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Amplifier: Odyssey Designs Kismet-in-Khartago
Klaus Bunge of Odyssey Designs is a force of nature and I can’t recommend a visit to any of his demos enough. It’s a shame he doesn’t do more audio shows, because, as an Internet-direct kind of guy, hearing his gear before jumping in is going to be a challenge. Oh well. All I can say is, “have no fear”.
The problem, at least as I see it, is that his website is kinda like the menu at a Chinese restaurant, a comparison I’m sure he’s just thrilled with. Anyway, his breakdown does really seem like more of a suggestion, and if you ask nice, he’s happy to provide the “insider menu” — which is where Klaus really seems to prefer to operate. Take my Kismet-in-a-Khartago. This was a special order job, as much of his stuff appears to be, and when I laid out my interests and preferences (balls-out performance, aesthetic can go hang), he suggested that his top-flight amp design might (just barely) fit into this smallest and happily most affordable amp chassis. So, for $4,000, I ended up with a pair of amplifiers that can (and do) retail for significantly more than that, especially in Europe, where the same designs are marketed under the name of Symphonic Line. Ta da! The output of the Kismet is “somewhat north of 200 wpc” according to Klaus and represents his current best-thinking about amplifier tech.
Now, I’m a fan of Klaus’ work, and these Odysseys are the main reason for my fanboi status. Paired with the Maggies, the sound was fulsome and rich, with deep reach and impact. I could hear Klaus laughing at me all the way from Indianapolis for ever doubting that the amps would handle the Maggies. $4k is quite a step down from my reference Pass Labs XA-100.5 monos, but wholly welcome with a very welcome step down in bulk — my system shed about 40lbs+ (each) moving the Odysseys in place.
The build quality of the Khartago casework is, by design and deliberate choice, relatively simple, so I’m not going to fault this. You want bling, Odyssey has that. You want to save a few bucks, you can, but that will mean the less bling-y casework. I’ve used this particular amp-speaker pairing quite a bit as I found the price points relatively agreeable, and with the matching colors, I was all System Black with this pairing.
Tonally, I put the Odysseys on the warm side of the Pass, and they tended to sound a bit smoother, too, with a hair less fine-detail retrieval. Translated, the Odysseys were totally non-fatiguing and generally kinder to shit recordings than the Pass. That said, they passed the “Cricket Test” with flying colors.
Power was never an issue here, and the “several hundred” watts into the simple 4 ohm load was clearly more than enough to pull uncompressed sound well past my tolerance for pain.
Moving them over to the Tektons provided a denser tonal palette. Even though a 95dB sensitivity meant that the Odysseys were pretty much loafing, the sound stage was deeper and wider than what they were able to do with the Maggies. Placement was very specific, with great separation and air. I might have managed to coax a whopping 10 watts out of these amps before I had to hit the “mercy” button on the remote on the DAC. You wanna go all PA on the Tektons? These might be a good amp to pair with them.
Equipos y altavoces fabricados en USA bajo licencia de Symphonic Line de Alemania. Excelente diseño, fabriación y desempeño multipremiado por valor de compra.
>>> Odyssey Audio @ México
>>> Odyssey Audio @ México
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