Magico is a proponent of sealed enclosures, which exhibit superior transient behavior and a more gentle roll-off below resonance (12dB per octave vs. the 24dB per octave rolloff of reflex-loading). The trade-off is reflex-loading’s lowering of the cutoff frequency, increased sensitivity, and greater ability to play loudly. (Technically, the acoustic gain of reflex loading can be used to either increase sensitivity or extend the cutoff frequency, but not both.) Magico has somehow managed to create an infinite baffle loudspeaker that combines deep extension, high sensitivity, and the ability to play loudly along with the traditional virtues of sealed enclosures such as pitch definition and ideal transient behavior. It’s been argued that the standard measure of bass extension, the –3dB point, doesn’t convey the subjective impression of bass fullness because it doesn’t take into account the rolloff’s steepness. Some have suggested that the –10dB point better reflects the listener’s perception of bass extension. No matter the specs or wording, I can say that I’ve never heard deeper extension in my listening room than from the Q7.
The Q7’s bass is revelatory not just in extension, but more importantly in texture, pitch definition, dynamic nuance, and clarity. I discovered so much bass-range musical information in CDs and LPs I’ve been listening to for years that it was like opening up an entirely new vista. The entire bass region was taut, muscular, and visceral, yet at the same time delicately nuanced and resolved. Take jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco’s Take III, in which he plays the bass lines on the Hammond B3’s pedals. I’ve never heard the bass lines reproduced with such clarity of pitch and dynamic articulation. It’s almost like a different record through the Q7. I gained a newfound appreciation for his virtuosity when I could hear each pedal note’s pitch, starts, and stops. Plucked acoustic bass greatly benefited from the Q7’s combination of body, resolution of timbre, pitch definition, and most importantly, ability to convey subtle dynamic shadings.
Despite everything I’ve said about the Q7’s ability to play “big” on orchestral music and full-on rock, this loudspeaker has the ability to sound small and intimate when the music is small and intimate. Some large loudspeakers sound big on everything. The Q7 could sound like a mini-monitor on, for example, solo acoustic guitar or unaccompanied voice. On the Arturo Delmoni LP Songs My Mother Taught Me the Q7 got the perspective between the violin and piano just right, not to mention the ravishingly beautiful sound of Delmoni’s violin.
I auditioned the Q7 with three amplifiers: the Rowland 725 (330W), Lamm ML2.2 (18W single-ended triode), and briefly at the end of the review period, the Constellation Centaur monoblocks (500W). All were significantly different from each other. The Lamm’s 18W drove the Q7 surprisingly well, although it didn’t come close to exploiting the Q7’s dynamic potential or bass performance as did the Rowland 725 and Constellation Centaur monoblocks. Nonetheless, the Lamm was nothing short of magical in its reproduction of timbre, space, low-level detail, and other qualities that greatly contributed to the overall sense of realism. The Rowland showed me just how smooth the Q7 could sound, coupled with the combination’s tremendous bass weight, warmth, and articulation. When driving the Q7 with the Constellation Centaur (and MIT's Constellation- optimized interconnects) I heard just transparent and high in resolution this loudspeaker can sound.
I should also mention the role the new dCS Vivaldi digital playback system (review pending) played in getting the performance I described. This is an extraordinary system that allows the Q7 to really shine. And as big a fan as I am of the Basis Inspiration turntable and Air Tight PC-1 Supreme cartridge, I became an even bigger fan after hearing them through such a transparent and colorless transducer.
The Magico Q7 was not just revelatory as a loudspeaker, it also showed me that our music libraries contain so much more information, and sound potentially more realistic, than I thought possible. That’s how revolutionary the Q7 is.
If you’ve heard the Q7 in one setting it’s hard to say that you’ve really heard the loudspeaker. That’s because this loudspeaker is such a transparent window that it takes on the character of whatever you are driving it with. Selecting the right sources, amplification, cables, and AC conditioning is vital to achieving the sound I’ve described. If you are fortunate enough to consider owning the Q7, don’t scrimp on the rest of the system—the Q7 gives other components nowhere to hide.