Krell Digital Vanguard or Parasound Halo integrated?


Looking for actual owner/user opinions on either of this pair of integrated amps.

There maybe other contenders but this is where I am down too right now.

Needs..
Xlr, rca analog inputs
Digital spdif, toslink, usb inputs.
Headphone amp if possible.( not a major).
Fairly compact, modern, reliable., great factory USA based support.

Will be going into my second home in North Carolina. Sources will be a music server of some description and a tt.
Speakers to be determined but likely small form factor floorstanders or decent stand mounts.

Thank you.
6db47fb2 f8db 415d a4f7 49a7b6ed12b0Ag insider logo xs@2xuberwaltz
Just so you are aware, the Halo Integrated has been discontinued.  The new product is the HINT 6, an upgraded version of the original model.  The price has also increased from $2,500 to $3,000.  

Some dealers may still have the original in stock, but I think the upgraded version will be worth the extra money.  While the upgrades aren't 'game changers', they are solid and worthwhile improvements that justify the price increase.  The most notable is the improved potentiometer with digital volume readout.
@audiothesis.
T
hank you I was not aware of that . I had been just looking at used models primarily.
Both are great units.  I've sold several of the Halo Integrateds and the clients always enjoy them.  The Krell I've heard and it is nice as well.  

I'm not sure you are going to find the answer you are looking for here as I think both units will appeal to a different flavor of speaker.  I've always been of the mindset that you choose your speakers, then your amp - not the other way around.
Yes you could be right but I always prefer to hear from actual owners/users of anything. You can get a great insight into any quirks or known issues and general "what is it like to live with" type of feel.
And usually somebody will also come up with another suggestion which can open other doors of exploration I had missed previously
@uberwaltz...…………………………

I had the Parasound Halo Integrated for 1 1/2 years in a secondary system. I had a Sony Music server and a Magnum Dynalab tuner for the front end and GE Triton One speakers. The sound was fast with powerful bass nice smooth mids and good highs. There was detail but never brightness. Only reason I sold it was because I went full Mac.
@stereo5 

Now that is exactly the sort of information I am looking for.
Obviously my results will vary based on source, speakers, room etc etc.

Ever any issues?
@uberwaltz...…………..

No, never an issue.  I played that integrated at least 5 hours a day, every single day, and it never got more than very mildly warm.  You really can't go wrong with it. 
Very nice to know,does not hurt it is a fair bit cheaper than the Krell to boot!
And I have read many good things on Parasound customer service.
Parasound as a company is first rate.  When I showed at RMAF last year Phil made it a point to come see me and introduce himself, which I found very humble.  They've always been supportive and want anyone involved with their products to get nothing but the best they can offer.
uberwaltz
there are a few of the guy here that own Krell Vanguard. Hopefully, they will see this post and reply accordingly.  From the reading and reviews, the Krell, is very powerful.  Keep us posted.
Happy Listening!
2nd note;
 dave_b   -has had his Krell for quite awhile now. I also believe that he is into music server/streaming device(s) as well.  Hope this helps you.
Happy Listening!
Uber,

Guess what? I just bought used Halo Integrated (my 2nd one, ha) two weeks ago. Very powerful, dead quiet, and slightly on the warm side, associated equipment dependant of course.

I don’t use the phono stage, it’s mediocre at best w/ very little adjustability. The built-in DAC is surprisingly great. It’s an older ESS 9018 chip, but it’s implemented very well, or at least I would guess from the SQ IMHO.

I went back to using a subwoofer, so the built in high/low pass filter and crossover work very well. Bass management was a huge plus and deciding factor for me. Nice to have that option when needed.

Never heard KRELL, but reviews are outstanding most of the time.

I give two thumbs up for Parasound.  And, if you care about such things, Stereophile Class A recommended.
Choose your speakers first.
In this case speakers are likely to not be as relevant as the feature set I need in the integrated.
However if the Scansonic mb2.5 I have up for sale do not sell then they will get used for the time being.

Just my opinion.....
@uberwaltz................

How is the bass on your Scansonic speakers?   I have never heard them.  I did hear the Raidho 4.1 a few years back but never the Scansonic.   What are you looking to replace the Scansonic with?
@stereo5
I bought the Scansonic right here from a very trustworthy member at a very fair price.
T bh I was pretty shocked just how solid the bass was on these, obviously not low as physical impossible but more solid and palpable than I would have believed from smallish drivers.
Soundstage and imaging is first rate and they truly disappeared.
The only area I thought maybe needed a little help was the top end especially acoustic guitar, piano, female vocals etc. Nothing bad you understand just left me a little cold. However they still need breaking in so anything can change yet.
Then I was browsing and a pair of Triangle Altea ESW caught my eye at a stupid price and just had to give them a try.
No other way to say it but these are the best sounding speakers so far in my setup. There seems to be complete and perfect synergy. Vivid, dynamic, sparkling without harsh. And SLAM. I do not care that they are 2005 model and only cost $2000 new I am floored by them so far.
Btw for 2005 age they are 9/10 at least.
While recuperating from surgery I have been playing them like 10 hours a day and no fatigue on any type of music or source at all.

I think the Scansonic are fantastic for the price, look real well built and modern but these triangles just leave them for dead in my room and my system.
YMMV
You’re welcome uberwaltz. 😉What components, cables, etc are you using with the Triangles?  I’d like to get a pair of the Cometes someday.  I’d hook em up with a nice little modest tube integrated amp.  Enjoy!
David!
Yes I am very happy with the Triangles I got from you as you may tell...lol.
Condition was better than I expected considering age etc and the sound is just perfect with my system.
My components are listed on my system page apart from not updated the speakers yet but quick run down;


Nottingham Analog Spacedeck, Spacearm c/w ZYX RS30 cart
GoldNote PH10 Phono stage
Pioneer DV-79AVI SACD player
Nakamichi 582 cassette deck
Bluesound Vault 2 server for ripped cd and streaming
CPT Equicore-1800 power conditioner
Lyngdorf 2170 integrated
Nearly all interconnects and speaker wires are Nordost, bar a pair of XLR cables that Grannyring made for me.
And of course now Triangle Altea ESW speakers
Nice!  Looks like an excellent vinyl front end.  I just got a Bluesound Node 2 that I need to hook up yet.  Looking forward to streaming.  Take care!
How's the search coming along?
Slowly
Would really prefer to sell some of the gear I have up listed before I spend any more money...lol
I too considered these 2 integrateds a year ago and decided on the Krell Vanguard Digital. I had not heard either unit but I was still using the original Krell KAV 300i integrated, which is still going strong after 20 years of service (!) and I mostly loved it. I wanted digital inputs, thus I decided to upgrade to the new Krell. 

I can say the new Krell sounds very similar to the original. It sounds nothing like some of the units which came in between, those with a softer, rounder, smoother sound. This one has the same powerful command, yet refinement (but not smoothness) of the original. It is not forward; it layers the soundstage back nicely and possesses a rich acoustic, full of color. But it is also robust and quite fulsome in the bass regions, perhaps a touch lose.

That being said, it is by far the most finicky, persnickety piece of audio equipment I've ever used - from power cords, to digital cables, to power conditioning and, most importantly to incoming digital data streams. This Krell tells you everything about the cables feeding it. In the most revealing way. And if it doesn't like something, it sounds like crap. I have had many enlightening experiments with power conditioners. The Krell is not fond of most of them. I have settled on an AudioPrism Foundation .05. Very minimal, clean, high current outlet power strip. The Krell seems happy.

However, I have had nothing but trouble with its digital inputs. Beginning with the Coax (RCA) out from DirecTV, it would not accept it. It crackles and pops and hisses. Switching to the Toslink and everything is fine. Suspecting a problem with the satellite receiver, I had DirecTV replace it with a new unit. Same result with the coaxial connection. The coax connection, however, works perfectly on my CD player. 

Next I tried the HDMI input from my Cambridge Audio universal player. It was very inconsistent with this connection. Sometimes it would lock onto a PCM signal from a CD just fine. Other times it crackles and spit for few seconds before settling onto it. However, trying to get it to recognize a DSD datastream was almost impossible. Cracks and pops and then switching back to PCM. Occasionally it would suddenly lock onto the DSD stream, and it played beautifully! Gorgeous sound! But wen you stop the disc and press play again, it's right back to cracks and pops and spitting at me. Same with simply advancing track to track. Once you stop the player, the Krell had to reacquire the signal and has difficulty doing s every time. 

These problems are not unique to this unit. I sent the first unit back to Krell and they sent me a different unit. Both units behaved identically. I feel this is a real problem with this integrated. I notice Krell is coming out with a new integrated this fall - the K300i (at $8,000 with the digital module). I presume Vanguard is being discontinued. I can't be the only customer upset with all these problems with it.

In the end, I like the sound. But these constant issues with the digital inputs make it most exasperating and frustrating to deal with. I'm ready to cut my losses and buy the newly upgraded Parasound HINT 6. 
As a dealer for both Krell and Parasound, these are both great options.  But,the HINT6 is really the best deal/bang for the buck b/t the two as it's basically half the price of the Krell.
To the OP, I'm in NC and would love to help you out if I can since this is going in to your NC home!
@uberwaltz I’ve owned thr Krell Integrated Vanguard with Digital Module for almost a year now and have been very happy with the decision. 

The Krell is a Class A pre-amp and Sliding Bias Class A amp so the sound has a refinement and power expected in that circuit topology.

I have tried these amps with Sonus Faber Amati’s, Dynaudio Countor 20s and Magico M3s and they made those speakers sing. Great soundstage, imaging, dynamics, presence, resolution, micro details...its all there. 

I use it now for my Verity Audio Parsifal Anniversary’s wired with MIT Matrix 28 speaker cables and again it makes the speakers play beauifully.

My favorite feature is that the Krell with Digital Module has a good DAC/Streamer. I stream Tidal and also use Roon but I find that Tidal through Mconnect App sounds better than Tidal through Roon. It plays MQA as well.

With this feature, the Krell really comes to its own and takes full controll of the music in the entire chain. I’ll even venture to say that it probably is one of the best sounding all-in-ones in this price category.

I also use the balance inputs to play vinyl from my Avid Sequel Sp TT with Ikeda Kai Cart and Moon by Simaudio 610lp Phonostage. Krell does a great job for articulating good front end/source as well. 

For my needs, I am having a diffucult time upgrading to separate components 2-3 times the Krell’s price as I have been richly rewarded by this amp at such a reasonable cost. It is actually the cheapest component in the my system but is a good “mind/heart” for it and does not sound inferior or left behind. It can hold its own with the bigger guys as it comes from a good family after all. 

Yes they are cable and power sensitive so you need to pair well but will be rewarded greatly when you get it right. 

I changed the fuse as well to Synergistic Research Blue Fuse to good effect. 

Lastly, it is a pretty good looking piece of equipment. It’s got a minimalist Bauhaus form factor and hefty solid Remote Control. The newer Krell Integrated looks like a cheap china imitation compared to this unit.

So all in all, I can’t find fault for this unit. Im suprised how underrated it is but from owners you can get a good sense of what it can really do.  

Hope this helps.
goldprintaudio

Happy Holidays to you in NC.
Anyway to hook up the Krell Digital Vanguard to a subwoofer? I notice there is no sub or pre out?