Magico A5 or Sonus faber SERAFINO TRADITION or Harbeth 40.3 XD

Looking at upgrading my speakers and I have no in home demo options.

I am looking at spending up to 25K.

Magico, Sonus faber, Harbeth are in the running.

I listen to  beatles, Dead, CSNY, Eagles.

I have a Mcintosh MC462, MC22 and a just ordered Berkeley Alpha Dac 3.  

I was leaning toward the Harbeth or SF but just read a great review on the MAgico A5.

Still working on buying a streamer to feed the system.

Looking for some thoughts.


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Are you able to listen at the dealers? At this level the speakers need to match the amp too. I’m not familiar with the Mcintosh amps that you own but did not like the MC275mkIV and Harbeth pairing.

I would pick the Magico if I were in your shoes. Try to add Marten to the list as well if you can.

McIntosh and Sonus Faber go well together. I have the Olympica 3 with a MC452 and very satisfied. 

There is quite a difference in the character of the sound between these brands. Sonus tends to be the most accurate with respect to timbre especially of orchestral instruments.   At least for the sonus the amp makes a significant difference (mac amps tend to be very warm with less detail or articulation when used with the sonus). If possible, audition with at least the same brand of amp as you have.

Harbeth and Mac could be a dull combo, due to both being on the warm side. Harbeth crossovers, while well designed, use a lot of inferior parts that can limit resolution.

Magico M5 were used in one of the finest systems I’ve ever heard.

All I know about Sonus Faber is that they’re beautiful and typically well regarded.





Consider Wilson Sabrina 2 ,  Used Rockport, YG Acoustics all are excellent .

Sabrina new $20 k , the YG,and Rockport get a $50 k speaker for in your price range   Don't overlook big monitors like Marten,or MBL outstanding 

just buy a pair of Svs 3000 subs full range and outstanding plenty of options .

The Magico A5 speakers weigh 180 lbs each. That was a consideration for my application, it may or may not be for your’s.

I’ve never listened to Magico’s but I’ve owned three different pairs of Sonus Faber speakers and currently settled on the Serafino’s. I f&ckkng love them. Absolutely beautiful detail and soundstage and gorgeous deep and tight bass - a real 30hz bass with room to spare... Mids and highs are beautiful and open. I also listen to the music you listen to. I hear amazing things about the magico’s and also I love the sound of Wilson speakers but could never stomach the way they looked.

I started off with a McIntosh amp but found the sound a little too syrupy and boomy. ThenI got a Gryphon Diablo 300 and my ears loved that for a while but some fatigue settled in. A little harsh and clinical. My source is a DCS Bartok, BTW. Then I shlepped my Gryphon amp to my dealer as I was going to buy a pair of Amatis. We switched out the gryphon for an ARC 160s and the magic really happened. I wrote a check on the spot for that amp and was lucky to get a good deal on a used REF 6SE... It’s all settling in nicely now and I couldn’t be happier.


A post shared by Joseph Montezinos (@joe_hifi)



I love my McIntosh and Sonus Faber combination. You will too.  Magico speakers sound a bit hollow with McIntosh based on my demos. 

I have the SF Serafino and have been very happy with them. I actually auditioned them and the A5 at my dealer with both matched to a Macintosh amp. I went with the SF because I thought they had a more natural sound and we're not as finicky regarding placement. They are also beautiful speakers but that would not have influenced my selection if I didn't like the sound better. I also listened to the top of the line paradigms and Bowers and Wilkins and chose the SF. The sound is very musical, never fatiguing and is particularly good with female vocals.  All of this is completely subjective, of course, and I thought the A5s were excellent as well and I'm sure I would've been happy with them. Just like the SF a little better.  
good luck in your search

based on the their looks:

SF > 10

Magico > 6

Harbeth > 2

I'd never know how they sound, my budget is a 10th of their list price

Try to listen to Verity Audio at that price point. Incredible holographic image and you can really tune them with amp selection. Lots of great options mentioned here.

 Sonus Faber  Nova 5's in my system are wonderful,  SERAFINO TRADITION = OMG WOW

If you think the sonus Faber sound good you should listen to the monitor audio Platinum 300 or 500 they're even more natural than the sonus Faber, that MPD tweeter is the best tweeter on the market right now, most natural highs I've ever heard and their driver technology is way ahead of everybody's, and their prices are way better than everyone's because their products are made in China, but if you look at the quality of the Platinum they have  11 layers of hand polished lacquer on them they're absolutely gorgeous and the sound matches the looks, just as good as anything Magico or anyone makes for one quarter of the price. 

Not knowing which part of the world you live in there's a big difference in what you get for your money 

I suspect you're in America so Magico is probably best bang for buck .

In Europe you could almost bring the sonus faber Aida home for the same amount as the A5 

That said, it's your ears and money so don't take anybody else's advice over your own experience. 

At that price range, have a listen to ATC and Dynaudio if you have the opportunity. 


Happy hunting. 


I recently purchased a pair of Magico A5 speakers, used with a McIntosh MC312 and C52. All I can say is; best sounding speakers I have ever heard in a domestic situation, by far. You name it; dynamic range, LF/HF extension, spatial presentation, lfe like sound etc., they perform flawlessly. To top it all, IMHO they look beautiful and much to my surprise, my wife agrees. Could not be happier with my last (?) choice of high end speakers.


if you where looking for the Harbeth, you should put on your list the spendor Classic 100, they are really great speaker and very well spoken.

Both speakers (Mágico and Sonus) are great speakers. Speed is one of the things you get with the Magico, and for my taste I like very fast speakers, so I would go with the Mágico.


FWIW Sonus Faber is a wolly owned subsidiary of McIntosh Group which also owns McIntosh Labs. McIntosh labs procuces all of the McIntosh audio products. I have heard that the McIntosh speakers are made buy Sonus Faber or at least the high end models. 

My two cents: Brilliant choices! I recently sold my beloved Serafino's. For almost a year I was exploring Sonus Fabers line-up. I started with the Electa's then moved to the Olympica Nova V's, then to the Serafino's. The bottom line is : the magic really starts at the Serafino's with Sonus Faber. Unbelievable Soundstage, Pinpoint imaging, amazing midrange, but for me they had an Analog sound that I just didn't care for. I now own the Harbeth 40.3's and I'm 85% sure this is my forever speaker. Picky placement, lots of work dialing in, the best midrange EVER, a slight sparkle on the top end, bottom end is beautiful (when dialed in). 

Thanks for all of the great feedback.  I am going to try to get some dealer demos set up.  I am in western NY and may have to do some driving.

Sounds like the SF may be a safe choice base on looks and sound.  There is a local dealer but he does not have the Serafino in stock.

The Magico is an interesting option.  I will need to hear that one prior to purchase.

I will keep everyone posted.

I found a dealer about 60 mins away that carries all 3 brands.

I am going to set up a demo.  I will let you all know how it works out.

If considering Harbeth and possibly also Spendor (Classic series), take a hard look at the Graham LS 5/5.  Also worth considering is the Yamaha NS-5000.

All are good. Take your pick. Which will work best in your room and with your gear? That would decide it for me. As long as aesthetics fit. 

Five pairs of Tekton Moab's stacked on top of each other with Townsend Platforms between each one!!!!!




Sorry, had to do it. 

Based on what I read here, Magico wins in the looks+pairing+sound+value total points.  I think the SF is a piece of art as furniture and it would cost more because you'd have to upgrade your current furniture to match it.

There was a very interesting review in the latest issue of Stereophile magazine, of the new Perlisten S7t. Brand new company and speaker.

nealry half of the comments are:

listen to X!

When the post asked about speakers A, B and C.

how relevant

Thanks for all the suggestions I will listen to my 3 and anything else they have at the stero shop I am going to.  They have mcintosh as well so I should be able to get a setup close to mine.

+1 jomonhifi

Like a kid in a candy store!  Have a great time with the demos.


Of those three I would go with the Magico first and then Sonus Farber. I don't think the Harbeth are a great match for your music.


I would also add the Revel PerformaBe F328Be to your list of speakers to consider.


I am listening to GarciaLive Vol. 6 on Revel F36 now and loving it.

I do love the SF musicality. 
Buying used certainly is financially advantageous as well as getting a well broken in speaker. And why not go for the top of the line? I live happily with second hand speakers with a few slight cosmetic flaws.

Damn dude, you are going to be hard pressed to get much better than the F228Be without spending a whole more.  Maybe $25k isn't enough.

Good luck! Hope the music never stops!

@mglik I've heard the Cremonese and they are probably the best speaker I've heard. Preferred them over the Magico.  Wish I could afford them.  



Thanks for all the suggestions I will listen to my 3 and anything else they have at the stero shop I am going to. They have mcintosh as well so I should be able to get a setup close to mine.

That’s surely useful. As some have suggested, please update this thread once you managed to listen to all 3 speakers at the shop with the McIntosh as I'm equally interested to know the outcome.

Will do ..... Has anyone tried the Mcintosh MEN220 (room perfect) DSP?

It runs about 5K and may be a first step to see what it would do to my 228BEs