Magico Q5 Loudspeakers

October 16, 2010

Michael Fremer’s review of the Magico Q5 is out in the latest issue of Stereophile. His conclusions:

Overall, the Magico Q5 was the smoothest, most detailed, last mechanical sounding speaker I've heard. It sounded that way at what I used to think were impossibly low levels, and it sounded that way at uncomfortably loud levels, leading me to believe that a pair of these relatively compact speakers could easily fill a very big room. Its micro- and macrodynamic capabilities were unlimited, with the exception of the bottom octaves, where they lacked visceral punch. But elsewhere in the audioband, I never wanted more of anything, though a little less in the upper octaves might have produced a more accurate balance, if perhaps not as much pleasure.

If you listen to mostly or exclusively acoustic music, you'll find the Magico Q5 sets new standards in many areas of speaker performance – transparency, resolution of low-level detail, and freedom for boxy colorations – the Q5's overall freedom from obvious colorations and mechanical artifiacts and its audible lack of "box" put it in a league of its own, in my experience. The Q5 imposed on familiar recordings the least amount of its own personality, and overall had the least "sound," of any speaker I've heard. It was chameleon-like in that regard, and its ability to produce pleasing sound with even poor recordings was in no way due to its homogenizing the input signal – in fact, quite the opposite. It revealed more variations in recording quality, yet somehow, even poor ones were made more bearable, perhaps because they didn't trigger mechanical artifacts inherent in the speaker – much as the best turntables seem to suppress pops, clicks and other record defects.

As a work of industrial art, the Magico Q5 is beautiful, though to some it might look cold and uninviting. But that's more of a personal issue than the sound itself. When you first listen to it, the Q5 may also sound uninvolving because it has little or no personality of its own. But in a loudspeaker that's what you want. The longer I listened, the more I appreciated the Q5's ability to get out of the way and let the recording's own personality assert itself.

I can't imagine anyone who's in this game for the music and not the gear, and who's okay with the Q5's subtler bottom octaves, who wouldn't want to own a pair of the Magico Q5s – particularly if the listen mostly or exclusively to acoustic music."

To read the full review, you’ll need to pick up a copy of the November issue of Stereophile, or wait patiently until it’s posted on the Stereophile website.

Edit: You can now read the full review on Stereophile’s website here.