Magico Ultimate: The ultimate $600,000 speaker for the .001 percent

This speaker is so exclusive no U.S. dealer has a pair on display!

Rear and front views of the eight foot tall, 800 pound Magico Ultimate Magico

The Magico Ultimate is now in its third revision, and runs close to $600,000 a pair, too bad you didn't jump on the originals back in 2004, when they were just $229,000! The original and current Ultimate speakers share the same "horns," the megaphone-like pieces that sit in front of the drivers, but the new speaker has redesigned drivers, crossover networks, and amplifiers. The form-follows-function "Blade Runner" aesthetic won't appeal to buyers with traditional tastes, but Magico's line of box speakers is certainly more conventional looking, and affordable. Well, affordable in this case means they start around $12,600 for the Magico S1s!

The Magico S1 Magico

The Ultimate speakers are so rare no U.S. dealer has a pair on display, the speakers are sold only by special request. Magico doesn't have a warehouse with stacks of them waiting for customers -- no, when someone shows an interest, Magico builds a pair. It's a five-way system, each 800-pound speaker has four horns, and the drivers are custom-made in Japan. I was surprised to discover that Magico doesn't claim the drivers are proprietary, just that they're exquisitely designed and manufactured devices. There are eight hand-built, horn-loaded drivers in each pair of Ultimates, and no single driver costs less than $10,000.

Magico's Alon Wolf Steve Guttenberg/CNET

The Ultimate speakers are huge, they're just a few inches short of eight-feet tall. Some of the horns are cast aluminum, others are machined from solid blocks of aircraft-grade aluminum, and they're made entirely in the U.S. A somewhat more conventional 15-inch woofer, coupled with a 4,000 watt amplifier, supplies the deepest bass frequencies. The Ultimate's electronics are also designed and made in the U.S.

In the early 2000s, when Magico's Alon Wolf first set out to build the speaker, he did so without constraints, he just wanted to see how far he could advance the art of sound reproduction. Think of it as the audio equivalent of climbing Everest. There's no real practical payoff, just the thrill of it. A few pairs of the newly revised speakers have just been purchased and are now being built. It's a month's long project to put together a pair. What can I say, the rich get to play with the best toys!

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