To Jeff Fritz,

I was hoping to get your opinion, your recommendation actually, regarding the Magico Q3 vs. the S5. I'm using Pass Labs gear: an XP-30 preamp, a pair of XA160.5 amps, and an XVR-1 crossover. My current speakers are a vintage pair of B&W Matrix 802 Series 3s with North Creek external crossovers, and a pair of JL Audio f112 subwoofers (hence the XVR-1). My room is 16’ x 30’ x 8’.

I'm coming to the end of an upgrade cycle (I was running an Aragon Aurum preamp and 4004 Mk.II amplifier with a Bryston crossover before) and I'm ready for new speakers. I've pretty much decided on Magico, and I'm wondering if you think I should go with the Q3s or S5s. I plan on keeping the crossover and sub setup, and I'm thinking that mating sealed-box speakers to sealed-box subs should be even more awesome than mating ported speakers with sealed-box subs. I listen to all kinds of music, from the usual audiophile stuff to rock, some classical, and jazz.

Any particular thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


In your case there is every reason to go with the Q3. As for sound quality, the Q3 is going to be the more transparent, more neutral loudspeaker, with greater resolving capability from the lowest bass to the highest treble. There are several reasons for this superiority: the Q-series products have less resonant cabinets, Magico’s Nano-Tec drivers for the woofers and mids, and more advanced beryllium tweeters. The sound of the Q3, which I had in my room, is outstanding in every regard, but there is one reason a listener might choose the S5: voicing in the bass. The S5 is richer and more fulsome in the lows and some might prefer that type of sound.

In your case, however, since you are running subwoofers (good ones I might add) with an external crossover, you have the ability to tune the bass in your room to precisely suit your tastes. Since that’s the case, I can’t see any reason -- other than cost, the Q3 is more expensive than the S5 -- to go with the S5. Lastly, the Q3 has a tasteful and elegant aesthetic that I find more visually attractive than the S5, though this is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Good luck with your choice and please let me know what you ultimately go with. . . . Jeff Fritz