Krell KAV-400xi vs KAV-150a vs Outlaw Audio vs ?

Hey All,

My wife hates the size and mismatched looks of our current system, which consists of:

Meridian 508.20 CD Player
Bryston BP25 Preamp
Belles 70 watt Class A Amp (upgraded by Dave Belles in '95)
Kef XQ1 Speakers

She ideally wanted to go with a receiver...which I was pretty down on, though the Outlaw Audio receiver seems to get good reviews.

I just auditioned a Krell KAV-400xi at a local store and was awestruck. They also had a used KAV-150a amp that I was originally looking at.

Am I better off getting the KAV-150a used for $1350 and adding it to the Bryston BP25 and getting a smaller, sleaker system than my existing amp, or am I better off with the KAV-400xi integraded amp? That one costs something of the order of $2700 and I would have to sell off the Bryston, the Belles, a B&K ST2140, and a Sumo 9+ amp I have to be able to afford it. Would I be happy with the very cheap Outlaw Audio Receiver?

Any thoughts, opinions? Other options to consider?

Many thanks in advance,

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Hi Phil,

I can't comment on anything other than the Krell integrated--I've had one for about 2 years now and have used it to drive Thiel PCS and Vienna Acoustics Beethoven speakers. In both cases, it's done an incredible job. That is one quality piece of equipment for the money.

If it's really stretching your budget, you can try the used market, where they top out around $1700.

Good luck!
You probably answered your own question already - you were awestruck by the KAV-400xi. If those are your three choices, the 400 is the one you're going to be happiest with.

Domestic tranquility certainly has value, but if you've put together and use the system you detail above, backing way off in the amp / preamp part of the system for looks is going to gnaw at you for a long time (or at least it would me). It's great that you're willing to try to find a middle ground, but I'd shoot for something that is 98-120% of what you currently have if music is a core part of your life enjoyment.
Get the 400xi. I reviewed it a couple of years ago for Stereo Times and still think very highly of it. It's one of the best things Krell makes and the price is absurdly reasonable.
Hey Guys! Thanks for the response. I was pretty blown away by the soundstage and presence of the 400xi.

Are there any other integrated amps I should look at? I noticed NAD has an M3 which looked interesting...or any other high end receivers? Or am I giving up too much with a receiver?

Thanks so much,

The Ayre AX-7e for $3000 retail is a great integrated. I used to own it and thought it better than the 400xi if you don't need gobs of power. But it's a very different sound and not the type that will "blow you away"--its charms are much more subtle. As usual, system matching, especially with the right speakers, will be critical. The $2000-$3000 range of integrateds is a very rich field, but since you're already a Krell type of guy, I'd say stick with the 400xi. Otherwise, strap yourself in and be prepared to shop for a good while--there are just so many choices out there.
I'm a Krell guy but for my second system I recently installed a Musical Fidelity A5 integrated. Great piece.
Hey Everyone,

Thanks so much for all of the feedback...I bought the Krell 400xi used off a guy on Videogon...can't wait to try it out!
Let us know the outcome after you have received your Krell. I think the improvements would be significant from your current setup with the added quality watts.

Also, I noticed you are using the Kef XQ1 standmounts. Later you might want to add a subwoofer into your system with the additional outputs of you Krell amp. If your room is dedicated, placement of the subwoofer at the corner of the room will not only further reinforce the bass capabilities of the main speakers but make the sound larger and more 3-dimensional. The overall improvement will be quite substantial particularly with small monitors. An option worth considering.
1) Get a Musical Fidelity A3.2 power amp for around $700. Made in
england, with choke regulators, great looking, a real, bargain for the
price. Crystal clear sound.
2) Get an Oppo 970 CD player for $130. Plays SACD. Awesome sound for
that price. Rave reviews.

3) Connect the oppo to the A3.2 not even bother in getting a preamp.
The Oppo has a very good preamp section.

4) Enjoy an awesome amplification system from under 1k!

HI Philhh--let us know how you like it once it's always cool to see how things end up.