Avalon Opus Ceramique versus Kharma 3.2


As a lot of people who had chance to heared Lamm amps, I will made a system for one of those wonderfull amp.
At the moment I've the M1.1 (hybrid) and will upgrade to a tube ML1.1 or ML2.1 in few months.

I know the Kharma 3.2 - I love their medium with Lamm amp, but not my wife !! She said they look like a coffin ! Bad WAF !!

So, to keep my wife... I'mlooking for speaker not like coffin but also with ceramique drivers,to keep this wonderfull medium, in the same price level.

Avalon Opus ceramique look good, but here in France, I don't have the chance to heard them - and with a Lamm amp it will be really difficult.

If you have the chance to hear this combo, please, give me advice !


David, a friend had Avalon Opus Ceramique speakers and i did enjoy them; but they were not in the class of the Kharma 3.2 in terms of refinement and naturalness. like other Avalon speakers they need a fairly 'tubey' sounding amp to sound natural.

another issue is that the Avalon is only 87db efficient and is a 5 ohm load; which, depending on the size of your room and the music you listen to, may not be a good match for the Lamm M 1.1, let alone for either the ML1.1 or ML 2.1.

Avalon's are typically power hungry speakers; properly fed they can sound very good. but my viewpoint is that the amps that it takes to make Avalon's sing are not my favorite.

i have not specifically heard the Avalon Opus Ceramique with your Lamm amp so i am guessing here to some degree; but it is an educated guess. i have heard the 3.2's with your amps many times and it is a good match; but your amp is certainly not overkill for the 3.2's in terms of dynamics.

A European speaker that uses the same (actually one step up) Accuton Ceramic driver that does have a different look is the Marten Coltrane from Sweden. to my ears it sounds similar to the Kharma, which i love. the only problem is that the Coltrane is about $45k here in the U.S. the Coltrane is only 89db efficient but i have heard them on 15 watt SET amps in a large room and they sounded great.
I'm driving my Eidolons Vision (which use same tweeter and midrange drivers as Opus) with a Lamm M1.2 Ref hybrids without any problems.

Having said that, I think ML1.1 amps are a better match than either of Lamm hybrids, since they sound fuller in the midrange, which in turn complements Avalons sound characteristics better.

I wouldn't worry too much about power - I have achived an OUTSTANDING success driving my Eidolons with 16W SET amp. In fact, it made me thinking about selling my Lamms and getting a SET amp.
Hello David, have read your post with interest.
listened to both the Avalon Opus Ceramique and Kharma 3,2FE extensively, and i must agree for the big part with MikeLavigne.

And i do agree with Mike too that Avalon needs very dominant amplifiers to really excell and show what they are capable of. Have listened to the Avalon Eidolon in many set-ups with big tube and solid state amplifiers and although Eidolon and Opus sounds great as for tonality with tube amplifiers, the soundstage and attack i only experience on a true high level with topnotch solid state.
This has nothing to do with power (watts) this has to do with authority and dominance of any amplifier.
The Kharma 3,2FE to me sounds better in respect of attack, wholeness, and resolution.
I would want to make a comparison with the Kharma 2,2 model since it is a three way system like the Opus.
Since David resides in France the price of both Opus and Kharma 2,2 seems to be about the same retail, in the US the Opus will maybe better -cheaper- priced opposed to the Kharma.
i have heard on more than one occasion that some like the standard Opus better compared to the Ceramique Opus.

Kharma has a true 8 Ohm behavior but i have never seen the actual frequency plot of the Opus.
The resistance behavior of any given speaker is much more important when partnered with tubes. no matter the power (watts) figures.
I do know that Kharma has a less is more crossover, opposed to the Avalon which is fairly complicated.
The moment your wife listens to the Kharma she must say 'yes' ;-)

The LAMM SE triode mono amps are truly stunning, but will have a certain ceiling as to loudness in SPL.
I remember all to clearly about a match with LAMM SE Triode with the Verity Audio Parsifal which was a dream combination for sure but had a very specific ceiling in volume. one click further on the volume and it collapsed.
You might find the PP version with double 6C33 tubes to be less stellar as for tonality, but they can go much louder.
look at the BAT VK-75SE too, it will bring you everything the LAMM does and more too, at a better price (and balanced too)

just my two cents.
I own and love my Avalon speakers(Ascent mk-2,very easy load at 6 ohms,and a sealed box design).I make it my business to try to hear the vast majority of the touted designs,to stay abreast of what is the preferred "now" products.I still see no need to make a speaker change.

That being said,and in making my own point,I have heard almost everything around,including the Nola Gran Ref/ASR combo.One of THE most enjoyable set-uos I have ever experienced just happens to be the Kharma 3.2,driven by the Lamm 2.1 amps.BIG TIME!!With NO sub,to diminish the absolute magic of that combo.I have heard it both ways,and this is all only my opinion,and taste!

My point being,even though I own an Avalon product,I can still be honest enough to myself to admit that the 3.2/Lamm combo has a certain "magic" I seldom hear in any set-up,even though I still do cartwheels over my own system's performance!I can only imagine how fabulous the Kharma Mini Exquisite must be!!As of now,that would be my own choice if I were making a speaker change.Damn the lowest octave.I've lived with it all my life,and "magic" is more important.
Yes,the easy load makes a difference,and is one reason I never moved away from my Ascents.Even with a complete Avalon about face,regarding their own line,some years ago.
I have heard the new Kharma solid state amps,and feel,IMO only,that once you hear something like a Lamm 2.1,and are honest to yourself,you can never be happy with anything else,on that speaker.

Yes Avalon makes a fine product,yet if I were buying product today,I would look for easy load,driven by a SUPER amp like the Lamm 2.1(which I do NOT own either).

I´ve compared Avalon Opus Ceramique to Ayon Falcon S at home for rughly a week. You should STRONGLY consider the Falcon S. It is US $ 15.000,00 or € 12.990,- and simply blows the Avalon of the shelve. Can´t comment on the Kharma as my local dealer dosen´t carry this line but Ayon is definetly a huge step above the Opus in terms of detail retrieval, speed, dynamics, punch, attack, naturalness, imaging and soundstaging. A real stunner with no real preferences (tube or ss). I drive them with a mixed Nagra and Ayre set-up. My sources are DV-50 S and Capitole MK II SE. Cables are Shunyata Helix Series and power cords are Electraglide Epiphany.
I have to add sth. to my previous comment: Falson S is better in bigger rooms. I exchanged Falcon S with Opus Ceramiques as the Falcon S base line is very sensitive to furniture exchanges which I wasn´t aware of.
Now I´m a very happy Opus Ceramique owner.
Nevertheless: if you´re looking for a very revealing and life like sounding speaker with ceramique drivers your only choice could be Falcon S - at its price a steal!!!