Kharma FE 3.2 - be careful, space crucial

I have 2 systems in my house - one vastly more expensive than the other, but the cheaper one is infinitely more satisfying, due to one simple reason: I chose the wrong speakers for the space they occupy. The speakers, the much vaunted Kharma 3.2 FEs are beautiful, coherent speakers, but cannot do justice to a room that is 23' X 17' X 15ft ceilings. Even with 8" of added height through Timbernation blocks. They just dont fill the space and strain to do so. They are better with added height, but dont fill the room with the visceral, alive, palpable sound and "being there" presence of the cheaper sytem. It's like sitting in the foyer of Carnegie Hall. The cheaper system is sitting in row 4. But when I look at options, I see that it is not so easy to sell these speakers - there is a mint pair on A'gon that cost $21,000, not selling for 29 days for $8,000. Resale of these expensive speakers is not easy, as I want to try a pair of Line array speakers in this large space, but to do so I would probably have to virtually give these Kharmas away for a song. So the message is simple: Look and ask harder questions than I did before you buy such expensive speakers that are not made for such large spaces. I bought them without listening in my room (obviously) but will not make that mistake again. The problem is how to arrange an audition of line arrays in my room. If anyone in the Northeast has line arrays in a similar space, including dealers, please let me know. Thanks.
Systems: System 1: 17 X 23 X 15 height: EMM CDSD/DCC2, Sota Cosmos IV, EAR 324, Shelter 901, OL Illustrious arm, A-S MP-1, A-S MA 2.2, PAD Dominus s/c, Gabriel Gold Revelation i/c, Kharma FE 3.2, 3 ft from rear wall, on 8" blocks.
System 2: 30 X 13 X 8 height: VPI TNT Jr, JMW 10.5 arm, Sumiko Blackbird, Wright WWP 200, Aesthetix Calypso, 2 X Moscode 401 vertically biamping Mark-Daniel Maximus Monitors, 7 ft from rear wall.
Do you listen at realistic orchesttral or rock/jazz big band levels - is that the key (many speakers compress and sound dull at higher levels - even fantastic sounding ones may not be designed for realistic levels in a large space)?

You mentioned an issue of furniture blocking the speaker last thread - so I guess I am condused as to what your are really after....why the line array (which can be a tough load for an amp)?
Wow. I just bought a pair and they are crazy good in my setup. My room is about 13'w x 20'l x 9'h.

When you say its like being in the foyer, that to me means it sounds muddy and rolled off?

Would the subwoofer help to "charge" the room? They don't do ground shaking bass, but I don't believe that is their intent.

In my situation, the Kharma 3.2fe are detailed without edge, super transparent, have great natural timbre, have great prat, etc. Mine are place five feet from the short wall. The soundstage goes from wall to wall across and from floor to ceiling. When a recording includes a drum kit, you can easily hear the timbral differences between each skin and between each cymbal and that happens without any interference with the other instruments. Basically, they sound like real instruments and I cannot say that for about 97.53% of speakers I've heard.

Could there be some other factor in your setup in addition to the room or could you modify the room? You have my empathy. I know system and room matching are very important. My wish for you is that you can tweak your system or room to at least hear what these speakers can do.

Best, Jeff
Shadorne, the furniture blocking issue is resolved by 8" wooden blocks as stands. But they still don't fill the room - I had blamed the chair, but even raising the speakers above the chair by 8" doesnt do it -the sound feels compressed - why a line array? because they are 6 ft tall and could fill the space better, have a bigger vertical soundstage and sound more holographic. (I am told)
Jeff, the sound is incredibly detailed and coherent and transparent - your room size sounds perfect - the volume of your room is 2340- cubic ft, mine 5865 cubic feet. That's why yours sound perfect and mine dont!No they are not muddy, the soundstage is just too low and small and sounds strained at high volumes. I listen to everything, but not rock at about 80 db. Mostly classical.
Try this. Place your speakers 7.5 to 8 feet from the rear wall and 4.5 to 5 feet from the side walls. Place your listening position about 8 feet from the speakers. At this position you may hear more of the speaker and less of the room. But bass will not be reinforced from room boundaries.
I was surprised how well my speakers performed by placing them further into the room. You still may need a sub for the bottom end. Borrow any sub you can to see if this helps the bottom and if it does, try to find a very good sub to supplement the Kharmas. If what I have suggested is of no help, you can sell your Kharmas to me.
the soundstage is just too low and small and sounds strained at high volumes.

I don't doubt you are using premium quality amplification in which case either

1) You may need a sub - to fill out the LF.
2) The midrange and tweeter are compressing somewhat at the levels you like (Classical is the toughest form of music for a speaker as it has the most dynamic range - and needs to be cranked to sound loud where as pop/rock can sound loud on mini-pc speakers)

I think point 2 is most likely based on your comment about "strain" - that tweeter is working down to 1.75 Khz - as in most two ways if something is to give then it will be this tweet as it starts to compress (driver excursion increases dramtically as you do lower in frequency). This is a quite common problem with beautiful sounding audiophile two ways...they typically make the tweeters work too hard - so at elevated levels they get strained. You get utterly fantastic sound and great imaging and fantastic dispersion (dome tweeter) from these two way designs but you don't often get great dynamic capability....and guess what => that is why Kharma make the bigger models for customers with large rooms who want that great Kharma sound but find they strain/stress the smaller models!

A properly amplified line array may do it for you, however, so would a good three or four way speaker or a D'appolito design or a pro design with pro drivers. Your speakers are beautiful so I would suggest an aesthetic speaker designed for a dynamic presentation - like big Wilsons, Egglestons or the bigger Kharma designs (which use Appolito which has TWO midrange drivers to get over the driver compression limitation at extremely high levels - no strain!).
ouch is right. i feel for you, i've been there, buying speakers based on reputation, and then realizing they just aren't what i wanted, or in your case, wouldn't work in my space. i've done both. it's a painful lesson. this last go around, i ended up auditioning many speakers before i tried a new pair, and did a lot of serious research on how they would fit in my space. good luck, when you get to a place where you like your speakers and they work in your room you'll be that much happier and this experience will keep you from pulling the trigger on "upgrades" that really could just be expensive painful lessons. i know that's how i feel, i'm much less inclined at this point to just swap out gear for he sake of trying something new.
That's right, Dennis_the_menace, no more upgrades til I hear them in a similar sized room, or in my own room. in the meantime I've ordered another 4" block - the higher, maybe the better?:)
With Kharma resale looking like it is, and the inability to hear Line Arrays near where I live (Connecticut), that's how it will stay..........
It's not really that surprising that a two way speaker cannot fill a 5,000+ cubic foot space with sound. You're in an unfortunate situation, but you do have several options. Have you tried moving the Kharma's to your other room? It's nearly half the space volume. The speaker might work much better in that environment. If that's the case, then you can substantially revamp your second system in order to make better match the larger space recently vacated by the Kharmas. Just a thought.
It's not really that surprising that a two way speaker cannot fill a 5,000+ cubic foot space with sound.

Yeah that was kind of my point too. I did not want to quite put it as bluntly as you have done but this is what I suspect may be the problem.

=> the importance is not to get hung up on line arrays...if you bought the Kharma's then you must love their sound (at lower levels in a smaller space perhaps) and I am not sure that a line array is the only solution...without knowing your exact tastes ....a bigger three way Kharma might actually be the best answer (closest to the sound and imaging of what you like ...but an effortless and less strained sound in a big space)!
I've heard the "fabulous" 3.2's on many occassions.With and without sub.Personally I like it W/O sub.A great speaker,and I cannot see how a decent room set-up can damage overall "scope" of sonic presentation.I've heard it in fairly large rooms,with quite convincing sonic spectrum...Love the speaker!!
Good luck.
Springbok, I was just curious about whether you tried the suggestion of giving the Kharmas a go in the smaller room? Jeff
I own a set of custom arrays made by Selah Audio. I believe they have designed arrays for quite a few customers in the East. If you decide on an array, I urge you to contact them and see if you can listen to a set...or a couple. The price / performance ratio is so good it should be illegal =)
I was thinking of contacting Selah, but what will I do with my Kharmas? I've watched the same 3 speakers reamin unsold on A'gon for a month. I'm not moving them downstairs, since that system is just fine with $3K speakers biamped - Kharmas cant be bi-amped.

I've watched the same 3 speakers reamin unsold on A'gon for a month

In your elite stratosphere this is one of the issues you run the housing market at the high-end it can take well over a year to move a property - sometimes 2 or 3 years.

I do not think it is at all a reflection on the speakers....just the market segment you are in.
Well I know it breaks all the rules but I use a Krell Resolution sub between my 3.2's and they blend beautifully.Great Kharma mids and highs with tight awesome bass. You just have to put a little time in to get it right. My room is quite large and I can't imagine desiring more volume(loudness).Incidentally the "new" list price of the 3.2fe is $25k. The resale problem occurs IMO because too many guys are willing to give their gear away without being patient and then they end up competing with like minded impulse sellers. A vicious cycle. Kharma will never appeal to eveyone and it wasn't designed to do so. It's a great alltime speaker IMO.
I owned the 3.2s for 3 years and I never managed to make them sound as I wanted. A typical audiophile speaker for me. At times it really drove me nuts.

I can understand why people gett impressed demoing them but it's a different thing owning them. I was also impressed by the hype and thats the main reason I bought them.
However hard it sounds, I think you need a psychologist together with the purchase of these speakers. Not my cup of tea anyway.
Bottom line is that long term listening and demoing a speaker is completely different.