Krell Amps and Pre-amps

Are they that good to justify the costs??

I am considering switching to mono amps across my front three channels and a 2 channel for the surrounds in my home theater. All comments welcome.
krell amps are very good. they are exciting at first but some people get tired of that sound fairly quickly. Levinson is a better sound in my opinion and the reason is because Levinson is much more liquid and transparent compared to the krell and the bass is awesome in the ml products not to mention the soundstage is deeper wider and more convincing than the krell . There are many great companys out there and krell is a great company I just prefer the levinson gear. I go for the most realalistic sound when building a system. best of luck
When one gets to the Krell price range, it's all pretty much a matter of taste. For me, I prefer Krell sound to the Mark Levinson. Several of my audiophile friends are running Krell gear more than a decade old. Krell quality lasts and continues to satisfy for years. The up front cost is higher but amortized over the years of useful service, and considering the proven resale value, it doesn't cost that much more for the highest quality sound.
My question: why are you switching to mono amps as opposed to say the 5-channel Krell or 3-channel Pass Labs or the Theta Digital or BAT VK6200 configured for 5 channels?

I'm interested in what you feel you're gaining by going to monoblocks. The VK6200 really is configured as separate amps in a single chassis with each channel having its own transformer, while the Theta shares a huge transformer for the 5 channels (Theta says they've tested a version of their amp with separate transformers for each channel and the single sounded better with their design).
I see where Lev335 is comming from but I am wondering about the statement on the bass. Krell is probably the most noted for their bass and slam in the entire industry. There are many arguments on "which one is the best", and it entirely relies on the synergy of cables, etc., in the system and the room it is in. This is nothing new to anyone on this site, but I think what Simancd wants to know is weather to use mono amps or multi-chanel amps. I use a KSA-300S into B&W 801 III w/North creek crossovers and the KAV-250a/3 into a HTM center and DS-6 surrounds with awesome results. I have had this system for 4-5 years and am far from tired of the sound or sonic signature. In fact, I could not even begin to think I would be getting a marginal increase in performance unless I spend 10 times the amount. I am using PAD Proteous throughout the system except rear speakers. I hear this all the time about Krell, but that is similar to when people would sell their B&W 801 matrix speakers after only running them with Adcom, B&K, etc. amps. People very rarely knew what they had before extracting the most from it. I am not saying to not try ML or anything else, but you should know what you are after before laying out this type of money. I am not sure I agree with Lev335 on the soundstage either because mine is acurate to the recording, but as for depth that might be because Krell puts you front row and ML is like row 10. As for realistic, I have played drums for 20 years, and all percussion is very realistic to say the least. Remember I am not saying this about all the Krell gear, but for my system this is the case. I have argued with others over the FPB Krell's and in my system the FPB-300 lost the synergy for me. It was at Christmas when I switched and I felt like I got a lump of caol in my stocking. I recommend for Simancd to go for monos if money is not the concern, but for these manufacturers the stereos are considered dual monos in one chasis. I know that the monos would be the best, but for a cost$$$$$$.Listen and choose.
Buy and forget the gear.......listen to the music.
Neither Krell nor Levinson have yet gotten it right enough that I can stand listening to them, although I haven't heard the latest generation stuff yet, and they keep getting closer. Krell has always been unnaturally punchy and technicolor, and Levinson always neutral to the point of sterile and lifeless. And build quality is above average, but not where it counts. My Krell amp was the singularly most unreliable piece of gear I've ever owned, and all the 100 lbs did was to make it a pain in the ass to keep shipping back and forth across the country for repairs. My advice, sure to be pooh-poohed by many: buy Bryston and be happy, it's plenty good enough for HT use and it will never break.
The earlier Krell amps were too dry and too analytical to my taste. The later ones are much better but they also cost a lot.

If you really want mono blocks, I think a better idea is to buy two high quality two-channel amp in vertical passive biamp configuration. For example, two two-channel Theta Dreadnaughts will give you a total of 400w with an over-killed 2200w power supply on each side, for a total cost of about $7000.
I owned a Krell KSA 100 and KAV150a and have recently gotten into Mcintosh. After getting my MC2125, I sold the Krells and wished I had done so long ago! The Krells were just too bright and dead. The McIntosh are so much more refined and musical that I practically cannot believe it. I just bought a MC7100 that is many times better than the KSA100 and makes me appreciate music, and not a collection of sounds. I will never go back to Krell now so IMO, Krell does not justify its cost to me any more.
Maybe I should start another thread on this but, has anyone had a chance to hear or heard how the new PS Audio line is? It looks interesting to me because I also plug my entire Krell system into the P1200/P600 power plants and never could go back. Maybe thats why my Krell sounds sweet to me because I have a good dedicated room with accoustic treatments and the power plants. PS Audio has a nice selection of multi chanel amps and even reference monos. They aren't supposed to require the power draw also that most amps require. Does anybody think they will sound good?
I have always liked PS Audio, they aren't flashy but they do a great job. I haven't heard their recent amps but I have great respect for their P plants. But one comment here: Any amp (or other component) that really needs a P plant is showing you that it doesn't have a good enough power supply section to start with, and this is unfortunately very common (although very good for PS Audio's sales!). In other words, the designer skimped on transformer size/quality and/or power supply filtering, so now you need a separate and expensive unit just to improve on the performance of the original power supply. It's vastly more cost-effective (and space-saving, and energy-saving) to do it right in the first place than it is to have to add an expensive power conditioner. Hence my preference for amps which are designed with high-quality, properly filtered power supplies in the first place, e.g., Ayre. The power supply is perhaps the most important part of a power amp, and it gets way too little attention by most manufacturers, probably mainly because it is also the most expensive part to do right.
As a former amp builder and now power supply designer, I agree 110% with Karls above. If you need power conditioners, you need to find better amps. Go for McIntosh and the others that design good power supplies from the start.
I have to disagree with the statements that "The designer skimped on transformer size/quality and/or power supply filtering, so now you need a separate and expensive unit just to improve on the performance of the original power supply." from Karls and "If you need power conditioners, you need to find better amps. Go for McIntosh and the others that design good power supplies from the start" from Aball. I really don't think there is a problem with the design or quality of the KSA-300S. I don't think Krell is perfect by any means, but I don't think they were far off or skimped anywhere. But there is relevence of taking the wall current and converting it like the power plants do and making a much cleaner and stable current. I would bet you'll hear it on very revealing components (McIntosh, etc.).

Well, one reason I said what I said is because I have witnessed it with my own ears. I had a perpetual ground hum with the Krells, although slight and you had to get close to the speaker to hear it, but it vanished when I got the McIntosh amps. Before selling the Krells, I tried rewiring the outlet and it would not go away so maybe they were doing it(?).

I also want to point out that when I said "go for McIntosh et al." I was not ruling out Krell entirely. Perhaps the models I had were not up to par or something. I have heard other Krell systems that sounded very good and so I am sure some of their amps/systems are fully worthy of their high praise. I did afterall love them for a few years.

I will say that my only disappointment with the McIntoshes is the fact that they ARE so revealing. Some of my not-so-good recordings do not sound great. However, play a well recorded CD and feel chills come over you. Love it.
Hi Simancd, I don't know if you are planning on buying used or new. If you are going to buy new, there shouldn't be a dealer that won't loan you amps to try out in your home. If you are buying used, you take your chances.
My experience is the opposite of Karls concerning the Levinson. I always thought it a bit dark. a little forgiving and not the best in dynamics. Probably one of those system things.
I have to agree with half of what Kre111 said in his second post. Also, I am not sure what Krell you are talking about. I have not liked Krell in the Past. I understand from a very good source that their new stuff is quite good.
Get dedicated lines, good PCs for your amps, and I mean no offence to any PS PP owners, but I think the new lines and PCs will do much more for your sound.
Simoncd, please invest in dedicated lines and PCs. This will be much cheaper than thousands of $$$ wasted on things not needed. Sometimes the search is half the fun.
I wish you the best in your search.
aball: interesting...i have never considered mcintosh to be "highly revealing." in my experience, they are more "musical" than detailed. are you referring to their tube or SS products? i've only listened to the former, which i liked but just not enough to purchase. part of the reason i wasn't thrilled with mac tubes was that they seemed to lack some of the inner detail and spatial information that i heard through other components. maybe their SS stuff is more detailed? just curious.
For Krell1: I am not trying to trash Krell, they obviously are an expensive and heavy amp and use good-sized transformers. BUT that is not nearly the whole story in power supplies. As I mentioned, Ayre is one of the few companies I am aware of that goes to the trouble and expense of a choke-input power supply (i.e., a giant series inductor nearly as expensive as the transformer itself). This makes a gigantic difference in the quality of the power delivered by the power supply, and Krell and most others don't bother. And my ears tell me that it makes a huge difference in sound quality, on the same order of magnitude as adding a really good power conditioner (as you would expect...).
There are many other factors that come into play as well, including capacitor quality and sizing, rectifier types, and so on. In addition, there are other potential solutions that can deliver excellent results, including the excellent new switch-mode supplies on the Linn Klimax and Rowland 10/12. A good source of info on this is Pass's website I am not saying that any designer can make a great power supply easily or for free, but that it certainly can be done if they are willing to put out the effort, and most (including Krell) haven't bothered to take it to this level. That is why some products benefit so significantly from power conditioners, and others either don't seem to care or, if they have really good power supplies, can actually sound worse with conditioners.
i,m new to posting on this board but do have experience with high-end amplifiers, as a consumer. i owned a cj mf 2300 as my first amp, and then traded for a krell ksa200's. the krell amps build, sound, and quality were second to none. i then got the single-ended bug and traded the amp for cary 805's. i have since owned ml 20.6's and am now using fpb 250's. the krell build quality is superior to all these amps in my opinion. as for the sound every amp has its sonic signature and they were all good. i still miss my ksa 200's because of the build, the machined front panel, the brass binding posts and the overall sound quality was right up there with the rest of the amps. on the used market for less than $3000. you can get a ksa 200's which is an outright steal. just wanted to add my input to all who are interested.
s2k_dude: I am referring to their SS only - not very familiar with their tubes. The first time I heard McIntosh was on Thiel 2.2 speakers (I think that was the model) and XLO cables and I was less than impressed. It was an old amp (MC2205 from the 70s) but rather highly regarded by most Mc people but I thought it was vague and definately not detailed. I then heard a MC352 and was floored. I can not afford one yet but found a good deal on the little 7100 I mentioned and with my McIntosh C712, Paradigm Reference 100s, and MIT T2 cables, it is more detailed than either Krell I had (although to be honest I used the Krell mostly on B&W Nautilus 804s if that makes a difference). The layering in the music and the space is amazing, nuances abound, and continuity is impressive with this setup.

Audio equipment works as a system and if they don't agree to it, the sound will not sound up to par no matter what it is or how much it cost. Impedance, capcitance, inductance, bias, etc. all play a role and must work together for great sound. I just lucked out I guess....