I use an Edge NL12 for my Kharma 3.2FEs. It is very smooth & the bass is superb, deep & extremely controlled--you would never know there was no woofer, but it never pounds you or sounds aggressive. It seems, more or less, as deep as my former Wilson W/P 6s.
Mids & highs, to my ears, are as involving, relaxed, liquid & well-defined as Lamm tube amps with the 3.2s. I also have the EMM gear & a Hydra8 & Anacondas. The only weakness is an occaisional hyper-detailed nasality on vocals on a few popular/rock CDs, but I also heard this with the 3.2s driven by tube amps (metal tweeters, you know). All instruments & all classical is stunning, in terms of tonality & focus & spatial-identity. Transparency is unreal, the best I have ever heard.
Perhaps more than you, I was very reluctant to consider tubed equipment when I was first deciding on my amps. Yet, once I started looking at Kharma speakers, I realized that I much preferred the sound of tubed amps or at least hybrids with these speakers. I first heard the Kharma Midi Exquisites with the Tenor 150 Hybrid, but I then got scared away from the Tenor because of some early equipment problems and then by their financial situation. Yet, it was real hard to decide on an alternative, as I loved the combination of the Tenor hybrid with Kharma. The only SS that I ever listened to with the Kharma (ceramique 1.0) was the Nagra MPA and I then switched between the Tenor75 OTL and the Nagra VPA push-pull. Of the three, I kept coming back to the Tenor, yet I didn't think the OTL was the right answer for my situation (given my musical tastes, listening volume) and found it a bit lacking in the bass.
In the end, I settled with the Lamm M1.2, without ever auditioning them. I made my decision just after Tenor went into receivership, as I finally decided that I didn't want to risk going with the Tenor. A fellow A'gon, who owns both, highly recommended the Lamm M1.2 as an alternative to the Tenor, as did the dealer, and now after a few months of listening I am very happy with my choice. I think you definitely should put it high on your list. With your solid state background, you definitely will appreciate it's tube benefits, yet without some of the associated hassles or tradeoffs.
FWIW; Rick Becker, a reviewer for the online magazine
Enjoythemusic.com uses Manley Mahi tube monoblocks with his Kharma 2.2s. These amps have only 40w ultralinear, 20w triode. His system sounds sublime. The soundstage is so huge that I could actually leave the sweet spot in the listening chair and walk 5 ft toward the speakers w/o losing any imaging. I couldn't believe it. The bass is on the soft side but . . .
Thanks for the comments. What about WAVAC, Cary, BAT amplfiers? What are the rough power guidelines for SET, push pull etc tube amps if I want drive the Kharmas?
If I can add my 2 cents.My pal has a Rowland 8t,driving Kharma model 1's.He has a high res set-up as well,and is getting truly high quality sound.Particularly well controlled,and deep,tuneful bass.Also,and importantly,he gets a superb degree of timbral accuracy,normally associated with all tube systems,though his is a hybrid(tubes in phonostage).
What about the new Karma Amps??? They aren't that expensive, and sound great wth the Karma speakers...
Ive been using the Thor TPA 30 watt monos with the Kharma 1.0 with great results. For air and transparency they are incredible .Build quality is exceptional. The other great thing is they are completely idiot proof to use.Thor Audio may not be the biggest name in Audio, but for certain its one of the best! A new review of ther mk2 TPA30 is avaialble at www.soundstage.com Good luck on your choice.
FWIW, Kharma's were voiced using Lamm amps. I have found both ML2 and ML1.1's to work quite well with my 3.2's.
I truly love the little 3.2's,though I don't own them.I have heard them with the new Kharma amps,which to me are not nearly in the league as some other amps.The Cary 805's I would think can be a viable match,but the best I've heard,and by a long shot,are the Lamm amps.
I still have a hunch that the 805's could "DO" the Kharma's to the max,and for less than half the price of the Lamm gems,and I suspect the Canary Audio amps are also "KILLER".
Not surprisingly,my pal gets fabulous sound on his 1.0's with the solid state Rowland 8t.These amps have a stunning tube like timbral balance,with incredible control over his 11 inch woofers.Any thoughts of the Kharma sub in his set-up would be overkill,as he has an excellent "hardwalled" room,and is loading the room very well.Just my 2 cents.Good luck to all you lucky Kharma users!!
Thanks to all. Can somebody explain to me the key sound and power (ability to drive Kharmas in particular) btwn SET & push pull?
and also convergant audio amps are very good for kharma.
after living with Kharma's on both Tenor OTL's and Hybrids, and spending considerable time listening to Kharma's on Lamm tubed and hybrid amps....you owe it to yourself to try Kharma's with the DarTZeel NHB-108's. i just spent 4 months with the DarTZeel on the 4 ohm Midi Exquisite's in my very large room......all i can say is WOW!
not that there is any 'one' best amp......but it would be difficult to imagine a better overall match for the Kharma 3.2's......which are a much easier load than the Midi Exquisite's i was using. the DarTZeel sounds less ss than the Lamm Hybrids.....yet has a lower percieved noise floor than the Lamm and has the inner textures of the Tenor Hybrid.
i strongly recommend an audition of the DarTZeel.
if you want a little more of a 'lush' sound (only compared with the DarTZeel) then the Tenor Hybrids would be my top choice.
i would add that any of the Lamm's are excellent matches with the Kharma's.
i have both the Tenor Hybrids and the DarTZeel in my room now.
as far as some of your questions regarding bass performance on Kharma's, tube 'watts', adding subs, the whole ss and tube 'sound' issue, SET vs PP.....e-mail me and we can talk more about my experiences. i type too slow for any kind of coherent answer on so wide a range of questions.
Henry, Kharma's are not generally a good match for the typical SET amp since SET's (in general) have some coloration (warmth) to the sound that the amazing clarity of the Kharma's reveals as distortion. also, SET's are typically less extended both in top and bottom than a push-pull tube design and the Kharma's can take advantage of that extention that non-SET's provide.
i would say that the Lamm ML2.1 is an SET that certainly does not fall into the 'typical SET' type warm sound......although 18 watts will be marginal in other ways.
the Kharma 3.2's will be ruthless with any sort of edgy amp or warm amp....the price of clarity. the 3.2's will tell you exactly what any amp is truely doing. people that complain that Kharma's are 'too lean' sounding are typically dealing with an amp with less refinement and naturalness than the Kharma's need.
Thanks a lot Mike (I presume). I have heard about the DarTZeel though not sure if I can audtion or purchase them from where I live, Hong Kong: will check. By the way, I own the 2.3F which are a 3 way with the focal tweeter, not the new diamond tweeter: is it worth upgrading to the diamond? I did try the 3.2s and like them a lot but thot the bottom end as a tad weak: the 2.3F was better in this area....though the Midi Equisite is probably even better: but alas out of my price range at the time and plus my listening room is not huge anyway (though not all that small either). Also, what a great system and especially room of yours! I am dying with envy.
the new kharma amps will blow any of these away...u gotta hear them...better than the LAMMS, TENORs, LINNS..i ordered a pair myself
"the new kharma amps will blow any of these away...u gotta hear them...better than the LAMMS, TENORs, LINNS.."
Iujona: Please contact me offline. I've just gotta find out what it is you're smoking.