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  Levinson 333.5 vs. Krell FPB 200, 250, or 300 amp?
We love our Levinson 333.5 amp which drives our Thiel 3.6 speakers. What experiences have you had driving the Thiels with the Krell 200, 250, or 300 series amps vs the Levinson 333.5? What are the basic sonic differences between these amps. Which speakers sound best with these amps? What sonic/design advantages or disadvantages exist between the Krell and Levinson amps?
Levchappy  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

05-05-09
  Responses
05-06-09: Samzx12
A friend of mine used to have 3.6's and now he has 7.0's. He bought a 331.5 it was by far the best amp he tried with the 3.6's. Then he bought a FPB-200 and loved it. He sold the 331.5 and purchased a 334. He had a really hard time deciding between the 2 amps (lucky bastard if only I could afford to have both...lol). He ended up selling the Krell and still has the 334. Overall he thought it was more true to the source. To be honest I don't think you could go wrong with either. From what I have heard in his system the Krell seemed to have a touch more air or 3D sound and was very smooth. It had great midbass punch where the 334 had better lower bass drive. The Levinson just did everything well. You can't go wrong with either one because I borrowed both of them and could live with either. The only negative I have heard on ML is the cap issues. The Krell 300's may be a nice step up but I have never heard one. Do some research here and audioreview.com. That might help.
Samzx12  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)


05-06-09: Gundam91
I lived with a #333 and a pair of Thiel 3.6 for 8 years. Needless to say, I enjoy that combo a lot. I agree with the assessment above. My amp was a dealer demo. Within those 8 years, I had to send it in for capacitor repair twice. According to the repair log, the dealer had sent it in for the same repair once. The last time, I had to pay for it out of pocket.

I had to admit that this last cap change made the combination sound much better. But it cost like $1500. I wasn't ready to pump in that kind of money every 4 or 5 years. So I traded it in for a brand new Pass X350.5.

I was convinced that I would not be able to get much more out of the Thiel 3.6 if I change the amp. It would just be a lateral change. But I was truly amazed when I heard the Pass/Thiel combo.

I had been contemplating about upgrading my speakers for a few years. But after hearing the combo, I was seriously reconsidering that decision. There were just more of everything. I thought there was good bass performance with #333, but Pass took it to another level. The sound is more livier, lots of air, warmer midrange. And the soundstage was much wider and deeper, and more body.

FYI, I ended up selling the Thiel 3.6 and got a pair of Verity Parsifal Encores. The guy got to hear them with my Pass amp, and I spoke to him after he got to hear them at home. He was using them in his garage with some older amp like a Parasound or McCormick or something. But he told me that he really liked the way they sounded with the Pass.

FrankC

Gundam91  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)


05-06-09: Levchappy
Hi Frank and Sam;

It seems that the 333.5 is rare. The .5 upgrade makes a huge difference. The 331 seems to be a bit diminished as compared to the 333. The Krell models are most likely a very good alternative and Nelson Pass has earned a greal deal of respect. My friend is looking to match a Krell KRC-3 linestage to an amp.

Levchappy  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)


05-06-09: Samzx12
Yes the ML .5's are rare but are a big step up. He also tried a Pass X-250 but ended up selling it. Like the post above the Pass has fantastic bass but overall he liked the sound of the Krell and ML better. From what I have read the Pass .5 series is much better than the original series. Funny you mention your buddy has the KRC-3, my buddy did also. He really liked it and kept it for awhile but like always he sold it and ended up with a ML 38.
Samzx12  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)


05-07-09: Levchappy
Hi Sam;

We had a ML 38S with ML-2's. I traded for the ML 333.5,I ran the 390S direct since I could not afford a linestage. eventually I ended up with an Audio Research LS2B MKII with a single 6922 tube. Steve Huntley at Great Northern Sound Coumpany madified it twice, firts the power supply ending with the Reference level with the signal path mod. The sound and performance are incredible. I had traded my 390S for a Cary 303/300 with 2 12AU7 tubes in the output and GNSC took it to the Reference level... Oh my God!

Bob Backert (RHB Sound Dezign) did a power supply mod on our Art Audio Vinyl One tubed phono preamp. Incredible, can't wait for the signal path Dynamic Linearity mod.

Levchappy  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)


05-07-09: Gundam91
Don't have any experience with KRC-3 or ML 38. But synergy should also be considered.

A friend of mine had compared both X350 and X350.5 side by side, and yes. The X350.5 is much better. All present at that comparison felt that the difference deserved more than a .5 upgrade designation.

Levchappy, another happy GNSC customer here. I am using a Ref level mod ARC LS-25. However, Steve Huntley recommended a quad of Siemens 6922s. But I ended up switching over to Amperex tubes after trying out different combinations. Had the 7308 white labels in there for a while, now running a quad of 6DJ8s.

I was using a stock ARC LS-2B Mk II with my #333.

FrankC

Gundam91  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)


08-04-09: Ckoffend
For what its worth, I previously owned a pair of Thiel 2.2 speakers (not the same as the 3.6, but still reportedly fairly difficult to drive). These were purchased on eBay mostly because the price was just too good to pass up as they were for "local" sale only - got them for about $300. At the time, I owned the following amps: ML 331.5 and a Krell FPB 200 (later replaced by a Krell FPB 300-C). I was able to listen to these speakers with all of the above amps (and others).

All were good amps with these speakers and allowed for excellent performance. The FPB 200 and the ML 331.5 were fairly close - the ML had a bit more neutrality while the Krell was a bit more forward. Both produced an excellent sound stage. FWIW, I was running a AA Capitole CD direct into both amps - so the sound was generally much warmer than either one of these amps would have normally sounded as a result. The FPB 300-C was a better match for these speakers in my opinion as it is a bit more neutral than the straight 200.

I used these speakers in a quasi nearfield setting and the imaging was superb. As a result of this little experiment, I fell in love with the Thiel speakers - though I no longer run them - now running Wilsons only. But I have always considered going back to the Thiels, the 3.6 would probably be my model - hence my interest in this forum.

I would think with the greater power of the 333.5, that the Krell 300 would be a more direct comparison or the 250 monos. I think that little extra bit of power over the 200 is helpful with the Thiels - or at least that was my experience.

Ckoffend  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)


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