Your Pass is a pure Class A amplifier and the Krell is not. Since your speakers are not so power hungry, I would think your pass would be hard to beat. I have heard the Krell 402e and it is a very, very good amplifier. I just bought the smaller, and much less expensive, Krell S-275 because it sounded similar to the 402e. My dealer, who carries the Krells has said that the 302e is a fantastic amp. Based on what I have heard of the Evo series, I would have to say that the 302e would be a great amp in any system.
Again, the fact is that your pure Class A Pass may be really tough act to follow
.Hopefully you can do some auditioning.
Let us know what you find out.
I own the XA160.5's and was considering the Krell 402 before choosing the Pass. I agree that the Krells are quite good. Not as warm as the Pass, but very transparent and with vibrant color in the midrange. I have only heard them with Focal beryllium models, and this seems like a good pairing IMO. You shouldn't have to travel too far to hear one.
More power is an advantage even with un-power hungry speakers.
I have heard the Krell Evo 402 directly A-B'd to the 402e and the improvement with the 'e' model was immediately evident to all in the room, more open and cleaner, smoother and more natural top end, a significant improvement. FWIW from several long conversations with Dan and Brett D'Agostino the more power the amps have in the Evo line the better they sound, before leaving/getting kicked out of Krell, Dan was working on a two chassis 1,800 Watt Evo amp....
When you buy Krell, go big!
I have tried both brands. Both brands sound good but if you like your XA 30.5 you will not like the sound of the Krell. The Krell sound is a bit dry for my taste. I have a Pass Labs X350.5 and did have a Krell EVO 302 and 402 in my home for evaluation before buying my X350.5. I also owned a XA30.5 for for 5 months that used for a speaker project and liked it better than the Krell amps. The delicate detail, smoothness, sound presentation, wide open soundstage and tonal balance was all better with the Pass Labs. Both brands have different design philosophies. Krell amps have very complicated circuit and power supply designs. The Pass Labs use very simple and straight to the point circuit and power supply designs. I find myself turning up the volume on the Krell amps to get the detail and then other problems would occur and then I want to turn it down because now my ears are fatigued. It is a vicious cycle with the volume control. The Krells sound good for 5 to ten minute demos and then I am done listening. The newer big Krells are Class A/B. Class A is different kind of power. It is much more rich, open then class A/B. 30 Watts of Class A is the equivelant of 90Watts of Class A/B in most cases depending on design, input impedance, and headroom. I will upgrade to the Pass Labs XA160.5 mono blocks sometime this comming summer.
Well so many people so many opinions. I have the Pass XP20 and XA160.5 driving my Wilson Sasha. Recently I upgraded to Krell EVO600 mono blocks + Krell EVO222 using cast cable. The Krell sounded better on the Wilson in every aspect, more detail, more air, more open, bass control better. The most detail was however the speed. The Krell was faster and more dynamic.
On the Wilson speakers I preferred the Krell setup. On other speakers the choise may of course be a diffent one.
My audio friends all had the same opinion. On the Wilson the Krell was a better match.
I just this past Friday picked up my Krell EVO 402 which was upgraded at Krell to the 402e spec amp. New faceplate, new box, etc. They told me that it would need a week or so of break-in to sound the way it should sound.
The change in sound quality was apparent from the moment it was plugged in. I forgot immediately all the cursing I had done moving that heavy amp back into the system. It is an amazing upgrade in sound quality. Much more than I ever expected.
The sound? Instrumental parts are more clear, the sound presentation is fuller and warmer. The echo on tracks (both concert hall echo and studio recording echo) is shorter, more accurate, less ring. There is a more open presentation of the overall sound, but especially more open and relaxed in the top end. Dynamics are more apparent but also more relaxed; if that sounds confusing then let me say that everything sounds more like music than before.
It is a huge upgrade in sound quality for the money. Krell did the upgrade in a week and it is worth every penny--and I have only been listening for 24 hours. I am eager to see what develops after a week.
I have had some tubeamps over(ayon audio)recently and have had levinson and graaf gm 200 and some others .
The opinion that i have of krell ( i have the evo 400 monos )is that they are clean ,,...clean and in control/ dynamic, it takes a while to get used to because they dont have a sound and therefore no character and its hard to like something that way.
I upgraded my Krell Evo 600's to 600e's. I also own a 300e. I have owned a couple of S275's, and have a new 400e on order. All of these amps, including the S275 are great sounding amps. All of the Krell Evo amps are absolutely superb amps, just stunning. The music these amps reproduce sounds incredibly alive and beautiful, especially when paired with a Krell Evo pre-amp. If you are going to spend the money on an EVO amp, it makes sense to match it with a Krell Evo pre-amp; it makes a huge difference, especially with cast mmf cables. The evo e series improves the sound incrementally over the prior generation. Krell Evo audio equipment is among the very best available. I have never compared Krell evo to the Pass amp. I would expect the Pass to be a bit darker (like the older Krell's), the Krell Evo will probably sound faster more vibrant and life-like. It would be an interesting comparison. I would be curious to hear how you feel they compare. Maybe your dealer would give you a loaner to try out. Go for the E series (but match it with a Krell Evo pre-amp).
How much did the upgrades to "e" cost you each?
I owned Krell exclusively until I purchased the 402, 222 amd 505 system....dry, brittle and lacking in contrast. Tone was warm but somehow less colorful. The sweetest most alive Krell amps were the original FPB's and the KCT. Maybe the e versions are better, but for me Krell is a name for the record books of the past. Keep the Pass amp!
The New 302 E is much much better in ever way it has tons of technology from their flagship model including the ACT
cascading technologys which the 302 does not have. The New 302E sound better than the older 402. I have heard one to one at the audio store and it is no comparision it even doubles doen 300,600, 1200 wpc into 2 ohms and can be bought for around $9k with a good dealer .IMO the best amp out there under $10k on the planet.I heard the classe stuff and the new $8k Levenson not quite there this has a 3,000va transformer ,the levenson for instance 2-400s.
Do your home work .I am working to get one hopefully for Xmas 2011,hope my wife reads this !!
Does it mean that the original Evo-302 doesn't double, ie 300, 600, 1200W on 8, 4, 2 Ohms respectively..??
the original may double down but does not the the trickle down Evolution technologies which have the cast current driven stage the lesser models donot and much more natural sounding .
Are you familiarized too with differences in design between original Evo-400 and new Evo-400e..?
I cannot see any specific design enhancement of this particular model reading specifications from Krell site.
Dave_b, did you ever try the Krell system with another cdp?
I used FPB 600c, 700cx, KRC_HR, KCT, KPS 25sc and KPS 28c.
The KRC_HR is much smoother and warmer than KCT. 700cx was darker and smoother than 600c. KPS 28c was probably what i liked least of the Krell units i owned. I think the KCT is perhaps slightly strict and stiff, it does not offer same sense of musical pleasure as KRC_HR did. I think i had better used 700cx and KCT with a similar cdp to todays ARC CD 8.
In the quest for utter control and neutrality, at times some musicality is lost. I have been told the later Krells should be better. I have not had the chance to even hear them though.
I have heard many using the Krell amps + pre's, but more musical cdps. If they sound similar to the later Krells i owned, it seems like a good option.
I know the krell700cx is a little old, but dark sounding?, depends what you use for a cpdp, preamps, never liked any of them, seems to dilute the signal,shortest interconnect, speaker cables help alot as well,very extreme high dollar cables at that seem to do the trick!, seems that the ayon 2s cpdp run straight into amp is in a league of its on,this cpdp is a tube player,4 tubes to be exact,doesnt sound tubey, ayon is not known for that,the sound?, stunning to say the least,never had the chance to here the 402e amp yet, look forward to it,the older 402 evolution amp?, I agree with the gentleman earlyer, the fpb700cx sounds more alive, more real,pure class a, not ab, however i have been told the e seris krell is really good,hopfully i will get chance to find out, It all does come down to impeadence matches, and ,well synergy! i must say,fpb700cx dark? you had some very inferior cables, and cpdp.
The 'e' series has much more aligned output stages and a enhanced power supply, at CES a couple years ago when they first came out Krell demoed the 402 v 402e and the room unanimously agreed the e series was a significant improvement, they are more open and smoother and more musical, they are well worth the upgrade!
I already upgraded from Evo-400 to Evo-400e.. Cannot comment easily the sound differences between the two series of power amps apart from the rest of the chain, since I acquired the Phantom preamp as well (Evo-222 earlier). But, in total - night and day.
I ordered a Krell 302e for driving a set of B&W 802 diamond. I am wondering if an upgrade to 402e would make sense or if I will be just right with the 302e.
In the Evo line of amps, the more power they have the better they sound, Dan explained it to me once why, but we were at dinner and wine was involved so I cannot recall the reason.
FWIW you might want to wait a bit as Krell is showing all new amps at CES this year so the Evo's should drop some in price once they hit the shelves
I don't think there will be any drop in Evo series prices... The rumoured new A-class line of Krells will be, in terms of concept, some kind of replacement to previous AV separates. The flagship Solo-575 monoblock will cost $11275 per piece, which is cheaper than the smallest Evo-e monoblock (Evo-400e, $12000 per piece)...
The krell 302E is great. You may get some better headroom and separation with 402E but i doubt you will notice the diferecne justifying exta $$. I compared them in my system and kept 302E. Great ampifier. Enjoy.
Krell has been e-mailing me all the details of their new amps, complete with pics!, we will see what happens with the evo E series, I do know for fact that the new amps are pure class A again with this new Bias technology that keeps the amps at a very low temperture and still uses green power for stand-by mode, This is from what I understand the first class A amp in the world to be able to do what I listed here, LOL!, Krell also showed me their patent on these new amps with their E-mail to me, I am assuming the evo E amps will be discontinued soon, either way best of luck fellow members.
I suspect you are wrong Audiolabyrinth as Krell has already pulled the Evo line from it's website.
These are the new Krell amps, the Evo's are gone!
@ Kennyt, LOL!, You read my post wrong!, I said, If you understand english, Krell would likly discontinue the evo E line!, therefore buddy, you are wrong!
@ Kennyt, Hi, I talked to Bill Mckeagan today, The krell president, Its also on their site, under archived product, I am truly sorry to tell you it is confirmed! Krell has indeed discontinued the Evo E line of amp products!
Anyone can share some a/b comparison between a pass xa30.8 and a krell evo 302e?
I am interested in the evo 302e, I am using a pass int30a now.