Kharma - Still a popular brand after Valin got new reference speakers?

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
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#1
This speaker was HOT 5 or 6 years ago when it was Valin's reference. Since he moved on to Magicos (and to Estelons and then to Raidhos), Kharma has not had much publicity, at least in the USA.

Interestingly, I always thought that Kharma was a bit too warm, while the Magico was bit too cold for my tastes. So, it seems to me, Valin moved from one extreme to the other.

Has Kharma's sonic signature changed in the recent years? Is Kharma still a popular brand or just a passing fad?
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,034
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Manila, Philippines
#2
Still big in Northern Asia as far as I can tell.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,034
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Manila, Philippines
#4
I haven't heard any since they changed drivers. I surely wouldn't mind doing so should I get the chance. The next show I'm scheduled to attend is IASJ in Tokyo. If they are there, I'll report in.
 

Elberoth

Member Sponsor
Dec 16, 2012
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Poland
#5
When is the Tokyo show ?
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
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23
38
Manila, Philippines
#6
1st weekend of November
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,572
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#7
Hey Caesar,

There is an audiophile in Vietnam Cuong Pham who has had a pretty serious set of equipment in a dedicated room for many many years. His system has generally been stable for about 5-7 years: big Westlake horns, Thorens Ref TT (several), every killer piece of expensive Audio Note Kondo everything, Esoteric P-OVU (the one only available in Japan), Odin, Transp Ref MM, MIT MAX-2HD, you name it.

Suddenly, he went thru a series of trials for new speakers...and new electronics. He ended up going thru search: Avantgarde Trio Classicos, then Avalon Isis/Boulder 2050, then...ended up with the huge Kharma Exquisite Grands, Gryphon Mephisto Monos and Gryphon Pandora. Check it out on Audiogon.
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,572
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#8
Caesar, you inquiring about them...or considering them? ;)
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
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#9
This speaker was HOT 5 or 6 years ago when it was Valin's reference. Since he moved on to Magicos (and to Estelons and then to Raidhos), Kharma has not had much publicity, at least in the USA.

Interestingly, I always thought that Kharma was a bit too warm, while the Magico was bit too cold for my tastes. So, it seems to me, Valin moved from one extreme to the other.

Has Kharma's sonic signature changed in the recent years? Is Kharma still a popular brand or just a passing fad?
Would have liked to hear the Kharmas you did. Never sounded warm to me and if fact sounded just the opposite.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,136
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#10
i owned the Kharma Exquisite Reference 1D's from 2001-2005. they did not suffer 'ordinary' amplification 'gladly'. i used the 75 watt Tenor OTL's and then later the Tenor 300 watt hybrid mono-blocks. a popular pairing was also with the Lamm ML2's and other Lamm's. so depending on the amplification used they could be described as a bit dark (Lamm), highly resolving and natural (Tenor), warm (other OTL's or tubes), or a bit edgy (insert almost any solid state).

they did not go very deep in the bass, and were not a tough load but not an easy one either. what they did was to be very coherent, lively and refined sounding......one piece, like music....with a very good 1st order crossover. very natural sounding.

the sound of the Exquisites with the Tenor OTL's is still the basic reference i have for the character of the sound i like.

what happened was that they got overpriced for North America compared to the competition. for instance, the Exquisites were $75k when i bought them in 2001; now they are north of $125k. other speakers were more affordable here in the US.

Kharma is a great speaker line.
 
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MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
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#11
i owned the Kharma Exquisite Reference 1D's from 2001-2005. they did not suffer 'ordinary' amplification 'gladly'. i used the 75 watt Tenor OTL's and then later the Tenor 300 watt hybrid mono-blocks. a popular pairing was also with the Lamm ML2's and other Lamm's. so depending on the amplification used they could be described as a bit dark (Lamm), highly resolving and natural (Tenor), warm (other OTL's or tubes), or a bit edgy (insert almost any solid state).

they did not go very deep in the bass, and were not a tough load but not an easy one either. what they did was to be very coherent, lively and refined sounding......one piece, like music....with a very good 1st order crossover. very natural sounding.

the sound of the Exquisites with the Tenor OTL's is still the basic reference i have for the character of the sound i like.

what happened was that they got overpriced for North America compared to the competition. for instance, the Exquisites were $75k when i bought them in 2001; now they are north of $125k. other speakers were more affordable here in the US.

Kharma is a great speaker line.
No offense to Tenor because the amps do some things wonderfully, but they seem like a tone control to me. They have always sounded a little rolled off in the upper octaves and always complemented speakers such as the Hansen and YB that sounded bright.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,136
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#13
No offense to Tenor because the amps do some things wonderfully, but they seem like a tone control to me. They have always sounded a little rolled off in the upper octaves and always complemented speakers such as the Hansen and YB that sounded bright.
that's a crazy thing for a CJ fan to say.;)

and I was much more a fan of the sound of the Tenor OTL's than the Hybrid. but the OTL's tended to detonate regularly.

my point was that after my previous 'Wilson-Levinson' period, the Kharma-Tenor brought me into a view of the music which started me down a particular pathway that I have been progressing forward on since.

i had those CJ LP140M's for a few months, and those sounded somewhat rolled off compared to my darts. and the Tenor's would sound rolled off similarly too.
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
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#14
that's a crazy thing for a CJ fan to say.;)

and I was much more a fan of the sound of the Tenor OTL's than the Hybrid. but the OTL's tended to detonate regularly.

my point was that after my previous 'Wilson-Levinson' period, the Kharma-Tenor brought me into a view of the music which started me down a particular pathway that I have been progressing forward on since.

i had those CJ LP140M's for a few months, and those sounded somewhat rolled off compared to my darts. and the Tenor's would sound rolled off similarly too.
Mike I'm a reviewer, not a fan :) I do try and stay objective eg. my comments about the Tenor (you know back in the early days spent many hours listening to the Tenors in Lars' system). Like you, I have the opportunity to hear many products in my system (as well as other reviewer's systems). Certainly I could buy many other products but that's what I use for my reference because the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. FYI, I'm no longer using a cj phono stage :)

Of course, even compared to the LP275M (for obvious transformer reasons), the 140 were a little rolled off. That's where cj's changes to the driver stage eg. a different tube that allowed them to lower the impedance and increase the ART's bandwidth.

Of course, the sound of the LP140Ms depended upon everything around them. For instance, the TA MM1 was not a good match for the amplifiers :( MM2 is a different story.
 
May 30, 2010
14,139
83
48
Portugal
#17
(...) Of course, even compared to the LP275M (for obvious transformer reasons), the 140 were a little rolled off. That's where cj's changes to the driver stage eg. a different tube that allowed them to lower the impedance and increase the ART's bandwidth.

Of course, the sound of the LP140Ms depended upon everything around them. For instance, the TA MM1 was not a good match for the amplifiers :( MM2 is a different story.
Mike,
I am hosting the LP275M's - can you clarify the comment about the transformers? BTW, I have now found that these particular 275's already have all cj Teflon coupling and decoupling capacitors, although the data on the cj site does not refer to it. .

Can I ask what is your opinion about the MM2 with cj's?
 

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
2,941
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#18
Caesar, you inquiring about them...or considering them? ;)
Not really, but you never know. It just popped into my head. Like you, I'm interested in talking about audio experiences. I think only 3 US dealers carry them. If Valin still had them, I'm sure it would be a lot more. Overture is one of them, and they are one of the most respected dealers in the US. I wonder if they position Kharma as the opposite of Magico.
 

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
2,941
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#19
ceasar,great brand ,ive heard them do things ,ive not heard from any other speaker , if i had to lay money on the table they would be among the top of the list.
magazines...they got to live just like everybody else :D
Thanks. Do you know if the sound has changed recently?
 

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