Magnat Signature Edelstein Loudspeaker Page 2

Very small speakers that are well made have one advantage: they tend to surprise casual listeners. Nobody expects too much from something the size of a shoebox, which makes for eye-opening reactions. It's a bit like seeing a Fiat 500 Abarth race down the street for the first time, leaving you wondering how something so minuscule can accelerate like that.

It's a similar experience with the Signature Edelsteins. The first time you hear them, chances are you'll be amazed by their sense of detail and even their low-end extension. Yes, while objectively they don't deliver sub-bass – there's no beating physics – the bass performance of these speakers will still make you sit up and take notice. For example, the grand synths in 'End Titles', from Daft Punk's soundtrack for Tron: Legacy [Walt Disney Records 50999 9472892 7], rolled out of the Edelsteins in suitably epic fashion. 'Recognizer', featuring orchestral blasts added to the pounding electronica, was equally impressive in its scale, while the opening tones of 'Armoury' – with the volume of the Primare amp turned up high – resounded throughout the room.

Silver Service
Also likely to impress first-time listeners – and probably keep quite a few coming back for more – is the slight presence/treble emphasis shown by these speakers – this, seemingly, also 'sharpening' their stereo imaging. Compressed recordings can appear airier, while guitar-driven tracks have a thrilling edge. It is key, however, to not toe-in the units too much; to my ears a completely turned in position brought too much aggression. Spending time with the placement of loudspeakers is always worthwhile, but it's doubly true here.

Playing Horace Silver's signature set Song For My Father [Blue Note 84185; 192kHz/24-bit], Magnat's speakers really displayed their ability to lay down a smooth and entrancing performance. They're nimble too, making them cut out for this jazz classic's intricate compositions. There are tracks on this 1965 album where the rhythm and melody frequently takes an unexpected turn. 'The Natives Are Restless Tonight' is a prime example of an up-tempo piece featuring breathtaking solos, including Roger Humphries going full pelt on his drumkit.

Communicating such a sense of excitement is a strong suit of these bookshelf speakers, but they're also up for more subtle work, such as the understated, light-touch percussion in the latter half of the eastern-themed 'Calcutta Cutie'. When the bells and gentle hi-hat appeared far to the left and right of the Edelsteins' cabinets, it was another illustration of their imaging ability.

Up Against The Wall
As PM suggested, placing some bungs in the Signature Edelsteins' rear ports resulted in an improved tonal balance, helping Silver's piano playing and Joe Henderson's sax into the foreground. In particular, Henderson's thrilling solo on the title track became easier to appreciate, even if the role of the rhythm section felt a little diminished.


The Signature Edelstein's long and relatively narrow rear-facing reflex port is flared at its exit. The 4mm cable terminals, and supporting alloy plate, are all solidly constructed

Moving the speakers from the DALI E-600 stands I had pressed into service, and onto some AV furniture next to a wall, was productive. The (rear wall) boundary gain partially compensated for the blocked port, bringing back some bass solidity – not a bad compromise to make.

As an aside, seeing the Signature Edelsteins sat underneath a wall-mounted flatscreen TV made me realise the speakers could provide a flexible 'dual-role' solution for music and film/TV audio. Used with NAD's streamer/preamp and power amp pairing, the former fitted with the optional HDMI board, Magnat's Signature Edelstein speakers proved to be an enjoyable listen with streamed video content. They don't deliver the home theatre kicks, but their broad and immersive soundstaging, and generally even-handed balance, make for good dialogue comprehension.

For The Record
Back to music, and vinyl replay further revealed the appeal of the compact Signature Edelsteins. Calexico/Iron & Wine's largely acoustic Years To Burn [City Slang SLANG50244LP], played on the

Pro-Ject X1 turntable (with Pick It Pro Balanced MM), found smooth slide guitar on 'Midnight Sun' and brilliant texture in the trumpets mixed left and right on 'What Heaven's Left'. It was a fascinating, clear sound on a larger scale than you'd imagine possible. Magnat's new jewels have plenty of sparkle!

Hi-Fi News Verdict
It's pretty clear these diminutive boxes are not mere dinky trinkets. Rather, Magnat's attempt to create a compact speaker offering true fidelity playback pays off. The Signature Edelsteins are not only neat little jewels to behold, but in the right setting will deliver precious listening moments filled with detail and engagement. While unsuited to large spaces, they're a treasure in small living rooms and home offices.

Premium Audio Company GmbH
Pulheim, Germany
Supplied by: Henley Audio Ltd, UK
01235 511166