Magico S1

Magico S1

The S1 has replaced the main reference loudspeaker (ATC SCM-50PSL) and was driven by a Parasound HCA3500 power amplifier. Rest of the system included a Teac Esoteric P70/D70 transport/DAC pair, and a Melos Plus Series Line tube preamplifier.
Initial setup was rather easy since S1 is a loudspeaker that requires an area of limited dimensions. For most of the review process, S1 was placed about half a meter from the rear room boundaries and around 2.8 meters from the listening position. The two loudspeakers of the pair were also about 2.8 meters apart. The adjustable spikes are very easy to use and allow for rapid leveling of the loudspeaker, while the user can also give some small inclination if the listening position requires so. Recall, that this is the only critical point in S1 placement, since it appears that there is some sensitivity to off-axis listening, in the vertical plane. With the exception of some extreme listening conditions, however, where there is a significant difference in height between the listener and the loudspeaker, this should not be a real problem if some effort is exercised during the setup process.
First impressions one gets from listening S1 are those of tonal neutrality and overall accuracy. The loudspeaker is obviously designed not to interact (or at least to interact as little as possible) with the recording, being able to create an extremely accurate soundstage with clearly defined width, good perception of depth and a great ability to focus individual sound sources in space. Air between various audio objects in the mix is more than present, while copious details and the description of sound source movements were between the best we've the opportunity to listen to lately. An interesting observation in the case of S1, is that these features are accompanied by a sense of a homogeneous character, leading to the feeling that you are facing a complete picture where there is flow and continuity. The result is very relaxing and enjoyable, allowing for some long lasting listening sessions…

Magico S1
Magico S1

Bandwidth-wise, S1 appeared to be a well balanced design, with good response towards the lower part of the spectrum, good sense of volume and very good control. These elements allow the loudspeaker to perform exceptionally well with recordings heavy in low frequency content and be very convincing though, of course, the 7-inch woofers and the closed-box architecture pose some level limits which cannot be overcome. In reality, however, these limits are more of a geometric nature: S1, in my opinion at least, is a product tailored for small spaces. It can be installed very easily there, be comfortably integrated with room acoustics as it will not cause significant excitation of axial modes (if properly positioned) and allows the listener to listen from relatively short distances. Although S1 will, also, cover a modest space without major problems, excessive expectations on the part of the user, could drive the woofer near (and quite probably out of) its limits despite its long throw suspension. This could happen quite easily, since S1 is very transparent and pleasant, therefore the listener is constantly tempted to higher levels that simply are not feasible. There are some cruel physics laws in action, here… If, however, listening conditions are maintained close to the ideal, S1 has not the slightest difficulty to follow even the most extreme music passages, describing everything flawlessly, in good scale and with all available details.
Midrange is one of S1's strongest sides. Great balance with emphasis on detail and clarity and a definite sense of proximity are getting the listener “within” the music composition without injecting any feeling of stress during the listening session. Everything is in good perspective, alive and present in this part of the spectrum. Voice recordings, both solo and/or chorus are rendered wonderfully with a very strong sense of “being in the room” realism, excellent articulation and top quality of both motion and feeling of air description of the recording.
At the higher part of the audio spectrum, the loudspeaker showed some very good extension and created a sense of swiftness, with a well defined high frequency components body and a good sense of decay/release times rendering. Listener has the impression that everything happens effortlessly and the result is bright and pleasant, with all the necessary harmonic richness, without deviating towards some euphonic or rounding character, missing details or lagging in micro-dynamics. The result of all this is a loudspeaker that balances in a remarkable way between the need for accuracy and listener/program friendliness. It is unclear how exactly the Magico achieves this (beyond the obvious: that S1 is a loudspeaker with a quite good frequency response), but -nevertheless- it happens.


We are dealing with a really high quality loudspeaker, that seems to move the boundaries of what can be achieved in a two-way/closed-box design and quite probably sets the benchmark in this price category. Neutral, well balanced and with excellent potential for details rendering, S1 is a loudspeaker that will make the most of every music collection, whatever its content, and will meet the audiophile's needs, especially in small rooms. Feel free to ask yourself, what should be expected from a higher class Magico loudspeaker…

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