I have the kps 20i, it replaced a Sony XA777ES. The improvements over the Sony were not subtle. It projects a very wide and deep soundstage with no sign of grit or grain. The Sony is much more laid back compared to the more forward sounding Krell. I always thought the Sony was a good player but the Krell beats it in every way, even in SACD. However the benefits are only noticeable when running in balanced mode. When using the single ended output the Krell sounded similar to the Sony but with a touch more bass and less grain. I have listened to several current players the Levinson 390s, Classe cdp10, Mcintosh mvp851, Rega Jupiter, Sony XA9000es. And while all of them are good players with varying strengths, none sounded as real or exciting as the Krell. Interestingly the current Krell kav player sounded quite bad, very harsh and grainy. The built in preamp on the 20il may not be as good as a seperate pre. I havent heard the much more expensive players - Wadia, Audio Aero, Accuphase etc they are probably better but at a significantly higher price. Perhaps newer doesnt mean better.
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