from a Krell SS- FPB 600 to What Tube Amp ?

I have been a Krell listener for 15 years, from the KSA-150 to the FPB 300 ,to now the FPB 600. I love the Power in Class A, and the great Bass that the Krell offers. But I think I maybe missing out here on some great tube amps. I think it is time to give a reasonable audition to some Tube Amps. IF I could please get some experienced answers , that would be much appreciated, like someone who has gone threw this transition . I know all the names of the best tube amps, but getting someone who has experienced this is very valuable to me. My budget is $5K- $8K used prefered, $$lower also works.

My System:

Meitner-EMM Labs DCC2 + Phillips cdp D.O.M ( Truly Amazing )
Kubala Emotion cables, all cables (***** Truly Amazing )
Walker Velociter ( Great Stuff )
Infinity MTS Preludes, 6 Ohms (also need to change)
Townshend Super Tweeters ( Great Stuff )
Krell FPB-600
once you beome spoiled by "great" class a solid state i don'tt think you should ditch thre krell for tubes. you may want to audition the mac2102(tube) as an alternative or an accuphase a50(ss), but i think putting the money toward speakers would bring you more satisfaction.
Slightly off topic but can you elaborate a little on the Kubala cables? There's not much information about them. Also what's the price range?


Before you abandon the Krell I suggest you audition the CX series. I went from a FPB 300 to a 400CX and the improvement was not suttle.

I have owned 3 different Krell pre amps 3 Krell Amps and A cd player. and never had so much as a huccup from any of them.

My only problem with tube gear is that when you retube you have to wonder when it started sounding bad compared to the new tubes. Also different tubes will sound different. Which is right?

Get a new Krell and plug and play Enjoy the music.

On the Kubala , well lets say I have had 2 years of trial and error, on cable testing. My home reference consisted of Transparent Reference Speaker cables, after many attemps , with Silteck G5, Valhalla, Supra Swords, Ensemble, the only cable that I found was better was the Jena Valkyres, bought them and they were great, until I tried the Kubala Emotion, I have to say they got auditioned and are now in my system.

Next my interconnect for my reference system were Valhalla XLR, I tried Siltech G5, Ridge Street Audio, Pure Note, Omiga, Meitner, and now Kubala Emotion in my system,

Power Cords, I was using Elrod, Harmonix, Kimber, now Kubala in my system.

This is a new company, that will IMO do very well, The speaker cables has excellent bass extension with the best midrange sound and clearly the best prices. The Interconnects are much better than the Valhallas , much darker back ground , and much more detail. The Power cords are outstanding, blows away latest Elrod and latest Harmonix.

Because all these cords are system dependent, you should try there 30 day free trial. All I can say is call Bob at Rhapsody Audio in NY tel 212 229 1842, and he will be able to answer all of your questions. He will take care of you. Supply you with prices and a service to die 4 .

You will not be disapointed,
VTL REFERENCE 750 if this aint enough bass you need a hearing test. oh and by the way all real amplifiers have tubes not that I'm biased but I am and so are my 24 6550's
Hi Macallan25: I urge to you to read my answer ( similar to your thread ) to: Tube amp for Avalon Eidolon? thread.
What do you want to hear? this is the question.
Regards and always enjoy the music.
Before thinking about amplifiers I suggest you settle on loudspeakers, as you indicate you want to change them as well. A bit of information on your room and music and listening preferences would be helpful, otherwise you might be throwing money at the problem and not solving it.
Macallam25: I agree with EssentialAudio that before making a move on an amp you need to settle on speakers. That being said, I made it a point to find a speaker that matched well to my Joule Grand Marquis OTL's because IMO these amps were "keepers" after going thru a lot of gear.

Rkuryl:On the Kubala-Sosna cables, don't think twice about getting them. They are superb and I agree with everything Macallan25 has in his post. I've owned Transparent Refrence MM, Valhalla's and many of the other "super cables" and the the KS Emotive cables are the best I've used. They have the transparency of the Valhalla's with the bottom end weight of Transparent withouty the muddiness.

Best of luck.
Have you guys tried any of the Kubala-Sosna cables lower on their line? I'm wondering how they compare to other cables in each price range.


Rkuryl: I've only tried the Emotive Series. My dealer has told me the other Series are price/performance leaders. I'd
highly recommend finding a dealer that will let you take a "test drive".
I gave up my Krell FPB 200 for VTL 300 Deluxe Mono Blocks. Yes, I do miss the bass SLAM from time to time but for me tubes do it just right.

Current System:
CAL Alpha/Delta
VTL 2.5
VTL 300's

Good Luck
I think you wanted a response to your question, and here it is.

The most potent tube amp I am aware of is the CAT JL-1 monoblocks. They are only rated at 100 watts per channel, but the figure is meaningless, as they have outrageous power supplies and output transformers (that convert voltage to current in a way that make the amp competitive, power-wise, with large SS amps).

Ken Stevens, CAT's principal, used to A/B these amps at shows against a 600 watt/channel Krell -- the Krell allegedly sound neutered by comparison.

The amps weigh 194 lbs. each unboxed, much of which is the beastly transformers. There is a "Limited Edition" version of the amps that retailed for $50,000, which has outrageous parts quality and sound purity. The regular version listed for $20,000.

I have VAC 140 monoblocks, and because of the same design approach of beefy power supplies and high-quality output transformers, they too, on a reduced scale compared to the CAT monos, can drive current-hungry speakers. They weigh 115 lbs. each unboxed. A good salesman I know at Singer said that the VAC 140's do a much better job of driving the Pipedreams than the VTL 750's.

With tube amps, the ability to deliver current, which they do not do well because tube amps produce voltage, not current, comes down to the quality of the transformers and power supplies. Another high-current tube amp is the Audio Valve Challenger 400, a German-made amp. There is also an Air Tight limited edition monoblock design that is very high current (it also costs $60K).

Good luck.
Dear Allan: I think that you loose more than the bass slam on your Krell amplifier. Your tube amp is an equalizer because its frecuency response changes according with your speakers impedance changes and this is not the only problem: the signal has to pass through the transformers and this signal it was a heavy degraded one because the many wire metres where the signal has to pass in the transformers and not only these: when the signal goes through a tube this tube function like a " signal generator " ( by itself ): produce audible harmonics that does not exist in the recording.
I understand that the tubes are right for you ( great for you, no problem ) and I only want to share with you and other people what is really happen on your tube electronics during the sound reproduction, at the end this is what you and other people are hearing ( it does not matter if the tube elctronics are from: Tenor, Lamm, VAC, VTL, CAT, or whatever ).
Regards and always try to enjoy the real music.
Macallan25 & Rcupka- I'm trying to choose between Kubala Emotion speaker cables and Transparent Reference XL SS cables. The same dealer in Philadelphia has them both. I've been a Transparent fan for a while but am seriously torn as to what to do. The dealer says go with Kubala but since it's an expensive decision and I really don't want to spend a bunch of money on another "tweek". I figure go with the known quantity. Can the both of you really say the Kubala is better? It might be worth the drive to A/B them for myself.
I will second the recommendation on the Kubala Emotion ICs. After Cardas, Jena, Valhallas, these are the "it" cable for me, no forseeable upgrading after this. I could not believe the harmonious, gorgeous bass on my Kharma 3.2s, or the sweet, unabrasive highs (both were issues with other cables). They had the same magic affect on my Grado RS1 headphones and my Stax Omegas. (The source for all was my Accuphase DP75V cdp.) Please excuse me if I repeat this in a short review later.
One more point, before you give up on solid-state, try an Edge NL-12. Smooth & relaxed as all heck, but still detailed without being "ruthlessly revealing" as the overused phrase goes.
Pcook15: First and foremost, I highly recommend you audition both the Kubala and Transparent cables before making a decision.

That being said, I replaced all of my Transparent Reference XL cables (the new ones with the curved networks) with Kubala Emotion. I really doubted the Kubala's would be better but they outperformed (to my ears)the Transparent by a significant margin. I've used them with a solid state/Wilson WP7 system as well as a tube/Kharma 3.2 system and they integrate wonderfully.

The best part is they are quite a bit less expensive than the Reference XL's.

Best of Luck,

Another SS amp you might consider is the Gryphon Encore. To me it has the best attributes of ss and tubes in one package. Greg Petan of Stereo Times gave it his most wanted component for 2004. Only problem is that it would be hard to find used to be in your price range.
I use the Encore with EMM dac&preamp, Talon Firebird Diamonds and Jena Labs cabling.
the amp's are dynamic, won't have as much bass control as the Krell's - but I assume you are looking for a little more texture and 3 dimension soundstaging by considering tubes.
I play music loud and have never had any issues.
I have recently compared my prem 8a's to pass X350 and halo jc-1's. prem 8a's in my system were comfortably better

cheers SR
Well even thought I know that my speakers have to go, I decided to try a few amps out. 1st was some mono blocks SS @200 watts a side. I did notice a difference immediatly. The sound was more detailed, and had it owne signature sound which I didn't like.
2nd I got a pair of Audio Valves 70 Baldur, Triode. Good looking amps. They are 70 watts and has self auto bias ,and is running in Class A. I let them warm up for a day ( dealer demo's). I sat down around 10pm and put in some musik, I was floored, couldn't pull myself away from my listening room. This was truly amazing. Let see how can I describe what I heard. Well it seemed to have the same style of the Krell FPB600, with the most amazing fidelity, it just was real, all the instruments came alive. The voices were so lush and had more distinction in there voice. The mids open up. I played music for 3 hours, hearing things that wasn't ever displayed by the KSA or the FPB Krell, actually it seemed to bring out what the Krell 150 did best and what the FPB series does well and added an unveilling to the musik. Tons of power and the Bass was fine. I could swith today, ( i didn't even have to do an A/B ,it was that much of a difference, and seemed like a whole new level of sound quality.
Next step, is to find out what is the next level valve amp and try it to compare. I don't want to miss the boat for a few thousand more, then matching the amp to new speakers, even thought I should probably do speakers first, and I may just do that.

This is an very important step to match the amps with the speakers , I don't want to srew up here.

I never thought I would say bye to Krell.