Review: Lahave Audio Khara Speaker

Category: Speakers

I purchased these Lahave Khara speakers used here on AudiogoN. I had not heard of the company before, but the speaker design caught my interest. I have always been attracted to smaller audio companies making outstanding gear with passion and care.

I spoke with Jim the owner and decided to buy them unheard.....ya took a risk for sure. I am open to risk however!

The speaker is about 44 inches tall and weights 125 pounds. It is a two way speaker using an OEM Raal tweeter that is outstanding! The 8 inch mid woofer is the excellent Seas Excel Magnesium model. This is a very high quality mid woofer. 90db efficient and 8 ohm.

The crossover has no resistors and very high quality. I would describe it as follows. First order high pass on the tweeter. The Raal ribbon tweeter is transformer coupled, thus the inductance of the transformer may make it second order.

The woofer network is a first order low pass but with a very deep trap in parallel, which makes it act like a much higher order filter.

The speaker cabinet is an absolute work of art and unequalled in my experience. No right angles, 2 inches thick in many places, and not a hint of cabinet resonance to be heard or felt folks. Stunning build quality that easily places it as the finest speaker I have owned over the years.

I did upgrade the crossover parts to Jupiter caps and North Creek 10 gauge inductors. This brought with it some real and enjoyable improvements. Lahave will use SOTA parts on a new build, simply ask for parts such as Duelund, Jupiter etc....

This speaker sings with one voice and is utterly seamless top to bottom. This combined with the complete absence of cabinet resonance makes for a very musical and live experience. This speaker sounds nothing like many of today's Hifi sounding speakers. The best way I can say it is this. Please hear what I am saying now as it is the difference maker. It is as if I don't own speakers. I hear individual instruments performing in precise locations before me and all within their own space. Sure, I have thought past speakers disappeared, but this my audio friends is a completely new and awakening experience.

Oh my, you should hear a piano on these. What a revelation to my ears. The resolution is stunning in it's impact and the tone striking. I hear the same energy, fast strike impact, and natural resonance of a live performance.

This is the same for all instruments. It is so much fun to hear all my music over again. Most times it's as if I really never heard the recording or instruments before. Over and over I am taken back on how darn real and un-stereo like my music has become. These speakers play a facsimile of it.

The bass is very deep and powerful making this a true full range speaker. They have a side firing port which I have not seen before. My previous speaker had 4 - 10 inch woofers per cabinet and the bass on the
Khara is deeper, tighter, and far more articulate. The bass goes down to 30 htz in my room.

I am not familiar with the other models in the Lahave line as I have not heard them. These retail for some $15,000 or so I understand.

I could not be more pleased with a speaker. These will stay for a long while as they just do it for me in a way no other speaker has. I loved my Soundlab speakers, but prefer these in the end. They just sound more like the real instrument. It is an uncanny listening experience.

What speakers? Lahave should trademark that line!

Take care

Associated gear
TRL Dude tube preamp
Aesthetix Romulus dac/CD player
TRL Samson amps
Dennis Had Inspire KT 150 SET amp
Sistrum racks under the speakers and Aesthetix
Amadi Silver cables throughout
Acoustic treated listening space

Similar products
Coincident Total Victory III
Soundlab M1
Dali Grand
Silverline Bolero
Merlin VSM - several iterations
I forgot to mention how open and involving these are at low to moderate volume levels. I find I don't need or care to turn it up loud with these speakers. At 70-80db levels I hear well into the music and am very satisfied and "into" the music.

If you like to listen at lower volumes and still want the full musical experience, then these speakers deliver.
Hi Gary,
Glad to read about your new toys. I am happy you took such a risk without hearing the Khara’s but have being rewarded faithfully. You are one of very few A’gon members whose views I trust and respect. I recently stumbled on ad on A’gon on the same Lahave speakers you own (may be the ones you purchased), and started researching the brand. Although there are not a lot of information online, the very few I found were all positive. I have exchanged few emails with Jim MacCleave (Lahave) and I could tell the designer is very knowledgeable and a nice guy too.
I found out through our exchanges that Lhave has several new designs that are not on his website (but will be in the near future). His new flagship is a three-way (no name yet) but nicknamed the Wildebeast. Following the Wildebeast is the Avaza R, the Avaza, the Khara, and then the Thermopylae. He said that the Khara’s are as good as the Avaza R’s but different.
The Avaza R has piqued my interest, and hope I can hear it someday.
Enjoy your new toys!!
4orreal, yes I found out the same thing from Jim. He is a great guy for sure. I think they will be expanding their website, but the quality of a website has never been a prioiry of mine when considering a builder. Quite frankly, the best gear I've heard is often linked with a bare bones, antiquated website!

I think I purchased the pair you were considering. They are the only gloss black set Jim has made over the years.

Thanks for the note.
Great review. I've never heard of this company and wouldn't have even read this review, but I also trust your views.

One question, who is this speaker similar/different to the Coincident TV III?

Great review. I've never heard of this company and wouldn't have even read this review, but I also trust your views.

One question, how is this speaker similar/different to the Coincident TV III?

Just an FYI, I am Bill, not to be confused with Gary although he is a great guy :)
Oops, sorry. I just copied the name the first poster used and assumed it was yours.

Any thoughts about the question I posed?
Oh ya, I forgot Ernie. The Coincident speaker is very different. The Lahave
is better in most every aspect including;

Far better resolution
More articulate bass
Far better imaging
Disappears in a way the Total Victory cannot
Just a more refined speaker overall

The Coincident speaker has cabinet resonance and is not nearly as fast or
clear sounding.

The Coincident speaker throws a bigger stage and can play music louder. It
is a better rock speaker perhaps.

One must turn up the volume more to hear the Total Victory open up and
come alive. The Lahave sounds great at lower volume levels.

Instruments sound more homogenous with nowhere near the micro detail
retrieval of the Lahave speakers.

The Total Victory speaker is a comfortable sounding speaker that tows the
middle ground if you will. It has nice warmth, but ultimately falls short of
sounding as real as the Lahave. Lahave sounds like music and the
Coincident sounds more like a speaker. Relative to each other these
statements sum it up pretty well.

Keep in mind the Total Victory speaker is no slouch. It is a very good
speaker and my comments are in relation to the Lahave speaker only.
They must be amazing, as I also respect your views on these matters. I remember last year and maybe this year seeing a pair of larger LeHave standmounts for sale that had a curved waterfall front baffle and the finish was drool-worthy. It looked like it used a Jordan driver and maybe a ribbon...can't quite remember. I was really curious about those speakers, and the brand. Now I guess I know. Enjoy them.
I just went back to their website. I had it all wrong. It was the tweeter that has the appearance of a small Jordan driver. I wonder what that driver is.

Lahave does in fact use a Jordan tweeter on several designs. At least they have in the past.
Thanks Bill. It looked familiar even though I have only seen Jordan drivers in pictures. Your new speakers are real stunners to look at.
Congratulations Bill, nice review, I bet they're smokin' good.

I'd need to hear these, they remind me of my Intuitive Summits in so many ways.
Congratulations! These speakers seem ideal for you and I'm glad you found them. They must be a fairly easy load to drive as you're using a KT 150 SET amplifier with sucess(I thought you had a Thor amplifier). I've no doubt that your music sounds devine. The Lahave should keep you happy for many years.
Nice summary Bill, I feel your love and you're not the first to convey this about this brand. Having owned Soundlabs you "know" what music is supposed to sound like. I did a lot of research on this brand a while back, was interested in a monitor design called the Mela which was a 2-way with side mounted passive radiator and the Jordan tweeter. Unfortunately I didn't come across a pair used but it seems the Khara might be more appealing, a 2-way floorstander that replays music with in room bass response to 30hz. What are the physical dimensions if I may ask?
Charles, I had to sell the Thor amps to pay for a brand new set Of TRL
Samson amps! They play well with my Dude and are keepers. Paul made
me a very nice set indeed.

They are pretty easy to drive and since they sound so good at low volumes
the 10 watts worked fine. The 300 watt Samson amps, however bring them
to another level.

The speakers are about 43 inches tall and 16 inches deep. The front of the speaker is 13 inches wide and tapers to the back which is 9 inches wide. They weigh 125 pounds each.

They come stock with Stillpoints Ultra SS footers. I sold them and use Sistrum Apprentice stands instead. The Sistrum stands just worked better on my carpet over concrete floor.
I believe you owned a pair of Dale Pitcher Intutive Design speakers can you tell me how the two compared?
Well hi Bob. I never owned Dale's speakers, but have heard that model on several occasions and for extended periods of time. One time with Dale's uber expensive SS monoblock amps.

They are both cut from the same sonic cloth in many ways. Fast, resolving, dynamic and no hint of a speaker box at all. They are both boxless in presentation.

The biggest difference is the Lahave, after my crossover upgrades, have slighter better natural tone and a more present midrange. They have more meat on the bones also......better mid bass and fullness.
Thanks Bill.
Hi Bill,could you give an updated opinion on the Lahave speakers since your purchase and review.
I am looking for feedback on several speakers I am considering and the Khara really has peaked my interest. Thanks
I still love the speaker. I have done a pretty involved mod however. I placed the internal crossover outside the speaker and upgraded all the parts substantially. As it now stands it is the best speaker I have owned to date.

My last upgrade was using Path Audio resistors.
Nice! I'd love to see some picture/s of the outboard crossover. I have a stand mount speaker that I'd love to experiment with in the same manner. Other's ideas and the execution of those ideas are a necessary part of this hobby. Can you respond to any concerns or things you've learned with regards in taking on such a project?
Lahave was showing a single driver speaker, Avaza($11k), at AXPONA. This was one of the speakers that caught my eyes (ears), because they were so musical, and also above average efficiency. Also I went around the speaker to make sure that there was no other bass drivers. Amazing bass for a single driver speaker. Unfortunately the personal finance minister does not approve the budget.
I would love to add some pictures, but don't think it is possible? Seems there is now way to upload more or new pics on this review?
The Avaza did sound very good indeed. The build quality was outstanding also. Just beautiful cab work!
Grannyring: How about sharing your journey in this regard and/or tips that I and others could use? Thanks.
Hi, It does look like you've separated the crossover quite a bit from the speaker. It seems that there was no attempt to isolate the crossover or construct an isolating shield around the crossover or raise the speaker wire off of the floor.

Although the crossover is out of harms way of the internal goings on, it seems to be kind of vulnerable to other issues such as isolation/EMI.RFI. These were my concerns.
I have not posted most recent pics. I will tell you what was done, that is, the
most current mod. I have removed the crossover from the cab completely.
A must in this speaker as the crossover was located right behind the

I then ran Jupiter pure copper 14 gauge solid core copper wire from the
drivers out the back of the speaker. Two runs on the woofer and one on the
Raal tweeter. No, the wires never touch the ground. The crossover is now
placed on a board with the board placed on four layers of thick cork board.
The entire five layer board is then placed on cork footers and placed in a
metal outboard chassis. The board is floated or placed on several inches of
Repti-sand (the Quartz type only). I then completely cover the crossover
and parts in the Quartz Repti-sand. Each chassis contains 40 pounds of
Reptisand. Yes, they are completely isolated from vibration and Emi, RFI

The parts include 10 gauge Noth Creek inductors, Duelund CAST and
Jupiter copper foil caps. I also included a Path Audio resistor of .5 ohms to
offset the lower DCR of the heavy guage Noth Creek inductor. I also felt the
speaker needed more mid bass bloom.

I soldered my speaker cable from the amp directly to the outboard
crossover. In additon, I did not use binding posts to connect the wires
coming out of the speaker to the crossover as they degrade the sound no
matter how good. I simply used the binding posts to clamp the tinned
copper wires from the speaker and crossover together. Best connection

I also placed the speakers on Star Sound Sistrum stands as they sounded
better then the stock Stillpoints footers with A/B testing.

The speakers are wonderful sounding and an involved project.
These speakers really love tubes. The best sound I have heard from them came from pairing them with an 845 SET amp. Just wonderful.
When I read the general description of these speakers(simple crossover and easy load) I thought a high quality tube amp should mate well. Especially a SET with adequate power. I'm glad this worked out so sucessfully.
Grannyring, I was gong to ask how you like them with your low power 845 SET and your review sounds very positive. Do you feel like you lose anything with 10 watts? Wondering how a 300b SET would drive them. Also great to read about your DIY crossover. I've toyed with the idea of doing my own DIY crossovers for the AN'Es -Regards Jet.
10 watts is plenty and I have not heard any sign of distress or compression.
I sit only 8 feet away and listen at 75 to 85db weighed average most of the

These glorious 10 watts are absolutely perfect for me. I do think my amp's
10 watts are a powerful 10 watts. Not every 8 watt 300b would be a good
match, but your amp and the Frank amps would be great. Not all 8 watt
amps are created equal as you both know so well. I had a 12 watt Dennis
Had amp on them that did show signs of stress and never loaded my room
with the sound and bass this Larry Moore amp achieves. The 10 watts of
my 845 amp delivers all of the scale, dynamics, speed, bass response
etc... that I was used to with my other amps cranking out 30-300 watts.
Again, I don't listen at 95db!

The difference is my music sounds more real and live with the 845 amp.
Forgot to mention that I have some Psvane WE845 tubes coming based on comments on the net and Jeff here on the Gon.
Jeff...username JWM.
As you may know Jeff and I are old friends of more than 20 years and we live only 10 minutes apart. He used the Pavane W.E. Replica 845 for a couple of years and I know them very well. It is an excellent 845 and out performed NOS RCAs. The only better 845 I've heard in his system is the Elrog(far more costly). Other than that the Pavane beat all others(Shuguang varients). Adding this tube to your terrific amplifier is a wise move and you won't regret it.
I looked into Elrog, but they seem to have reliability issues? I did not know Jeff used them? I assume he has had no issues. I bet they are wonderful sounding tubes.
Early production Elrog 845s had reliability problems. The Problem is said to be solved with the current tubes (so time will tell). I use the Elrog ER 300b and so far no issues for me or Jeff. The Elrog is the best sounding tube I've heard in mine or Jeff's amplifiers.
I still have my La Have Mela monitors after about 5 years and I can relate to your comments. There is just something about La Have sonics that is very real and forceful but totally unfatiguing.

They are great speakers indeed. I am going to try SET amps and 100db efficient speakers for a change and will be selling my speakers soon. If you know anyone interested in a great set of floor standers for a great price, then please let me know. I really had fun with these!

I am glad to have enjoyed Lahave Audio speakers!
You are full of surprises! What do you seek differently with this change of direction?
It is funny when you reflect on it. We all have personal journey with speakers and electronics. I have often had to buy without listening first, just on the strength of reviews and intuition, which was sometimes badly flawed.
I was also motivated by a desire to own a certain brand or type of speaker just to see what it was like and then be able to know that I had that experience.
As time has gone by, the variety of speakers and electronics that I have used have given me a clearer profile of what my sonic priorities are, and so my frequent changes have become less frequent, also dictated by finances of course, and the desire to avoid costly mistakes.
I find that in the last couple of years, I'm really enjoying refining the use of supports and cords etc.
Still, I can understand that part of many of us that has restless curiosity about what may be better than what we already have. It's just that niggling little voice in your head, urging you to move on to the next thing.
It's a little sad in one way. It reminds me of the old saying "Yesterday's peacock is tomorrows feather duster". Anyway, as long as you can afford it, and you're having fun every step of the way, it's an interesting journey.
Hi guys. I love these speakers, but it is time to move on! Why? Because I have seen the light. Well, I heard the 8 watt SET amps we all love on true high efficiency speakers and I fell instantly in love. These Lahave speakers are 90db and somewhat easy to drive, but with 97-100db speakers these wonderful tube amps open up a new sonic world for me:)

The directness and intimacy are intoxicating with these types of speakers. I am looking at single driver speakers as well as some Audio Kinesis models. I have tasted of this with my entry level Cain & Cain Abby speakers which are a single driver Fostex design. I have to dive into this deeper and experience it! I just have to:)
That makes sense to me and I can appreciate and understand your change of direction.
Well Bill, I can't argue with that either, because that is the same place I landed after my long journey (and Charles) led me there.
Those 8 watts can really be magic with the right speakers.
Keep us posted!
I heard a wonderful sounding single driver speaker at RMAF 2011. It was the Fletcher-Haynes Heirloom using an 8" fostex driver, one of the very best sounds at the entire show. Single driver speakers can't do everything(what can? all designs have compromises). The sound was oh so natural and had superb presence, it made most other systems sound "electronic" by comparison. I've always been curious concerning the Audio Kinesis Jazz Module and also 12" Phy driver based speakers(Tonian Lab and Ocellia). These 3 are high impedance speakers with excellent reputations for high quality sound. If I weren't so happy with my current speakers,those 3 would be on my very short list of candidates. Many roads lead to Rome.

I have a brand new never used pair of Lowther drivers I could sell you at a nice price. These are the PMA 5's. Quite incredible. Let me know if you are interested.
Thanks Bob. I have decided to keep my speakers. I listened to several good high effeciency speakers, but the sound of my speakers was, in the end, more to my liking.

My SET amp really opened up after burn in and it drives my speakers very well now. I have settled into a finished system that is amazing and easy on my back! The Electra Fidelity EL34 SET amp is just so musical. Very special design. Real innovation in this design.

Luxman DA60 dac that is a pretty large leap forward in sound quality compared to the other days I have owned. I have always ignored Luxman for some reason. This dac has earned universal praise by reviewers and I now know why.

So the speakers are staying with me! They just play beautiful music with the Luxman dac and Electra Fidelity amp.
How does the Luxman compare to the Yamamoto dac? Curious minds want to know.
Bill my Intuitive Design Gammas sound better when I switched to a 2a3 tube based push pull mono blocks. Beautiful music. Enjoy your new amp.