.25"W (112cm x 27cm x 23cm) and weighs a substantial 110 lbs. (50Kg).
Alon himself has reported good results with a relatively modest Hegel H390150W channel integrated amplifier noting that more complex high end systems can get top heavy and detrimentally over complicated.
In appearance it is unostentatious, finished in a brushed satin black aluminium alloy, fabricated from plate sections with near perfect joints. Inside there are multiple circumferential braces machined from thick plate and bolted into place. Planned sales targets are ten times those for previous models and will have to be met if the venture is to be profitable.
Under difficult conditions at KJ West End, serving an audience of 10, Alon played a variety of established material from a server feeding a DCS Vivaldi digital audio stack. The DCS digital volume control was set to full and the audio was then handled by a D’Agostino two-box preamp, then driving two D’Agostino Progression power amplifiers configured for mono option. Including the Transparent MM series speaker cables the drive system was about 20 times the cost of those new Magicos, and the assembled press commented on this potential overkill. As it turned out, logistical reasons had led to the resident high end set at KJ being pressed into service, and at least, while auditioning the new loudspeakers, the demo system could not be accused of compromising the results we heard.
Unquestionably the sound was modern Magico, so neutral as to be self-effacing, soundstages were wide and deep and there was very little unwanted localisation in the vicinity of the loudspeakers themselves. They played loud when required, seemingly without constraint, vocals, acoustic guitar, classical piano, a full symphony orchestra (Rite of Spring), was reproduced without drama or strain and with natural timbres. Stereo images were well detached from the enclosures themselves. There was an easy transparency, together with little acoustic signature which could be ascribed to the drivers in operation. Asked about the origin of the source material Alon confirmed that it was all standard 16 bit/ 44.kHz. After the main demo I got an hour or so to myself to enjoy the new loudspeaker on varied material and at different sound levels. I did not feel the need to alter any of my earlier positive observations.
Martin Colloms has a passion for audio and music and has written for many of the key hi-fi magazines worldwide.