Being I am partial to Kharmas ( Caramique 1.0 ) I love the Kharma sound so it would be the Kharmas for me...Easy choice for me.......
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i would add the Marten Coltrane to that list. it's very similar to the Kharma in character, price and quality.
i had the original version of the Kharma Midi Exquisites in my room for 5 months three years ago; it's an excellent speaker; very natural and balanced top to bottom. very refined, detailed and microdynamic. the original Midi diamond tweeter was just a bit prominent although it never bothered me and would not prevent me from considering them. the newer ones are slightly different. you would need to check with the distributor to find out which version you are getting.
the Kharma is an easier load than the Mini and a much easier load than the MBL's. even though you have elminiated the price of electronics; the Kharma (or Marten) will be more dynamic with the best sounding amps to my ears (which are low to mid powered). some Mini owners do use mid-powered amps in small rooms and like it. your room is not small.
overall all these speakers are very special and different enough that you should choose them based on which character you like. i could live long-term with either the Kharma or Mini; maybe not that long term with the MBL.
i'm not that familiar with that Amati to comment.
FWIW,my close friend recently sold his Kharma 1.0 and moved to the Magico Mini.He does not have a large room,and we all felt the Kharma was a bit too much for it.
The ceramic driver seemed to get irritating upon loud volume,but I also think partnering equip was a factor(a superb,but non tube amp,which all Kharmas like,IMO).The 1.0 was superb,but many friends felt it got aggressive when played at volumes not all that loud.
The "Mini" is a different story.In his room(12.5 x 20 ft) I personally think it is almost perfect!The bass is about as deep,and with real(surprising)impact.
BUT it never sounds aggressive,and can "DO" loud to an amazing degree,while all the while keeping all musical lines "perfectly" in place.
I've tested it at low levels too,and this speaker(the Mini)is just perfect for the environment it is in.
with all due respect this is the most bizarre and inconsistent choice of speakers i have seen both design wise, sound wise, and price wise. personally i think the sonus fabers produce the most room friendly and un-fussy results of the speakers on your list, just for starters. another speaker which comes with adjustability std. to help conform it to most any room is the von schweikert vr-5se, and i feel it can compete with the best speakers available (except for "monster-size"). otoh, maybe you "like" the particular sound of one of the aforementioned speakers, even though from the above comments each conform to one person's tastes but not another's. so MY suggestion at the end of the day is- buy what "I" like, and be done with it! in point of fact, if you buy a pair of eggleston andra-2's for your 16X22 room, and you don't like them, i would really be surprised. all you would be giving up compared to "Very Expensive Speakers" is a bit of resolution through the midrange frequencies- which you might never miss since they sound so enjoyable on virtually every kind of music that is out there. but feel free to spend as much as you like- i did, and i was more-or-less ready for an upgrade. but the improvements would not make the egglestons sound "broken" or insufficient.
In my experience, the Magico Mini sounded more aggressive than all the different Kharma's I heard, even grating. Perhaps due to partnering equipment. The Martens use mostly ceramic drivers too, and i haven't heard people say they sound aggressive. Ceramic drivers do sound dry, and ring a bit at high volumes, esp when partnered with wrong equipment usally SS amps.
the Mini's don't use a ceramic driver. (after re-reading your post i may have mis-interpreted your comments, you may not have intended to say the Mini had a ceramic driver, so i added this note) the original Mini used titanium in a constrained layer sandwitch. likely due to feedback that it sounded a bit dry with certain amplification the Mini was reworked and now the Mini II uses a 'Nano-tec' mid-woofer. i think Nano-tec is carbon fibre.
ceramic drivers are not inherently dry. but they have remarkable stiffness to weight and therefore are very linear. with their accuracy they do require very good amplification; and will not tolerate edgy or dry amplificiation. the top level Accuton ceramic mid-range used in the Kharma Midi Exquiste and the Marten Coltrane have black resonance discs on the cone that eliminate the ringing you refer to.
the best implementation of ceramic drivers uses two of the top Accuton ceramic drivers. using two ceramic midrange drivers increases dynamics and slam (ceramic's lone weakness) and makes them even more linear. the Evolution MM2 and MM3 and the top level Kharma and Marten use this approach. i have yet to hear better mids than i hear from these speakers. accurate, transparent, quick, rich, organic.
it is a mistake to generalize about ceramic drivers.
Not disagreeing with you abt the ceramic drivers. And I do know the Mini's don't use ceramic drivers. My post was to point out in my experience, all the Kharmas i have heard have never sounded "aggressive" compared to the Mini's. It was always the other way round for me. But perhaps due to partnering equipment.
Having heard Marten Coltrane, Magico Mini, and MBL 101E, though in different setup, I will say you are out of luck trying to find answer here.
They are so different, all three of them.
MBL 101E, or any MBL to be exact, still works well close to wall but does sound better if you have them far away from back/side wall. To my ears, the bass is a little muddy at times and high does not have as much air/extension compared to the best tweeters out there. I also don't like the low efficiency fact, you lose some jump factor no matter how many watts you feed them.
Marten Coltrane can be fatiguing over time, unless you spend mega bucks on upstream which can produce details and no grain. I find the diamond tweeter easier on the ears than ceramic, but those ceramic midrange still sound dry and analytical. I heard the big Avalon ISIS, Lumenwhite, and Avalon Eidolon, same impression. I rather lose details over musicality in this case.
Magico Mini left me not too much impression, I sure didn't think it was worth the asking price. The dealer even told me he was glad to sold his pair.
Some speakers you might also want to consider: Tidal acoustic, Burmester, Gryphon, and Usher BE.
i hope everyone realizes the obvious fact that kharma midi exquisite speakers retail for about $80k (maybe more). i believe that the MBL speakers are over $40k (retail of course). at one time i would "kill" for a used pair of the kharmas, but after being forwarned about system and room synergy issues, i relunctantly lost interest. i don't think anyone, even rockport, makes a better box (maybe denser/heavier but not necessarily better). even THINKING about them is making me a little dizzy- i already HAVE a good set of loudspeakers! the fact that they are made in Holland, a place, like Denmark et.al. which does not cut corners when it comes to esoterica like loudspeakers (or wooden shoes), makes me even more envious of someone who has a pair of these gorgeous speakers. but a simple reminder of the day i compared the lowly Andra-ONE'S to a speaker costing over SEVEN TIMES more, and the andra's sounded more like real live instruments (quite a bit more actually) almost knocked me off of the chair i was sitting on. when i agreed to buy them on the condition that they would sound just as good in my living room, i was equally impressed- and this is without being able to place them "just so". and you should know this- i NEVER liked the way they looked- i wanted wood veneer or Wilsongloss, sonus faber or usher, avalon burled walnut or- well, you get the idea. but music wise, i was really so happy deep down, where you have really deep tuneful bass, detailed without shreiking solo violins, and cellos and Joni Mitchell sitting a few feet away, second only to Magnaplanar's transparency and presence.
blah blah blah, right? Get a good deal, OR go for the "gold"?- only the gold may be too heavy, too "something".
Free Will- it's a Bitch...
Ceramic drivers do sound dry, and ring a bit at high volumes, esp when partnered with wrong equipment usally SS amps
I agree - what you say is "generally" true of rigid light weight drivers, however, as Mike points out - the C79/6 accutons are extremely good because of the rubber dots which apparently help reduce the out of band ringing below audibility (they are not just ceramic). Just a bit limited dynamically thats all - otherwise one of the best drivers in the world and used on several top of the line speakers. They have a nice flat response and very low distortion.
First off,I happen to like Kharma speakers,very much!!Personally,and from quite a bit of exposure,I believe they definitely do much better with tube equipment.
Yet,the Magico Mini,driven by "elite" SS amplifuication is simply an astounding speaker!!I've heard it loads of times,at a friend's home,where I helped set them up.
The "driver" business we speak of(ceramic,or otherwise)is better employed on the Mini,because(IMO)the actual nature of the driver materials allow for less "aggresiveness" at louder volumes,versus ceramic types,or really many other types.
The "only" other speaker that compares to the type of inner detail and tonality the Mini portrays(at good volumes,but not overtly loud)is the Avalon Ascent Mk-II.Another overly built,sealed design,yet with a bit more upper mid air.....THIS is "just" opinion,from careful personal evaluation....Nothing written in stone!!
I happen to like the inner details that ceramic drivers allow,but "sorry",they can sound a bit "too much", when played at volume,necessitating a smoothe(but quite nice,to my tastes)tube amp.The Lamm 2.1(which is a fabulous amp)"does" Kharmas to the N'th degree,IMO!Yet,ceramic lacks the "last word" in tonal truth,to my ears!
However this is easily overlooked,because it can still sound SO DARN GOOD!!
So,back to the Mini.....with a "good" powerful SS amp design(assuming you have a superb pre),you can get the type of dynamics,and surprisingly good timbres(not unlike tubes)that many lust for.
Yet,the design allows for very good inner textures,that is "only" available on ceramic drivers,with extreme care in matching componentry.You've got a better shot of getting the textures right,with the Mini,compared to a ceramic based design.
The Mini,IMO,is easier to get "right"!
Forget about any "bass" issues,unless the room is LARGE!!
Just some thoughts.
I was reading this thread along with others regarding Magico speakers and as usual everyone has there fav's. I currently own MBL 101E's and recently recieved a pair of Magico 2's and have to say what's all the fuss?
I had three others over to hear them, they are supose to be all this and that. These same idividules have heard my MBL set-up along with other set-ups in the past, we are all just left scatching our heads wondering what every one else is hearing because they don't even come close to what the MBL 101E's. I can go into great detail but why? possibly the other Magico speakers within the line would be better for comparision.
I have to ask as there have been alot of opions here, have any of you who are responding with your opinion actually owned MBL 101E's or had them in your own system and then got a pair of these other speakers and compared directly as I have just done because this just isn't making any sence to me as the difference is just to far apart how does one compare. I guess if you put the Magico's in a small room or with sub's but if I had such a room my choise of speakers would not be MBL 101E's.
I like the look of Kharma speakers but that's about it, anytime I listen to them I find them very fatiguing and when I go and listen to live music performances it's not that way to me so somethings wrong.
I heard the Magico V3 at Sound by Singer. Was distinctly unimpressed. I believe it was set-up with VTL and Esoteric. It was in a small room, listening near-field, with much toe-in. Perhaps that is the reason for the poor showing, but why would a dealer try to sell something not properly set-up.
The one thing revolutionary about Magico is the price. They are breaking new ground in that department. I just don't see the value. The list price of the Mini 2 is staggering.
Kharma is also not a good value. Perhaps it can partly be blamed on the Euro.
Well I hate to be contrary,but to my ears the MBL speakers are a perfect example of excessive "disco sound"....Many folks like this!Not a hint of realism,and for those who like to be seated on top of the band,when at a catered affair,like weddings etc.
I have heard the 101's many times,and always leave with a slight head ache.Whew!!
There "is" a very nice open sound,but not a hint of bass coherence.AND the bass is always overblown!
The Magico Mini MUST be set up in a medium sized room,to "get it" with these little gems!Otherwise yes,a sub will aid in a large room....
To me,they are more involving than the "overwhelmingly unrealistic" 101's.....
Far more coherent,and involving......Long term listenable,which the 101's are not...
Unless one is the type to like a BIG "auto-sound system" when driving around town,and annoying all who stops closely to your car...then yes,the 101's are for you!
Sorry,just my personal observation,from hearing both speakers....ALOT!
Nothing personal but the comments made regarding MBL 101E speakers is laughable and so far off it's ridiculous but that's okay as we all have our own opinions.
Regarding the Magico Mini 2's, I have to say by far they are the biggest disappointment to date I have had in this audio hobby. I actually own a pair do you own MBL 101E's or ever had them in your own system? I'm sure you haven't, I have nothing to gain but to only share with others of my findings. Every person so far who has heard them in my place has had the same opinion which is left us all scratching our heads wondering what is all the hype about and what are you guys hearing. I'm not saying they are not good two ways but come on they no way compete with MBL 101E's, I could go in to detail but why? In addition the list price for these only being a two way is ridiculous! and no way worth it.
Direct comparisons were done only swapping out the speakers using the following gear; ARC REF3 pre., CAT JL3 Sig. MK2 mono blocks, Accustic Arts Hybrid dac, Oracle 2000 transport, cables SP's Stealth Dream, IC's Stealth Indra's, PC's Stealth Dream. DC's Stealth Sextet
Dev,since your comments were obviously directed at me let me clarify.Also,of course these are just opinions and should not cause animosity!
I cannot see how "anyone" could make a "meaningful" comparison between the Minis and MBL's as these two speakers are SO unrelated(in terms of room demands)...
The MBL needs a very large space to breathe,and the MINI will work best with "room reinforcement" to get the best out of them....The volume of space you (most likely)have your MBL's in will not show off the Minis to their best....
Also,the Mini has the advantage(and it is a BIG one,but not really understood in this HYPED up hobby)of being a sealed design,which gives a "truer" portrayel of pitch perfect bass response.Many folks don't actually know what pitch perfect bass sounds like,because most mfgrs don't "do" this correctly!!I am NOT accusing you of this!...
Of course you prefer "your" speaker!!You have set up them to optimize their potential,but if one has a "correct" MBL room "volume",the MINI will NOT hold up,unless a sub is employed to fill out the missing bass,due to the (should be) far larger room the MBL's require,which will diminish the Mini's performance envelope!...Hmm!
Not a fair fight,and I have no doubts you will be happier with what you own(yes,I may have gone a bit overboard in my MBL knock...sorry)!
Personally,I believe the Minis are WAY overpriced,but you have been kicking them a little too hard in some of your comments(which you have every right to do,btw).You simply must understand that different designs will show off under the conditions best suited to each of them....
Actually I am taking the liberty of assuming(dangerous)you have compared side by side,which favors your MBL's.
If I am wrong,and you truly put the Minis in the correct "volume of space" needed to show off their best,you have my apology!
My friend owns the MINI II,and I set them up with him....IMO his room is absolutely perfect in size and dimensions...
We have measured his bass output,which extends to 31 hz!...CLEAN!!!...Articulate,and not the boomy bass I have heard from virtually every MBL set-up in the past(far less accurate ported designs,both on paper,and to my ear)...
I have not put MBL's in my room(you've got me on that one),but have made it my business to hear "well set up" systems with them on "numerous" occassions(I'd say a dozen occassions)!...So I think I have a good fix on their presentation.....They too,are not so cheap in price!
Like you said we all have different tastes -:)
Hi Sirspeedy it's okay I don't take it personally, but these forums are to help each other out and when someone responds as you did it needs to be addressed.
Just to let you know I bought the Magico Mini 2's recently looking at downsizing the current set-up in which the MBL's are present and was told these speakers would be a perfect fit along with also looking at buying the Dartzeel amp and pre to go along with the set-up to make it very simple. If you go to for sale items and type in MBL 101E's you will see my set-up and that I have already sold the CATs.
What size is your friends room? and what associated gear is hooked up?
If you read read my threads I don't believe I was kicking them very hard as you put it but just giving my own over all opinion with out going into great detail as I own both MBL and Magico.
I agree with you both are crazy priced but look at the the technology in the MBL's and then look at the Magico Mini 2's and how much they cost, wow! It just does not make any sense.
If you look at the title of this thread "Magico Mini 2 vs Kharma Midi Exquisit vs MBL 101s" I was responding to it.
If you also read I say the Magico Mini 2's are a good 2-way but no way can you compare them to the MBL 101E's and along with this you will see I refer to them needing to be used in a smaller room which I believe sums it all up.
Regarding the MBL's, you are most defiantly open to your own opinion but you have never heard my set-up. No room is perfect even if it is built to spec. and the room my MBL's are in is not my designated room. No speaker is perfect either and all have faults some with less and some with more.
In closing when you said;
"Not a fair fight,and I have no doubts you will be happier with what you own(yes,I may have gone a bit overboard in my MBL knock...sorry)!"
sums what I was trying to convey all along.
Dev,your point is well stated....My friend's room is 12.5 x 21 ft x 8 ft.He uses a "fabulous for the given task" Rowland 8t.Not a hint of SS "supposed" problems,with beautiful timbral tinges,and real impact when needed!A great mating!
Btw,the Mini "needs" alot of power from the amp!The Dartzeel is a fabulous design,but from what I've been "told" from a Mini/Dart owner,it falls a bit short in low freq weight,on some musical passages.Just a point of interest,as you probably know already....
Anyway good luck on "the quest" -:)
I am a Mini II owner, so I guess you know what I am going to say as my preference.
I have listened to the Kharma, MBL etc mentioned in the thread. I too would rule Sonus Faber out immediately as they are very colored and are clearly 'voiced' after some specific tastes and preferences.
A few things about the Mini II.
1) The Mini II are essentially new speakers compare to the Mini (Original). Diff crossover, diff woofers.
2) The Mini II are considerably 'warmer' then the original Mini. The minor problem with the original Mini has to do with the breakup frequency of the woofer... which has been rectified by the new nanotec driver (which is really nano-tubes mixed with Rohacell).
3) I am completely addicted to the sound from a properly sealed enclosure. All port speakers now sound 'wrong' to me... when the sound reaches the port tuning frequency in a ported design, it alsmot feels like the speaker is 'giving up' and just sort of puff out sound... kinda disgusting.
4) While I am well aware of the limitations of a 2 way speaker, I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I have yet listened to a >2 way speaker that offers the same kind of 'intimacy' as a properly executed 2 way speaker like the Mini II. I do not mean they sound 'close' by using the word intimacy, but a way the music communicates with the listener.
I hope one day I will find a larger speaker with the finesse and proper execution of the Mini II but in a 'larger scale' version... perhaps the upcoming Magico M5?
Wslam,I've enjoyed your posts,on the Valin discussion site.Though I usually find J.V. to be a bit over the top,he pretty much got this speaker "right" in his opinion piece!
I convinced my friend to be open to the "mini-monitor" approach(that "mini" word scared him originally)and he subsecuently bought the Mini II's.He has a room size around 12 x 20,with 8 foot ceilings.These mate far better than his previous big three way.
The new speaker likes his Rowland 8t incredibly much(300 wpc),and he has a superb sense of scale,and more importantly,a superb tonal range.To hear the superb original pressing Mercury LP's,and a vast array of killer discs in such gorgeous/convincing fashion has altered my way of listening at "his" place.Gotta love it!
In his room,with good program material,the low bass can "easily" shake the walls and retain proper scale,and it is HERE that we know it is a good room match,because he is set against a sub.Not needed here!
Of course there are those,in our club,who cannot bring themselves to accept the "fact" that such a "somewhat" small speaker is doing ALL of this "gorgeous music",and they look for little things to pick on(like not enough overblown bass....yes a port cannot match a correctly designed sealed system....IF THE SEALED DESIGN IS PROPERLY ROOM LOADED).
I myself just have to laugh at the contrarians,because though the speaker is getting a bit too costly,it is STILL superb in almost every way!As you know,you have to hear it well set-up to understand -:)
BTW,I believe there is going to be a goodly amount of high ticket competition in the NEW "mini-market",now that Magico has put this speaker on the audio table....
I am anxious to see/hear from TAD,who is going to release their own monitor design,possibly as soon as the RMAF,but no later than Vegas,from what they have told me.That should be "serious" competition for the Magico Mini,and it will be a coaxial mid/tweet,with an 8 inch woof(yet it IS vented,hmm).....Not cheap,at over thirty grand,but Magico needs the competition....No?
Indeed... it is a common assumption that smaller-sized speakers cannot deliver the deep bass compare to larger speakers. I used to belong to this camp as well, until I listened to the MM II. I guess when a speaker is properly designed and executed to achieve close to its theoretical ideals, even smaller sized speakers can trump much larger speakers that are built to a lower standard.
There are, of course, ported designs that are truly exceptional in having tuneful, meaningful bass. However, Wilson is certainly NOT one of them...neither is VS. They may do well with kick bass drum, but throw them a large orchestral piece with contrapuntal bass lines and it becomes quite a mess.
Having said that, I would love to hear the TAD. They seem to have no distribution whatsoever, at least internationally... I have emailed them several times but they never replied to my emails. Very strange...
WSLAM....TAD replied to my E-mail in one day.
Expect a superb design to be available for the consumer fairly soon.
Btw,one thing I like about the MINI II,is the ability to hold superb resolution at very low volumes.This is a very good attribute,as there will inevitably be times the music will not be played loudly,but you still want a high level of resolution.
My current speaker is a master at this,and is also a sealed design,with separate crossovers.One reason why I just cannot part with them.
I think there is just something about a stand mounted small monitor (in my opinion a sub usually is needed) that works incredibly well.
The small surface area of the monitor with space all around allows a disappearing and imaging act that is hard to improve upon.
My current speakers are this kind of configuration. They can use their subwoofer cabinet as a stand, but getting them off and onto Sistrum stands just took the whole system to another level. Having the ability to position the woofers separately is also a bonus I think.
My current monitors are sealed as well (the separate subs are vented.)
If money were no object, I think I'd try the magico mini 2's with a pair of the Torus subs. About 8 times the cost of what I'm listening to now and probably a great match for my room size.
Actually hold it - the Scaena 3.2's I recently listened to pretty much topped everything I have heard. (I have not heard Kharma;s but have heard Marten's, 101E, Magico, etc)
Emailists,I agree with you totally.Even though I have a superb(time has proven it to be even better than it's "original great press")three way floor mount design(Sealed enclosure/massive external crossovers),I DO feel a speaker with less cabinet,and fairly full range, will sound more "au'natural"!
Fortunately my own choice has a smallish footprint.
Avalon Ascent MK-II's...Tri-wired,into two heavy external crossovers/seales 175 lb enclosure(speaker)....crossovers weigh 55lbs each....constsnt 6 ohm load/88 db sensitivity.
Beautiful Tropical Olivewood.A superb design,easily competitive with much of today's better dynamic designs(assuming the room is of correct volume).
I also use a REL Stentor(very judisciously)for extreme bottom "weigt".,since I have the speakers out about 8 feet,to take advantage of the soundstage abilities,yet this loses a bit of impact.Hence the sub..-:)
Hopes this helps
How low a system can go is a function of many things. Driver size is not one of them. All things being equal, system with 10 X 15 woofers with an Fs of 45Hz will not go as low as a system with one 7 with an Fs of 33Hz (Mini). The 10 x 15 system will be capable of much more air displacement but at higher freq. It is important not to confuse 60-100Hz energy with low bass.
All I know is I've heard extremely satisfying "low" bass,from the Mini.This in a room about 21 x12.5x8.
No,I did not actually measure exactly how low it was....
Why?....because I was totally satisfied with the numerous reference discs we played,and if the bass was sufficient on these superb discs,I/we were totally happy.
I know how much low frequency material is on these discs,and have heard them on many set-ups(some with multiple driver/woofers,also very well set up).The Mini "Maxxed" them out.
Maybe not good enough for the technically oriented crowd,but very convincing to me.All anyone should really be concerned with is if the music "sounds" convincing.
In the right room,it certainly does.One reason,I suspect,it's so popular....If the room is a cavernous one,obviously common sense dictates one use a different speaker.
The Mini goes low enough to say..."who cares"?It's that good,when well driven,in a room of appropriate volume(which is common).
IMHO No speaker equals the mbl's.
The only one thing that makes me say that is that of all the rooms I entered at the shows, non made an impression of sounding life-like as did the mbl's.
But we all hear differently, and that's why we have so many brands to choose from.
Bottom line: find what works for you.