Rainy weekdays in London are made for hi-fi shops. And KJ West One near Bond street is the best kind of dealership; the kind where a small dog greets you with a head butt on arrival and your wet coat is whisked off somewhere warm and far from the electrical hi-fi separates. A quick glass of something bubbly to forget the journey and we're off downstairs, past several of the most outrageous audio products I saw at High End Munich last year, to a dedicated and treated listening room complete with two beautiful blue driver-filled monoliths.
This is the reveal of Magico's third-gen. S3, the luxury audio brand's new "mid-range" floorstanding stereo speaker pair option (more on this later), above the entry-level A-series and beneath the M-series, famed for its nearly million-dollar M9 speakers.
Upon hearing this breakdown of the range, Alon Wolf, the CEO of Magico, is quick to interject that "S is getting much closer to M though!" because the newly designed S3 tweeter features the vaunted Magico 28mm diamond-coated beryllium diaphragm that is a key element of the M9 tweeter platform.
Over the next two hours, we're treated to a lot of music (for once, journo requests such as "give us something big and orchestral!" and "now really open them out!" are welcomed and honored) but also, we're ushered deep into an obsessive mind, where music and exceptional speakers are concerned.
The system? Magico's S3 has been partnered with a Dartzeel premium power combination (although I'd love to hear them with Copland's new brutalist tube amp too), 97% Transparent Magnum Opus audio cables (which are raised from the floor on little plinths to avoid picking up noise and pesky vibrations) and a dsC Vivaldi Apex DAC to the digital stack. Note the attention to detail; none of this is by chance.
These aren't just any speakers, they're Magico
So, they're that color because it's just beautiful metal, no? No. Everything here has been agonized over and deliberated. The perfect angle of one internal bracing wall took six months. Wolf talks just as animatedly about the Magico's all-new construction as he does about the stunning timbre of Mark Knopfler's good-and-raw vocal chords in the 2007 live version of Brothers in Arms, when played on this system.
That construction comprises four separate extruded aluminum panels ranging in thickness from half an inch to 2in. "It's the perfect platform to build an enclosure!" enthuses Wolf, adding, "Everyone worries that aluminum rings – and it does! But that's good because it's so easy to dampen."
This is a world of new and ultra-specific damping spots to make the new S3 30% quieter (in terms of resonance, you understand), room gain and other sonic challenges which must be mitigated in the pursuit of excellent audio.
Each speaker contains one 1.1-in MB5FP pure Beryllium Diamond-coated tweeter, one 5-in Gen 8 midrange driver and two 9-in Gen 8 bass drivers. The skins of the drivers here are still carbon graphene, but the core is quite different in that it is formed using a honeycomb aluminum core sandwiched by outer and inner layers of CF Graphene.
The massive machined top plate is curved and has an upward pitch to minimize enclosure diffraction and break up vertical standing waves. A thicker and more substantial baseplate incorporates a newly designed 3-point outrigger system with a new foot design that lowers the speakers' center of gravity and increases overall stability, promising a lower noise floor and improved dynamics.
Magico’s new in-house 3D laser interferometry system measures each S3 enclosure panel, up to 1,000 points a side, and calculates the aggregate SPL resonance of the entire enclosure. Do you understand that? I'm not even sure I do, and it was explained to me fully in person. But it's a far cry from wooden boxes being hammered out in basements, isn't it? And as you'd expect, it comes at a fee higher than most of the best stereo speakers we've ever met.
That fee is between £56,998 and £66,000, depending on the finish you choose, so expect prices from around $71,330 or AU$106,860, before any duties. And they're available now.
I'd love to hear them against the Monitor Audio Concept 50 of around the same asking fee (whats a few thousand here or there?) or alongside the Wilson Audio Alexia V (which are around £20k or $30k more) or even the deliciously designed Focal Sopra 2. Frankly, I'd just love to hear them again.