Kharma 3.2 to MidiGrand Upgade???

Anyone have experience in upgrading from the 3.2 CRM enigma to the Midi Grand Ceramiques w enigma?

What improvements/benefits can be had and you've experienced? Very interested in what is possible with low powered tube amps, specifically Lamm ML2.1's etc.

On paper the Midis are more efficient. Are they easier to drive than the 3.2's or does their impedance dip more significantly than with the 2 ways? Also interested in feedback regarding room size, bass integration, etc.

I'm interested also in any comments regarding the new ceramique sub and if its necessary / integrates well with the midis. I am seeking to be able to reach realistic symphonic levels with content loaded classical music and heavy electronica.
128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xowl
There are a few owners and previous owners of 3.2s who have moved up to the Midis and there are many who have heard both extensively but I'm not one of them. :P From what I know, they've mostly been happy with the move, but then again, they were looking for more bass output and higher SPLs.

I bought the 3.2s because I couldn't afford the Midis, but I probably made the right choice for my room. The 3.2s are more flexible in placement as they can be placed close to the front wall and sound just as coherent and disappear just as easily as if it was further out. The Midis on the other hand would need to be further away from the front wall.

All things being equal, the 3.2s are going to integrate better than the Midis. The Midis try to integrate as well as the 3.2s while providing the output down low. That's how I think of it. If you have a relatively large sized room and looking for realistic symphonic levels, then you probably would want bigger speakers and also a more powerful amp.

As for the sub, I'll be perpetually interested in a sub until I have one in my home although I probably will never get one. Although between the Kharma sub and Rel subs, I would not know which would actually integrate better.
Are you considering selling your WP7's and moving into the Kharma's? The 3.2's would not be a good choice if you are into large scale symphonic work and electronica. The Midi's would be a better option but still the WP7's are very competetive with these designs.
I have the 3.2's now, and they're wonderful and surprisingly dynamic on that music but my room is the problem, it's 30x40 ft and the 3.2's are ALMOST enough for the room but probably could use the Kharma sub or bigger drivers to move just a little more air. I've moved them out to the sides of the room and am shocked at the quality and quantity of additional midbass and bass and of course the incredibly beautiful liquid and coherent Kharma mids and highs. My concern is that with multiple drivers the Midis may be a more difficult load for the Lamms and in my setup NOT as dynamic as what I'm getting! On paper it's almost a wash, with 89 db vs 91 db but leaving such a perfect speaker for a 3 way is a concern though I'm hearing from a number of people that the Midi's are a strong step up. I just don't want to have to give up the Lamm.
I must tell you(and this is only my opinion),I do not own a Kharma,a friend owns the 1.0,but I have made a strong effort to hear much of the line.I've heard the 3.2 on many occassion.Without and with the sub.I heard the Midigrand on it's own I truly believe the 3.2 and Lamm combo is possibly the most stunningly beautiful combo I've ever heard when it comes to the flow of a musical note.A threeway,while many are successful adds to the complexity and may take away from the majic,that the 3.2 has IN SPADES.Adding a sub,which can be great,still can make matters more difficult,while improving them in other areas.As far as the midi's go IMO the 3.2 is a better speaker.Mind you I don't own either one,but am trying to give an unbiased opinion.Those that have already committed money to a product seldom admit to something else being better.Think about the marketing involved.How much more do you yhink Kharma makes by selling you a Midi compared to a 3.2.To me the Midi is a wonderful speaker,but,for the money,they are laughably overpriced.For that kind of money there are FAR better reproducers of realistic sound,regardless of what you read from the PANDERING reviewers!
Owl, I recently heard the Grand Ceramiques (a harder load than the Midi-Grand) over a three day period with extensive listening driven by the ML2.1s in a room 35 x 24 with 11 to 12 foot ceilings. I went there fully expecting to hear those amps clipping and groaning or the level so low that it got lost. I was a REAL skeptic on this one. I must admit, when a buddy threw on a Niacin CD and asked the owner to crank it up I thought I would laugh. I was the one they laughed at - that amp drove those Grand Ceramiques to ear busting SPLs and I ate my words. I still cannot believe they did it.

I must disclose, I am a Kharma and Lamm owner and I like that combo VERY much (I have the new 1.2 Refs). As a former owner of the Midis, I do know they are easier to drive than the Grands.

Just my $.02

Your comments hit home because just found this CD, Infected Mushroom B Empire and have been buying up a lot of GOA Trance and been just astounded that the Lamm's are doing what they are with dynamics and upper bass. This is replacing some very dynamic full frequency Avantgarde Duos with dual subs! Synthesized music just appears from out of space, is beatiful and liquid then disappears just as quickly as it came into the room. Just picture a cheesy looking smile on my audiofool face for 45 minutes of sheer musical ecstacy... Until the time comes to put another disc in. Actually set up my road bike on a stationary stand and listen to 140bpm GOA and pedal around the same pace. Heart attack material! I think the key is placement. I have them out in the room for maximum imaging and near the sidewalls and sit within 10 ft for maximizing the bass wavelength. Surprisingly, these speakers are able to deal with being able to sit over 12 feet apart without sidewall reflection issues or center fill problems. The result: getting an even more enormous stage with very tight images and since I've moved them close to the sidewalls, some silly room reinforcement for the bass to boot. Could they use the sub? Perhaps, if integration is as good as the "buzz" then absolutely. Having heard them briefly at CES, I can say that I heard no integration issues whatsoever with the Midi Exquisites. In the smaller 3.2 room, they sounded incredibly dynamic, cohesive and perhaps tighter than in the MidiE room.

Thanks for all your comments.

Niacin ? Perhaps you can fill me in on this ? group and widen my musical library. In my life, Niacin (a.k.a nicotinic acid) is what your internist or cardiologist prescribes on top of Lipitor, Crestor, or Zocor, to help prevent overpaid plumbers like myself from having to shove drug-coated stents down plugged coronaries. (something has to pay for these toys)

However, based on your story regarding the Lamm ML2.1's + Grand ceramiqes and JV's write up in TAS on the Midi Exquisite, Sub, and ML2.1's combo, I would think that one drug the ML2.1 doesn't require is Viagra (or Cialis). Tough to believe it's only 18 WPC.


Similar to Frank, I could get you to fill me on electronica ... On Boxing Day, I was busy filling in some of the holes in my software library, by studying the various lists "best of 2004" CD's. Probably, too light for you, but I did pick up some interesting electronic/dance discs e.g. Junior Boys (from Hamilton, ON of all places !!!) & Mylo (Destroy Rock & Roll) Unfortunately, I can't speak from experience, as it may still be a few more days before my Midi grands arrive and I can set up my Trek 5200 on a trainer and try to get back into shape while listening to Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, or Interpol.

In my protracted search for speakers, I briefly wondered about buying a pair of 3.2 FE CRM's + a Kharma sub (based on the HE2004 hype) vs. the midi grand enigmas. Price wasn't that much different if you went used/demo and bought a new sub. But, even though my room is about half the size of yours, I worried that 3.2/sub wasn't as ideal for type and volume of music I listen. I also worried about the potential of blowing the midrange of the 3.2's driving them that loud, as they do the work of woofer and midrange. I would think with your room size, you probably would love going with the larger 3-way speakers.

Look forward to hearing whether you upgrade.
30X40' is a big room. How are your speakers currently positioned and your seating distance?

I think that if you're looking for higher SPLs, then the Midi might be a better option but if you're not looking for higher SPLs but rather a bit better bass extension and bass output, the 3.2s and sub combo (if it does indeed integrate well) might potentially be the most satisfying option. I've gone back and forth in terms of thinking whether a large speaker is better or having a well-integrated sub in the system. I still have not heard a big speaker produce the bass impact that I once heard a well-integrated Rel studio in a large room connected to an essentially full-range speaker.
I've had the Kharma sub running with my 3.2's for about3 months now. I can tell you that the integration is seamless, and the addition of the bottom end is fantastic. My room is 15x21. The 3.2's are about 6 ft out from the front wall, and about 3 ft from the side walls. Due to logistics, I had to put the sub is on the right side, just slightly ahead of the right speaker. Even in this position, it blends perfectly. I'm using the Lamm 1.2's.
I've been intrigued by the idea of a larger speaker, but I'm yet to hear one that stages as well, and produces as large an image as the 3.2's.
If you like everything that the 3.2's are doing, I would go with the sub. I'm sure you will be happy.
Let me put in my two cents worth again,and I'll shut up after that.I think an analogy could be useful here,only because I find the 3.2 with the lamm amps to be one of the most enjoyable and TRULY musical combinations I've heard in my 35 years in the hobby.It is kind of like this:those people who love a restaurant because the food is good,and you get a really big portion,so you can take home a doggy bag.I know people like this.Then there is the crowd that prefers a really fine restaurant for it's superb chef and incredible service and really unique menu,but,although the food is unique,the portion sizes are smaller and,no doggy bag.I far prefer the latter.To me a simple,and supremely well designed two way,like the 3.2 is the second restaurant.Totally coherent and magical with the Lamm stuff.The more complex design of a three way or a four way can NEVER match the magic of this,first design.Yes they are more dynamic,and can be quite coherent,but when you listen,and live for a length of time with your GROUP-A choice it is very hard to make a changeover to the doggy bag.By the way,I own a fine three way system(Avalon based)but,I do appreciate the uniqueness of that damn little 3.2 sound.So,obviously one has to make a choice based upon their own tastes.just make one based on your own experiences and taste,and,not based upon what the mainstream press tells you that you should like(which is a fault we all succomb to at times)as they don't have your best interests at heart,but,rather,their best advertisors!
Keith & Howie It's not a true 30x40 rectangle. Where the speakers are placed it's actually 18 ft wide then behind the listening area opens to a bar area and then a pool table behind which sits a desk- my "office". There are a lot of juts and irregularities which I've found breaks up room nodes. The entire room is over a 3 car garage and a stairway to the basement, if that helps you to visualize the space. I do find that a lot of bass gets lost into the garage below from large speakers I've had in the past, like the Dynaudio Temptations, Wilson Watt Puppy 7's and Avantgarde Duos. The speakers are positioned about 3 feet from the sidewalls and 6 ft from the back walls so they'r spread out about 12 ft from tweeter to tweeter. There is a large picture window behind the left speaker which also tends to leak bass. At the back of the room is a stairway to the downstairs level which, coincidentally also leaks bass. I honestly am shocked at the bass I do get, specifically the quality, but it certainly isn't flat to 50hz I'd guess. I have a radio shack digital spl meter but haven't been able to figure the darned thing out or find my test discs, so I have no Idea what the room is doing objectively.

Thom Y. Are you from Radiohead? One of my favorite progressive bands, i have to say. If you're interested in GOA, I'm just starting to collect but if you like some of the ambient stuff that Radiohead has started doing, you may like something like Hooverphonic's New sterophonic sound spectacular, The Orb, or Future Sound of London. More towards the trance side, bands like Troll, Holophonia, Geiger, Abnormal, Ego Traum are places to start. My favorites in the Genre though are the Israeli group Infected Mushroom and Juno Reactor.

Carl. I agree with everything you've said, if you like it why change and that is why I've purchased the subwoofer and will see what that's like before deciding on moving up from the 3.2's. I may be DONE at that point and feel no need to move up to the other speakers, or that may be an itch, I just gotta scratch, for better, the same or slightly different or worse. Come to think of it, I'm not a big fan of doggie bags...
I have to disagree. I have heard the subwoofer on several occasions and definitely do not feel it intergrates well with the 3.2's or Midi Exquisite's. I feel the speaker is much better without the sub. Sorry Carl. :(

The 3.2's are a beautiful sounding speaker that have some limitations. They are not really made for a medium to large room. They are very good in a small and intimate environment.

Their strengths are obvious, but most people desire more from the speaker than it is capable of providing.
Hey Owl, 18ft wide is pretty wide but did you say that you found having the speakers close to the side walls to be better sounding? If you found that you didn't really get much more in the way of bass from larger speakers in your rooms, then the sub may indeed be the answer, but then again, you have more than enough room for a bigger speaker to integrate. In my room, I actually have a bass boost at 30hz and not much below that, so I was thinking it might be nice to have a sub that just fills the lower octaves.
I would be very interested in your listening impressions so keep us updated.
I promised to keep quiet after my last post.I lied.I find the little 3.2's too fascinating a speaker to keep quiet about.I did go to GTT AUDIO after they were displayed at the Stereophile show in N.Y.I wanted to hear them set up by the actual distributor,at his home/demo premises.I want to remind you I do not own Kharma.I own,and am very happy with a pair of Avalons,but,without resorting to any comparisons,I love those "little buggers" (the 3.2's).The GTT set up was all lamm.I brought my own Reference discs(both analog and digital).The 3.2's were set up in the basement,and were set up very well,based on what I heard.The basement,from what I remember,was fairly large.The speakers were appx.4 feet from side walls and I'd say about 8 ft from the back wall.the walls were concrete with a concrete floor.Ceiling height I think was around 7 or 8 ft.I can tell you this.I honestly thought there was a hidden sub in the room.This was before any Kharma sub existed.I just happen to run a REL STENTOR with my Avalons.I tell you this for perspective!I have been able to gat a fabulous blend due to very low crossover point and very low gain on the sub.This all in a dedicated room of 13x23x8 with concrete floors.Enough about my speaker set-up.The point I'm attempting to make is about the 3.2's.I'm trying to be brutally honest,and do not aspire to own the 3.2's,since I'm very pleased with my own stuff,but,I really do believe the 3.2's are one of the most unique designs I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.On to what I heard at GTT.Firstly I brought over some John Zorn film music on the TZADIK label.Stunning stuff,riffed with incredible detail(Zorn is a GENIOUS anyway)and fabulous LOW frequency detail.The sound of the CD was so detailed on this set up and the music so damn great that the young sales guy asked me if he could burn the CD for demo use.The bass response on Synth and organ,while not quite up to my Ava-Rel set-up was stunning/magical/"RIGHT",even with a slight lack of deep impact.I didn't care about any slight loss of depth because the speakers told me to "just listen to what we offer up to you".UNBELIEVEABLE coherence,that I really heard none of when the same set up was demoed at HE 2005 with the sub.I know this was show conditions,but after reading so much good press(except SENSIBLE SOUND)who heard it as I did,I must say that I would gladly live with the 3.2's alone.At my GTT listening session I,also,brought some first pressing Mercury recordings.The FIREBIRD with DORATI,and an FR-1 pressing.This opens with double bass that you "feel".Real weight.My home set-up does this with more weight.This is still IMO not an issue with the 3.2 w/o sub as there is a real "MAGIC" that I believe is due to the extreme simplicity of that design.I truly believe that when you add to it's complexity with the Kharma sub,or any sub,you lose something of that magic.We live in a society of "Bigger is Better"hype.Bigger cars.Bigger houses,T.V's.swimming pools.Bigger tennis rackets.Larger hitting areas on bigger golf clubs.Heck,bigger boobs.Bigger,Bigger,Bigger.Companies(including Kharma)make more money selling this to us and ingratiating reviewers to reinforce this.The only real "boob" here (To ME)is the yutz that takes a zen-like simple design of the 3.2 and upgrades to a 'bigger""better"one.If that actually exists!The fact is I think the 3.2 IS THE BEST SPEAKER IN THE LINE.I'll bet,behind closed doors,so does Van Oosterum!But he will never admit it.Nor would any distributor.You see they want their bigger cars and houses too!!
Sir Speedy

If I didn't know better it sounds like you get a commission on each and every 3.2 sold ;^)It's an amazing piece. You really have a point about the "virtual sub" being built in. I get amazing pitch definition and body on standup acoustic bass. The texturing and bass "color" in the good sense, the way the english use the term, is outstanding.
BTW, I'm a big Zorn fan as well. I really, really enjoy his music but have only collected a few discs. Chimeras was a little avantgarde for me, but well recorded and I fully enjoyed the live in seville (not a great recording though) and especially The Gift. He's put out so many discs, it's hard to know where to begin. Do you recall the title of the disc you took to GTT? Was it Filmworks?
Owl,I'm happy you get so much pleasure from your,apparent,wonderful set-up.No I have no association with Kharma.I'm just a REAL music lover,over equip. collector.I just happen to,also,think that the Kharma line is very overpriced,even with a weak American dollar.I think the U.S. distributer is marking up the line too much,which is not surprising,as the mainstream press(you know who)seems to be helping things along,a bit too much,with the CONSTANT mentioning of "Everything Kharma is Best ",especially the high priced stuff.This,to me, is very effective marketing,but,I've been around the block a few times,and know a few knowledgeable people who have given me some REAL perspective(something which manufacturers,and dealers hope audiophiles don't have too much of,which they usually don't,especially after a great review).As far as the 3.2's are concerned,they are the only speaker in the line that has not increased,by about 33 percent in price this year.They have stayed at last years price because,I believe they are already overpriced,however I,also,think they are worth evey penny.I hope that the distributor does not get too selfish with these little GEMS.The rest of the line is laughably overpriced.GREAT stuff,but insultingly pricey.When the Grand Ceramiques were introduced,the were(as indicated on their website)priced at about 35,000 US dollars.That quickly went to 41,000 and now we are up to 56,000.PLEASE!So what speaker do you think is their best seller?Their best in the line IMO,the 3.2.These to me represent a design,not unlike the original Quad,and should be taken as such.I truly have a passion for these little guys,and am not fooled by the suck-up reviewers,who want to live with loaners.I have met a few and I never met one who didn't want his "perks".I'm sure this will not be a popular thread with the "BIG BUCK" Kharma crowd.Also I will probably sell my home in about 3 years and move to Florida,where I'll Probably have a smaller room.What speakers do you think I'll live with (with a smile on my face,even after I'm bombarded with the latest multi/big/advanced crossover material Kharma design).Sorry for being long winded> As for Zorn,I love Chimeras.He has a very varied discography.Try MASADA #1,3,or5 in the jazz area.Also "In the miror of Maya Deren"/Naked City/Invitation to a Suicide/Madness Love and Mysiicism/Filmworks XI/FilmworksXII are both incredible!These are a few,but what I love to do is to go to a place like BARNES AND NOBLE and use the computerized music computer to audition everything.This way you get to hear for yourself.Good luck.

There is a beer that is famous in my city called Keith's (I think it sucks) Nonetheless, the slogan for the beer is silly and stupid:

"Those that like it, like it a lot."

I guess that is the story with Kharma's. Despite the fact that they are expensive and have their limitations, those that like them, like them a lot.

And, I suspect that many people buy them used or as demo for much less than their list price. Interestingly, there wasn't much buzz in the internet over Kharma from the CES. But, still many of us feel that Kharma is hard to beat in many areas.

Sooner or later you may break down and get a used pair of 3.2's.
By the way.I don't drink beer,but,do LOVE wine.Any thoughts on what varietal, as I listen INTO my(then)"mere 2-way" soundstage?
I would like to pose some questions to any 3.2 owners out there.Do any of you have any thoughts on amps like the Cary 805 or Canary 339 driving these babies?also any thoughts on something like a CAT preamp/with built in phonostage here?When I look at those combinations they seem very viable as compared to the fabulous,yet expensive Lamm stuff.
I've tried a few preamp/amp combinations but none of those mentioned. Pre's have included ARC Ref 2 Mk.II, Joule LA-150 and Lamm L2. Amps have been Bryston, Plinius (while waiting for Joule Grand Marquis), Grand Marquis and Lamm ML-1.1.

IMO, the Kharma's can sound fabulous with a variety of less expensive electronics. Of course, if you want to extract EVERYTHING they are capable of you'll have to pay accordingly.

Ultimately, I chose the Lamm combo but the Joule set-up was a very close second.

BTW, I have the sub haven't found any integration problems at all. The sound is quite magical.

Maybe this truly great speaker doesn't get the rave postings anymore because it's getting "long in the tooth" and isn't the speaker du jour. Let's hope Kharma doesn't do anything to it's design for the sake of marketing.
IMO, the Kharma's can sound fabulous with a variety of less expensive electronics. Of course, if you want to extract EVERYTHING they are capable of you'll have to pay accordingly.

I share the same sentiments although we seem to be the minority. Most people think that SOTA associated gear is a must with speakers as revealing as the 3.2s, but when I first got the speakers, the speakers cost double the combined cost of my associated gear! It sounded pretty good to my ears. Of course hifi is all relative and subsequent upgrades have been upgrades. The Kharmas are speakers that makes you think that speakers are the most important. The 3.2s are suppose to be limited edition though.
I'll add my 2-cents about solid-state amps with 3.2s. I have an Edge NL12 driving them (& the Meitner DCC2/CDSD combo) with, to my ears, wonderfully compelling results. The bass & lower midrange areas that can sound punchy & pushy & fatiguing on many other highly acclaimed speakers I have heard &/or owned have absolute control on the 3.2s in my system. The bass is also completely integrated. It seems that the magic to the bass is the cabinet, which routes the bass to the rear ports, that seem to act like virtual woofers, but with a very natural presentation. There is a lifelike quality rivaled, in my experience, only by Apogee ribbons (my old Stages, in particular). It is a sound that just sinks into your soul. The mids/highs are at once silky but have body & depth. And there is that often-noted Kharma disappearing act that is better, I think, than other transparent speakers like Audio Physic. They make my smallish room sound much bigger & grander than it is. The 3.2s may be one of those miracle design accidents that come along once in a long, long while. (On this solid state tangent, I heard very fine results with larger pair of Kharma Ceramiques at GTT driven by a Nagra solid state amp). So, if you are not into tubes for whatever reason, don't think you cannot enjoy the 3.2s.
Rgs92,very astute points,and well received.As a matter of fact there may, or may not, be a marketing ploy at work biasing some to only use tubes.I have heard GREAT set-ups with both topologies.As for the Kharma stuff,I have a dear friend with a Ceramique model 1 driven by a Rowland 8t.I really have to admit that,even though I have loved these speakers driven by tubed stuff,he REALLY gets a FANTASTIC sound.I,TRULY,would never know whether they were solid state or tubes if I didn't know better.Fuel for thought!By the way,the bass response from this set-up is SOTA,but,there really is something to the sound of those little 3.2's that I can't shake.I guess it's true,"I like it,and like it alot".
Since I have had my 3.2's I have been through a few different sets of electronics. It began with the Hovland preamp, and the CAT JL2.
An excellent system, with all the magic the 3.2's are capable of.
But of course I couldn't leave well enough alone, I replace the Hovland with the CAT Ultimate. Not as musical, and seem to have lost that liquid quality makes the Hovland so special. I then had problems with the JL2, and decided that I couldn't deal with CAT, and a 200lb amp. Which brings me to the Lamm 1.2 amps, and the LL2 preamp. The 1.2's are absolutely amazing. Very tubelike, with the tight bass of a SS amp. I think I'll stay with this system for quite a while to come.
Sirspeedy, thanks for the good comments. Yes, after a long day of listening at the 2004 Home Ent. show in NY, with rave-reviews posted everywhere & feeling like just about every speaker was an Emperor's New Clothes situation: too forced, tizzy, forward, or just plain abusive, I finally found happiness at the Kharma 3.2 room, which was none of those things.
Yeah, I think solid state has come of age, it just generally costs more for a high quality SS amp than a tube one. One things about the 3.2s is that, when you change an upstream component, cable or whatever, you really hear the difference, no blindfold tests necessary. This is not really a bad thing, as it actually brings out the best in the other parts of the system.

I am ecstatic to hear about your opinion of the Lamm M1.2's. I bought mine without auditioning, although it was highly recommended by another Audiogoner who originally was a Tenor/Kharma guy. Three reviews (if you can believe) have also been excellent. I just received the amps today, and I am expecting the Kharma Midi Grand Enigmas any day now. I can't wait to finally hear them for myself in my new dedicated room.

It's the old chocolate vs. vanilla thing, but I have to say that when I was auditioning the Kharmas and switched from the Nagra MPA (SS), to Tenor OTL and then Nagra VPA (push-pull), I much preferred the sound of the tubed equipment. I think it took me 10 seconds of one Coldplay song after changing to the OTL to realize what my preference was, although everyone is different. Edge gear was on my list of considerations, but like a lot of things I never got to audition it. I It is good to hear that the Edge NL amps work real well with the 3.2's, suggesting that SS can work as well as tubes with the Kharma line. Most Kharma reviews have concentrated on tubed equipment in the past for what ever reason.
When I auditioned the 1.2's, I went back and forth between them and the ML2's. I honestly felt that they were so close in their presentation. I was amazed that a (mostly) solid state amp could compare to a single ended tube amp.
Give them time to break in, and I'm sure you're going to love them.
Good Luck
Gentleman, you guys are spot on about the Lamm 1.2 Refs. Taking into consideration that this hobby is all personal preference in the end, I think that Paul Bolin of Stereophile absolutely NAILED his review of the Lamm 1.2Refs. For my money, I have NEVER heard an amplifier sound more "right" in my life. Yes, synergy and system matching are also of paramount importance. But, this amp gets to the soul and emotion of the music, it is balanced throughout the frequency spectrum and simply does not "show off" or call attention to itself in that "hifi" "look at me" way other amps tend to - it is so organically honest to the timbre of the music and so tonally truthful that, as Paul said, it is not made to impress your friends in a two minute demo but to savor over the long haul. It IS an improvement over its critically acclaimed predecessor, the M1.1. which I owned for 5 years. Right now I also have the Lamm ML1.1s in for audition and, although they sound great, the 1.2Refs are simply better and more neutral without any of the negatives usually associated with solid state gear. I too auditioned the ML2.1s and liked them a lot but decided on the 1.2 Refs. The M1.2 Refs also do not have any of that slightly dark character so many people accuse the former Lamm gear of - but they also NEVER have that glassy or glaring sound either. It is nice to come home again. My hat's off to Vladimir!

If any of you ever get to the Metro Detroit area, you have an open invitation to stop by and bring some of your favorite music! That includes you too Sirspeedy (even though I am one of those dreaded BIG Kharma owners and that lowest life form - a reviewer, no less!!) However, I PAY for my gear up front!
Fmpnd,I'm reserving a ticket,as we speak.On a personal level,I have a dear friend who is a former reviewer,and is NOT a "low life form".He is a great guy.Although you were probably kidding,please don't misunderstand any of my comments.That being said,being in the NY/NJ area with my local yokels I've met and been to the homes of quite a few of these types,which you are clearly not.The majority of these gents truly seem to be in the industry for the discounts.I know of at least 2 that have come back into writing just because they want to upgrade something.This is a fact!As for my own feelings about what I seem to bloviate on,admittedly too much,I really miss the days(you must remember)when the mainstream press was not so advertising driven,and the mags really seemed to care about their readership,no,make that subscribers.I know of too many exagerations in reviews,first hand to give credibility to more than a handfull of selfish hobbyists,disguised as reviewers!I also own,and can afford quality stuff,so,this is no case of envy.God forbid.Anyway,sorry for bumming you out, you really do seem to be a sincere person,just for the mention of allowing a stranger to audition your,apparent,wonderful set-up,even in jest!
Interesting insights Fmpnd, although I think you're one of the few I've heard from who actually prefered the M1.2 over the ML1.1s. Since you chose the M1.2s, I'm guessing you preferred it overall over the ML2.1s as well?
Sirspeedy, no offense taken. Honestly, I am a MUSIC lover first (as a former professional musician whose career was abruptly ended by an accident) and I also confess to having developed at an early age an infatuation with the equipment that delivers the music. However, as I have grown older I have learned much and realize that I make tons of mistakes like anyone else. At times, as I have stated before in this forum, when I have spent more and more money, on what sometimes but certainly not all the time, is better and better gear, the problem is that my expectation level goes up and I listen for that more expensive component to justify its additional cost. Then, I listen too critically for "audiophile tricks" rather than for the emotional content of the music which is why I listen in the first place. Obviously as a reviewer, you are supposed to listen like that to a certain extent - but too much of that, IMHO, is to miss what music is about.

I also think you bring up valid gripes about reviewers - but, as in almost any profession or endeavor, there are good and there are bad and, unfortunately, the bad usually get more press so as to taint the entire group's reputation. I have made a couple of friends who are reviewers and they truly love both the music and the gear.

Personally, I think a reviewer becomes MOST dangerous, when he/she takes him/herself too seriously and forgets that they are JUST another opinion (regardless of technical knowledge or the cultivation of their ear) and that they ALWAYS place the equipment under review into a system with A NUMBER of variables. As such, the review is only a starting point of information and should be not be taken as an absolute but in context of THAT reviewer's tastes, preferences and experiences with other gear.

I also think too may people are a little too sensitive when someone, especially a reviewer, disagrees with their opinion of their gear. It seems as if some people get their identity from their systems. Think about it, how silly would I sound if you come to my home and I get upset that you like Coke because I like Pepsi! Isn't that exactly what many of us do when we get upset that person A hears something different than person B listening to Amp "X?" Worse yet, it would really be like getting mad that I like Parkay maragine instead of butter when it is only part of a bread recipe!!

As I always say, in the end, we make our own money and we decide how to spend it based on our own tastes, preferences, experiences and priorities so all that really matters in this hobby is: "Are you happy with what you spent and did you acheive your goal?"

With the Lamm 1.2 Refs, I have learned that I got away from the emotional content of the music. They have allowed me to reconnect to the core of why I started in this crazy hobby in the first place. And yes, Howie, I liked the 1.2 Refs the best as they matched the best with MY gear - however, that may be different for other people.

And NO, the offer to come by and share my love of music is NEVER in jest, it is always serious and my door is always open to people who love this hobby - that is how I learn more about this hobby and new music as well! So, book that flight!
Fmpnd,now, why the Hell did you have to go and "BE SO DAMN NICE".I may have to take you up on your offer some day.Of course,because you seem to be such a truly sincere and decent gent I would not be able to abrubtly criticize your set-up,in your presence,at least.Not that there seems to be anything I'd dislike about it.By the way,don't be so hospitable to the likes of the audio community,as there are those who could take advantage of your hospitality,with "not so good" intentions, of their own.This happened to me about 20 years ago.I got ripped off(a Tandberg tapedeck).I learned my lesson regarding strangers,and, hope you don't experience anything like that!
Sirspeedy, YOU SEE, there IS at least one advantage of owning a 635 lb. speaker!!!!! Hell, if you can carry that insanely heavy SOB out and load it up before I either shoot yer sorry butt or call the Police, more power to ya!!

This is also where my job comes in handy - as a bank lawyer by day who chases the bad guys (e.g., fraudsters, money launders, terrorists etc.), I work with the FBI and Secret Service every day so if I ever DO encounter an audio crook, he better LEAVE the country with my 635 lb. beasts REAL fast - or I will call in a favor or two and have a couple of guys with black suits and earpieces on his tail!!! ;-)

To be honest, almost every person I have met through this hobby has been a class act and fun to be around. I just have NO idea why they'd EVER want to hang out with ME!!!

One final thought - you WOULD insult me if your DIDN'T insult my system to my face!! One rule when you come to listen to my system - ya gotta hear my little speech and disclaimer. Namely, "I didn't design or build my system so if you like it, don't compliment me, all I did was buy it! Conversely, if you DON'T like it, I DON'T CARE as I didn't BUY it for YOU, I bought it FOR ME and I will not take it personally if you like dark chocolate while I like milk chocolate (actually I like both!). I WILL be mad if I find out you tell me to my face that my system is good, great, awesome, whatever, and then tell everyone else it sucks behind my back. I simply don't NEED the ego stroke because my system doesn't define me, my character and how I treat others does!! So, just be honest, tell me you'd rather have yer gums scraped than listen to my 'nails on a chalkboard system' and we can then simply agree to disagree!!"

OK, end of lecture, continue on Grasshopper!!!
It would be OH,SO easy to slip an FR-1 Merc.or S-1 Shaded dog under my shirt.If you have the music collection to match your set-up(you'd better,if you're the "real deal").By the time you had noticed I'd be back in the WEB,from which I sprang.How do you know I'm not some 12 year old anyway?Hah,Hah!By the way,I too am in a business that is high pressure,and,as an owner, it is total fun to sink into our litle obsession.No harm done to anyone,other than giving a bad rap to someone who just spent megabucks on the latest audio gizmo.Truly,it's been amazing,to me,that after paying off Two college tuitions(at once)and now having one Medical student around,that I've had any leftover dough to maintain any acceptable equip.Thank GOD I bought decent stuff!Have any leftover cash lying around at work?I'd like to expand my own "dedicated room" 13x23 was fine when I built it,but, I can't stop my non stop pondering of "what ifs"!
Hey Frank, ya wanna know what I think? I think ya need to ease up on those meds! Just please don't send the 'suits' after me!

Be happy and be good!
Also,I'll bet you have not been a reviewer too long.Am I also correct in assuming you do not review for TAS or Stereophile?You don't seem to be as in love with yourself as some(a few guys from that crowd are quite decent fellows,a FEW).Would you believe that some time ago I was at the home of one such chap,who after continually bloviating about how much I should love his stuff,and TELLING me what I must NOT buy(I did anyway, thankfully),then proceeded to Blast the "Has to be bright and crappy sounding"set-up of a dear friend of mine(also an audio journalist,and one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet).Here, this yutz had never heard the set-up in question,and,although the system he had was good,it could not touch my pal's rig.Living in the NY/NJ area and attending various audio gatherings,over a number of years,this scenario has played itself out to me on quite a few occassions.I have nothing against industry types,and,according to my lovely wife,am quite a nut myself,but pomposity,to me ,is really annoying.Especially when those that think they do,Don't.Also, please accept my own apology, in advance,for my own bloviating.
Frank: I agree that virtually everyone I've met in this hobby is a class act. Besides, it's fun to have people (fellow hobbyists) over to listen and share experiences.
We can sit here forever and pluck away on our keyboards but I'll take a "real human encounter" anyday.

Do you like the Lamm amps better than the Tenor OTL's?? The Hybrid's??

Rmaurin: My only word of caution would be that Tenor Audio
appears to be another one of those high end company's
"du jour" that's rumored to be "belly up". Service would be a concern to me.

So much of the high end is marketing and "sizzle" to create new demand.

I own Lamm ML-1.1's with Kharma 3.2's and am very happy.It's also comforting to know I can call Vladimir anytime for advise and support.
Frank, you're on the hotseat... and here's another one for you. How well relatively speaking do the ML2.1's drive those Grand Ceramiques? How close do they come to your setup and how do they differ?: tubed ML2.1's with Grand Ceramique ENIGMA to SS hybrid Lamm ML1.2 ref's and Exquisites with diamond tweeters? As far as my own opinion of Tenor goes, the previous pair of 3.2's in residence had Tenor OTL's driving them and I do prefer the Lamms overall though both have their respective strengths and the Tenors were wonderful within their limits. The current dilemma now also is that I find it impossible to walk near a(ny) pair of solid state amps anymore after having lived with the tubed Lamm SETs. Painted into an oh so sweet corner ...
Rcupka, are you suggesting that the Tenors are more about marketing than performance and Lamm is not? Compare the number of ads, the size of the ads, and the placement of ads between the two companies and you tell me which one wins out? Also, if you haven't noticed, reviewers seem to be allowed to keep their Lamm equipment for review much longer than other products (marketing?)

Tenor's situation is unfortunate but you have to understand that they have virtually no domestic market. Ask Wyetech about their experience with finding local dealers and they'll tell you that the reason they sell direct is because they were tired of being shooed away. There are many Canadian manufacturers of cables among other things who had good products but went "belly up" after 911 and with the rising loonie, since most of their business is from the US market.

Besides the recent times, have you heard of any Tenor owner not being able to call up Tenor for advice and support? Pointing out current service problems is one thing, but suggesting that their products sold based on their marketing is a bit unfair and entirely untrue.
Howie, My response was only intended to make RMaurin aware of Tenor's current situation and the uncertainty of future service/support for this product.

My comments on marketing was aimed at the vast majority of the industry, not only Tenor.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the guys at Tenor on several ocassion in the past and they appeared very committed to providing high levels of customer service.
Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out for them.
I have spoken with Tenors service staff. Tenors will be
fully serviced. The test equipment has been freed up and
be operational in 30days. If someone needs immediate help
contact Jtinn or email
Rcupka, I think marketing is very important and if anything, Tenor probably didn't do a good enough job of marketing. But their restructuring is apparantly complete and slowly but hopefully surely, they'll be back up.
Certainly wish the principals at Tenor the best in hopefully emerging from their troubles. Francois is truly a standup guy, a true gentleman and an avid perfectionist truly committed to great sound. It's also a warning as well, as sometimes we are all dealing with companies we have no idea how truly small they are or what their financial condition is like. Fortunately enough the high end audio is one of the few true cottage industries left in this country (and continent) and allows people with great ideas and products to introduce them to the marketplace. Unfortunately, whether they survive in the long run, even with great products to generate the initial buzz is a huge question mark as a lot more goes into their long term success than just having a great product. Again, wish Tenor all the best in their uphill struggle, they truly deserve success if any manufacturer in the high end does.
I join Owl. Tenor has manufactured great products that many of us enjoy a lot. Also they have helped to developed this hobby, setting new standards in amplification. In my case everybody in Tenor has been very nice, helpful and efficient, so I hope they can go back and be success again, they deserve it. Good luck