A big man with huge appetites and a gargantuan personality, Odyssey Audio‘s Klaus Bunge is the grizzly of audio’s high-end. Every time I see him, there’s that grin and his arms go wide and I’m pretty sure he’s about to crush me to death. And I’m not exactly tiny.
Now, if you’re not familiar with the brand, that’s a cryin’ shame. It’s criminal! For those of us on the hunt for high-end performance without the wackadoo pricing that usually adorns such gear, Odyssey Audio is not only a refuge, it’s a retirement villa. And with his new speakers, Klaus has pretty much the whole thing going. Based on what I — and many, many others — have heard at audio shows, there’s really very little out there that can touch him.
Oh, and did I mention the pricing?
The new-ish Kismet towers are really souped-up stand-mounts with integrated stands, but excepting that lowest register, there’s a finesse that the Scanspeak drivers (with a beryllium tweeter!) put forth that leaves me a little out of breath. $4,000/pair, for this level of sound quality, and all I can do is shake my head. He can clearly charge more for them. He just … doesn’t.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Klaus is a bit of a tinkerer, which means that the configurations on the sheets are more suggestions than anything hard and fast. If you can offer up a particular budget, Klaus can nail it with the addition of some high-impact upgrades to the base models. Yes, this makes his Khartago amplifiers (prices start just under $2k for a pair of monos) a bit more custom than most brands would be comfortable with, but whatever. You’re going to get the biggest bang for the buck that Klaus can manage, and that kind of personalized service is inconceivable at just about any “mainstream” brand.
The entire system price, as demoed here at Newport, came in cleanly under $7k, and that included cables — you just need a source. As for racks, Odyssey has started offering their own. They’re not on the website, but a call into the big man will get you sorted. Prices, as with all things Odyssey, are almost perversely low.
The sound quality here at Newport was quite refined. Impact and dynamics were served up as paralleled entrees on the feast table. Klaus killed the lights to set the mood and then cued up a Scandinavian singer covering “The Rose” and another random sampling of some stuff I’ve never heard before. Imaging, in that center seat I managed to snag, was crisp and delineated, and I’m sure I was grinning before the first 3 bars. I can’t get over how good this system sounded. And yes, I mean “at that price”. Baffling. Just baffling.
You know what? Screw the “at that price” coda. The gear was outstanding. Period.
Thanks again, Klaus!