Let’s indulge ourselves for a minute and imagine that we could conjure up the ideal loudspeaker without regard to physics or the limitations of today’s technology. Our fantasy allows us to specify the transient speed of a full-range ribbon, but with the weight behind those transients provided by moving-coil drivers. We’ll take the transparency of an electrostatic with the dynamic contrasts and “jump factor” of a horn design. Since this is all wishful thinking, we can specify no horn colorations to go with the horn-like sense of immediacy and dynamic verve. We’re free to order up the visceral bass weight and body of a large ported enclosure accompanied by the dynamic agility, textural resolution, and pitch definition provided by a small sealed enclosure. And while we’re at it, our dream speaker will exhibit no box coloration, have high sensitivity, and be an easy load for a power amplifier.
Although such a speaker is obviously merely a creation of our imaginations, there’s one loudspeaker that comes closer to that ideal that I ever thought I would hear. That loudspeaker is the Magico Q7.
Before tackling this ambitious loudspeaker I’d like to settle something. It’s been suggested by some that Magico receives a disproportionate amount of coverage from The Absolute Sound. After all, how many relatively new loudspeaker companies have had so many positive reviews, awards, and cover stories? None. But how many other new companies have pushed the envelope in loudspeaker design the way Magico has in the past five years? None. It’s our job to report on the high-end landscape as we see it and let the chips fall where they may. If another loudspeaker company wants the same amount of attention that Magico has received, let it be as consistently innovative as Magico.
With that addressed, let’s first consider the Q7 purely in numerical terms. Five drivers in a four-way configuration. Seven hundred and fifty pounds apiece out of the crates. One hundred and eighty- five thousand dollars a pair. Six hundred and thirty-five bolts in the three-axis internal bracing. One hundred and one machined components. Three continents required to produce the drivers. Ten hours of machining to create the 90-pound baffle (not to mention the 70-pound interior baffle).
In purely physical (and financial) terms the Q7 is obviously a formidable product. But that’s not the Q7’s most compelling story. What’s most interesting about the Q7 is the sophisticated technology underlying the loudspeaker and the passion that brought it to realization. Everything about the Q7 stretches beyond the existing art, from the custom Nano-Tec drivers with diaphragms made of the same material used in helicopter blades, highly advanced new driver motors created especially for the Q7, a massive all-aluminum enclosure with an extensive internal lattice structure to increase rigidity, and state-of-the-art crossovers built from cost-no-object inductors and capacitors.
It’s natural to look at the Q7 and see it as “merely” a scaled-up Q5, with more and larger drivers and a bigger enclosure. Although the two loudspeakers are obviously based on the same technology platforms, the realization of those technologies is considerably more elaborate and sophisticated in the Q7. (See the sidebar for a detailed technical description and comparison of the Q5 and Q7.)