I am using the Thor TPA 30 watt monos on the Kharma 1.0 ind a large room with no problems..I would think the TPA 30 Thor tube monos would work wonderfully in your medium size room..Great amps,,simple to use,sound great and are very synergistic with Kharma....A nice used unit on Audiogon from a former dealer of Thor.....
Lamm 18W is one of the best you can get although a bit expensive.
You pose a very good/well thought out question....To want to move to tubes,but "be aware" of the comfort level posed by tube heat!
I've been there,and done that,and definitely looked for a "tube toned" amp.Ultimately I settled for a highly modded Rowland,but I Definitely LOVE a good tube system!
My friend had the Kharma 1.0's.Very fine speaker,but his SS amplification also was too dry...on that bullet fast ceramic mid-driver.
Some friends related the sound like one was going to the dentist...for a drilling!Highly detailed,but annoying,in the long run....Yet the speaker surely could do better.So we always pushed him to go tubes.
Well,he decided to go to a smaller speaker,which worked with his amp/room volume.So,he sold the Kharma to a close friend,and "this" guy immediately knew it needed tubes.
Ultimately he(the new Kharma owner) got a very good Cary design(I don't know which one,but price was a big factor)...
The speaker now sounds fabulous!
I love the Kharma speakers,and have made it my business to hear a good portion of the line-up.On many occassions!
The "one thing" that really stands out is how good they sound with tube amplification.Even their own SS amp falls short,IMO!
Also,"definitely" and "consistently",the Lamm 2.1(yes,I believe it is 18 "BIG,BIG" sounding watts)is "THE" amp for Kharma designs......where the load is a good mating....
GOD I love that amp!!I have never heard a single occassion,on any speaker it was being used with,where this amp did not bowl me over!!...But it's not cheap.
I am always analyzing which amp I would use if my situation changed( sealed, dedicated room/heat issues) and I wanted to go back to a tube amp.So I like the idea of some of the open chassis designs(easy tube access)that don't have much "glass"!
Some not too expensive(but not cheap) contenders,that I like(only opinion)..With the Lamm 2.1 as KING....
Cary 805 anniversary edition,Cary 211 anniv(maybe too powerful),Dehavillend(spelling?),Wytech(very reliable),the Canary 339..to name only a few.
There is a wealth of very good contenders around and about,and I have probably forgotten just how many others I like,but if you follow the "tube/amp" threads you will pick up on this very quickly....
Good luck,with your great speaker
Hi Thorman, thanks for your suggestion. I am not familair with the Thor name but will look into it.
Hi Argyro and Sirspeedy, I have the Lamm ML2.1 SET on my radar. But wasn't sure if its 18W can control a 90db speaker. Was wondering whether the Lamm ML1.1 push-pull 90 watter would do the job better. I wish for the supposedly SET magic, but don't want flabby bass. The Wavac MD-805 55 watter is also on my list.
Have had the 3.2's with ML2 and it's plenty good, even with very loud technorave music, and to me the only amp I'd use with them. I did have a friend who had ML2's with them then dropped them for the ML1.1. I think the soundstage opened up a little more with perhaps a shred more precise imaging, detail, grip and control but the inner detail and beautiful tone and sense of continuousness that the ML2 is capable of was gone. IMO Lamm's best design by far is the ML2.
You may consider a Vac 30/70, which is essentially two 30/30's
run in mono. Or of course just the more common Ren 70/70. This would be plenty of power, a bit of added warmth, but still very good detail. Not too hard on the eyes IMO either. The Lamm ML-2 is obviously a great amp too, although I have only heard it once in my memory.
My next speakers will likely be Kharma 3.2's. I am presently using an Art Audio Carissa Signature (18wpc, 845 tubes) with Merlin VSM-MM and Superbam. I believe the Kharma and Merlins present a very similar load to the amp (Kharma may have slightly lower impedence across the board), the Carissa Sig. is wonderful with the Merlin, bass is easily controlled with a synergistic setup. I hope to try the two together in the next year or so.
I have a Carissa running into a pair of 89db VS VR4jr and the Carissa does a very nice job. The Carissa would help your dry midrange. However if you would like something even better look into the Art Audio Vivo. The Vivo would have greater dynamics with a very sweet midrange. It's like a Carissa on steroids.
Forgot to mention the Atmosphere line of tube products!
Some superb designs,that are not too pricey,and the best part of it is the mfgr is a "truly" concerned person,that will always be there for you....This is a "BIG" plus,in today's world.
Hotbird: Thor has been purchased buy Pauls' original dealer...and as of now constructing the workplace....( for info highendaudio.com )..Should be interesting...
Thanks folks for your suggestions. The research is still on.
I happen to read about the two-chasis Artemis Labs SP-1 stereo amp of 18W 300B based SET, which garnered high marks with the TAS magazine. Has anyone had first hand experience with this amp and could share?
Hi all, I settled on the Lamm ML2.1 of 18 SET watts. I took a gamble of course since the local dealer didn't carry any stock for me to do home demo. The ate now at half way mark of burn-in according to factory recommendation. I recognize my Kharma 3.2.2's 90dB effciency is not ideal match. However, and to my surprise, these 18 watts of SET give more bass output than my 350 wpc Goldmund. On top of that, the lamm sounds more natural, sweeter, more 3-D with better depth, harmonically richer. After full burn-in, will report back again. At this time, no regret changing the Goldmund to the Lamm, except the heat.
I could not imagine a better match.I've heard that combo many times...Heavenly!!!
Best of luck
If you continue to find any "dryness" in your sound, you may want to look at your choice of cartridge. Since that table can use more than one arm, you could set it up with say a Koetsu and a Lyra (or whatever suits your tastes) and be able to dial in sound to suit your mood.
In any event, I have the 3.2's and I'm giving my own advice a go. It will be fun to see if I'm only listening to one cartridge in six months or if I choose one according to my mood.
I have a qn for ML2.1 users out there, and it is about which tap to use. My Kharma 3.2.2 has nominal impedance of 4 ohms. Kharma factory and my Lamm dealer both recommend me to use the 4 ohm tap. However, I found the 8 ohm tap gives me a more dynamic sound with better bass. Am i hearing something wrong?
Listen to your ears, and put it where you like it the most!!!;)
But i also like to hear some scientific explanation.
The scientific explanation I would guess is that you need a bit more power for your taste of music and volume levels (and speaker) and the 8 ohm tap gives it to you..Maybe if you didn't need that extra beef the 4 ohm tap would be better.
Anyone try the Consonance Cyber 211?
I may be a minority voice here but I thought that the Kharma 3.2 (not the 3.2.2) was inherently dry and restrained. No amp I tried was able to fully transform it.
I think the tweeter is the weakest link of the speaker.