Preamp for Krell 750mcx

Hi all,

Recent changes to my system have seen me acquiring some beautiful Krell 750mcx's - these are just wonderful amps driving my Maestro Utopias perfectly. The slightly dark tone and room filling ability is captivating and non fatiguing. The rest of my kit is a VPI classic 2 with various mods (sds power, stillpoints feet and clamp, PAB SE isolation platform) with a Benz Micro LP-S cartridge - this feeds BMC MCCI phono - I am getting a new cartridge as i know the high internal impedence is not good with the BMC. Digital is via jriver (DAC yet to be decided).

I am using a Rotel RC1570 preamp (the recent one) from my second system at the moment to tie me over and boy does it punch above its weight. Jriver via ifi ilink/iusb and BMC USB cable to stereolab reference spdif into the Rotel as the Rotel has onboard dac. Mains filtration is Isotek sigmas for phono and pre. Krells straight into wall. Speaker cabling from Tellurium q Ultra Black.

Now - I am wanting to acquire my final destination preamp as I feel like i am nearly there now. I am wanting increased depth of soundstage - it is already good in terms of width, but would like more depth. The Rotel is obviously also not allowing all the resolution through as proven when i borrowed a Mark Levinson the other day.

I want to keep the system fully balanced so fully balanced designs are only in consideration here. I am thinking of the following to audition:

1. Audio Research ref5se
2. Krell KCT or more recent
3. BMC DAC1 Pre

I would really appreciate any suggestions. I like resolution, speed, timbral accuracy, and deep/wide soundstaging. Not interested in overly rolled off / over warm stuff nor dry and clinical stuff either. For example, my old mcintosh c2300 was too syropy for me and Bryston bp26 was too clincal.

Many thanks,

My limited experience with Krell preamps (Evo-222 and Phantom) gives me some credentials to suggest no compromise in this issue... The Phantom sings a full class or two over the Evo-222. In my opinion such a classy power amps deserve the best, so, the either Evo-202, Phantom or even the latest Illusion (all three are essentially the same design, rebadged only) is the way I would go with 750Mcx. KCT should be fine, but far from the best Krell preamp. Have not any experience with ARC preamps.
Zormi, Have you done critical listening of the Illusion pre-amp?, you say the three pre-amps are esentially the same, I would think that the Illusion would sound a bit warmer or a little dark sounding than the other two with less resolution?
C2300mc275, Hi, congrats on a very fine set of mono Blocks, I own a newly remodded Krell 700cx, meaning krell completly renewed my amp, inside and out, with caps that was not available in 2005, I love the cosmetics and sound of these amps, I really do not believe they will become absolete sounding with in the next ten years, most solid state amps today are difficult to listen to over a couple of hours, fatigue settles in for sure, give me a reply here when you get a chance, not every day I talk to a fellow cx owner, cheers.
No, as I said, I have a real experience (owner) with the Evo-222 and the Phantom only.

Yes, I said also that the latest Krell top pre called Illusion is essentially the same design, lingering almost a decade, streching from the Evo-202 via Phantom to nowadays Illusion. I cannot give, of course, any technical elaboration overhere, however it is easy to check basic appearance, white papers, internal pictures, specifications etc. It is clearly visible that this is in fact the same preamplifier. Only palpable difference should be optional active crossover in both Phantom and Illusion only, not available at a time for the Evo-202.

It might be important, Illusion MSRP is a bit lower than Phantom, at 15000 vs 17500USD, respectively (due to clearly better casework in Phantom, I guess). Optional crossover was additional 2500 ie total 20000USD for Phantom, I would guess approx. the same extra money for Illusion x-over.
thankyou Zormi.
Hi Audiolabyrinth,

Nice to also meet a fellow monster Krell owner :)

I am in love with 750mcx's tbh - there are not many products out there that produce such an addictive yet potent sound using ss - most current uber ss state designs IMHO seem to lack a musicality that these fpbs have - they are truly special. I will be having mine recapped in due course but they were recently serviced by krell here in UK and have fine bill of health.

Not sure how and what Krell did drug this era but I personally don't like the 402e and 600e ranges - seemed too brittle for my tastes.

Anyway - enjoy.
Given the Kell has

-Input Impedance 100 kohms
-Input Sensitivity 3.71 Vrms

Hi Bill

Any preamp you like the sound of will run happily into this 100kohm load

Unfortunately passive pre are not on the list, while they would love the 100kohm input as well, the low sensitvity of 3.71v (normal is lower than 2v)is not as good and will only work if the source has 3.5v or higher output.

Cheers George

if the ARC REF5 SE is a sonic match for your Krell amp- I would say go for it w/o reservation. On many auditions I have spent time w/ the ARC REF5 SE on Bryston 3/4 B ST power amps- very nice combo, and will fit all of the listening factors in your original post. Keep me posted on the pre you purchase.
Zormi, Hi, I talked to Ray mulchler there at krell, The service manager, In my disbelieve, Ray confirmed what you said, I was shocked, the Krell pre-amps, the evo 202, the phantom and the new Illusion is essentially the same pre-amps!, he also said that any one of the three would be a match for my 700cx amp if I wanted a krell pre-amp, so to you C2300mc275, These krell pre-amps may be worth looking into for your 750 mcx mono blocks, Happy Listening.
C2300mc275, fellow cx owner, I have often thought how would our amps sound on a pair of JBL DD-67000 Everest speakers?, may be a great spectacular match?, check those speakers out, look at the specs, our amps would calm down the 40khz top end to sound intoxicating, you think?
Zormi, Hi, Are you out there, I also talked to bill Mckeagan-president of krell, there was very slight changes to the power supply over the years between the evo 202, phantom, and Illusion pre-amps, what I am perplexed about is to why the huge used market price difference is between the Evo 202 and the Phantom preamp?, I found a Evo 202 for$6,000.00 in mint condition, I also found two Phantom preamps in mint condition, for a staggering $11,000.00 and $13,000.00, how do you explain this?, why would anyone buy a phantom at those prices if the Evo 202 is essentially the same rebranded pre-amp?
Hi Audiolabyrinth,

Just checked out the Jbl measurements from the hifi news review - whilst they describe it as not too testing a load but no pussycat, I am inclined to disagree in that it looks fairly tough. Due to phase angles 2 ohms at 72hz and 2.1 at 18khz - that is pretty tough IMHO.

Would think the Krell 700cx and 750mcx would just laugh at it tbh. With dedicated 30Amp wall lines and their 6kw of transformer in my 750mcxs, they will show the jbl 3kw so they will be well and truly under control ;)

Yes. Mr McKeagan likely refers on significantly beefier power suppply at Phantom (bigger, now 290VA transformer plus 41600 microfarads filter capacitance vs 170VA/39600 at Evo-202)).

The reason why SH prices reach far higher point in case of Phantom may be just reflection of unit's age... Phantoms are presumably say 3-4 years less old than average Evo-202. Besides, new Phantom was 17500, while Evo-202 was 15000 (likely due to extra power supply). Plus, don't neglect possibility of active crossover onboard (implemented by Krell on demand, at additional 2500 charge) in Phantoms...

In such a case, go for Evo-202. 5k difference is far from insignificant money today.
Thankyou Zormi, that is my sentiments as well, go for the Evo 202, BTW, did you hear ANY difference with sound between the Evo 202 and the phantom?, if so, please tell me your impressions, again, thankyou for your help here.
Sorry, never had Evo-202 in my system. I fact, I have listened extensively the Evo-202 in friend's system, which means another room, different power amps&speakers etc. No comparison.
Thankyou Zormi, you were very imformative about the krell pre-amps, I learned alot from you.