New Tenor Hybrid

With 7 or 8 pairs of the new monoblocks all ready delivered, who is going to be the first to post a mini review?

A review has already been posted over on the Audio Asylum. From all accounts these amps seem to be SOTA. I am somewhat skeptical, however, those that have given the amp(s) glowing reviews seem to align themselves with a certain dealer in the Seattle and Portland area.

what does SOTA mean?
I predict they are shall soon receive a rave review from Jonathan Valinn.
Chuck....or Johnny....or...

i've had my Tenor 300 watt Hybrids for about a month. i did post a mini-review on it is;

since i oredered my Tenor 300 watt Hybrid monoblocks i have been skeptical. after living with the Tenor 75 watt OTL's for the last 2 years.....and comparing them to many of the best amps out there......they had set a standard that, in my mind at least, was going to hard to equal, let alone beat. i was expecting more dynamic control, less heat in my room.....and possibly more speed. but i thought i would also lose some naturalness and clarity. i expected the Hybrids to be less texturally complex and articulate.

then i spent time with the Hybrids in SF at the Stereophile Show and it was very clear to my ears there that they were quite a bit better overall than the OTL's. but......i rationalized that somehow the OTL's were underperforming at the Show.....maybe bad power.....or something.

then the Hybrids arrived in my room......really from the first note it was clear the Hybrids did EVERYTHING better than the OTL's. first, much more neutral.....and......much lower noise floor.....and yet.....completely organic and natural. i was not prepared for that combination of i have never experienced it before outside of live music. the Hybrids actually have more clarity, speed and inner detail and texture than the OTL's (which had set the standard in these areas for me). combine those attributes with much greater dynamic control, better pace and drive, more solid frequency extention, bigger more focused soundstage and better overall coherence and lack of strain......and you have simply raised the bar for amplification.

the easiest way to describe just gets out of the way of the don't get a sense that it is there.

the way the Hybrids reproduce pianos, horns, and voices must be heard to be appreciated. there is a seeming complete absense of the recording and reproduction process.....these sounds just sound real.

many people focus on bass performance as that seems to be the 'hard part' of any amp/speaker performance. no system is completely fulfilling without great bass performance. the Hybrids are simply unbelievable in this area. the bass is extended, balanced, articulate, fast, textured and has a presence and effortlessness that makes it completely complimentary to the musical event. and it does all those things in complete coherence with the rest of the frequency range.

these are not cheap.....but i have heard plenty of just as expensive or more expensive amps.....and the Tenor 300 watt Hybrid monoblocks go to a new level. i consider them a bargain. and they will work well with about any speaker that i know of.

as far as your comment..."however, those that have given the amp(s) glowing reviews seem to align themselves with a certain dealer in the Seattle and Portland area"....there are only 4 sets of these amps in customer's hands so far. if you are going to assume that there is somehow a lack of honesty with the feedback from these customers......maybe you could justify that assumption.

do you really think i would purchase a $30k set of amps and sell my 2 year reference amps unless i felt the new amps were better?

when you get a chance to demo a set of these amps in your system you could help us all out with your perspective.

please listen first....then comment.
SOTA= State Of The Art
Johnny, with all due respect, although I can understand why you think these Tenor owners "align" themselves with this certain dealer, I can ASSURE you that I know everyone but one of the people who have the new Tenor hybrids to date and NONE of them would shell out that kind of money to "align" themselves with anyone unless they had a financial interest in that company (which none of us do). The reason it looks this way is simple: First Mike LaVigne is the person we can thank (thanks Mike) for pretty much discovering the synergy bewteen Kharma speakers and Tenor amplifiers.

Then, this dealer happens to be the US Tenor importer and one of only two dealers to carry Kharma speakers in the US (other than Bill Parrish the US Importer for Kharma). So, if you do like the Kharma/Tenor synergy, it is almost impossible NOT to be somehow connected to this dealer at some point.

As for me, I am both a reviewer and owner of the Tenor 300HP hybrids and I can assure you I was the BIGGEST Doubting Thomas when it came to the Tenor hybrids! But no longer - everything Mike said is true AFAIC. I honestly did not think ANYONE could design a hybrid to get the best of both tubes and solid state, but IMHO, Michel VanDen Broecke has done the impossible.

Hearing is believing.
Heard the hybrids at Mike's place in Seattle.....The amps just had ten days on them, but liked what I heard....State of the Art? Hard to say as didn't know any of the gear involved other than the preamp we substituted for the passive Mike normally uses....Liked the frequency balance, dynamics and stage better with an active preamp and believe Mike liked the purity of the passive, but to each his own.....If you are interested in the Tenors give them a try rather than speculate......The amps are larger (deeper) than they appear in the ads and were glitch free during several cyclings as we played with preamps and phono stages......Really nice folks at Tenor BTW and believe the sole dealer is also the importer......With the pricing where it is there would be few dealers that would even consider stocking such an expensive item and delivery is slow as they appear to be built to order.......
I am on the waiting list for the 150 stereo only because
I don't have the funds for the 300 mono's. I currently
have the OTL's and with my cabling and a new set of tubes (2 weeks ago) I believe I have one of the greatest sounding systems. The best? I can't make that claim, but I've haven't heard a system I like better. My amps are used between eight to 15 hrs. every day which is why I'm looking at the hybrids. The people at Tenor and the people
selling their product have been very helpful. Now that winter is coming I might miss my foot warmers, but I'm sure
my electic bill will be a little lower.
Mike & Frank,

I am sorry if I offended you. My post was simply answering Husk's question. I did for the record state that the amps, do indeed, apprear to be the real deal. Also, my comments were implying that every time a new amp from tenor comes out it seems to be the "flavor of the Month." This is the cause for my skepticism. I have heard all the gushing reviews over the Tenor 75WI. I was prepared to purchase a pair as a matter of fact! Now, some claim the amp is surpassed by a Hybrid design that takes everything the tube design does to new levels. Mike, you yourself claim to be converted to the magic of OTL designs. Let's see we go from OTL loving to A Hybrid design. Honestly, Would you not be skeptical knowing conventional wisdom of the differences between Tube and Hybrid amplifier design??
As far as giving the amp a poor review. I take every review with a grain of salt. Everyone listens for different auditory cues. Noone is immune to this. That is why each person must audition the product before purchasing. Also, how many owners that lay that kind of cash down are going to say that the amp is a clunker. If I put that much down I belive I would claim that the amps are SOTA as well.
As far as the comments toward the dealer. I will let the his track record on this forum, his attitude toward customers, and FINALLY the Merit of his products stand on their own!!!

Johnny "Chuck" Maggitas
Hey Chuck! You and I have done business a number of times before and nothing you said offended me at all. I agree that reviews are nothing more than informational and a starting point but that our EARS are the best and only trustworthy barometer. As far as saying I like the hybrid amps better because I PAID for them surely doesn't apply to me. I just finished reviewing the Tenor 75 OTLs and had them in my system for 7 months when the 300HP Hybrids arrived. I had no obligation to buy the 300s at all.

Like I said before, NOBODY was a bigger Dubting Thomas than I was when it came to the hybrids. Hell, I even heard them at the 2003 show in Montreal with the same gear I had in my syetm and I liked the 75 OTLs better (show conditions probably had a part in that I know). I also had very well respected kilobuck hybrids in my system before and the Tenor OTLs, IMHO, bettered them substantially. So, I had a huge preconceived notion and bias against them when they arrived.

All that said, and AFTER comparing them side by side with NO obligation to buy, I bought them. I, for one, do not feel the need to ever justify my purchase to anyone because if I do not like the gear, at the great prices I am privileged to get stuff at, I simply sell it and buy something I do like.

Finally, I make no comments on the dealer as I was simply pointing out that the people who buy Tenor and Kharma gear are limited in their choices of where to buy it.

Have a good one.

Hi Frank /Mike !!

One of the definitive factors and concept in a hybrid system is its ability to handle bottom end punch, always seems to be a point of contention with me and tubes !! ..

The hybrid concept (I presume) aims to enhance bottom end. Can you tell us if this has been achieved ? .. without affecting the smooth milky mids that Tubes and specifically the Tenors give !

thanks !!!!

See ya both in Vegas I hope (I'm already fully booked :)

Chuck, your inference that any feedback from this "dealers" customers was less than genuine did offend me. the first thing i mentioned in my comments was that "I" was skeptical.....even after hearing the differences for myself in SF. i was even given a special private opportunity at SF to a/b the hybrids and OTL's.....and i was "STILL" skeptical. so in the context of my skepticism, i think it should be clear that i don't (and never have) just jump (ed) on anything that "this dealer" recommends.

>>>>"Also, my comments were implying that every time a new amp from tenor comes out it seems to be the "flavor of the Month. This is the cause for my skepticism."<<< since Tenor has only had one product......where are you coming from here?......there is no pattern of activity with Tenor as flavor of the month. 2 to 3 years ago, the Tenor OTL's set new standards for some listeners.....and until the Hybrids came out.....that was the only Tenor product.

you could have said that you were skeptical about the amps and left it at that......and that would have been a reasonable thing to say.

i never have any problem with someone disagreeing with my opinion......people can judge the merits of anyone's perceptions for themselves. but when you question my honesty or motivations it does definitely offend me since that gets personal.

you didn't need to add your "dealer in Portland and Seattle" comment in your answer to Husk. that was just a cheap shot. if you have a problem with that dealer.....maybe get some facts that hold water. you can't just make accusing inferences that are not justified and not bring into question your own integrity.
One last question Johnny, how many amps has Levinson (or any manufacturer for that matter) come out with that are supposed to be bigger and better than the previous ones? Mike makes a good point. "Tenor" - flavor of the month? Where and the heck did you get that one from? Food for thought.
One last question Johnny, how many amps has Levinson (or any manufacturer for that matter) come out with that are supposed to be bigger and better than the previous ones? Mike makes a good point. "Tenor" - flavor of the month? Where and the heck did you get that one from? Moreover, the 75s remain world class products AFAIC and one of the best amps I have ever heard. The hybrids also are more suitable to more speakers due to their power. Food for thought.
Frank & Mike,

Thank you for your candid responses. Frank, I found it very educational that Kharma had such limited distribution in the USA. It explains alot! As far as my inference to the dealer. I have attempted to do business with the dealer in question and it was a unique experience. I do plan on audtioning the HP 300's so I will refrain until I have heard them.

Has anyone compared the stereo 150’s vs. the monoblock 300’s? How close is the performance between the two? I currently own the 75’s and they provide a magical combo with the Wilson x-1’s. These efficient speakers don’t require a lot of power. If the 150’s have the same “magic” as the 300’s (at lower power) they could be an ideal lower cost solution.

Levinson’s 33h vs 33’s would be similar a comparison. I heard both. The 33’s did everything slightly better than the 33h’s. However, unless you heard them side by side, for me the difference was negligible. I kept the 33h’s until the Tenor 75’s.

How good are the 150’s?

hi mike, to my knowledge.....the first prototype stereo 150 is not yet there is no comparative info yet. considering Tenor's track guess would be that the stereo 150's will be virtually indistiguishable from the mono 300's except where the additional power is usefull.

there are always marginal differences between stereo and monoblock versions of amps as far as stage size and noise floor so i would expect some minor differences here.

i hope all is well with you and your wonderful system.