Held in the larger demonstration room at London’s KJ audio store at New Cavendish Street, W1 and hosted by Ricardo Franasovicci of Absolute Sounds, Alon Wolf previewed Magico’s latest design, the all new S3, to the London Hi Fi Press. We were advised that the new model has little technology connection to the previous S3 models except for a similar size and proportion.
Magico’s founder and CEO, Alon Wolf, had come over from California to brief the London Press before hopping over to the Munich Show, to explain all about this newest member of the Magico family, here aided by Ricardo who ably operated the supporting audio system. This comprised a dCS Vivaldi APEX DAC, dCS Vivaldi Upsampler, dCS Vivaldi Master Clock, feeding a DarTZeel NHB-18NS preamplifier plus DarTZeel NHB-468 mono power amplifiers, using Transparent Magnum Opus cables throughout, while the turntable was a Döhmann Helix Two Mk3, available, but not invoked at this time.
This demonstration room was wider than it is deep, and these new speakers were also spaced widely for this installation, this perhaps expected to significantly defocus the resulting stereo image, but this proved to be far from the case. With a particular refinement over mid and high frequencies, heard recently when we reviewed the often breath-takingly powerful A5 (HIFICRITIC Vol16 no.4), the new, more costly yet more compact, latest S3 loudspeaker surprised this audience of 10 or so persons with its well-proportioned extended bass. Particularly striking was the high resolution in the upper bass region, which was clearly maintained up to the lower midband. Here vocals sounded right out of the box, beautifully projected, and where both male voice and the larger stringed instruments had convincingly natural dynamic power and resolution. This aspect was also evident in the tune playing quality evident in the bass which also sounded crisp and naturally dynamic. For this visiting critic this aspect presented a problem in that the high quality of the music replay kept getting on the way of objective opinion forming while noting that this was still an informal event. Image focus was also crisp and stable over a wide region.
While larger but less expensive A3 has three 9inch bass, the new S3 has just two, these also full specification honeycomb alloy cored with carbon fibre/graphene composite cones.
Alon described some of the distinguishing features of the new S3 design and it is interesting that yet again some new thinking has been applied delivering fresh solutions. For example, the S5II enjoyed a moulded aperiodic shaped, formed rear mid -range enclosure, improving back wave termination for the mid-range unit while for the new S5 this geometry was found to introduce a high-pressure singularity inside the main enclosure, which despite its huge mass and extreme stiffness was difficult to silence entirely.
Sophisticated spatial acoustic modelling suggested that a well-proportioned rectangular fabricated alloy back box in for the new design would now be optimal, particularly for that residual internal mode in the main enclosure which is of super stiff monocoque construction where curved wall extrusions of new geometry are bolted together. This modal issue and others was identified using their newly acquired NFT acoustic measuring system from Klippel. Here full bandwidth acoustic measurement is made possible without the complications of an anechoic chamber, and here we see some of the rewards.
There has been a process of gradual refinement, grinding down seemingly minor difficulties to significantly lower the noise floor in order to ‘further increase transparency, resolution and neutrality’. These and other developments led Alon to claim something of a ‘30% improvement’ in noise floor reduction. With evidently low diffraction and skilful blending of the driver outputs you could not hear the ‘joins’, and the sound stage was beautifully detached from the actual location of the loudspeaker enclosures, more so than before, and in part thanks to Klippel. A small increase in the beryllium tweeter dome diameter to 26mm has improved the modal distribution, also with a small increase in level and sound quality.
A variety of music was replayed, old and recent and the new S5 was clearly unflappable handling each challenge with equanimity. My lasting impression from this dealer demonstration room presentation was of a loudspeaker which was even handed and musical, transparent, focused and very natural. It did not disguise flaws in old recordings and yet at the same time brought out the musicality in the performances.
Alon also explained that numerous improvements have incorporated, to the point where it must be regarded as a completely new design and perhaps this is reflected in the higher price. In the immaculate, now standard gloss lacquer finish, in the UK it is listed at little short of £60,000.
Design details: Heavy duty, three point outrigger style alloy base plate, single wire HD binding posts
Moving coil drivers
1.1”, 28mm MB5FP Diamond Coated Beryllium
5″, 128mm Gen 8 Midrange driver, with carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb core
9″ 229mm Gen 8 Bass driver (x2) with carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb core
24 Hz – 50 kHz (-6dB nominal)
Recommended Minimum Power:
44″H x 17″D x 12W (17” outrigger) (112cm x 43cm x 30cm)
222 lbs. (101 kg)
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was employed in the design process to assess acoustical, mechanical, electromagnetic, and thermal behaviour while possible errors in the frequency and time domains can be readily modelled and analysed here, in particular applied to the new bass drivers. The new bass unit incorporates oversized components including a massive 5-inch Titanium voice coil with copper cap on the polepiece and providing 13mm of linear excursion. The optimised magnetic field supports a high output of 112dB for a system at 50Hz/1m, and with inductance held below 0.25mH reducing distortion.
For the 5inch, 128mm chassis midrange driver Magico specify a further improved pure piston diaphragm where an ultra low mass aluminium honeycomb core is sandwiched between graphene carbon fibre skins. Greater midrange transparency is one of several gains. The advanced cone is supported on a customized chassis with new and innovative surround, designed for improved cone/surround wave termination facilitating faster energy termination with lower harmonic distortion. A redesigned underhung neodymium-powered motor uses twin oversized neodymium magnets generating a stable and uniform magnetic field while the copper pole cap minimizes eddy currents to further control distortion.
28mm High Frequency unit: With another refinement of this established driver, now 1.1inch for a slightly higher output, plus a few kHz of extra extension beyond 20kHz this diamond coated beryllium foil unit is pistonic in its working range as are all the other drive units. If and when ringing, decay overhang, in the diaphragms is substantially controlled we edge closer to the perfect piston concept for loudspeaker design.