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Magico QSub-18 and QSub-15 Subwoofers Preview

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Magicos QSub-18 Subwoofer

Magico's QSub-18 Subwoofer

Summary

  • Product Name: QSub-18 and QSub-15
  • Manufacturer: Magico
  • Review Date: September 06, 2013 08:00
  • MSRP: $36,000 (for the QSub-18) and $22,000 (for the QSub-15)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Driver complement: 2 x 18” QSub-18; 2 x 15” QSub-15
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 150 kHz
  • Dimensions QSub-18: 25.4”H x 37”D x 25.4”W (65cm x 94cm x 65cm)
  • Net Weight: 570 lbs. (258 kg.)
  • Dimensions QSub-15: 22”H x 27”D x 22”W (56cm x 69cm x 56cm)
  • Net Weight: 350 lbs. (158 kg.)

Executive Overview

As a home theater enthusiast, you’ve likely always dreamed of owning the ultimate subwoofer—a subwoofer that once and for all redefines the term “visceral experience”. Well, one thing's for sure, when the folks over at Magico dream of the ultimate subwoofer, the sky's the limit!  Magico, a name that is virtually synonymous with ultra high end speakers, has just announced their first subwoofer products: the QSub-18 and the QSub-15.  And what a way to enter the subwoofer market.

 

The Magico QSub-18 Subwoofer

The 550lb, 8,000 Watt Magico QSub-18

Forget everything you've thought about a subwoofer before and listen to these specs.  The QSub-18 is said to be capable of delivering an incredible 136 dB SPL (sound pressure level) with less than 1% distortion at an earth-rattling 20Hz (it goes down to 15Hz in case you were wondering).  Unfortunately, Magico hasn't identified how those measurements were made (i.e. measurement test signal, distortion, frequency, etc).  Without knowing the details of the test, we would simply caution against accepting all the specs at face value. 

Magico claims that all this reported power comes from a digital amp that is equipped with an astonishing 7,000VA power supply and regulated output stage that claims to deliver an unfathomable 8,000W.  It's unclear if that is a short term power rating but one thing is for certain, you're gonna need a pretty heavy duty outlet (220V, 40A) to generate that kind of power.  We wonder what the fuse rating is on this amplifier.

Magico Drivers

Magico Subwoofer Drivers

That incredible power drives two massive woofers (dual 18" with the QSub-18 and dual 15" with the QSub-15) which are both capable of 34mm of linear excursion.  The dual woofers are mounted in 2" thick aluminum baffles and fire adversely in phase to cancel each other out, thereby eliminating driver-causing resonances.  Magico boldly claims, "This is the way a subwoofer should be built."  We tend to agree.

If you haven't guessed it already, Magico has a very simple message with the new subs: if you think you've heard low frequencies before, the think again.  “Bass has never been heard like this before," says Magico CEO and chief designer Alon Wolf, "For the first time, low frequencies can be produced with unprecedented clarity.”

With the introduction of these subwoofers, Magico claims that they are tackling the biggest problem subs have in reproducing low frequencies: enclosure warping.  Enclosure warping is where due to the enormous sound pressure buildup, the pliable walls of typical subwoofer enclosures absorb a tremendous portion of the energy generated by the drivers.  This energy absorption consequently leads to distortion and massive group delay (smearing). Magico claims that the QSub can reach an internal sound pressure level of to 175dB - the equivalent of a commercial jet at takeoff - with less than 1% displacement of common enclosures.

Subwoofer Cabinet Warp

FEA Study on Cabinet Flexing

Magico says they designed the subs for the highest quality two channel music and multichannel home theater systems.  To that end, the QSubs offer your choice of crossover flexibility. They have an onboard, digitally-controlled active crossover for seamless integration with your main loudspeakers and you can optionally bypass the controller and let a home theater pre-pro handle the crossover for movies and LFE channel use.  Unfortunately, the QSubs don't offer any sort of built-in room correction for the subs.  You'll have to handle that in your pre-pro or receiver.

Conclusion

At first glance, the Magico QSub Series subwoofers look absolutely incredible.  While we can't vouch for all the published specs, we're certainly looking forward to learning more.  Nevertheless, be warned: performance like this isn’t for the faint of strength or wallet.  The Magico QSub-18 weighs in at 570lbs and retails for a whopping $36,000.  It’s smaller sibling, the QSub-15, weighs a "mere" 350lbs and comes in at a more “modest” $22,000.  The subs can be ordered in Magico’s M-CAST range of satin colors or their signature hard black anodized finish.

Just note: if you want the hard anodized finish, then plan on an additional cost.

If you’ll be at CEDIA in Denver September 26-28, you can stop by the Magico booth and see, I mean experience, the QSubs first-hand.  Make sure grandpa Simpson leaves his dentures at home for this demo. 

Delivery for the QSub series is planned for Q4 of 2013.

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About the author:

Theo is a serious audiophile and home theater enthusiast—a passion he's enjoyed for over 20 years. He heads up many of our speaker system and receiver reviews as well as covering the latest in streaming technologies and Ultra HD video.

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Recent Forum Posts:

MikoDee posts on December 07, 2016 22:55
For $36 or $22K I could buy a lot of SVS Subs and achieve even higher levels of performance. These over priced subs are farcical to the majority of your readership.
BrettMendes posts on September 29, 2013 09:55
I can't comment on their claims but I got to hear the Qsub-18 yesterday. It was, without question, the most powerful, tightly controlled, and cleanest bass I've ever heard.
andy_c posts on September 16, 2013 11:54
Steve81, post: 988680
My mistake:o. One thing I would note from his calc as well is that it's assuming an Sd of 1641.75 cm^2, i.e. full 18“ diameter. The driver AFAIK is an Aurasound 18” model with an actual Sd of 1164cm^2, which will bring the figure down ~3dB anyway

At the time I did the calculations, I didn't know what drivers they were using, so I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. That change of SD means it would require 15 such drivers to reach that SPL instead of 11. But also, their claim is for 136 dB SPL at 1 percent distortion. I'm quite sure even the most state-of-the-art driver will have more than 1 percent distortion with a peak cone excursion of 34 mm.

From a power perspective, they claim 90 dB sensitivity, though they don't say whether this is referenced to 1 Watt or 2.83 Volts RMS (2 Watts into 4 Ohms). Giving them the benefit of the doubt again and assuming it's 1 Watt, and even more generously assuming that the 90 dB sensitivity spec applies at 20 Hz, that would require an amplifier of 39,811 Watts (or 79,622 Watts if it's a 2.83 Volt RMS sensitivity spec).

The claims are just preposterous.
Steve81 posts on September 16, 2013 10:07
Irvrobinson, post: 988678
andy_c's calculation, where I got the 121db/1m figure from, is RMS
My mistake:o. One thing I would note from his calc as well is that it's assuming an Sd of 1641.75 cm^2, i.e. full 18“ diameter. The driver AFAIK is an Aurasound 18” model with an actual Sd of 1164cm^2, which will bring the figure down ~3dB anyway


Irvrobinson, post: 988678
The Magico spec of 136db at 20Hz is undefined, though at 1% distortion it makes you wonder what universe they reside in, where the laws of physics must be different.

This is all a moot discussion anyway, because I think the chance of us seeing Josh review this monster is close to nil. Too bad, it would be great subwoofer porn, even though none of us would ever buy the silly thing.

Agreed.
Irvrobinson posts on September 16, 2013 09:57
Steve81, post: 988675
+6dB for distance, +3dB for peak level instead of RMS.

andy_c's calculation, where I got the 121db/1m figure from, is RMS, though I still feel sort of silly for the 1m/2m oversight. The Magico spec of 136db at 20Hz is undefined, though at 1% distortion it makes you wonder what universe they reside in, where the laws of physics must be different.

This is all a moot discussion anyway, because I think the chance of us seeing Josh review this monster is close to nil. Too bad, it would be great subwoofer porn, even though none of us would ever buy the silly thing.
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