Magico has wisely decided to ‘trickle down’ its Q series know-how into a new and mildly more affordable series: the S1 and S5 floorstanders. The latter is a good £11k shy of the similarly-proportioned Q3 [HFN Sep ’11] and yet it offers almost exactly the same sensitivity, an even flatter response but a measurably and palpably superior bass extension.

The S5’s body comprises three main sections – a thick alloy baffle plus two curved, 0.5in-thick side extrusions that increase stiffness while minimising internal standing waves. The extrusions are finished in a range of six high-gloss automotive paints. Custom colours are offered along with a fully anodised finish, at extra cost.

Inside, the shell is connected and also braced via four open-section frames and the drivers are [unlike the Q3’s] directly connected to the S5’s baffle.

Its tweeter is based on the Scan-Speak Illuminator platform with beryllium diaphragm, although Magico has specified its own magnet system, voice coil and suspension. The midrange is Magico’s familiar 6in ‘Nano-Tec’ unit, an asymmetrical three-layer sandwich of carbon skins with a Rohacell centre, embedded in a nanotube thermoplastic resin.

The S5’s bass drivers are very different from those used in the Q-series, however: they are a hybrid of Magico’s carbon ‘Nano tubes’ for the dust cap and aluminium for the cone. There’s a custom-made magnet system tailored to the S5’s sealed box alignment and a suspension that offers a huge 1in linear excursion. Importantly, the S5 does share Magico’s ‘elliptical crossover technology’, employing superior Mundorf film capacitors and air-cored copper foil inductors.

Ultra resolution

If we had to sum up the S5s in a word then that would be ‘hi-res’ such is their ultra-vivid and ultra-clean sound. And we don’t mean the kind of squeaky, acerbically clean intonation that’ll have you rushing for a lush tube amp: no, the S5 is simply exquisitely revealing of everything in your system and on your recordings.

Driving Devialet D-Premier amps via an AES link from dCS’s Vivaldi upsampler, the low pipe notes from Bach’s Toccata & Fugue [Opus 3] were possessed of a gloriously rich resonance, a clean reverberation informed by the ambience of the venue. Vocals truly speak to you – you’ll hear Kate Bush’s crushed highlights on the ‘hi-res’ 24-bit/96kHz download of 50 Words For Snow and, by contrast, the gloriously well-recorded timbre of Eric Bibb and guitar through Blues, Ballads & Work Songs [Opus 3]. Here the rich gruffness of his voice is joined by the instrumental tails of 12-string and slide guitar, a musical mirage of compelling intensity. Far More Drums by the Hohner Percussion Ensemble [DMP] is another tricky customer, but the percussion sounded so detailed that we could almost envisage the colour of the hard wooden staves that punctuate the album!

Verdict

This is an exceptional speaker where unprecedented neutrality and bass extension for the cabinet size are wrought at the expense of a challenging load, so the S5 should be partnered with an equally exceptional amplifier – D’Agostino, Constellation or Devialet.

Originally published in the 2013 Yearbook