A Long Time Coming: A Sneak Preview of Magico’s Magnificent M9
As this magazine has reported in issue after issue, for a remarkable 48 years now, high-end audio has been driven by (mostly) guys—dreamers and tinkerers of various backgrounds and disciplines, with a restless yearning to create something better than, if not always fundamentally different from, that which currently exists.
To say that Magico CEO Alon Wolf follows this path is both true and wildly understated. Over the 15 or so years since founding his company, Wolf has created an ongoing series of loudspeakers that are arguably better than, as well as quite different from, any others over this time span.
Unsurprisingly, Wolf’s benchmark is his own. “I’ve never been interested in just making a few tweaks and upgrades and calling it a new model,” he told me during a recent visit to Magico’s headquarters in Hayward, CA. “Today’s technology is so much better than it was fifteen, or even five years ago, and it allows us to make speakers that are both measurably and audibly superior.”
Although the purpose of my visit was to listen to and report on the company’s latest flagship, the $750,000 per pair M9, I arrived unprepared for what else I would encounter at Magico’s exceptionally impressive, 30,000 square-foot design-and-manufacturing facility.
As it happens, although we both live in the San Francisco Bay Area, it had been some 14 or 15 years since I visited Magico’s original digs, back when the company was ostensibly a one-man show with Wolf himself still doing the assembly, packing, and shipping of his Mini.
Today, Magico has some thirty employees. And while touring the Magico campus—from the “museum” that displays Magico’s product history, to its state-of-the-art testing and measuring rooms, to its assembly and finishing areas, to its packing and shipping department—it dawned on me that, as gulp-inducingly expensive as the company’s speakers are, the massive investment poured into Magico’s technology and R&D, and the attention paid to every facet of design and finishing, makes its products, however spendy, absolutely worthy of their price tags.
“I’ll never become a millionaire doing this,” Wolf said. “All the profit we make gets rolled back into the company.”
After touring the entire facility, it was time for the main event. As Wolf invited me into his custom-built listening area, a “room within a room” structure measuring 22′ x 13′ x 23′, with isolated 5″ thick walls, he told me I was just the “third civilian” to audition the M9.
By Wayne Garcia
Although I’ve been a wine merchant for the past decade, my career in audio was triggered at age 12 when I heard the Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! blasting from my future brother-in-law’s giant home-built horn speakers. The sound certainly wasn’t sophisticated, but, man, it sure was exciting.More articles from this editor