To Jeff Fritz,
I just stumbled over your reviews -- they are great! Thanks for articulating so well!
I am having a hard time deciding on what to purchase. I’ve been saving up for a while, and now I’m trying to home in. I loved what little I heard of the Magico Q3s with ARC Ref 250s, but it was at a convention, so I didn’t get to evaluate as well as I would have liked. I wonder if you have had an opportunity to compare to the other two speakers noted below -- your perspective would be greatly appreciated. Can you offer any insight to my selection below? Thanks so much in advance.
- Wilson Audio Sasha
- KEF 207/2
- Magico Q3 (unfortunately out of my budgetary price range)
- ARC Ref 250
- Lamm M1.2
- Dan D’Agostino Momentum (unfortunately out of my budgetary price range)
- ARC Ref Anniversary (unfortunately out of my budgetary price range)
- ARC Ref 5
- Ayre KX-R
- Lamm L2 (but hesitation since no balanced inputs or remote)
In my experience, the speakers need to be decided upon first. Buy what fits your room and tastes -- get what excites you. Although I don’t know your room size, there is no question in my mind that if you can stretch to order Magico Q3s you'll never regret it. It is a phenomenal speaker that will never need replacing. Its transparency, detail retrieval, speed, and resolution are unrivaled at anywhere near the price point. Even if you have to adjust your budget downward on the electronics, in my opinion it would be worth it. In second place would be the KEF, but only if you could get the Blade loudspeaker or some soon-to-be-released variant. I'm quite sure some form of Blade-series speakers will be replacing KEF's Reference series very soon. Based on what I have heard at shows, the Blade takes KEF's Uni-Q technology to another level. Definitely worth seeking out.
As for electronics, I don’t think there is a loser in the bunch that you've picked. Tubes and solid state still do sound different and that is probably the most important decision you face based on your candidates. One thing I would recommend is that you pick the amplifier and preamplifier from the same manufacturer; this will give you the best chance at creating good system synergy and will certainly avoid impedance mismatches. Lastly, many amp-preamp combos these days have added functionality when you use the units together and I think that will enhance your enjoyment of owning them. Specifically, I think the amplifiers from ARC and the Ayre are simply superb, so those would be my first choices based on what you've selected. . . . Jeff Fritz