I would try to go with a newer Krell amp. The sound is greatly improved with the FPB series. I had a pair of the KMA 100s years ago and they had loud cooling fans. Try at least for a KSA 100s.
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I used a Krell KAV 250a amp with Hales Concept 3's and found the sound a little too aggressive and bright. I had much better success using Balanced Audio Technology VK 200 with the Concept 3's. In fact, I still use the BAT with my Hales Transcendence 5's (similar sound to Revelations). If you decide to go with Krell I would avoid the KAV line and go with a FPB.
I guess that I wasn't aware that the Hales speakers are so hard to drive. THey do tend to sound on the bright side, but they are pretty good in the lower region. I have about 4000 dollars total for preamp and amplifier in my budget. I don't think that I will be able to find any fpb amplifiers at a price to leave enough for a good preamp.
I've got a Krell Ksa-250 driving Apogee Duetta Signatures, If you are thinking of the Ksa-150 then this is a better amp for a few hundred more. The Ksa-250's sound is a hair towards the softer side of neutral ( I've not listened to your speakers ) but do know that they drop below 4ohms at around 50hz-200hz region.
The Ksa-250 is a monster amp, this brings to the table a few problems for some people.
2. Needs 20amp circut
3. Class A to around 50 watts so runs on the warm side
4. you need one that has been serviced in the last few years, shipping on this amp is big $$$..I know because I had mine serviced about 1.5 years ago.
That said, this is a very good sounding amp and IMO sounds as good as the small FPB's..the main reason I still have mine. These can be found at around $2,200 with resent service if you take your time looking.
Bfuehrer, you are smart to be looking for a powerfull separate amplifier for your great speakers. I agree with Kevinkwann in that a system with Hales does not have to be bright, but I wouldn't claim that Hales tweeters are not bright. They are quite correctably bright.
Also Hales are no SO hard to drive. If they were, your integrated would not still be working. They are, however, a deep well for wattage and benefit from a fairly stable amp. The impedance and phase are plotted in the archived review section of Stereophile's website.
There are not so many suitable amps in your price range that you cannot investigate most of them. One I think you should consider is the Classe CA-300. I'm not claiming its categorically the best amp for the money, but it gets along with Hales very well, without brightness. Another high power amp company that springs to mind (that I have no experience with) is McCormack.
As far as preamps you can do better than Krell.
Bfuehrer if your system sounds bright you might want to take a look at your room. Brightness has a lot less to do with your system than you might think.
Set up is huge and treating the room can cost less than new, while reaping greater rewards. Check out http://www.rivesaudio.com they might be able to give you some insight.
FWIW the weakest link in your system seems to be your cable. I owned some of that in the past and was not real happy with it when I had the Ruby.
NRCHY, I have considered going to a cable from transparent audio, after auditioning some in my system I felt that it had a much smoother sound without the grain in the highs.
I tried different speaker placement tonight, according to the "golden rule theory" on the Cardas website. My room is 16'5" WIDE, x 22' long. With the speakers on the short wall, approx. 88" from the wall, and 53" from the side walls, the sound stage was dramatically better. I am beginning to hear what the Hales can really do, and I have owned them for 3 years!
After about an hour and a half of listening, I moved them back to the original position, 48" out and 36" from sidewalls, and I was floored at how BAD they sounded compared to the other postioning. Less soundstage, shrill treble, and muddy bass.
I still think that more power would give the speakers more "punch" and "immediacy", since they sounded a little flat that far out in the room.
Howdy, I just picked up the new Krell integrated, the KAV- 400ix, to drive my B&W CDM9's. People consider these speakers to be bright. I don't completely agree w/ this assessment, but I digress. The KAV-400 sounds great. This is a big step up from the B&K/Odyssey combo it replaced. Clear, articulate, fast with well controlled deep bass. This amp grabs hold of my woofers better than the odyssey does. Check out the new Krell integrated, 200 watts per channel and $2500 list, you might be surprised.
Bfuehrer be careful it sounds like this might be going from a hobby to an obsession! Placement is soo important. The entire sound of a system will change dramatically with proper setup and placement, and it's free!
You are right about the new amp, but gives rives a chance. You can spend less and get more.
PS I have nothing to do with Rives, although I have bought a couple of things from them.
Hello, here is an update to my system. I came across a Krell ksa 250 and what an improvement in my sound! The bass has punch and rhythm, hard to explain but an overall sense of the amp being in command of the speakers! This is what I have been lacking in the sound. I am currently using the pre-outs on the kav-300i to drive the ksa 250. I still need a preamp, and have now been reading favorable reviews of the krell kbl. any thoughts on this?
Congrats on the new (old) amp. I have a Ksa-250 on the bottom half of my Apogee Duetta Signatures. If you have not installed dedicated 20amp circut for this amp..I would do so as it's current draw can exceed 15amp circut with some speaker systems, this can effect it's sound quality. I've tried balanced and single ended connections on mine, balanced sounds better.
One of the nice things about this amp is the ability to stear it's sound in any direction you want with upstream components.."roll your own" flavor. I would play around with speaker placement for a good bit before buying a pre-amp, once you've formed an opinion (take notes even) of what direction you would like your system to take, find a pre-amp or other upstream component that will lead you there.
The best pre I have had in my system up to this point was a passive (Bent Audio TVC). The problem with that setup was volume level could have been to low for some people with very hard to drive speakers. The Krell needs more than 2v output from cdp to reach full output. The very easy to drive VMPS supertowers I had as mains at that time were not a problem at all, not sure my bi-amped Duetta Sig's would work as well with the Bent TVC but I may give it a try in the future.
Thanks for the info. What preamp are you currently using? In your opinion, what tradeoff am I making right now running through the kav 300i as a preamp, using the pre-outs? This is an integrated amp btw. I will try to install a dedicated 20a line as you say. I did this at the last house I owned and the improvement was noticeable even with the kav300i.
Well, it' a long story but I'll try to keep it short.
If you click on my system you can see some pictures of my present system turmoil. I am at this time forced to use the digital-out from my Technics Dvd A-10 into the DAC of my Sunfire theatergrand pre-pro. When I had the Bent passive pre in the system I had the Sony XA-777 sacd player in the system also. I sold the Bent and the Sony to help pay for a complete speaker system change-over: Going from all VMPS multichannel system>all Apogee multichannel speaker system.
The new room should be done soon and I will be adding back into the system another higher quality cdp and another higher quality two channel pre.
As far as the kav-300i, I have never listened to that unit. I do have a kav-500 amp that I use on the top of my bi-amped Duetta Sig's..it's a great sounding amp for that use but does not have near enough power for difficult to drive loads. The Kav series of components are very good..but are built to a much lower standard than other Krell gear, for instance: the Krell Kav-250 is a great sounding amp with plenty of power for most use, except difficult to drive loads. This is the amp that causes the word bright to be used in context with Krell, it's not a bright amp at all. People see the name Krell on it and assume it will do what the other Krell's will do..that is: drive any speaker system with-out strain. It won't, it can't and it does not, it clips and sounds bright.
I've found that pre-amp have a greater effect on sound quality than amps (unless the amp is of poor design or not up to the task of the job given it). The Ksa-250 is said to sound great with tubes (I have not tried them). It's a great match with passive in most systems (it was in mine) and should be a great match with Krell pre-amp of your choice. How does the pre-amp section of the Kav-300i sound to you? Is there something you want more of..or less of? Is the soundstage to forward or to far-back? I know it's large enough so I won't ask that. Are you using balanced outs?
I told you I'd make a long story short?? Sometimes I can't shut-up.
I think that the soundstage is a little too forward for my taste. I guess that I am blaming the preamp section of the kav300i. I read that this is a class "a" preamp section, but wonder what tradeoffs were made to fit into a 2500 dollar integrated? I have hear some tube preamps and have been impressed, but think that keeping everything Krell will result in a synergy that I want.
Today, I borrowed some Transparent Music Link cables to try out. One is the Standard cable, and the other is the Plus cable. I want to see if they take some of the grain out of the system that I hear. From what I have gathered, the components that I have should be relatively high resoloution and without grain. I think that the Audioquest Ruby cables may be contributing to this.
Will let you know how this turns out.
I am also wondering about the likelihood of the KSA 250 needing to be serviced. When switched on, there is an audible "clunk", and also when switching off. Does this mean that Capacitors need to be upgraded?
Thanks for all of the feedback.