Hifi Guru Open Doors 30.3.2019

By Keijo Tanskanen

Foreword

Hifi Guru continued their row of one day open door events. This, along with the many other local signs, embodies the challenges in the Finnish high-end field. Young music enthusiasts are not very interested in serious listening and top-quality audio equipment, especially when they seem to be expensive. Therefore, very strong advertising and investing in events is not necessarily cost-effective. For those outsiders, this is actually very sad, because they will stay unaware of what really is missed!

The arrangements at Hifi Guru were much like last year, but instead just one, two setups were demoed. I arrived a bit earlier than the official opening time, but this did not seem to disturb the hosts. The door was friendly opened! After booking myself as the very first visitor, I had plenty of time to listen to the first setup, and, of course, in the sweet spot. After having some refreshments, it was time to listen to the second setup, but then there were already more competitors for the seats. However, by the good-natured behaviour, the good enough listening positions were achieved.


The First Setup

Hifi Guru’s first set up was very similar to the Magico based setups which I have experienced during my previous visits. However, the speakers were now the same Magico A3s, which were demoed at TL Audio last autumn. Music streaming and amplification was cared for by the Burmester electronics and cabling was cared by Transparent Audio, of course, and Burmester.


The equipment:

Magico A3 loudspeakers
Burmester MusicCenter 151 digital source
Clearaudio Master Reference / TT2 tonearm / Stradivari V2 cartridge
Burmester 077 preamplifier
Burmester 956 mk2 monoblocks
Burmester 948 power filter
Transparent & Burmester cabling

In the beginning, I had a great possibility to choose the music. I listened to several of my favorite rock songs. For me, on the era of rock records, there are very few winners outside late 60's, 70's and early 80's! Despite not being well known classical or jazz music, it was easy to recognize the sonic finger prints of the setup.

It became soon clear to me that this setup had quite the same strengths which were noticed last year at TL Audio. Although having not quite as much accuracy, finesses and details as the Q and S models have presented, the A3s delivered a significant amount of Magico sound! These are Magico speakers anyway, aren't they!? Also the Burmester's electronics worked immaculately, minimalizing all kinds of information losses.

The bass extensions went easily low enough, and the treble high enough. However, the performance could be found a bit limited in certain manners, especially if one has had listening experiences of the very top high-end speakers and setups. But it is actually unfair to expect A3, as a relatively affordable speaker, to reach the same performance levels as those monster loudspeakers do. Additionally, the tiny sonic bottle necks might be also elsewhere than in the loudspeakers! What really mattered was that I could really enjoy the music without paying a long-term attention to these natural, more or less, subtle lacks.

The coherency and comprehensiveness seemed to be in the very high level as well. These features actually enabled me to stay out of sound analysis, instead they helped to concentrate on the music. But, because I had to make some analysis anyway, I had to force myself into it, which was a bit sad. The other clear advantages of the setup were high level punchiness and very dimensional and life like sonic view.


The Second Setup

The second setup had Magneplanar 3.7i speakers, Bel Canto amplification, Burmester CD-player and Transparent & Burmester cabling. Additionally, the setup had a brand-new Transparent Reference Power Isolator! Besides the audio cabling, Transparent's power conditioning products have reached an excellent reputation all over the world. Personally, I have a lot of experience of them and I can confirm their quality and positive impact on the effortless power transmission. They are just super stuff, and expensive, unfortunately.


The equipment:

Magnepan 3.7i loudspeakers
Burmester 089 CD-player
BelCanto Pre VB / VBS-1 preamplifier
BelCanto 1000M monoblocks
Transparent PowerIsolator Reference power isolator
Transparent & Burmester cabling

You may have read evaluations which claim Magneplanars being timbre masters. Well, I agree on this! Magneplanars are superb loudspeakers in reproducing the sound of for example stringed instruments, especially the bigger models. I have listened to tens of Magneplanar setups and always came to the same conclusion. What great loudspeakers they are!

Hifi Guru knows very well the strengths of the 3.7i's and choose the music supporting this. The listening results were exemplary almost in every way! Especially, the highs were very clean and natural. Of course, if dynamically more challenging music had been played, the well-known limitations of the magnetostatic constructions would have been more on the surface. But there is nothing new on it, and actually, this does not matter Maggie lovers at all.

If the first setup delivered music coherently, so did the second setup. A couple of enthusiasts have thought sometimes that the highs of the MG 3.7i come too obvious or front. Well, this was not the case, at least this time and for my ears. The music presentations were reproduced by very natural timbre pallet, no question about that.

The sonic picture has been always been one of the strengths of Maggies. This was proved once again. Although the organization of the players was not like knife-cut, there was plenty of dimensionality in both horizontal and vertical direction. The ability to reproduce depth layers of music information was very good as well, and not surprisingly, the loudspeakers just disappeared during the listening!

Conclusion

The event was very well arranged and very high-quality setups were demoed, once again. Year after year, I must wonder Hifi Guru's passion and abilities to make excellent demoes, no matter what equipment they finally choose. But, of course, this success has been achieved by the professionality and experience, which Hifi Guru unquestionably has.

Both setups and their performances were excellent, despite their clear sonic differences. So, the worn comment "apples and oranges" is very appropriate in this comparison as well. For example, Magico A3 could not deliver as much immaterialism and top end shimmering than MG 3.7i did. Instead, it could pull out music more authoritatively and powerfully. This leads enthusiasts thinking about the basis for the loudspeaker choice. For this, I have a clear recommendation: If you listen to the rock music mostly, take A3! If your favorite is small-scale classical or this kind of acoustic music, take 3.7i. And this does not mean that either of speakers could not reproduce all music genres well enough!

Thank you Hifi Guru!