Magico's S1 Mk.II

Getting near the top of the $4k–$18k range, at $16,500/pair is the Magico S1 (Mk.II)—which is actually the lowest-priced speaker from Magico. Although it looks similar to the original S1, the Mk II has a newly designed 1" diamond-coated Beryllium diaphragm tweeter and a new 7" mid/bass driver incorporating Magico's Nano-Tec cone material. As was the case for the Mk.I, the enclosure of the Mk.I is formed from a single piece of extruded aluminum, but with a new massive top plate machined to a 3D convex shape, and a thicker base plate.

Partnered with topnotch source and electronics (Berkeley DAC, Convergent Audio Technology SL-1 Legend preamp and Statement amps), the sound was correspondingly topnotch, with a pristine clarity.

Allen Fant's picture

Another beautiful pic! RD
I have these speakers on my must-demo list.

eriks's picture

I've had a chance to listen to them. Good dynamic range, not what I would call neutral, but if you like the Magico sound and have lots of space around the speakers, you'll like these. Funny such small speakers end up taking so much room.

Venere's picture

I'm curious...why do you say they need a lot of room? Not ported, so bloated bass near a boundary shouldn't be an issue. Not dipole, so rear wall reflection not a problem. If what we read about the new tweeter taming the previous tendency of slightly hot treble is true, even sidewall reflections shouldn't be a deal breaker. So why is space an issue?

eriks's picture

Hi Venere,

This was based on my listening and observing how Magico is demonstrating the speakers. I don't want to say they are not good speakers, but that like any good speaker, need careful matching to a user's intended placement and use.

Please keep in mind that the radiation pattern of a speaker is independent of the issues you mention. Sealed vs. ported and frequency response at the top end do not independently control the radiation pattern (i.e. dispersion) or bass balance. Designing a speaker to be up against the wall or in a corner is different than designing it for free space, and can be done well for either ported or sealed cabinets but rarely can any speaker do well in every situation.

Please observe the picture in the posting and you can see that Magico is putting a lot of room behind the speakers in the hotel room. I'm sure this was not by accident. The same was done in their own demo room only with about 10' to the sides and back. As a a design choice, the S1s appear to have a very wide radiation pattern. The good part about this is that you get a credible stereo image from anywhere. This is also known as having a very wide sweet-spot. You also get very good dynamic range, and great sounding bass when set up like this. This makes them very good for having friends over and meandering while listening to music compared to speakers with very tight dispersion patterns designed for the 1 good seat in the house.

On the other hand, to get the best imaging and bass to treble balance from the S1 they'll need room. Of course this is my opinion based on experience and basic design theory, but my advice to anyone considering these speakers is to remember to audition them in a situation similar to where you plan on using them. This is of course, standard advice for purchasing any speaker, but in this case particularly important. It's easy to be seduced by them in a showroom only to find that the place they MUST go wont' work.

As for the "hot treble" issue, I did not measure them, but I would not be surprised if they measured similarly to the Stereophile Q5 Measurements at the top end. To my ears, and it was not an opinion shared by others, they did seem to still be tilted upwards in this manner, so I encourage you to listen for yourself. Is this bad? Depends. At low level listening this can bring out details otherwise hidden, and if that's how you listen most of the time or watch movies it could be a very good thing.



gio's picture

Not following you. These are all big rooms (I hard them both at CES and Magico factory), how exactly you expect them to set these up? It is typically a challenge to set a 2-way in a big room, not the other way around (I heard an S3 work extremely well in a very small room, about 10’X12', I don't see how it will be a problem for an S1).

I was surprised at the new S1 ability to fill these big rooms with such robust full sound, the dynamics were astonishing. Coming from the dCs room with the Alexia, the S1 were a real ear opener - they sounded way more dynamic and extended then the multi-way big Wilson. Sounded extreme natural to me, and pointing and old Q5 measurements (6 years old) as a reference is totally irrelevant (you can read JV article on Magico latest sound if you want to be up to date). Easily the most impressive sound at the show, and at $16.5K, a superb value.

eriks's picture

I agree, the S1's do a great job of filling large rooms. My point was they seem to take up more floor space than their little footprint would suggest. I don't think they'll be very wall friendly, which is why I think potential buyers should be sure to audition in the right environment. I wouldn't be surprised if they play well in small rooms either. It's not the size of the room but the space around them that I think may be unexpected to a buyer. If everyone knows you need to put them at least 5' from a rear wall, then we're good.

I had never really paid much attention or listened to Magico's except for their construction methods until recently, so if there's some ongoing buzz about their tonal balance I assure you I've been unaware. My first and only listen was the S1, and I found they had very wide dispersion, again, not inviting to close boundaries, but great for audiophiles who actually have friends to invite over.

I also felt they are little bright, with a bit of sparkle at the very top and a bit of ringing near the lower registers of piano's and male voices. Others however have strongly disagreed with my opinions which they are welcome to. Is neutral good? It can be damn boring from some speaker makers, so buy what you like, and if you like the S1s you like them. :)

As for value, well, compared to other recent offerings in the same price bracket I have to agree. The S1's have higher quality parts, are more transparent and are more dynamic than several other speakers recently introduced. Assuming they don't require $200K of tube amplifiers to sound well they could indeed be at the top of their overall cost/performance bracket.