Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Have You Seen?


Any room that plays Henry Mancini’s main theme from The Pink Panther soundtrack at absurdly loud levels deserves coverage in this here publication.

I U-turned in the hall on floor 11 and jetted into the Margules room as soon as I heard that familiar refrain. I’m so glad I did. I won’t even hold it against the Margules folks that they followed up the Mancini track with the audiophile cover of Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” that was playing in every f***ing room in the hotel.

This was an all-Margules system, and it sounded fantastic. It’s rare in my experience that a system from one brand can truly stand out. Small manufacturers generally specialize, right? Stretching resources to make speakers, amps, and DACs is often a recipe for failure—but not for Mexico City–based Margules.

The 30th anniversary version of the U-280 SC amplifier ($12,000, all prices in USD) is an all-tube, KT88-based design with auto-biasing that can crank out 25Wpc in triode mode, although the flip of a switch changes it to 50Wpc in pentode mode. For this demonstration, Margules was running the amp in triode mode, powering a pair of brand-new-for-the-show Overture Century speakers ($19,900 per pair). The Overture Century contains an AMT tweeter and a 6.5″ midrange-woofer with a cone made from multi-laminated papyrus.


The dynamic snap that the Margules folks were getting out of this pair of (admittedly large) bookshelf speakers was startling. Crisp start-stop transitions through the midrange and an open, airy, unforced treble combined to present a miles-deep soundstage, floating images far beyond the boundaries of the speakers.

This is a hard-working speaker. Tool’s “Chocolate Chip Trip” should have made this speaker fall to its knees, but no! The Overture Century speakers slammed out Danny Carey’s drums at an elevated level without a hint of compression or distress. The Overture Century sounds much larger than it looks. The air around images was truly world-class.


The preamplifier in this system was the SF-220SC Special Edition, which is an all-tube design ($8000). The DAC-streamer was also from Margules—the eponymously named and very reasonably priced Margules Music Server Streamer ($3000).

I guess sometimes one manufacturer can do it all.

Jason Thorpe
Senior Editor, SoundStage!