McIntosh C2200 Tube Preamp with Krell?

I have a decent combination Home Theater / Audio system, but have never had a dedicated preamp within it. The Krell HTS 7.1 has served as both my HT processor and preamp. Anyway, I'm strongly considering adding a preamp and thought a Tube preamp may be a good combination with my Krell. Below are my associated components - any help you can offer would be great. My three key questions are:

1. Would adding a preamp for audio be a significant upgrade over the Krell HTS 7.1?

2. Would a Tube preamp be a good match within my system?

3. If I go Tube - which one? I've been considering the McIntosh C2200, Sonic Frontiers Line 3, Conrad and Johnson 17S - Are there others I should consider?

Thanks for the Help in advance!

Krell HTS 7.1 - HT Processor
Krell 300cx FPB - 2 channel amp
Krell KAV 250(3) - 3 channel amp
Wadia 850 - CD
Shunyata Hydra - PC
Richard Gray 400S - PC
B&W Nautilus -HTM1 Center Speaker
B&W Nautilus -802 - Main Speakers
B&W Nautilus -805 - Rear Speakers
Cardas Golden Cross - Cables / Interconnects

Showing 1 response by bwhite

I've owned many of the components you mention and have done a similar exercise.... So to answer your question, it all depends on the type of sound you like. When you add a good preamp in place of your HTS, you will immediately notice LESS BASS. I don't care what tube preamp you buy, they will not have the bass of your Krell. This may come to you as a big surprise and this may a relief. When I first compared to a tube preamp, it took me a while to really understand that the bass put out by the Krell was not necessarily "realistic" in terms of small scale music pieces because I was so focused on the fact that 10 to 20 percent of the bass impact was simply gone that I was unable to see it rationally.

With a tube preamp, the highs will become more liquid - wet sounding. More alive and less electronic and piercing. Easier to listen to and will simply envelop you vs. going right through you.

I ended up buying a Supratek preamp before I even A/B tested it against anything else out there. Yes.. I had owned other top brand preamps but the talk was so overwhelming about the Supratek that I just jumped in an purchased one for 2100 (new). I have posted elsewhere on this site about the comparisons I made between Supratek and CJ (16LS and ART) and the results were astonishing. I know people with $10,000 ---> $15,000 preamps who have switched to Supratek and say it transformed their systems to a degree they could not have possibly imagined.

Even with the Supratek vs. the Krell, some bass will be missing but, you will have a pure and beautiful midrange, tender highs and realistic bass.