Kharma Exquisite Midi Grand
The second best sound of the show (and it was a very close second) was in the Lamm room, where Charles van Oosterum’s $225k Kharma Exquisite Midi Grand Signature three-ways (two 1" concave diamond tweeters, two 7" carbon midranges, and two 11" Omega F woofers in an WMTTMW configuration) were being driven by Vladimir Lamm’s incomparably lovely sounding ML-3 Signaturesingle-ended-triode amplifiers, his new LL1.1 Signature four-box mono preamplifiers, and his LP1 Signature phono preamplifier with LP2.1 step-up transformer. Sourced by an ancient EMT 927turntable (with SME 3012 ’arm and ZYX UNIverse cart) and cabled with Kubla-Sosna Elation wire, the Kharma/Lamm system produced one of the most purely beautiful sounds I’ve heard in better than twenty years of CESes—incredibly rich, luscious, and finely detailed, though quite dark in overall balance. Was it also a realistic sound? Not really. More like a dream of the real thing than the thing itself, but so breathtakingly gorgeous who cared? For musicality-first listeners this was a system to die for.