Welcome back to our weekly blog, its a very exciting update from us as we’ve just had a rather unexpected (but very welcome) delivery arrive here at Cantay House. Before I tell you what it was, lets set the scene… It’s Thursday afternoon, Jon, Dan and I are chatting about life, the universe and everything and quickly the focus of the conversation shifted towards whats exciting and new in the world of High End Hi-Fi. Dan and I spoke about how much we would love to hear the new Magico A5 and just how generally gob-smacked we have been left by Magico speakers of a similar size in the past. Jon scratched his chin, ruminating visibly and stealthily slinked off to be alone with his thoughts. Mere hours later a van arrived containing two enormous (and very heavy) cardboard boxes – a new demo pair of Magico A5’s!
To say that we were surprised would be somewhat of an understatement. The level of surprise was easily eclipsed by the sheer excitement and giddiness shared by the team to get the A5’s upstairs. At a little over 80kg per speaker once freed from their cardboard cladding, navigating our labyrinthine staircase was no mean feat! \
Once we had finished watching Gareth struggle with getting the speakers upstairs, it was time to get them unpacked and plugged in. As soon as we had broken the seal, the sheer scale of this loudspeaker struck me – with its compliment of three nine inch Graphene woofer drivers, five inch dedicated Graphene midrange driver and one inch Beryllium dome tweeter this is clearly a speaker capable of significant reach!
For our first impressions with the A5, we had chosen to use dCS’s magnificent Bartok as a Streamer, DAC and Preamplifier and T+A’s equally marvellous A3000HV Power Amplifier to supply the muscle. This combination is often a go-to for us when we make an initial assessment due to it’s phenomenal levels of neutrality, insight and the ability to deliver enough current to make even the trickiest speaker purr. The T+A’s innovative output stage is heavily biased towards Class-A operation, lending itself to a transparent and distortion-free presentation. With the speakers in place, it was finally time to reap the rewards of Gareth and Dan’s labour.
If you are unfamiliar with Magico as a brand, their hallmark is total transparency and a tendency to offer a sense of realism with both the human voice and instruments that manages to be entirely lifelike and believable. I understand how hyperbolic and silly that statement may come across, but once you have listened to something as faithful to source as a Magico speaker, quite a few previously amazing performers begin to sound more and more like a reproduction or facsimile and less like having a living, breathing thing perform to you. Immediately I can confirm that the A5 is no black sheep. Despite having only been plonked in the demo room (they really are very heavy and we were all absolutely knackered!) they disappear completely into the room conjuring up a huge, room-filling soundstage.
Trying a few tracks that we were all familiar with, Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s “Tamacun” sped along with an incredible poise and energy, the infinite baffle arrangement of the A5 lending itself perfectly to keeping up with fast rhythmic pieces. The sweetness and timbral qualities of the Spanish guitars was quite extraordinary and the reproduction had a beguiling delicacy (despite the pair of 80kg monoliths in the room!). Dan selected Maggie Rogers beautiful track “Alaska” to put the Magico’s through their paces. The track has a rich bassline throughout, expertly and effortlessly realised by the A5’s all the while Maggie’s voice hung hauntingly in the space between the speakers. Straightaway the hair on the back of my neck stood on end, which seems to be my subconscious’ way of letting me know whether a speaker is particularly talented at reproducing the human voice, the new 5 inch midrange unit taking the opportunity to show it’s designer’s mastery of their craft. Changing pace entirely, I played The Jam’s classic “Down in the tubestation at midnight”. Once again the Magico’s shone, tracking Bruce Foxton’s bass guitar with a verve and vigour that made foot-tapping an inevitability. Weller’s amazing storytelling vocals on the track were offered up with such accuracy and emotion that you were taken along on the rather unfortunate series of events that befell him on his journey home. It was particularly refreshing to see such a high-resolution loudspeaker be so sympathetic whilst playing music with anything less than stellar production values. It can be very frustrating indeed to find a brilliant new loudspeaker, that thrills initially, tear to pieces some of your most cherished albums once you’ve gotten them home. I’m very pleased to say that this is not the case with the A5’s!
Before you become bored, you can obviously tell that I am swooning over the new Magico, they’re spectacular! Everything that I threw at them was resolved and handled with an ease and integration that few other speakers could ever hope to match. If I am allowed one final Hi-Fi shop cliche today, it is that the A5’s do not sound like you are listening to a piece of Hi-Fi – instead they manage to utterly convince that you are there, experiencing the musician/band/orchestra exactly as it would be live. If you are considering a change in loudspeakers, these NEED to be on your shortlist. As for Jon and his impulse purchase, I sincerely doubt that he will be suffering from buyer’s remorse anytime soon!
Check out more details on the T+A and Magicos using the links to their product pages below
Magico A5 – https://www.oxfordaudio.co.uk/product/a5/
T+A A3000HV – https://www.oxfordaudio.co.uk/product/ta-a3000-hv-power-amplifier/