Krell 4k Foundation or Parasound jc2 Preamps

I can get my hands of a Krell 4k Foundation for $2000 here locally and want to ask you guys a few questions to see if this Preamp would be a good fit for me. I listen to mostly music on my system, however I have a huge collection of dvd/Blu-ray concert videos I like to watch from time to time. Do watch movies too, but music is what I usually use my system for. Sound is the most important consideration when I purchase (upgrade) new equipment for my system, not video. I am a huge Vinyl collector (thousands) and Cd collection is just as big. Listen to most 80s pop, movie soundtracks and Heavy Metal music, (I know not true audiophile content, but I have a lot of audiophile recordings in every genera). So I have had my eye on the Parasound JC2 and using its home theater bypass when I watch videos or listen to multi-channel SACD and DVD-AUDIO, but the Krell 4k Foundation has caught my eye in maybe being the right fix for great sound and being a true multi-channel preamp verses a 2 channel set up. I wished I had enough room in my house for a two setups (ht in one and 2 channel in another) but like most I do not. So my questions are:

How does the Krell 4k Foundation sound with analog playback such as a VPI Scout turntable with AT150sa MM cartridge?

Does the Krell really shine with CDs played through a decent transport? Like airy highs and good midrange with any harshness, low end has to be very dynamic.

Are there other older HT models out there that I am missing that put sound above all else in the $5000 and under price point?

What is the soundstage like with the Krell 4k Foundation?

Do you guys still get a lot of musical joy from your Krell 4k Foundation or wanting to find an upgrade?

Right now I am using a Denon AVR 4520CI strictly as a preamp (power section not in use since I use Halo Parasound amps for all my ampification needs) and a Denon DBT-3313UDCI transport. I got a feeling the Krell 4k Foundation will be an upgrade in sound, question is though, How much?

Any input would be greatly appreciated and I have read all the publication reviews out there, but like to hear from the customers that own the products I am interested in. Thank you.


I don't have any experience with either unit, but I can give my thoughts based on what I know and have read.

The Parasound JC2 uses fully discrete FET analog stages.  I suspect that it is going to give more transparency and resolution than the Krell Foundation.  It's an excellent sounding preamp.  The one caveat on this is that it's been written that this JC2 preamp has slightly weak midbass.

The Krell Foundation has excellent power supply capacitor banks and will not have the bass/midbass problems.  However, it does use op amps for all analog stages.  If you are looking for more bass/midbass punch and are willing to sacrifice some elements of resolution/transparency, then the Krell could be a good choice.

Both units sound very excellent and would be significant upgrade over your Denon AVR.  Thinking about your music, if most of it is 80's pop and metal, then the Krell Foundation might be the right choice because the JC2 could have a tendency to sound too thin/bright/harsh with the metal.  If you preferred stuff like jazz/classical, then the JC2 would probably be the right choice because it would reveal more of the "realness" of jazz vocal and instruments.

In either case, you would have to buy a separate phono preamp because neither the JC2 nor the Krell Foundation have phono inputs.  I did notice that your Denon 4520ci does have phono inputs, which is rare for an AVR.

There are other HT processors that are good.  Classe SSP-800 is excellent, but also uses op amps (not sure if it's actually better than Foundation).  One of the things I like about Krell is that they DO NOT use switching power supplies in their processors.  Everything is done from linear power supplies, including digital sections.  Even the Classe uses switching power supply for digital sections.

I don't know about transparency but every Parasound Halo amp I have heard were warm, powerful, quiet, extended and not at all analytical. 

I've only heard old Krell. Those always struck me as pretty cold sounding amps by comparison.


Thank you Auxinput for the very much for your input, very helpful.  The Krell does have an impressive capacitor bank installed and good point about the power supply.  I already have a Schiit Mani for my phono stage so no need for a phono stage built in the preamp, will soon upgrade that as well.  I thinking if this $2000 Krell is in good order this might be a steal, considering it was $7500 retail when new in 2013 

@erik_squires - just to clarify, he was talking about preamps only (Parasound JC2 was one of his options). He has stated that he already owns Parasound Halo amplifiers, lol.

@lizzardkingseattle - That Krell Foundation could very well be a steal. But you should realize that there have been at least a few versions of the Foundation processor:

Krell Foundation (version 1) - supports up to 1080p

Krell Foundation 4K - supports limited 4K on the original HDMI 1.4a connections.

Krell Foundation 4K UHD - supports current 4K technology using a new HDMI board that supports HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2.

If 4K video standards is important to you, then you might want to make sure of the exact version. There is no difference in audio in the different versions. They only have different HDMI video specifications. If you don’t care, then $2k for Foundation is really awesome!  You can always have Krell upgrade the HDMI board at any time (though it might cost a lot).

- just to clarify, he was talking about preamps only (Parasound JC2 was one of his options). He has stated that he already owns Parasound Halo amplifiers, lol


See, this is why most of my advice is garbage and completely untrustworthy!
for $2000 try the Krell and see for yourself.. if you don't like it, sell it and you probably could make some money..