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Magico Open House 12/02/2017

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  • Magico Open House 12/02/2017

    As noted on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MagicoLLC/p...53764454670672 , Magico opened their factory to the local audiophile community this past weekend. Factory tours were offered on Friday (12/1) and Monday (12/4) and they extended a similar offer to the local audio society on Saturday. I attended a session Saturday morning with ~ 30 other people from the San Francisco Audiophile Society. They split us into two groups of 15, so that the tours would be a manageable size. Each group was given roughly a 40 minutes tour of the facility by either the head of sales or the head of operations (don't recall their names) and a 20 minute listening session with founder Alon Wolf. The tour started in the large open area of the Magico facility, which has a museum of sorts showing past and present Magico products along with skeletons of partially built speakers showing the construction techniques that Magico has pioneered. Over the years Magico has moved from cabinets built out of Birch Ply to CNC milled Aluminum boxes to boxes made out of structural Carbon Fiber. The "low cost" S-series of speakers uses an extruded Aluminum outer box, built for Magico in Ohio, along with structural aluminum pieces milled in their own factory. All of the speakers are assembled in their own factory. The new M6 speaker, which we heard during the listening session, has a frame made out of structural carbon fiber that is built for them by a company that specializes in building race cars - both Nascar and Formula 1. The thin but strong carbon fiber allows the relatively small box of the M6 to support bass that one would normally expect from a larger box. They're also proud of their drivers, with the diamond coated Be tweeter, and the midrange driver incorporating graphene driving distortion to very low levels. All of these drivers are built exclusively for them at unspecified manufacturers.

    After getting introduced to their product line, we got the tour of the factory. The starting point was the quality control operation, where every speaker driver is tested with a Klippel test system, which guarantees that all drivers meet their exacting specification. Next we visited the machine shop, which contains multiple CNC machines which mill hunks of aluminum into the shapes needed for their speakers. Roughly 75% of the starting aluminum stock is milled away. They fill several dumpsters with aluminum scrap in a day of production, all of which is recycled and probably sold back to them to start the process all over again. After that we went through the manufacturing line where technicians were assembling speakers or smaller components such as s-pods or m-pods. One person is responsible for completing a single speaker. Since it was a Saturday, they only had about half the normal staff working. Everything is assembled by a real person - there didn't seem to use any robotics other than the computer control of the CNC machines. The shop floor was very well organized and things were laid out to make the assembly process easy and efficient. It's clear that they spend a lot of time working on process control and flow, to insure that everything is built to their internal standards. At the end of the factory tour we were given a short peek at the studio where they do photography and video for their products. Apparently Alon Wolf is also a photography buff. They had an impressive area set up with beautiful lighting that made their products look wonderful - much better than in a typical settings.

    After that we were all shepherded into the listening room - a room within a room setup that has been carefully put together to evaluate and showcase their gear. The system we listened to was as follows:
    Magico M6 Speakers
    Berkeley Reference 2 DAC
    CH Precision preamp and amps
    MIT cables
    AMG V12 turntable with DS Audio DS-W1 optical cartridge
    Kronos turntable with Goldfinger cartridge
    I didn't catch the music server details

    We listened to the digital system for ~ 75% of the listening session and then heard 3 tracks with the AMG / DS-W1 and then 1 track with the Kronos / Goldfinger. Each step from digital to AMG to Kronos got progressively better and I'd say that only the Kronos sounded as good as I had hoped it would. All of the different front ends did show what one expects from Magico - transparency and impressive soundstage. With the digital, the bass seemed a bit out of control and disconnected from the rest of the spectrum. The AMG / DS-W1 had a grain to the sound that I found distracting. With the Kronos and Goldfinger, everything fell into place (for one song) and it was a lovely experience. I know from experience that a system can sound very different with 15 people in the room vs. just one. So let's just say that the Magico M6 showed great potential although the overall system and especially the digital front end needed a bit more tuning to show that potential.

    I've attached a few pictures that I took with my phone, showing Magico's one horn speaker (the Ultimate), their museum of older products, a shot of a speaker skeleton, and then a final shot of the listening space.

    ---Gary
    Last edited by GaryB; 12-05-2017, 11:12 AM.
    Analog: Scheu + Immedia RPM tonearm + Koetsu Black + Pass Xono or Threshold FET 10pe
    Amps: First Watt F7, HK Citation II
    Pre-Amps: CJ Premier 14, Threshold FET 10e, DIY 417a with output transformer
    Speakers: Horning Eufrodite, Reference 3A mm de capo
    Tuners: Sansui TU9900, McIntosh MR78
    Digital: i7 Server (Roon) + SSD, Sonore urendu + Mutec MC3+ USB + Berkeley Alpha Dac, Audiomeca Mephisto
    Power: Audience AR12, Torus Tot, DIY filters

  • #2
    Thanks for the write-up & photos especially the Ultima. With those people for perspective that thing is HUGE. Cheers.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Spla'nin View Post
      Thanks for the write-up & photos especially the Ultima. With those people for perspective that thing is HUGE. Cheers.
      Everything about the Ultimate is huge. I had the chance to hear it at Magico a couple of years ago. IIRC they build them two at a time and when I was out there a year or so ago had order for ten Ultima horn speakers. Who would have thought at $600K or so?
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
      -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
      -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • Spla'nin
        Spla'nin commented
        Editing a comment
        I had forgotten about them but I'm glad there are people who are willing to buy them and that they are building them on demand.. found a couple more pictures in link

        http://magico.net/product/ultimate.php

    • #4
      Originally posted by GaryB View Post
      As noted on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MagicoLLC/p...53764454670672 , Magico opened their factory to the local audiophile community this past weekend. Factory tours were offered on Friday (12/1) and Monday (12/4) and they extended a similar offer to the local audio society on Saturday. I attended a session Saturday morning with ~ 30 other people from the San Francisco Audiophile Society. They split us into two groups of 15, so that the tours would be a manageable size. Each group was given roughly a 40 minutes tour of the facility by either the head of sales or the head of operations (don't recall their names) and a 20 minute listening session with founder Alon Wolf. The tour started in the large open area of the Magico facility, which has a museum of sorts showing past and present Magico products along with skeletons of partially built speakers showing the construction techniques that Magico has pioneered. Over the years Magico has moved from cabinets built out of Birch Ply to CNC milled Aluminum boxes to boxes made out of structural Carbon Fiber. The "low cost" S-series of speakers uses an extruded Aluminum outer box, built for Magico in Ohio, along with structural aluminum pieces milled in their own factory. All of the speakers are assembled in their own factory. The new M6 speaker, which we heard during the listening session, has a frame made out of structural carbon fiber that is built for them by a company that specializes in building race cars - both Nascar and Formula 1. The thin but strong carbon fiber allows the relatively small box of the M6 to support bass that one would normally expect from a larger box. They're also proud of their drivers, with the diamond coated Be tweeter, and the midrange driver incorporating graphene driving distortion to very low levels. All of these drivers are built exclusively for them at unspecified manufacturers.

      After getting introduced to their product line, we got the tour of the factory. The starting point was the quality control operation, where every speaker driver is tested with a Klippel test system, which guarantees that all drivers meet their exacting specification. Next we visited the machine shop, which contains multiple CNC machines which mill hunks of aluminum into the shapes needed for their speakers. Roughly 75% of the starting aluminum stock is milled away. They fill several dumpsters with aluminum scrap in a day of production, all of which is recycled and probably sold back to them to start the process all over again. After that we went through the manufacturing line where technicians were assembling speakers or smaller components such as s-pods or m-pods. One person is responsible for completing a single speaker. Since it was a Saturday, they only had about half the normal staff working. Everything is assembled by a real person - there didn't seem to use any robotics other than the computer control of the CNC machines. The shop floor was very well organized and things were laid out to make the assembly process easy and efficient. It's clear that they spend a lot of time working on process control and flow, to insure that everything is built to their internal standards. At the end of the factory tour we were given a short peek at the studio where they do photography and video for their products. Apparently Alon Wolf is also a photography buff. They had an impressive area set up with beautiful lighting that made their products look wonderful - much better than in a typical settings.

      After that we were all shepherded into the listening room - a room within a room setup that has been carefully put together to evaluate and showcase their gear. The system we listened to was as follows:
      Magico M6 Speakers
      Berkeley Reference 2 DAC
      CH Precision preamp and amps
      MIT cables
      AMG V12 turntable with DS Audio DS-W1 optical cartridge
      Kronos turntable with Goldfinger cartridge
      I didn't catch the music server details

      We listened to the digital system for ~ 75% of the listening session and then heard 3 tracks with the AMG / DS-W1 and then 1 track with the Kronos / Goldfinger. Each step from digital to AMG to Kronos got progressively better and I'd say that only the Kronos sounded as good as I had hoped it would. All of the different front ends did show what one expects from Magico - transparency and impressive soundstage. With the digital, the bass seemed a bit out of control and disconnected from the rest of the spectrum. The AMG / DS-W1 had a grain to the sound that I found distracting. With the Kronos and Goldfinger, everything fell into place (for one song) and it was a lovely experience. I know from experience that a system can sound very different with 15 people in the room vs. just one. So let's just say that the Magico M6 showed great potential although the overall system and especially the digital front end needed a bit more tuning to show that potential.

      I've attached a few pictures that I took with my phone, showing Magico's one horn speaker (the Ultima), their museum of older products, a shot of a speaker skeleton, and then a final shot of the listening space.

      ---Gary
      I think the two other hosts might have been Peter McKay and Dave Shackleton from Magico. The server might have been from Baetis. (?)

      Magico's listening room is pretty amazing and don't see that sort of thing everyday in the industry. Everytime I've been out, Alon has done something to tweak the room's acoustics. The room is sooooo..... quiet that it make the subtlest things clear as day.

      Oh, while Alon has over the years had tape decks and tables at the factory, I'm pretty sure that my hounding helped get turntables back into their listening room. It's amazing how that system shows off the differences between analog and digital (and even between the tables as you heard!).
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
      -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
      -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
        . . . I'm pretty sure that my hounding helped get turntables back into their listening room.
        Now you just need to badger him into trying a good tube preamp . . . he would win over even more listeners that way. Or perhaps some tube amps - not sure which one would make the biggest difference.
        ---Gary

        Analog: Scheu + Immedia RPM tonearm + Koetsu Black + Pass Xono or Threshold FET 10pe
        Amps: First Watt F7, HK Citation II
        Pre-Amps: CJ Premier 14, Threshold FET 10e, DIY 417a with output transformer
        Speakers: Horning Eufrodite, Reference 3A mm de capo
        Tuners: Sansui TU9900, McIntosh MR78
        Digital: i7 Server (Roon) + SSD, Sonore urendu + Mutec MC3+ USB + Berkeley Alpha Dac, Audiomeca Mephisto
        Power: Audience AR12, Torus Tot, DIY filters

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by GaryB View Post

          Now you just need to badger him into trying a good tube preamp . . . he would win over even more listeners that way. Or perhaps some tube amps - not sure which one would make the biggest difference.
          ---Gary
          Alon had the Siltech Preamplifier a while ago. Thought the Vitus sounded a little better. Surprised Alon didn’t have the CAT gear in the system. Unless he sent it back.
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
          -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
          -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

            I think the two other hosts might have been Peter McKay and Dave Shackleton from Magico. The server might have been from Baetis. (?)

            Magico's listening room is pretty amazing and don't see that sort of thing everyday in the industry. Everytime I've been out, Alon has done something to tweak the room's acoustics. The room is sooooo..... quiet that it make the subtlest things clear as day.

            Oh, while Alon has over the years had tape decks and tables at the factory, I'm pretty sure that my hounding helped get turntables back into their listening room. It's amazing how that system shows off the differences between analog and digital (and even between the tables as you heard!).
            Peter Mackay is good value .

            Yes Magico's listening room is certainly a benchmark in quietness. I like their approach of building a room within a room. Outside of an anechoic chamber, i'm not aware of any other room which measures as well. When I build a dedicated listening room one day, low self-noise will be part of the brief for the Acousticians.

            I agree the Kronos Pro tt (especially with the SCPS-1 psu & a nice mc cart like the Goldfinger) is a great sounding deck, and good choice by Alon to showcase their topline speakers. Personally i've got a soft spot for the Tech Das AF1. Paired with a nice arm like a 10" Graham Phantom Elite, a musical cart like a Miyajima Madake, and good phono stage like Vitus or Absolare & you would have a pretty killer table.

            Comment


            • #8
              Thanks for your fascinating write up and photos GaryB ! I'm glad you enjoyed the factory tour. Half your luck listening to the awesome M6's!

              It's interesting that one employee is responsible for completing a single pair of speakers (If I understand you correctly). That would ensure there is a continuity throughout the process and that team member can stop production if any QA issues arise. Other than parts manufactured by suppliers to Magico's spec & CNC-machined parts manufactured in-house, I guess Magico's relatively small scale of production allows them to hand-build their products from there. By contrast, Harley Davidson's factory is much more automated with one employee generally assigned to a station which looks after one part of the production line.

              Btw you missed the two most important things though . Did you (or any of your group) get a chance to take some pics of a complete S5 Mk2 crossover during the tour? And what can you tell me about their coffee machine & coffee? I read Alon is a connoisseur of good beans..

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Bodhi View Post
                Thanks for your fascinating write up and photos
                You are very welcome. Your understanding of the manufacturing process is right - it looked like one person assembled a full speaker.

                Originally posted by Bodhi View Post
                Btw you missed the two most important things though . Did you (or any of your group) get a chance to take some pics of a complete S5 Mk2 crossover during the tour? And what can you tell me about their coffee machine & coffee? I read Alon is a connoisseur of good beans.
                Didn't get access to any fancy coffee on the tour. They provided some pastries and soft drinks and brewed coffee from a big container - nothing special. Can't really complain since the tour was free and they were doing all of us a huge favor by taking the time to give a tour.

                Regarding the S5 mk2 crossovers, we were shown several crossovers but I don't know which was for the S5. The only one they mentioned by model was for the M6, which had some very expensive components. It was interesting that all of the parts in the crossovers are from Mundorf and Mundorf ships fully assembled crossovers that just need to be placed in the speaker and wired up. They looked like the picture below which I pulled off of Mundorf's website, although the parts were different for each model. But they all had that sort of double decker construction. I didn't take any pictures of the crossovers because they explicitly asked us not to take pictures during that part of the tour.
                While I think Mundorf makes very high quality parts, I also think that a Magico speaker with an external crossover that would allow some slight tweaking with different capacitors would be very interesting. A hot rodded Magico could be a lot of fun.

                ---Gary

                Analog: Scheu + Immedia RPM tonearm + Koetsu Black + Pass Xono or Threshold FET 10pe
                Amps: First Watt F7, HK Citation II
                Pre-Amps: CJ Premier 14, Threshold FET 10e, DIY 417a with output transformer
                Speakers: Horning Eufrodite, Reference 3A mm de capo
                Tuners: Sansui TU9900, McIntosh MR78
                Digital: i7 Server (Roon) + SSD, Sonore urendu + Mutec MC3+ USB + Berkeley Alpha Dac, Audiomeca Mephisto
                Power: Audience AR12, Torus Tot, DIY filters

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by GaryB View Post
                  Didn't get access to any fancy coffee on the tour. They provided some pastries and soft drinks and brewed coffee from a big container - nothing special. Can't really complain since the tour was free and they were doing all of us a huge favor by taking the time to give a tour.
                  You can see Alon's coffee rig in Alan Sircom's factory tour for Hifi+ from Nov, 2016 .

                  Originally posted by GaryB View Post
                  Regarding the S5 mk2 crossovers, we were shown several crossovers but I don't know which was for the S5. The only one they mentioned by model was for the M6, which had some very expensive components. It was interesting that all of the parts in the crossovers are from Mundorf and Mundorf ships fully assembled crossovers that just need to be placed in the speaker and wired up. They looked like the picture below which I pulled off of Mundorf's website, although the parts were different for each model. But they all had that sort of double decker construction. I didn't take any pictures of the crossovers because they explicitly asked us not to take pictures during that part of the tour.
                  Magico have been understandably tight-lipped about the x-overs in their higher end models in recent times. I checked back through all the reviews of the S5 Mk2 & recent factory tours, and the closest I could find was a rare picture of the M3's crossover installed in a cabinet on the production line & some pics of the S7's crossover from Myles' review of the S7. Re: the former, I would assume the S5 Mk2's polymer midrange enclosure is also dynamatted like the M3 (since the S5 Mk2 uses the same midrange units).

                  Originally posted by GaryB View Post
                  While I think Mundorf makes very high quality parts, I also think that a Magico speaker with an external crossover that would allow some slight tweaking with different capacitors would be very interesting. A hot rodded Magico could be a lot of fun.
                  ---Gary
                  Personally I wouldn't muck around with the x-overs in the latest S series speakers as they use some very nice caps (Mundorf MCap Supreme Silver/Gold in oil) & are tuned using advanced computer-modelling, as well as subjective listening.
                  Last edited by Bodhi; 12-05-2017, 03:52 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Leo Yeh, of Taiwan's my-hiend.com recently published an article about his visit to Magico. He also took the same factory tour and had a private listening session with the M6s. As always, he took great pictures to document his time there. The article can be found here http://my-hiend.com/wp/%E5%85%A8%E6%...E%A1%E8%A8%AA/

                    ---Gary
                    這是一篇極為特別的試聽報告,因為試聽的地方不是在MY-HiEND、不是在代理商或是經銷商,而是在Magico位於加州海沃德(Hayward)的總部,所有Magico的喇叭都在此完成生產、除了工廠外,這裡還有一間設計良好的音響室及多間辦公室,從2004年成立以來,頂尖的設計與傑出的聲音表現讓Magico公司發展的非常快速
                    Analog: Scheu + Immedia RPM tonearm + Koetsu Black + Pass Xono or Threshold FET 10pe
                    Amps: First Watt F7, HK Citation II
                    Pre-Amps: CJ Premier 14, Threshold FET 10e, DIY 417a with output transformer
                    Speakers: Horning Eufrodite, Reference 3A mm de capo
                    Tuners: Sansui TU9900, McIntosh MR78
                    Digital: i7 Server (Roon) + SSD, Sonore urendu + Mutec MC3+ USB + Berkeley Alpha Dac, Audiomeca Mephisto
                    Power: Audience AR12, Torus Tot, DIY filters

                    Comment


                    • Bodhi
                      Bodhi commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks for posting the link Gary. An awesome factory tour & great job by Leo as usual! Very insightful, especially the pics he managed to get of the M6 in various stages of production. Interesting that Magico dynamat the carbon midrange enclosure. That seems to be standard across the range now .
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