Magico and Tube amp

Hello all. Wondering if anyone here is powering the Magico (m2) with a tube amp namely the ARC ref 160 mono. Looking for neutral, natural and musical sound. Thanks. 


I have heard that combination. I liked it better than many other combinations. Magico is so fast and detailed, when fed with the solid state amps / preamps like Luxman and Boulder I found them not to be musical enough for me.

@ghdprentice That’s the issue I’m having having heard the M3 with Constellation and currently using my bothers Luxman 900. Music has is not engaging.  Did the ARC 160 have enough power to handle the bass?

Magico, which are known to be an amp buster speaker ( like so many these days! One has to ask, why are these designs so popular??) works very well with one tube amp that can handle their nasty impedance drop, and that is the CAT tube amps. 

These are the best amps I have heard on Magico's.

I did hear Magico's being run with a CAT amp at CAF last year, or perhaps the year before and thought it sounded very good. I want to say they were the Legend monoblocks or something like that I am not a CAT expert.

+1 on CAT with Magico. @daveyf beat me to it, but the Magico S5 MkII with CAT electronics is a jaw dropping outstanding setup. It wouldn’t matter whether it’s the JL-5, JL-7, or the Statement....all 3 are in a league of their own IMO

@knotscott   +1. Any of the CAT amps will be good though the larger mono blocks are probably best. 

Interesting thread

my friend pointed me to this


i also have the m2

i have 2 amps thus far on it, I use a Boulder 2060 as main, and I have classe delta stereo as back up.  I was looking at Cary 805rs tube mono for it.  I use audio research ref 10 phono and linestage upstream.


cool discussion, I would like to also see what tube maps have worked with this speaker.  

it can sound majestic

Hey joey_v, nice to have another M2 owner on the prowl with. How do you like the Boulder? What other amps have you tried and to finally land on the current 2 in your possession. My gut feeling, for the sound Im looking for, tube amp is what’s lacking in my setup.  The ARC 160 MKII reviewed very well, but so far lots of people have said its not a good match.

Where are you located?

OP, the Reference 160m is an excellent match with the Magico M2. It can provide the rhythm and pace and midrange bloom you are missing on the other amps. There may be controversy between the detailed / slam folks and the musicality folks. The character of the bass on very realistic tube amplifiers is very different from solid state… instead of bass being a brick wall it is nuanced and well… realistic. If instantaneous brick wall bass is what you want… then a tube amp is not what you want. If you want natural nuanced and forceful bass then the Ref 160m will do it. I seriously doubt that you would need more.. but if you really like head banging music at absurd sound pressure levels then you could trade up later to the ARC Ref 320.

Magico speakers are evolving rapidly: older designs tend to be very analytical and IMO possibly overly so.

Starting with the M9 they are trending towards musicality with more natural tone and detail.

The A5 and S3 Mk3 and now the new M7 all use the 5” midrange debuted in the M9.  Perhaps that is largely responsible?

I bring this up as the discussion of suitable amps is largely affected by this recent trend with Magico.


Narrowed down to CAT JL7 se and Tube like amp Gryphon antileon Evo. Anyone hear the Gryphon with Magico?