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Kharma news from Munich 2010

[Neli is still torturing me. But eventually she will relent :-) From the snippets I have heard - Kharma now has 2 speakers above the old (~$260K) Grande Exquisites and one immediately below.

Kharma has indeed added some new loudspeakers to the Grand Exquisite line. Above the Grand Exquisite are the Grand Exquisite Extreme ($390K), and the Grand Exquisite Extreme, Limited Edition 25 ($520K), the ultimate realization of the Grand Exquisite.

Kharma has also introduced the Midi Grand Exquisite ($145K), smaller cabinet suitable for a (somewhat) smaller room. These were the ones shown in Munich.

Kharma now makes their own ceramic drivers, the Black Label series (and so no longer use the old Accuton/ Thiele & Partner ceramic drivers - which have been exceedingly hard to come by lately). These new drivers have membranes that are black in color.

This fall, Kharma will introduce the new Elegance line. One of the smaller Elegance loudspeakers, configuration similar to the 3.2.2 CRM, is shown below. These use a new Kharma-designed and developed carbon fiber driver and a new (also Kharma-designed and developed) beryllium tweeter. Pricing for the new Elegance speakers is still being set.

Corrections to this summary, and pricing, and labeling of the photos will be forthcoming… right Neli? :-) ]
A quick note on pricing. Kharma’s pricing in Euro has remained remarkably stable over the last years. Prices here are based on a conversion rate of 1.30 USD / 1 Euro, which is either … an insane opportunity, or the new normal.

Looking into the Munich show room from the outside …

wish we were able to attend, we are so happy to have these pictures sent to us from Kharma …

First glimpse inside.

These are the Midi Grand Exquisites, with the Exquisite Sub (active, 18″ long throw driver) and the new Exquisite MP-1000 mono power amplifiers.

Side view of the room, RixRax Grand Hoodoo and a pair of Exquisite Mini with the new black label drivers (more below).

Kharma owner and chief designer, Charles van Oosterum, with the new Elegance 3.2.2, with the grille on. Grilles are now mounted magnetically.

Rear of the Elegance 3.2.2, in Aubergine. The port is reminiscent of the Exquisite Mini. Note the removable back panel.
These loudspeakers can be made active by changing the binding posts to signal cable connectors (XLR/RCA) and mounting one of the little Matrix amplifiers inside.

New Kharma beryllium tweeter and carbon fiber mid/bass driver.

‘Elegance’ series badge on the side. Cabinets and cabinet finish look quite similar to the CRM 3.2/3.2.2.

Streamlined Elegance series stand with floor protectors.

This is a nice reminder that we should always level our loudspeakers …

Another nice view of the big Munich system with the Midi Grand Exquisites, the new MP-1000 mono amps ($52000), and the Exquisite sub ($32,500).

Closeup of one Midi Grand Exquisite. Makassar veneer with piano black finish. Nice view of the dual diamond tweeters, and of the new black-label ceramic midrange drivers.

Even nicer view of the Makassar …

Beautiful view of the Exquisite Mini (what a lovely, lovely loudspeaker, sonically even more than visually), with standard Walnut trim and the new black label drivers. Since the speakers are not playing, the diamond tweeters have got their little magnetic protective grilles on.

The MP-1000 with carbon front panel.

Best view of the front end. Top shelf, Metronome CD transport. Second shelf, prototype/beta version of the new Kharma PA-1000 preamplifier (expected $39000), third shelf is a DAC from Audio Note Japan (thanks Metralla) KSL-DAC. And, on the bottom shelf, what I think is the power supply for the Metronome.

Happy listeners ….

10 Responses to “Kharma news from Munich 2010”

  1. Ekki Says:

    Thank you so much - fantastic pics, and a very interesting developement - I hope that the bsic character does not change dramatically with the new chassis constructions Kharma built now on their own.
    It does not look as it were ceramic it looks like a sort of kevlar???

    Why are no Informations about that drastic change on their homepage??

    I had last weekend a meeting with a redacteur of german hifi magazine Stereo, he was very much impressed of their demo in munich.

    So a description of the pics will be very nice of you;-)))))

    It is funny that the only place in the web is your blog, were we can see details of the new range - thank you for being so up to date!!!!


    Ekki from Berlin

    PS: Also new amps - hmmmm, till now I did not hear a Kharma Amp combined with their speakers which could outperform a Tenor 75 or Lamm or the Graaf GM 20 - so it is interesting what the big blocks can do.
    I had the little MP 150 in comparison with my monoblock Graaf GM 20 here on 3.2 FE and the MP 150 did not sound nearly as involving, fast and resoluted as the GM 20….

  2. Neli Says:

    Hi Ekki,

    I made some updates to the main post, under Mike’s account name.

    I have never known Kharma to move backwards in terms of sonics. They tell me that their new bespoke drivers sound even better, that they’re better able to realize Kharma’s sonic vision. You are (compared to us) so close to their factory showroom in the Netherlands … if you are able to make a week-end trip we would love to hear your feedback.

    Re: news on the Kharma website — I think manufacturers just get busy with … designing and manufacturing, and shows, and teaching their dealers and distributors — and sometimes the website just lags behind a bit.

    We haven’t heard the new Exquisite series amps yet. I’d expect them to be at a completely different level than the little MP150s, which I think are (1) the only of those little amps that I like *at all* and (2) good value at the price and (3) definitely not the Tenor 75s (boy do I have a soft spot in my heart for the 3.2 CRM with the Tenor OTLs or with the Lamm ML2.1s). Haven’t heard the Graaf, how similar are they to the Tenors?

  3. Ekki Says:

    Dear Neli,
    thank you for your answer, I do not think that Kharma move backwords soundwise, but you maybe know, that sometimes if a manufacturer is doing such a drastic change, people get nervous….;-))))

    And so it was my first reaction, to get….nervous…..

    At least it is a seldom seen step of a company, because most speaker companies do not use their own chassis, sometimes they modify them.
    The people at Kharma had the last years a turbulent time, I guess, because it is everything else than easy to bring up your own core technology in chassis design - and it is a small company compared to B&W or Focal - so sorry Kharma to ask on a webpage update;-)))))

    The Graaf GM 20 uses also the 6c33c in a dual differential OTL design.
    Normally you have a stereoamp with 20 Watt and the posibility to use it “down” to an 8 Ohm speaker.

    If you want more power and control you can use 2 as monoblocks with a special internal used monokit.

    You have incredible dynamic macro and micro, and speed with this amps, the Kharma 3.2 with their uncritical impedace curve is a perfect match, so you get also holografic 3d and a fantastic midrange.
    Most test you read, were people write they sound lean, the amps do not like the speakers, and than there is no tube mid character anymore.
    But if that match fits you get SET mids.
    To find not only my opinion you can also google audiogon to get statements from different people…
    And as a fan of italian cars, the most important thing is, the amps are painted at Ferrari in Ferrari black or red or silver (silver was only one limited edition;-)))).

    The GM 20 have often a bad reputation to be reliable, that is the same as with italian cars ( i am addicted to Alfa Romeo…so I know that;-))) - but it is just a matter of correct bias to make them work reliable.
    Graaf printed beneath the spindle trimmers 0,30mV (you measure behind a shunt thats the reason for Mv and not ampere..), that is by far too much, later they announce to bias them to 0,19-0,22 mV - a lot of people do not have this information and than you get troble after a while with the 6c33c.

    As you see you have to care for the amp, DC and bias is a user adjustable thing - and you have to do that once in a year, after a tube change the 6c33c drifts for the first 100 hours - so in that case more often.

    Another thing is, that the 6c33c comes in a wide range of quality, so if people do not buy matched measured and burned in pairs it is a dangerous game - the amp is dc coupled and you can only measure a pair of the 6c33c (means one channel in stereo operation) - so it is absolutely a must to have matched tubes - so no cheap ebay deal;-))))

    But if you care for them, you get a stunning performer, their are a lot of people who say it is one of the finest poweramps you can get, if the speaker and the amp is a good match.

    I never got this speed and open sound from any other tube design, the frequency range goes up to 350khz and you have a stunning raise time.

    And they do the miracle to produce a toneful bass, I mean not just umpf, you can always get the melody, the harmonics a bass is playing, which is important to understand the composition, this is also the case with romantic organ music, like Cesar Franck, or Reger…without understanding the polyfonic structure it is just noise;-))))

    So as you easily see, I love these black beauties and in combination with a Kharma speaker it is something magical.

    Greetings and thak you again for your work


    PS: Maybe in summertime I will have a trip to the factory and I am very excited to listen to their new range….

  4. Metralla Says:

    >>third shelf (???) looks very much like an older Audio Note DAC.

    Well, Audio Note Japan. Kondo KSL-DAC.

    See photo I took on my little Canon SX200.

    I was working in Liechtenstein and drove up to Munich for the day. I really enjoyed the big Kharma system. They were playing Keith Jarrett’s “Koln Concert” from CD when I was visiting, and the sound was quite ravishing. I had forgotten how much I loved that album.

    There must be some Kondo link with Kharma. They also had a Gaku On - static display.

    All the best, Mike and Neli.


  5. Metralla Says:

    Mmm, I linked it through the website box - guess that was wrong. Can I try this?



  6. Metralla Says:

    OK, I guess that syntax is wrong.



  7. Neli Says:

    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks so much for posting the rack close-up picture. Sorry it was a bit of a pain to do so.

    Yes, it certainly is a Kondo DAC, will go back & update the main post.

    Oh, cool, I am so glad you were able to attend, and that the room sounded at least as good as it looked. It’s great to hear from you. We haven’t played the Koln Concert in a long time either, time to … look around here & see if we can find it.

    Kind regards,

  8. Mike Says:

    For everybody not familiar with Photobucket (like me. Enough ads for ya? Geez) here is the link to the entire photo album Geoff posted of Munich 2010:


    Thanks Geoff!

    So, do you remember which amps were driving the YG Acoustics speakers?

    Liechtenstein? Wow. You kind of get around, huh? Me, I feel like a bumpkin… never getting out of the backwoods country here in Colorado and New Mexico.

    Take care,

  9. Simon Says:

    Ekki, the chances are you’ll never see this, but I’d like to thank you for mentioning Graaf in your comment above. It set me on a very good road!

    I’ve been searching for the perfect amp for my Kharma 3.2FEs for a long time now (not helped by a significantly depleted budget), but despite trying lots of amplifiers in lots of styles, I just couldn’t unlock the magic that I knew these speakers held. I discovered your comment a week or two ago, and it just so happened that my local dealer had a pair of second-hand Graaf GM20 monos (the Modena version) for sale. I borrowed one (in stereo mode) and finally, finally I’ve found the right amp for my taste and budget. I’ll be buying both and running them in mono mode, and I couldn’t be happier.

    Thanks again, and thanks to Audio Federation for making it all possible!!

  10. Mike Says:

    Congratulations, Simon!

    Glad you have found yourself a Dream System. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.

    Take care,

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