audio reseach ref 3 or krell KTC...?

Hello all,

I would like to know if any of you has ever compared these two preamps. I have never heard the Krell KTC but I read very good reviews about it. I will be very grateful if you could be so kind to share your personal opinions with me.

Thank you very much for your time

Hello all,

I would like to know if any of you has ever compared these two preamps. I have never heard the Krell KTC but I read very good reviews about it. I will be very grateful if you could be so kind to share your personal opinions with me.

Thank you very much for your time

I never heard Krell KTC but I know some other Krell pre-amps. Audio Research I heard this year in London on the HiFi Show. It was a presentation of about one hour. It played in the Audio Research Ref system with Watt Puppies 8.

Audio Research Ref 3 has these "new" russian 6H30P tubes inside (BAT's Khomenko brought them to the HiFi world) and they sound really neutral. This is one of the reasons why this Audio Research pre-amp is seen as probably something the best that can be bought for money. If you have that kind of cash, you cannot go wrong with this pre-amp.

Krells are good but in slightly different way. Very precise, normally very analytical ... But again - I haven't heard KTC ...
Yes, I had both home and wen't with the Evo 202 as a replacement for my KCT. ARC is amzing and full but still has a tube signature..akin to a Monet' painting! KCT and especially evo 202 is very close but without the tube signature..i.e. slight sense of something between the music and the listener..ever so slight. Can't go wrong with either..matching the system and the cabling is everything however.
Hi Salvo,

I actually have both preamps. The KCT is difficult to beat in an all Krell system using Cast. If you use a different poweramp than Krell the KCT is still good but not as good as with Cast.

The KCT has rythem and speed and sounds open and clear. The ARC however has a liquid mid sound that the Krell does not have. Yet the bass is still good. So it depends on the music for me, for some music I prefer ARC Ref 3 (voices, Jazz) and for some music I prefer KCT (R&B, pop / rock).

With different CD players like Wadia the ARC is better.

By the way, if you think cast sounds the best...well, maybe you have had a limited experience with high end cablees and equipment...I've done extensive a/b testing with balanced vs cast(including siltech)..cast is average sounding at best. The new evo rig is for advanced musicaly that my FPB/KCT setup sounded hard and thin in comparison. I had the ref 3 as well for awhile...the 202 krell is globaly more lifelike..the ref 3 is audio surrealism!
Additionally, I believe (though I am not 100% sure) that the ARC is a full tubed preamp and does not have coupling capacitors in use for its output. Krell does recommend that if you use a full tubed preamp that you activate the coupling capacitors in your Krell amp for protection for DC signals. Of course, you are now adding these caps into the signal (the only caps in the Krell signal) so this may impact the sound as well of the amplifier.

Just out of curiosity, any krell amp owners running all tubed pre-amps (without coupling capacitors to prevent the passing of possible DC - ie. from the tubes) into their Krell amps? Have you activated the coupling capacitors in your krell amps? If not, any problems? What preamps are you running?
Have had many ARC/Krell combos and never a problem...the caps will kill the krells sound!!

Have you ever had a problem? I just read an ad recently where somebody sent their FPB in for servicing resulting from damage from a tubed preamp leaking DC.

Since I have not yet converted my Krell to include the caps active, can you give me any indication of the sonic impact?
ckoffend, I have used an LS25, RefII and RefIII with Krell 600, 400 and evo 402 problems. Caps will kill tone color, soundstage and transparency.
Dave b, thanks. I checked with Aesthetix and they have reported that they do use coupling capacitors at the output for this form of protection against dc leakage. So, fortunately, no worries.

On another note, if one buys a FBP C vs. a non C version, is there any improvement if one is not using the Cast cables? Aren't there cast speaker cables? Do these just work with Krell speakers?

There is a 300C for sale that I am considering and only want to buy it if it is a step up (preferably sizeable) from my FPB 200?

Is it a 300cx or just c?
Just spent two weeks using my ARC ref 3 with an FPB700c without coupling capacitors - perfect match.
Preamplifiers having teflon or low leakage dielectric capacitors such as used by ARC or conrad johnson should not be a problem.
Dave b, it is a 300 C not the CX. I can get it upgrade to a 400 CX for $2,500 from Krell. Regardless, I bought it and am picking it up tomorrow. Hopefully it will be better than the fpb 200, which I already love.
Ckoffend, get the upgrade done to 400cx..that was my favorite FPB amp of all (better than monoblocks). Krell ended their golden age of audio design with the FPB cx series amps! You must get a Transparent MM reference power cord for will crap your pants after hearing how huge a difference it can make.
Dave_b, why is the 400cx better than the 450mcx? As far as I know it is the same ampliifer with a single channel, but the power supply of each 450mcx has the same power of that of the stereo CX.
I think it would generally make more sense to just buy a 400 CX versus having the upgrade done. I think from a cost to resale relationship this would be better economically. I'll listen to the 300 C before making any decision. I certainly don't need the additional power, but am always interested in anything that will improve performance.
Microstrip, ckoffend...not better but slightly more laid back and less aggressive in the upper midrange. Krell monoblocks have always had a bit more hardness and leanness in the upper mids compared to the stereo units! By the way, the FPB300 will actually sound more rounded and "tubelike" compared to the 400cx so maybe standing pat will be more your cup of tea anyway..depends on the synergy of your system and cabling. Bigger power supply in 300 vs later models and 400cx!!