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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

We spoke some time ago regarding Magico and other speakers.

I have started my search for "the perfect" system and have listened to the Wilson Audio Alexia and TAD first. Although I found the build quality and finish of the Alexia quite impressive, I was disappointed by its sound. Electronics were the new beefy Devialet amplifiers, by the way. It was as if there was a woolen blanket softening and coloring the music. Voices were in the background and laidback. It also raised a lot of questions for me as to why the reviews of the Alexia are so positive. To ensure that my disappointment was not caused by the electronics, a set of MartinLogans were hooked up (I use them in my current system), and no softening was audible.

The next opportunity was to have a good listen to the TAD Evolution One and the Compact Reference. Although everybody was raving about these products I was, again, not very impressed. I did like the clarity of the Compact Ref., but the sound was boxy, very pinpointed, and lacked fundamentals in the bass region. When I closed my eyes I still could hear the music coming from the different drivers. The Evolution One did not appeal to me at all -- just a good speaker but nothing special. All electronics used were top notch: all the big TAD pre and power units including a TAD front end. The guys demonstrating the TADs were flabbergasted that I was not impressed and told me it was almost impossible not to like these speakers. I remember driving back home wondering if I have gone mad not liking these beautifully built speakers.

Last week I had the chance to listen to the Magico Q3 driven by a Spectral pre and power amp. After about ten minutes it was clear that I was on the right track. Tight, quick, very coherent, open, resolving, and dynamic. What a difference from the Alexia and TAD. For the first time in about 20 years a new glimpse of audio heaven had opened up to me; the last time was with the MartinLogan Statement run by Cello pre and power amps. As I am used to electrostatic speakers, I was also impressed by the super-fluid treble, which was transparent, open, and quick, but never sharp or soft. Besides the sonic qualities, I admire Magico's effort in building and designing almost all their technology, such as cabinets, filters, and drivers, themselves instead of using "cheap" paper cones, for example.

Although the Q3 can play loud without noticeable distortion, I did miss deep bass fundamentals and slam. In my "perfect world," a speaker must be as lifelike as possible including this range as well. So the quest continues, as I will be listening to the Q7 in about two weeks. I can't wait to hear them after my experience with the Q3. Maybe there is a "perfect" speaker for this mad man.

In the meantime, a possible new reference, the M Project, is about to hit the market. Besides its more attractive pricing, it will incorporate the latest drivers and has a smaller depth size. The Q7 depth size raises some serious opposition at home. Do you think that the new M Project will be a serious Q7 competitor, and worth waiting for to have a good listen? Anyway, big steps have been made in my search for the perfect system and your advice and comments are highly appreciated.

Many thanks and with kind regards,
Paul Vos
The Netherlands

No one has heard the new Magico M Project speaker as yet, so it is impossible to say definitively whether it will be a serious competitor to the Q7. But based on the specifications that have been released, I think it would be wise to hear it if you are serious about owning a loudspeaker at that level. The details on the drivers look quite ambitious, and the cabinet is surely a beauty. As well, there is no question that its size and weight will make it more approachable for many listeners, where the room is smaller and/or the décor is not as flexible.

On the other hand, the Q7 will, I'm sure, be more capable in the largest of rooms, particularly in the bass region. The Q7 also has a cabinet that is supremely ambitious, and I'm not sure that will be equaled anytime soon. The Q7 remains the best speaker I've heard, when taking all performance characteristics into account. I'm sure you'll love it.

Ultimately, only listening to these two superspeakers in the same environment and with the same electronics and program material will tell you for sure which you will like best. I would advise you, though, to move fairly quickly on the M Project if you are leaning in that direction. My understanding is that only 50 pairs will be built and I imagine they will get scooped up pretty quickly. Good luck in your search, and do let me know which way you decide to go. . . . Jeff Fritz