It’s not just the time machine element that makes this such a significant loudspeaker. It’s the absence of malice it presents to a recording. That last line is really playing to those who listen seriously to this loudspeaker; everyone who does will know exactly what this means. It does something to the midrange that is impossible to find elsewhere; a lack of ‘sag’. This is strange, I didn’t know midranges could ‘sag’ and that almost all of them do until I heard what the Q5 is doing, but after spending some time with it, most other midranges ‘sag’. By this, I mean there’s a mild compression to the midrange that makes woodwinds almost blur into the viola and cellos. Trouble is, we’re so used to this, it’s hard to describe because that sound is so much a function of loudspeaker design to this time. Perhaps the best way of describing it is its one aspect of the difference between the sound in an auditorium and the sound of the recording of that auditorium. Granted, compression and amplifier rectification in the recording chain might undermine this slightly, but what’s surprising is this is yet another hidden gem in recordings past and present.
The hardest thing here is to write. Your notepad or laptop keeps getting put aside as you listen into the music. In all aspects, too. Gregorian Chant will root you to your chair just as much as The XX will. Nothing phased the Q5 at all. This upends some of the absurdities that can surround high-end; “some speakers are better for classical or rock”. No, Some loudspeakers are not so well designed as to make their limitations better suited for a rock or classical or jazz presentation. Not here. You could jump from heavy opera to easy listening to harpsichord to folk via death metal and back out through Beck’s Sea Change album.
I’ve already said much about the Q5 on the AVGuide website. Two of the more memorable statements were “this is the best speaker in the world” and “there’s no magic in Magico”. On reflection, I still stand by both these statements, and they don’t counteract one another. There is no magic here, just loudspeaker engineering by the book… except for the bit where the book says “compromise”.
The ‘best speaker in the world’ call is a tougher one to argue, because some might counter with more sensitive, less demanding speakers, or designs that make music sound better than itself in some way. My contention is that if you are looking for the loudspeaker with the most accurate frequency response coupled to the lowest distortion and the widest dynamics around, this is your speaker. Under such conditions other issues, such as its demands on source, amplifier or environment are secondary, assuming the speaker isn’t so demanding that it spends its years in search of better audio components. And under such conditions, this has to be the best speaker in the world.
Magico Q5 loudspeaker
Four-way sealed-box design
1 x 25mm MBe-1 Tweeter
1 x 150mm Nano-Tec Midrange
1 x 230mm Nano-Tec Midbass
2 x 230mm Nano-Tec Bass
Single wired multi-way binding posts
Impedance: 4 Ohms
Frequency Response: 26Hz-50kHz
Recommended Power: 50-500 Watts
Dimensions (HxWxD): 119x53x30cm
Weight: 176kg each
Price: £65,000 per pair