Magnat Signature 903 Review: Small but impressive speakers

Magnat Signature 903 , due to their smaller dimensions, turned out to be almost point sources - they formed volumetric images not only in the upper, but also in the middle ranges.

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From the compact Magnat Signature 903 bookshelf, which can also be used as a surround speaker, to two full-size Magnat Signature 905 floor standing models, Magnat Signature 909 and the Magnat Signature Center 93 home theater center channel. The Magnat Signature Sub 930A active subwoofer with digital amplifier and high power complements the family perfectly.

The bass and midrange drivers in the Magnat Signature 900 series are made of aluminum alloy with a ceramic-aluminum diaphragm. The thoughtful combination of materials guarantees the maximum possible damping of disturbing partial vibrations, on the one hand, and optimum weight, on the other. This means that the powerful drives in Neodym technology are capable of not only reproducing extremely dynamic music, but the membranes remain absolutely stable and therefore distortion-free. Solid aluminum alloy loudspeaker baskets provide the necessary stability behind the scenes.

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The die-cast aluminum module is responsible for incredible sound in the high frequency range, with two fmax tweeters, certified by the Japan Society for Sound Recording and Reproduction with the Hi-Res seal. The 30mm cone with a particularly wide suspension allows it to operate at low crossover frequencies and thus connect seamlessly to the mid-range. An optional 20mm ultra-tweeter cone is the basis for enhanced tweeter performance. Even though many carriers do not provide frequencies that high, there are higher harmonics that are so important to the listening experience. In addition, the cone has excellent all-round radiation as well as precisely calculated sound guides on the front panel for perfect surround sound.

The Magnat Signature 903 speaker system is the “smallest” model in the 900 series. It is a shelf-mounted three-way loudspeaker with one woofer and bass reflex. Ventilated die-cast bass and midrange drivers are Klippel-optimized design. Their ceramic aluminum sandwich diffusers are equipped with inverted dust caps. The emitters are combined with a phase- and amplitude-optimized APOC crossover with high-quality internal wiring and output to a massive terminal block with sealed connectors.

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Both two-wire and two-way connections are provided using cable jumpers. The drivers are protected by a removable fabric grill with hidden magnetic fixation. At a nominal (maximum) power of 120 (180) W, the Magnat Signature 903 speaker system, according to the manufacturer, demonstrates a sensitivity of 91 dB and a lower limit down to 30 Hz. Magnat Signature 903 is available in black lacquered or glossy lacquered natural wood veneer (macassar).

The 903 model, although the youngest in the flagship Signature series, looks very solid and has a three-lane architecture. Compact dimensions and two tweeters in the upper range – with this design it will be interesting to experiment with building a spatial picture. Of course, we appreciate both the bass and the dynamic potential of these cute monitors.

If you look at it, when choosing loudspeakers, we all want the partly impossible: wide bandwidth and solid dynamic potential with minimal dimensions. The cost does not play a decisive role here – everyone has their own reasonable limit, but the requirements for the sound are almost the same for everyone. Of course, manufacturers understand this very well and try to please a potential buyer. The main problem in the design of acoustic systems is the matching of the emitters in frequency and phase. In two-way systems, the matter is complicated by the fact that the tweeter for docking with the midbass head must play low enough, but at the same time its band inevitably narrows from above, and the most unpleasant phase distortions grow there. There are, of course, exemplary broadband tweeters, but they are not for the mainstream segment.

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In order for the acoustics to transmit the full range when playing high-resolution files at a completely affordable price, the developers of Magnat came up with an original move: they installed not one, but two tweeters in the Signature series model.

The junior Signature 903 monitors have a 20 mm supertweeter, thanks to which it was possible to expand the operating range to 55 kHz without special costs. This entry into the ultrasonic area became the legal basis for the black and gold “Hi-Res Audio” sticker on the front panel. The range of 2400 – 17500 Hz is voiced by the main 30 mm tweeter, which ensures reliable docking with the mid-bass driver.

Both tweeters feature the Fmax Signature design developed by Magnat for the older models. Ultra-light domes are molded from synthetic silk and impregnated with a damping compound that eliminates local resonances. The magnetic system is neodymium, thanks to the powerful extended field in which the voice coil is placed, the recoil is increased and nonlinear distortions are reduced. Both tweeters are mounted on a common die-cast aluminum platform, and the thickness creates shallow waveguides that shape the high frequency radiation pattern. Plus, this massive build is insensitive to front panel vibrations.

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The 17cm mid / low frequency driver has also been designed from the ground up for high-end Magnat systems. Diffusers have a special profile: instead of a convex cap in the center, they, on the contrary, have a recessed plane. This shape, which provides high rigidity at high signal amplitudes, was designed by laser interferometry using the Klippel setup. When scanning a working diffuser with a laser, areas with the greatest deformations were identified, which were then eliminated structurally. The diffusers themselves are made of aluminum with a ceramic coating, such a structure is light, but very rigid, which allows the speakers to work in piston mode with minimal distortion. In addition, the ceramic dampens the natural resonances of the aluminum base and, as a result, eliminates unwanted overtones.

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Despite the relatively modest caliber of the drivers, their design is quite mature – cast aluminum baskets with effective ventilation of the voice coils and an elastic suspension that provides a long diffusers travel. The bass reflex design allowed to lower the reproduced bass down to 30 Hz – as stated in the specifications for this model. Proprietary Airex ports feature an oversized cross-section and an outlet flare that reduces airborne noise. There is no information about the crossover scheme in the Signature 903, but the other Signature models use fourth-order Linkwitz-Riley phase-linear filters (24 dB / octave). Most likely, they are the same here. A bi-wiring connection is provided, which we used when listening.

Monitors are produced in black piano lacquer and natural veneer “Macassar” with subsequent lacquer coating.  In the photo – the second very effective option. The grills are the same, black, attached with magnets.

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Our listening system was as follows: two sources, a Lyngdorf CD2 CD player and a Music Hall mmf 7.3 turntable , with a Magnat MA1000 hybrid integral… First of all, we appreciated the ability of monitors to build a spatial picture, since paired tweeters in Signature models have always worked wonders in this regard.

The monitors, due to their smaller dimensions, turned out to be almost point sources – they formed volumetric images not only in the upper, but also in the middle ranges. Therefore, the instruments seemed to be truly material, with good energy content. With regard to supertweeters, the following circumstance must be taken into account: on good phonograms, they create a real atmosphere with a mass of live overtones, but if the recording is so-so, you will immediately feel it from the vacuum in the upper spectrum.

It is possible that the playlists from the downloaded hi-cuts will have to be thinned a little. The second interesting point is that by rotating the monitors, you can adjust the width and depth of the scene.

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The declared sensitivity of Signature 903 is about 91 dB, for such dimensions this is a high value (usually monitors have 88 – 89 dB, i.e. half the sound pressure). And this affects the overall dynamics – the sound is light and fast, the diffusers quickly respond to the slightest changes in the incoming signal. So high sensitivity is not just an opportunity to save on amplifier power, but something more. Signature 903 is very attentive to nuance, reminiscent of classic paper cone speakers. Only with a large stroke of the mobile system and, accordingly, a decent punch.

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With the bass, the story is this: when working with a CD-player, it did not particularly show of – everything sounded smooth, moderately beautiful, but nothing more. But with vinyl, the picture has surprisingly changed. Perhaps I could not hear 30 hertz, but the lower register turned out to be impressive for such a case size. The fact that there were no infra-low components is even good – nothing hummed and did not violate the clarity of the main bass structure. Of course, if you want, you can add a subwoofer, but the Signature 903 itself is quite dynamic and bass enough for most genres. To listen to music in a small room is a versatile option.

www.magnat.de

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