Which Krell or ML. What is your budge? Do you need CD & Dac too? What about cables? rgds, david "email@example.com"
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Being that I own a pair of N801's I can tell you with confidence to get a TactT Millennium mkII. It would be your DAC, Amp, and preamp all in one. For a transport I would get a Mark Levinson No.37 (do not have yet, but might buy soon) and an Illuminati D-60 digital interconnect. Add Speaker cable (bi-wired of course)of your choice and Voila you're done! You would need to spend a huuuuuge amount of money to beat that.
I run my Nautilus 801's with a Wadia 860 directly into an FPB600c... I feel as though Mark Levinson's latest amps including the 33h's can not supply enough bottom end compared to the latest Krell gear... I have not heard the digital amp from spectron. I have heard the digital amp from Tact at HI-FI 99. I thought their system was extreemely thin sounding. But that was that particular system only! I have not A-B compared any Krell FPB's directly to the latest Mark Levinson's. Although, I heard in various systems using most of the Levinson gear up through the Reference. Good stuff but not enough sound quality for the dollar compared to the Krell FPB's. If you pay very close attention to the quality of your incomming power the Krell's will sound better. They are super-transparent as are the Nautilus 801 & 802's. Your budget will dictate how much performance you can get.
To add to what I previously noted: before I owned the N801's I owned Dunlavy SCIV's which were also hooked up to the TacT. I have heard the SCIVa's (better than the IV) hooked up to a Krell FPB 600 driven by a Krell KPS-20i feeding an Audio Research Reference preamp. It only sounded marginally better than my Theta Casablanca, Conrad Johnson Premier 11a combo!! It was only slightly smoother and deeper bass extension. The Theta/CJ combo had better imaging, and was much more immediate and believable. My Tact/Dunlavy combo trounced the Krell/Dunlavy pair. When I bought my N801-s I sold my SCIV's to my uncle who also owns a Theta Casablanca (w/the same DACs) but with Krell FPB 250Mc mono's. Needless to say that I heard the same differences in the area's previously noted (although the SCIVa/FPB600 did sound better than my uncle's setup). My TacT/N801 system trounces them all, easily! As far as the 802's, I auditioned them at Lyric in NYC hooked up to a full Mar Levinson system (31.5, 36S, 380S, 332). They sounded pretty good but the sound was not effortless at all, in fact myself, uncle, and father all thought that it sounded harsh when cranked up. About 30 min later I headed to Stereo Exchange and heard the 802's in a much smaller room(w/horrible acoustics, anyone who has seen their showrooms knows what I'm talking about) hooked up to a Millenium mk I . I heard things on very familiar recordings (same as at Lyric) that I had never heard before (remember under crappy conditions too!). Originally we had dismissed the N802's as being harsh when played loudly, man were we shocked. It was now much smoother, highly resolved and relaxed. And that was w/ the mk 1 version of the millennium, the mk2 is even better!! Earlier at Lyric I also heard the N801's hooked to a full Burmester system. Not impressive at all, in fact I said that anyone who buy's these speakers is crazy and is wasting their money. The only reason I bought them is that I got such a great price that if I didn't like them I could sell them easily and get all my money back (almost like a free evaluation in-house). Upon hearing them on the first few notes played I fell in love with them. The biggest surprise though was that the N801's imaged considerably better than my SCIV's (which I setup to the 1/16" and w/laser) and the bass was just as tight but with more extension and authority!!!!! They also were more resolving and transparent as well. As far as the comments by Tony007, notice he said the "system" sounded thin, there is no way he could've known what the amp was contributing unless he was very familiar w/the rest of the system (which is highly unlike since they were fairly new). To imply that his hearing of the "system" is relevant to the sound of the amp is very immature as an audiophile, and he/she should know better. I'm comparing apples to apples. P.S. as far as the spectron, Robert E. Greene in TAS has reviewed both, and if you pick up the latest issue (121)you'll se he says that the millenium mkII is: "...better than its predecessors, and there is nothing to compare it to in the conventional audio world ". Enough said.