Magni is a maestro of profound clarity, the sort which flows, hand-in-hand with warmth and depth. Some methods of clarity tend towards coldness, thinness, and stridency. Not so with Magni. Here, it pours forth in rich streams of butterscotch. I know, what a goddamn weird analogy! Often, when describing smooth, warm tones, I’ll liken it to chocolate. Magni, however, is not of a dark enough hue. No, it’s closer to butterscotch, or caramel.
Treble is just the way I like it: bodied and slightly warm, with honeyed sweetness. Yet unmistakably vibrant. Subtle sparkle gives added character to the splash of cymbals, and excellent extension opens the ceiling, breathing fresh life to every instrument on the stage. It’s pure, articulate, and full of energy. These are the type of highs I think treble heads can really get behind. With a little EQ work, I doubt there’s anything Magni can’t do.
Vocals are very open and effortless. They float there, thin and fluid, like a highly rendered ghost. By that, I don’t mean they lack presence, but rather density. They aren’t full or lush. But they are absolutely beautiful, showcasing dazzling colors and visceral dynamics.
This translates to the instruments as well. What they lack in weight they make up for in vibrant, exuberant energy. Yet always, there’s a halo of warmth which quells the energy just enough to sooth the ears and relax you into the music. But don’t worry. Magni’s sonic stylings are such that electric guitars possess that necessary crunch and drums pop with ecstasy. These are not headphones I would call laidback.
The low-end presents as balanced and controlled. Your first impression is not of a bassy headphone. But that can be deceiving. Magni’s handling of bass is exquisite, and its capacity for monstrous rumble oughtn’t be underestimated. These headphones beg for lows, and when you give it, Magni explodes with joy. It does this with awesome speed, impressive texture, and gorgeous tonality. We have here truly top-shelf lows.
Soundstage is quite good. Not record breaking, by any means, but it gets you outside the head, creating a fairly cube-shaped arena which sounds clean and open. The vocalist is large and center, front of stage, and the instruments are only slightly smaller and spaced out nicely. Imaging is spot-on perfect, and element separation is stark and easy to stroll through. Resolution and detail retrieval are remarkable, rendering some of the best audio pictures I’ve experienced. On all technical merits, Magni is a serious f**king beast.
ZMF Headphones Atticus ($1099.99, Review HERE) is a reasonable point of comparison. Whilst the price isn’t 1:1, it also isn’t vastly different. Though I guess that’s a matter of opinion. Sound wise, they share a lot in common. Both convey warmth and clarity, richness and space. Atticus, however, is unmistakably the warmer and richer of the two. There is a greater sense of depth and liquidity. Magni is a littler brasher, and a little brighter. There’s more bite and energy. The soundstage is very similar between the two, with Atticus’ vocals taking a few steps back, creating a deeper stage.
Meze Audio 99 Classics ($309, Review HERE) is on the other side of the price spectrum. If Atticus is an upgrade over Magni, which to my ears it is, then the 99C is indeed a downgrade. But for those who’ve fallowed my reviews over the last handful of years, you know I love the 99 Classics. Calling them a downgrade is not so much a denouncement of Meze as it is praise of Kennerton. The 99C is even closer to Magni’s tuning than Atticus. They are SO much alike. Still, Magni achieves a higher degree of clarity, better micro dynamics, finer detailing, and superior transparency. If the 99C does anything better, I’d say it’s a little warmer and more organic sounding. But just barely. Meze remains a wonderful alternative to far more expensive options.