Depending on preamp, my choice would be the KSA100. Its one of Krell's best ever. On the other hand, with satilite as a source both are overkill.
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Well, there's hundreds to choose from. Would need to know what preamp you intend to use, what kind of upgrade path you are looking for, your budget, and your system goals (ie: is there something in particular that you want to improve upon?).
IMO the sound quality of satelite radio is marginal at best. Therefore, the best amp in the world won't fix it. When you heard the AR at your local shop, was the source satelite radio?
Either of the two amps you mentioned above will make your Vandys sing if the source is good. Easiliy achieved with a good CD player or turntable & cartridge.
the pre amp is a nad 1600. im not sure what you mean by upgrade path? my budget is 800-1500$. i would like to have a much better stage and instrument clarety, i would like a little more base w/o a powered sub if i can help it. i also have a oppo cd player i use.
the sourse was a cd player from a burned cd off of the ethernet. and he was using definitive tech speakers the ones for 1k each.
i tried using the marantz with the oppo it was a little better and a little louder, but nothing that would make me sit down and liten to my collection again. that is what i am looking for and a amp that i can say o.k. i dont have to worry about that piece being the weak link, when upgrading.
thanks for your opinions bryon
If you can get the ksa-100 for $1000 it's much better for your Vandersteens. I had a kst-100 and now I have an Audio Research 100.2 on Vandersteen 2Ce and it's no comparison. The Audio Research is much better. To appreciate any improvement in amps you have to forget sattelite radio except for casual listening.
You will not get the same sound out of the KAV300r as you will out of the KSA100. The 300 R is a Krell budget component and in my opinion is not much better than many other similar types of components (Rotel, etc. . .). The KSA is a lot heavier because it has a properly designed power supply. With an amp, the power supply is one of, if not, the main component in terms of delivering performance.
As to the AR being better than the Krell, this is subjective. Secondly, keep in mind if you go with the AR you will need to replace tubes on a fairly fixed schedule (to be safe, lets say every 2 years). You better get the tubes from AR (all matched, etc. . . you could read a lot of the "up-in-smoke" stories about these amps and not using properly matched tubes). Replacing these tubes, I think, is currently about $700-800 + shipping the unit to and from AR (Minnesota). It doesn't sound like you want to set this type of budget for yourself and you should be aware of this upfront. Also, if you are getting the AR amp at a very good price, you can expect to have to replace the tubes right away, so factor that into what you are paying.
That being said, the AR tubed amps (several models) are great sounding amps. I am not suggesting in any way that they are not. They are also fairly reliable, assuming you maintain them properly!
The ARC 150.2 is a very good, excellent sounding solid state amp and works very well with the Vandys (no need to worry about tubes with it). It's comparatively small and runs cool; a very underrated performer, along with the 100.2, in my opinion. The Krell is a pure Class A amp, meaning that it draws constant current out of your wall and runs VERY hot--it will heat up a room very quickly. It is a very well-designed and extremely powerful amp and very clean sounding, with great bass control, but keep in mind that it is older (last made in the early 80s), and were you to get one used you might have to replace the caps in it (if not already done), and the cooling fan in the early KSAs was a slight trouble spot (one reason why they went to the big heat sinks on the KSA 80 and 200 models that followed it). Much as I like the old Krells (I owned both a KSA 50Mk II and a KSA 80 in my solid state days), given your budgetary constraints the ARC might be a better choice. Either of these amps is a step up in resolution and overall performance from your NAD preamp, which is a very nice unit but not quite in the same league as the amps you're considering, so at some point down the road you might also consider replacing it (though it should work fine with the amps in question for now, particularly if your source is satellite radio).
Here's the thing my comparison was between the Krell KST-100 and the Audio Research 100.2 through a YBA 2 preamp into Vandersteens. I'm sure the KSA-100 is a different story and might outperform the Audio Research, maybe. I'm in an apartment and the listening area is small. I would heat it up like Palm Springs in the summer with the class A Krell. I felt the Audio Research was a step up from the entry level Krell. The soundstage was better defined, the mids weren't exaggerated like with the Krell and the treble seemed more refined. I listen mostly with a Mac Mini through a Wavelength Brick V2.
Digepix,what's wrong with Palm Springs?(just kidding) I clearly understand your comparisons. I was only commenting on Byron84 original request:KSA-100 vs ARC150.2. The KSA & KMA series were the top lines at the time. The KST-100 was pretty beatin'up by reviewers for NOT sounding like it's higher priced siblings. I will agree on Byron84 needs to put the satellite radio in the dumpster for any serious listening. The same goes for A "burned off ethernet" recording when auditioning equiptment!! Byron84, beware once you start upgrading from mid-fi to higher end gear can truly reveal the nasties of cheaper gear/cables etc. My Krells, big & small can be ruthless with the wrong components & recordings. But hey most of us don't have "money trees" in the back yard. Try to choose wisely,mistakes WILL happen but that's what makes this hobby and A-gon great!! We certainly have a pleathera of knowledge at this site,so ask away,it can only help. Don't forget to let YOUR EARS listen to the music!!