Mcintosh MA6900 v Krell 400xi for S F Cremona

What do you folks recommend for driving the floor standing Sonus Faber Cremona speakers ?

I am a reletive audio-novice building a system from the ground up. I have opted for the Sonus Faber Cremonas and now have to choose a system to build around them.
Here are some of the requirements :-
1. 2 Channel , only for audio use. Home Theatre is in different room.
2.My taste in music includes:- female jazzy vocalists (eg Holly Cole,especTemptation,KD Laing etc),Rock (eg Pink Floyd,Dire Straits, Sting) and Blues.
3.System should not be super fussy about location. The room cannot be customised for the music....the architecture(contemporary,double height rooms) and the views are important. The current room is large 42'x24'+super high ceilings and balcony), so system has to be able to fill space, but also have the flexibility to work in a more reasonble space if we move.
4. Practical and Robust. Nothing esoteric. Something that can be installed easily, and will work without problems for years.
5. Exquisite for one and good in a crowd. This will be used for for listening to by myself in the evening(cocktail in hand enjoying the sunset), but also provide music for 100 at a party.
6. Clarity, great air, accurate but smooth ,musical are adjectives I read on this site that resonate with me.

My local dealer is going to demo the Krell 400xi and the Mcintosh MA6900 for me next week. What should I listen for ? What other choices would you recommend ?
I would like to keep the whole system cost(Speakers ,source,Amps,cables etc) under $15,000.

I am off to go skiing and watch the superbowl, so will return to answers on Monday. Thanks....and Go Pats.
It could go either way with those amps. The one thing that could possibly be a concern with the McIntosh/Cremona could be that the combination will be a bit too laid back. Both of sonus and mac favor musicality over sheer resolution. I have not heard this combination but have heard each piece separately. The Krell is getting great reviews. Some of their older integrateds could sound a bit thin and transitory but these new ones are supposed to be worlds better.

The Cremona may struggle to fill your HUGE room so a sub might be something to try out. I would definitely try some high powered solid state equipment.
Your room is huge, I suspect your Cremonas will struggle to fill it. Having said that, I have and use the Mac MC-202 which is essentially the amp section of the 6900. It's a great amp, but I agree with John that it may be too laid back with the S.F. speakers. Have you tried those speakers in the room?
I've recently heard the Krell 400xi. Let me say this, I have not like krell amps in the past - bright, in your face, etc. No more. The x series is great. The 400 xi sounds wonderful; Smooth & neutral.

Go for it. Mac's are overrated.
Thanks for your responses.

It is a huge room and architectualy I cannot mess with the surfaces or ceiling to alter the acoustics.The local dealer at first recommended Martin Logan Odesseys but they lived up to their reputation of being difficult to position and they lacked something.
I worried that the SF might lack some crispness.However I listened to the Cremonas(admitedly at the dealer)and while musical I felt they had more precise resolution than some of their SF relatives. The real test will be to see how they handle this large space.

I'm leaning towards the krell....because of all I'm hearing that the Mac/SF combination may be too laid back....compared to the Krell which should hold the Cremonas musicality in check. I'm going to demo both in situ on Tuesday. I'll let you know.

The price on the Krell is very competitive !

For what it's worth, I believe Franco Serblin (sp), the designer of Sonus Faber speakers, uses a pair of Krell monoblocks as part of his test system at the factory.

I agree w/ 1sm; the new Krells are quite different sounding compare to the previous models.

Let us know what you end up with!

Results of demo :-

First of all, the cremona speakers are really good. We tried various similar priced speakers in the space (all driven by the Mcintosh) and the cremonas won out comfortably.

Mcintosh v Krell.
Mcintosh, a well balanced pleasing sound. As someone mentioned, somewhat more laid back than Krell.
Krell, more precise and crisp. For example,a noticeably positive differance with acoustic guitar.
One feature with the Krell is that it had a tendency to
emphasise (bring forward) the higher precussion notes. On one track ( Fields of Gold ), the beat was so dominant it was almost distracting.
Any other suggestions that I try....solid state....under $4000 ?
Try a MC 352. You can find them mint for about $2800. YOU
I have owned the Krell 400xi since last summer and it has proved to be an exceptional integrated. Smooth, refined yet still detailed with controled bass. I can't think of another solid state integrated that can compete with the Krell for $2,500.
If integrated amps are what you are wanting, have you thought about the Concentra II?
Tom, Listened to the MC252...its great. But by the time I add in the C42 pre amp...I was over budget.Trying to keep under $4500.
Jla is right, for the price the Krell sets a high standard.
I have the Cremonas driven by a 400xi, but in a *much* smaller room than yours. For my listening I prefer musicality to exacting precision, but not to extremes. For my taste, in my room, this combination hits a wonderful sweet spot. I also have a REL Stadium 3 in the mix, but for many kinds of music I turn it off and run full range through the Cremonas. The REL is more authoritative, very smooth, and blends well with the Cremonas. On their own the Cremonas have a somewhat "wetter" bass tone. Still nice, but slightly more colored than the REL. Listening either way is a treat.

I agree with earlier responses that you'll want a sub in a room the size of yours. I think you'll find the Krell/Cremona combination gives a great blend of detail and musicality - they certainly do for me.

Good luck with your system!
Also try Bat vk300 integrated.
I am going to (very soon) buy Plinius sa102 for my Cremonas
I haven't heard the Cremona w/ Krell, but I have heard the Cremona Auditor with Krell (compact version, similar voicing). I also heard it run with Primare A30.2 amp and PRE30 preamp. My tastes in sound do lean more towards the musical (read: easy to listen to). What I found after listening to the Krell combo, was that its aggressive nature was some what over baring. The Primare, on the other hand, which still exibited good detail and bass control, did not have the glare that the Krell did. Much more expressive not as analytical. My experience with SF and Mac has been quite enchanting, and I'm considering going that path myself. But, the Primare stack makes a very good argument (comparing an integrated @ $4800 and seperates @ $4000). BTW, Franco Serblin uses an amp called the Musica (also made by SF, and imported to the US by Sumiko). It sounds great and its only $3000.
While starting a search to decide how to drive my Guanieri's I listened to the MA6900 vs Mac's 275 reissue; driving B&W something or others.
The difference was was so pronounced it was scary! Made me decide to go back to reading wine reviews!!
The tube set was warm the 6900 precise; only way to describe it.
Bottom line is you need to audition! with music you know and like!!