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  Kharma CRM 3.2F vs. Avalon Eidolon and Diamond
Dear fellow audiogon'ers

I would like to hear from a person that have compared these masterpieces head to head. The CRM is getting fantastic reveiws ets. but the Eidolon/diamond really is something special. Please help me understand the similarities and differences of these designs.

Thanks in advance.
Audiomgu  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

  Responses (1-32 of 32)
Click title to read one, or click date to read all below it.

03-26-03: Fmpnd
Just out of curiosity, is there any reason you are comparing the 3.2 to the Eidolon Diamond rather that say, the Kharma Midi-Grand instead. I say this not just because the 3.2 is $19,000 and the Eidolon Diamond $34,000 (so the Midi-Grand is more comparable price wise, albeit sans diamond tweeter, at $32,500), but mainly because the 3.2 is a just 2-way monitor (ceratinly not to knock it since is the best this man has ever heard) whereas the Midi-Grand is a three-way like the Eidolon.
Fmpnd  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-26-03   You tell them frank. at least compare apples to apples. fr ...   Stenersr

03-26-03   I have been listening to the midis that were at ces for abou ...   Fmpnd

03-26-03: Jtinn
As a dealer for Kharma, I will not tell you my thoughts on the Eidolons. What I will share are the experiences of a customer who had the Eidolon's without the diamond tweeter and the Kharma 3.2 CRM's. He was never happy with the Eidolons. He felt the crossover points were very noticable and there was an extremely noticable bloat problem. He also noted that the midrange sounded thin, dry and lean in comparison to his 3.2's. He felt the 3.2s had a bigger soundstage side to side as well as front to back and even though the 3.2's are only a two way, they had superior bass to that of the Eidolons.

The diamond tweeter is quite a wonderful upgrade, but it cannot solve the problems he heard.

Personally, I do not think comparing the Eidolon Diamonds to the 3.2s is fair to the Eidolons. The 3.2s are in a class by themselves.

Jtinn  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-26-03: Linkster
Now that Focal is touting the newer berylium dome tweeters, does anyone think that Kharma will re-engineer their speakers for the newer generation of tweeters? Also I heard that Focal will soon stop selling raw drivers and concentrate solely on JM labs. BTW, as a Diamond owner (anfd former Eidolon owner)- let me say that the Diamond is a completely new product- very different than the Eidolon. Different tweeter, woofer, internal wiring, bracing, crossover. Don't assume that the Diamond is simply an Eidolon with a diamond tweeter upgrade. Read the review of the Eidolon in the Feb. issue of HFNRR (Martin Colloms). The Diamond is the finest real world speaker I have heard.
Linkster  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-26-03   Frank, i am in audio envy! i did order the meitner and real ...   Stenersr

03-26-03: Fmpnd
Bob, I will just tell you MY opinion on the AA versus the Metiner versus analog (so, to everyone else, please realize this is JUST my opinion based on my tastes, my prefernces, my room acoustics and my equipment synergy).

First, the AA is a wonderful sounding player and bettered my former $14,000 separates fairly handily. However, it was the MOST unreliable, frustrating, not ready for market, piece of gear I have EVER experienced. I finally got a new one a couple months ago and it seems fine. When it broke down for the bazillionth time (before I got the new one), I said to myself "Self, it may sound great but I cannot stand the hassles, so let's try something else!" (I actually said that out loud to myself!! -- problem is I ANSWERED MYSELF!!!) OK, I'm back now.

This is where Jonathan The Pusher Man Tinn comes in. JTinn Pusher Man took the chance to inject me with his Audio Herione in the form of the Meitner DAC 6, Phillips SACD-1000 (Meitnerized) and the Switchman II. Let me state that I am NOT affiliated with Chambers Audio or Meitner or EMM Labs. I also am not a member of any "Gear of the Month Club" and do not feel a need to "justify" my purchases and do not care if a component I have gets a bad review (as noted by my opinion of the Kharma Midi-Grands versus Mr. Fremer's -- whom I admire and respect). After all, it is only our opinion and I am virtually the only one who listens to my system.

With that disclaimer behind us, I will simply say that the Phillips, DAC 6 and Switchman combo took my system to a level I HONESTLY never thought I would ever hear in my home. Combined with the Midi-Grands, Tenor amps and various assorted accessories, the Meitner gear handily bettered, and in many cases trounced, every other digital gear I have ever heard (including my SFI T3/P3, the AA, the same new DCS stuff Stereophile just raved about, the best Accuphase, the Levinson and Wadia's [all of which I have heard in my system). That is not what surprised me or my buddies. What DID surprise us, however, is that it also trounced almost every vinyl playback we heard it compared to (and that includes, to a lesser degree, my SME 30, Manley Steelhead and Colbri). Yes, there are instances where my SME betters the Meitner stuff. But, on the average, I have found more CDs to sound more listenable through the Meitner than the same album on the SME (judged by CDs which I also have on LP). No, I am not saying analog is dead or not a fantastic medium - because it is. BUT, if anyone wants so stop by my home (please call first) and hear for yourself, what I am raving about, please do so. Four of my closest local audio sickos have come by and left shaking their heads after hearing what the Meitner does for digital. One of them who is a DIE HARD vinyl afficianado left again tonight saying "vinyl just isn't worth it after hearing that!"

Does this mean everyone should run out and sell their analog rigs? No, that is preposterous. However, I am at least considering it. But, if you are unable to do both to the level you want, I would not hesitate to advise anyone to go with the Meitner gear and forego the expense and hassle of analog, particularly if you like the newer stuff that cannot be had on vinyl!!

I still love vinyl, but with the Meitner gear, I no longer get tired of digital after an hour or so, I no longer feel the need to fire up an LP and I have NEVER heard such transparency, illumination of the musical event, layering, soundstaging, timbral accuracy, articulate and harmonically pure bass with violins, cymbals and pianos sound so lifelike (and with NO steeliness or stridency) as I have since the Meitner showed up (of course, the Midi's and Tenors have alot to do with those attributes as well).

If you do get the Meitner gear, GIVE IT TIME TO FULLY break in!!! It doesn't sound great out of the box, it gets better after 150 hours or so, gets a little wierd at about 250 and then KICKS SERIOUS AUDIO DERRIERE after 350-500!

In closing, if anyone disagrees with me, that is fine as that is your taste or preference -- but if you disagree without ever hearing what the Meitner can do, it will be your loss.

Fmpnd  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-26-03   The problems that jtinn's customer reports with the eidolons ...   Flex

03-26-03: Flex
To continue with my rant above, Eidolons together with the Spectral components mentioned (and good room control) give a huge seamless soundstage, extending far to the sides of the speakers and very deep and layered. Achieving this quality of imaging depends with certainty on the electronics and room, but the speaker is the final arbiter of whether it happens. Images are in the room with you, solid, and layered from just in front of the speakers on back as far as the recording permits. And they will command your rapt attention, since Eidolons are also musical.

I'm sorry that I can't compare Eidolons to Kharma 3.2's, which I haven't heard and may well be fine speakers, however I feel compelled to address some of the misinformation in the thread.

Flex  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-26-03   Ps - bob (and flex, i am assuming you were not referring t ...   Fmpnd

03-27-03: Bryans
People we are comparing a BMW to a Mercedes. Both are great and you will happy with both. Kharma and Avalon make some wonderful speakers. You really need to listen to them and see what you like best. If you prefer the Kharma that is fine and that does not mean the Avalon are bad speakers. Audiomgu the only way you will ever know what you like best if to listen to them and pick the one that YOU like best.

Some of the comments made here are really getting out of hand. A guy once told me all gear sounded the same so he always bought the cheapest gear. He had in fact listened to tons of gear and always went back to his original gear. I thought it was funny, as his gear didn't sound worth anything to me. But he was the person who liked it so that was all good to him. The point I'm trying to make is take some of the comments here with a grain of salt. You will always find someone who knows someone who likes this or that better. At the end of the day you will be the one listening to the gear and you have to like it.

Bryans  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-27-03: Linkster
There is no way a 2-way w/ a 7 inch woofer can outperform the bass of the Eidolon (extension, dynamics, definition). Anyone that tells you that sort of invalidates the rest of his criticisms of the design. BTW, doesn't the Kharma Midi-Grand share the same woofer with the Diamond or Eidolon.
Linkster  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-27-03: Tireguy
Bryans- Great response. In this price range if you don't listen to both speakers you are a fool- plain and simple. Theories and assumptions mean nothing if you haven't listened yourself. I do find it interesting that those who posted who have heard both speakers prefer the Kharma's and those who haven't heard the Kharma's prefer what they have.... just something to think about. But in the end this hobby is suppose to be fun so get the speaker that brings the most happiness into your life- in particular at times like these.
Tireguy  (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-27-03: Fmpnd
Ok Tireguy, if you have ever seen the movie "Rudy" where the enitre Notre Dame stadium is chanting "RUDY, RUDY, RUDY, RUDY!!!" -- then just imagine that same chant "KHARMA KHARMA, TENOR, TENOR, MEITNER, MEITNER" Yes, that was JTINN under your bed at night chanting those words while you slept in his ever so subtle and subliminal kind of way!


Fmpnd  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

03-31-03   I saw that martin colloms' review of eidolons referred to by ...   Flex

04-27-03   I have a friend that i implicity trust, some of the best ear ...   D911

04-28-03: Shubertmaniac
D911: very interesting, I found them to be light and airy compared to the ceramic tweeter in the plain jane Eidolon. And even lighter and airier than the titanium tweeter on my
Radians. The plain jane Kharmas use a soft dome tweeter
(revelator?) and have as an option the diamond tweeter. I heard both the Kharma 2.1 and various Avalons and all perform well; personal tastes at this level is what matters.

Shubertmaniac  (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

04-28-03   I've heard diamonds sounding hard and aggressive in the uppe ...   Flex

04-28-03   Flex: where did you here the avalon diamonds? i heard the di ...   Shubertmaniac

04-28-03   Shubertmaniac, i heard them at a north california deal ...   Flex

04-29-03   Hello fmpnd, may i ask that you list the accuphase, levinson ...   audiogo2000@

05-19-03   I haven't followed this thread for a while but if audiogo200 ...   Fmpnd

05-22-03   Well this is what makes the world go round. the best tweet i ...   D911

Although I live in the Netherlands I have no experience with the Kharma but I own Avalon Eidolons for 2.5 years.
The woofer of the Eidolons is very laid back, stiff, somewhat reticent : you need a big amplifier to diminish the reticent/dull character. I have a Spectral 250 power amplifier which is very open, fast but the authority is missing.
I tried a Pass 250.5 briefly and even this small Pass amplifier has more authority at low frequencies.
But the Pass gives a dryer ambiance and is less smooth and is somewhat static. I think that I prefer the Pass for big classical orchestras and the Spectral for vocal and jazz.
I heard that diamonds have the same woofer but with a stronger motor which is 2 dB more efficient. Total efficiency remains the same (87 dB/1 Watt) however.
Furthermore placement is critical: I prefer different distances to the backwall for classical and pop: if the distance is one inch to much the sound becomes too thin (midbas) for classical and if the distance is one inch less I get too much bas with pop music. 

08-29-06   I own eidolon for almost nine years since it was introduced ...   Vincentkkho

In response to Vincentkkho,

I did hear the Avalon Eidolons once 5 year ago at a dealer and they sounded very dynamic in combination with a Spectral 150S, Spectral DMC 20 and Mark Levinson CD player.
But I heard them at other demonstrations recently and they sounded undynamic to me. The recent demonstrations were set up in a hurry I guess without paying enough attention to placement and room treatment so offcourse you are right about hitting the right sweet spot.
At home my experience is that the more I play the more dynamic they sound. That is why think there is a certain stifness of the woofers. Maybe also the humidity/temperature/electric mains plays a role.
I saw an article on Internet comparing different speakers (horn speakers from Germany), Kharma, the Marten Design, Sound Lab, Avalons Eidolons and Wilson Speakers and they had the same conclusion about the relation between reticense/laid back character of the midbas and amplifier power for the Eidolons. They also said that they expected that the design of Diamond version (and the newer Vision) is an attempt to solve this problem.
Furthermore: If I remember it correctly the test of Martin Collems of HFNRR mentions a certain darkness/dullness.
I have changed one year ago from thick carpetry to parquetry to get a more lively/less dull sound and that helped a lot for the high frequencies but of course did nothing for the midbas.

If you have a Spectral/MIT/Avalons set you will have a nicely balanced combination: the ingredients of the combination are not neutral but the total sum is (dependent on the room and placement of course).
So what is your combination?

I bought the Eidolons because I had electrostacic loudspeakers for about 20 years and I wanted 3-D electrostatic sound without the huge dimensions and necessity to use class A OTLs (I had 200 Watt Fourier Pantherres OTLS) to power them.
But nothing is perfect in this life and the Eidolons certainly are not. Eg with the change from Martin Logans Monolith-3 to the Eidolons the quality of the bas (eg piano) improved a lot but the enjoyment of listening to Baroque music decreased somewhat. Electrostatic speakers with tube amplifiers are per definitions optimal for Baroque. 

09-01-06   I have changed one year ago from thick carpetry to parquetry ...   Vincentkkho

09-04-06   In response to vincentkko, i recently found out why the sou ...   coen.boxma@

09-05-06   I own maybe 15,000 lps eps consisting of 50's 60's recording ...   Vincentkkho

09-09-06: Jprice
Getting back to the original topic which was Kharma 3.2 vs Avalon Eidolon (How quickly we forget).

I have owned both. I bought a pair of Eidolons in 1999, kept them 5 years, loved them, but decided to try something else.

Among others, I bought a pair of Kharma CRM 3.2FE speakers and initially I thought them to be incredible. The sound was glorious, Instrument placement was perfect, Soundstage - wide, deep and holographic. Everything about the speaker seemed to be sheer perfection. . . . Until . . . I listened for extended periods . . . and then . . . Headaches . . .dizzyness. . . disorientation . . . The worst case of listener fatique I had ever experienced.

While this speaker does sound fantastic, I absolutely cannot listen to it.

I have experienced the same sensation with other speakers - up to and including the highly touted Wilson Watt/Puppy 7.

The problem seems to be the Focal inverted dome titanium tweeter that is common to several of the speakers I've had problems with. Many have said that the Wilsons cause listener fatigue. I had not heard this about the Kharmas.

I loved the Kharma speakers until I just couldn't listen to them any more.

I sold them and have bought another pair of Avalon Eidolons. Not only do they sound "as good as" the Kharmas, but I can listen to them for hours on end with no problems whatever.

For my money, the Avalons are perfect.

Jprice  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

09-22-06: Elviukai
well. yoiu are 100% right. wilson audio watt puppy and kharmas share the same xover topology(i will not tell what but it is with recpect to manufacturers but it is completely diferent that most speakers have ) that makes sound very open detailed and "light" . but focal tweetes and accuton ceamic drivers maks some ringing in this xover topoly. with very good components(very expensive silver paper in oil caps, foil inductors)it can be reduced. but no manufactures will put 800eur costing caps to 30 000eur speakers. its just too expensive for them. avalon eidolon are more technical sounding (like jmlab utopia) with ordinary xovers also xover slopes is sharper. they sound more technical and not fatiquing.

Renaissance Audio Labs-
Speakers Designs -

Elviukai  (Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

07-22-07: Aleksandersloboda
My friend and I own the above mentioned speakers: Kharma 3.2 and Avalon Eidolon. Not saying that once I dropped my Kharma's to his place for listening, but, myself, spent substancial time listening to his system.
My system is Kharma/Tenor OTL/ Wavac, and my friends Eidolon/ CAT /ARC Ref3.
In view of above, the comparison is of no use, as CAT is not for Kharma, and Tenor is not the match for Avalon.
Eventually you evaluate the system vs system, and that will be more fair way to do so.
I did enjoyed the Avalons playing music. They are great speakers. They are big, able to deliver massive soundstage and will fit well into the large room,and will fill it with music.
Kharma are speakers that will give you midrange and dynamics, I never heard any other speaker will reproduce.
The comparison of BMW and Mercedes is the fine one, but, refining it further, I'd say, compare two seater convertible sports car with large sedan wichever brand you'd like.
You feel so great in two seater sports car, but you miss a bit of the space of a large car.
As we are close friends, we made a few steps to get into something common in the sound. I bought the CRM Sub to make sound more large scale, and my friend tuned his system to improve the dynamics, and midrange to match that of Tenor/Kharma combo.
What do I like is what I do have.
I like the bar, where I can be alone or with a few friends, getting finest drop of cognac, with Keith Jarrett playing intimately, just for you. This is Kharma as I see it.
If you like the large concert hall, where music is amplified and soundstage is big, this is Avalon for you.
There is no answer what is better. No one will convince Avalon owner, that Kharma is the better speaker overall.
This is matter of taste. My taste is Kharma, and I do think this is superior to Eidolons in overall texture.
My friend, I think, believe the same, although he never confessed.

Aleksandersloboda  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

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