This year's CES is likely to be unusually exciting for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is the little number from Magico shown below.
If you go to the Magico Web site at www.magico.net/, you will be surprised to see a great big letter "Q" with the date 2010 beneath it. What this mystery symbol stands for is a whole new line of aluminum-bodied loudspeakers--the first of which, the Q5, is to be introduced at this year's CES. Clck on the "Q" symbol and you will see a series of pictures of the gorgeous, deco-looking Q5, one of which I've pasted in below.
The Q Series is kind of a culmination for Alon Wolf and his partner Yair Tammam. Not only does it use all-Magico-designed drivers, including a brand-new, built-in-house dome tweeter that is said to extend upper-end frequency response to well beyond 50kHz at lower distortion levels and higher transmission speeds than Magico's superb MR-1 ring-radiator tweet, but its chassis is, as you can see, an all-aluminum model of extraordinary sophistication and beauty. (See the Q site for photos of the incredibly elaborate cross-bracing inside the box.)
For years, Wolf and Tammam have wanted to build all Magico speaker enclosures entirely of aluminum (as they did with their ultra-expensive M6 and state-of-the-art Ultimate) because of its ideal blend of stiffness and mass (only prohibitively expensive titanium outperforms aluminum in these regards); the problem was costs--both for Magico and for the end-user. Recently, however, Magico acquired its own machine shop with 6 CNC milling machines. Building in house--rather than farming enclosure construction out to companies in Denmark or the U.S.--not only gave Magico heretofore unparalleled control of the entire speaker-building process, it also lowered construction costs substantially, since it is much cheaper to use your own CNC machines than to rent time on someone else's by the hour. As a result the Q5, pictured above, at an MSRP of $54,000 will be CONSIDERABLY LESS EXPENSIVE than my current reference, the $89,000 M5, in spite of the facts that the Q5 uses newer technology drivers and enclosures.
How it will fare against my current reference is a question that I am eager to hear answered. As good as the M5 is--and it is still, far and away, the best speaker, overall, I've heard (by which I mean the most lifelike speaker i've heard--in my room, with my ancillaries and my music)--it is not the best in every regard. As I noted carefully in my M5 review, there are a number of other speakers that outperform it in certain areas--particularly in low-level resolution at low volumes, transparency to sources, and dynamic range and scale (particularly on the piano end of the spectrum). In my conclusion to the review, I also said that the absolute sound is a rapidly moving target and that there might be other speakers on the horizon or speakers I simply hadn't auditioned yet that could outperform the M5s. At the time I didn't know about the Q5, which has been kept a deep secret by Magico. But we may--repeat, may--have arrived at the horizon line a lot faster than I would've guessed. I'm making no predictions about the Q5, save to note that on the basis of past experience Magico does not introduce new products that aren't worth attending to. The M5 sets a standard for large multi-driver loudspeakers that is going to be very tough to equal or to best.
The public unveiling of the Magico Q Series should make what was already going to be a very interesting CES that much more interesting.