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Magico Q5 loudspeakers Review, Part 1

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There’s got to be a way to personally audition some of these speakers, and I found out that a dealer about 2-hour away carries one of these brands. So, on a recent father-and-son bonding time, I took my son and drove up to Napa Valley to test drive (my wife’s) new SUV through the back country…..And hauled some wine home. (That’s the real reason) On the way back, we stopped by the audio store to try to audition the speakers. Well, the store owner sized me up and down a bit and asked about my current set up. Then he told me that I would not be able to audition the speakers today and would have to make an appointment and come back another time. Well, heck, I ain’t driving here again at a later date. Strike Two!

Then I received an email invitation from a local store to hear the US debut of their top of the line speakers. The price tag, US$250k! No, it did not move me to tears. I thought they must be targeting at all my dot com millionaire neighbors who’s got more money than they know what to do with. But I did enjoy their smaller speakers. But no, still not to the point where I am willing to shell out my hard-earned cash to bring them home. But I realized that I do have a tendency to favor Accuton drivers. Strike Two point two! (Pun intended.)

Back to searching online to see what all the rich people are dumping online and see if I can find some bargains. The clock is ticking. My middle age hearing is diminishing by the minute according to the American medical journal. Soon, I will not be able to hear all the high frequencies. Maybe I am there already, so all this is a lost cause. And I should really just go buy a pair of Bose speakers and call it a day.

Just then, a pair of Magico Q5 showed up online. I’ve heard several Magico speakers before; the Magico S3 in the Pass Labs room at the CAS 2015 did make some good impression on me. And the Q5s are local! It’s up in Berkeley/Oakland area. I could just drive up in my minivan, throw them in the back, and drive them home! Nice! After giving it some thought for about a month and convincing my better half why I think I need to sink this crazy amount of money for a pair of speakers, I contacted the seller and drove up to audition them. Wow, they sounded good. After listening to a few tracks, I shook his hand and pulled the trigger. It was a miracle as several people had already offered to buy these. But he decided to sell them to me so he doesn’t have to deal with freight shipping them. That’s right, they are 420 lbs EACH! I really should have thought about logistics before pulling the trigger. Yah, I don’t think I can just load them into the back of my minivan. I couldn’t even push them to move an inch!

Well, I work in the real estate and facilities group at a tech company. So I know some of the vendors that perform moves for our company week-in-week-out. In one water fountain conversation (cunningly struck up by me, of course), I asked if the guys would be interested in some weekend side job loaning me some muscles and their truck to pick these up and get them into my listening room. I would pay them handsomely. So we agreed to do this on the Memorial Weekend, and of course I should pay double time as it is a national holiday. OK, whatever, I am desperate! Just loan me some muscles!

I want to say that it was smooth sailing right after that. But a few days beforehand, the guy told me that his truck had broken down. There’s likely chance that he will not be able to do this for me. OK, plan B! But I don’t have a plan B. I called U-Haul hoping that I would be able to rent a truck last minute, on the eve of one of the busiest long-weekend where everyone seems to be moving. I was lucky enough to secure a truck for that Monday morning, but I must return the truck by 2pm that afternoon. Time is ticking. I hope these guys show up on time and there won’t be any traffic on the road.

We finally got there after spending over an hour on the road which would typically take me 45 minutes in my minivan. Now, getting these 420-lb behemoth into a crate presents a challenge. I had asked the move guy to bring at least 2 or 3 guys as these are heavy. But he only brought his brother. I am not sure how the 3 of us is going to handle this as I am not the weight-lifting type. But I have to say, thanks to the good illustrations Magico provided in their manual and the experience shared by the, now, previous owner, we were able to quickly load the speakers into the crates and get them out of his loft apartment with almost no incident. Correct, almost none except that in the process of trying to get these into the crate, one of the movers had touched this brand new, megabuck, speakers. And all I heard, from behind me, was “don’t touch those.”

I thought a 15-ft or a 17-ft truck from U-haul would do the trick. But beggars can’t be choosers. U-haul gave me the 20-fter. When we loaded the two crates to the back of the truck, it only occupied maybe 5% of the cargo space. So we began our way back home. Before we even reached the highway, something came loose so we needed to stop and go back to secure the crates to the railing.

After what seemed to be the longest drive in my life, we finally reached home. Now, getting these into the house is another challenge. Do we move the crate into the house, then get the speaker out? If not, how else can we get the speaker into the house? We settled on getting the crate onto the deck outside of the dining area one at a time, uncrate the speaker, put on the casters to the bottom of the speaker, then roll the speaker into the house, then repeat. But there were two challenges. First, we can roll the crate on carts to the backyard, but we must lift the now 450+ pound crate up 6 inches onto the deck. Then we must uncrate the speaker, put on casters, then roll the speakers over the bottom guides for the sliding door into the living room without crushing or bending those guides. Once they are in the living room, it should be no problem rolling them into the listening room on the tile floor. But I hope the weight will not crack any of those big 2-ft x 2-ft tiles we have all the way from the dining area to the listening room.

Well, we did it! I wish I could say that I contributed 1/3 of the muscles and lifted my (150 lbs) share. But it was more like my two pals lifted 80% of the weight.

We managed to put some boards on both sides of the guard railing to make it a smooth flat path over the guard rails to get the speakers in. After about an hour, we successfully unpacked the two behemoths and rolled them into the listening room. I thanked my two pals, paid them, and sent them on their way. And I also thanked my friend’s brother for his service to the country and to spend this Memorial Day helping me.

I was able to fill up the tank and returned the rental truck with ½ hour to spare. By the time I got home, I was really exhausted. Well, listening would have to wait until after work the next day. Just another day in the life of an audiophile. These days, when those guys come visit me at the office, they are still teasing me to see if these behemoths are still shaking down my house and my neighbors. Well, that’s a story for another day. My neighbors are musicians. Sometimes I enjoy sitting in the backyard hearing them play more than sitting in my sound room listening to recorded music.


Read Part 2 – Conclusion

4 Responses to Magico Q5 loudspeakers Review, Part 1

  1. Fred Crowder says:

    What a really great story, perhaps because it echoes my own experiences, except in my case the speakers were 850 pounds each. I look forward to your listening. In a way you are lucky that your seller broke them in for you saving many months of sub-optimal sound.

  2. David Snyder says:

    Hi Frank,

    I agree with Fred…a great story well told. I too am looking forward to hearing them in your system sometime soon. Cheers.

  3. Mike says:

    Hmmmm, a set of Magicos or a Porsche 718 Cayman?
    Decisions decisions.

    How is it possible that there is value equivilency here?

    • Frank says:

      Value system is a very personal paradigm. Only you can decide whether something is worth what you have to give up in order to obtain it. Most of us have limited disposable income, some more so than others. What tickles your fancy will be very different than mine or anyone else, for that matter. Same as to what you would be willing to trade for it. To me, value is created when a person develops an emotional connection whether it be an object, an event, or an experience. And then there’s priorities. We all struggle with it daily. If I decide to save that money, I could invest and make more money for later. Or, I could spend that money to do this, get that, or that instead. Should I spend it on this, or that, or that? No one can tell you whether the way you spend your money is right or wrong. If my wife had her way, she would have used all that money to fly all over the world to spend time with her relatives. In her mind, that has much more value than say sitting at home staring at two behemoths making noises.

      If you do decide on the Cayman, make sure you take me to the race tracks. I would love to take it through a few laps to see what it can do. But no, if I had to make that decision all over again, owning a sports car would still be near the bottom on my priority list.

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