|Charles van Oosterum, owner|
The company was founded as Oosterum Loudspeaker Systems (O.L.S. Audiotechnology) in 1982 by Charles van Oosterum.
O.L.S. Audio – Oosterum Loudspeaker Systems
||This section possibly contains original research. (November 2014)|
In 1982, Charles van Oosterum founded O.L.S. Audio, also known as Oosterum Loudspeaker Systems, while he was still studying electronics and in particular electromagnetics and electromechanics at the University of Eindhoven. Although he began with no other goal than to finance his experiments with different designs and driver concepts, word of his talent spread and he was soon sought by individuals and other companies for his design skills. By 1984 O.L.S. was a successful manufacturer of systems for consumer and professional use. That same year, van Oosterum introduced the now familiar concept of satellite subwoofer speakers systems to Holland, which made O.L.S. the first company to do so.
During the years O.L.S. was expanding and in 1992, one of the best known audiophiles invited van Oosterum to listen to some music on his existing system. After many hours of listening, this gentlemen turned to his guest with a challenge: although his existing system was good, he wanted something perfect. It so happened that van Oosterum had a computer design of a system that was “in the works”, but when asked about it Charles had to explain that it only existed on disk. Intrigued, the gentlemen commissioned him to build the system, with one important provision: if he liked it, he would pay for it, if not hoe wouldn’t. Undaunted, Charles went ahead and built what was to become the Grand Enigma System – one of the largest and most exclusive high-end consumer loudspeakers ever made.
This 12-ton system is fully active with 30 kW of amplification, equipped with 24 ultrahigh efficiency planar-magnetic HF-units, 24 15-inch LF drivers and 48 6-inch MF drivers. Placed in a specially prepared subterranean listening room of 45,000 cubic feet it presents sound with incredible dynamics and limitless power, easily reproducing live concert levels at a distance of 10 meters. Van Oosterum was paid well for his work and the gentlemen was very satisfied.
After this O.L.S. has gained a reputation for affordable high performance speakers, and spurred on by his success with the Grand Enigma System, Charles launched a new high-end brand in 1993, named Kharma. In 1998 Kharma developed their first speakers, which were the Divine series. The Divine series met enough success which made Kharma introduce other series. In 1998 Kharma also introduced the Ceramique line and introduced three different types. The Ceramique 1.0, Ceramique 2.0 and the Ceramique 3.0. That same year Kharma had several reviews by Soundstage and held several shows in the United States, including San Francisco Hi-Fi’97 Standout Rooms, a launch of the Exquisite Reference 1A during the CES in Las Vegas and the Hi-Fi’99 show in Los Angeles. In upcoming years van Oosterum visited the United States more often for shows, including the Hi-Fi’99 in Chicago and the C.E.S. 2000 in Las Vegas.
When 2000 came, Kharma upgraded the Ceramique lines to the Ceramique 1.1, Ceramique 2.1. and the Ceramique 3.1. After the upgraded versions Kharma introduced the Diamond Tweeter in 2001, increasing the sound performance in a whole different dimension. This made Kharma upgrade their Ceramique lines, which resulted in 2002 in new product launches of the Ceramique 1.2, Ceramique 2.3 and the Ceramique 3.2 and the change within the Exquisite series, changing the Exquisite 1C to the Exquisite 1D.
These upgraded versions of the Ceramique were very popular among customers, companies but also reviewers, which rewarded Kharma with a Golden Ear Award and The Absolute Sound Award for Upper End Loudspeaker in 2002 both for the Ceramique 3.2. Triggered by these developments, Kharma introduced another change in the Exquisite in 2003, the Exquisite 1D becoming the Exquisite 1E, and in 2003 the Ceramique 3.2 won another Golden Ear Award, together with an Absolute Sound Award Golden Ear Award for the Enigma Cables Kharma couldn’t be more proud.
Charles still kept on designing and his enthusiasm was raised even more, which made him launch 4 new products in 2003. The Grand Ceramique, the Grand Ceramique Midi and the Exquisite Mini and Exquisite Midi. In 2003 Kharma’s Grand Ceramique Speakers received the Positive Feedback Speaker of the Year Brutus Award by Editor David Robinson and in 2004 the Ceramique Sub won the Golden Ear Award, followed up by the Golden Ear Award in 2005 for the Exquisite Midi 1A. Also for these lines there were several reviews written.
In 2005 Kharma introduced a whole new product line, named the Matrix, and the first product to be launched was the Matrix MP150. All these successes caused the renaming of O.L.S. Audiotechnology into Kharma International in 2006.
As Kharma International Charles attended the High End Show 2006 in Munich with a new product launch, the Grand Exquisite, which caused the writing of several reviews on the Exquisite lines by 6moons and Possitive-feedback.com. Another introduction was made in 2006, which was the Signature wiring in cables and loudspeakers.
Charles was still very busy with designing new models and improving the already existing product lines within Kharma, expanding his own knowledge and gathering new technologies. His designers energy created an expansion of the Exquisite line in 2007, the Exquisite Mini Galileo and the expansion of the Ceramique, with the Ceramique 3.2.2. In 2007 the Matrix MP150 got his first Award, the Blue Moon Award. At the end of 2007 Kharma had his 25th anniversary and held a luxurious party at the headquarters in Breda.
After receiving the Blue Moon Award for the Matrix MP150, van Oosterum thought it was time to expand the Matrix line, and he did so with the launch in 2008 with the Matrix P1.0. However his designs didn’t stop there, and in 2009 and 2010 Kharma introduced the Exquisite MP1000 Power Amplifier and the P1000 Exquisite pre-amplifier, which eventually got a full upgrade in 2012 that ran a world-premiere at T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas. But before 2012 arrived, Kharma introduced a whole new product line called the Elegance line in 2010. This new line is representing the latest technologies developed by Kharma and in 2012 got equipped with the new Kharma Omega-7 driver, which is based on a new cone technology especially developed for Kharma.
There are several Exquisite models designed and developed by Kharma, with each their own characteristics and appearance. However, all Exquisite models have several things in common. The far-reaching attention to detail makes this speaker range a class of its own. This is especially stressed by the Diamond cone of the tweeter, which is one of so many high-lights that are standard in the Kharma Exquisite Collection. The systems are developed, assembled and tested in the Netherlands, with the utmost care, by a team of highly dedicated, committed specialists.
The Exquisite series include:
- Exquisite Mini
- Exquisite Midi
- Exquisite Galileo
- Exquisite Classique
- Exquisite Midi Grand
- Exquisite Grand
- Exquisite Extreme Grand
- Exquisite Extreme Grand Limited
- Exquisite Center
- Exquisite Sub
- Exquisite Midi Sub
- Exquisite Surround
- Exquisite P1000 series
- Exquisite MP1000 series
- Exquisite MP350
The Elegance collection is succeeding the very successful Ceramique line of high-end loudspeakers from Kharma. The Ceramique loudspeaker line was introduced in 1998 and the use of Ceramique-based drivers was the reason for naming this series like we did.
During the past years Kharma has been researching new technologies as how to improve and set a new standard again to the high-end audio world. We are very proud now to offer the very latest high-tech technologies again in the new Elegance series. The shape of the cabinets has been unchanged because the shape is fully functional to the way the sound develops from the loudspeakers. But the beauty of the design has been improved upon, by redesigning the stand and bottom, the redesign of the front cover and many other small design details.
The Elegance Series include:
- Elegance dB11-S
- Elegance dB9 & dB9-S
- Elegance dB7
- Elegance S7
- Elegance S7-S
- Elegance Surround
- Elegance Sub
- Elegance Center
For over 25 years Kharma is known for its craftsmanship, unmatchable audio quality, innovation and design. This passion for the perfect music representation always has been realized in elegant and high quality finished loudspeaker designs, but never before we reproduced this refined audio quality in such a compact design.
Kharma proudly presents a unique combination of satellite speakers and a powerful subwoofer, called the Kharma Butterfly system. Despite the compact design, this new system will amaze many while listening to it for the first time. This as a result of many years of experience in the top of the High-End audio market and months of engineering on each detail.
The Butterfly Satellite speakers will give a refined music representation, while the Butterfly Subwoofer adds low bass to deliver an impressive experience. This true musical journey can easily be integrated in any domestic environment, because we made it possible to have an aesthetic stand option to place the Satellite speakers on the floor, any bookshelves or dressoir, the wall or the ceiling. Adding pure audio and visual pleasure as a core value to your life.
The Butterfly Series include:
- Butterfly 2.1 system
- Butterfly 4.1 system
- Butterfly 5.1 system
- Butterfly subwoofer
- Butterfly app
- 4 different stands: Floorstand, Deskstand, Ceiling mount, Wall mount.
- 3 different standard colors: Butterfly Grey, Pearl White and Piano black.
Project based speaker: With the Butterfly it is also possible to apply it as a project to your room.
The main point for this design was to use the possibility to aim sound. Several studies have been done on how to create a system that could fill up any room with high-end sound.
This resulted in a hanging speaker almost completely made out of aluminum. Its direction can be adjusted by rotation over a vertical and over a horizontal axis.
The Matrix series include:
- Matrix M1
- Matrix M2
- Matrix M4
- Matrix Sub
- Matrix P150
- Matrix MP150
Kharma has also specialised itself in the development of ultra-high-end cables. Therefore they have developed several different series, with all their own characteristics and appearance.
- Enigma Extreme Signature
- Enigma Signature
- Grand Reference
- Supreme Reference
- Matrix Reference
All cable series include the following items: Loudspeaker cables, interconnect cables, power cables and power blocks.
Besides the high-end loudspeakers, Kharma is also very interested in developing different projects including audio and luxury. Kharma has developed several different projects:
- Visionair One
- Room-in-a-Room concept
- Kharma mobile system integration
- Grand Enigma Reference system
- Audio Video projects