To Jeff Fritz,
I greatly enjoy reading your writing on Ultra Audio. It has informed several of my purchase decisions for my own system. I am now going to look into auditioning the Ayre KX-R preamplifier due to your glowing recommendation. In your most recent article, "The Super Products I'd Buy Today," there was one line that I need to ask you about. It's about the Magico Q7, when you wrote, "I think the Q7 is the first unlimited-performance loudspeaker ever made because, for the first time ever in 15 years of evaluating speakers, I was unable to find their performance ceiling in my room." I'm bothered by the "unlimited performance" line. How do you justify saying this? Do you really feel the Q7 is that much better than speakers like the Sonus Faber Aida and Wilson XLF? What about the Rockport Arrakis that you had in your room? It just seems a little over the top to me and so I am writing in hopes of getting a further explanation. For what it's worth, I heard the Magico M5 a few years ago and it was one of the best sounds I've ever heard.
Thanks for writing in and reading my work. I'm glad it has been beneficial to you. Regarding the statement I made about the Q7, let me give you some further explanation. First off, in the Superspeaker realm there are a number of products that purport to be state of the art but that really are just mediocre speaker designs with lots of drivers and huge cabinets that will play loud, but that have no business being called "state of the art." Perhaps the nicest thing I could say about these speakers is that they are big and nicely finished. No need to go into further detail. Clearly above those pretenders are speakers such as the Sonus Faber Aida, which couple good engineering with high style and a luxury feel to produce something many audiophiles covet. I really like the way the Aida sounds and looks -- all in all, a very good product.
The few speakers in the world that can actually lay claim to the mantle "state of the art" with regards to performance are at an altogether different level. The Rockport Arrakis is certainly in that select grouping and in the right environment can challenge for being called the "world's best." Without question, Rockport's Andy Payor is one of the industry's top speaker designers. The Arrakis, ultimately, was not the best fit for my room, however -- my space is vertically challenged and the eight-foot Arrakis needs breathing room up top. As for the Wilson XLF: in my opinion it's not in the conversation . . . I don't think it's even close to state of the art for a number of reasons, so I won’t go into any further explanation here.
The Magico Q7 is a different animal. Here's the scoop on my statement: In my room, for the first time in my audiophile life, I was unable to get a handle on where the stops were. What I mean is that the more I pushed the Q7s, in every direction, the more they kept exceeding all my prior experiences. This is not just in terms of frequency extension, loudness capability, resolving power, speed and dynamic impact -- though those were areas in which the Q7 was the best I've heard. The amazing part was that the speaker was so chameleon-like that I really could not nail down its character. It was that complete lack of sonic character that led me to make the statement about it being the first "unlimited performance" loudspeaker. I'm sure the Q7 does have its limitations -- every product of every type does -- but the Q7's performance ceiling was not something I could lay my hands and ears on, which was a first for me. In that sense, and in my mind, it remains "unlimited." I hope that helps. . . . Jeff Fritz