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.