Musical Fidelity KW500

Category: Amplifiers

I upgraded from the Krell 400xi to the KW500 over a month ago and the improvement in resolution, imaging, speed, and a solid soundstaging was easily noticable. I am not damning the 400xi in any way as it is a fantastic performer in its price range I'm just making a personal comparison since it's my previous amp. The 400xi sounded good with adequate bass and decent resolution, but the bass instruments and percussion did not have a realistic impact or speed detrimentally affecting the rythym of some music like jazz and marring some classial music passages that demand more power. The KW500 pretty much erased this problem and made percussions sound crisper and cleaner with hard hit drums or symbols startling you when before they just made a sound on the Krell. The improved percussion allows the artist's intended rythym for the music to come out alive and snag the listener. Large building crescendos with bass instruments are ramped up quickly and effortlessly. What really hurts the 400xi is its limited resolution and slight darkeness which the KW500's mil-spec tubes cleaned up in spades. Subtle details that were smoothed or muddied over by the Krell were finally revealed with the KW making the music more life like and 3 diminsional. The KW revealed beautifully the brilliant multiple string layerings on the 9th symphony Molto Vivace movement to the quiet subtle inflections of Joan Baez singing on the Farewell Angelina album to the clean forcefull dynamic guitar strumming from Led Zeppelin and Van Zandt. This higher resolution balanced with tube warmth makes listening to reproduced music so much more enjoyable. Notice I haven't metioned the brute power the KW happens to have because it doesn't come to mind. The KW applies the power discretely as to not overpower the music at reasonable listening levels serving only to preserve resolution by never sounding strained or buckling at any given point. Of course if you turn the volume up too high, the sound will become hard and harsh, but that is the case with probably all amplifiers. Compared with the Avatar Super, the Avatar had even more air around instruments and singers and images appear thicker, but its not as quick on its feet and dynamics can be limited. The Avatar produces a lot of heat and the transformer generates a light humming noise.

Beautiful resolution, great speed, awesome bass and dynamics, tube warmth and air, top notch build quality and reliability, low heat, limitless headroom and power, shames seperates costing the same or more.

Will become shrill and hard at high levels, but I think all amps do this when the the listening space is overdriven. Sounds bad with bad recordings.
Comes with a seperate power supply making this integrated amp a two piece unit.

Similar Products Used:
Ear V20
Cary 300sei
BAT 300x SE
Avatar Super
Krell 400xi