Magico S3 2023

hfnoutstandingA decade since the S3 was launched, and then surpassed by the MkII, this three-way has been reborn with trickledown tech from Magico’s flagship M9 loudspeaker
The latest version of Magico’s S3 speaker, which was first reviewed in these pages a decade ago [HFN Nov ’14], isn’t what you’d call a mild refresh. Just as the company’s MkII version was a major reworking of the original, so this new arrival has been comprehensively redesigned, drawing both on the technology of the flagship M9 model and the measurement abilities of Magico’s enhanced development tools. It’s yours for a couple of pounds short of £57,000 a pair in the five powder-coat M-Cast finishes Magico offers, or £66,000 in a choice of six high-gloss M-Coat shades, including the striking blue colourway pictured here.
It stands some 112cm tall, weighs a very substantial 101kg and, despite the familiar model number, is basically an entirely new speaker. Given that the S3 has long been one of Magico’s most popular models, the thinking was clearly to keep it that way as Magico hits its 20th anniversary. Significant updates have been facilitated by the latest equipment now added to Magico’s R&D arsenal at its ‘campus’ in the San Francisco Bay area, at Hayward, California. It’s here that its products are designed, engineered and hand-assembled, a tradition dating back to the company’s first product, the Mini standmount of 2004, and including the massive four-way, six-driver M9, standing over 2m tall, tipping the scales at 454kg, and delivered with an offboard analogue crossover to take the all-up weight of a pair to just over a tonne.
Precious Metal
Newcomers to the Magico way of doing things are likely to be surprised at how the S3 2023 is constructed, with the beautifully finished cabinet being the most obvious initial eye-catcher. Whereas many speakers use either a wood-based enclosure or some exotic material such as carbon fibre, Magico is all about heavy metal, with four extruded aluminium panels ranging in thickness from around 12mm to the better part of 5cm forming the structure, the pieces precision-milled to give the impression of a design that’s all but seamless [see PM’s boxout, below]. There’d be a good few car manufacturers pleased to achieve panel-gaps this tight.
Crowned by a hefty top-plate, curved to control diffraction and tackle internal standing waves, the whole enterprise sits on an even weightier baseplate to extend the speaker’s footprint, lower the cabinet’s centre of gravity and improve its stability. Three adjustable feet are included, these with a flat, compliant base rather than spikes. Incidentally, the bass arm of the crossover is located within the baseplate while the mid/treble arm is fixed onto the S3 2023’s second brace.