Midrange Magic+ Attendees’ feedback. Inviting your questions and comments here

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Since the Midrange Magic+ Music Seminar series kicked off, we have received many great feedback from attendees.  We invite feedback/comments (please no politics and be kind as we reserve all rights to delete otherwise).  Below are a couple quotes to start the conversation:

From the Montreal Audio Fest 2022

“Coup de Coeur” (translation: “Stopped my heart”), Anonymous, Montreal Audio Fest after hearing the system, March 25, 2022

From the Florida Audio Fest 2022

All other things being equal,* my Best Of Show is room 511 – Bergmann/Graham/ Moon River Audio [Artesania Audio]. For those of you who went to the show, it was the room with the guy in the black fedora (Philip). Now, let me state upfront that I hate English speakers. Maybe hate is too strong a word – intense indifference? Yeah, let’s go with that. I never liked the sound of the LS3 or 5 BBC monitors that have been produced by various manufacturers over the years. Likewise, the Harbeths – there’s sound coming from that speaker and the other one and…that’s it.

Graham Audio LS8/1

But the Graham LS8/1 seems to be a different animal entirely. They certainly owe their lineage to the British Monitors – if only in looks. But the similarities stop right there. The overall tone is just…pleasing. And the speakers consistently convey a sense of space between the speakers – it’s not overly wide nor exceedingly deep, but the musical sense of “stage” is definitely present.  I could sit and listen all day to this system (I went back to the room 5 times over 3 days).

Impactful is not a definition I would use here. Every time I visited the room the music was played back at realistic but not loud levels, so I can’t speak to the dynamics. Maybe they can – maybe they can’t deliver on this level, but I have to say I didn’t miss it or even look for it; I just sat back and enjoyed the music they were making. This was a very easy system to enjoy with a slightly plump midrange, pleasing transients, bass sufficient to the moment and timbral accuracy. Significantly, this impression did not change with either the medium or song selection, although vocals did seem to be the forte of this combination of components.

Bergmann Modi airbearing turntable with Thor airbearing arm

So, where’s the magic coming from? Speakers? Integrated amp? The vinyl playback or whatever streaming they were using? I don’t know, but I will say this: the Graham LS8/1 speaker is an unusual 3-way design in that it uses a nominal 8” bass driver coupled with two different tweeters – a 26mm and a 19 mm, both of the soft-dome variety. One acts as a normal tweeter and the other functions primarily as a super tweeter. Sounds more like a 2-way+ to me, but what do I know? I do know that I have been impressed with the proper integration of a super tweeter ever since I experienced the unexpected impact it can have when I first heard the results at CES 10 years ago. I don’t know why it works, but it does. I expect (or assume) that this integration resulted in the excellent imaging I was hearing that I mentioned above.

This was an almost real-world system. With the exception of a few REGA turntables here and there, all of the affordable manufacturers were absent this year – Music Hall, Creek, Cambridge Audio, etc. So, Room 511 was one of the few rooms that approached this sobriquet. Yes, the turntable is an outlier here at $17K, but the amp at $5K and the speakers priced below $10K bring this system within reach of many people. In that sense, it swung well above its weight. I’m willing to bet that at matched levels and in a similar room, I’d be hard-pressed to find shortcomings with this system against others costing thousands more – or 10s of thousands more! Well done, Philip, et al!

– Russell Garvey, member, Suncoast Audiophile Society

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