STEREOPHILE John Atkinson reviews MAGICO S5 MkII

REVIEW SUMMARY: Magico S5 Mk.II joins those speakers as ones I could live with when I'm done with this reviewing business. It may indeed be large, but, as I found out, it had no problems, large or otherwise

My congratulations to Magico's Alon Wolf and Yair Tammam for producing a speaker that offers full-range, uncoloured, low-distortion sound coupled with superbly stable and accurate stereo imaging

The amps kept superb control of the Magicos' woofers without sacrificing low-frequency power. The speakers' clarity in this region made it possible for me to maximally differentiate between the sounds of the bass guitar and the kick drum—they didn't seem to be competing with one another. The deep-pitched, low-F purr from Dave Holland's double bass that leads into the entrance of Norah Jones's unmistakable voice in "Court and Spark," from Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters was viscerally satisfying in a way that some say you can't get from sealed-box speakers. The sub-40Hz notes in my 2014 recording of Jonas Nordwall performing the Toccata of Widor's Organ Symphony 5 at Portland's First United Methodist Church literally shook the walls of my listening room without sounding bloated or boomy.

As well as offering full-range envelopment, uncoloured vocal and instrumental sounds, and a spacious, stable soundstage, the Magicos could play loud without low-level details becoming obscured. In Benjamin Zander's recording of Mahler's Symphony 2 with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the climaxes seemed more climactic without the quiet passages sounding in any way exaggerated or given short shrift. And again, the Magicos loved the sound of the solo women's voices in this recording: mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly and soprano Miah Persson.

 .....the fragile images of the string quartet were set forward in the soundstage, with the rich, warm string orchestra behind them. The wonderful reprise of the big tune with the full orchestra after the fugue, and then the joyous coda three minutes before the work's conclusion, were presented by the MBL-driven Magicos with maximum dynamic fervour.

Those last two recordings are 59 and 54 years old, respectively, but the Magico S5 Mk.II's full-range transparency and resolution maximised the ability of my audio system to act as a time machine, allowing me to disregard the obsolete technology with which these recordings were made to focus on the music.

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