In the High-End sector, two main directions can be distinguished: vintage, which draws inspiration from the technology of the past, and innovative, based primarily on the achievements of science and technological progress. Manufacturers belonging to the first group may not rush to modernize their model ranges, because it will not be better than in the past. And in the second case, regular updates are necessary, since advanced technologies open up new opportunities for improvement.
The American company Magico belongs to the second type, so releasing new developments based on successful and popular models is a natural practice for it.
This year the company introduced the second generation of the S-SUB subwoofer. The new model comes out under the same name and looks very similar to its predecessor, released at the end of 2015 and, nevertheless, it is a completely different bass machine, based on the latest technological developments. There is no sign of marketing modernization, which manufacturers of budget equipment love to do, here. Perhaps in the future the suffix Gen2 will be added to the name of the new subwoofer or the year of manufacture will be indicated – 2023, but at the moment the advantages of the new model over the old one are not emphasized. And they are very significant.
Let’s start with the fact that the developers of the new S-SUB had a certain “role model” and at the same time a “donor” from whom they borrowed important technical solutions – this is the top TITAN-15 sub. It came out at the end of 2021, and when the first generation of S-SUB was created, it did not yet exist. We can say this: the 2023 S-SUB is a version of the Titan designed for smaller spaces. But it is hardly inferior to it in terms of technical perfection. Where TITAN-15 would be cramped, the new S-SUB will feel at ease.
Our hero is built on two new branded bass drivers with a diameter of 13” – 2” smaller than its older brother. The predecessor’s driver caliber was 12”, but the designers managed to install larger speakers while maintaining the same body dimensions (810 x 489 x 389 mm). Although it itself was recalculated for the new speakers using computer simulation, then tested and adjusted on working prototypes. Also, in the process of tests and measurements, the optimal housing material was selected – it turned out to be aluminum alloy 6061-T6, which has the required combination of qualities: high rigidity and the ability to absorb vibrations in a certain frequency range. By the way, this alloy is widely used in aviation, and its use has made it possible to reduce the total weight of the subwoofer – from 113 to 90.8 kg – and this with an increased caliber of drivers and greater amplifier power.
The driver design is close to the TITAN-15 drivers, although some changes have been made to it. In particular, the magnetic system uses shorting rings made of copper rather than aluminum. The voice coil is double-layer with a diameter of 75 mm and a linear stroke of more than 30 mm. The Titan has a coil with a diameter of 100 mm, but the stroke length is the same. The material of the diffusers is the same – durable and lightweight aluminum alloy. There is a difference in the spider – the driver of the older model has a double one, while the S-SUB 2023 has a single one, but reinforced with elastic cores.
Note that the range of reproduced frequencies remained the same – 15 – 150 Hz, which means that the caliber of the drivers was increased not to obtain deeper bass (for this it was also necessary to increase the volume of the cabinet), but to reduce distortion: a large speaker has the amplitude of the linear stroke of the cone more. In general, for Magico, reducing distortion is one of the main priorities, and rightly so. It is distortions that make the low frequencies not as natural as we would like – to be convinced of this, just go to a symphony concert and listen to how a real bass drum sounds in an orchestra.
For the same reason, the power of the Class D amplifier was increased from 2000 to 3200 W. Although the sound pressure level remained the same as that of the first generation model – 120 dB (with a distortion level of no more than 1% at a frequency of 40 Hz). This means that the amplifier power was increased not to make it louder, but to make the bass clearer even at high levels.
But how the designers managed to combine an increased driver caliber with a high response speed (the resolution in the lower part of the range depends on this) is a secret that they are in no hurry to share. This is their personal “magic”.
In order not to confuse the new model with the old one, you need to go to the rear of the subwoofer: two XLR connectors are located not horizontally, but vertically, and next to the inputs there is a color touch display, with which you can quickly change DSP presets without connecting the subwoofer to the computer. Through this screen you can also activate useful functions: automatic switching on and off based on the presence or loss of an input signal, eliminating clipping, temperature control.
But when installing a subwoofer and pairing it with other speakers and room acoustics, you cannot do without a laptop. You will also need a measuring microphone. The company itself recommends taking measurements using free applications (download links are in the user manual, and there are recommendations for choosing a microphone). This is reasonable, since you will only have to use it once (well, maybe when rearranging the room or moving the sub to another place). Although, in fact, it is even more reasonable to entrust the setup to a specialist – then you won’t have to buy a microphone.
We will be able to talk about how the new S-SUB sounds later, hopefully very soon.