Help power pair of Infinity Kappa 9's please

Hi all!
I have a pair of Infinity Kappa 9's:
Nominal Impedance: 4 to 6 ohm
Power Rating: 60-340 watts RMS
Efficiency: 102 dB SPL @1 watt, 1 meter
Crossover Frequencies: 80Hz, 800Hz, 4500Hz
Frequency Response: 29Hz-45kHz +/-3dB
Physical Attributes:
1x - SEMIT Supertweeter
1x - EMIT Tweeter
1x - 3" Edgewound Voice Coil Polydome Midrange Driver
1x - 5" Polypropylene/graphite Diaphram Polygraph
2x - 12" Cast Frame , L/C Tuned Woofers
Dimensions: 59.5"H x 21.5"W" x 8"D

My room is 12'x12', I have $2500 budget and would like to play music off my computer. I need amp(s), a preamp, and a DAC i guess (is the DAC necessary at my low of a budget range?). I know my budget is low so I will be shopping for very used/old equipment. If anyone has any experience, suggestions, or words of wisdom, they would be very much so appreciated.
This speaker is way too big for your room. There is an error in your specs. The efficiency is not 102db. It is more like 88db, but the Kappa 9 has a volume threshold and refuses to play loud with most amplifiers. Besides that it is a difficult load for amplifiers. Your budget of $2500 will most likely be spent on a used Krell or Levinson amplifier in an effort to drive your Kappa 9 speakers properly.

If you like Infinity speakers I recommend you sell the Kappa 9 and buy a much smaller Infinity speaker more suited to the size of your room and less finicky about electronics and you will have much better sound.
The room opens up to the rest of the house, we party loud, very loud. If I could sell the Kappa 9's for let's say $2000 what speakers, in that price range, would have "much better sound"? Also the efficiency rating I posted is directly out of the owners manual:
I should have acknowledged that the room is not ideal for the speakers. But letting them go is not really an option for me, because in my opinion there is no better sound for the money. I appreciate your input, I will look into some Krells and Levinsons.
Agree with above post,those speakers are amp-killers.Anything besides a high current amp will melt.2500$ will barely find one worthwhile.Good luck,Bob
Agree w/the above responses, however, a pair of Adcom 565 mono-blocks might work. I had the Kappa 8's paired w/the 565's & chose the 8's over the 9's based on my dealer's rec. (who is still in business!) so many yrs. ago. What, early to mid 80's? He said the same thing-the 9's were amp killers.

Being that the 565's are older models, they would prob. need a recap but you could fit all that in under budget. Since you're after loud, another solution might be to buy some pro audio amps, paying attention to how low they can go before clipping. There's a lot of crap on the market today, so go with a proven brand name that holds up.

A speaker change that might work for you is the VR4, which show up from time to time in your price range. They can play at sustained high SPL's & but they also need plenty of power to sound their best. I have horizontally bi-amped VR4 GenIII's and at the 12' mark could easily play them at 107 dB, which is loud enough to carry through the house. I want to add the caveat I was using Ayre's top two amps at the time & wouldn't attempt those levels with lesser electronics.

Something I just thought of. You could prob. buy a used PA system from somebody going out of the band or DJ biz & get your loud levels at $2500. Just search Craigslist under "DJ" and a whole page should pop up. I just checked & for $1k you can get something that will play loud.
Infinity Kappa 9 is not 102db. Not even close. The Technical Manual has a misprint.
I had Kappa Sevens and as mentioned they are amp killers. The only amp that really seemed to power them and bring them to the best performance in my ownership period was a Mcintosh MC352. I would creit the autoformers as acting as a buffer to absorb the changing impedance without causing damage to either. For the 9's I would use at least a MC402 or a MC602 if you can swing it. All my humble opinion of course.
Your budget is waayy too low to power the Kappa 9. They need more power than you are willing to spend. The kappas will play extremely loud, you just need to bi-amp them. I have four pair of Kappa 9. I bi-amp them with Carver Silver 9t monoblocs and they sing their hearts out. If you can't afford to bi-amp them, there's no point in owning them. Kappa 8.1 or Kappa 7.1 will be a better fit and they will sound really good in a room your size and won't be nearly as difficult to power as the Kappa 9. On resale, you won't get the $2k you mentioned, it will be more like $1200.

Old but Palladiums not listed right now. No relation. What the manual doesn't mention is the below 1 ohm minimum impedance @ 90 Hz and severe phase angles. The early Levinsons were some of the amps Kappa9's could melt.
Thanks for the input guys, I will look for some Mcintosh's and Carvers as well. What do y'all think about running the Kappa 9's with a pair of Krell MDA 300 Monoblocs?
Also Mitch4t I find pairs of Carver 9t monoblocks selling for approximately $1500 which you say makes your Kappa 9's sing yet is out of my $2500 budget. Please explain
They will bring a carver to it's knees as well.
Sunfire receivers and amps are based on the technology of their forerunner, the Carver Lightstar Reference. They have a unique design to handle very difficult loads. Since Sunfire's are fairly common, maybe you can locate one on a trial basis. Be sure to get the most powerful one. If previously owned, they should be within your budget.
I also said you need to bi-amp the Kappa 9, meaning that you would need TWO pair of the monoblocs, two monoblocs per speaker. That would put you at $3k just for amps. You still need a preamp and a DAC. As I said, way above your budget.

Cajunpepe, yes, a single pair of Carver monoblocs won't get you optimum results, but two pair in a vertical biamp configuration is just the ticket.
If you like to party and play your music loud sell your Kappa 9s and buy Klipsch speakers.
What about the Krell MDA 300 monos? anyone? can they do it?
Steakster, I also own two of the Sunfire Signature amplifiers. It will power the Kappa 9 sufficiently, but not optimally. I put two of the Sunfire Signatures on the Kappa 9 in a vertical biamp configuration and it takes the listening experience to a whole 'nother level.

I put a pair of my Pass Labs X-600 monobloc beasts on the Kappa 9 they didn't get it done, I needed two pair of the Pass beasts to get the speakers to wake up and sing.

The bottom line here is that the Kappa 9 need gobs of power for optimum results.

JT, get rid of them and get the Kappa 8.1 or 7.1 and you'll be much happier and save yourself some money in the process. The Kappa 9 are waaay too much for a room your size.
The Kappa 9 has been known to cause grief to many audiophiles over the years since its introduction. It is, what I consider, a poorly designed speaker because of the difficult load it presents to the amplifier. Even if you find an amplifier to deal with the load, which would be very expensive, the amplifier's sound will be degraded due to the speaker's load.

It makes more sense to design a speaker with a reasonable sensitivity and an amplifier friendly load. This type of speaker design will always produce better overall sound.

Paul Klipsch was often quoted saying "What this country needs is a really good 5 watt amplifier." What would a really good 5 watt amplifier do for an Infinity Kappa 9?
A good solid state amp that is basically an arc welder will work fine with your speakers. however, you have exceeded your budget. Which is not a problem if you are not in a hurry. do one thing at a time. Don't rush. Mark Levinson 23, 23.5, 20.6, etc. Big Thresholds, Krells, will work fine. you just have to determine which amp's sound you like. Also, if your CD player has a volume control, you don't need a pre-amp at this time and can get one later and stay within your budget. Upgrades should always come one at a time. So, lets say your CD player has volume control, then you only need the amp as long as you like the DAC from your CD player, which in my opinion, typically are not very good because the power supplies are very bad in most CD players. As long as speaker placement isn't a problem, the room size of 12 x 12 isn't a deal breaker. Then, later get a decent DAC and use your CD player as a transport. That will make a huge difference in sound. "if" your CD transport is decent.

my opinion, small steps. one upgrade at a time. make friends with the sound of the equipment before upgrading.

The only amp that I can think of that can drive them well, I don't think will sound particularly good with the Kappa 9's. That is an old Sumo Andromeda. The Original, Not the II or III. I've driven that very loudly years ago into 3 ohms without issue. It is a bit dry in the mid range and High end. I doubt your emits will like it.
I have the Kappa 9's. They're now in permanent storage in my attic, waiting for the day that I get the urge to rebuild them just for fun's sake.

Those things were God awful on amps. As many have said, the efficiency is way off what you posted. 88-90 dB/w/m, tops. They're not terribly efficient. The impedance load is absolutely brutal. It actually will drop to less than one ohm at certain points. It will eat almost any amp for lunch and spit out the burnt pieces.

Forget tubes, unless perhaps you look at the McAlister Audio OTL-195 amps. They drive difficult loads well, but I doubt they've tried to drive a less than one ohm load. Besides, those will set you back almost 9K.

I bi-amped them with an Aragon 2004 MkII for the low end, and an Audio Research D-130 for the top end. It was a hopeless waste of time and money. The Aragon, a pretty sturdy amp, would blow fuses within 20 minutes. The AR would shut down the protection circuitry about 10 minutes in. Forget it.

Those speakers will simply destroy the Sumo Andromeda amplifier. They'll blow it to pieces in no time flat. Same with Adcom. I used a pair of Adcoms to bi-amp them with before the Aragon-AR combo. The Adcoms couldn't last five minutes before tossing in the towel. The Macs are a maybe. You willing to spend that kind of cash on "maybe?"

I'd say some huge Krells are about your only hope. Good luck finding them for 2500......

Bottom line, as a previous owner of those monstrosities, I agree with what a lot of people have said. Sell them, and get a more efficient speaker. It's a classic case of "size does not matter." They're huge and impressive looking, but when it comes to playing music, they're just brutes.

You'll have a hard time getting 2K for them....classic or not. Anyone in the know about those speakers isn't paying that kind of money for them.

Don't mean to rain on your parade, but purchasing those speakers was perhaps the dumbest move I ever made with audio equipment, and I've made many dumb moves. They're as close to impossible load to drive as was ever created.

You can party louder and harder with more efficient speakers, as well as getting better sound. Sell the Kappas. You'll be forever happier for it. I have speakers with low powered SET amplifiers that get louder than the Kappas ever would, and I don't have to fret about blowing my amplifiers into the next millenium.
Don't want to be a jerk here with only negative comments. Sorry. You want good, very loud sound for 2500 bucks or thereabouts? Look at the Zu Soul for around 1800 bucks/pair, and pair it with a Peachtree Nova integrated amp for about a grand. Sell the Kappas for about 1200, and now you've got a about a Grover left for your used source components. That combo will play MUCH louder than the Kappas, even with vertical bi-amping of Krell MDA 300's (which you'll never find for 2500 dollars). The Zu is a genuine 101 dB/w/m efficient speaker, so it will blister your ears with a SPL of 120 dB with just over 130 wpc using a ss amp rated at 100 wpc into an 8 ohm load. I think the Nova is rated at 100 wpc. Furthermore, the Nova is an integrated amplifier, so your need to buy a premap just vanished as well. That combination, the Nova with the Soul, garnered some very nice comments at some big audio shows. You'd need about 1000 wpc to reach the same SPL using the Kappas. That's not a joke figure- it's being generous using a base sensitivity of 90 dB/w/m for the Kappas. Just a thought.
Alright, Alright, I'm gonna listen to you guys (not attempt to power these Kappa 9's for $2500), no matter how harsh you make it seem. But I already have a home theater system consisting of some infinity's and JBL's and a decent Denon amplifier so I'm not gonna spend my budget on new audio equipment. I actually inherited the Kappa's about 7 years ago so they can stay in storage for some more time until I'm out of school when I'll get them running and get back on here and brag about how incredible they sound. Until then thanks for your discouragement, j/k =D
Oh Minorl, totally! I was thinkin bout starting with a pair of Krell MDA 300 Mono's, keeping the Kappa settings to "normal" mode (as opposed to "extended"), not gettin crazy with the volume, and workin my way up from there! Thanks for the good idea with using the CD player too! Lets turn this into a naysayer-free zone plz!
Jtiesel2, if you can store them until you are ready to power them with sufficient amps,you will be greatly rewarded by their sound. When powered correctly and matched with an excellent preamp and source, they are sublime. I own four pair of them. Hang on to yours, you won't be disappointed.
You may want to look at some of the professional gear for the Kappas.
Pro amps run 2ohm loads all day long for years, I don't think the Kappas are going to provide a problem.
You may be suprised at the sound quality of some of the better amps on the market, and they should be within your budget.

May be a viable option with some research.
As I said before the Original Sumo Andromeda is not a great match
Sonically, but you are flat wrong the about
The a Andromeda being able to drive them.
I don't mind any difference of opinion, but
In this case it is fact, I've seen it done.
Although some folks do get on here & brag about their gear, that's not what it's really all about. If that's your goal, I think you're going to be disappointed when you ask for advice, especially when you retort with, "thanks for your discouragement" and "Lets turn this into a naysayer-free zone plz".

Am I reading you correctly?
I agree, lets keep this a neysayer free zone. I don't know that the comment from Driver was even meant toward me, but Nothing should be discouraging about quoting a fact. I do not own an Andromeda, I used to sell them years ago. The discouragement would be giving incorrect information. We should always try to distinguish fact from opinion.
Again, in my Opinion, not a good choice for these speakers. I really recommend to replace them if good amplification cannot be afforded.
I copied this from Audio Review. I hope this helps.
He drives them with an Upper end Hafler.

I am still using them in my living room, in a stereo system, fed with a Hafler XL-600 or (alternatively) a Hafler 9500 Series THX Power Amplifier and a Classe CP-50 stereo preamplifier. Sources are: a Sony SCSD-XA777ES SACD/CD player and a VPI 19W Jr turntable with an Alphason HR-100 Tone Arm and an Ortofon Cartridge.
Hi Timlub-my previous comment was directed towards OP. IMO, he did not appreciate the "experience, suggestions, or words of wisdom", even though they were solicited.

Kind of surprising for a first time poster.
I think Bongiorno's Ampzilla would be a good candidate to drive those kappas.
Perhaps one of the Bel Canto integrateds......NEW.
Get the one with the USB DAC.

A PSAudion GCC series integrated of 100, 250 or 500 / side with something like a DACMagic. ??????? I guarantee the 250 watt ICE module'd GCC would work.

Is there any phase data on the Kappa 9?

I have HEARD that the EMIT / SEMIT type driver doesn't like distortion or overload. Is this true?

If true, I'd sell 'em and get pair of Cerwin Vega. If people are partying 'pretty loud' I doubt anyone is in the mood for nuanced presentation of 'the sounds'.
The Klipsh? Them too!

If the 'system' is now up and running, what exactly is wrong with it? Last amp die?
Thanks Driver, I appreciate it. I understand, I'm getting old, I have been in or around this business for 32 years.
Sometimes I bite a bit too fast in my old age.
As far as the Ampzilla above? As I stated in other area's, I used to sell Sumo. Jim B. has told me that the Andromeda is nearly an arch welder, that it will run nearly to a dead short. I've never tested the Ampzilla, but I hear that it sounds a bit better than the Andromeda, but a bit more tempermental. I'd be surprised if it would run the Kappa's if you ran it hard at all.
Driver- There are people sending me messages to my email because they do not want to hear the criticism and abrasiveness that they feel they would receive in this thread. I ask how to get some creative input on how to drive these speakers, and what i get the most of is "don't even try, you're wasting your time, just sell them" If that's not discouraging and at least slightly unappreciated then I don't know what is. Sorry, they are my babies, and when I get into a room full of people saying I can never do it and just get rid of them I get a little frustrated. I really do appreciate all the input, and what I have learned is that the general opinion is that I could do better for myself by replacing them.
no i inherited the speakers without any amp Magfan. And yeah Ive been looking at some cerwin vega's they look especially sturdy also, good for a party environment! and good prices on them. Do you recommend a particular cerwin vega model?
One last thought. You might contact a few people known for mods. My thinking is that you take something like an Adcom
565, double its filter capacitance, double the voltage capacity of the bridge rectifiers, possibly have to change the transformer, but you take a solid amp, maybe not an adcom, but a solid amp and make something capaple of handling the current needed to run the 1 ohm load that those babies throw at you. A 500 to 600.00 amp and a few mods an you would be on your way. I bet you will find that it is out there. A few phone calls is cheap. good luck. Tim
Others will hopefully chime in, but for a PARTY speaker, look no further than CV.
WTF, nobody is going to be sitting there, eyes closed, toe tapping to some incredible jazz performance. We're talkin' PARTY here.

I have ZERO idea about model, but one of the 'traditional' 12" 3-ways will get to to loud / party with a reasonable amp. Some of that bullet-resistant DJ stuff may work on the amp side.

For your 2500$ budget and the Kappas in trade, I'll bet I could get you Jailed or at least evicted.

Old / used amps, especially those which have been stored for a year or more may simply not put up with the kind of wacky abuse you may dish out. Or a friend with a little TOO much 'adult beverage' cranking up 'Stairway to Heaven' to hear it ALL!

I don't know about the Kappa9. Everyone here calls it an amp killer, so I'll lean that way, too. But nobody has remarked on what I thought the problem was....those pesky EMIT drivers and if the do or NOT have a problem at high levels with amp distortion......or maybe i'm thinking of the Heil AMT stuff?

Free speakers requiring a couple grand in amp, are probably not a big bargain!
Nobody has mentioned ...

or maybe just something like these, in series ...

Don't give up so easily. There's always a solution... But, ya, the room is small for 9's.

Innersound, Spectron, Carver Pro ZR1600... all well worth investigating as funds allow.

Some of the Macs had the option of parallel input/output with jumpers which converts to stereo amps to monoblocks and doubles the current available. There's a trick to that with most other amps but the Bryston 7B had that as an option on earlier models and it's still a factory option.
I have to agree with the posters who suggested pro equipment. It isn't something you would want to sit and listen to, but for parties, it will rock and rock loud. The distortion and chest-pounding bass will make it even seem louder.

I'd suggest the Yamaha P3500S amplifier at less than $500. It's 350 watts per channel into 8 ohms. Drive a pair of JBL JRX115 15" Two-Way Speakers at $250 each.

Just add a stripper pole and let the party begin.

Be sure to look on C'List for used DJ stuff, you might find some good deals.
Hi Jtiesel2,

I was serious about using a pro audio amp. I don't know all the specs of all the units out there but I do know of 2k+ watt units that will easily play @ 2 ohms that sell new well under $2k.

I've used QSC amps for over 30 yrs, so they must be doing something right. That's but one suggestion.

Seriously, good luck with your search.
The problem isn't power, its current capability. The Kappa 9's drob at one point down to .8 ohms. Most amplifiers will crap on themselves trying to drive a 1 ohm load. I have heard Kappa 9's sound decent on a 50 watt amp. Dave Cofin of the old Marcof lable made it by hand. It had a power supply that would put most 400 watt amps to shame and doubled its power down to 2 ohms. This amp might not play the party levels that you are talking about, but it could drive Kappa 9's without dying. Of course Power is nice and I would get what I could, but you need current capability. Find something that is at least 2 ohm stable and a ton of power and you will get a decent job until you push the amp into clipping.
Timlub is right on. Power is not an issue with the Kappas by and large. It's all about current, since the impedance drops ridiculously low. You need a very high current capability amp.

Tim, when I bought the Aragon, I looked at a Sumo Andromeda amp. The dealer recommended the Aragon, which was a bit cheaper than the Sumo, specifically to drive the Kappa 9's. Maybe he steered me wrong. But I'd still like to see the Andromeda drive these things at top volume for 30 minutes and not fail. I'd be pleasantly surprised. Just have a hard time believing a single Andromeda could do what a bi-amped configuration of an Aragon and Audio Research amplifiers could never come close to pulling off. Granted, Audio Research's solid state designs weren't that good (by AR standards), but they weren't exactly wimps, either....but the Kappas made them seem so. Furthermore, if these speakers could make an older Levinson amp cry uncle, well......
Timlub, since apparently you know about the speakers in question, what is the phase data? While <1ohm is wacky and phase at that impedance is probably just academic, I'm curious now.

What does anybody do, or HOW does any manufacturer justify this kind of bizarre load? And SERIOUSLY, what good is it?

I believe in system synergy and all that good stuff, but buying speakers which require owning stock in the power company AND an EE degree to find compatible stuff is beyond me.
When you are talking about those kind of low ohms, I can't help but think of car audio.
The lower the impedence, the more power you can put into it.
I am sure they are designed to take the power.
I would seriously look at the pro stuff if I was in this situation.
Since they are designed as such, I am sure they could take the power of a pro amp, or they would not have been designed with that impedence in the first place.
They want power, give em power!
The only reason consumer speakers are designed with an 8ohm impedence is to play nice with the 88 billion receivers & sub par amps on the market.
If they wanted to put some power into their speakers, they would not be 8 ohms.
Do some research.
Apogee, Crown, Creston, and some of the Mackie amps sound good, and would not have a problem with your Kappas.
You might just find Nirvana (literally) with the right pro amp.
All that aside about the Kappa9 being amp killers and being poorly designed, I'm so enamored by them that I own four pair of them. If you put a killer preamp in front of them with a good source and the appropriate bi-amplification, you have yourself an outstanding speaker. They are not a speaker to own if you are not willing to amplify them properly. If you can amplify them properly, they are keepers for life. Big, beautiful and they sound outstanding when done right.

But, you can always ignore the naysayers here and try it for yourself and come to your own conclusion. If you try it and are successful, you should come back to this forum and post your findings. As a matter of fact, if you are not successful, you should post those findings also.
I do not have them, but if anyone can get proper driver specs a impedance compensation circuit could be added. I worked at SpeakerCraft/Marcof Electronics in the early 80's we used this circuitry then, we had great computer programs, but it was still a guessing game. Today, we can model exactly how a speaker will behave. Unfortunately, I doubt the information is available on the infinity's. As far as Phase data, You'd have to have the original crossover design and crossover points along with impedance curves to figure that out. I remember measuring one of these and it dropped to .8 ohms at one point.
The car audio idea is not crazy. The old Orion HCCA or SoundStream Reference amps were capable of 1/2 ohm loads. We actually ran a few speakers in living rooms with surprisingly good results, but these amps require big current. You would need 14+ volts and you wouldn't get away with a cheap power supply.
As far as the Andromeda comment vs the Aragon. The Andromeda II or III would not drive this either, only original Andromeda, if that is what they compared the Aragon with, I still understand it. The Aragon had better midrange than the Andromeda. The Andromeda was so controlled that an under damped speaker sounded week on bass and it was a lean dry sound which the emit tweeters would sound very fast, but very dry. I wouldn' like the Andromeda on these speakers. If they thought the Aragon might drive them and were a Aragon dealer, I can see them sending you that way. The original Andromeda was stopped being manufactured in either 82 or 83. You were probably looking at one of the non Bongiorno amps. The sounded quite nice, but did not have the current capability.
The original Andromeda ran on 50 volt rails. Jim himself called it an arc welder.
When I mentioned car audio, I was really thinking about the low impendences (which are similar to car audio), and did not even think of using car amps, but now that you mention it..........
The kapppas would sound great with a Phoenix gold 450 or Zapco running them for sure.
I have alot of respect for the musicallity of some of the car amps.
I own some premium 12volt products myself.
There are some truely excellent car amps on the market, as refined as any home amps.
As far as sound quality goes, I would give the advantage to DC current!
I would worry about the electrical conversion though.
Ac to Dc.
May introduce some noise and negative effects.
Not really sure.

Stereophile review on the original Andromeda. Stereophile says to use a impedance compensation circuit on certain electrostatics, because they can show a dead short to the amp, but the don't have any record of Andromeda's not handling it. Its all in the article above.
Jtiesel2. You can hunt one of these down for around $350.00 or so. I'd park here on Audiogon and on Ebay. One will come around. Give it a try. You can sell it easy enough. If it works out. I can suggest some people to mod it. A few parts in the right places will take away the dryness I was describing. Good luck, Tim
Thanks so much guys. Pro audio has some good looking stuff just not finding exactly what I need being sold used on any of the regular sites at the moment. Wish me luck in repairing the foam woofer surrounds!!