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A new tower speaker for audio elitists

Magico speakers live in the upper strata of high-end audio, and nearly every time I hear a Magico I’m moved by the experience. The company, founded in 2004, has consistently been in the leading edge of American speaker design, but the last time I reviewed a Magico was in 2011. It was the tiny Q1 bookshelf speaker.

The Magico A3 tower speaker

Magico

Magico’s new one, the A3 tower is a lot bigger, and a whole lot more affordable, at least by high-end standards.

The A3 sports a 1-inch (28mm) beryllium dome tweeter, 6-inch (152mm) Graphene Nano Tec midrange driver, and two 7-inch (178mm) Graphene Nano Tec woofers. All three drivers are proprietary, unique to Magico speakers. The A3 is a sealed, non-ported design, and impedance is rated at 4 ohms.

The A3 stands 44.4 inches (112.6cm) tall. Its impeccably constructed aluminum, heavily braced cabinet weighs 110 pounds (50kg). The price per pair is £9,800 (GBP11,998, AU£14,000), which makes it the least expensive Magico speaker.

The A3 — available in black only — is assembled in Magico’s factory at Hayward, California.

A few weeks ago I spent a pleasant afternoon listening to the A3 at the Rhapsody Music & Cinema showroom in New York City. By every measure — low distortion, wide dynamic range, deep bass prowess, midrange transparency and treble extension — the A3’s sound was remarkable. You get the feeling you’re hearing more of the music’s energy when the A3s are holding court.

The Rolling Stones’ Jamming With Edward isn’t a normal Stones album by any stretch, first because guitarist Keith Richards wasn’t there, and the band is just jamming in his absence. They’re not recording tunes per se, but the engineer had tape running anyway and the free form blues jams give fans a peek into how the band works. The rhythm section of Charlie Watts on drums and Bill Wyman on bass was upfront in the mix, and I got a sense of their sound filling the studio.

A look inside the Magico A3 tower speaker.

Magico

When I played Durand Jones & the Indications’ new take on R&B, the A3s pulled out all the stops.

First and foremost Jones has the best set of pipes I’ve heard in ages. Whether he’s tearing it up or figuratively making love to the mike, Jones has total commitment to the music. This new studio recording has a live feel, without any help from digital editing fixes, the music’s raw power was in fine form over the A3s.

Next I turned to Lindi Ortega’s new Liberty album, a suite of romance-gone-wrong tunes. Again the singer’s voice took center stage. This woman can really sing, and her noir-country vibe, cushioned by pedal steel guitars bathed in reverberation, was set free by the A3s.

The speakers liberated the music.

Miles Davis’s Big Fun album of outtakes from his early 1970s electric sessions is new to me. The feeling that anything might happen is in the air, and Harvey Brooks and Ron Carter’s basses have a tactile presence. Davis’ trumpet slices through the air with the utmost precision.

The speakers’ stereo imaging wasn’t reliant on their positions in the listening room. The Magico A3 is an expensive speaker all right, and its most obvious competition is the Wilson Audio Sabrina (£15,900, GBP14,999 or about AU£27,000) I reviewed in 2015. I’ve since heard Sabrina many times, and it strikes me as a richer, fuller-bodied speaker than the A3.

That’s said, the A3 feels more transparent and livelier.

Both are fine examples of state-of-the-art speakers in their respective price classes.

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