Review: Krell EVO 402/Evo202 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

The short and the sweet of it is that Krell has done it right. Nothing I have owned or heard (which is probably far greater than most people--short of a reviewer..I'm nuts and I love audio), allows one to suspend belief and enter the moment of creation...the venue of where the music was performed sans artifacts with all of the tonal beauty, dynamics, lowlevel detail and life that belays it's mode of reproduction! ~! Yes, I was a tube lover at one point...owned the best from ARC and BAT and some CJ...but the Krell is uncanny in the way it presents the music intact...full of life and passion without the inevitable dissapointment of hearing through the gear and pulling the curtain on the performance...disc after disc amazes me at the sheer joy of the fact that someone has gotten it right....many a review has lured me toward financial loss due to their keen ability to gloss over the main faults of the gear up for review! Almost all reviewers are worthless...they lie about the problems and play up the positives..hell, most people don't buy all the stuff that I do so they will never know the deception afoot!! Even when some people buy the crap they rave about, most don't have the financial ability or the psychological will to admit they spent a fortune on crap, sell it and move on! I know some people and dealers with $100K plus systems that sound awful...they invest in an idea/religion and lock themselves into a confined conception of what is possible...especially after making a huge investment...FYI...I have spent $20k + one month only to sell it off and regroup within 4months!! Once you live with something you understand it's capabillities and limitations. My Reference is live music and real instruments...if you don't adjust your sense of reality regularly with the real thing...well, enjoy the reality your will never undestand the true possibilities of sound reproduction that exist!!

That being said, the Krell 402, 202 and 505 combo are uncanny..not solid state sounding nor tubelike, yet they maintain the best aspects of both! They are able to create the sense of real instruments playing in front of's that simple. All types of music are reproduced in a manner that allows one to immerse themselves in the music being made in front of you...assuming the cabling , speakers and room will support such revelations. After owning and or demoing many high end speaker systems and cable types I have come to rely on Transparent cables for the connections and power. My speakers are Dynaudio C4's. The only other speaker I've heard that is as expressive and musical while maintaing a wide dynamic footprint is wilson.

What these evolutionary components deliver is a complete musical picture with no exaggeration or flaws...just pure unhyped musical reproduction. Low level detail..yes! Resolution..yup! Frequency extension and wide dynamic bet! Tonal accuracy and micro dynamic shading..uh huh! Turn off the lights and set the volume for concert hall level images coalesce into a mosaic of musicians..natural and oh so believable.

FYI...CAST is still underwhelming. The good news is that the balanced connections yield nothing to the current connections. Also, the stock power cords are disappointing to say the least. I mad the mistake of trying some current Transparent IC's and their best MM power cords..oh my Lord!!! Suffice it to say, you must at least try the newest stuff for yourself..words cannot convey the huge leap forward in .sound reproduction you will experience.

My updated assoc gear includes Transparent Ultra balanced IC's and OPUS MM power cords. my CD/SACD is the EVO 505.

Associated gear
Musical Fidelity A5 CDP
MIT Magnum M1 cabling and power cords

Similar products
Most of ARC, Levinson, BAT, Mcintosh stuff (owned)
Lot's of other stuff demo'd
Congratulations on your system Dave. It seems like you are a very experienced listener and music lover. When you say "the inevitable dissapointment of hearing through the gear and pulling the curtain on the performance", are you refering to your former tube units?

Well, funny you should mention Tubes...I went with Audio Research gear and sold my Evo rig...I couldn't deny the magic I heard!!
I have not heard the latest Audio Research amps, but I have owned Krell gear since the begining. mono 100s, fpb300, fpb300cx. Each one improving on the previous. My present Krell, the EVO 402, is by far the most extrordinary of them
all. Each listening experience is a unique window into the source material. I have listened to many systems and non has sounded better to me.
DCS Paganini CD transport(big improvement over the Verdi), DCS Elgar plus DAC(can't believe how the Verdi held back the amazing potential of this machine)running direct into the Krell, Theil 7 speakers.
Downside, This amp runs hot even in standby. but its worth it.
Ax2cohen, my post is old...sold the tube stuff and went back to previous gen Krell. I could not warm up to the Evo sound, especially the 402 (not class A anymore). It's all great stuff however..enjoy!!
How well does the EVO 202 mate with a variety of non-Krell solid state amplifiers? One would expect synergy between the EVO 202 and the 402 (and other EVO amps). But what about high-end non-Krell amps (and especially those with low input impedance)?
No idea!
What are your thoughts on pairing up the Evolution 202 with 700cx and Wilson Sophias? I was using a ML 380s and sold that and was going to get a KCT but am up in the air right now. And what kind of CAST cabling do you recommend you spoke of transparent someone else I know uses Tara Labs The One in CAST. And as far as power cords the 700cx has a captive power cord and I wouldn't be using the CAST front end.
I really do not feel that the 202 is worth the price tag, especially when one can get a used KCT for about $3500 to $4000. The KCT is more organic sounding than the 202 and just as transparent. I have owned a couple of two box reference preamps and both of them suffered from a reduction in dynamic impact, perhaps due to the umbilical cord between the units. If you feel compelled to go new i would get the 222 single box unit! Krell makes a higher caliber CAST cable now as do several other manufacturers. The differences will be marginal IMHO. Between the amp and preamp I have found that a great balanced IC delivers a more natural, weighty presentation and a leaner, thinner sound in CAST mode. When connecting the 505 to the KCT or 222 the increase in dynamic range and lowered noise floor is impressive and worth considering. I am heavily biased toward MIT Oracle products for cabling and power delivery...they are simply so musical and dynamic sounding that all other cables pale in comparison:) Hope this helps.

Actually I theoretically own both the 222 and the 202 and didn't pay full price for either one getting a hold of 202 after the 222 thinking the 202 with it's separate power supply would be a better situation wasn't think the umbilical would be a bottle neck.
If you already own them then judge yourself. be sure to seperate the power supply from the controller on the 222 when evaluating.
What generation Krell gear did you go back to if you don't mind me asking and did you mean seperate the power supply from the controler on the 202 as far as the front end I'm using right now would be an older Goldmund Mimesis 39 transport and a Audio Horizens TD 3.0 Dac.
Yes, on the 202 seperate the power supply. I like the FPB stuff better, 400cx and KCT and SACD standard V3.
What are your thoughts on pairing up the krell kps 25sc with Evolution 402 and purist dominus xlr ic ?
Should be a nice match. The biggest problem with the 402 is finding a power cord that works well with it...what PC's are you using with the Krell gear?
now i using the Shunyata Anaconda VX Alpha with krell kps 25sc and Mit oracle ac1 with krell 400cx (UPGRADED Furutech IEC's)
Good stuff..may want to try cast in your situation just for yucks vs Purist. I found that source to amp cast connections can be advantagious in some situations, plus you may save a few bucks.
Did you tried it in loud volume? The amp enter in A/B operation and the magic goes away. I think krell shoul get back to pure class A.
Agreed Ossocao!!
The FBP series like my FPB750MCX's have a captive 10 gauge power cord. In talking with Dan I think he prefers the captive cord? I get the sense the cable companies put a lot of pressure on him with the cast and captive cords? Personally the less connections and different types of metal in the cable the better!

I'm not sure I agree with that. I have watched the bias level go up in the steps as the volume goes up and it is a steady draw way above the level of the music as advertised. Pushing early MBL which take gobs of power I do not here anything collapsing as you describe or any magic lost? I think you have a wall power problem if that is the case? Idealy the amps should be hooked up at 220 volts with 30 amp mains or 20 as a minimum otherwise you are just chocking them.