Magico MPOD

Magico MPOD

In the near future I will be blogging about the Magico’s M3 loudspeaker—along with the now-discontinued MPro, simply the best-sounding dynamic floorstander I’ve yet had in my home. But for the time being I want to say a word about an ancillary Magico product, the MPOD noise-channeling support system. That word is: “Wow!”

I’ll be honest: In the past I’ve never heard much positive difference with manufacturer-supplied or aftermarket loudspeaker feet. This includes the feet that Magico originally supplied with the MPro. After nearly crushing my fingers (and Andre Jennings’ hand) replacing the wheels attached to the 550-pound MPro and putting those feet on, I was appalled to discover that the feet that nearly cost me a finger made next-to-no appreciable difference in sonics! (Like so many other manufacturers of very large, very heavy floorstanders, Magico expects dealers to bear the brunt of setup, which leaves reviewers in the lurch or, in my case, the emergency room.) Oh, I suppose there was a slight improvement in the bass, due to better coupling of the MPro’s three woofers to the floor, and perhaps in image specificity (ditto), but all things considered if I’d had it to do over again I would’ve left the wheels in place.

Thus, when the M3s arrived—once again on wheels—I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to get them up on their feet, even though those feet (now called MPODs) and the crossbeam that holds them add better than ten grand to the cost of the speakers. I lived contentedly with the new Magicos on their rubber rollers until Allan Moulton of Musical Surroundings chanced to visit to check out the terrific new DS Audio DS 002 optical cartridge and phonostage (which, at $5000 for both, may be the best deal I’ve ever come across in front-end components). Turns out that before going to work for Musical Surroundings (DS Audio’s U.S. distributor), Allan had been one of the top salesmen at Goodwin’s High End and spent better than a decade setting up Magicos, Rockports, and other great speakers for Goodwin’s customers. Within fifteen minutes he had the MPODs on the M3s—and didn’t come close to losing a finger.

Based on past experience (including, as noted, past experience with Magicos), I was thoroughly prepared to hear nothing special, but was I ever wrong. Folks, the sonic differences the MPODs made turned out to be astonishing, comprehensive, and profound: much fuller, richer, more beautiful, more natural timbre in the power range and the mids; much fuller, denser, and better defined bass; much smoother, less aggressive treble; much wider, deeper soundstaging; much more three-dimensional imaging; and much higher resolution of inner detail top to bottom. It was—forgive the cliché—like getting an entirely new and greatly improved loudspeaker, and the M3s were anything but chopped liver before I switched out their feet.

What the heck had happened?

Well, in two words, superior engineering.

Though the beautifully machined MPODs don’t look to be all that complex, they are, in fact, elegantly designed products that appear to do precisely what Magico claims they do: “dissipate resonance and maintain ideal coupling to the floor” when placed under heavy loads such as loudspeakers. Made of multiple machined aircraft-aluminum and tungsten-steel parts that, when assembled, form a vertical stack, the MPODs feature a solid pure-copper center section sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of ISODAMP—“a thermoplastic material that, when compressed against the copper substrate, facilitates the constrained layer damping function and dissipates unwanted energy virtually immediately.”

Prior to installation the top and bottom halves of the MPOD are held apart by a pull-pin that runs through their central spindle. Once the MPOD is installed on the speaker, you pull the pin out —like you’re pulling the pin of a grenade—and (no longer held apart by the pin) the entire sandwich of metals and plastics is compressed together, maximizing the constrained-layer damping effect.

Though the hefty MPODs are, as noted, anything but inexpensive ($3150 for a pack of three, $4200 for a pack of four, and $8400 for a pack of eight), judging from the profound sonic improvement they made to the already superb M3, they are most certainly worth what is being asked. If you own that loudspeaker (or any comparable Magico), you would be foolish not to opt for them. Though I don’t yet know this for a fact, the MPODs may have the same astonishingly salubrious effect on any very heavy loudspeaker or component placed atop them. I’ll let you know about this as time goes by and I have the opportunity to try them under different, non-Magico items.