Odyssey Audio KS Kustom Amplifiers

Odyssey Audio KS Kustom Amplifiers 


160 Watts custom tweaked monoblocks. The Odyssey product where customers can customize according to their wishes.


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[Aug 02, 2006]
Audio Enthusiast


Reasonable appearance apart from the taped-on labels


Mediocre sound quality in my system
Extremely long alleged break-in period
Manufacturer recommends leaving them ON continuously

This review is for the Khartago Special Edition - essentially Stratos Monos in smaller chassis. I purchased the monoblocks based on the Odyssey amplifier reviews here and I was disappointed. I paired the units with the Tempest preamp and also tried them with a PSE HL-1 ($2500 tube hybrid). While the midrange and high end were smooth and generally well-defined, the overall sonic signature lacked bass and resolution. I was assured that they just required break-in and that they were a particularly good match for my speakers so I kept listening. I tried several different types of cables including Groneberg, LAT and BEL. The sound improved somewhat but never met my expectations. I also found it tacky (no pun intended) that Odyssey had hand-scribed some foil labels with my name and affixed them to the back of the chassis with double-sided tape - I am not joking! The Tempest was not impressive, either, but that's the subject of a separate review.

Furthermore, by the time the break-in period was over I could no longer return them, though I was offered a trade-up, which I politely declined on the 'fool me once' principle. I expect that if I had purchased the Stratos Monos in the larger chassis I might have been offered an upgrade to Extreme at my expense. I note a preponderance of Odyssey Extreme gear on the used market. One could infer that the business model is to sell a cheap outdated design to anyone who bites, string them along past the 30-day return period, and then sell them an upgrade which doesn't really fix the fundamental sonic shortcomings of the amplifier design. Huge capacitor banks are useless if they cannot respond fast enough to put out tight, clean sound at low frequencies. I found the bass in particular to be weak and slow. I really cannot fathom how anyone who has heard excellent audio gear could give the Odyssey amps five stars - Klaus himself only promises eighty percent of Symphonic Line performance. I've heard inexpensive Harman Kardon receivers that sounded as good or better.

This gear has a lot of power and other interesting specifications which may make it seem like a good deal, and it may in fact sound good in some systems but for my money it's not a good deal if it doesn't actually sound good. My advice is to try not to buy anything you can't audition in your system first, and to trust your initial reaction if you buy Odyssey. I wouldn't do that again.

Similar Products Used:

Acurus DIA-100 Integrated
BEL 1001 MkV
NAD Power Envelope
Harmon Kardon

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