Magico Q5 Speaker

Based in Berkeley, California, Magico made a splash at CES with its new Q3 speaker, which is a slightly scaled-down version of the well-established—and more expensive—Q5. But what makes the Q5 so special?

One important factor is the drivers, which are manufactured entirely to Magico's specifications. Two 9-inch woofers, one 9-inch midbass, and one 6-inch midrange are made of Rohacell foam sandwiched between layers of carbon-nanotube material, a configuration Magico calls Nano-Tec. The 1-inch dome tweeter is made of beryllium, an exceptionally light yet stiff metal.

Then there's the cabinet in which the drivers are ensconced. Derived from extensive computer-aided design and real-time analysis, the sealed-box design weighs 420 pounds, which isn't surprising when you consider it's made entirely from solid aluminum and brass. The complex inner superstructure is assembled from more than 50 machined parts.

The end result is indeed impressive—a frequency range extending from 18Hz to 50kHz (±3dB)—as is the price of $59,950/pair. (The Q3 uses three 7-inch woofers with the same midrange and tweeter in a similar enclosure, achieving a frequency response from 26Hz to 50khz for $34,000/pair.)

In his review for Stereophile, Michael Fremer concluded, "Overall, the Magico Q5 was the smoothest, most detailed, least 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.

"As a work of industrial art, the Magico Q5 is beautiful, though to some it might look cold and uninvolving. But that's a more 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."