Tenor or Lamm hybrids for alternative rock ?

Am I barking up the wrong tree ?

I am looking for a new 2 channel system for a dedicated audio room that is 23Lx13Wx9H. My musical tastes are primarily alternative rock and alt-country with artists such as Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Muse, Wilco, Beck, White Stripes, Strokes, U2, Aimee Mann, PJ Harvey, Lucinda Williams, REM, Air, Stereolab etc ... monopolizing my CD player. Importantly, you see many are not "loud", head-banging types and I definitely don't listen to metal !

I have gone from looking at solid state equipment (Simaudio) to a sudden fascintation with hybrids: e.g. Tenor 150 Hps or 300 HP vs. Lamm M1.1, or M1.2, or M2.1 or 2.2. I guess that evolved as on this forum suggested I look at Kharma speakers and then I started reading a lot about these hybrid amps. The trouble is you rarely read about these being used for my tastes in music ... I have yet to had the opportunity to hear either the Tenor or Lamm equipment as there is no local dealer. (I live in an isolated small Canadian city). I am also still waiting to hear the Kharma speakers, as there are no Canadian dealers. I am hoping to get to NJ and MA this summer to get a chance to finally audition these hybrid amps. I was considering pairing these amps with some of the "lower" models of Kharma e.g. either the 2.2 or 3.2F. Yet, some have suggested that these Kharmas will not be appropriate for rock ... the thing is I feel people tend to lump rock, Metallica, and AC/DC together. You can see that I don't listen to that kind of stuff. So my real question is am I completely out to lunch and is this the wrong place to look for my musical interests ? If so, I could save a plane trip or two.


Perhaps I can help. Until very recently, I owned a pair of the new Kharma Midi Exquisites. Also until very recently, I had them paired with the Tenor 300 hybrids. That matchup proved extremely good for most styles of music, but I found that the Kharmas couldn't quite handle rock dynamics as well as I'd like. They did everything else fantastically well, but, dynamically speaking, they never truly convinced me--which, at their cost, and considering that I primarily listen to rock, was pretty disheartening. I wound up trading "down" (cost-wise) to the Von Schweikert VR-9, which, with its 15" powered woofers, should solve the dynamics issue. The Tenors are a great match with rock music--particularly the 300s--but, given my experience with the Kharmas, I'd probably try to steer you into a different line of speaker. Just my opinion, of course.
i have kharma grand ceramiques they do your music great remember though your front end digital player must be up to snuff as the kharmas are extremely revealing and unforgiving any further ?'s let me know chow
I have the same musical tastes as you, and i have a pair of Piega p10's which i love. The reason i'm saying this is that there is a pair here on the 'gon for sale for $3500 or so. I have no affiliation with the seller but thought "What a steal...."

Agree with Streetdaddy. I have and love the P10s, and also share your taste in music. You'd be hard-pressed to beat them at $3.5K.
I had the Tenor 300's and I switched to two 150's. I prefer the 150's. I had the Kharma Midi Grands with Enigma. While they are a super speaker and do lots of things right, -I like Hooper - I'm going with the VR-9's. Right now I am listening to the VR-4jr and WOW!! what a super sound from such a small footprint. It plays all types of music very well including the 150's.
I agree with tfl303, pay special attention to the front end, it is just as important as the rest of the system. You can't go wrong with either of your choices, its like choosing between two exquisitly beautiful woman, whichever one you pick, that will be the best.

Keep in mind, for most alternative pop rock, only XRCD's and SACD's are center seat listenable, most other rock pop alternative is walking around the house / room listenable. It is the recording itself that will disappoint you, not your great system. They may not be alternative, but try Gaucho and Brothers In Arms as a couple of great recordings / pressings. If your system sounds great with these two, than others that disappoint you won't send you looking for a system fix that doesn't exist.

Do you still use analogue?.

I have the EMM Labs combo, and even though I aggree it is the best for now, others like Audio Areo, Wadia, and Audio Note also sounded great IMO.

What front end do you have?.

I know your looking at hybrids, but, if you do not go with the kharma, and If you go with a speaker with an easy load, try listening to the Atma-Sphere line of amps. Make sure they have the upgraded caps resistors and power supplies to compete with the other amps on your list. IMO they have more kick when the music gets rockin'. This only compared to the Tenor 300 with Verity Parsifils in a big room.

Thanks for all of your responses ...

right now I don't have any of the components for this new system. In fact, I have resisted buying a high-end system until I could get a dedicated room. I saw no point in spending this kind of money and then not having a room with good acoustics or that was isolated to avoid disturbing the rest of the house. Hopefully, we will start construction on our reno this month and by three months I should have my audio room.

I agree some recordings are painful, but I am amazed how many alternative discs are very well recorded. In fact, of my collection of recent discs, I would say only a few are truly painful to listen to. On the other hand, some of the intentional distortion/noise etc can be at times too much for even me - regardless of the system.

In terms of front end, if I go the Tenor/Kharma route, I was considering the emm labs transport + DACC2 as a possibility.

Finally, I tried to find some info on the VR9's and curiously I can't find anything on the internet yet. It is listed on chambersaudio, but the Von Schweikert webpage doesn't have any news on it yet. Can you give me any details about the speaker ?