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Another impressive feature of Milan Karan’s very best is their high damping factor. The ratio between load resistance (loudspeaker + cable) and amplifier output impedance is one of the highest in the solid-state market. This should confer outstanding ability to drive any speaker with large impedance swifts and produce great definition in the low-frequency range. Of course high damping factor basically means low output impedance. But electrical damping will mainly depend on termination. Reduce the length of your wire and you should benefit from higher damping. Ribbon and planarmagnetic speakers are very particular mostly resistive loads and the necessity of high damping is far less obvious than with a cone design. Magnepan’s new flagship ribbon/quasi ribbon dipole 3-way needs more power and very accurate positioning inside the listening room rather than high electrical damping. But let’s now focus on the specific design of my amp loaners.

First off, these power monsters look impressive but finish and dimensions don’t make them particularly intrusive. I can even say that the silver version is quite elegant despite its weight and size. In that sense they are in total opposition to the Chord SPM-6000 I hosted a few months ago. The external design’s sole particularity are double power sockets per channel. That will require four power cords to make for painful expense if you opt for exotic costly cables.

Their design allows you to use them at all times and under all weather conditions. They remain cold thanks to a special sliding bias technology. Extremely efficient power management applies real-time analogue sliding class A bias with always 20% more current at the output than strictly needed for a given input signal. This ensures sufficient power at all times without thermal excess. On power efficiency these monos are quite comparable to the Chord monos.

The Karan KA M2000 are true balanced designs derived from the previous KAS 600 stereo amp. They are also fully DC coupled to eliminate signal-path capacitors for higher linearity (condensers act as filters on both frequency and phase response). Karan use custom-potted toroidal low-noise 1’500VA transformers with low inductance that enable faster energy discharge by means of a triple-twisted instead of single-wire secondary.

There are eight stages of voltage regulation per channel. The power supply caps are custom made to Milan Karan’s specs by a leading German factory which also OEMs for Mundorf and amount to 132’000uf per side. Their extremely fast discharge rate is partially achieved by decreasing the capacitors’ self inductance.

The electronic circuitry and 24k gold-plated circuit boards were designed for widest bandwidth and highest possible speed thanks to an ultra-short signal path. Internal parts can process signal up to 20MHz to guarantee proper phase for upper harmonics. Offset voltages are controlled by DC servo circuits. Minimizing phase shift in Karan amplifiers should result in perfect image focus, increased stage depth, heightened soundstage resolution and natural unadulterated timbres.

Milan Karan uses a current feedback topology with no global negative feedback for 0.02% IMD at full rated power into 8 ohms. The KA M2000’s power rating is a massive 2KW into 8Ω, 3’600 watts into 4Ω and 5’400 watts into 2Ω. With such figures I can’t imagine a single speaker beyond their grasp. To generate these numbers Milan relies on no less than 40 ultra-fast Sanken RET devices for a shocking total current potential of 800 amperes. S/N ratio is better than -112dB again at full rated power. Damping factor exceeds 10’000 into 8Ω across the full audible bandwidth and frequency response is DC-300kHz ±3dB.

The Karans definitely reside on the warm side of big solid-state amplifiers. They handle any musical genre with impressive ease. They deliver a very dense sound whilst preserving a kind of natural delicacy that I found neither in the Chord SPM-6000 nor in such big expensive contenders like mono amps from Soulution and Gryphon. Their dynamics and bass control made for a truly convincing pairing with my Vivid K1. Though an overused expression, they definitely were iron fists in velvet gloves. In terms of imaging, the KA M2000 delivered the widest soundstage I ever experienced with my Vivid speakers. They also impressed with transient speed, dynamics and their overall level of detail especially in the low midrange.