Magico S5 Speaker - SET UP ADVICE PLEASE - Tow-In - Etc.

Any Magico Owners or Dealers or Folks or anyone that may have some basic advice, ideas or feedback from hearing or seeing in a friends, dealers system or owned older version of Magico or something like or anything really that can help me? How are yours or theirs set up? The smallest moves makes huge changes and I am coming from speakers that are so very different so any and all feedback would so welcomed.

I CAN EMAIL YOU PICS of Room / Set up / Etc  fsmthjack at YAH00



ROOM:                         24 x 14 with cathedral ceilings 
MUSIC:                        Good mix - no hard metal / large orchestra and the like
LOUDNESS:                normal levels - just loud enough to sound best
SPEAKERS                  Magico S5 Speakers
AMP:                            Pass Labs X350.5 Amp
SOURCE:                     Bricasti M1SE DAC
TRANSPORT:               mircoRendu 1.4 w/Full suite of Uptone Audio products
CABLES                       HiDiamond Full Loom 
CONDITIONER            HiDiamond HDX2
SUBWOOFERS           (2) Sumiko S.9 Subs (hoping not needed with new Magico's) 

Thanks guys - I am kind of lost here and any help or feedback to get me heading in the right directions would be so appreciated.

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xfsmithjack
I looked at pics of your room. You should be fine in a similar spot as the previous speakers. 
Thanks so much! That's were I have them now. How about Tow-in? Right at seat or crossing behind my head? I have tweeters over each outside shoulder now - maybe move out a bit more? Thx 
Just bought a pair of S3   The owners manual was a good start. Do you have one?
No need for toe in. Those speakers are well designed and actually have good wide even dispersion. Just point them straight ahead for optimal Soundstage.
Didn't your dealer help you set them up? At his margin he should---that's part of what you paid for, dealer service.
I wish I bought new or rather could afforded to have new. More like 40% off which I couldn't find any dealer offing for such a respected speaker. Bought from original owner who owns a few houses and these were at a house he basically moved out of a few years ago on other side of country and only went there once in a while. Because he had used so little use and was never there anymore he had shipped to Magico and had gone through and service and test, etc. and held their till sold which was great but no manual and no dealer set. I think I've got a poor match somewhere - or set up wrong - wicked bright - maybe my cables or set up or something. I need help. Wish I had a dealer but any Magico owner please help me. I know these are great speakers just not sounding great yet? So darn bright :( something wrong here / bad cable match or something but I can hear the greatness in there 
What are best cables for taming brightness?? That are not stupid expensive - I believe in cables but not paying more than my speakers or DAC or amp?

i have HiDiamond D8 Speaker Cables that are copper and pretty smooth and decent. Not Nordost Oden but compitant decent SC's.

i am running with no Preamp going direct from my Bricasti M1SE to my Pass Labs X350.5.

The IC I am using is single ended RCA Verestarr Grand Illusion Signature 2m and this is a very nice IC - not cheap and a bit warm very nice with my other speakers. 

Power cable for DAC and Preamp is the also very nice matching Verestarr Grand Illusion II 2m. These are nice and open sounding PC's - not cheap but used not insane either.

i don't see any apparent / glaring weeklink?? 

Im thinking getting a tube preamp.
BAT VK-32SE and maybe a warmer not hyper detailed IC - maybe Cardas Golden Reference or Kubaba Sosna Facination - both balanced - I chose these because a bit warm and phat but not too much so but that's where my brain is at which proves I need help?

any idea guys? Is a MIT cable better - so many models.

The way sound now is sort like you would think Spectral amps sound without MIT cables just too much of a good thing - the highs are to the heavens but too much. It lacks balance - meat - blood - midrange - earth - needs all of it.

Help !!!  
In my experience if the speakers are "too bright", a tube preamp will not tame the brightness by a big margin. What it might do is make the mids a bit more pronounced in contrast giving the initial perception that the highs are less hot but you'll know they are there when you listen to music for an extended period. Less toe in usually helps with reducing the highs. But these are temporary solutions. Room treatment, warm IC, etc., are probably better solutions.

I would think that this combination of gear, DAC/Amp/Speaker would have a very strong, detailed, but potentially bright sound. I'm not surprised that you are getting that result. I  have no issue with Pass Labs; I have reviewed them and used them extensively, but I would think a Pass/Magico combo would be tough to work with.

A friend of mine who had trouble with too much stridency and upper end energy with a Pass/Thiel combo put in a CJ (Conrad Johnson) tubed preamp and that has been a lovely combo. So, perhaps a warmer sounding preamp in the chain could help. I know from experience that often when going direct from DAC to amp it can be very tricky to get the tonal balance correct. In fact, most DAC to amp pairings require a fair bit of adjustment. So, no need to despair; it's really fairly common.

When you have that much of an issue often one has to change components, not just cables.

One thing you can try; you already have the subs. With many systems adding subwoofers can ameliorate a perceived overemphasis on the high end. It balances out the spectrum and it is amazing how the addition of deep LF makes extension on the top not as glaring. So, I would try the subs with the speakers as a first step.

If you have some additional interconnects, try whatever ICs you have on hand. Often a very good combination can be found where the IC - as an easy change - can address some high level stridency.

Also, if you have different brands of power cords, rotate them between gear. The results can be helpful.

These are among the simplest and easiest changes. If doing all this does not seem to improve the situation enough for your taste, then you are looking at either a speaker or component change. Or, you can swap out entire looms of cables to find some that mesh better with the system.

Regarding positioning, toeing in the speakers or not is entirely your option. I would not simply place them parallel, but would experiment with some toe in, because it influences the center image and that image in relation to the soundstage. Even if the manufacturer says no toe in is necessary, still try it, as you may prefer it.

Post removed 
There are a number of things you can do, positioning is best done using the Wilson grid method. 

You may also need to play with tweeter rake angle sometimes if the tweeter is off axiss when you are sitting it can cause the speakers to sound bright.

I believe in what Mr. Schroeder said, the Briscati is a Levinson design, by ex Levinson designers, therefore it is not big on tone color. Adding a good tube preamp will add a bit more warmth to the system.

Also moving into a good power conditioner can help. I think your Hidiamond is a power distrbutor rather than a power conditioner, we have had amazing results with the Audio Magic line of conditioners and the Running Springs, which tend to improve a system greatly in musicality.

As per tube preamps we have a number of demo preamp from CJ, BAT, and a few others that we could bring over to you.

We talked briefly about the Kef Blades. We are the NJ based dealer we do offer a tuning service and I can almost certainly guarantee that we can fix your issues with the Magicos. 

Please feel free to contact us, to schedule a tuning session.

Dave owner,
Audio Doctor NJ
Please pm me your email and I will send you a copy of the owners manual. You receive the link when you register your speakers with Magico. Magicos speakers are anything but bright. 
Thank you Kalai - Doug - Dave - Benzman -

I really appreciate the help. I don't want to overreact but these are way too good a speaker to be sounding the way they are - I am so glad I waited on a buying a preamp until I heard these.

I absolutely was not ready for this though to be honest!

My understanding is Magico really needs the Power of a SS amp or I wouldn't even consider a tube amp but a tube amp to drive these properly is way more than I have money wise. Heck I stripped out my analog and all my tube based components to sell to get these. I think these are super sensitive to changes.

I switched the power cable to my amp and just that made a big change in the sound. Not really any better but quite different - these certainly are finicky grumpy - angry speakers.

If they don't like something they you know it and scream it at the top of their lungs and they don't like something - hope its not the amp - know it's not the DAC. The DAC is better than the speakers IMO.

I think they hate the SS combo of my DAC direct to my amp. They hate it - I think they hate my interconnects and hate my power cables and maybe even my speaker cables but these are not bright SC's so maybe not those but they are not happy.

One of the guys was saying this is how Magico's are and why some people don't like them. I don't buy that for a second. These speakers are just not happy right now all with how they are matched... if this was their sound no one would like them and so many people do! 

my email is:

fsmithjack at YAH00 

Part of me just wants to trade out of these today to something else but these deserve the effort I think They have so many fans - I have to be able to get them to sound good! 

Dont you guys think? 

These are grumpy buggers!!! 

You said the original owner hardly used them.  Could it be that they were used so little that they aren't broken in?
"So darn bright :( something wrong here...."

"... if this was their sound no one would like them and so many people do!"
I’d have to agree that it sounds like something is wrong here.

This is probably a long shot, but it seems worth asking: Have you been running the Sumiko subs with the Magico speakers? If so, and if you are connecting the subs at speaker level, have you been connecting the black wire of the Speakon cable to the white signal ground terminal on the rear of the amp, which is where it should be connected?

If instead you have been connecting it to a negative output terminal of the balanced Pass amp, which is a mistake that seems to often be made when connecting powered subs to the outputs of balanced amps, I’m envisioning that in combination with the low impedance of the S5 (as opposed to the impedance of your previous speakers) an ultra-sonic oscillation could conceivably result, that would manifest as brightness/harshness. And that kind of effect might account for the sensitivity to the amp’s power cord that you mentioned.

Just a thought. Regards,
-- Al

Re Magicos and tubes - my Q3s love the ARC pre and VTL monoblocks I pair them with. Personally I never really like the big Soulution amps that Magicos are often paired with at shows, the combo with tubes often gets feedback along the lines of “ I usually don’t like Magicos but these sound great”

i will say however that the Be tweeter needs careful room matching, I’d suspect that you have lots of unpleasant interactions with your untreated room. Have you tried a near field setup to see if that is more acceptable? At least then you’d be able to minimize the room interaction
Imo you can never have too much definition; it's how it's managed that counts. 

Pedigree of speaker will not determine how lovely it sounds in your home, and the same is true of components and cables. Finding the proper match not only with quality but also with the house sound is important. There is not a high end speaker made that can assure that all audiophiles will like its sound with all systems. I would expect that half the systems made would not be completely fulfilling, regardless of the brand of speaker. You're expecting perfect sound without doing your due diligence, i.e. system building. Not gonna happen typically. 

The DAC may or may not be an issue. When you have such a strong negative reaction, be prepared to change two or three things It's not about the DAC being better, but rather what components match up better. 

You went from analogue and tube components to all SS and extreme definition speakers. This will take some time and experimentation. It is very, very unlikely you would hit the nail on the head in your first one or two permutations with those speakers. It will simply take more time and experimentation. So be it. Look at it like a project similar to a house remodel. You go at it methodologically and make the changes. In the end you get your dream result. I know some guys who have taken a couple years to get their rigs perfect. It all depends on how much you want to push the schedule. 

Put the subs back in. Toe them in. Keep working it.
Thanks guys - honestly though - these are very well built and engineered speakers as is my DAC and amp and cables for that matter so to a degree they should work to a certain level?. I agree synergy wise and tweaking and getting to the sound one likes but this is different. I've owned many Wilson, Revel, Kharma, B&W and many others and used big Krell and BAT Class A amps and I know the SS slam sound. I get it - I've been thrown off by this synergy crisis though - I need to hook up a big - Phat, juicy tube pre and even if it's not the awnser just to hear what the result would be??? 

Your Bricasti M1SE DAC has adjustable output.

quote from manual 

The next stage, at the analog out of the converter for the gain and filter sections there is a fully differential analog design with fast high slew rate analog operational amps. This is followed by 2 transistor designed output buffer sections, balanced and unbalanced, each separately buffered and isolated. The balanced output level as shipped is set with a fixed resistor at +13.5 dbm. For custom level matching, an internal the jumper on the board can be moved to engage a precision adjustable potentiometer. This adjustment is set from the rear panel screw near the XLR connector. When the potentiometer feature is engaged the level is adjustable from +8 to +23 dbm and can be referenced to a fraction of a db to match any setup. This level is set as a default +16 dbm at the factory so when the jumper is engaged this will be the new level. Please contact us for detailed instructions on how to change and set these levels. The unbalanced is set to normal hi fi levels of 2V RMS (+8dbm) by precision resistor values on the board."

You should check check to see what you have set. It is possible you may be sending too high of a signal to your amplifier and therefore clipping and massively distorting the input stage ...

At +22dbm the balanced XLR output voltage will be about 18 volts which is a pro audio signal and too much for most consumer grade amplifiers.
Super good idea - I am still running it single ended but that is a very good point. 

Ok so I am trying out some different - well matching cables tonight guys! Psyched !!!

My local Magico dealer - the great folks at Goodwin Audio in Waltham, Ma are letting me try out some Kubala-Sosna Expression Speaker Cables and a pair of Balanced Interconnects tonight.

I am pretty excited about this. They tell me they have used Kubala-Sosna in their demo rooms with Magico and used these exact cables with S5's in the past and they know for sure they are a good match so this gets to help reduce some variables here which is awesome!

I will try these tonight and update you guys. So hope they help!
Also, if these don't do the trick or at least help go in the right directio Goodwin will send out a Magico guy to come over my house and check everything out and help me with set up and listen for themselves to help figure out what the problem/s are, offer me some ideas and help me out.

How are awesome are these guys? I couldn't afford to buy new Magico's from them but I can buy some cables and pay them for their service to help me so I am pretty excited. They have been awesome! This is a great dealer and I am very thankful. They as well as you guys have really reduced my audio anxiety - well for now anyways :)

I'll keep you posted. Too bad I can add pics on here?      

Too bad they don't carry Audio Research otherwise you could borrow and try a Ref 6 just to test your tube preamp theory....Maybe you're lucky they don't....
Definitely cover the TV with a blanket just to see if that makes a difference.....
A long thread just on that specific topic.
Fsmithjack, thanks for posting the pix. Regarding my previous post, about sub connections, after looking at the second from the last photo I see that you don’t have them connected to the amp. I also see that your amp doesn’t provide the white signal ground terminal I referred to. After looking at some additional rear panel photos of the X350.5 via Google Images, it appears that some X350.5s were produced with that terminal (such as the one shown here), while others (including yours) were produced without it.

In any event, if you do end up connecting the subs at speaker-level, as I had mentioned the black (ground) wire from each sub should not be connected to a negative output terminal of the amp, since that terminal has a full amplitude signal on it. Connecting the black wire to a chassis screw might work ok, or it might produce a lot of hum, depending on the design of the amp. But the best approach would be to solder the black wire to the ground shell of an RCA plug, leaving its center pin unconnected, and inserting the plug into an RCA input connector on the amp. Of course, to make that possible without using a y-adapter you would have to connect the Bricasti (or a preamp, if you eventually add one) via XLRs.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

You have purchased wonderful speaker i had Magico Mini 2s now have Q3s  the Pass 350.5 is a great match i had Pass 350.8. Im now using Audia flight Stremento #4 Mk2.Im using Furutech top of the line copper cables large gauge copper is a great match with Magico I'm sure Kabals-sosna will be great as well.Im using Furutech power cords as well as i said copper is the way to go.The CJ ET5 is a great match as well but you must get nos Amperex from late 50s that will raise this preamp to a new level.There are ET 5s on Audiogon now at great prices as there is an ET7 out.Look at Symposium stands under your speakers they will give you much better detail and base as well.As someone said your speaker may not be broken in as its at least 500 hrs.You have great speakers  that need the best of everything to sound there best.Enjoy!!
Al good stuff - I was hooking the subs before to the black terminal. Do you think if I ever hook them up again I should avoid that? I did it with my Rethm's and it worked good but your info is great info!

Guys I want to update you on good news I've had with system changes that helped a ton.

Rather than typing it out twice I'll copy my email response to Peter Mackay VP of Sales and Marketing for Magico. He said he read my thread asking for help and he reached out and sent me the S5 manual and Magico set up info and made himself available and said not to worry he will help me get this right which I though was awesome - here is my rnail response to Peter: 

Thank you Peter! I called Goodwins my Local Magico dealer and they were amazing they not only offered to come out to my house and check everything out and help they spoke to me about my supporting gear and mainly my cables - Speaker Cables - Interconnects - Power Cable for source and amp.

We spoke and they recommend Kobala Sosna Expression cables so I drove right over and picked up some SC IC form them to try for the night and I plugged in another PC I had but via my Conditioner vs direct to the wall recomended by an Audiogon member. Needless to say these changes really changed everything. I did the cable change each set of cables at a time.

Each change it got a bit better but when I got to the speaker cables the entire speakers character changed which I've never experienced with cables before when using decent similar prices stuff but my stuff was a very poor match.

Verestarr cables are NOT a good match for Magico's I guess or maybe at least with my gear combo but I'm so happy its changed and sounds so much better.

I still have so much to do - much more tweaking and optimization and setting up proper and refinements and the like and I'm gonna add a high quality tube preamp etc. but now I have a baseline that I can work with.

The balance before was so far off and so bright and uneven but now these Kubala Sosna cables are amazing and I'm quite pleased that the cable swap helped so much and got them within working distance. I spent a coupe hours with lazer / tape measure / levels etc which I'm sure helped quite a bit as well :)

Thanks for reaching out. 


Here are a few ideas for you;

1: Enormous improvement moderate cost $1,200.00 get a set of Isoacoustics Gaia footers the Gaia Ones can handle 200 pounds so your 220 weight is still workable.

The Gaias make an amazing improvment in tightining bass and createing a much more focused soundstage and make everything more clean without grain. These are one of the true wonders in audio, way, way better than spikes.

2: Move to a power conditioner that will work wonders, a Running Springs, Audience, or Audio Magic are so far the best we have tested.
An Audience 6TS demo like the ones we have are sold for around $3k and they can make a huge improvement. The Audience has a nice effect in adding a nice sense of warmth without making things too dark like some conditioners they also don’t limit current. Your HDX2 is built more like a star grounded distributor with a surge supressor then a power conditioner like an Audience or a Running Springs which use inductive and capacitive filtering which is really effective at removing grunge. The HDX2 seems like it is designed to distribute and absorb surges rather than being a mega filter.

3: Move your speakers further apart and increase the toe in. This generally moves some of the tweeter energy away from the ear and increases the soundstage and sense of realism.

4: Add Isoacoustics footers $20 each $60 for a set of three under your components. again makes everything less grainy.

5: Move into a real server rather than the Micro Rendu with a lot of uptone stuff, you may be surprised at how much better a well designed server is.

I would do the above steps first, the Kubala cables are warm however they only get good with the Emotion, and great with the Elation. We were dealers for a while. The Enklein cables were better so we parted ways with Kubala.

Again, if you want us to come up we offer a very comprehensive setup service that will work wonders, so I would inquire what Goodwins will change you and compare the rates to ours.

As per your previous point, it is not how good the components are it is how they work synergistically. What works for one speaker and setup will not necessaily work with another and moving from your original speakers which use a custom version of a Lowther design,  to Magico is dramatically different type of loudspeaker technology and sound.

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ

Glad to hear of the good progress!

I was hooking the subs before to the black terminal. Do you think if I ever hook them up again I should avoid that? I did it with my Rethm’s and it worked good but your info is great info!
Assuming that the sub has a three-prong power plug, yes I would avoid connecting in that manner.

To explain why, I’ll first mention that in good designs circuit ground (also referred to as signal ground) will often be connected to chassis through a low value resistor, commonly somewhere between 10 and 100 ohms. In some cases circuit ground and chassis may even be connected directly together (i.e., through zero ohms), although that is poor design because it results in susceptibility to ground loop issues. Also, if the component has a three-prong power plug chassis will usually be connected to AC safety ground.

So in cases where BOTH the sub and the amp have three-prong power plugs, connecting the negative output terminal of a fully balanced amp to the negative speaker-level input of a sub (which is presumably connected to the sub’s circuit ground in most cases) would result in the signal that is present on the amp’s negative output terminal being sent through some unknown but probably low impedance in the sub to the sub’s chassis, then to its AC safety ground connection, then through the power wiring to the amp’s AC safety ground connection, then to the amp’s chassis, then through some unknown but probably low impedance in the amp to the amp’s circuit ground. Resulting in the circuit in the amp which drives its negative output terminal probably being loaded by somewhere between 0 ohms (a direct short) and 200 ohms. If that value is low enough, obviously the amp may either be damaged or forced into a protective shutdown mode. But even if the resistors are high enough in value to avoid that kind of issue, and to prevent sonics from being affected, one or both of the resistors might eventually blow as a result of having to handle more power than they are rated to handle.

I’ve seen a number of cases here where people using REL subs have reported connecting in that manner and getting away with it, presumably because the resistors were high enough in value to prevent a problem. But at best it is not good practice, and as I said it risks overheating and damaging the resistors eventually if not sooner.

Continued good luck! Regards,
-- Al

P.S: I just found the following statement in the manual for the X350.5, which was apparently written before the version of the amp which provides a signal ground terminal was introduced:
Some powered subwoofers require an audio signal ground reference and their makers may suggest that a black speaker terminal is where this voltage reference might be found. On complementary designs, which would be typical of all power amps produced by Pass Laboratories™, this is an incorrect and unsafe assumption. On all Pass Laboratories™ power amplifiers a reference of 0 volts will be found only at pin 1 of the XLR input or at the shell of the RCA input.

Reference connections for these devices require special consideration when used with our product. If you have such a device, and wish to use it with our product, please contact our Foresthill, California factory for specific instructions.... you have been warned.
-- Al

Get the grills off the speakers!!! All Fixed. My S3 are different speakers with grills on and off. That's why they are optional. 
Have you tried the Cardas speaker positioning?
The speakers look like they should be pulled out, from the front wall more?
You've got a coffee table in front of the listening sofa along with the TV/rack between the speakers. Room treatment?

 Game over, if you're expecting "high performance" sonics. At least  that's what some of those "audio experts" might mention, looking at the pics?

It appears the system is in a "living space" so WAF,aesthetics,etc also limiting ultimate SQ?

With all that nice gear,speakers and doodads, it's a shame you're not satisfied.
And I see suggestions for MORE doodads! 

Good luck.

Glad to see you're making positive forward progress. 

As I said earlier, beryllium tweeters are touchy.  I've now had three different pairs of speakers with those tweeters and when not implemented perfect, they're a little too exciting for their own good (which was the case on my older Focal Scalas). 

One of the things all beryllium tweeters need is clean power - for some reason they are very sensitive to clean power, much more so than other types of tweeters.

The pics confirm my fears about your room. 

If you don't treat your room (which looks to be too small for those speakers), you probably will never be fully happy with those tweeters.  It's just the nature of the beast.  That TV needs to be covered up when listening with a panel and those windows behind the speakers as well (look into moveable panels that you can keep elsewhere and then put up when needed).  Another thing you really need is an absorptive area rug, what I see doesn't look like it does much.  The table needs to go.  That leather couch is also an issue - you want absorptive cloth.  You also really need to treat that wall right behind the listening position.  Finally, if those speakers are on a typical US floor, then you've got to get some isolators as you need either direct coupling to concrete (which is what I have) or suspension.

Having said all that, you're also sitting WAY TOO CLOSE to the speakers if they have beryllium tweeters.  Also, my experience is that with beryllium tweeters you really need a system whereby you can shelve the output slightly up or down to also account for your room (which is one thing I've found that's an amazing option on Focals - that 1db up or down can make a huge difference).
Two things to add if not already mentioned. I too have an M1 and have never found it to be anything other than a wonderfully musical device and going direct to amp sounds great. It’s true that you might need to lower the output voltage which is not very hard to do. don’t even consider ditching the M1 as it’s not a problem but an asset. 
The other thing I might consider is a $300 pair of GIK free standing panels(2’w x 5’ t) to place at first reflection point. Easy to move around and will definitely dampen any nasty/hot  first reflection points. I actually prefer mine a little further down the length of the room. Point being you can find your sweet spot. 
Just my humble opinion and best wishes.
@fsmithjack,perhaps the bright sound you're describing is the result of your Pass Labs X350.5 amp operating in Class B mode.  Pass states that the X350.5 transitions to Class B at 40 watts, but I'm suspect of this as the newer X350.8 transitions to Class B at 18 watts.  My understanding is that sealed cabinet speakers like Magico's need a lot of power. Should be easy to tell when your X350.5 transitions from Class A to B by observing when the needle moves as you increase volume.
4425 - Thank you and I totally agree. For the record I've never considered changing my Bricasti. I think I've briefly mentioned but maybe not but I think it's the best peice I own and it's the rock that everything else I have gets tethered too. These Magico's would go before the Bricasti but they are not going anywhere neither. I tried new cables last night Kobala Sosna - not sure that is correct spelling SC and XLR IC. This change allowed me to really learn about these incredible but ultra sensitive to cabling speakers but I think my set is also is putting much more undue pressure on the cables also! 

The Bricasti is not going anywhere. Every little upgrade makes it sound better and better. I love it! 

I think what the Magico are - are a super - hyper revealing transducer that I've not experienced before. They absolutely hated - loathed my silver interconnects and my speaker cables. Screaming at the top of their lungs - no no no. I got their message loud and clear.

I actually think the Bricasti direct to my Pass amp in itself is uber transparent and combined with the Magico strips the cable combo is naked and  gets overly exposed and not that they are bad cables because they certainly are not but this set up put a microscope on the cables like a level I have never experienced and assume most other have M1 direct to X350.5 to S5's = you better have a balanced and perfectly match cable SC IC combo because they are going to be naked - under a spotlight - under a microscope - and where their may be a combo or synergy weakness gets not only exposed but uber exasperated and accentuated and force multiplied - where in my old system their brightness might have been a nice antidote for something those needed or where here - no hiding and prisoners. I've never had cables make such a difference - I've changed speakers and heard less change than these cables. I've never known such cable sensitivity but my former must have had a serious mismatch in fairness to Magico. 

I added the Kobala Sosna and last night was like awe - so much better. What a difference and now this morning guess what?

They sound muted - image that. I take these any day of the week. I added my Verestarr PC back in direct to the wall and that added a bit more resolution in but I've never - ever - had cables make such a difference as it was always before a matter of flavor or voicing or preference or sophistication not the difference between bleeding ears getting a head ache to being sort of muted - that is nuts but it's what happened in the last 48 hours. I would like these Kabola Sosna just a bit more revealing and sneak some tubes in somewhere to add a little earth and I think I'm in business - but am afraid another cable will change the entire audio world of my room again - crazy - I've never dealt with this before buy learning is key - asking for help and listening and learning - the members on this site are the best for proving help and pointing out things I've never thought of.

Al that info you shared about my amp and subs - I knew none of that - I was totally in the black - you saved my $12,000 MSRP amp - paid only $5,200 used but still thanks - if I blew my amp I would have been bummed. I send my stuff to Nelson's house rather than Pass Labs because we've know each other for some time but he would have been like / you didn't read the manual you nuckle head - thanks Al


Welcome to the world of high resolution for both the pros and cons.

When you have a hyper detailed speakers you will be aware of all of the tiny things that can affect the systems tonal balance and utlimate performance.

We have the Personas and they are as revealing if not more so than the Magicos, but boy when you get them setup right, they are an amazing window into the music.

As per cabling, the Kubala Sosna sound is definatly on the warm side there are a new line of Enklein cables that are reasonbly priced at $1,800 per a set of interconnects based on the $16k David interconnects and they have a wonderful balance of warmth and body as well as detail.

You will be amazed at what changing your power conditioner might accomplish.

We do not have the negative view of Beryilium drivers as Bar 81 does, Beryilium, Diamond, Aluminium, Titantium, are all good materials which in the hands of a skilled engineering team can all make excellent diaphrams.

Beryilium is prized for its light weight and high ridgidity so it is very fast and clean treble, with a lot more resolution than the wizzer cone/ Lowther sound, exact opposties in fact. So with that kind of resolution you will have to retune your entire setup to add more warmth where your old speakers needed enhanced clarity, so very revealing silver based cables would work wonders on a softer treble speaker such as the Rythem.

Please read up on the Isoacoustics you will be amazed at how big a change they will make.

Good luck and our phones are always available for any questions or ideas you want to bounce off of us.

Your sub hookup questions should be addressed directly to Sumiko. As the ground for the speakers on a Rel is not like a nomral ground in an electrical sense. the Rel subs read the signal from the amp like an rca cable.

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ
What you are doing is putting bandaids on a problem instead of fixing it.  If cables make that much of a difference in your system in the other direction, you are simply trying to offset issues with both products.  Before wasting money on bandaids, address the core problem - which is your room and depending on your floor, the speaker footers.  If you do that I expect that you might not need to change much and even if you decide to get new cables you will be looking at other cables, etc that aren't that colored.

The Kubala Sosna cables are filtering the sound and no doubt removing some of the treble and brightness. Glad that this band aid works for you for now but you really should try to get to the bottom of what is causing a sound that is giving you headaches.
Audiotroy 10-14-2017
Your sub hookup questions should be addressed directly to Sumiko. As the ground for the speakers on a Rel is not like a nomral ground in an electrical sense. the Rel subs read the signal from the amp like an rca cable.
Hi Dave,

Before I submitted my previous posts about this I had looked at the manual for the Sumiko sub. As can be seen on page 15 the recommended connection of the black wire in the Speakon cable to a "bridged (differential input) amplifier" (which obviously would also apply to a fully balanced amplifier) is to a chassis screw. That is the same as what is recommended by REL for their subs, and will work ok in most cases as I mentioned, although depending on the amp design hum may result in some cases. But connecting it to the ground shell of an RCA input connector, as I suggested, is a better approach that will certainly work well with this amp, given the mention in the amp’s manual that the RCA ground shell corresponds to signal ground. Which would be the case with almost all other amplifier designs as well, aside perhaps for some that have transformer coupled inputs.

Fsmithjack, two more points on that subject, the first of which you'll be especially glad to hear:

1)The risk to the resistors that I mentioned, if the black wire were connected to the amp’s negative output terminal, would be much greater with the Magicos than with the Rethms, since the much lower efficiency of the Magicos would result in more voltage being applied across the resistors for a given listening volume.

2)If the subs were connected in that manner the risk to the resistors would arise even if the subs were turned off, since it is the ground path through them that is involved.

Regards, and continued good luck!

-- Al

this is a very interesting thread with excellent information. You posted beautiful pics! Hope your system is getting better w/ help from this panel of experts.
Happy Listening!
Much Thanks! for posting information about KS and EnKlein cabling.
I have always wanted to audition these (2) brands. There is not many reviews out there regarding the individual products let alone comparisons to each. Please keep sharing your thoughts and listening impressions as you have represented both brands.
I think you need a pre-amp in the chain period.  I have yet to hear a direct DAC to amp sound great and an dealer friend concurs with me.   It’s a great idea on paper but I have never seen it translate to my satisfaction.  

Hi fsmithjack,

Cabling does have a big effect but should not be looked to for wholesale changes in frequency response or sound character of a speaker. I think you will find that neither the old nor the new cabling alone is going to bring you satisfaction based on the described symptoms.

You local dealer has the clear solution in having someone from Magico visit your home and help guide you through this transition. I would jump on that ASAP.

bar81 -  shadorne

I agree with both of you guys but my system never had this problem before and I'm not sure this is a root problem but there certainly well could be! 

I am open to idea's and suggestions and would love to fix it if that is the case.

I sure don't want band aids and I agree that a cable swap should not make that much difference and I want help hence my asking for help in this thread.

What makes me think I there might not be a root problem is the tear I went on a couple years when I was on the ever spinning speaker - go - round and the only thing that landed me was the Rethm Saadhana V3 Speakers.

As a point of reference here are some of the speakers I used while on the go - round. A whole bunch of Martin Logan Speakers: Aeon i, Accent i, ESL, Vista, Vantage, Spire, Summit, Wilson Watt Puppy 5, Wilson Sophia II, Revel Studio, Kharma CRM 3.2 FE w/the new black drivers, B&W 800, Sonus Faber Cermona Auditor, Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution, Quad 57’s, Audio Physic Virgo and Virgo II's, Magnapan 1.7's and 3.7's. Merlin TSM-MMi, Ascendo C-8 Renaissance and a bunch of others. I state these only as point of reference that I am not just a single full range driver guy that doesn’t have a clue about quality dynamic loudspeakers. 

That said I must admit I am in need of learning about these Magico’s because they have presented me with challenges that none of the above have.

I was hoping it was the cables but I think you guys might be onto something when you speak to a root issue somewhere.

I know it’s not my DAC or my Amp. Those are solid units that many people can speak to. What do you guys think? Maybe my conditioner. I plug my amp right into the wall?

 Maybe have a couple dedicated 20amp lines run to my rig?

Any other ideas?  

Thanks Guys 

-- Al- thanks so much - so i need someone to make me (maybe try myself) a custom cable end mod and basically take the ground wire of both subs and on each one of the them then solder it to the a RCA but hooked only to the ground wire part in the rca plug. I can do one for each sub and then plug both of these rca into the rca of the amp and be good to go running xlr cable of course?

I actually bought a very nice and expensive pair of RCA ends when I was going to have a guy make me a nice silver phono cable but never did. I still have the plugs. Do you think I could do this myself. I have a cheap radio shack solder iron  and some silver solder? Never tried it. Is it easy to tell what is the ground in the rca plug? Thanks   

I can’t emphasize enough the use of a preamp with the DACs at least in my experience. It was slightly sibilant and thin sounding in my system with my Magico S1 Mk2 in all my direct testing of several DACs with volume control.
I am presently using a Pass Int-60 with a Chord Dave. I have now sold my S1Mk2 and awaiting delivery of S3 Mk2.   I considered like you the S5 and Q3 but my room is 11x14 with 10ft ceilings so I think I’m even pushing the envelope with the S3 Mk2.  I was very happy with the S1 Mk2 but upgradeitis got the best of me.
Fsmithjack, yes, what you said in your last post is correct. And for a typical RCA plug, such as this one (shown with its housing removed) the connection point for the ground shell is easy to distinguish from the one for the center pin once the housing is taken off. In the one shown in that photo it would be the longish part that extends out to the lower left.

Best regards,
-- Al