Coming from the Vandy 5's, the Kharma 3.2's will have some advantages, but will leave you a bit wanting in the area of dynamics and bass depth.
16 responses Add your response
What do you not like with your vandy 5's?. have you considered upgrading to the 5a's. These are know to be a great speaker.
Definately with the karma's you will loose bass compared to your 5's, unless you are planning to add a sub.
I don't know how thye Amati's sound, howver today I listened to the Stradivari's and they sounded just awsome, great warmth with control and transparency. Easily the best speaker I have ever heard.
All the speakers you mention (including your current speakers) are very good speakers. I think you will miss the bass of the Vandersteens going to either of your alternatives. The rest of the frequencies are probably more a matter of taste. Before buying anything you should listen to a set of Avalon Eidolon Vision or even the Eidolon Diamond. They will fulfil both your size and visual requirements and they sound amazing. If you go for the Eidolon getting a second DNA 225 and running them in mono will be a good idea - The Eidolon like power I have experienced while experimenting with amplification for my own Diamonds.
Downunder, I love the 5's and the upgrade to the 5a's would be a very cost effective way of improving the sound even more. The reason I'm interested in changing speakers is that as we have improved our living room decor my wife has become increasingly disenchanted with the looks of the 5's. She would prefer speakers that are more attractive and preferably smaller That is why I'm thinking of the Kharma's and Amati's.
Argento, I thought about Avalons, except I was considering the Opus, since I believed the Eidolon's would be too much speaker for our LR (12x18). Also, I don't have the amp the Eidolon needs to sound their best, so that upgrade would add a lot more to the cost. At least that has been my thinking to this point. The Opus might be a good, and less expensive option though.
Jonathan, I was hoping you'd respond, given your extensive experience with the Kharmas. I knew I'd lose bass depth with the Kharmas, but didn't think I'd give up dynamics. Could you elaborate?
Jonathan, thanks for that insight. After reading your response and hearing from Glide2 (who I think you know), I've decided to remove the Kharmas from the list. He suggested adding the Wilson Benesch, which I haven't seen, but plan on looking to see if someone near Chicago carries them. I'll keep the Avalons in contention too, since they meet my size and aesthetics criteria. Any other suggestions will be appreciated.
Bruce_1: Glide2 has a very good ear and has listened to many systems. While I like the WB speakers, they are not really my cup of tea. I prefer a bit more lifelike sound. The Avalon's are certainly worth listening to, but I would strongly suggest you listen a speaker I sell, the Von Schweikert's. What are your musical preferences? Maybe I could make some other suggestions as well.
Downunder: I would prefer the Vandy 5a's to the Amati. As far as the refinement, the 5a's are a terrific speaker, but you would not be comparing apples to apples. The 2 way 3.2, which has limited frequency range, air movement and dynamics has greater refinement.
I currently own Vienna Mahlers and want something that is a little easier to drive and have the option to go to tubes if I want.
I heard the SF Strads and they sounded amazing, however too rich for my pocket.
Vandy 5a's or Amatis anniversario are what I have been thinking of. Amp will be either cjprem350 or prem140 - depending on how SS the prem350 would sound with either.
My taste in music is pop/rock/alternative so I want dynamics, however with a slightly warm character to make the most of "hot sounding" recordings.
I would appreciate your thoughts.
ps, Von Schweikert's are not imnported into Australia.
I 'm sure that changing to the Von Schweikert's would be a step up from the Vandy's if I got in the $20k+ range of the line, however, they won't clear the WAF hurdle that initiated this quest to replace the 5's. My musical preferences are jazz, classical, and a mix of other genres (Blues, Bluegrass, 60's rock and soul, pop). I don't want to give up anything that I'm getting with the Vandersteens, but realize that it will be costly to improve on their sound plus make a major advance in appearence.
My 2 cents: I have the Kharma 3.2s & IMHO they play classical, jazz (& all instrumental music) with a unique goodness that I have not heard anywhere else. What Jonathan here calls micro-dynamics is something not to be dismissed lightly. To expand on this, it is a kind of micro-soundstaging that can exhibit the position of individual keys on a piano or the waving of a trumpet while playing, or the distance of a voice from a microphone. All of this, coupled with, to my ears, the almost perfect tonality captured for each instrument, is amazing. Yep, other speakers may have more of a golden glow or more resolute bass, but the Kharma 3.2s just sound alive without being brash or pushy. They are really in a class by themselves for the things they do right. I actually think the bass is one of their best qualities, as it associates bass notes with the instrument producing it and never pumps or thumps annoyingly. It is a warm, friendly bass that is quite deep (35hz I am guessing.)
While not producing a huge soundstage, the space it creates sound like a true 3-D area, not an artificial version of it.
Caveats: A harshly recorded voice can sound buzzy. Also, mine took about a year to break in. But now, I could not part with them. The more I live with them, the better I like them. (My amp is an Edge NL12).
I toured the NY Home Entertainment show for the last few years and really like nothing better except possibly the $60K Von Scheikert VR9s (but I actually thought the 3.2s had a more integrated & friendly bass).
I agree with Rgs92's comments for the most part. Except, I would say that the 3.2s do produce a huge soundstage. In fact, the speakers' soundstaging capability is probably one of the things that is most immediately apparent.
Since you're concerned about aesthetics, you might want to know that the 3.2s are very friendly speakers to place. You can pretty much have it close to the rear wall without having the bass sound too boomy. Some have the speakers really close to the side walls with success as well.
I listen to instrumental jazz a lot and to me, the 3.2s' best attribute is its production of instrumental/tonal colors. The speakers sounds very flat, so it might not appear to be a "dynamic" speaker until you play a good recording. Only then, would you find the sound to be "explosive". Associated equipment and cables can make a big difference in my experience.
I listened to Sonus Faber (Guarneri, Cremona, and Amati at the time) extensively before purchasing the 3.2s (I also had aesthetics in mind). With the 3.2s, you really do get the whole "vivid digital picture" analogy, while Sonus Faber was more analog softer picture (different but no worse).
In terms of bass and dynamics, the 3.2s are fast and articulate, while the Sonus Faber's bass tends to be just a tad slower which tends to give it more oomph! Basically what I'm saying is that high pitch instruments can play very dynamically, but for some music, having the bass fundamental correct is the key.
Agree with Howie and if needed u can also look into adding Kharma's subwoofer if you want more bass....Avalons are not the most dynamic speakers and behind Kharmas in this regard though they are execellent in other areas. I have no exp w/ Von S. speakers but intrigued myself...though I agree WAF can be an issue w/ these...but you shouldn;t assume anything on WAF in my exp...sometimes what they think look good are not what you expected them to do so...for example my significant other thought Wilson Maxxs looked kool while the Kharmas too ordinary! So don't rep-judge, show them!
Yep, WAF or in my case GAF, can be an interesting ordeal (interesting if you can find some humor in it). I showed pictures of the various speakers to my gf prior to the purchase of my Kharmas. Wilson Sophias? They look like garbage cans. Sonus Faber? They look beautiful but not in my room. Changing your amps and other associated gear after you had bought those "approved" speakers can change the whole WAF out of harmony as well.