Magico S1 MKII with Naim amplifiers


I’ll probably audition a pair of Magico S1 MKII. But won’t do it immediately. So I would be very much interested to read your opinions regarding these speakers, especially with Naim amplifiers.

I’ll probably audition the Magicos with a 252DR/300DR system.

I look forward to read your comments.


Hi Thomas. I’ve heard the S1’s, but honestly they seem to need subwoofers and many S1 owners use them that way. They do not seem to be terribly “full range” on their own.

That said, a 300DR is probably the minimum Naim amp I’d try to drive them with. Should be sufficient!

I ordered Magico A3’s in December 2018, and they should arrive any day now.

Considering my listening context and taste I guess the Magico S1 should suffice in terms bottom end energy.

My actual speakers have really small drivers (two 5,12 inches drivers and a ribon tweeter). The don’t move that much air, which means a light bottom end comparing to bigger speakers. But I’m ok with that.

They are amazing in terms of details and imaging. They have a marvelous mid-range and top end. But, with my actual, system I seeking even more transparency.

Hi Thomas,

252/300DR is what I use my S1 mk2s with. They should be enough for you to judge their performance.

By no means bass monsters but very transparent and among the least “colored” speaker I have heard.
They can be a bit direct and tiresome if setup with to much toe-in in my room. I use ca 5mm toe-in and leaning slightly backwards, but this obviously is room dependent.

This is exactly what I’m looking for : transparency, details, … Being able to follow each voice of a string quartet with all its details and intentions.

On the contrary, being tiresome is of course an obstacle.

I use my actual speakers quite toed in, which provides a wide soundstage and details at the same time.

Her is a picture of my system.
If I go for the Magicos they’ll be installed as shown (2,20 meters between the speakers)
The NAP500DR wasn’t yet installed.

They may very well be just what you are looking for then! You certainly have a system to match them!
I mentioned the “tiresome” so you don’t dismiss them without some experimentation.


Well with all due respect, not a lot of the above matches my experience with S1 MkIIs. Firstly though, I don’t use them with Naim amplifiers…I have them hooked up to Devialet 440 Expert Pro CI monoblocks, which is IMO a match made in heaven. Speed, rhythm, listener involvement and presentation are all SOTA.
As regards toe-in I use the speakers well away from front and side walls, widely separated and with lots of toe-in. My room is fairly small and reflective with lots of backwall diffusion and quite lossy in the bass. Devialet includes a feature called SAM which corrects the speaker’s bass to achieve its designed response and monitors cone movement to keep things safe. In terms of performance, I get bass that is frankly scary. I used to wonder what that term meant as it seemed a bit silly…now I know. Its essentially bass that’s so low and solid that you’re convinced its going to blow your speakers, except it doesn’t. Given the size of my room, certain pieces of music…Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on Dorian arranged for organ and played by Jean Guillaume is simply stunnning, while Flight of the Cosmic Hippo by Bella Fleck or La Fabuleuse Histoire De Mr Swing by Michel Jonasz are replayed with extremely solid and satisfying deep bass, that in no way mandates the need for a subwoofer, which in my experience is always difficult to properly integrate in terms of speed, room position and room node activation. Obviously my small room helps with bass energy.
Having listened to the Magico’s for 8 months I’m still at a loss to describe any negative or subtractive characteristics beyond the fact that they reproduce exactly what’s on the recording. No matter what I’ve identified as ‘character’ it will completely disappear a few recordings later. The S1MkII is a highly revealing speaker because as far as I hear its pretty much transparent. If your system is analytical in any way, that’s how they’ll sound, but if your system has the same low distortion and transparency, that’s exactly what you’ll get. The top of the treble range is incredibly extended and sparkles and shimmers with energy and purity. The Magicos will produce a room filling soundstage with perceived width, depth and height that extend way beyond the rooms own boundaries and I’ve never owned speakers that are better at disappearing. If the recording includes acoustics of a small intimate venue, that’s what you hear. If the venue is large, again that’s what you hear. You don’t actually hear your listening room, beyond the fact it always imparts its own sonic characteristics…in my case a vibrant immediacy and intensity.
Piano and horns sound incredibly vibrant and real, with that beautiful hammer followed by the note’s room-filing bloom and decay and the horn’s contradictory mix of mellow, burnished brass with an initial room-filling stridency and energy that will give you goose bumps.
The S1MkII is a two way speaker with a 7” driver, so don’t expect trouser flapping bass (which only a few recordings actually have). But if you want the most gorgeous rendition of bass, with timbre down to the quietest and most subtle of bass notes, the S1MkII delivers in spades. A subwoofer will give you extension but typically you’ll lose the bass refinement that this speaker offers


Yes I guess so. At least in terms of transparency. I’m just worried they might be a tad forward (which isn’t good for classical music). I read some comments (not reviews) describing such a tendency. May I ask your view on that?

Do you mean that the placement isn’t easy? I won’t be able to move them much. I much probably will place them as my actual speakers, as shown on the picture.

Let me make a few comments:

The Magico S1MkIIs are in themselves not a forward speaker but they do offer very transparent treble. If your previous speakers were a little reticent in the treble and your amp isn’t a paragon of naturalness, you’ll immediately notice any deviations from neutral and you would tend to label the speakers ‘energetic’ in the treble, even though the treble energy is actually coming from the amp. Why? Because you only changed the speakers and afterwards the sound maybe got a little forward at the high end. The fact you didn’t hear it before may well be down to your previous speakers, that simply don’t have the S1MkII’s extension and treble prowess. If however your amp has excellent transparency, neutrality, accuracy and timing, low distortion and the power to drive the speakers to realistic levels, you’re golden.

Regarding placement, they are a sealed box enclosure and therefore relatively easy to place without major bass problems. From a soundstage and imaging standpoint that’s down to how they sound with the wall reflections that are created by their positioning. In essence you are going to get ‘the position’s sound’ rather than ‘the optimum sound’. How different they’ll be is only something for conjecture…I would guess you’ll probably lose a reasonable portion of the extra good goodness that this speaker can produce, but will get all the basic qualities which includes some of the best sound per $.
I wanted to make another point about subwoofers. If you listen to the S1MkII in your room and conclude that due to the room’s size, it needs a subwoofer, you’re probably buying the wrong speaker for your room and should move higher up the S range. You’ll appreciate why I say this when you hear the refinement these speakers exhibit in the bass, something you’re unlikely to match but very likely to mask with a sub.

I do not listen to a lot of classical myself I’m more into rock, blues and jazz, but I can not see that classical would be any issue with them. On the contrary, I would assume they should work grate with classical music with their transparency and soundstage. The potential culprit would be insufficient bass support in your room/system.
Actually after moving to a flat with a much bigger room to much bass support for my previous speakers, Dynaudio C2, were the reason I started looking for an alternative. My first try was actually the Magicos’s and they have been here for almost two years now.

Regarding placement I don’t find them more sensitive than others, possibly less so with it’s sealed box. But in my experience there are positions in all rooms that work better than others in “energizing” the sound with all free standing speakers, and in my room the Magico’s are no exception. Actually, the S1’s ended up not so far from we’re i used my C2’s before, if that is a coincidence or not I do not know, or if that would have any relevance for you in your room.

I would suggest you audition the A3s as well. They are cheaper but you may find that they are better.

Good luck

My A3’s were ordered at the original price, but even after the price increase they are a tremendous value. The only other Magico’s I’d consider for my own home are the M2’s, but they are 6 times the price of the A3’s.

If the shop has the A3 on demo, I’ll audition them as well. Finding the right speakers isn’t an easy task. So, I’m open to audition what ever is available and meets my tastes and budget.

Those would be my first choice as well :wink:
But they are way beyond my reach.

Thomas and Bart,

Out of curiosity; why M2s rather than M3s, S5mkIIs or any other Magicos?


As far as I’m concerned, M3 are way too big. I’m looking for speakers with small drivers that don’t displace to much air. I want my speakers to interact as little as possible with my room.

I’m looking for speakers capable of better mids and heights than my actual ones. Which won’t be easy to do.

The Jean-Marie Reynaud Abscisse are astonishingly good, even compared to much more expensive speakers. But of course they aren’t the perfect speakers in terms of lows. But I’m ok with that. Transparency, accuracy, details, timing, etc. from 80Hz up is what I enjoy.

I think from the picture, your room is well treated with vicoustic. Room interaction with speakers and room acoustic should further enhance the sound quality. Why do prefer less air movement. Are you referring to Bass issues ?

With well treated room like your, image and soundstage should be excellent. Having said that speaker position are critical to get excellent results. Therefore, your choice of speakers are widely opened.

Indeed. Bass is always a problem and can’t be solved with the kind of room treatment I have (you need very very think materials to absorb low frequencies). So lows are still a problem. That’s why I’m going for small speakers.

It is. The room treatment, which includes more then what’s on the picture, was enormous improvement in terms of soundstage and definition.

I’m not that sure. It’s not so easy to find very good speakers with small drivers. In fact, the JMR Abascisse are quite an exception.

I thought about Focal Diablo, Wilson Duette and of course Magico S1 MKII

Based on what you have said above I would suggest an audition of the YG Acoustics Carmel 2. An exceptional speaker. About the same price and size as the Magico S1s and also a two way sealed box design.

Best regards


Thanks for the advice! :smiley:
Unfortunately it seems that they “don’t shine at low volume” which is a problem for me. Often, I listen to music during the evenings (I have a young daughter).