Krell SACD, DVD Standard, Showcase, KAV 280CD

I recently purchased a Krell 400xi and some Focal Be Micro's. I really like the sound of the amp and speakers, but I need to replace my current source. (I'm using a Sony DVD to feed my Benchmark DAC 1, but that leaves me without a headphone system for my desk.)

I usually do about 75% music and 25% video. Ideally I would like a DVD unit, but I'm not sure how well they will reproduce audio. I have read about every review out there and am still undecided.

Since I want to stick with Krell, I'm looking at the SACD, DVD Standard, Showcase DVD, and KAV280cd. Obviously the SACD and 280 won't play DVD's, but are they worth the money to only play CD's as I don't have any SACD's? The DVD standard and showcase prices are decent, but can they play CD's as well as a dedicated cd player? Another thing is the Showcase can be upgraded to HDMI with upsampling and to the best of my knowledge, the DVD standard can't.

Any insight will be appreciated.
Krell makes great products! But I am not so sold on their disc players in terms of both best performance and reliability. Several of the products you have listed have known reliability issues. Additionally, there are numerous versions of several of these products as well, mostly updates due to problems with the prior release. So buying used takes a good understanding of which units are at risk for what failures. I am not a Krell basher, I own a FPB 300-C amp and the latest model HTS 7.1.
I would pass on the KAV-280cd based on age (too old now), plus the Showcase DVD sounds nearly identical on CD and you pick-up DVD. The SACD Standard (any version) is the best CD Player of the bunch, with the DVD Standard as a close second. Both are built like Tanks, and Krell fully supports both in or out of warranty. The decision between these 2 machines will come down to: do you own more DVDs than SACDs? I've owned them all in combination with the KAV-400xi. XLR ICs are a must with this group.
I came to the same conclusion as Sunset_ranch and out of the four I eliminated the 280CD and Showcase DVD. I was debating between the SACD and DVD standard and it's more of an availability thing now. I understand the SACD sounds wonderful on CD's, but I don't own any SACD's. I guess it's a matter of how close the DVD standard comes to the sound of the SACD standard. I have a couple leads on both an SACD and DVD standard so the one that comes thru first is the one I'll use and go from there.

My setup uses a balanced power transformer with Nordost Shiva power cords for the 400xi and DAC1 (soon to be DVD or SACD standard). Nordost Quattro Fil XLR interconnects and Red Dawn shotgun speaker cable.
The DVD standards have transport failure issues and you should be cautious as to which version you purchase. You should perform additional searches for forums on Krell disc players, there are a couple of forums that very clearly outline which units have which specific failures.

As to Krell supporting these disc drives, sure they will support them, but spending $2800 - $4500 to be forced to update it because they are no longer using the previous transport mechanism or laser assembly, is that really supporting a past product? I guess, because you end up with a "more current" version of the product.

Look, I love Krell amps, but proceed with caution and much research on their drives. I was at a friends house on Saturday and his $25,000 Krell CD player broke. Nothing major, just a very small little metal pin. Estimated repair cost by Krell: $500 + two way shipping. Local machine shop repair cost to drill out the broken off end of the pin and replace it with a new pin (machined from scratch) = $100.

Just be careful and do your research. Soundwise, the SACD standard (3 versions now I believe) and DVD standard (4 versions now I believe) both sound very good, not the best, but very good nonetheless. You can get better reliability and sound with either an Esoteric or evena Wadia (just to name 2).
I actually disagree with the above. I thought the 280cd was has the famous BB 1704 DACs which many agree are the best DACs ever made. I loved the 280cd when I had it and would call it similar to the Esoteric X03SE with less definition and space, but very strong bass and resolution nonetheless.
I was aware of the problems associated with the SACD, but I didn't realize the DVD standard had similar issues. Definitely something I will have to keep in mind. Thanks for the input Arbuckle, the reviews for the 280 are all positive, if a little old.
Well, I picked up a DVD Standard and will be having it shipped out soon. From what I have read, it comes close to the SACD standard on Redbook CD's and gives me DVD video as well. My only problem now is getting it to work on 50Hz. I may just get a PS Audio regenerator instead of having the unit serviced.
My DVD Standard arrived yesterday and since I live overseas, I also picked up a PS Audio P500 Regenerator to deal with the 50Hz issue. Needless to say I plugged the DVD unit into my transformer and it worked! It runs on 120v/50Hz just fine. I'm still going to use the PS Audio unit as a "tweak" since all my equipment is on balanced power already.

Krell wanted $400 dollars to convert from 60Hz to 50Hz, but my unit must be universal. My integrated amp already has the 50Hz/60Hz modification, but that was done by the dealer for free when I bought it.
The input voltage is switchable on all Krells. If you do not have the freq issue (some units were sold with 50/60Hz chips from the factory), you do not need the step-down transformer. Ask your dealer to help you switch the voltage or search the net.
Is the voltage switch doable by yourself?

I plan on getting the SACD.
I have seen the values for switching the voltage on the Krell units. I'm keeping mine on the transformer since I run it in balanced mode. It's a 1000VA unit and it only runs the amp. The PS Audio p500 will run my front end.

Ethan, a quick google search should yield the values for switching the input voltage on Krell units. I *think* 230V is 2-2-2, but double check!
There is no 230V option on Krells. 2-2-2 is 240V and 2-2-1 is 220V.

In the new models they decided to make the life a bit harder - there are no switches anymore, just the wires and jumpers. It is still doable, but takes much more time to figure it out.

Ethan2k - your concern is not the voltage, but frequency. Those players are frequency locked.
well... I have mixed thoughts on this as I bought, at great expense... a full krell home theatre system in 2003

HTS 7.1
KAV 3250
DVD Standard
KAV 300il

all works well apart fro the DVD Standard which budded from the start. It was sent back twice for repair, was upgraded, twice..... and has now totally failed

you know what... it is now totally UN-REPAIRABLE


this unit cost the equivailant of $15'000 new in Switzerland

back in 2003

I am one happy guy
Hi Jussy1254, this thread is a little old, but to be honest, I ended up sending the DVD Standard in for repair as well.

Turns out the DVD laser needed adjustment or something. It would play CD's just fine. They replaced the DVD ROM for free since I had them upgrade the output to HDMI. This was over a year ago and I still haven't hooked it up to a TV. It's used just as a CD transport nowadays.
Hi guys
I have recently jumped on the Krell wagon(HTS 7.1,SACD-ver2(a little noisy upon reading the disk only,but works well so far)KSA 250(in almost 9/10 condition and fully recapped a year ago,I am currently looking for a FPB 600 to replace the 250,only because I require more power...
I was also looking for a DVD Standard to match my gear and for my large DVD collection.I never knew of transport problems and all the guys are wanting $1700-$2000 for soon to be outdated format.I will look for a good DVD/BR player and put my $2000 into it unless i can find a DVD Standard cheaper.
Hi Mclsound, the DVD Standard, to me, is a great sounding unit. From all my research, not many DVD Standard units required repair. I live overseas and having it shipped may have contributed to the laser being out of whack.

Aside from having Krell update it, I haven't had any issues with it. If you have a large collection of DVD's I can highly recommend this unit. I think you'll be happy with it and it sounds great with regular CD's too.

I suggest you try and get one with the HDMI outputs. I paid quite a bit to have Krell upgade it with HDMI.
Hi Again,

well I have not really moved on since June. My DVD Standard is still sitting in the Swiss Krell repair centre. Collecting dust. A sad and disgraceful end to what was a great sounding machine. I never was a great video fan and technology flies so fast, but to be honnest a 2010 cheap bluray player is so vastly better than a 8 year old analogue dvd player...

However the sound quality was so so fine. I had just upgraded my speakers to Sonus-Faber Amati Anniversarios and the system was singing and swinging... fabulous

I am currently using my old and trusted meridian 203 cd transport. 20 years old and still running. The sound is not up there but yet so reliable and trusted...

To summarize I really appreciate modern technological advancements but hate the disposable society in which we live... Quality must last... has to last... NO..?
Jussy, not being much of a video guy myself, I have refused to spend the big bucks on the "high-end" DVD players. I have gone the Oppo route and feel that they are quite good - certainly good enough for my viewing needs. I am such an un-video guy, I actually got rid of my cable earlier this year. I have three 40-50" plasmas in my house and don't even have cable. Sorry to hear about your Krell.
Well I feel your pain as my SACD just went on me and well...they want another $1500 from me and I am rethinking my brand loyalty