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11-21-2006 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 3184
Reply to: 3184
Kharma Speakers as pH-indicator of the worst in Audio.

Recently there was probably nothing as low in audio as the BS surrounded Kharma loudspeakers. Each single step Kharma takes is further and further in-depth Kharma into the realm of bogusness. It is not that I find that “Kharma the Manufacturer” or “Kharma the Distribution” are guilty parties in what Kharma is. The Manufacturer and the Distribution do what they should do: cook products as they know and cash them out as aggressively as they can. The problem is not with Kharma as the manufactures of mediocre speakers but rather with the “axe of evil”: Kharma - Industry.

It is hard to say if it is the misery of Kharma’s Sound converts Kharma’s consumers into Morons ™ or if it is the Moronity of the general audio public makes the products like from Kharma available. I personally feel that the latter – and the audio-simplicity of people who call themselves audiophiles and who practices their sonic-audio-necrophilia made the Kharma’s signature Sound possible and marketable. In this article I WILL NOT GO INTO DETAIL DESCRIPTION of the “evils” that made Kharma’s Sound and that (by the way) do inflict quite negative long-term consequences to any Kharma’s user. What I WILL cover is the very specific aspect of Kharma’s being: how poor sound and deceitful marketing, being implanted into the infertile soul of gullible audio stupidity, harvest that infamous contemptible “audiophile popularity”.

Within my site I frequently disgrace audio reviewers for their instrumental role in propaganda of the nastiest thighs that audio has mange to build up around itself. So, how do not use the Wayne Garcia’s review of Kharma Exquisite Mini in the resent TAS as an illustration how presumably ignorant, presumably deaf and presumably not particularly audio-bright person who blow air in audio publication methodologically convert audio pubic it into brainless zombie? Ah, I’m sorry; in the language of the audio industry that person called a “reviewer”…

This Wayne Garcia’s review, that might be recognized as a very positive, is sort of record among all reviews that I have seen about Kharma. It has absolutely minimum amount of thoughts about sound.  But it does have a great accumulation of deception, dishonesty or just opened ignorance. The entire tone of the review is … odd. It said nothing about the loudspeaker as Sound Producing Product but instead it provides 3 PAGES OF EXCUSES “WHY THE PRODUCT SHOULD COST AS MUCH AS IT COSTS”. Interestingly that no one anticipate from a reviewer to match performance to price but for “whatever reasons” Wayne Garcia feel necessary to deploy to his reader his “Price Justification Affidavit “. I might understand why: the Kharma Exquisite Mini is so bad sonically that there is nothing to talk about its performance besides discussing how grotesquely expansive those speakers are. OK, OK, OK, is it not expansive, it is “valuable” according to Mr. Garcia, but do not worry I will be taking about it….

(I nave no electronic copy of the review and of course am not wiling to waste my time not type the quotes. So, I will just refer to what the Wayne Garcia was saying in blue)

*** The review started with tribute to Kharma’s sound and claim that Wayne Garcia is well-familiar with “other (super) models”.

Well anyone who has ears, brain and who is familiar with larger Kharma’s models knows what is doing on in here.  We all have seen the glorious reviews about of Kharma Exquisite Extended Reference or Exquisite Reference in which the speakers were pushed for $70K, then for $96K and nowadays for over $100K. The funny part is that no mater how poor any of Kharmas are but still their 2-ways monitors sound… more interesting then their top of the like Exquisite Reference line. I heard Exquisite many-many times in many different occasions and I well know what I am talking about. Anyone who owned the Exquisite Reference and who had conscious (sound like an oxymoron, doesn’t it) can testify that the largest Kharma are severely compromised, much-much more compromised then Kharma’s smaller models.  The Kharma resellers know it. The Kharma manufacture knows it. Even the Wayne Garcia knows it jugging from his opening statement. So, why juts do not come clean and to say: “Sorry guys, for the years me and my colleges misled you: the largest Kharma are sonically terminally faulty despite the BS that you read about it in my publication. This “new” small Kharmas is much better, well at least IT IS WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY KNOW.”  Anyhow, with Wayne’s mentioning “other (super) models” he acted quite simple: the industry have sold to the consumer a notion that $100K-worth Exquisite is a pinnacle of Sound and now Wayne tried to project a fraudulent but pre-fed success of the “Exquisite” to the “Mini Exquisite” model. How unexpected!!!

*** … then “… I never cared if a speaker reaches below 30Hz – there is very little music down there….”

It was “very clever” to discuss the problems of badly reproduced sub 30Hz ….. in context of speakers that are good for no lees then 300Hz.  Those 300Hz is exactly where Kharma should be high-passed in order do not hear it’s animal sound of it’s soft suspended  woofers, in order do not hear it’s port’s noise and in order do not hear  the uncontrolled voice coils trembling outside the magnetically liner woofer gap. Also, crossed at 300Hz those ceramic drivers will not dive into a huge amount of dynamic distortions when sound becomes louder then 70dB… So, why Mr. Garcia brought up a conversation about 30Hz to the tables? Because he wants the Morons™ out there who read his audio “review” and remember a word “30Hz” – good foe the perching memory.  Hm, does Mr. Garcia sells the speaker’s actual result or he juts try to inject bogus marketing values into deaf awareness of the simplified public?  It does not sound as a complex question to me….

*** … then Wayne Garcia brings up those Magico monitors ….

Magico is the very logical next step into the realm of audio absurdity. I do not want to be involved in here about the conversation about Magico speakers. I said enough at:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=2729

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?postID=2896

*** … then Wayne dive into a paragraph describing about how he perceivse Kharma Exquisite Mini sound.

It did not work on me because I know how Kharma sound. OK, perhaps, I did not hear this specific model - Kharma Exquisite Mini. I juts do not know what I was listening when I hear Kharmas – they all sound very identically, regardless the size, model and price, so perhaps the Exquisite Mini was one of those that I heard. However, reading the Wayne’s fiction about Kharma sound I’m sure that Kharma distributor and Kharma resellers will pick a few new words for their selling vocabulary. Not only they pick a few new words but also a few new bogus selling points that will be a precious commodity during the Audiogon-level sale-spiels. The development for the industry of those selling points is the primary objective of the Wayne writing.

*** … then Wayne quotes the Kharma’s designer…

I never understood why they do. It is well know that 70% of those reviews are in fact the manufacture’s marketing material that a reviewer just recites and signs out with his name. I never understood why the Audio Industries does not allow a manufacture just to endorse his own product by stating whatever he intended. The second benefit of this position would be that the typical idiot-reviewers will loose 70% of marital for their “reviews”… and perhaps… they will return back to manage their McDonalds – the placed where they belong.  Do you think it will be devastating go the audio progress?

*** …then Wayne begins to butter up his readers informing how expensive Kharma enclosures are ….

Generally yes, I would agree that smaller Kharma speakers with ceramic driver do not have a lot of colorations usually associated with sound of enclosures but it only because the other problems kick in first and mask out the enclosure problems. However, instead of bragging how expensive the Kaharm’s wood is it would make more sense for Wayne to think that why ceramic-woofered Kharma should have any problems with enclosure. It is ported design, 100 pounds box and the VERY soft suspended 7” drivers.  By the virtue of the light cones, extra low power handling, low dynamic pressure and very soft suspension the smaller Kharma’s speakers should not have any problems with enclosure resonance. I am absolutely convinced that if Kharma in their Exquisite Mini will use $50 worth MDF from Home Depot or even papier-mache  then the sound of those speakers will be near…. identical. Sure, the “papier-mached Kharma” would not look so great but why a used should pay for an expansive enclosure if other poor design decision in the speaker make the sound of enclosure irrelevant? With the same success Kharma might put atop of their speaker a large wooden crucifix and jack up price for another $50K, claming that the crucifix is “an expensive artwork of a secretive mason from Amsterdam”. It might be true but what it has to do with sound?  Besides - do you want to see how the Kharma’s “proprietary and very expensive high-pressure laminate” enclosure sounds when it is not used with the soft suspended ceramic drivers? Find somebody the $90K-prised Exquisite Reference speakers - the Kharma upper model - and try listening them. You will clearly hear within the Exquisite sound a LOT enclosure resonances, despite that the “proprietary and very expensive high-pressure laminate” was used. So, what Wayne Garcia cajoles to readers – Does he describes the benefit of the Kharma design of is he just developing the marketing taking pint?

*** …then Wayne Garcia begins to sell to the readers the Kharma’s diamond tweeters….

Well, anyone who read my site knows that one of the rules that Impose in audio is that people should clearly identify the sonic imperfections of current sound BEFORE they make any changes:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=3122

Ok, if looks for the last 5 years then within dozens of glorious reviews that Wayne Garcia and him-alike fed the audio public THERE WAS NO SINGLE IMPLICATION that the metal or ceramic tweeters that Kharma used before were faulty in any way. A reviewer after reviewer was drooling how wonderful the Kharma’s upper range was. Contrary to them, listening an installation after installation with Kharma tweeters I always run out the rooms in toilet, was bringing back a roll of toilet paper and was patting with the papers those damn tweeters. Ironically the diamond tweeters (although they ARE SOFTER and slightly more civilized) still maintain the same “signature” Kharma HF sound. This “branded HF sound” is characterized by excusive, not existing in real life, absolutely disruptive and highly non-musical pseudo-resolution. This HF sound is very good for conversion of any wildwood instrument into teeth-torturing whistle or for injection into a listening space a large amount of ambient HF noise. I’m not saying that Kharma is bright. I just say that the Kharma upper range has no values from a position of Real Sound. Therefore, isn’t surprising that the Morons™ who spend too much time with Kharma speakers loose ability to recognize “quietly of sound” if sound has no habitual for them “Kharma’s HF noise”? There is something else with Kharma HF, regardless if it used diamond or pre-diamond tweeter: the Kharma upper-mid range has no inner-reasoning with itself and produces just isolated digitally-glitzy “HF pings” instead of the upper-mid that might be a part of Sound. This Kharma’s MF-HF are very similar to some very typical for nowadays audio-engineers who “masters” a CD by equalizing HF sound at +16dB WITHOUT ANY REASONS… juts to have more “quality”.  Ah, I forgot, the most important evidence that the Kharma’s diamond tweeters are good – is because they are expensive!!!!! Really? Read on…

*** …then Wayne begins to spread his “literature” about Kharma’s woofers… Quote:  “similarly priced (if not nearly as) and juts as fragile the 7” ceramic bass/midrange driver”

OK, now we have a price reference. When Wayne said “similarly priced” he meant that Kharma’s woofers are similarly priced as Kharma’s diamond tweeters. Well, Kharma’s buys out their woofers from European manufacture “Thiel & Partner”. Those woofers are very well know, quite popular and they used in many speakers in Europe. They are $260 retail and $145 in wholesale.  With near $250 price tag the Kharma’s woofers are not necessary “overly expansive”, rather they are on very economic side. Still, form what Wayne Garcia said it flows that the given entire speaker has two drivers of a half-grand combined price. Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it? Since I am myself a “speaker person” I know that nothing could be as critical in performance of a loudspeaker (or an entire system) as the initials quality of the drivers. It is exactly why I personally feel that KHARMA USE EXTREMELY POOR WOOFERS (I will talks about it below) but also Kharma uses very low-cost woofers.  More about the price that Wayne tries to trade. Since, Mr. Garcia is trying to paint himself as gastronomic aficionado I wonder how would he feel is he went to a best resonant of his choose and by paying $68 per appetizer, $160 per pasta of $210 per steak  and then he learned that that the pasta was mass-precooked and then juts microwaved and the steak was juts made up in a Burger King across the street? Sure, Mr. Garcia might indulge himself that he is such a bit eating enthusiast but in the case of the cheap mass-cooked pasta I REALLY QUESTION IF MR. GARCIA HAS ANY ABILITY TO DISCRIMINATE FOOD’S TASTE.

OK, let see where those Kharma woofer stand in term of Sound. The Thiel & Partner’s ceramic drivers have high cone rigidity, that prevents any cone breakup, and it is…. one of their biggest problems. The drivers themselves still are not as bad if they used in a VERY limited MF bandwidth but as soon those ceramic drivers begin to touch lower MF (not to mention upperbass) then the typical ceramic atonal misery come to existence. The audio propaganda have convinced the gullible audio public that cone’s rigidity and absent of any cone bending (breakup) is positive. Surely it is very simple to bring a piston example to the uninformed public and make them to believe that a diaphragm with gravestone rigidity might be “good for sound”. Nothing could be further from truth though! The ceramic upper bass drivers always do that typical “empty, fill the vacuum” type of sound. It is not just about “ringing” (it happenings at higher frequencies) but about being “high resolutioned tonally impotent”. THESES DRIVERS CREATE A “PRESSURE EVENT” BUT THEY DO NOT FILL THE EVENT WITH TONE and therefore when I listen them I always feel that very unpleasant “fill the vacuum” effect.  The Thiel & Partner’s case is the worst case because those foolish ceramic cones sit in very loose; practically uncontrolled, high resonance suspension and THOSE CERAMIC CONES SHAKE IN THE DRIVER LIKE A JELLO-CAKE DURING AN EARTHQUAKE. The ceramic drivers reproduce very generic, very identical “empty” tone at different pressure levels, and this empty tone at a giver pressure has a LOT of faulty non-existing “resolution”. This hated by me artificial resolution, combined with RAISE OR PRESSURE WITHOUT RAISING OF TONE become unfortunately very addictive for many Kharma’s users.  Add to that the fact that ceramic driver can’t handle more volume that 70dB in a room of 50 cu feet! Add also the fact that that those 7” ceramic drivers dive under 300Hz into severe extrusion related sonic distortion! Add also to the fact that these drivers are completely blind to any complex tonal nuanceations and ….you’ll see very clear the image about the Kharma’s Sound. Perhaps it's possible to make a ceramic driver to sound more or less acceptable, using it within a strict band-pass and without letting it to operate at lower midrange (where sound shades are produced by driver’s breakup)... for instance, the way it made in the Edolons… However, letting this driver to run wider range and without any high-passing!!!?  Give me a break!

I can assure you that I in 100% of all cases, I would completely blindly, will be able to say that Sound is coming form a ceramic driver. It’s hyper-resolution combined with absolute missing of any tonal connectivity; it’s hyper-transients combined with the very inimitable dynamic compression, it’s hyper-speed combined with “distortion clipping” at 70dB are very unique identifiers of those Thiel & Partner’s ceramic drivers. Why Kharma used them? Because thanks for the idiots-reviewers, Audio has a pre-brewed army of AUDIO-ZOMBIES WHO HAVE ALREADY PRE-SOLD TO THAT TYPE OF SOUND. It is very similar to the industry reviewers were glorifying for years a faulty concept of “fast and tight bass”. As the result the manufactures replied by furnishing public with EXACTLY THAT: the  “fast and tight bass”.  Nowadays in any showroom you will go you will hear that ugly signature of that “fast and tight bass”, the bass that has nothing in common with acoustic bass. That “fast and tight bass” bass BECOME A UNIVERSAL OBJECTIVE OF MANY FOOLISH AUDIOPHILES and that bass is THE ONLY BASS that you will be able to buy nowadays from the industry sponsored avenues. Today’s audio industry juts does not produce any “other bass”…..So, I personally fell that the industry’s glorification of the Kharma’s ceramic upper bas and lower MF has the very same dangers marketing tendency as “fast and tight bass” had 10-20 years ago. I am afraid that in 10-20 years, if no on will make those writing idiots to shit up the industry WILL NOT OFFER ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE KHARMA-LIKE CERAMIC SONIC SURROGATE. Look what the industry is doing now with Magico sound – obviously I can see the tangency… Taking about the “filing the vacuum”…!!!!!!

*** …then Wayne begins to spread his “propaganda” about the facts that Kharma’s woofers are customized ..

Yes, it is fine that Kharma applies some mass offsetting to the cones. Many people do it for different reasons. Wayne claims that Kharma does it to kill cone’s ringing. Yes, the poor cones ring (the infamies dust caps on JBL LE-drivers come to mind) and for years people damp those ringing by different means. How come that Kharma “juts discovered” that problems and did not acknowledge it before? I did not see Kharma issues a recall of all their ceramic woofers with apologies. The only moment when Kharma suddenly did acknowledge that the ceramic cones ring like hell was when they increase the price for their speakers from $22K to $45K, applying to the woofers a $2-worth damping upgrade. Ah, Wayne did mention that formerly Kharma cured the cone’s ringing with “notch filters outside the auditable frequency range”. Well, if the range was non-auditable then why to cure it? In contrary, if you do have a reason to cure the ringing then perhaps the range was not as is “non-auditable” as Wayne is wiling to portray it? I would not even mention what we are talking about the  mid-woofer ringing!  They ring at $2K-$5K… where is the hell Wayne sees the NON-AUDITABLE RANGE, regardless hot many dBs it was down? Beside everything, I would pay a lot of money for the fun seeing of Wayne trying to damp cone’s ringing with notch filter – it is imposable to cure it but juts slightly reduce it…. but everyone “forgot” to mention the devastating contribution of notching to Sound, and particularly the narrow type, used for ringing redaction.   Anyhow, the sad irony is that Kharma’s woofer anti-ringing treatment is irrelevant as the woofers have a LOT of other problems. However, the reasons why Wayne went for telling this story about the anti-ringing measures is because he wants people feel that these drivers in those speaker are  not off the shelf but “special”. Still, juts the  marketing talking points with no relativity to Sound,

*** …then Wayne tells the tail about the Kharma’s secretive crossover….

This is even more laughable then anything else. What is a big secret about the subtractive crossovers that Kharma uses? Yes, there is some artistry to making “interestingly performing crossover”, primary surrounded the phase characteristics but unfortunately….. Wayne has apparently intelligence sufficient enough recognize … the only a silver coil! I wonder what the purpose to say something if you have nothing to say. Any person with listening intelligence can make simple and very objective listening assessment of speaker’s crossover performance. Still, if Wayne has decided to write about crossover, then why he just did not do it? it looks like he wanted just  to mention “the silver coil” and score more primitive talking points: “it has a silver coil, platinum screws and the eleven beautiful golden rivets.”  So, again, what was the Wayne job: to QA the speaker for the benefits of the customers or TO WRITE UP A MARKETING RELEASE NOTE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PRODUCT DISTRIBUTION CHAIN?

*** …then Wayne begin to sell stories about his amplifiers that drive his new Kharma…

I never was a big fun of MBL amplification: a lot of stupid muscles and not a thing else. I do not also consider Kharma own amplification worth any attention at all. However, here is a hint for you. Did you ever paid attention that the amplification that used for “reviewing” loudspeakers is always “kind of the same” that the given distributor sells… Probably it is a consequence, don’t you think so? The ironic realty with MBL is that MBL IS NOT JUTS BAD BUT ITSELF BUT IT INTENSIFIES KHARMA’ SONIC MISERY, as the MBL pretty much pushes sound at the VERY SAME wrong direction. MBL produce a brutal “pppppass” instead of instead and then Karma converts it into “ph-rrrrrrrrr- bppRRRRRass”. The Kharma’s disconnected, compressed, condensed and virtually atonal Kharma sound combined with mechanical, brutal, completely irrational irrelevant FREQUENCY PUSHING BY MBL….. what could be better for an audio reviewing guru?  I’ not familiar with Wayne Garcia. I do not know if Wayne Garcia is a regularly “deaf” person or he juts an ignorant audio person or he (as many other his colleges) is  just enslaved by the habitual idiocy of audio reviewing. However, Wayne Garcia defiantly knows what game he played…

*** …and the game Wayne Garcia plays is well summarized in his “Perception of Value” section…

Reading Wayne’s saga bout the “French Landry” I was not able to escape thinking about an old event that took place a few years ago in North Jersey, near New Brunswick. A clerk at gas station was trying to sell me a Rolex. I have no idea why he chose me as a “victim” but he kept insisting that I needed to buy his Rolex.  After I told him that I have no interest in watches he begin to convince me that owning his Rolex would do magic in my life. The cheap ostentatious with witch Wayne Garcia try to convince his readers that owning the  Kharma will affect their audio ego is very similar to the behavior of that gas station clerk demonstrated, also the similarity was that both of them: Wayne and the clear were truing to sell stolen goods. The conspicuous consumption is generally a problem within high-end audio and in the KHARMA WORLD IT IS NOT JUST A PROBLEM BUT THE MAIN PLAYING CARD.

I would not necessary blame Kharma the manufactures as Kharma (perhaps even no not intentionally but obviously profitably) become a victim of the very worst that the industry managed to breed with itself. Without able to promote any objective or serious Kharma’s Sound TO SERIOUS CUSTOMERS the industry propaganda machine turns their attention to the LOW DEMANDING AUDIO MORONS AND THEN BEGIN TO SPRAY THEM WITH DEMAGOGUERY AND PRE-DEVELOPED FALSE PRETENSE…

The history of Kharma in America is a history of amassing bogusness. In mid 90s Kharma was one of many companies that made the second-rate sound. Kharma best models: Exquisite and Audiocritiques were performing at level remotely approaching to the relatively mediocre sounding Wilson Maxx. It was not bad in mid 90s – the averagely sounding speakers, nicely looking for a “republican décor”, moderately priced (top model for $30K, the small 2-chenanls monitors for $5K) and at good but not exuberant attention from buyers. Then the Kharma turned itself from an average speaker producer to a company that “supplies demands” for the… idiots. In the very end of 90’s a new US distributions agenda was developed. A selected group of reviewers was appointed to make the necessary “market propaganda ejaculation” and the… price was increased. At that time, around 2000, the most saleable Kharma model was Ceramic series 3 that had retail price among $7K, the street price of $5K and a used price around $3.5K. For those $5K, although the Ceramic 3 did not do anything “special”, but they were quite OK speakers and particularly if you go not listens any complex music or do not demand them to play louder then electrostats. However, the dealers and distributors was bitching that that they can not sell those speakers for $7K because “…people see little price, heard restricted sound and they want something better, agreeing to pay more”. Then the shit hit the fan. The industry “writers” hatched the fertile eggs of “Kharma publicity” convincing the idiots-subscribers that the “Kharma is good” and Kharma…. increased prices for their speakers. Suddenly, completely out of nowhere, the very same Ceramic line goes for $20K and the Exquisite line goes for $75K-$90K. Now, the well-oiled distribution machine continues to spin. Nothing has changed in Kharma sound since the initial injection to the market, nothing besides the marketing wrapper that the reviewers made up. As soon it happened dozens of sleazy and the dirtiest scams from around the industry become the Kharma re-salers and the Kharma speakers begun to pop-up in the listening room of the audio-zombies like mushrooms after a rain. The filth of “Kharmanizatrion of Americana” was disgusting. The “special discounts” were applied if a customer obligated did not pass public negative comments about Kharma. The dealers influenced the Audiogon management to edit any material that did not worship Kharma products (Jonathan Tinn). The “special discounts” were applied to customer who obliged do not sell their new speakers for 12 month (then, a new model “suddenly” become available). The reviewers were bragging with Kharma buzzwords. As the result the STUPID CUSTOMERS WERE BUYING INOT THE TALKING POINTS AND THE BUZZWORDS INSTEAD OF TO THE SOUND. I did interview quite a few Kharma owners and I was shocked to leans that ALL OF THEM literally quoted for me the words of media. No one, again - NO ONE among Kharma owners I spoke was able say anything remotely related to the actual sound that we experienced in their listening room. I might go on and on, but what would be the purpose? We know the result. Anyhow who visited those listening rooms with Kharmas inside knows the result...

Yes, we know the result. There are lots of Kharma installations today in US. I’m NOT saying that each person who uses Kharma loudspeakers is idiots but, listening a LOT OF KHARMA SETUPS and LISTENING A LOT OF KHARMA USERS  I could not refrain from noticing that each time what I have seen an unspeakable audio idiots then for some mysterious reason a shiny Kharma loudspeaker was sitting right in his/her listening room…

Today Wayne Garcia introduced to us a situation when the very same Ceramic series 3 speaker that was sold 7 years ago for $5K has a new name and price tag of $45K. The propaganda will sing songs to us that it is a different speaker; the different drivers or the different gauge of coil in the silver-loaded crossover, or the different papier-mach but the reality is that it is all the SAME SPEAKER WITH THE VERY SAME PRIMITIVE SOUND. My primary beef with Kharma is not what they do - a company that harvests the Audio Idiocy of American Morons ™ does the right thing. I rather have problem with STRATEGIC INDUSTRY SPONSORED SOUND AS SOMETHING THAT POISONS GENERAL SONIC ENVIRONMENT OF AUDIO. The strategic industry sponsored sound (this time it happens to be the Kharma Sound) is very easy to sell to the sub-qualified accidental people in audio but little they know that  this Sound has a negative long-term listening consequences. It is very similar to a person who spent years and years of listening only digital recorded music via very poorly done SS electronics made in 70s. That person develops his expectations regarding reproduced sound and those expectations are severally corrupted. In many instances that person has semi-permanent damage within his listening reference points…. Unfortunately the Kharma Sound does very much the same.  The Kharma Sound is not a sound of reproduced or reinstated realty but rather a very-very high quality depicturing of the image that is being projected on a back of a camera-obscure. Instead of realizing that they were looking at the already surrogate image, Kharma devised methods and techniques to improve the resolution of the camera-obscure’s reflection. As the result, hyperbolically speaking, the Kharma Sound is not a sound of reproduced musical event but a high resolution sound of pressure valves that were bounced off a reflective wall. What is the purpose to deal with initially deceased subject and trying to reproduces its dead eco. There is deference between a sound of laughter and the sound that a body produces what is it cut on autopsy table, even if you use ceramic or diamond drivers…

EVERYONE ARE THE UNFORTUNATE HOSTAGES OF THE INDUSTRY ARTIFICIAL WORSHIPING THE AUTOPSIED SOUND. It has a feedback to everybody: to the Kharma designer, to the Kharma dealers and distributors, to the Kharma reviewers and to the Kharma’s owners. The Kharma users juts do “get” that they deal with essentially faulty sonic objectives and that THOSE OBJECTIVE HAVE NO SOLUTIONS BUT THE ONLY “ENDLESS PROPOSALS”. Here is where the dealers and distributors lover the products like Kharma – because it allow them endlessly to “propose”  - and it is no surprise that an average Kharma user changes speaker with a year or two. There is no need to “increase resolution” of the essentially dead substance, not to mention that resolution as a subject of audio exist only within context of faulty sonic objectives. (It is a bigger subject and to cover the difference between the real resolution and the “industry sponsored made up resolution” is not the subject or this article.)

I think Kharma, in order to get my attention, should revise itself and to go for radically different sound. I do not think that they might be going there as what they do now brings them quite a lot of business. Still, it is all depends where Kharma see itself. Is Kharma wiling to be to be a fanatically successful cheap eatery that serves food for non-discriminatory bulimia-suffering audio reviewers? Or Kharma see itself as a company that is capable to make loudspeakers accepted in listening rooms of the most demanding audio listeners? Perhaps I am mistaken and perhaps the Kharma’s Charles van Oosterum will come up with something truly inspiring. However, I do know ABSOLUTELY DEFIANTLY that in order Kharma come up with anything worthy the reviewers howling pack shell need to shut a fuck up! I sincerely hope that will happen: it will benefit you - an audio user.

Rgs,
Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-29-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
beemer
Posts 5
Joined on 08-01-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 3213
Reply to: 3184
RE: Kharma sound
Having heard specifically the Kharma 3.2 at length in the home of a friend for the life of me I cannot see the fascination. Absolutely the coldest sound I've ever heard. This speaker even with tube amplification I can describe best as like a 2000 RPM meat slicer chopping the music up into little pieces. Sure, the audiophile buzzwords like resolution and soundstage come in to play, however in the event that your source was even slightly bright..... it would be rendered totally unlistenable by these little abominations. Oh.......let I forget.........no bass either!

Best,

Paul :-)
11-30-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 3214
Reply to: 3213
Kharma misery is bigger juts the Kharma Problem
Paul.

you marvelously identified the characteristic Kharma Sound. However, what is very important to understand in my attitude toward Kharma that the Kharma Sound has much more “negative load” with itself then juts being a poor sound from a manufactures. Kharma, as any other manufacture, is perfectly at liberty to make any Sound they wish. They are many poor sounding speakers out there, so why I decided to bitch explicitly about Kharma declaring this company’s signature sound as the worst of the worst in the contemporary audio?

Because the Stupid Audio Industry ™ IS TRYING TO PROMOTE that the “chopped music up into little pieces” or the Kharma-type Sound as a unified, default sound of “better audio”. You see, the industry is building itself up around the Kharma-type Sound. Anything new in the Industry is scrutinized from a perspective if it could slice-chop music deeper and more aggressively. The more violent that “sliceing-choping” takes place in any component/systems/topology the more “wonderfully sounding” the component is declared by the Industry. Look what the Industry is pushing as “advanced”: the cables, the electronics, the speakers, the digital formats, the cartridges…. whatever they promote as “best” in fact do better the only one thing – the more aggressive compliance with those sonic sliceing-choping…

More widely, the Industry’s aiming to the sliceing-choping has lead to a semi-permanent damage of listing awareness for very many persons who plugged in the Industry. The supererogatory reviewers and the other superfluous marketing dirt are already dead, the manufactures, some of them, are mildly trying to resist but they are in the business of “doing business” and they can’t afford do not supply demands. So, the problem with all of this that the Industry’s glorification of Kharma Results creates within the minds of  mostly ignorant, gullible and generally not very bright audio consumers A SENSE OF THE “SLICEING-CHOPING“ DEMANDS. Then, since the faulty demands has been implanted into the minds of the Audio Morons ™ it is very simple to see how companies like Kharma could be a “solution”.

The real solution is in fact at the very opposite end. As I suggested many time before:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=2951

any real solution in Audio might be started from a COMPLETE ELIMINATION the entire brain-washing machinery of the industry propaganda, would it be a real elimination or perceptual elimination.  Juts hypothetically: if “the Bad Arabs” blow up a CES building during the Stereophile’s  black sabbath meeting, with all Industry reviewing, dealing, editorial and other low-life scams in it, then in a couple of years the general  quality of sound in American listening rooms would go much higher.

So, as you can observe form what I say, it is not juts the” bad Kharma loudspeakers”. The Kharma sound is juts a smoke of a much larger fire. That why I call Kharma as a pH-indicator of the worst in Audio.

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-01-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 4
Post ID: 3215
Reply to: 3214
Reproducing music like solving a mathematical equation...
...However, "a 2000 RPM meat slicer chopping the music up into little pieces" is, admittedly, more eloquent!

Some time ago, I played around with a Kharma model (the big one that has woofers and the 3-in-one tweet**) at a friend's house.

The furniture is nicely made; it has charm and attractiveness -- and is aerodynamic (would need a spoiler for high velocity applications).

Sound: like a whistle. We had a few amplifiers to play with. The sonic result was invariably, a whistle.

Roman notes:
The industry/trend/fashion goes towards "the more aggressive compliance with those sonic sliceing-choping…".
Yes, BUT I don't see this as a design trend. Manufactueres don't target that sound -- but rather are satisfied with it and support it for marketing reasons -- it's easy to make this sound. Disconnect your mid-bass and bass units and play the rest full-range. OR, disconnect bass and attenuate midbass after 100Hz by say 6db -- i.e. play yr speakers LOUD (~90dB) and check at what attenuation level you can hear the bass harmonics. That's it.

IMO, there is no design wisdom here, just the stabilisation of high frequencies and off goes the product to the shelf. What I heard there, with all amplifiers, is also what was measured: from ~600 onward an upward response (like say 10dB -- ten, not a typo). This at ~2,5m fm inbetween the 2spkrs and 5m away fm the closest side wall. Downhill from ~120Hz.

Sure, OK, I'm not reviewing this product; The room was bad?; the amplification not "matched"?; the setup wrong?; All the above? I'm not pontificating it's bad or good (it is astoundingly strange, though); I'm not saying you can't equalise it (amazingly, though, even equalised, you still don't get too much cello -- let alone double bass); I'm just giving just practical observations -- and I'm not a sound engineer, either. But I am, supposedly, a prospective client for such products... as are many of us here!

How the abomination do you listen to music through a thing like that? Mustn't there be a way? Girl with banjo, only?
12-01-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 5
Post ID: 3216
Reply to: 3215
Sorry, I forgot: the 3-in-1 tweeter
Tweet, supersonic whistle, tooth polishing device. All in one!
12-01-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 3218
Reply to: 3215
… Fine and dandy at the Audio Fronts....

 Gregm wrote:
  Roman notes:

The industry/trend/fashion goes towards "the more aggressive compliance with those sonic sliceing-choping…".

Yes, BUT I don't see this as a design trend. Manufactueres don't target that sound -- but rather are satisfied with it and support it for marketing reasons -- it's easy to make this sound.

 
Sure, and a careful reader might recognize the blaming Kharma for being “worse of the worst” I see it only in context of the pedestal where the Industry put Kharma, also in context of the way in which the industry takes advantages the Kharma’s results. I’m sure the situation makes the Kharma accountants very happy but it is not the point. The point is that regardless (or not) the manufacturer intentions, the industry FORCES any company to comply with a proposed industry-approved sound. Any conformists allowed joint the industry money making feed and I hardly see any manufacture who have integrity (or craziness) do not pursue it.

So, the “bad” in Kharma’s case is not the Kharma itself. Kharma is a manufacture that under normal circumstance does not possess Sound good enough to be discussed by me. However, KHARMA AS THE SYMBOL OF THE INDUSTRY SONIC ASTRAY is very good illustration and I had already see the birth of the Industry high-end of the future. Ten years ago the Industry was pushing to people Spectral-MIT-Avalon-type-of-sound and everyone who was wiling to be profitable went for that Spectral-details-type-of-sound. Nowadays, the Spectral’s gums-torturing are “not enough” nowadays, or at least that marketing campaign have exhausted itself. Nowadays they removed from Spectral-sound any LF harmonics, employed steel woofers and the Kharma-Magico-type-of-sound was born.

Loosing in the Kharma-Magico-type-of-sound the entire “fundamentals range” the industry demo to the Audio Morons the “speed” and “resolution” but it is not the “speed” and “resolution” but just laser-beams of independent frequencies. Thankfully, the Audio Morons hardly know difference. As long as the crap that the Audio Morons experience in their listening rooms corresponds to the crap that they learned from the industry publications everything is fine and dandy…

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-05-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
morricab
Posts 51
Joined on 07-13-2005

Post #: 7
Post ID: 3246
Reply to: 3218
other speakers using ceramic drivers
I have had similar impressions to other speakers using these drivers.  For example I found the top of the line Avalon Eidolon diamond to be similarly colorless and lifeless.  Also a pair of Vaic speakers (designed by the guy from Lumenwhite) that used the ceramic driver as a mid and a ceramic tweeter.  Similar cold sound even with a 300B amp!  The only one I have heard that left me somewhat impressed was the Lumenwhite Whiteflame.  Of course this was being powered by Ayon 52B referene amps (one of the best tube amps I know)!   Still, it was definitely not a sound I could live with.  Now we also see similarly expensive offerings from Marten Design.  It appears they knew a good gravy train when they saw it!  I haven't heard the Martens but I can imagine the sound quite well as I have also heard the same kind of sound in two or three other smaller manufacturer's products. 

I did not know that the price had jumped so dramatically with Kharma, probably because they were almost unheard of until their prices hit the stratosphere. I am also at a loss why the industry promotes this sound so heavily.  Surely they can't all be so deaf?  I have to admit that it IS different from the sounds created by other speaker drivers.  One of my biggest problems with conventional speakers is the sound the materials themselves make. This is readily apparent and particularly obnoxious with multi-way speakers where every driver is from a different material.  The end result is a total lack of sonic coherence.  I can say that a speaker with a ceramic mid and ceramic tweeter at least have the same character more or less and actually it seems like less character, than say a kevlar driver.  Perhaps it is an honest reaction to this characteristic sound by people who really don't know what live really sounds like that is the problem??  They are so stunned by the initially clean sound that they immediately equate this with better, not realizing what is missing in terms of tone and harmonics until later when they decide to sell it off. 
12-06-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 8
Post ID: 3250
Reply to: 3218
Sounds without music
 Romy the Cat wrote:

KHARMA AS THE SYMBOL OF THE INDUSTRY SONIC ASTRAY is very good illustration and I had already see the birth of the Industry high-end of the future.
I agree. An excellent illustration in fact: it looks good and (until recently) commendably unusual so as to cater to the design conscious. It has "exotic" drive units to cater to the "exclusive" crowd; it plays "differently/modern" so as to cater to the fashion conscious/victims (I use only the latest things in my house); AND it's endorsed by the media: "my toy is the chosen one by opinion leaders" 
Ten years ago the Industry was pushing to people Spectral-MIT-Avalon-type-of-sound and everyone who was wiling to be profitable went for that Spectral-details-type-of-sound. Nowadays, the Spectral’s gums-torturing are “not enough” nowadays, or at least that marketing campaign have exhausted itself. Nowadays they removed from Spectral-sound any LF harmonics, employed steel woofers and the Kharma-Magico-type-of-sound was born.
Indeed, boost 200-1kHz, 4,5kHz and you're there. In fact, a dsp with small spkrs sounds better.

the Kharma-Magico-type-of-sound the entire “fundamentals range” the industry demo to the Audio Morons the “speed” and “resolution” but it is not the “speed” and “resolution” but just laser-beams of independent frequencies
Exactly. Has anyone, in any way, managed to explain this to anyone else and been understood??
I haven't.
11-06-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 12159
Reply to: 3184
Kharma corporate video
fiogf49gjkf0d
Here is a good video foe your boring Friday. In most case it is a pure BS but a nicely professionally made BS. The comparing the Kharma making with the making of musical instruments is a cheesy as the word cheesy it could be? There are many very slippery moments in the video but I do not think that anybody who will be watching this video seriously is able to be critical in what they see/hear. Anyhow, enjoy the mild Kharma port. Watching the video the memory of Wernher Von Braun came to my head. Von Braun was Nazi “vengeance weapon" designer and after the WW2 he become a leading fugue in NASSA and ballistic missiles development. The Saturn V rockets that were so successful during Apollo program were in way just larger and more advised version of Wehrmacht  V-2 rockets that were built by concentration camp prisoners and dropped on United Kingdom. Some the epigrapher for the Von Braun’s book might be something like: “I aimed to Moon and start but hit London”. The very same feeling I have after watching the Kharma corporate presentation….





"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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