The Karan Acoustics KA M 650 Mono-Blocs

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Karan Acoustics KA M 650 Mono-Blocs
The Karan Acoustics KA M 650 Mono-Blocs

The Karan KA M 1200 mono-blocs have been something of a fixture in the Gregory listening room for some considerable time. A welcome presence with their commanding musical authority and bottomless power delivery, I’ll not deny that at times it has felt a little like sharing the house with an autocratic and unbending dictator. Not only are they extremely large, they’re also heavy enough to be completely unmovable without two strong men; both factors that help explain why they stayed for so long. That and the sublime results that rewarded the considerable effort of wrestling them into place. Absolutely intolerant of any careless or incautious act on the part of the user, well over a kW of power into 8 Ohms is easily capable of administering rather more than a slap on the wrist in instances of operator error, one piece of particular stupidity actually vaporising a driver voice coil; there was literally nothing left! But then, if you take a genuine monster home and get careless, you’ve got to expect to lose a few members of the family…

The thing that makes the 1200 worth all the physical effort and personal discipline that it demands are the musical results it produces. So many big amps grip the music so tight you feel that they never let go. With the Karans they grip the acoustic space, holding it totally stable yet allowing the music a wonderful, unconstrained expressive freedom within it: no limitations on headroom, no congestion or confusion, phenomenal resolution and separation of musical detail. Yet all of that from a preternaturally stable perspective; it’s a remarkable performance and for anybody lucky enough to be able to afford these amps, install them and then simply enjoy them they constitute a fabulous option. But within the constantly changing landscape of a reviewer’s system, the practicalities involved weigh nearly as heavy as the amps themselves, so the feelings of regret when they finally departed were tempered with an almost guilty sense of relief. That and the knowledge that waiting in the wings were Karan’s KA M 650s.

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