Krell 400xi vs. BAT VK-300x vs. McIntosh MA6900

I'm considering 1 of these 3 excellent Integrated Amplifiers to power my newly aquired Wilson Sophia Speakers. My Source Component will be either the Krell Standard or BAT VK-D5. Installing in a mid>large size living room. I'm looking for a smooth, full/robust, easy- on-the-ears sound. I'd rather not have to buy all 3 for an at home a/b/c audition, though I know that this is the preferred method of evaluating Components. Thought that I might give this post a try, to at least narrow it down to 2. Thanks!
what you've described is the 6900...and an excellent phono pre is already in the mix
Jaybo is right on. With Sophias, the BAT and Krell will not match your tastes.

I too agree on the McIntosh MA6900. This should be one very sweet set-up. You may even be glad to have the eq option built in.
its like which brand can come up with the fanciest numbers in the title. I means look at these names 400XIESCDTRRSUPERDUPER
I'm a Sophia Series II owner, and I would avoid the BAT and Krell. Keep in mind that the Sophias are very revealing and will expose the difficiencies in your system. Take the time up front to match the system well...otherwise, you will be wasting time and dollars.

When matched with the appropriate amp, preamp, source components and cables, the Sophias are extremely engaging and musical. Enjoy the journey. Good luck!
What about the MA2275 Integrated or somthing like my Sugden Class A or Accuphase E550. Detail without fatigue.
Mcintosh is high end...if you live in the 60's! I owned it and sold it...very old school sound, unless you like haze and lack of tone color..a reciever would sound better! I've owned the 400xi in several of my systems and it never sounded anything less than spectacular, depending on the cabling and front end/speaker combo. In fact i sold my evo stuff because it didn't live up to the sound of the integrated! Wilson uses ARC and Krell for voicing by the way...not Mcintosh!!
I have owned the MA6900 previously & have had the 400Xi as well for sometime. 400Xi is not bad at all. But for MY tastes it would be the Mac.
If you like the Krell the Sugden suggested above is also a good cheaper choice. However in the long run with the Mac in my experience, you would have it all.

Good luck!
I agree with Jeffjarvis. I had a 6900 and switched to the MA2275. Didn't need the extra power of the former and much preferred the tube sound of the latter.
Good luck.
Dave your comments are simply foolishness; I have owned my share of amps the past few years and the couple Mac pieces I have used are not as you'd have us believe. I will agree that Mac floundered through the 80's and a good share of the 90's, but not so these days, IMO. Also, just because Wilson uses ARC and Krell, per you, doesn't mean they are the best and/or the only products one should use with Wilson speakers.
I owned both 400xi and mc 2275. Both are great. Krell has great base and detail but slightly dry sounding. Mac is much fuller sounding and the autoformer does a lot for the base for a tube amp. Overall prefer mcintosh for its timbre.
How about the Pathos Logos? Is this Integrated a contender in this group? Is it worth considering at $4,800-new, or a bit too esoteric/audio jewelry as an Italian Hi-Fi piece?
The krell 400xi is killer good when broken in and cabled properly...mate it to a 6-8ohm speaker of musical heritage and it don't much better at any price, including my former $40K evo rig!! Mcintosh' just doesn't get out of the way of the inflicts a significant signature over the sound. A signature that is not anywhere near state of the art! Martin Colloms would tend to agree since he pulls no punches either. My Mcintosh 501's and C46 were very old school sound...the tube pre was even worse. The parts from the 1960's for heavens sake..anyway, enjoy!!
The Krell 400xi would be ok with smooth, laid-back speakers (usually with soft dome tweeters), like Spendor or Sonus Faber. Not even the ProAcs would sound good with it. If you use metal dome tweeters, you'll notice tilted-up high frequencies, which sounds like more detailed but induces listener's fatigue. Besides, according to Stereophile's test report, the heat sinks are undersized (if you play it loud), but I guess it's fine for normal listening. BAT doesn't have the typical "tube" sound, more analytical than smooth. Even the Integra (designed by BAT) home theater pre and multi-channel power sounds smoother. I like the MA6900, since I like to enjoy my music rather than chasing the absolute truth in recordings. Every piece of conductor in the path of music signals has a signature, even the electrical outlet in the wall (eventually I chose the FIM outlet for its warm sound). So my opinion is, choose the sound that you enjoy most, i.e. the amp that creates the most endorphin in your brain.

I'm currently using Aerial Acoustic 5's which dont use soft dome tweeters, the mid range is liquid with the Krell 400xi. Mind you I'm using a very good digital front end. I don't think its fair to make such generic comparisons.
I recently purchased a 400xi and find it to be sweet sounding with SACD (sony 9000es, recently sold on agon) but the subjectively tilted up treble on redbook is having me scrambling for a cdp upgrade. I have an sacd standard on the way (2nd version). Interconnects are Cardas Golden ref, speakers paradigm studio 20 v.2 (weakest link, i know)
I now have the 400xi hooked up to a Musical Fidelity A5 tube CD player and Krell Resolution 2 speakers. My interconnect and speaker cables are MIT Oracle V2.1, my power cords are Transparent powerlink MM. Very dynamic and lifelike sound..neutral but engaging with great extension. Compared to my previous Evo rig the highs are so much better..sweet, clear and smooth with tremendous sparkle and no dryness or harshness. I predict a re-tooling of the krell evo amp's in the near future..maybe even the preamps as well..something is wrong with the new house sound and I think it's the fact that they are not class A anymore!!
I agree with Dave b, the Mac stuff does not matchup here...Mac is second rate compared to Krell, hands down, case closed. I had a 402 for over a week, and it sounded terrible, listened to Mac equip. again at my dealer recently while auditioning 803Ds on and I thought I was going to puke. Auto formers are single-handedly the most ass backwards engineering design, and any engineer in electronics will tell you they don't make an ounce of sense-which is one of the reasons Mac is the ONLY one using them. McIntosh is also owned and operated by a Giant conglomerate corporation who runs a few other second rate non audiophile grade brands. Speaking of Brand, this is about the most successful thing about McIntosh, the brand recognition, it's an old name, one which used to be the best. These days it does NOT compete on the level alot of the Mac owners here on AG like to think it does.

Lets not forget the "Old Blue Eyes" look of it, and the moving needles. Incredibly annoying. Even my wife, who has not a care about any HiFi equipment took one look at the 402 and said, "it better sound better than it looks".

Some of the other brands mentioned here are simply on a different level of sound and detail and smoothness. If you like the delivery of your music detailed, w/decent bass, but dry, grainy, stale and etched sounding, go for Mac. Otherwise BAT, and Krell and MF are much nicer components living in a completely different plane of musical reproduction.
Jc- As I said in your other "Krell is the Greatest" & "Mac is Crap" thread, because YOU don't like (actually HATED) the MC-402, why are you now taking any and every opportunity to flame those that do?

Jc......we get it.........It didn't work in your system, you like the Krell house sound and the 'blue meters' and 'Giant Conglomerate' are annoying to you.

In your previous thread you said you didn't want to be a Mac "ball buster"...........Dude, you're breaking them big time now!

We all have opinions, but to continue to sing this same old song is tiresome. We all hear differently and what you hear as "dry, grainy, stale and etched" others hear as "smooth vibrant, and just plain musical".

Jc.......Vanilla & Chocolate.

I hope you enjoy your new Krell as much as you like bashing Mac!
No flaming here...Bashing, maybe. Taking it personally though stupid.

Just relax, and enjoy whatever you have..I know I would if someone bashed Krell, which lots do and voice their opinion of it, I could care less. Doesn't make feel any different about the fact I bought it or love it.
I have heard the McIntosh in several systems and out of the three integrateds, I think it would be best suited for your speakers based on what you are looking for. I conisidered the McIntosh for my setup but paired with my Sonus Fabers, it was a little too much of a good thing.

The Krell's are certainly readily available used here on Audiogon. I think I see one hit the classifieds daily. That certainly has to be an indicator of something.


I have to agree with Nwavesailor. I have come to ignore JC's opinions after participating in and reading his posts where he tried a MC402. The hard part is that JC is so over the top with his statements, like above, it is hard to just "let go".

Having heard a full blown Krell system at a dealer, using the same speakers I had at home at the time, I could easily make over the top statements against Krell being second rate to Mac gear. (I don't feel this way though, even though I had this experience, a couple times.)

Hopefully those that come to the forums for dirction can look at the posts as a whole to form their opinion and not get lost in one persons extreeme view.
Jc........ at least we can agree on one 'Mac'.......your computer of choice. If you are, indeed, an Apple computer user, you can't be ALL BAD! A bit of a ball breaker, but that's OK. I've been using and loving Mac's for 8+ years without a problem.

MacIntosh (Audio).......the brand Jc loves to hate!
Nwavesailor-I mean no personal ball-breaking to you or any other McIntosh owner here on AG, just my thoughts on the matter is all-sorry if they come across strong. I guess I was just expecting more from McIntosh equipment.

Either way, doesn't matter..Krell is far perfect thats for sure, it does have its sonic weaknesses. To name a few, I can't stand their whole position on CAST. Sure it may sound a smidge better and all that, but one thing is for sure- It is a crafty way for you to buy more of their stuff-silly if you ask me. Given my druthers, & money being no object, I don't know that Krell is what I would own either. If that were the case it might be VTL from top to bottom, Siegfried's, 7.5 etc. Or, Shindo, Kharma, Nagra etc..But I am lowly Serf, so I must settle on Krell, sigh....

I am in fact recent PC convert..I adore the MAC computer in every way. I can't move around in it like I can a Windows PC yet, but I am hoping this just takes time. It is doubtful I will go back to PC for the home-Apple has me hook, line and sinker. Considering AppleTV at the moment for the UI on my TV to control my music. I bet I could learn a thing or two from you on the MACbook. 8 Years makes you a MACvet. ;)
This may be of little help, as the MA 6500 and 6900 are different animals indeed, but I had the 6500 and a 400xi in my system recently, and found the Krell much more dynamic, but sometimes to a fault (little midrange bloom). That being said, I upgraded (IMHO) further to a used Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista Integrated, and for the same price of a new 400 or 6500, it is in a totally different sonic league, in my system. Not colored, laid back nuetral sound. Not sure of the relation of MF with Wilsons, but I would not write of the upper-end MF integrated gear. Good luck. BTW, I like the Mac sound as well - yes, it is colored, but it's all in what your ears and mind enjoy. My old MA5100 is a gem coupled with an MR65 tuner.
I recently did a week-long at home audition of the McIntosh MA6900 against my 3-year old Krell KAV-400xi. It was a tough decision because these two Amps sound as different as two solid-state amplifiers can sound. The Krell has great dynamics, imaging and mid-bass punch. The McIntosh has a refined, smooth and full sound, with good deep-bass and a wide sound-stage. I felt that the Krell was the more neutral of the two, even though it could have a bit of a bite to it on less than ideal Discs. In the end, the Krell simply sounded closer to live music, the Instruments and Voices had realistic weight and texture to them. The McIntosh sounded like a very good Stereo System, a nostalgic sound when compared to the current house sounds of Krell, Ayre, BAT or Mark Levinson. I will say that McIntosh gear does sound very different from anything else out there, with a unique house sound, I could understand their loyal following, since their Customers would have a hard time finding this sound from another solid-state manufacturer, the rest do tend to sound more-or-less the same.
I agree that McIntosh is quite different from most other SS amps and if you like it, little else will do. I suppose that is why they are the oldest hifi manufacturer in the world - they always retained part of the market somehow.

McIntosh SS will appeal to people who like tube amplifiers. For people who like the "classic" SS sound, they will be surprised at how McIntosh amps sound, and thus will probably not like them. Human judgement is solely based on personal familiarity.

Having said that, I have yet to hear a good SS amp that can beat a good tube amp for the reproduction of mids and highs. The McIntosh SS amps come as close as I have heard but still not quite there. But then again, this is only valid from my point of view.

I find that "realistic weight and texture" mainly comes from system synergy and design rather than a single amplifier. There are some bright systems where the McIntosh would have been the one with realistic weight and texture. It is all relative afterall.

Although, I have to admit that I have never heard a stereo that could reproduce a live production exactly so those comparisons may not be very meaningful anyway. They are mere objective details which are always very difficult to reproduce whether you speak of cooking, painting, hifi, or whatever. Not to mention they can sometimes overshadow the bigger picture.

Recreating the emotion and the energy of a live production, however, IS possible with a very good stereo and that is what I strive for. To that end, the McIntosh SS amps overall are excellent at conveying this type of information IMO. So are most tube amps and vinyl rigs.

You should put Musical Fidelity KW500 or the newer KW550 integrated amps on your list. Both amps have all the characteristics that you are looking for -- smooth, full / robust, and easy- on-the-ears sound.

I have personally owned a Mac 6900, but traded up to a newer design MC 207. NO autoformer! the sound is much more open .In fact I also have a mac 6300
in my kitchen and it to sounds better than the 6900. In my bedroom I have a Kav 400,less room lighting {no meters}. The newly designed 6300 has less power and no eq etc. making it affordable.The krell 400 and mac 6300 are very close . Krell a bit brighter, Mac a little warmer .Both amps power small Boston E series with Rel subs. However, in my living room, Sonus Faber Auditors with Mac pre amp and the MC 207 is superior. You should go with a newer design. Please note that the new MAC runs very cool, while the Krell being class A gets quite warm. This may be something to consider. DWALKER46