Magico M6

Crossing the Threshold

Equipment report
Magico M6

Before taking delivery of Magico’s M6 loudspeaker, the three best-sounding speakers I’d had in my home were Magico’s own Q7 Mk.II ($229,000, Issue 256), the Wilson Benesch Eminence ($235,000, Issue 294) and the Rockport Lyra ($169,000, Issue 276). The M6 doesn’t have the bass extension, power, and muscularity of the mighty Q7, but it’s close. The M6’s midrange isn’t quite as magical as the Eminence’s ethereal, electrostat-like transparency. This new Magico also falls a little short of the Rockport in resolving extremely low-level textural detail that reveals the beauty and realism of instrumental timbre.

Yet if given the choice of any of these state-of-the-art contenders to live with for the rest of my life, I think that I would choose the M6.

Why? In a word, balance. The M6 is so fully realized in every way that nothing about its sonic presentation reminds me that I’m listening to a loudspeaker. It’s not a “top down” or “bottom-up” speaker, and it doesn’t compromise any performance aspect to hyper-optimize any other attribute. Although the M6 may be bested slightly in a few specific areas by a very select group of the world’s greatest speakers, we don’t hear music as “specific areas” of sonic performance. Rather, we experience a holistic, unconscious reaction that either crosses the threshold into believability or doesn’t. The M6 allows me to cross that threshold, quickly and completely, every time I play music.

Jonathan Valin wrote a brilliant analysis of this phenomenon in his review of the Acoustic Signature Invictus Jr. turntable in Issue 297: “Though I’ve struggled for decades with explaining which sonic qualities make for a ‘real’ or lifelike presentation (beyond, of course, superior LP engineering and mastering), I keep coming back to the fact that I know ‘real’ when I hear it. Indeed, I know it instantly without rational analysis or reflection (which is part of what makes subsequent rational analysis so difficult). Though I distrust the concept (because it itself is hard to explain), it has come to me that perceiving a recorded copy as the real thing isn’t merely a matter of superior parts but of what psychologists call the gestalt grouping of those parts, wherein the many variables that we reviewers (and you readers) ascribe to real and recorded sound (i.e., true-to-life timbre, pitch, dynamics, duration, soundstaging, imaging, bloom, dimensionality, etc.) are no longer perceived as separable (or even as outstandingly well-reproduced) ingredients but as a collectively realistic representation of a whole.”

(One reason that Jonathan remains high-end audio’s finest writer is that he doesn’t just describe in a review how the product sounded. Instead, he thinks deeply about, and then explains with great clarity, fundamental ideas about how we perceive reproduced music.)

Jonathan’s insight perfectly explains why the M6 is so compelling musically—it has a singularity of presentation that seems to render moot analysis by dissection.

Magico’s M series began as a research project into building enclosures from carbon fiber and aluminum rather than purely from aluminum. That venture resulted in the M Pro in 2014, which proved the concepts of Magico’s new enclosure direction. The goal was to build an enclosure as stiff as aluminum but with greater damping, lighter weight, and most importantly, more rounded surfaces to reduce cabinet diffraction. The M6 reviewed here is the top of the M series that includes the $56,000 M2 and $75,000 M3. 

The $172,000-per-pair M6 is a three-way, five-driver dynamic loudspeaker with three 10.5" nano-graphene woofers, a 6" nanographene midrange, and a diamond-coated beryllium dome tweeter. The enclosure is sealed. The nominal impedance is four ohms, and sensitivity is 91dB. The speakers weigh 400 pounds each, out of the crate, significantly less than the 750-pound net weight of the Q7. 

The M6’s baffle, top and bottom panels, and narrow back plate are machined aluminum, with the tapered side structures made from ½"-thick carbon-fiber panels. The tapered carbon-fiber sides are just the visible portion of a single-piece, six-sided monocoque structure made from ½"-thick carbon-fiber walls that extend under the aluminum panels on all sides. Cross bracing through the center adds further rigidity. Note that the enclosure sides aren’t the typical carbon-fiber skins separated by a core, but half an inch of solid carbon fiber. The M6’s shape is radically different from previous Magico products; the ovoid cabinet has no edges anywhere. Even the top and bottom panels, machined from 2"-thick aluminum, feature compound curvatures and smooth surface transitions between the carbon-fiber and aluminum components. The baffle is considerably wider that the rear panel, so much so that the M6 is supported by three feet rather than by four. This shape reportedly nearly eliminates diffraction, and is claimed to be a significant contributor to the M6’s sound quality. In fact, reducing diffraction is the M series’ raison d’être.