Tenor is Back—Good Kharma Abounds!
One of my fondest experiences at previous Home Entertainment shows involved listening to a recording of violinist Hilary Hahn play Brahms on Tenor Electronics. The way those electronics captured the sweetness of her tone was unforgettable. So I'm happy to report that Francois' and Robert's Montréal-based company is back, this time with Ontario's Jim Fairhead as President.
I auditioned the Tenor Audio 350M Ultimate Reference monoblocks ($75,000/pair). These amps take two weeks to build, and feature all pre-burned in parts that are hand-matched. Paired with a North American premiere pair of Kharma Mini-Grand Ceramique speakers ($33,500/pair), which boast 92dB sensitivity and a 4 ohms impedance, and are specifically designed for small to medium-sized rooms, this admirably neutral-sounding system exhibited a magical sense of space. When I played a recording of one of Brahms' early piano trios, the sound of the piano and cello was to die for. The system lent especial body to the middle of the tone, which was special indeed.
Lest I forget, the rest of the components were none too shabby. How about the mbl 6010-D reference stereo preamp ($19,680) and high-level Kubala-Sosna Emotion cabling? (I wish I could tell you what CD player was in use, but it was not included on the room’s crib sheet). Alas, I didn't have the opportunity to hear the Lamm LP-2 Deluxe phono stage and V.Y.G.E.R. Baltice M turntable/SME 312 tonearm and Air-Tight PC1 Cartridge, but I’m sure Michael Fremer has more than a thing or two to say about those babies.
"The 350M looks the same as the old 300s because we couldn’t find a design we liked better," Fairhead explained, "but they are totally different inside." Though I would hardly complain about the old amps, I can't wait for my next opportunity to experience the new Tenors paired with the Kharma Mini-Grand Ceramique and the other components in the chain.