Krell FPB300 vs 400CX

Hi all

A friend was kind enough to lend me his Cello Duet 350 power amp to try in my system. Compared to my Krell FPB300, the Cello was delightfully grain-free in the upper mids and highs, it was more resolving of inner detail, and there was more space between the instruments. Ultimately I preferred the Krell though, due to its better dynamic contrasts and drive, which make the music more involving. Nevertheless, I'm now aware of a graininess to the the krell, and the way it homogenises the instruments a little. (The Krell is not on a dedicated mains supply BTW, although I hope to install one, one of these days)

Doing the comparison has shown me where I need to go with the next upgrade, i.e keep the dyamics but lose the grain and gain some space.

My Krell dealer can do the internal upgrade from FPB300 to 400CX for about US$2K. My pre is not CAST so the CAST connection is no use to me, but I understand the upgrade replaces some of the input and output stages.

Has anyone upgraded from FPB300 to 400CX and can shed some light on the improvements? I recall Martin Colloms did a comaprison in HFNRR a few years ago but I don't have access to the review.

Any comments and advice would be greatly appreciated.

My system:
Krell 300cd
Krell KRC-HR pre
Krell FPB300
Aerial Acoustics 10T
Interconnects Siltech and Cardas Golden Ref
Spkr Cable Siltech
ESP Essence power cords

Kind regards
Try a Transparent Pixl (Power Isolator XL) on either unit to lose the grain entirely. Do a search on this forum for this as I've posted about it in the past. Also, you may want to look at your CD player as it may be responsible for some of the grain you're experiencing. Getting a dedicated line installed will help dramatically.
It will be a lot smoother with less strident high end.

You really need a 20 amp dedicated circuit to love your amp. It is not very expensive, even at union rates to "fish" the wire if you have room in your electrical panel. A circuit breaker, nice receptacle like the Porter Port, a single gang cut in box, and the cost of the 12AWG wire for each run. This upgrade and the upgrade to mcx status will really make it happen.

I like Krell and Aerial both.

I used siltech before and still have some, but now I use Sosna emotion xlr and Valhalla speaker wire on Martin Logan cls11z speakers.
Hi Mick,
I too had a 1997 vintage FPB 300 and thought of upgrading it to the 400CX. As you know the 300 can be upgraded to be the sonic equivalent of the new 400CX but the chassis would still be the original unless you paid for a complete chassis too. In making my decision I looked at the economics and felt that upgrading was not a good move financially. The current value of an FPB 300 is $3500 and the current value of the FPB 400CX is $5500, as per Audiogon ads. The cost of the upgrade is $2K and doesn’t include the new chassis nor does it include the round trip freight back to Krell. I felt that the money spent on the upgrade would most likely not increase the overall resale value of the 300 by nearly as much as it cost me.

If you do decide to follow the upgrade path here’s a brief description of what I was told happens.
There are two upgrade's available for the FPB 300. The CAST upgrade and the X upgrade. The "catch" here is that you cannot get the X upgrade unless your amplifier is up to "c" or CAST version level. Meaning that certain elements of the X upgrade cannot be installed unless your amplifiers internal circuitry is at "c" or CAST level.

The CAST upgrade. This upgrade replaces the driver board (the 2nd largest PC board on each amp channel) with a superior sounding version of this board that also allows Krell to access the amplifiers full CAST (Current Audio Signal Transmission) capability. Krell also installs CAST input connectors on the rear panel. Even if you are not operating in CAST there are still tremendous sonic benefits from this upgrade even when operating in balanced (XLR).

The X upgrade. This upgrade increases power output an additional 100 watts per channel in addition to increasing bandwidth (from 20Hz to 100KHz up to 20Hz to 400Hkz). The added power and increased bandwidth combine to provide you with even more of why you bought your Krell amp in the first place. When all is said and done your original version FPB amplifier will now be (at least sonically speaking) identical to a brand new "x" version FPB stereo amplifier.

Even though the 300CX only has a 2KVa transformer versus the 4KVa transformer of the 400CX (and original FPB300) I found the new 300CX to have far greater extension and control than my original 300. It truly sounded better in all regards, better bass extension, more accurate and detailed sound staging, better midrange and treble presentation as well as more upper end detail activity, so I replaced my original 300 with a 300CX. One thing that will benefit your Krell amp is to run it into a dedicated 20amp main. They love the current.
An expert I'm not but I hope you find some useful info here.
I can't really comment on the comparison, but I can on the power requirments. When I upgraded to the fpb 400cx about a year ago. I started blowing the 15amp breaker when raising the volume to above mid levels. I ran a single dedicated 20amp line to the amp with 10AWG wire. This not only fixed the power problem but the sound was better too. I am not eloquent enough to describe the sound improvements, but it was not small.
PS. I do love this amp and will only change when I can afford the mono 450mcx units.