I've heard Kharma speakers on several occasions now, and every time I hear them, I am still astounded at how good they sound from top-to-bottom. I never thought they were piercing in any way, and thought rather that they sounded very smooth. In comparison with other speakers in the same price range (Rockports, Von Schweikerts, Hansen), the Kharmas produce a coherent sound that appeals to many people who are lucky enough to own them.
Yes, they are expensive, and the way Kharma abandoned the US market after the marginal success of the Ceramique line is certainly not comforting. That said, the company is making a strong come-back, with at least half a dozen reputable dealers in the states now, and I believe that number is growing. I also imagine that their recently announced Butterfly line will be popular as well. In the end, a Kharma speaker is hand-made to exacting specs in much the same way a classic Rolls Royce is. You could buy a Ferrari for the same price, but for many people, it's just not the same thing.
By the way, I'm not one of those people who can afford these speakers, but I do find their sound very much to my liking, so I take every opportunity to hear them when I can. I can tell you that it is now a well-run company with capable engineers that stands behind their products.