The rich history of Kharma

Kharma is well known for its rich history and innovations in high-end audio. The journey started in the early eighties, but before that the passion was already sparked. When Charles van Oosterum was just a boy of fourteen year old, he went looking for old radios at antique garage sales to be able to take them apart at home. Charles would take the speakers out and give them a new cabinet to see what happened to the sound. This transformation of sound grasped Charles deeply and after this the incredible journey in high-end audio started. Exploring every option that could possibly enrich the sound and perfect the experience. Many prototypes and products have followed, where the continuous eager for improvements appeared to be endless. For Charles, Kharma is the definition of a lifelong journey in high-end audio beyond imagination.

Kharma OLS Emotion

1982 Starting The Business

Charles van Oosterum started the journey with Oosterum Luidspreker Systems, O.L.S., in 1982. Exploring all possibilities in high-end audio and providing not only products but also DIY (do it yourself) kits.

Passion in practice

By founding O.L.S. in 1982 Charles started his journey for perfecting audio and developing new innovations in high-end audio. All with true passion for audio and design.

Craftsmanship as foundation

During the first few years O.L.S. launched their first product series; the Emotion series, Lotus series and the Ceramique series.

1985 For The Love Of Sound

In the mid-eighties the first product series of O.L.S. started to come alive : the Emotion series, Lotus series and the Ceramique series. The ideas created on paper where for the very first time realized for a larger audience.

With the Ceramique series O.L.S. was the very first to start working with ceramique drivers. The passion for audio pushed O.L.S. forward by choosing its own path and as a typical example selecting novelties in their time. Many new products followed based on this eager to break through current standards.

Kharma history

1992 Building the challenge

In 1992 Charles was challenged by a customer to build the world’s best sounding system at that time, regardless of the costs and size. Thereby O.L.S. build the world’s most expensive and best sounding audio system at that time, called the Grand Enigma Reference System, a one-million dollar system. The whole system would finally fill up an underground atomic bomb shelter treated with exclusive acoustic material and special walls to accompany the Grand Enigma Reference System.

Kharma Grand Enigma system

Specs to impress

Bass section: Unique folded bass horn with 12 x 15-inch subwoofer with a total power of 12x 1500 watt, frequency 10 Hz – 100 Hz.
Midrange section: 24x 7-inch midrange with a total power of 24x 500 watt RMS,
High frequency section: 16x thin film driver with extreme magnets with a total power of 16x 100 watt and a weight of 24 kg per unit. 
Complete weight: ±12.600 kg for the pair
Dimensions per speaker: Height: 350 cm, width: 380 cm, depth: 100 cm

Kharma trapezium

1993 What you give is what you receive

With O.L.S. being mainly oriented on the Dutch market, the internationally oriented brand Kharma was established in 1993. Derived from the knowledge of “karma”, meaning all energy and effort you give, will be returned to you. This philosophy is the fundament of Kharma.

Elevate quality by exploring

In constant search for innovations and sound improvement, Kharma has performed research upon cabinet shapes, drivers, materials, finishes and many more aspects.

No compromises

Ever since Kharma started designing products and experimenting with materials, no compromises were made in product development. Using only the best material available for all parts of the product design.

 

1997 Differentiated excellence

After launching the Kharma brand, new designs were developed. One of the very first Kharma products was called the Divine, incorporating the Kharma logo to its fullest.
Kharma Ceramique loudspeaker
Kharma Divine series

However, the real fundament of Kharma was laid by introducing the Ceramique speakers and the Exquisite series in the nineties. Both series have a differentiated design by the shape of the cabinet, the driver configuration and the use of materials. This legacy still lives on in the current speaker program.

2000 Cover story - A Dream Come True

In 2000 one of Charles his dreams came true, which was to reach the top in high-end audio and be on the cover of a renowned magazine. Jonathan Valin from The Absolute Sound wrote an exclusive review on the Kharma Exquisite Reference 1B and Charles’s his Exquisite speaker became the cover story of issue 125. Jonathan Valin mentioned:

“the Kharma’s come closer to my ideas of the sound absolute than anything else I’ve heard before…”

Kharma cover story The Absolute Sound

2001 Diamonds are forever

This year Kharma introduces the very first Diamond tweeter build in a loudspeaker worldwide to improve the performance of the entire Exquisite series. Diamond cones are special because of its very stiff specifications that represent higher frequencies crystal clear. This technology is still being used and has been awarded with the Golden Ear Award during several years (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005).

Kharma Golden Ear Award
Kharma Enigma Cable
Kharma cable ingredients

2003 Wiring the future

During the year 2003 Kharma expanded their product offer and launched the cable series: The Enigma, the Grand Reference and the Supreme Reference cable series. Resulting in two times the Golden Ear Awards for the Enigma cables.

Introducing electronics

2005 Introducing electronics

In 2005 Kharma introduced their very first electronics line called the Matrix series. These electronics are the precursors of all other Kharma electronics build and have also received quite some credits throughout the years from the Blue Moon Award to the Golden Ear Award. The dream of achieving the Holy Grail in high-end audio, became more and more in reach by producing speakers, cables and electronics with the same Kharma philosophy.

2006 Differentiated excellence

In 2006 the Exquisite series was extended with a product of its own kind; the Grand Exquisite. With its shape and size, this product set the standards to a new level of excellence. The d’appolito speaker configuration opened a path for new developments and was the very first grand floorstanding speaker.

Kharma Grand Exquisite surround
Kharma-Ultima-High-End-Event-2014-lezing-Charles-van-Oosterum

2007 25th anniversary

O.L.S. celebrated their 25th anniversary widely in 2007. A moment of reflection, because the Kharma brand was also celebrating its international recognition. The time of DIY-kits was long gone and so was the O.L.S. brand, the time was come to solely focusing on creating top-level audio products under the Kharma brand. The 25th anniversary was therefore celebrated with the superlative of Kharma at that time, the Exquisite Extreme Grand limited edition.

2009 Introducing car audio

In 2009 Kharma collaborated with Spyker cars to create the world’s first car high-end audio system of Kharma in the Aileron series of Spyker. The Aileron was shown on the Monaco Grand Prix, Cannes film festival and the Auto Salon of Geneva.

Kharma Spyker Aileron
Kharma store front

2010 Kharma stores worldwide

Merging superior audio and design forms the heart of Kharma, which has to be presented in the right setting. The first Kharma flagship stores were therefore opened worldwide in 2010, representing the full Kharma brand and experience. After extending our product offer in three categories: loudspeakers, cables and electronics, this was the next step to realize our Kharma vision.

Kharma Elegance

2010 A true elegance

This was also the year of the Elegance line introduction, the successor of the Ceramique line. The transformation from the Ceramique to the Elegance line was sparked by the new inhouse developed cone technology. With a Kharma composite driver replacing the ceramique drivers, a successor was made for the Ceramique line. By creating these new drivers, Kharma opened doors to developing inhouse product components.

2013 Mesmerizing cinema

In 2013 the Elliptica cinema was completed, and constructed on Exquisite level, with speakers, subwoofers and electronics and unique mesmerizing artwork. This project was a showcase of all our inhouse expertise on loudspeakers, cables and electronics built up in the years before. The Elliptica is one of the (home) cinemas Kharma has developed.

Kharma Home Theatre solution
Kharma Home Theatre solution

2015 An Enigma revealed

The eager to break through boundaries was illustrated again in 2015 by the launch of a complete new line called the Enigma Veyron series. The Enigma Veyron products excel in every detail in audio design. Introducing new inhouse developed drivers, an increased diamond tweeter surface, CNC-milled bulletwood cabinets and a complete new appearance. On every front of speaker design true innovations have taken place together with the creation of Enigma Veyron electronics.

Kharma Enigma Veyron EV1

Innovation beyond imagination

A new driver is born, eliminating Foucault Currents with smart clustering of magnets.

Creating novelties

With the creation of the Enigma Veyron series a novelty has been born.

2017 Introducing new cable series

In this year Kharma introduced three new cable series; Elegance, Exquisite and Enigma Veyron cables with revolutionary techniques, innovation and design. In all three collections the combination of Silver and Nano-Carbon conductors (SNCtm) form a hybrid construction.

Together with individually chambering the conductors to optimize the effect of air insulation, a new tradition has been born. Moreover, the leather sleeves for the Exquisite and Enigma Veyron series is a perfect example of true craftsmanship.

Kharma Enigma Veyron Cables
Kharma history brand

Present There is more to come

Kharma is still on it’s lifelong journey beyond imagination. Exploring new technologies, innovations and materials. Designing and developing dreams with a lot of determination and passion.