Odyssey Audio Kismet Mono Blocks

So, I've been eyeballing some local used Kismet monos.  Currently using my Hegel H360 integrated (usually) to power Maggie LRS (also in rotation Snell type D and VA Bach Grands).  Sounds pretty good to my ears, but I've always been wanting to try monoblocks.  I figure Odyssey might be a good place to start as any.  I like what Klaus is doing.  Seems like great bang for the buck.  His room was one of my favs at Axpona also.  

Anybody happen to have any experience comparing Odyssey to Hegel?  Or just impressions of Kismet monos in general?  How about using monos on Maggies?  I'd love to just buy 'em and do a shootout but that won't be happening.   



i have had many hegels and also have a stratos stereo amp with the various upgrades

i think the big hegels will have an ever so slightly more detailed presentation (i am talking about the amp section only of course) and a smidge tighter bass, whereas the odyssey is a little smoother a little more laid back up top and have a little more bloom in the bass... both will have very nice midrange and excellent top to bottom coherence

i really don't think mono vs stereo matters much here, it is about the circuitry and the quality of design and build of the amps here 

I had a Stratos Extreme amp for at least 6 years or so. The Kismet is the next step up from the Extremes.  My Extreme had the black Kismet boards in it and I loved the amp. Great midrange, amazing bass, and the treble had detail yet was never ever shrill. Only reason I sold it (very hesitantly) was because I went in on a mostly all McIntosh system. You can’t go wrong with the Kismet, mono or stereo amps.

Thanks for the replies.  Wow if the Odysseys are a little smoother up top that would be something!  One of the best attributes about the Hegel, IMO, is the smooth presentation.  I would have to sell the Hegel to purchase the Kismets.  Something I've considered doing for a while now but just can't get myself to list it!  

Thanks again.

one other thing i would add is that the odyssey amps have pretty high input sensitivity, and they run best via the rca inputs -- sometimes people have trouble with gain matching depending on what they use to feed the odyssey amps in terms of preamp or dac (if direct feed)

FWIW, I had an Odyssey Stratos HT3 3 channel for about 12 years when it required service.  Klaus was surprised I went 12 years with no issues.  While it was in for repairs, I upgraded to full Kismet internals. The first time it was shipped back, FedEx (or UPS) destroyed it, requiring another trip back to Klaus.  This time he send it back air freight, requiring me to pick it up at Newark airport.  It sound pretty good for about 5 months, then failed again.  My back and I discussed it, and we decided to cut our losses.  I purchased an Arion S500 amp, 500 watts x 2, weighing just 22 pounds.  It sounds great, and has been 100% reliable over the last four years.  The biggest surprise was the elimination of a peak around 7kHz that I thought was my speakers or my room.  It was actually the Odyssey amp.  I have only heard Hegel at shows, but between the two, I would go with Hegel.  But I would check out Arion, they make great amps, including monoblocks and tube hybrids.



No,  I wasn't surprised at the 12 years...Heck,  we still have several hundred amps running perfectly that were made the last century !!!!!  And we did Newark because of the UPS problems...and as far as my memory and our emails serve me,  the buzz did continue,  albeit at the center channel...even with new boards,  etc.  I cannot recreate any problems in someones system,  I can only do my best trying to rectify it on my side.  That doesn't mean that our amps didn't act up at all...heck,  7500 + amps out there,  shiiit happens.  However,  when you're running it for 12 years +  without a problem,  then a problem arises and you can't get the same level back then maybe there's another underlying issue......


However,  I did try to solve it...again and again .....sorry that it didn't work out,  even though you were singing the highest praise for the Kismets performance...


As for the input sensitivity,  it's 22k,  and tube or passive pres are just fine with it........

@odysseyaudio I know you tried to help, and that you were willing to service the amp again.  I couldn't handle the lifting and shipping costs anymore.  The last straw wasn't the buzz in the center channel, it was when there was smoke and a burning smell coming from the amp.  That's when I gave up.  I know you're not responsible for shipping costs out of warranty.  But it was adding up.  My issues with lifting the amp are also on me.  I was younger and stronger when I bought it.  And, IIRC, when I said I had the amp for 12 years, your comment was a long the lines of "wow, 12 years is a long time with no problems", or something to that effect.  If my memory has failed me, I apologize, but I remember being surprised by your comment.


" As for the input sensitivity, it’s 22k, and tube or passive pres are just fine with it........"

Input sensitivity is measured in volts. What is the the input voltage of the amps for full output?  

i take what klaus posted to refer to input impedance of his amps in k ohms

Yes,  my bad..........sensitivity is middle of the road...around 1 V. 


As for my comments,  I honestly don't remember that part,  BUT  that wouldn't be a surprise,  just par for the course...if anything,  I'd probably meant you running the same setup for so long in this ever changing hobby

I’d first focus on what sonic improvements you’d like to achieve and start with that before worrying about amp configuration.  If you share that you’ll get much better thoughts/recommendations here.  Just my $0.02 FWIW. 

don’t underestimate the benefits of a VERY short set of speaker wires made possible by monoblocks……..


That is always a great question isn't it.  I enjoy imaging and soundstaging overall I think.  Instrument separation and air/space always puts a smile on my face.  That's probably why I prefer tubes.  My Rogue tube amp/pre combo is the best at it in my room.  My room treatments really helped in this respect also. A smooth presentation a must for me as well.  Can't handle etched or overly detailed systems.  If I could afford some high powered tube amps I'd probably go that route.  

But, the 100 watt Rogue does run out of steam just a bit early with the Maggies. So, I'm thinking some ss monos with good power and a tube pre.  Plus, I've been in this game off and on for a long time but don't have a lot of experience with different configurations.  So, why not try mono amplification?  

As an aside from an earlier McCormack thread of yours, I put my DNA .5 in the system a couple of months back and it's still going strong.  Sounds great!  Fingers crossed!   

Got it, and thanks for adding more meat to the bone here — very helpful. I had two amps in my system that were outstanding in terms of imaging, image separation, and the ability to throw a large and transparent 3D soundstage. One was the Rogue Medusa that I don’t think is available in mono configuration, and the other was the Liberty Audio B2B-100 that most definitely is, and is much preferred by its maker, in monoblock form. I reviewed the stereo version several years back and it was so good it’s still stuck in my memory, which is why I’m bringing it up here. If you’re not familiar, Liberty Audio is the direct sales site for products designed by Peter Noerbaeck (of PBN fame) whose outstanding and formidable Olympia amps along with having designed the vaunted Sierra Denali amp attest to his amp design chops. Anyway, after my review of the B2B stereo amp Peter really wanted to send me the amp in mono form as he was adamant the amp scaled up significantly on many levels in this configuration, but although I was more than willing the powers that be at Soundstage! wouldn’t go for it. If Peter is right, and I’m sure he is as the amp was designed from the get go to be a mono amp, this amp in monoblock form should be something really special. Here’s the review FWIW, and if anything piques your interest I’d highly recommend giving Peter a call as he’s truly one of the truly good guys in audio much like Mark O’Brian at Rogue who I was also fortunate enough to converse with while reviewing the Medusa. Perhaps Peter might even be willing to work out a demo because I know he’s very proud and enthusiastic about this amp, and if so I highly recommend you take advantage of it if they’re in your budget.


Here’s another review in Positive Feedack just FYI…


That said, I’m sure the Kismets are no slouches either, and if you’re getting a good deal on them used I could see them being hard to pass up. But, always good to have choices so just thought I’d throw another option your way. Best of luck, and if you could please keep us posted on what direction you ultimately go along with your thoughts and impressions it’d be much appreciated.