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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

I just read your Magico Q3 review with great interest. I have Shindo F2a Sinhonia monoblock amps (generating about 40) and a Shindo Giscours preamp connected via Auditorium 23 cables to DeVore Silverback speakers. I will eventually go the turntable route, but CDs are thoroughly enjoyable played through my Bel Canto stack (DAC and CD player) and I am in no rush. I have terrible room acoustics: speakers about 9’ to the listening position and I have them about 20’ apart (don’t ask me why . . . it's complicated). The room is large: probably 24' x 35' and replete with floor-to-ceiling glass on three walls, wood-planked ceiling and stone floors. Alas, it’s truly horrible for a music room, but there is nothing I can do. Even when I put the system together three or four years ago I always intended to get bigger speakers someday and miss my old 8’ electrostats from my previous setup.

I have researched the new stuff out now and several products seem to be large improvements over "traditional" gear:

1. Vivid Giya G2
2. Wilson Audio MAXX 3 (even the Sasha)
3. Magico Q3 or Q5

My simple question is, how do you think something like the Magicos would work within my system and, if you are familiar with the DeVore Silverbacks, can I expect enough improvement to be worth it to me to change? Many thanks for your help.

Jeffrey V. Langdon

You have several issues that you will need to address if you want really spectacular sound (and it seems that you do). First, with a room that size I think you need more powerful amplifiers no matter what speakers you choose from your shortlist. You simply have a lot of volume to fill (I'm guessing much greater than-8' ceilings) and it will take a substantial amount of clean power to do that with any of your chosen speaker candidates. And is there anything you can do to address room acoustics? There are some really nifty sound-treatment products these days that blend into décors rather than dominate them. Something to think about . . .

Regarding speakers, there is no question that Magico and Vivid occupy top positions in terms of what can be done in 2012 with dynamic-driver-based loudspeakers. Both brands are striving to perfect the linear, low-distortion, minimal-box-signature loudspeaker, and it seems they are coming ever closer to that goal with each new product. Frankly, I love the sound of both companies' speakers. On the other hand, I don't think the Wilsons are competitive with either brand. As to which one on your shortlist to pick? I'd get the Magico first and Vivid second, but I know our publisher, Doug Schneider, would reverse that order. The Magicos really come closest to the ideal of the "full-range, dynamic-driver electrostat" of any speaker I've heard. Either way you go, you'll be treated with state-of-the-art, full-range sound. I am actually quite fond of the DeVore speakers (from my short auditions at shows), but I don't think they are pushing the boundaries of what's possible the way Magico and Vivid are.

As for power-amplifier brands, you could easily drive any speaker with a pair of McIntosh MC601 or Simaudio Moon Evolution 880M monoblock amplifiers. The Vitus, Soulution, and Gryphon amplifiers of the world are available at much higher costs still. I do realize that my suggestions are somewhat radical in terms of investment and domestic feasibility, but the products you are considering have the potential to produce state-of-the-art sound and if you make that last push, I believe you will be eminently satisfied. . . . Jeff Fritz