Have you had a chance to listen to either of these fine amps?
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I have the Kharma 3.2's, and the Meitner front end, and a Hovland preamp. I am using the CAT JL2, and have not found anything that
comes close. The CAT has everything - power, enormous detail, musicality, and a bass that rivals most solid state amps.
I have heard the Tenor in a very similar system to mine, and felt that it sounded veiled. If you want a hybrid, I would check out the new Lamm 1.2. They are exceptional amps.
Hmmm, dear Mehdi, at this level of equipment it REALLY boils down sonic minutiae in the end result (WHICH speakers btw, ExMini or ExMidi??). The pleasure is in the hearing, as it were -- therein also lies the decision.
So, my considered opinion is DON'T BUY what I (or anyone else, for that matter) recommend JUST because I (or anyone else) recommended it!
So, instead of recommending, I'll put down some thoughts:
While I could easily state the case for ANY of the TWO amps (with the ExMidi, with the Ultimate and maybe even without the Ultimate) and others can easily contradict me with better arguments (:)), mistakes here are financially catastrophic and morally depressing.
Because, generally speaking,
*Excellent results have been achieved driving Kharma with Tenors. Indeed, the Kharma+Tenor is very popular (see Mikelavigne & others)
*Excellent results have been achieved through the CAT Ultimate+JL2 combo driving Kharma (obviously the two cats (sic) operate well together -- the JL2 was designed using the stable's pre/ among others),
*Furthermore, excellent results have been achieved WITHOUT active pre-amplification using Tenor OR JL2 driving Kharma speakers (see mikelavigne, etc, as above)!!!
AND, salient points in the specs for speakers & amps don't reveal much either (wide-bandwidth speakers: both amps' bandwidth is extended enough; both amps' driving power is a-plenty; maybe the Tenor's 33kOhm input impedance is tricky on paper -- but it doesn't seem to have bothered anyone using that amp...)...
Cheers, and do take the time to enjoy building what already looks like a world class system!
Mehdi, Gregm brings up some valid points. You are talking about very expensive gear which, like all gear, can be, at worst, completely compromised or to a lesser degree, not shown to its potential if not mated with synergistic associated gear or, potentially worse yet, set up improperly and in a bad room.
It never ceases to amaze me how people who either do NOT own the gear in question or who have heard it under horrific conditions (e.g., CES) or in a system not optimzed for it or a in a bad room, make all sorts of absolute statements about the sound quality of the component. Don't misunderstand me, I have no problem with people not liking ANY piece of gear, even if it is one I own, as long as it comes from their personal preference under proper conditions and not because they have heard it in a compromised setting (which my even include my room).
I say all of this because as Gregm asserts, you should buy based on your OWN listening experiences and tastes. If you are not able to do so, then I understand it is necessary to solicit opinions from others.
What caught my eye in your post were two things: (1) I have almost the same gear you are consdering (I have the EMM gear, the big Exquisites and the Tenor 300s [in effect two 150s]; and (2) my room is the exact same size as yours. I mention this because I honestly thought that my room was much too small for the 600 pound Exquisites. I was SOOO wrong (something I am experiencing too much these days)!
I have two friends who are going to be taking delivery of the MIDI Exquisites in the next week or so and they may chime in here. The MIDIs are actually on paper rated to go down lower than my big monsters (25hz versus 28hz). If you do not listen at moderately loud levels or to any big orchestral music or to music with deep bass, then the MINI Exquisites would likely be fine in your room. BUT, if you do listen at moderate or louder levels or to big orchestral or deep bass music, then IMHO, I would go with the MIDIs particularly if you ever want to go with a bigger room.
As far as the Tenor/CAT debate, I think BOTH are world class amps you cannot go wrong with either and its more of milk chocolate versus dark chocolate personal decision. Obviously I like the Tenors but I could easly live with the CAT. This is where I would really try to audition the contestants if possible.
If you are any where near the Detroit metro area, feel free to drop me a line and come by and hear the EMM/Tenor/Kharma combo in an 18'x14'x 8' room!!