You should also look at the Mark Levinson No 383 Integrated Amplifier. Mark Levinson is releasing the new No 383 Integrated Amplifier sometime this month or next. The unit is priced around $6,000. See below for their Web Site info: The qualities of Mark Levinson components have been coveted and cherished by music lovers for decades. The superior value of Mark Levinson products is derived from the value we place on sonic performance, construction details and sophisticated operation. Together, these characteristics define what is a Mark Levinson and what is not. The No383 Integrated Amplifier, our latest project, promises to address those installations where the size and complexity of a separate component amp/preamp system is not desirable, but performance and quality are requirements.
Krell was selected by HI-FI as there reference system!
Mark Levinson. I have had a ML 23.5 since 1995. Superb quality, superb sound not lacking in any respect. I have upgraded my preamp twice and speakers once but haven't changed amplifiers.
Both have the same level of build quality and have wonderful reputations. To answer your question you need to tell us what speakers you are using? The Krells are more in your face and the ML's are more layed back or dark in some people's opinion. If you have a speaker that's a little analytical in its presentation the Krell might be too bright. I own Thiel 3.6s and a Krell KSA200s. Its a wonderful combination since the Thiels are very low impedence and would sound a little harsh with the MLs. The reason is the Krells have slightly more power at lower impedences. I think you get a bit more power for the dollar with the Krells, and slightly better resale value with the MLs.
I feel that it's the ML stuff that has the rep for erring on the side of bright at times. And Krell has the rep for having the most tubelike (i.e. "correct") midrange (except for the new "c" series). Levinson amps have been measured to have a higher damping factor (usually), so the bass can be more controlled, and sometimes winds up sounding not "round" enough. IT ALL CAN BE TUNED WITH CABLES THOUGH (unbelievably so), so it's not terribly dependant on the choice of speakers. I've heard a VTL amp that sounded more like transistors than my Krell KAV-250a (mine with my speakers almost sounded like a CJ tube amp in comparison, yet it played effortlessly much louder). He had very bright cabling, and had electrostatic speakers that were also adjusted very bright (he must've had some hearing loss). Very analytical and unnatural sound. Anyway...besides, ML is owned by Harman, might as well be owned by Microsoft, Standard oil, or OPEC. How much more money could they possibly need? I am all in favor of Revel taking some market share from Wilson, however.
This is really a matter of personal taste, both companies make fine products. I have heard nothing but great things about the new ML integrated amp. The Krell is usually noted for it's bass slam. I have the Krell integrated and will say that the bass slam was greater than the ML 333 when each was hooked up to a ML 39. Not that one was better than the other just that the sound was different. It's a matter of personal taste. Hopefully you can listen to both in your system and make the decision based on what you like.
Bel Canto EVo 200.2 digital T amp. This amp was just reviewed in Germany's Stereoplay and was rated peak performer. Cost is $2395. According to someone at Soundstage they have heard this amp and it compares to the Art Audio Jota (7K). Digital amps are the future.
Before you buy a Levinson or a Krell do yourself a favor and listen to the Jeff Rowland Model 10 amplifier. This amp blows the Levinson and Krell and probably most amps out of the water. It truly bridges the gap between great ss and great tube amps. Plus it is built like a tank and is gorgeous too.
While you're at it listen to Muse, Ayre, McCormack DNA, and SimAudio. All are great SS amps and much less expensive than Krell or ML.
All your paying for is marketing. Listen to an Ayre Amplifer. The most under advertised in the industry. I have listened to Krell and Levinson for years. They bore me. Ever notice how ever year they come out with something so new that you must own the new model, come on folks, amplifer design does not change that much in one year or two or three. Your being exploited. "AYRE"... Now thats music. Si tback and have some fun. Isn't that whats its all about anyway! Best of luck.
Yeah Gary, you're right, none of us are having any fun at all. I guess we'll never learn, oh enlightened one. We're just wasting our lives away, because we don't happen to use the amp that you use. It surely must be the very best in the world for the price, so I guess I must be a fool for not doing exactly as you say, and trying to copy your system to the last detail. How could you be wrong, after all?
I knew someone would bite at that. But seriously Carl don't you feel that Levinson amps are to analytical for listening over the long hall. Sometimes to much of a good thing can be over bearing, and don't get me wrong I love Krell amps it's just that some times I feel that there bass (which is the deepest and tightest I've heard) is sometimes unnaturally so? (In some models). Most music just doesn't sound like that. All I am saying is that there are other alternatives out there that are worth listening to which are also very musical. Pass Labs, McCormack, Bryston, Audio Research, Classe and yes Ayre as well. Some of these brands are also more affordable which more cost concience audiophiles might be able to own. And yes it is scary when Darth Vader takes ownership of a high-end company. Thats my point with the advertising and marketing thing. Are we having fun yet... All the best.
If that's all you're saying, then we have no problem. So you were baiting me, then? How manipulative! Anyhoo, my experience is that it's the ML amps whose bass is analytical and "overtight". A Krell FPB's bass is rounded, and correct. Look, of course there are other amp alternatives, but this thread was specifically regarding ML or Krell. And as I've said before, I can make my Krell sound similar to a tubed Conrad Johnson just by changing cabling, so we are reading too much into this perhaps. The idea is to pick an amp, and then try to get the most out of it. Just throwing something together will get you nowhere. And expecting the amp to have the same character regardless of other system aspects, is a fool's errand. I mean, I've heard the same degree of differences going from mine, to similar amps, just by changing the AC cord. You have to "guess" at what amp you think you might like, then buy it, and then spend a long time getting it to really sing at that highest performance level, where any compromises that you decide it is making, are well distributed, and preferable to you. That's what most anybody does with any amp, even a $200,000 one.
Looks like a few responses on this one...but, do yourself (and your wallet) a favor & listen to the new Classe CA301 or CA401. I have compared to both the M.L. & Krell and find the CLasse at least equal or in some areas more musical.