I went from a Stratos Extreme+++ to the full Kismet stereo amp in the Stratos case. There is quite a difference and well worth the upgrade price. The bass goes much deeper, you can see more into the soundstage, there is an over all ease to the music and the musicality is better all the way around. I compared my Kismet against the Sanders Magtech amp. There was NO comparison, I liked the sound of the Kismet much better and the Kismet amp with 200wpc sounded much more powerful than the Magtech at 500wpc.
I am driving GE Triton 1 speakers, soon the Triton Reference and it sounded much better than the Magtech amp. However, my speakers aren't power hungry panels and my speakers have a 1600 watt subwoofer amp in each cabinet.
I was able to try a magtech with my 3.7i's and it had no problem driving them, and sounded good, although a bit on the bright side. Remember that the magtech is pumping out 900 watts at 4 ohms into Maggie's. However, it's not always the wattage but the current when driving inefficient speakers. I was just listening to a 4 month old Stratos Extreme with the Symphonic line caps and Groneberg wiring (80% of a Kismet) that I picked up here on Audiogon and I'm really loving it over the magtech. And I'm only running about 270 watts compared to 900. But I'm putting out about 70 amps of current. Very, very pleased.
Do your homework, as I’ve found one of the the mono blocks can't remember which one, were just bridged versions of the stereo amps. And there is a price to pay when bridging amps, you get more watts yes, but at a big hit in other areas like damping factor, distortion, ect.
I have a Brand new( 3 weeks) Stereo Kismet in Stratos case with top of the line WBT connectors and SL Reference 35 caps with 850 V power supply the reality is that I don't know how many watts it is feeding my Magi 1.7i maybe 320 watts per channel ? at 4 Ohms but definitely more than 68 amps(current) per channel yep ! they make my Magies really sing the SQ is amazing, Deep Bass , Clarity of detail far better than the Parasound Halo INT that I was using before , although the Halo's pre-out are now being used as a pre amp until I can find a suitable tube pre amp and the Kismet has not even been broken in as yet ! don't know how a Magtech amp sounds I did look at it, but opted to get the Odyssey
Glad I found this thread. My HT3 (with cap upgrade) crapped out - bad caps, I think - and I sent it to Klaus for repair/upgrade. He made me a good offer for the full Kismet upgrade on the left and right channels (center is for HT use only, so just a repair on that channel). Klaus hopes I will get my amp back by the end of the year.
Interestingly, I posted a similar question on the Audio Circle Odyssey Audio circle, and got very little response.
@waynebosz: I use a McIntosh C220 (out of production, but available used), which is a hybrid tube unit. I really like the combination. If you want to try it, Audio Classics should have them for sale, and they offer a 14 day return option, IIRC.
I am running a pair of Kismet Mono Blocks in the Stratos case powering my Maggie 3.7 speakers in parallel with my Maggie DWM woffers on each channel. I guess this is what you might call Kismet extreme as I also have the Symphonic Ref Caps, Dual Toroid Transformers, Wbt connectors , low noise resistors, and the upgraded wiring. With the 3.7s in parallel with the DWM woofers the impedance on each channel is approx. 2 Ohms. These amps have no issue powering the Maggies to gloriously loud levels. The sound is open, only stident when the program material is, and throws a fantastic sound stage. The Maggies are flanked by REL subwoofers which helps in the low end. These amps are wonderful. Maggies at a 2 Ohm load pose little problem at all.
Well, it has been a long, bumpy trip, but I am finally enjoying my Kismet (the left and right channels upgraded in my Stratos HT3 case). Initially I was very underwhelmed with the sound, but it turned out that my outboard crossovers were not operating properly. They are in for repair, and I am using a temporary set of crossovers. My initial impressions are very good. Even at lower volume, I am hearing dramatically improved dynamics, more extended, smoother, cleaner treble with that filigree quality that I crave. I can't fully evaluate the Kismet upgrade until I get my repaired crossovers back, but, so far, I am very pleased. I will followup when I get the crossovers back and broken in.
I have upgraded my Odyssey Khartago SE+++ to the Kismet with the 850va toroid and 200,000 uf of symphonic filter capacitance, the Kismet board and high-end speaker binding posts, all stuffed into the Khartago chassis. Before I mention how it sounds, know that the 850va transformer extends up to the top of the chassis cover resulting in the rear of the cover not sealing on the rear of the case. I wanted the Kismet electronics placed in the Khartago case to save money. That said, the cover is held by four screws and safely slides on and off fairly easily. I would suggest ordering the Kismet in the Stratos chassis. I prefer the sleek look of the Khartago.
So, how does it sound? After burning it in for 7 straight weeks, it sounds awesome! I loved my tricked out Khartago, but the Kismet is even more effortless sounding. Bass goes deeper and with more muscle. The amp just sounds right. A runaway bargain compared to the mega-buck power amps. You really might find yourself asking if spending 10k for another amp is worth it. For me, the Odyssey stays as the centerpiece of my modest, yet system that punches WAY ABOVE its weight. A flat out killer solid state bargain! A keeper for life.
I'm finally listening to my Kismet/Khartago stereo amp. It sounds fine, but it's been such a rocky road that it makes me angry to sit down in front of it. Covering the bright blue logo with electrical tape helped. I ordered it in March, and was pleased to have received it in only five weeks. Less pleased when it had to return it due to a crackling/popping static in the right channel, and very irritated when I didn't get it returned for nine weeks, despite being assured it just needed a two-hour board swap. A few weeks after I sent it in, I called Klaus to check on it, and he assured me I'd have it by the end of the week. In fact, every time I called over the next two months, he assured me it was almost ready, or sitting on the bench now, or all ready to go, and I'd have it in just a few days. Eventually I got it returned, but not until I had already purchased a much cheaper amp to use in the meantime. I lost a lot of faith in Odyssey to do what they say they're going to do, unfortunately. (Klaus also assured me multiple times he's send me "something nice" for my troubles, but of course did not.) I was very tempted to sell it without even hooking it up, but for now I'll keep it. As for sound, I'm sure it's not broken in yet, and I kinda prefer the sound of the (much cheaper) tube amp that it replaced. Maybe it will grow on me. I won't be dealing with Odyssey again.
Well, my experience was not too good, either. After realizing my upgraded HT3 (full Kismet reference internals) was not performing well, Klaus determined it was damaged in shipping. I lugged it back to UPS store again, and sent it back. This time, Klause wanted to return ship it via air parcel. I agreed, since I live near Newark airport. All in, I think I was out about $350 for the 2 round trip shipping.
I got my crossover issues resolved, and everything sounded wicked good, for about 4 months. Then, one night in May, while listening to some music on my server, first one, then the other channel went silent, along with some sparking inside the amp
I am sure Klaus would offer to repair it, again. I cannot handle lugging this monster to UPS again, or even lugging it up the stairs from my basement. Then there would be hundreds of dollars in shipping. And I have to assume that the great sounding parts Klaus uses are just not reliable, like the parts used by other high end amp makers which seem to last for many decades without issues. I said to myself when I ordered the upgrade that when the upgraded amp died, I would move on to a lighter amp with a better reputation for reliability. And that's what I did. I now have a pretty nice sounding class D amp that I am pleased with. Is it as good as the Kismet Reference? Sort of, but in different ways. Better in some ways, not as good in others.
I guess Oddysey amps are for people with above average back strength and above average patience (or at least a decent spare amplifier lying around).
I am neither that patient nor that strong, so I must part ways with Klause and Odyssey Audio.
The kicker for me was when I called to tell him my original HT3 had died, he asked how old it was. When I told him about 12 years, his reply was that of course, those caps only last about 10 years, and that I was lucky they lasted 12 years. And this doesn't include the bad cap I had to replace when it was new.