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Visiting Margules Audio

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Margules Audio

While vacationing in Mexico City with my wife Martha, I had the opportunity to visit Margules Audio, one of the premier manufacturers of fine audio equipment. This is a family owned business run by a tight knit family.Julian Margules is the president and chief audio designer while his wife Laura is the business and financial manager. Their son Jacob is the operations manager and their daughter Deborah is the industrial designer. They also have a family dog named Olivia who seemed to serve as the goodwill ambassador.

The Margules family has been in the audio business since 1928, when Jacobo Margules founded Emporio Electrico in the field of professional radio broadcasting systems. In 1954, Tel Rad was founded as a manufacturing branch for consumer products such as radios, record players, gramophones, amplifiers, speaker systems, sound trucks, etc. Tel Ra is currently run by the third generation family. The past 30 years this company has been developing its own technology under several audio brands: Margules, Magenta and Marvox. The company recently relocated to the trendy section of Mexico City called Colonia Roma. They are still in the process of remodeling their new facilities. Julian and Jacob took us to a wonderful seafood restaurant in the neighborhood. Julian opened up the company to me and I got to see the intricacies of running a high-end audio company. Even though this is a family business, it is a fairly good-sized operation.

Julian first showed me the demonstration room, which is right outside of the elevator. I listened briefly, and then I was given a more extended demonstration after the tour. There was a prototype of the SA-L3, a new wall-mounted speaker in the room.

The manufacturing tour began at the end of the building where the offices are located.  Julian and Laura share an office in the corner with Jacob’s office right next to theirs. A large conference room is in the other corner.

The engineering department is adjacent to the offices. The engineering department has some very talented engineers who were working on various projects while I was there, including a new digital audio converter (DAC). Julian lectures at a number of universities, so he has access to some of the brightest young engineers in Mexico.  Everything is designed in-house.

The engineering department.

Engineering test equipment.

Julian pointed out that measurements are important in the design of his audio equipment; however, the lifelike production of sound is the most important thing. For example, his power amplifiers use zero feedback, which means they do not measure as well as they might, but he feels the music has a more realistic, natural sound. This young engineering team seems more than capable of handling the task of designing some wonderful sounding amplifiers and speakers.

Next was the production department where each piece of equipment is painstakingly hand built to precise specifications. I got to see some of their finished products.

The production department.

Currently the production team was assembling Bluetooth speakers. There is a fairly large supply in the raw inventory room right across from the production area. Margules buys in substantial quantities, which helps reduce production costs.

There is a storage area between engineering and production where the finished goods inventory is kept.

They have all types of equipment here, including a CNC machine.

There were a number of prototypes of new products, including a new turntable that their daughter Deborah was designing.

The final step is quality control where each unit is tested to meet specifications. This was a separate room at the end of the hall.

During the tour, I noticed all of the employees seemed very hardworking and happy to be working here. The working environment is very laid back and there is a nice employee break room available.

Julian explained that there is an established audiophile community in Mexico. There were people coming in for audio demonstrations during the day. Margules Group, USA is the manufacturer’s representative in the United States and is run by Carlos Smith. The demonstrations would feature an entire chain of Margules components except for the phono cartridge and cables.

Julian showing me the precise assembly of each product, including the high quality parts used.

We went back to the demonstration room after the tour. Julian started the demonstration by playing some excerpts from Handel’s Messiah streamed from YouTube through Bluetooth. Right away I noticed the limitations of a number of the YouTube recordings when played through top-notch audio gear. Later, when Julian switched to his turntable playing some Dave Brubeck on the Magenta TT-10 turntable ($2,800) with a Soundsmith phono cartridge, the improvement was staggering. The phono stage was the FZ47db ($799).  Julian played a wide variety music, all of which sounded wonderful through their SF220 Black 1.2 tube preamp ($4,000) and U-280sc Black amplifier ($6,000) operating in the triode mode. This is 25 watts driving the 88dB Orpheus Speakers ($19,000 per pair) with no problem. The output tubes were a set of KT88’s and the amplifier runs in class A, which kept the room nice and warm. Julian pointed out the precise imaging and layering of the music; however, what struck me was the deep bass coming from the 6.5” drivers when he played Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite on Reference Recordings. Atlas Cables rounded out the system. I also saw a VPI record-cleaning machine in the corner. Margules is an authorized dealer for VPI. There is also a fine piece of art hanging in the room by artist Mario Garcia Torres.

The Magenta TT-10 turntable.

I remember seeing this futuristic looking turntable at the California Audio Show last year and I was glad I got the opportunity to listen to it. This is the first production turntable made by Margules, created as part of a project made by Margules and the Technologic University. The students proposed a fresh and futuristic aesthetic design along with high-end requirements. Julian let me hold the platter, which weighed about 11 pounds and you could tell it was solid. The turntable has a spring suspension to isolate unwanted vibrations. The turntable comes with a unipivot tonearm, which means you would prefer a higher compliance cartridge. The Soundsmith cartridge seemed to be a perfect match. I wonder how the tonearm would handle a lower compliance cartridge, such as my Hana EH.

The larger speaker is the wonderful Orpheus. The smaller speaker is a new model that will sell for about $2,700 per pair.

 

Due to the constraint of being in the middle of our vacation, I was only able to spend one afternoon visiting the Margules facilities. I would like to thank the entire Margules family for being such gracious hosts. I would also like to point out that my wife Martha let me use one of our limited vacation days to spend on audio and helped me by taking the pictures. While I was there, I lost track of time listening to music, so when I saw all of the employees leaving, I knew it was probably time for me to go.  You don’t have to travel to Mexico to listen to the Margules line.  Julian tells me he has already made arrangements to have a room at the California Audio Show this July 26-28th, 2019, at the Hilton Oakland Airport Hotel in Oakland, CA. The opportunity to hear these magical Margules components would make attending this show worthwhile.

 

Web Site:
https://margules.com/en/index.php

Address:
Morelia #38-4 Colonia Roma
Mexico City 06700 Mexico
Telephone: 
52(55) 5514 7448
52(55) 5533 4654

US Distributor:
Margules Group USA
Charles Smith
Columbus, Georgia
Telephone (706) 575-0926
Email: 
carlos.smith@margules.com.mx

 

Copy editor: Dan Rubin

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