I went down that road.
They sound good.... with small ensembles.. Jazz for instance...choral music,
But large orchestral works.. they run out of steam and bury the music in compression. Some say the Magico Mini is not of that Ilk...I'm not so sure.. I remember people saying the Revel Gem (a small-mid sized monitor) was immune to that.. at the time they were out.. I was not convinced then... and now 20 years later...no one would stand behind that statement.
Some cool mini monitors..if set up right.
ProAc Response 1SC (incerdible bass for such a small driver if set up properly with Target lead filled stands) Owned 2 pairs
Spendor 3/5 Owned 1 pair (no low bass)
Red Rose Model 1 and others. (you will not believe the bass out of the 4" driver... stunning.. very extended ribbon treble)- Heard them with Mark Levinson, the Man.
Poor mans mini monitor for female high pitched vocals (Annie Lenox) -->Totem Model 1 (very limited output and goes into compression easily) -set up systems with these for offices.
BUT....ALLLLLLL mini monitors.. fail to energize the room. and Thus fall short of a recreating an authentic musical experience. It's a shame... their very strength is their downfall.. Subs and Sats will not do the job... you need to move air.. and create a "wave launch" and have height...real height... yes the speakers have to be big. At least 50" tall. Sats and sub are not tall...can not launch a wave/wall of sound and 1 sub just muddies it all up..time alignment gets off.. it's a mess.
If you have a crap room with crap acoustics.. (dorm room for instance or attic room) they might be your only option other than headphones. Honestly though... compared to the Stax Omega I head at my house at the LA meet... I'd rather own the Stax than any of the above mini monitors.
But if the Stax omegas did not exist and I had a mid size room with crap acoustics. I'd take the ProAcs or try to EQ a set of Red Rose Model ones to fix that lower midrange notched suck out.
Saw Roger Waters (Pink Floyd front man) do "The Wall" at LA Staple Center (Last time he was there was 30 years, 9 months, and 27 days ago) .. Simply Amazing- spectacular..and everything I was promised from those who saw it before me....
.. and yes my audio system sounds better than Roger Waters' at the Staples Center and has enough slam..and is a lot clearer.. So now I have to wait for my Rowland Amps to arrive before I can play "the Wall" at volumes loud enough to loosen the sheetrock screws..and try to remember the insane visual spectacle that I saw last night at the same time...and get this... it will sound more "live" than his own voice through his PA..which while it wasn't bad.... (ie wasn't as good as say Radio City Music Halls PA ...Saw "Devo" Halloween night in 1982..perfect amplified sound...) it was still better than say 80% of other stadium PA's I have heard.
Odd concept..."more live than live".. yes it will be more accurate, the sound staging will be more life like... you can beat rock concerts at sounding live. It's as if you upgraded their PA, so you could hear what those great guitars can deliver and how much better those expensive cymbals are, and just how great the singer's voice really is... yes "more live than Live". I've seen the Mingus Dynasty Band at the Bottom Line (Ironically I used to have the speakers that were the left channel of the bottom line in my Dorm room in Highschool they were custom JBL Paragons with upgraded drivers the size of refrigerators...so I owned the speakers he played through live in 1980... and yes.... when I played Charlie Mingus through my Infinity system.... there was a whole new level of emotional contact... that was lost through even the Best JBL system. The horns had less glare... they were brassy but not shrill... it is better.
but you can never get more Live than hearing a live UNAMPLIFIED orchestra at a symphony hall.. because unamplified sound... is..LIVE. It doesn't get any better.... unless the orchestra gets more sleep..and tunes their gear better... and uses better instruments... in a better symphony hall, screw it... toss in a better conductor too... So unless te actual event improves.. you can't improve on live unamplified sound.. But where in the USA can you hear this outdoors????? Aspen.... they will not use amplification at the music tent for classical music..... unless it rains. Indoors... Boston Symphony hall , NYC's Carnegie hall, etc... and other great halls.
You see..many peple make trade offs trying to make their system sound more "live" and some are willing to live with tradeoffs.. like no low bass (mini monitors) .. or nearfield (no room energy) , or fantastic midrange but limited extended treble detail (Single Ended Triodes with efficient speakers) , or low volumes (quad ESL 63), or high volumes but no mid bass delineation because of oversized midbass drivers with high compliance and thick speaker spiders and surrounds) ...
Thats when people try to tell you "there is no wrong... its just what you like" but respectfully In my huble opinion I say.."No that isn't it."
you probably meant to say... just pick the wrongs you can live with that you hate the least.
It's sad really... so many stores/chains... Best Buy, Radio Shack, Bose, Crutchfield, Bang and Olufsen (I even worked at the biggest sales store- but I pushed their awesome video instead)...all promising something..that...ultimately they can not deliver. Reproduced music that sounds real.
Be careful that the road you select towards audio nirvana does not abruptly come to a dead end. Take your time to select the correct road from the beginning.
Edited by Golden Ears - 12/2/10 at 1:44am