Magico M5 Loudspeakers

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 15:16

Tomorrow, if all goes according to plan, I get the Magico M5s!
 
I will begin posting photos of the install process and the speakers sometime after noon. I will also blog about the installation, with photos of the Elam boys carting them up my three flights of stairs to the listening room, where the Soulution 710/720/740, ARC 610T/Ref 3/PH7/CD8,  Walker Black Diamond, and Tara Labs Omega Gold and Zero Black await. 
 
I gotta admit I'm excited. This ought to be a great stereo system--anything less will be a disappointment.

Steve Dollar (not verified) -- Tue, 02/10/2009 - 23:59

Heard/saw the M5s briefly at CES .... pretty staggering. I'll be sure to stockpile the candles and D batteries for tomorrow evening in case your testing set-up causes any blowouts on the Northeastern US power grid. This seems to be 2009's "Storming Valhalla" system, so looking forward to your observations.

Jonathan Valin -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 00:02

 Me, too!

Cemil Gandur -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 04:06

Oh excellent! Really looking forward to that. The M5 room was easily best of show for me at CES, but there again, shows are hardly the best place to place final judgement on anyone's system.
Are you sure your floorboards are up to carrying all that lot ? :)
 
 

Jonathan Valin -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 14:50

 Zeb,
 
Are you forgetting that I had the nearly 3000 pound (when fully assembled) MBL X-Tremes in the same room, in the same spot, with the 275-pound apiece MBL 9011 amplifiers, a 350 pound Walker equipment stand loaded with a 350 pound Walker Black Diamond table and assorted other electronics, and 175 pound ARC 610Ts sitting in the same room with them?!? Buddy, they don't make houses like this one (built when Lincoln was president and solid as the proverbial) anymore. The joists are 2x12 hardwood sunk into stone foundation that must be three or four feet thick. The walls are four or five courses of solid brick covered with lath nd plaster. The house, like row townhouses from this era all over the country, is massively overbuilt.
 
Though they are damn heavy, I think the roughly 360 pound (apiece) M5s will be just fine upstairs. Speaking of which, here they are in their cartons on the delivery truck--about five hundred pounds in their crates ( the structure of the shipping crates has not been finalized yet, so this may not be precisely the same shipping crate in which the M5s will come to you when Magico starts shipping to customers):
 

 
The truck driver uses a lift gate to gets them down to the street:
 

 
The mighty Elam brothers arrive to uncrate the speakers, get them in the house, and carry these 360-pound monsters up four double flights of stairs to my third floor listening room:
 

 
The shipping carton disassebles easily and the top and side parts of the crate slide away, leaving the speaker sitting on a cushioned base piece. 
 

 
The speakers come with (locked) casters attached to their aircraft-grade aluminum base plates. A small ramp (supplied) allows you to wheel the speaker off the crate's base (once the casters are unlocked) and onto your listening room floor (or, in this case, onto the pavement outside my house).
 

 
Here is the speaker, wrapped in plastic, fully removed from the crate and sitting on its casters on the sidewalk outside my house. Shaun Elam gives a thumbs up--so far so good.
 

 
The Elam Brothers are professional piano movers and incredibly skilled at safely moving large extremely heavy objects. After carefully dressing lifting straps beneath the speaker's base plate, James Elam gives the thumbs up as the boys prepare to carry the M5 into my house and up to my listening room.
 

 
The boys make it to the first-floor stairwell and get ready for the long climb up.
 

 
They begin. You'll note that James tore holes in the wrapping around the speakers so that he could grasp the M5's enclosure by its sides. Under no circumstances should you move these speakers by grasping their front panels (where the drivers are located) or lift it by its aircraft-aluminum base plate.
 

 
The first landing.
 

 
On the way to the third floor:
 

 
The Magico M5 in my third floor listening room, still on its casters. I'll cover removing the casters, situating the speakers, and hooking them up in a subsequent post.
 

Walter J (not verified) -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 18:07

Oy Vey!! Do they ship the speakers with the movers?

Steve Dollar (not verified) -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 19:27

I think the movers have to be assembled. Batteries not included.

SundayNiagara -- Wed, 02/11/2009 - 20:00

This is what I call professional schlepping!

Halcro -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 00:42

Great coverage so far Jon.
You should include some of these shots in TAS when you do the review. This intimacy in the reviewing process is fascinating.

Cemil Gandur -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 03:00

Yes, forgot about your MBL monsters ...
Super pictures, keep them coming please! Looks like the packaging has gone a notch up from the Mini 2 even !

Elliot Goldman -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 09:57

Even JV has to downsize in this economy  LOL
I look foward to reading your impressions and review.
Those guys earn every cent!

mcduman -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 14:28

Magico or Elam brothers?

Jonathan Valin -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 14:29

 Both, IMO!

Elliot Goldman -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 15:04

 I meant the Movers LMAO.
I heard the speakers but it might be a while in this economy before I can get a pair in my store to play with :(
 

Roy Pan -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 15:07

So did you hook them up?? They have much to deliver now after the show report…

llad -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 15:09

Your speaker reviews are single-handedly keeping the Elam brothers. recession proof.

Jonathan Valin -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 15:59

 Larry,
 
The Elam Bros. don't need me to stay busy! Everybody in the city knows they're good, and everybody uses them (including the College Conservatory of Music). 
 
Roy,
 
As for how they sound...I'm going to recast part of a blog post to answer you. On the blog a reader asked me if I bring any "preconceived expectations" to different kinds of loudspeakers, including the M5s, and whether I still had the great  MBL 101 X-Tremes around for direct comparison. Here's what I said:
 
 
No, I don't have the MBL 101 X-Tremes around for comparison. It would've been impossible to fit two large speakers (particularly speakers as large and complex and impossible to move around as the X-Tremes) in my listening room. So...the MBLs departed, although after almost a year of listening to them I have a very clear idea of how they sound, and, as you will see when I begin to report on the M5s, the Magicos seem to do something that I thought that the MBLs alone were capable of doing. Even on first listen, this took me by surprise.We will see if further listening bears this observation out.
 
To be perfectly frank, yes, I do have "expectations" about different technology loudspeakers (and electronics). After all of these years of listening, it would be impossible not to bring certain preconceptions to the table.Coming to the M5s directly from the CLX electrostats and the MBL 101 X-Tremes Radialstrahlers--two of the very best loudspeakers I've ever heard and two radically different technologies--I expected the M5s to sound like, well, cones in a box. Very, very, very good cones in a standard-settingly good box, but cones in a box, nonetheless. But what surprised me at CES (and already on brief listening in my home) was how close the M5s came to the nonpareil neutrality, clarity, and  transparency to sources of the CLXes (which I stillhave in my second floor listening room and plan to keep as long as ML lets me), while adding the weight, three-dimensional imaging, bass, density of tone color, dynamic range and impact (on the f-to-ffff side), and soundstaging width and depth of dynamic speakers. I have now discovered (as I hinted above) that the M5s seem to have something very very good (and very very lifelike)  in common with the MBLX-Treme  Radialstrahlers, as well as something very very good (and very very lifelike) in common with the best horn speakers, although it is way to early to be certain that these qualities are repeatable on all sources or merely anomalies of the M5's interface with specific reocrdings that tthey seem to like.
 
I don't want to spill these beans too soon or too rashly. I mean I've only had the speakers for a day and a night and a morning and an afternoon, and they (and the electronics driving them and the cabling hooking them together) are far from being broken in. I think this much is safe to print: Calling the M5s "promising" would be an understatement and saying that they seem to exceed conventional "expectations" and "preconceptions" about cone speakers in a box would also be an understatement.
 
Jon
 
 

Jonathan Valin -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 18:04

 The whole schmeer.
 

hoganbo -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 14:12

Thanks for sharing your adventure.
How did you get them off the casters? Does Magico supply a floor jack like Wilson?
What's the center to center measurement in this set up?

Jonathan Valin -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 18:16

 Hoganbo,
 
You need two people to remove the casters. First you find an approximately correct location for the speaker. The speaker is then tipped backward (after you've locked the rear wheels, of course) by one guy and three foam pieces (supplied) are inserted beneath the front edge of the base by the other guy to elevate the front of the speaker. The casters are then unscrewed from the base by the guy in front, the  foam pieces removed, and a single piece of foam or a (supplied) roll of rubber-like matting inserted beneath the front edge as it is lowered back to the floor. The speaker is then tipped forward (with the matting or single block of foam underneath the front edge to protect the floor), and the three pieces of foam are inserted beneath the back edge of the speaker's base plate, the casters unscrewed, the foam removed, and the speaker lowered (carefully--it is very heavy) to the floor. A slight tipping back allows you to remove the single block of foam or rubber matting from under the front edge of the base.
 
The bases have plastic gliders on their bottoms, so sliding them into precise position is a snap (although once again, these are heavy objects that should be pushed, pulled, or angled by grasping them about halfway down on the sides of their enclosures (and not from their tops or bases and never from the aluminum baffle in which the drivers are mounted). 
 
Magico supplies a lavishly illustrated, step-by-step instruction sheet for removing the casters that makes the whole process easy. (Just don't forget you need two--strong--people.)
 
As for their positioning in my room: The speakers are currently (the picture above, which was taken before I began setting up, doesn't reflect this) seven-and-a-half  to eight feet apart (center to center), three-and-a-half to four-and-half feet from sidewalls, approximately four-and-a-half feet from backwalls (measured from the rear of the cabinet), and about ten-and-a-half feet from my listening position (which is itself about two-and-a-half to three feet from the backwall). They are toed in so that the tweeters are firing on axis directly at either ear (unlike the Mini II, the M5 seems to prefer to be listened to on axis, probably because the tweeter doesn't have a rising response on axis, like the Revelator did, and is extraordinarily well behaved in all respects). I will undoubtedly be making further little tweaks to positioning and room treatment as time goes by.
 
JV

hoganbo -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 00:43

JV-
Thank you for the interesting info.
I wish your friend REG, would interact with readers like you & RH.
PS- I hope you follow up on the Volent VL-2s you heard.
I currently have a pair in house and they're excellent!
 
 
 

Ken Holder (not verified) -- Thu, 05/28/2009 - 22:04

REG interacts with his readers on his mailing-list at
YahooGroups. Take a look at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/regsaudioforum/
 
Or Subscribe via:
    regsaudioforum-subscribe [at] yahoogroups [dot] com
 
Ken Holder

Cemil Gandur -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 03:11

Are the speakers broken in, or are they off the production line? If so, and if they behave like the Mini 2, it's going to be a long wait :(
When you're done with the Soulutions, could we have a piccie with the 610T in place please?  :)

Jonathan Valin -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 22:30

 Off the production line, Zeb. Not broken in yet.

Jonathan Valin -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 15:42

 I know some of you are eager for a first impressions listening report. Keeping in mind that it is very very early and that the speakers and electronics aren’t close to being fully broken in, I have a few initial observations.

 
First, about the M5's bass: It's just terrific. The M5's dual, nearly flat (as opposed to concave), 9" Nano-Tec woofers ("tension-coupled" to a convex baffle of 6061-T aircraft-grade aluminum—CNC-machined from a 200-pound slab of metal--and sealed in Magico's 17-ply Baltic birch cabinet) start and stop on a dime, go exceptionally deep, are extremely high in resolution, are gorgeously rich in tone color when notes are sustained (the harmonics of pedaled bottom-octave piano seem to rise and hang almost visibly in the air like steam above a pot of boiling broth), are sensationally quick and powerful on staccato notes, and perhaps most impressively are so flat in frequency response vis-à-vis the midrange and treble octaves, so much audibly lower in the usual harmonic and Doppler-like distortions, and so well integrated with Magico's own midrange and treble drivers that they never stand out the way woofers always seem to do when you turn up the juice (or turn it down). Frankly, it took listening to the M5s to teach me why I generally prefer two-way cone loudspeakers (like the Magico Mini and Mini II) or bass-shy planar loudspeakers like the MartinLogan CLX to cone multiways. It is not because I don't like bass instruments; it's because I don't like dynamic loudspeaker bass (and the room/setup problems that inevitably accompany it). I think I could almost truthfully say that I hate dynamic loudspeaker bass, but it took the M5s to show me why, simply because--thus far—they aren’t doing any of the things that make dynamic loudspeaker bass (and dynamic woofers) stick out like sore thumbs. The gains here in you-are-there realism are substantial.
 
Second, Magico's MR-1 ring-radiator tweeter is a big step forward from the stock ScanSpeak Revelator in the Mini II (and the Revelator wasn't chopped liver). This is, audibly, a much smoother, flatter, more extended, lower-distortion driver than the Revelator, capable of delivering the exact same combination of nuance and power that the Nano-Tec woofers deliver and thus far, just like the Nano-Tec woofers, never sticking out the way dynamic tweeters with rising or ragged frequency response so often do--and as the Revelator, for all its virtues, sometimes did. (Substantial credit for the buttery smoothness of the treble must be given to Magico’s Nano-Tec midrange drivers, whose break-up modes are so high in frequency—above 20kHz--and so well controlled by Magico’s superb crossover with its extraordinarily high-performance Mundorf caps that you hear none of the upper-midrange/treble roughness or peakiness that we sometimes attribute to tweeters but which is really caused by the midrange driver.) Like the Nano-Tec woofer, the MR-1 tweet seems to blend perfectly with the other Magico-designed drivers. 
 
Which brings me to three: The reason that the M5 reminded me of the CLX at CES—and has done so again in my listening room—is because all of its drivers are so seamlessly blended, so equally high in resolution, and so equally low in distortion that none of them stands out or apart. This is the polar opposite of the kind of speaker where you’ll say: “Listen to that woofer!” or “Listen to that tweeter.” It seems to come closer to the single-driver ideal than any cone loudspeaker I’ve heard in my home (or at shows), eclipsing my beloved two-way Mini IIs, which set the previous standard for seamlessness in a dynamic loudspeaker.  This, in and of itself, makes for a far more holistic and realistic presentation, because it makes you far less aware that you're listening to individual drivers in an enclosure.
 
Fourth, the M5, driven by the Soulution 700 monoblocks, is a majestic and (given a first-rate source) breathtakingly gorgeous sounding loudspeaker, capable of the highly realistic, diorama-like, three-dimensional soundstaging, imaging, and presence which I thought the MBL 101 X-Treme had sole proprietorship of and the seemingly magical importation of another time and space into your listening room that the CLXes are so great at—that uncanny sense of peeking over the recording and mastering engineers’ shoulders as they work with the musicians in the hall or studio or the work parts in the mastering lab. I’m not prepared to say, at this point, that the M5 equals the X-Treme in invisibility or the CLS in transparency to sources, but it certainly has the same chops as these two great speakers--in addition to its own phenomenal virtues.
 
Fifth and finally, a word about the Soulution 700 monoblocks. At this early stage of break-in, the 700s are somewhat darker, considerably (and perhaps inherently) richer sounding amplifiers than the utterly neutral 710 stereo amplifier with the same extraordinary resolution, vanishingly low distortion, much more power on tap, and much better control, impact, and extension in the bass (and everywhere else). 

Jonathan Valin -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 15:47

 Zeb,
 
Yes, you are certainly right about break-in with Magicos; consider my comments above purely preliminary. And, yes, of course I will be trying the M5s with my beloved ARC 610Ts/Ref 3/PH-7/CD-8.
 
Jon

Cemil Gandur -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 17:25

" I generally prefer two-way cone loudspeakers (like the Magico Mini and Mini II) or bass-shy planar loudspeakers like the MartinLogan CLX to cone multiways. It is not because I don't like bass instruments; it's because I don't like dynamic loudspeaker bass (and the room/setup problems that inevitably accompany it). I think I could almost truthfully say that I hate dynamic loudspeaker bass, but it took the M5s to show me why, simply because--thus far—they aren’t doing any of the things that make dynamic loudspeaker bass (and dynamic woofers) stick out like sore thumbs"
 
Oh, excellent observation!  I've always had the very same problem with dynamic loudspeaker bass, hence my gravitating to planars and now the Mini 2. I could never understand why though, because, same as you, I like bass instruments.
Thanks for clarifying ! That was spot on.
 

Jonathan Valin -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 18:11

 Zeb,
 
Thank you.
 
Jon

BlueAdept -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 19:04

 Nice! 
 
Jon, would you be doing any kind of measurement of these in your room?

Jonathan Valin -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 20:02

Yes, BlueAdept, I will. After the speakers and electronics have broken in, I plan to do RTAs, impulse, waterfall, and harmonic distortion measurements. I'm no great believer in measurements, but I know that Alon and Yair are, and I'm curious to see whether their state-of-the-art engineering translates into measurable advantages, although I can already hear the results of markedly lower distortion and superior time domain behavior.

Anonymous (not verified) -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 15:01

Mr. Valin,
Could you compare Soulution Monoblocks to MBL 9011? If I remember correctly, you had said that MBL 9011 amps are the best solid state you have heard, do you still think same or do Soulution 700 monoblocks are your new reference solid state?
 
 

Jonathan Valin -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 16:52

 Late last night, I completed a long, fabulous listening session with the M5s and the Soulution 720 and 700 with an old favorite Decca recording of the Bartòk Divertimento for String Orchestra—with Barshai conducting the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and had the hair-raising experience of hearing a record I know by heart sound, for the first time, the way it was undoubtedly intended to sound. This is a big, dark, rich, powerful, but problematical recording with bass that is very deep but occasionally overblown and treble that is sometimes sweet but also very hot on fortissimo string passages; it is also a piece of music alive with Bartòkian fillips—pizzicatos (in every choir of the string orchestra), col legnos, sul ponticellos—and densely scored counterpoint.

 
I must’ve listened to this LP fifty times or more over the twenty or thirty years I’ve owned it—I love the music and the performance, which, in the second movement rises to a horripilating scream of anguish (Bartòk’s reaction to the impending world war) that never fails to move me—but always thought it was, sonically, a bit out of whack. Through most stereos, though much of the record is dark but purely gorgeous, the brightness of the violins can rise to a piercing shriek in ff passages and the doublebasses can balloon into fudgy amorphousness on big tuttis, making for a kind of shelved presentation. It’s as if the treble and the bass are pushed forward and the midrange pushed back, like a three-drawer cabinet in which the top and bottom drawers are pulled out and the middle one left unopened.
 
Through the M5/Soulution setup I heard for the first time (and this is why I said that I thought I finally heard the piece and the LP as it was intended to sound), the entire string orchestra sound as if all the “drawers” (treble, midrange, bass) were opened to the exact same distance. This didn’t keep the violins from sounding a touch bright and piercing when they were intended to (as in the siren-like middle movement) or the doublebasses from sounding dark and massive when they were intended to, but instead of the speakers and electronics doing the “pushing” and “pulling,” it was as if the conductor and the composer were dictating the dynamic and timbral accents. The M5s generated a literal “wall of sound” in my listening room—a flat, seamless, utterly transparent presentation (as opposed to one in which bits and pieces were being artificially exaggerated by the stereo itself). As a result, every detail of the score came clear, including in the bass, without any loss of (in fact, with massive gains in) density of tone color, inner detail, and dynamic range and impact. When a stereo system can reproduce the marvelous doublebass pizzicato—like a starter pistol going off—towards the close of the dance-like third movement with this kind of clarity, while holding everything else in this burst of musical joyousness in focus and fully saturated color…well, it’s a wonderment.
 
Just as an aside the Soulution 720 is that rara avis--a full-function preamp with built-in phonostage. The phonostage has two gain settings—54dB and 60dB—a high-pass filter (essentially a rumble or subsonic filter), and adjustable loading (it comes with impedance modules of 1k Ohm and 100 Ohms, but other impedance modules are available). The bandwidth of the phonostage (as well as the linestage) is 1MHz! And the entire preamp is, of course, run in Class A. Soulution is proud of its phonostage—which it (rightly) considers the “pièce de résistance for every engineer of high class audio equipment”—and has devoted considerable effort to getting this one right. (Among many, many other circuit niceties the dual-mono phonostage “floats” above the other dual-mono audio boards, connected by silver pins.) Pictured below is a phonostage board from the 720:
 

 

Jonathan Valin -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 16:55

 Anonymous,
 
It is too early for me to say whether the Soulution 700s are "better" than the fabulous MBL 9011s. They are certainly fully competitive and, in some regards, similar. However, I think i can safely say (and have said in every review or capsule I've written about MBL gear) that MBL has a signature sound--a dark, liquid, mellifluous balance that is very attractive. The Soulution doesn't have this signature.
 
Jon

Allis -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 18:46

 
Does that mean the  Soulution 700's  might not  be better  than the  Soulution 710?

 

Jonathan Valin -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 19:35

Look, I'm not implying anything negative about the 700. Far from it. But I've only had it for four days! I had the 710 in my system for almost six months and the 9011, off an on, for several years! Gimme me a chance to listen to the 700 at length. 
 
I will say this: On the basis of the listening session described above the 700 is awfully damn good. (It sounded equally marvelous with a terrific Webern/Moderna Hungaroton and a Branford Marsalis Columbia, among several others.)

Allis -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 10:38

Did you listen yet to the 710 on the M5's?
 
If not yet , will you listen to the 710 on the M5 and compare it to the 700's ?

 

Jonathan Valin -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 16:50

 I have not listened to the 710s on the M5s, but I will try to (if I don't have to send it back to the distributor too quickly). The 700s are beginning to "round" into form, BTW. Some of the darkness I attributed initially to the amp was actually the phono cartridge I was using (the Air Tight PC-1 Supreme). When I switched over the Da Vinci Grandezza cartridge (which is what I had been using with the 710/721/CLX/Da Vinci record playing system), the sound moved much closer to what I was used to hearing with the 710/721. Allowing for differences in front end (I'm using the Walker upstairs) and different cabling, I now think the 700 may be as neutral and transparent as the 710, although a bit richer in tone color and considerably more powerful. These are both world-class amps, without doubt.
 
BTW, when it comes to transparency to sources, low-level resolution, soundstaging, and sheer realism of timbre and texture, I am now convinced that the Da Vinci Grandezza cartridge is the best I've heard--and I've heard some truly great cartridges. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you have a first-class front end. At $7k, it's even a bit of a deal compared to the competition.

Steve Dollar (not verified) -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 17:15

This is a bit peripheral, but let's say those of us who can never aspire to the M5s but who might be able to afford the entry-level V2s don't happen to have another 40k to invest in the godhead amps. Any thoughts as to what would be a very good. but not uber-bucks matchup? Anywhere between 5 and 20k? ...

Jonathan Valin -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 17:35

 Steve,
 
I certainly do--in solid-state, I would look at amps (listed in descending order of price) from Spectral (which are actually incredibly reasonably priced for their quality), from Edge Electronics (ditto), from Pass Labs (double ditto),  from Bryston (triple ditto), and from Parasound (quadruple ditto, particularly the JC-1). In tubes, I would opt for ARC (like the Ref 210), CAT, c-j, and possibly VAC.
 
Jon

stargaze -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 08:24

Hi, can you tell us what are the cables you are using between the 720 and 700 as well as the speaker cables please? Thanks

Jonathan Valin -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 13:32

 I am currently using  a rather long length of (balanced)Tara Labs Zero interconnect between the 720 and 700 and a comparatively shorter length of Tara Labs Omega Gold speaker cable between the 700 and the M5s.

Jonathan Valin -- Sat, 02/21/2009 - 03:18

 BTW, the Omega Gold is phenomenally good (but very expensive) stuff. I may be trying out the top-o'-the-line MIT, as well, since it is what Magico used with its Soulution gear and the M5/V2s at the show. There is an off-chance that I may try the new Kubala-Sosna, too.

Cemil Gandur -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 08:11

Last year, I heard the V3 and the Mini 2 driven by VAC amplification - they both sounded superb.
 

Jonathan Valin -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 13:34

 This doesn't surprise me, as Kevin is a superb engineer as well as an exceptionally good guy. I  believe Alon Wolf is a fan of VAC and showed the V3 with VAC a couple of years ago.,  

sheepherder -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 10:16

 Nice room. Are the walls lathe and plaster. Or wall board or blue board with a skim coat. All can have an effect on how a speaker sounds. As can the thickness of the wall studs and the tree species.  Also is the hardwood floor over sleepers, studs etc?
 
How many M5's do they expect sell a year worldwide and in the US?
 

Sheepherder
Shenandoah Valley, VA

Jonathan Valin -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 13:41

 I've described the room in a post above. The walls are plaster and lath over many courses of solid brick. The house is old (built when Lincoln was president) and extraordinarily solid. The floor is hard pine.
 
As for sales of M5s...I imagine Magico hoped to sell as many M5s as Wilson sold MAXX Series 2s and 3s, both here and abroad. But with the world economy in the shape it is is in, I doubt if this is going to be a banner year for any high-end manufacturer.

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 00:36

Here is an RTA I took this evening of the M5, using the latest version of Ascendo's Room Tools software (v.4.0.1) and a very accurate mike.In general I'm not as confident about the results I see from Room Tools' software as I am about those from Liberty Instruments' Praxis Suite, which I'll be using as well for RTA, impulse, waterfall, and distortion measurements. However, Room Tools labeled RTAs are generally in the ballpark. This one is...phenomenal. The RTA is third-octave and the labels attached to each bar indicate an averaged SPL measurement for each one-third octave. As you can see, the M5 is unbelievably flat. (The bar measurements below 16Hz should be taken with a grain of salt.) If these measurements hold up, the M5 would be the flattest-measuring, fullest-range speaker I've ever tested in my room--by a considerable margin--and I've run fr measurements on some mighty fine speakers. 
 

 

Peter Ayer -- Tue, 02/24/2009 - 13:55

Thanks Jonathan for posting these results and for providing this thread.  Was the RTA result taken with your Shakti Holagraphs in place?  It would be interesting to see how they effect the measurements.  Could you please describe the dimensions of your listening room?  It's interesting that you get such good results for both the small Mini II and the very large M5 in the same room.  I'm considering the V2.  Have you heard it and if so, how does it compare to the other Magico speakers that you've heard?  Finally, do you think Magico will update the Mini with the new tweeter?  Thanks.

Steve Dollar (not verified) -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 00:56

I have no idea what this means. Which is why I don't subscribe to Stereophile! (I follow online though). Would I be out of order to ask for a further explication?

Steve Dollar (not verified) -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 00:59

Oh wait, OK ... I get it ... sorry.

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 01:11

 Steve,
 
The numbers below each bar on the X-axis indicate the center of the third-octave being measured, e.g., 40 = 40Hz, 2k = 2KHz. The numbers of the Y-axis indicate the SPL in dBs, and the labels on each bar give you the precise number of dBs the microphone registered in each third-octave, e.g., 74.5 = 74.5dB, 76.2 = 76.2dB. Aside from a little room-induced suckout around 40Hz, this plot is flat (referenced to 1kHz) to within approximately +/-1dB from 60Hz to 20kHz! (And only down 2-3dB referenced to 1kHz around 40Hz before rising to the same level as 1kHz at 20Hz!) Assuming these figures are accurate, this is exemplary in-room frequency response. Acoustically, what this means is that no band of frequencies is being artificially exaggerated (made louder or softer) by the loudspeaker. My sense of the seamlessness of the M5 and of the way timbres and dynamics are being shaped by conductor, musicians, and composer rather than by the transducer (see above) is certainly supported by this RTA. However, note well that I heard this and reported on this well before I measured it. The only reasons I bother to take measurements are out of intellectual curiosity and because some fools seem to think that measurements vindicate "subjective" judgments. I can already tell you, without measuring and solely from listening, that the M5s' harmonic distortion figures will be standard-settingly low, that its waterfall plot will indicate no energy stored in the cabinet above 200Hz or so, and that its impulse response will be textbook. Honestly, this whole thing is silly and--here's the real truth--itself highly dependent on microphone placement. 
 
Jon

All content, design, and layout are Copyright © 1999 - 2011 NextScreen. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or part in any form or medium without specific written permission is prohibited.