I sold them for a bit and while I would have rather brouhgt home a class A 200 or 300 this was what fit my budget.Has a lot of snap to it i.e. quick dynamics but you would need to match it with softer products as it does have a tendency to be strident.But class A/B or pure A there is notheing that has a "grip" on bass the way Krell does that is why for many years inthe 90's speaker manufacturers used them to demo speakers.Clean highs,good bass control but yes the mids especially tend to be "metallic sounding".Often times Krell can sound like a lab instrumnet not a musical one.But for $1K price a 300I can be gotten for it might not be a bad buy.Just get a set of wires to soften the nastibess.I sold them to some freinds and we had XLO and MIT cables but I would tell these freinds to get a set Cardas which work pretty well.All of this is of course dependent on what speakers you are going to use-do they need the current/watts offered and will they tame some of the negatives.I would never use Krell with say Maggnepan as they ruthlessly revealing but they worked oK with the B&W we sold since they were somewhat fogiving.Remember this the Krell can't suck since they sold a hellof a lot of them and that's why you see as many used as you do.
Agree with Chazzbo. I owned Krell KAV300i and it was a good amp, typical old Krell sound.
New Krell KAV400ix is better than 300i but, problem is that many people compare them with FPB( like FPB450Mcx) series which is in another class...
KAV400ix is currently cheaper than most of its competition( Plinius 9100 and 9200, etc.). If you matched them(KAV400xi or 300i) carefully you will get good results.
the krell, like the mac, the accuphase,and a handfull of other brands like spectral etc., is an iconoclistic company that builds a wonderful product. they are never the flavor of the month and don't need to be. no offense to the other brands you've named, but they all would like to have the loyal 'cult-like' following of krell instead of the phony reviews take buy them a little more time in the spotlight.
I know of a few people that like Krell integrateds. Have you listened to the 400xi? Also, your statement about the same companies coming up with integrateds doesn't make much sense. You're forgetting companies like Musical Fidelity, McIntosh, Cary, Jolia, Pathos, Chord, VAC labs, Mistal, Antqiue Sound Labs, Accuphase, Jeff Rowalnd, Naim, Marantz, Rega, Creek, Edge, and Bel Canto.
I have earlier owned one Krell KAV 300i and then even created a bi-amplification with the addition of a Krell KAV 150a. These where VERY good products for the money. Althought the 150a is quite rare, you should be able to find a 300i on the second hand market for a very interesting price. The sound is full, good dynamic, although lack the finess of "real" (more expensive) amps.
My old krell used to drive German Isophon loudspeakers with good result. I even tried them on "Prodigy" from Martin Logan. Good combination, although these loudspeakers deserved better,...why I changed...
I owned one of the first Krell Integrateds and it basically sounded like a receiver. Sold it after 4 months. Not a Krell fan but I am sure their separates have to be much better. I would so hope anyway.
Krell built their reputation on pure class A amps that could double down and down again, with the ability to effectively drive some speakers that many others couldn't. Their intergrateds don't qualify on any of those levels. Ergo not a "real" Krell, and to many the sell out of a great name.
Heard one at a dealer when I auditioned speakers: smooth as silk, punchy in the lows and with an extended high frequency range that some could mistake for harshness at the extreme but that is merely extended highs that show cymbals and triangles in a most positive light.
I have the 400xi driving some B&W's. Tough as nails bass control, extended, transparent highs and somewhat papery mids. Glass like clarity and character, IOW a little cold. That being said, the overall sound is surely recording dependent. It will give you what's on the CD. Nice smoothly recorded CD's will sound sublime while typical compressed pop will sound as expected.
I realize this is an entirely subjective exercise - caveat delivered. I listened to the 400, and love treble and high midrange, but found them to be a bit hard & metallic in this regard. Could have been speakers, cable or source CD, but after trying a few variations on the theme, it seemed to be the Krell. To be fair, not sure if it requires an extended break-in period, but this was my experience at the dealer. Higher end Krell amps didn't seem to exhibit this characteristic, and were remarkably high in quality, but that particular experience was the only thing that kept me from the purchase. Otherwise, iron grip, silent backgrounds and a high degree of detail were the pluses. Carefully matched speakers that will take the edge off harsh highs while retaining the essential details (the Dali Helicon 400 comes to mind) may moderate the treble/mid effect.
I had the KAV-300i and liked it. For solid state, the Krell used a little less negative feedback than most transistor amps, so it had a surprisingly open midrange and good dynamics. It also had the "signature" Krell solid bass control even if its damping factor was a little high compared with many other transistor amps. Sound stage really improved with bi-wired speaker cables. Compared to other equipment, it seemed to show less change in sound with changes in interconnects, but better quality cables were always apparent. The sound can be just a bit "dry" sounding (often quoted about Krell) with some cables, but a careful choice solved this. It was never harsh or "metallic" sounding. "Build quality" could be improved. I appreciated having both balanced and single-ended inputs on the same amp so that it was compatible with many input devices. A good after-market power cord really improved the sound as well. It was a lot of fun.
I don't get the Krell negatives(is it because they were the best?). Anyhow, I recommend Nuforce amps and the Oritek X-2 interconnects.
If the Pentagon built power amps they would look and sound like Krell.
I had a KAV 300i for awhile. Never fed it anything over 40 Hz and it did O.K. Seemed like cheap junk to me. Macho wrapping around a cheap, flimsy build quality. I think Krell is the penultimate reviewer sell up. There have to be 40 better choices out there.
When you're the best in class you attract all the detractors. Kind of a backhanded complement; I'm sure Dan D'agostino knows this.
And while we're on it, Thiel too.
>>I think Krell is the penultimate reviewer sell up. There have to be 40 better choices out there.<<
There are far more than 40.
I can't believe that for 2500 US bucks there are 40 better.
I picked mine up used for $1600. It's driving a pair of Maggie 1.6s, so I need the power. I'm very happy with the sound, although I would agree that it's not for everyone. Someone in the above posts called it cheap junk - You may not prefer the sound, but cheap junk is the last thing I'd call it, especially for a $2500 amp.
Pricing is not always commensurate with quality. Many high end audio brands ride their reputations with the support of the magazines and the blind allegiance of the uninformed. In my experience many of the better deals in new equipment come from companies that have yet to achieve reviewer sanction.
For my part, I feel that Krell is masquerading.
I can't speak to any other Krell product besides the KAV-400xi. I've hear some of their stuff that happened to be in set-ups at dealers but never paid too much attention. Always out of my price range.
As far as the 400xi goes, I believe that anyone looking for an amp anywhere near the price range should have a listen. That is if they can leave the "Krell baggage" at the door.
btw: If you do listen, make sure it's warmed up - At least 2 hrs. from cold steel, or 30 to 45 minutes if it's been in standby.
Macrojack, I'm not sure if your refering to Krell in general or to the intergrateds that are the subject of this thread. I'll assume it's the latter, in which case I agree. If it's the former, I'd have to disagree. For a long while Krell didn't offer their goods to magazines for review.
I bought 2 new 400xi and I am not insane. People cry it is harsh/bright,overheated...whatever guys. I love this baby Krell and they are here to stay in my system. For those who don't believe in SS warming up, after 30 to 60 minutes warm-up this baby sounds beautifully warm and open. 400xi is at its best above 50db at volume. 400xi is like a beautiful bitch, if you don't have a good CDP up front, 400xi will reveal the naked truth. Pair the 400 xi with Krell CDP or SACD standard, you have the best sound there is within the comparable budget.
Look, I can't afford Krell, but, come on, they are great.
Audio components like women: someone's trash is other's treasure. Ever wonder about the ratio of audio component turn-over for re-sale here on Audiogon and the ratio for divorce. A lot of rave reviews about certain components as lust, warm sounding but in my house they sound like my son puting the blanket over the speakers. Here is another one: "The ...intergrated will bring you close to the soundstage..." what they meant to me is : "Sorry but it is one hell of harsh and forwarding sound" . Sound familiar! Trust your own ears. There is always love and hate toward different signature sounds. It is what it is. Spending $2,500.00 for an intergrated then matching with a cheap DVDP or CDP won't cut it and the result is one hell of a good deal for Audiogon bargain hunter...We should not be crying but be cheerful since there is always good deals on Audiogon now and then due to this hate and love ritual. You want to know how the 400 XI sounds, don't have to go far, Tweeter there is. No fancy ICs, no anaconda sized PCs, just the SACD Standard and the 400 xi and your choice of ML or Jm labs. Bring some good and not so good SACDs and CDs let your own ears do the critics. Trust your own ears. I love mine and it is fine with me if you don't like them. Who cares!
I have come to the conclusion that some folks simply want Krell gear to sound harsh and bright. The reason for this escapes me but it may have something to with the fact that they make such great electronics. Tall blades of grass are the first to be cut down.
The same goes for Thiel. Perish the thought that anyone in their right mind would ever run these these two brands in combination...like I do. ;-)