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imispgh
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Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground gone?

Michael reviewed the Magico Q5 and basically said it didn't have the bass punch he liked. Given this speaker is rated to 22hz and is extremely expensive that might be a death knell and if not then it will surely hurt sales to some degree.

In Magico's response they nailed it. They said they built a flat speaker. They went on to say if you want elevated bass buy another speaker - maybe a ported one. If you look at the measurements of the speaker and one from Wilson in Michael's room you can see the Wilson has tipped up bass. Now before you think it's the Wilson read the text. Michael says he moved them there to get that tip up he likes. He also says he moved the Magico from where the manufacture placed them to get that tipped up bass too but apparently he couldn't distort them enough. How does a magazine that preaches true to the source or live music allow this? It would have been fine if Michael said the speaker pays music extremely faithful to the original but would pass on it for his own use because he likes an unnatural tipped up bass. But that's not what he says and that's not what the editor let by. (All of this after Michael goes in to a story about having his hearing recently "refreshed" by live music). While Michael does say the speaker gets out of the way of the music and that it doesn't have a personality on its own he taints that by saying the bottom octaves are "subtle" and that the speaker is best for acoustic music (with lower bass demands). Of course Magico rightly read in to this as I did and objected. Maybe Michael would have done OK if he has a preamp with a bass control? No see that's not a good thing in high end. (But manipulating a speakers set up to pump up the bass is?). Stereophile and Michael owe the readers and Magico a huge apology or at least a complete restatement of the goals of a high end system. Sure it's just fine if Michael has personal likes and a bias but that should not affect -IN ANY WAY - his conclusions. He has the right to mention and enjoy any type of sound he wants but they should not influence his conclusions. If you don't apologize or restate and you choose to ignore this or highlight the parts of the article that appear to counter our assessment you will have given up any shred of the high end ground you still stand on.

RGibran
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Re: $60K Magico can't do visceral

Is the only complaint I recall MF had with an otherwise 'perfect' loudspeaker.

Buddha
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Hey, Mikey likes fat bottom grills!

You make an interesting observation about a reviewer's bass tastes. I hadn't noticed - it's cool you picked up on that!

No way a 55K speakers could in any way be "perfect," though! Now, for 5K.....

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

I think it is time for a real "shoot-out" with your Cerwins. Enough of this comparing apples and oranges crap.

MarkBryston
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

yes I saw the same thing with JA's measurements. In fact if you look at it closely you see the magico 5 actually extends deeper then the Wilson. They match at 20 hz but the wilson rolls off after that and the Magico stays 10 db up. The wilson appears up 2db at 50hz which in that region should represent about a 66% increase in volume which could account for the slam Mikey says he is missing but as you point out there is a placement difference. makes one wonder if the Wilson is placed further out( ie the 6 inches) what that would entail. Also note the crossing at around 15Khz and peak from the wilson at 20Khz by about 5db over the Magico...I am not surprised that Mikey feels the wilson is better suited for Rock. However also note that the wilson rolls off a full 20db at 20Khz from the Magico!!! But what does all this mean when Mikey likes the viseral punch of the Wilson. Well allow me to suggest for discussion( I am NOT advocating this as fact only a possibility) that room loading may be the reason Mikey notes that the wilson is better suited on the bottom end and for rock. The wilson larger drivers may move more air in his admittedly smaller room to compress the bass along with the back wall reinforcement compared to the further out magico and smaller drivers. My dedicated listening room is 22 by 17 and thus is probably defined as smaller and the larger bass drivers compress the room for rock/hard rock much better than when I switch to smaller bass drivers despite the fact that they measure almost identical. I switch constantly between speakers and driver size and room compression does have an effect on bass performance despite whatever the measurements are. And assuming Mikey has already accounted for such things as resonance's and standing waves I can only think based on the published measurements that Room Loading is effecting perceptive bass output. But I freely admit I have never heard his system in his room..I could be wrong...maybe am but the published specs suggest that the M5 is a better bass performer if I am reading them right.

imispgh
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

I agree. My issue is with the feeling the end of the review leaves the reader (potential customer). Saying a $60k speaker from a proven company that is pitched as full range with a downside spec of 22hz as great for acoustic music is pretty much a (near) kiss of death. While it may be true and I have not heard the speakers or the room my concern is that if you compare the text and the measurements against themselves it seems to me the room plays much if not most of the part here along with Michael's subjective preference. The subjective seems to rule objective here. Again he may be dead on in his opinions but they and the article seem inconsistent and opposed to themselves and the mantra of putting together systems that is true to the source. While there were some key parts praising the speaker the conclusion left a disingenuous, unfair and hypocritical taste in my mouth.

I think Sterophile should have these speakers reviewed again by someone else in a different room with measurements. Or maybe go back to Michael's and try the speakers in the positions Michael and Magico put the speakers?

Grosse Fatigue
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Look it doesn't matter. People interested in Magico don't buy Wilson and vice versa. Wilson is for the gogos, the equivalent of buying a Rolex, new money with 400 CDs max.

jazzfan
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Let's say you have enough money to even consider buying a $60K speaker and, more importantly, you actually want to buy such an expensive product just how would you go about buying the speaker.

First you might consider doing a little research to find out just what speakers are available in this price range. The one thing to remember is that unlike say shopping for speakers in the $3K and under range where the field to choose from is so vast as to be overwhelming, in the $60K range the field is much, much smaller and so narrowing down the field is hardly necessary.

After finding out what speakers there are to choose from you might do a little more research to find some reviews and locate some dealers for the various speakers.

Now after reading the reviews one might then try to visit a few dealers to actually listen to a few different speakers. I would assume that since one is trying to buy a pair of speakers which cost more than many nice luxury cars one would be treated very nicely by the various dealers, you know a nice cup of coffee and a very relaxed listening environment.

So now you've heard a few contenders and are working towards making your final decision. So are you going to eliminate the Magico speakers because of something slightly negative a reviewer in some magazine wrote? Especially when that "negative" comment did not concern something major like poor build quality or bad customer service. I don't think so.

To sum up, if you have $60K to spend on pair of speakers and you're going to make up your mind based on a review in Stereophile then you shouldn't be wasting your money.

cato2008
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground


Quote:

So are you going to eliminate the Magico speakers because of something slightly negative a reviewer in some magazine wrote? Especially when that "negative" comment did not concern something major like poor build quality or bad customer service. I don't think so.

I'm not sure I agree with you.

If you listen to a lot of rock and like the visceral impact, And if you are a busy professional that has to make special travel arrangements to audition this speaker (and this speaker is not that easy to find), why would you want to take your precious time to hear this speaker?

jazzfan
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground


Quote:
I'm not sure I agree with you.

If you listen to a lot of rock and like the visceral impact, And if you are a busy professional that has to make special travel arrangements to audition this speaker (and this speaker is not that easy to find), why would you want to take your precious time to hear this speaker?

I figure that you have $60K to spend on a speaker then the dealers will do everything humanly possible to make sure that you get a chance to hear the speakers. If the dealers don't go out of their way to make it easy and convenient for you to audition the speakers then Magico needs to get different dealers. Like I said previously, it's not like there are a whole lot of speakers to audition in this price range especially after one eliminates the various speakers which will not work within one's system and listening room. I would guess that the field of possible candidates will be rather small and to simply eliminate a set of speakers based on slightly negative comments in an otherwise stellar review would be very foolish.

I am not always agree with Stereophile's reviewers and I've often expressed my objections on this forum. I am not in the market for a $60K speaker, at least not until I win the lottery, but if I was I would make sure that I did my best to audition all the speakers in that price range which might suit my needs, regardless of the various reviews.

Buddha
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Remember the dark ages of Hi Fi magazines, when they openly talked about "classical music speakers, "jazz speakers, " and "rock speakers?"

I have found from my travels...when speakers hit 30K and up, they more frequently than not have crossed the apex of the Laffer Curve. The X axis being price, the Y axis being quality.

There is an odd swing going on in audio journalism in the last few years.

Have you noticed how we are being bombarded with the "I'm all about the music" premables from every direction....before diving into the usual body of a review piece or column?

The words "affordable" and "relative bargain" have found odd niches, as well. So has this fuckin' "limited edition" bullshit, pardon my French.

I think audio journalism and wine journalism have been sharing notes: "Limited to only 15 cases, this new Dave Wilson Alexandria cabernet blend, at 15,000 dollars per bottle is opulent and more generous in the bottom end than the Magico Pinot. Out of my thousand dollar decanter and 500 dollar cabernet glass, it offers those who are capable of appreciating it....wine of relative value. And, at this price and production none of you will ever be able to taste it in order to find me out."

Ah, well.

The biggest shock for me with the Magico review is that someone appears to have made a viable product for 60K! Now that is an accomplishment!

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

I think for me what is disturbing is that someone at this pricepoint is having to make concessions, choices, or sacrifices in some playback perameter to fully enjoy music in their home.

These are the same problems the rest of us also face at our respective pricepoints. I knew there was a reason I kept telling myeslf to be satisfied with my AR58s. I still think the Magicos must really be something, regardless of their "flaws"?

jazzfan
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground


Quote:
I think for me what is disturbing is that someone at this pricepoint is having to make concessions, choices, or sacrifices in some playback perameter to fully enjoy music in their home.

Jim,

I think the the problem is that the above statement is not 100% correct, perhaps it should read:


Quote:
I think for me what is disturbing is that someone at this pricepoint is having to make concessions, choices, or sacrifices in some playback perameter to fully enjoy listening to recorded music in their home.

Remember that we are not listening to live music but rather the playback of a recording of music and at present, and I suspect for a long time into the future, the reproduction of recorded music is filled with all kinds "concessions, choices, or sacrifices". Unfortunately what we want from audio products like the Magico which are such a high price point is absolute perfection and that is just not possible. The best one can expect from these "state of the art" mega-buck products is just fewer of these "concessions, choices, or sacrifices" and based on MF's review I would think that the Magico offers very, very few "concessions, choices, or sacrifices" and comes fairly close to that elusive goal of perfection.

Sorry for the lecture since I know for sure that you of all people understand the elusive nature of the high end audio goal.

By the way, I am in no way trying to defend the $60K price of the Magico or trying to make light of this supposed "shortcoming", rather all I've been trying to do with my posts to this thread is defend what I believe is a very fair and quite honest review which I did feel doesn't need any kind of apology, and yes I read the entire review.

Grosse Fatigue
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

You comments demonstrate that you would never buy a Magico -end of discussion
Just get your Ferrari red Wilson with visceral bass

Do you have a Rolex?

jazzfan
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground


Quote:
..And if you are a busy professional that has to make special travel arrangements to audition this speaker (and this speaker is not that easy to find), why would you want to take your precious time to hear this speaker?

I forgot to say this in my prior response:

Because Fremer might just be wrong and in the $60K "statement" product price range there just aren't all many speakers to choose from.

For what it's worth: I'm not "a busy professional".

kana813
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

What are the dimensions of Fremer's room?

Are there any pictures?

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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground


Quote:
What are the dimensions of Fremer's room?

It's approximately 25' by 16' with an 8' ceiling. Perfectly appropriate for reviewing the Magico speakers.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Jazzfan,

Now you've done it...making me rethink my whole strategy. The guy who buys the Magicos probably will have...what, $100K in his whole system and let's say he is a classical piano music lover.

Sell all the gear and take $100K and buy a used Steinway B from ProPiano in NYC for let's say $50gs and then spend the rest on local university piano music majors (thanks to AD for the idea) and for in-home concerts while supporting financially struggling college students. You might even get aspiring high school students to come perform recitals for free with some of their string playing friends.

Shoot, I could even buy a little Yamaha drum kit and have a little jazz trio over once in a while.

To heck with this imitation music thing. Winning the lottery is next on my todo list. Done, done, and done.

And now I have my new pair of Rode NT-1As here for a trial recording with the University of West Georgia Wind Ensemble prior to their November concert. I will just be contributing to the fake music thing.

jazzfan
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground


Quote:
Jazzfan,

Now you've done it...making me rethink my whole strategy. The guy who buys the Magicos probably will have...what, $100K in his whole system and let's say he is a classical piano music lover.

Sell all the gear and take $100K and buy a used Steinway B from ProPiano in NYC for let's say $50gs and then spend the rest on local university piano music majors (thanks to AD for the idea) and for in-home concerts while supporting financially struggling college students. You might even get aspiring high school students to come perform recitals for free with some of their string playing friends.

Shoot, I could even buy a little Yamaha drum kit and have a little jazz trio over once in a while.

To heck with this imitation music thing. Winning the lottery is next on my todo list. Done, done, and done.

And now I have my new pair of Rode NT-1As here for a trial recording with the University of West Georgia Wind Ensemble prior to their November concert. I will just be contributing to the fake music thing.

That is just about the funniest thing you've ever posted on this forum!

However I didn't say that recorded music was "fake" rather that it wasn't the same as live music, which is kind of what Steve Guttenberg writes about in the November 2010 "As We See It" column. Boy we can have fun on this forum as long we keep the fighting and bickering to a bare minimum.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

If I can't make fun of myself, feel free to do it anytime. I am trying to have all the fun my 63 years will allow and if that means trying to get over this "is it live, or is it Memorex" thing, shoot, what is left?

I did love SG's article and he is making me think harder and harder about this issue and I cannot leave it alone. What are those attributes that keep us from bringing the real experience home?

My practice recording gig is Thursday night with the 20+ member University Wind Ensemble and I am trying to get better all the time. No compression and no limiting and my last session I had 105db spls at about 8 feet back. I will measure the actual concert on 11/22 and the dress rehersal a few days before from about 25 feet back. I know the mics are not AKG 414's, but I am hoping for a big improvement.

I would never listen that loud at home and that sense of scale and power is probably what is missing for most of us.

imispgh
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Auditioning anything is very tough these days unless you live in a huge metropolitan area or are just lucky. While it is prudent to listen if you can it is rarely possible. Given that reviews matter more than just as a second opinion you should take in to account as you audition in person. I cross reference the many pubs and sites and try to find something most agree on. I bought my Triangle Celius that way and am very happy. (Stereophile actually had the 202's as Class A for 6 months. Which I would imagine shook things up). As I stated before Fremer's opinion could be dead on. It just looked at odds with itself and Stereophile main tenants if you take the whole article in to account. Saying that the speakers are best for all acoustic music is a near (or actual) kiss of death - except maybe for those people who listen predominantly to acoustic music or who like a flat as opposed to accentuated bass. (A $60k a speaker manufacturer who says the speakers are flat to 22hz is not going to do well when a major pub says they are bass lite). Again if the opinion is well founded then let the chips fall where they may. The problem is with Fremer's stated bias for a fatter low end and that he manipulates the environment to give most if not all the speakers he puts in his room a little low bass help. Given Fremer's personal desire to bump the bass up above flat (look at the measurements) he should have left the reader with a different last impression. While he did praise the speaker earlier in the article to be fair and consistent I think he should have said the speakers were very true to the source and that if like him you like to manipulate the speaker's placement to bump up the bass passed what is true to the source you may think twice about these speakers.

Lastly - why is any reviewer allowed to bass there review are such a strong personal bias that is proven to be objective as well as subjective? (Look at the measurements in room. Fremer obviously likes his bass bump). Why aren't all reviewers mandated to treat their rooms and set up to get the flattest, truest to source or best sound possible for their rooms even if it isn't to their personal liking - at least for reviews? Environments that are not manageably true to the source and personal tastes that are not manageably true to the source should not exist in the main body of a review. (Maybe they appear in a sidebar?) This was the essence with my problem with the article. If the reviewers of Stereophile don't practice what they preach what good are the base tenants of high end? The ownership should visit each reviewers home and listen to their systems, listen to their biases and measure the rooms. If someone wants to review for the upper crust of high end pubs they should be willing to treat their rooms and systems to the maximum extent possible and be willing to review equipment in that environment. If they want to change it for their own personal listening or post those findins in a sidebar in the article fine. And if the reviewers can

RGibran
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight
Red is gray and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

rvance
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

Jazzy, you took the words right off my keypad. I knew a pretty accomplished audio designer back in the day who currently markets a cool preamp. He would laugh at the notion anyone would buy by critical review- at any price point. He would just come out to the house, set up his latest iteration of amp, cartridge and Quad 57's, and watch the look of wonder in our eyes. Then we'd get baked and go out for something to eat. It was so civilized and fun. No stress or drama.

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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

You know, I can appreciate the premise that perhaps Fremer's review doesn't give this loudspeaker, taken as a whole, the overall review some may think it deserves.

And, in contrast to what some have posted, I'm not convinced that every person who can afford, and would go seeking, a $60K speaker, would take extreme care in it's purchase. Some people who have that kind of money will ask advice of others, especially if they're not audiophiles themselves, and rely on that advice perhaps to a greater degree than someone who has grown up with the hobby (if I can call it that).

Some might even buy based on reputation alone, and perhaps MF's article is not sufficiently fawning to swing them into the Magico camp.

However, for the rest of us, I don't really see a problem. I do not expect Michael Fremer, or any reviewer for that matter, to be unbiased. I am in fact convinced that complete objectivity is not even possible, especially when the subject is, without doubt, as subjective as any listening test must be.

Even when the subject is strictly factual, I expect bias ... you can't say everything in a magazine article, and there is a great deal to learn from what is left out as well as what is included. Every news story anywhere bears that out.

Rather, I read the reviews, and over time, I get to know how the reviewer tends to lean, by, in part, comparing his idea of gear I'm familiar with to mine. It is this assessment of the reviewer vs. my own tastes that I use to filter the review.

Were Mr Fremer to suddenly tilt in a direction I don't expect ... well, that's the review that I would find more troubling. My compass is no longer pointing north, so to speak, and that would be far more likely to send me astray than anything else.

I'm OK with the review. I have an idea whether I would like this speaker or not, and I even have an idea whether it should be high up on the short list or not (assuming some unlikely and sudden change in my finances). That is, in a nutshell, what I want from a review.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Magico has Fremer and Sterophile's number - high end ground

What this review says to me is that there can always be the possibility that, at any price point, another speaker or component can come along that trumps what you own. At some poijnt you have to stop fretting about it and truly enjoy what you own.

For me the styling of the Magico is superb. I can't imagine anyone not being thrilled about it.

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