Primare I30 vs Krell KAV 400xi

I'm trying to decide between these two amps to power my Spendor S8e and Rega Apollo cd.
Has anyone experienced these amps good or bad?
Thanks in advance for your input.

a coin flip....primar sounds like vintage electrocompaniet, which is a good thing.
I've had a Krell KAV 400xi for about three years--that unit never fails to amaze me. It's been rock solid reliable too. I currently have it paired Thiel PCS speakers and am very happy with the setup.
Some 15 kilos is likely more suitable to deliver fairly 100Wpc (Primare I30) than wanna-be 200Wpc (Krell KAV-400xi).

200Wpc means at least healthy 22-25 kilos. Everything bellow is fake. Including that Krellito.
Is this an endorsement of the Primare
or more so an indictment of the Krell?
Not sure

Are you really judging equipment based on weight rather than the actual sound quality of the units?


The Krell has a very healthy 200wpc. It has a clean sound with very authoratative bass. I'm not really a Krell fan, but this is one piece I would own.

I haven't heard the Primare, so I can't offer any comparisons?

Darrell - Krell KAV-400xi has a strongly compromised power supply (750VA transformer - while proclaming 400Wpc/4ohms) and cooling devices...

Take a look the John Atkinson's measurments in Stereophile...

It seems quite poorly designed integrated.

Soundwise, I've been present at session where old Sansui Alpha 707 clearly overperformed the KAV-400xi (Dynaudio Contour 1.3Mk2 speakers, Rotel RCD-971 CDP).

As for a weight, I would always prefere 32 kilos and 100Wpc versus 16 kilos and 200Wpc. Matter of philosophy... In this particular case, lack of KAV-400xi weight indicates at least two facts, already mentioned: smallish transformer and undersized cooling devices...
Seems to be at least some truth to this arguement.... as I have heard the Krell runs rather warm and needs good ventilation.
I do want an amp that will live longer than its warranty.
interesting view.
I have both Krell 400xi and Primare I30 smaller brother, the I21 at home.

All I can say that Krell is in a totally different league than Primare.

It is true that it runs VERY hot, but the same can be said about many audiophile amps - Lamm, Pass and the big Krells.
Yes but the primare i30 is in a different league to its smaller brother
Do you have experience with the I30?
Curious what you think?
Not sure what was going on with Stereophile's 400xi but mine runs warm to the touch but not too hot to touch.
I've heard from other owners of the 400xi that it runs hot....but who cares really. I'm more interested in the sound qualities, reliability, fit & finish, Krell customer service, etc
400xi is head and shoulders above I30 in fit & finish department. Krells housing is all made of bent and milled aluminium. Primare has only aluminum front panel - the rest is steel, powder coated black or silver. Krell looks great from all sides - Primare only from the front.

Disclaimer - I have nothing agains Primare. In fact - I have a complete Primare system in my living room (amp/dvd/tuner). But If only Krell offered a tuner, I would switch to Krell at a hartbeat.
Krell 400xi wins hands down. Before faving purchased Krell integrated I had Primare I30 for two months. These are 3 major differences:
- Krell is able to drive evry kind of speaker if impedence don't fall below 2 ohms. Primare is much less powerful, a two-way mid-size floorstander Dynaudio Focus 220 is too diffcult for it.
- Krell offers very tight, fast, powerful bass. With Primare You have plenty of low bass but it's not so fast nor authoritative.
- the top end is fuller with Krell. But attention to marriage, if You match Krell with speakers that offer themselves too much highs, it may be a problem...

But Primare I30 is not a bad amplifier, especially for classical music.
I had a Krell 400Xi. It was very dynamic. It gives you everything that's there - from top to bottom. I had a little problem with the highs mainly because of bad recordings (compression, boost). The Krell is completely unforgiving in that regard. On a good recording, say, classical or acoustic it's unmatched and phenomenal IMO. I heard stuff I'd never heard in recordings I'd been listening to for 10~20 years. I finally couldn't deal with having only 20% of my recordings be listenable though. But it's quite the performer. I've always read it sounds great with the Krell CDP too. On build quality the Krell is unbelieveable. The local dealer dropped one on it's front left corner from waist high on to solid concrete. It chipped the concrete, barely marked the corner, and played perfectly when he hooked it back up. I saw that with my own eyes.

Eventually after going through another amp or two I went with McIntosh. More laid back and makes most of my recordings sound good. It's my cup of tea but not everyones.
I agree with Okocza, the match is very important.
I had the Krell 400xi with Maggie 1.6s. It was a good match - Nice and clean sound, no sign of the Krell running out of power.
I changed speakers to Martin Logan Ascent i. Not a good match for the Krell. The sound was very shallow, not full at all. I switched to the Primare I21 and all is well. I believe some retailers mated the Logans with Primare electronics and I can see why.
What about Sonus Faber Concertino Domus speakers pairing with Krell KAV 400xi, are they good match? I heard SF used Krell amp for testing.
I would definitely at least try Sonus Faber with Krell.
If what they asy about Krell extreme highs is true it will at least give Sonus Faber some treble, which that speaker notoriously lacks.
I've had the Sonus Faber Grand Piano speakers. I've tried 4-5 amps on that speaker including pre-power amps and the Krell KAV-300i came out top.

I agree that Sonus Faber speakers go well with Krell amplification. Not too sure about the new Domus line though.
I have the 400xi & SACD combo which continues to bring my much joy. I can share my experience with the krell only - I have never heard the primare - Matching is very important which is true for any set up - I agree that you would be better off with a more laid back speaker - The Krell has a lot of detail especially with the SACD player - I am using vienna Acoustic speakers and love that combo - I have recently purchased a pair of Sonus Faber grand Piano Domus and the older Wall homes which will be used in a A/V room i've been putting together - I gave them a good listen in my 2 channel set up and again a really good match but I prefer the vienna's - Probably because the system has been dialed in with cabling for the vienna's - I am using Cardas Golden Cross speaker cables which were tremendous for adding warmth also making the system way more forgiving - But Bad recordings are Bad recordings - also made a mistake early on by plugging the 400xi into a current limiting AC conditioner - It choked the amp compressed, the highs, not good - I switched to a shunyata Hydra and my draw dropped - It was that noticeable - even the wife said - It sounds much fuller - Well that it's my 2 cents...TONY - Also, hope to someday get one of those monster krells
Krell 400Xi looks like comparatively speaking like cheap American downscale (but compared to mass market stuff several steps above) compared to the refined fit finish of the Primare. But that superficial comment aside, the Primare I30, after reviewing many of the same class, gets to the music and deep. Krell seems to be, a bit like a politician, impress with one or two derivatives on the slope but the Primare is the Integral. The total natural delivery of natural sounds in a space that just continues to impress once you get past the short man disease of the likes of amps that try to jump in for the dance with short term high-lites.
I've tried both the Primare I-30 and the Krell 400 xi....
IMO the Primare is far more musical and enjoyable listening. Fit and finish is far superior to the Krell. The Krell is far too analytical and clinical sounding. For me the Primare is a notch or 2 above. But, that's me
anyone else care to comment on these two? i'm looking for more info on the primare i30
I can see why some ppl may prefer Primare sound over the Krell sound. That is a personal thing. What I cannot understand though, is how anyone can claim Primare is better build.

I mean, I actually own both - Krell in my office system and Primare in my living room - so I'm not biased in any way, and have first hand experience. I have also opened both to see how they are build inside, and I can tell you that Krell's fit and finish is far superior to the Primare, not vice versa.

Krell housing oozes quality, beeing all aluminium with billet aluminium corners, where Primare is a common aluminium front/pressed steel combination. Primare is nice and stylish, but clearly not to the Krell standard.
Primare is sail boat, Krell is motor boat
Primare is musical, Krell is clinical
Primare is Aston Martin, Krell is Corvette
ive had both, the krell 400xi is superior imo, both in sound and build quality