To Jeff Fritz,
I’m very close to pulling the trigger on a new rig. I was ready to dive in with the Soulution amp/preamp combo and the [Magico] S7s. After your endorsement, I flew out to RMAF and was blown away by the Magico/Soulution connection. Now I’m getting a vibe that I should listen to the latest Rockports. I definitely will make my way to Goodwin’s High End, but wondering what your thoughts are. Which did you prefer overall, the S7s or the Cygnuses? I look forward to hearing from you.
I’m surprised this question did not come in on February 1, the day my review of the Rockport Technologies Cygnus loudspeakers posted. I received your email on February 2.
OK, the usual disclaimers: I have not heard the Magico S7s in my room or with exactly the same electronics that were used in my Cygnus review. Let me be clear: I did not -- in my room or anyone else's room -- directly compare these two products. So the best thing -- by far -- that you can do is to go directly to Goodwin’s, where they will put each set of speakers into place one pair at a time in an excellent listening room and let you do back-to-back comparisons until your heart’s content. That’s the easy answer, but I’m not going to duck your question, so . . .
The best place to start is with the basic differences between the tonal balances of Rockport and Magico loudspeakers. To put it succinctly, the Rockports will sound more bass-centric to most listeners than the Magicos. I often describe this sound as one with a left-to-right-slanted tonal balance (what I imagine the frequency-response graph would look like). The Cygnus has full, articulate bass just like all Rockports I’ve heard, although it does have more midrange and treble energy than Rockports of days gone by. Still, the Cygnus has more prominent bass than the S7. There will certainly be listeners who will gravitate toward the Rockport sound. You may be one of them.
The Magico S7, however, should not be mistaken for a speaker that is bass shy. On the contrary, the triple 10” woofers on the S7 will deliver super-low bass, and will do so with uncommon linearity. And the S7s will, in my experience, sound even more linear than the Cygnuses. The Cygnus certainly does not have that classic bass hump of the old Wilsons (I don’t know about the current ones), or nothing remotely close to it, but it does have a smoothly rising response down to the low bass, at least to my ears. The S7 counters with an incredibly resolving sound, without ever veering into harshness. Magico speakers really do possess that ideal combination of electrostatic-like speed with dynamic-driver punch, with an extra helping of extreme transparency. It is an addicting sound.
You will also have to consider the aesthetics and the material design. The MDF/aluminum-hybrid Cygnus has the curvature and sleek lines that many will find visually alluring. The S7, on the other hand, has that military-grade build quality that seems to eclipse everything else out there in terms of tank-like solidity. It’s a Magico hallmark.
In terms of electronics, I can confidently say that the Soulution products will get the best out of either speaker. Both speaker models like clean, powerful solid-state, and the Soulution amplification fits that description in spades.
I can’t choose the S7 or Cygnus for you. However, I will say this: I would be overjoyed to own the Rockport Technologies Cygnus loudspeakers. The Cygnus can be considered a true reference-grade, full-range model. It also eclipses -- in terms of my own musical enjoyment -- most any other loudspeaker I could name. At the end of the day, though, I chose Magico as my personal reference, several years ago, based on many hours of listening, and I’ve not yet been convinced to change that. I find the Magico sound singularly honest, and the company’s Q7 MK II is still the best loudspeaker I’ve ever heard. . . . Jeff Fritz