Ajasom recently announced their partnership with Kharma, and I had the rare opportunity to experience the DP9 Signature from Kharma’s Elegance Collection. Despite being an entry-level model, these audiophile speakers start at 20,000 euros, and the DP9 can go up to 40,000 euros! Now that I have your attention, let’s find out how they performed.
The Kharma room, a highlight of Munich’s Highend show, is a must-visit for audiophiles and curious visitors alike. Not only is the sound quality usually excellent, but the room’s decor and treatment are done with class and good taste, creating a luxurious environment to showcase the top-tier Enigma Veyron range (watch video and see photos below).
In 2016, I shared this video showcasing the Kharma room with the following accompanying description: What can I say? This is highend sound at its best. Just listen. Now imagine how it sounded in the room. A/A+
Until now, Kharma has always been a part of our general show report because it hasn't had a representative in Portugal, and we typically place more emphasis on products represented by distributors who sponsor Hificlube. That will change in 2024.
Of course, the Enigma Veyron is not within the reach of the average mortal (prices range from 240,000 to a staggering 750,000 euros), so Ajasom first bet on the more affordable models in the Elegance and Exquisite ranges. These models, while not cheap, offer immaculate construction and excellent sound quality.
During my visit to the Ajasom/Damaia auditorium, I saw a pair of Exquisite Midi (€92,000) on static display and a pair of Elegance DP9 Signature (€40,000) on active demonstration. The Elegance DP9 Signature, powered by a McIntosh MA12000 hybrid integrated amplifier, with an Esoteric ND1 XD Streamer/DAC as the main source, is the focus of today’s review.
Kharma Elegance DP9 Signature
The Elegance DP9 Signature is a 3-way speaker, just over 1 meter tall, with a sumptuous piano-black finish. It fits well in any room without disturbing the spatial and decorative balance. The integral box, made from MDF of varying thickness (minimum 35 mm), is solid and inert. The upper area of the front panel (baffle), with rounded edges, is trapezoidal in Wilson Audio style, and houses a beryllium tweeter and a seven-inch Kharma Omega midrange unit, internally isolated from the two nine-inch aluminium woofers housed in the rectangular lower area of the polygonal box, which leans back slightly for better time alignment of all the drivers.
All the screws are hidden by trimmable rings made magnetic to be easily interchanged. The grilles are also magnetic and detachable.
The seven-inch midrange unit features a composite material cone, probably with carbon fiber, is the same as the one used in the Exquisite range and is the star of the company, showing no nasality or hardness, and sounding open and uncompressed. The beryllium tweeter is surprisingly sweet, with no loss of detail, evident in the reproduction of the decay to the limit of hearing.
The sensitivity of 89 dB is reasonably high, but the nominal impedance of 4 Ohm suggests the use of a powerful amplifier like the McIntosh MA12000, which led them by the arm down to the altar of sound with strength and elegance.
They hold you emotionally without grabbing you physically because the speakers disappear and leave you alone with the music.
The metal reflex port at the rear, which charges the two woofers, extends the bass response to 26Hz, and gives the sound the gravitas of a larger speaker, without, however, exciting the room’s modes unduly, resulting in a solid bass, present but always under control.
As part of the entry-level Elegance range, the sound of the DP9 Signature is already high-end, which shows the care that went into its development and production. It’s the kind of sound that holds you emotionally without gripping you physically because the speakers disappear and leave you alone with the music.
In conclusion, the Kharma Elegance DP9 Signature is a high-end, beautifully designed speaker that delivers exceptional sound quality. It’s a significant investment, but for those who prioritize audio performance, it could be a worthwhile addition to their audio setup.
With Nuno Cristina and Jorge Mendes as hosts, choosing demo tracks to challenge me, I ended up listening to a lot of varied music. We began with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, performed by the Boston Symphony, which tested the dynamics of the DP9, moving on to the presence test with Sinatra masterfully singing “Send In the Clowns,” as if he were right there with us. Then we explored the colder, Nordic ambiences of the Faroe Islands with Eivor (live), featuring fabulous percussion highlights, and the surprising tonal contrasts of Terje Isungset in Fading Sun. I heard Geoff Castelluci’s alien deep bass voice in “I See Fire”, followed by the fragile female voice of Maria Lima in “Ela e Eu.” The audition continued with “Angry” by the Rolling Stones, so you wouldn’t accuse me of only listening to ‘easy’ things that even sound good on a pocket radio. We proceeded by visiting the piano and the haunting, poetic voice of Benjamin Clémentine in “Winston Churchill’s Boy.”
Finally, we concluded with Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years,” which I selected for the soundtrack of the video above. I invite you to do the following exercise: acoustically separate the drum pedal from the bass guitar; distinguish the dry acoustics of the studio from the acoustics of the listening room as captured by the Nagra SD digital recorder; and finally, see if you can distinguish the hi-hats from the tambourine. All of this is in a recording made on-site and played on YouTube. The DP9’s performance was nothing short of impressive.
When in Portugal, visit Ajasom, or find your local Kharma dealer, listen to your favourite selection of music, and let the sound of Kharma elevate your karma.
For further information, contact: AJASOM