This is one of the many rare Japanese hifi component that has become highly collectible over the years as they become rarer and rarer in the used market. Unlike the more “usual” stuff like CD players, preamps etc, the MAG-1 is a line transformer. What it does is it slots in between your source unit and your amplification (pre/power or integrated) and “cleans up” the signal going from one to the other. By “clean up”, it basically removes or reduces any distortion, improves the tonal quality of the signal and gives it a bit more extension. So you get more depth, quicker responses and a smoother, more natural presentation. It can also be used between a source unit and a recording unit too but we have been using it between a CD player and our pre/poweramp combo. The difference in sound was clearly audible with the MAG-1 slotted in. In fact, the difference was more noticeable with it than say, a DAC and then running the CD player as a transport. Of course the DAC we tried was priced around the same to keep the comparison as close as possible. Being that it is passive there is no need for an AC cord to be plugged in.
Some audiophile purist have shunned this product as an artificial audio enhancer like the tube buffer which was popular among solid state users who wanted to add some “tube” sound to their system. But as far as we are concern, anything that does improve the sonic level of enjoyment is something worthy of trying out. Cosmetically, the unit has some marks and dings/dents that are age appropriate but works 100%. The unit is roughly the size of a brick so it is fairly unobtrusive on the rack. Unit will be securely packed for safe shipping.