Review: Krell Resolution 2 Speaker

Category: Speakers

I was in the market for box speakers currently owning a pair of Martin Logan CLS IIZ. The CLS is a wonderful speaker and I enjoy it immensely. While these speakers have dynamics and bass when driven with appropriate equipment, on some music, the forceful dynamics and sheer power are missing. Therefore, i wanted something to complement my current system.
I looked and auditioned for a long time, Sonus Faber, Proacs, B&W and many others. While I found many that sounded good, I didnt find anything worth parting with my green. There is a high volume electronic outlet store in Chicago area that sells on volume, not setups. Whenever my wife and I went in there, we were always drawn to the Krell Resolution 2 speakers in the store. It was hooked up in a home theater demo with Anime music DVD and set up to draw people into the back part of the store (gotta bring the kids to see it dont you know). Other people here have commented that this place doesnt really set up equipment for audiophile listening. I agree, but both my wife and I found the sound very seductive. From this, I recognized that there was potential here. After going in multiple times, I was sick of just looking and decided to pull the green on the purchase. At their selling price, this was not an easy decision, having never spent this much on a piece of audiogear in my life. In fact, most of the time spent on the purchase was, oh my god, what did I spend on these puppies? Anyways, they finally came into the store and were delivered on Saturday.
I was not prepared for what I heard after 2 days of breaking in. They surpassed my greatest expectations and I am very pleased. When I listen to music, while I have audiophile recordings, most of my listening is on "normal" music, both LP and CD. I used both for intial listening and will list the music I used for this review. The Plinus was in Class A for this review. Toe in of the speakers was about pointing outside of my shoulders, speakers about 8 feet apart and my chair about 8 feet away. My listening room is "L" shaped with ceiling tiles and wood paneling.
First, the soundstaging in both depth and width is impressive. The first music was the "Rat Pack" CD. This CD is one of the best live recordings I have ever heard on CD. I heard the conversation behind the stage actually behind the stage. The stage went way beyond the bounds of the speakers. And the voices and instruments. Clarity, presence, height, all very real. And powerful and dynamic. Beyond what I ever imagined, even at low levels. But if these babies were cranked up to high volume, they never missed a beat. My CLS always projected a very real stage and were very detailed and fast. But they just could not project the power of the performance. The Krells are not analytical speakers by any means. They are musical. Instead of listening to people breathing and getting excited, I was now getting much of what I love about my CLS but now with power and musicality.
One other very important strength to thsi speaker - balance. You dont notice the highs, you dont notice the midrange or bass. You noted the music. To me, the coherence of these speakers was the best I had experienced. I didnt sit there and state, you know, the midrange is pronounces, the bass is pronounced, etc. Everything was in balance and I was listening to music. I am sure sometime, I may notice something or a measurement will show something. But for now, I just heard balanced, wonderful music. Toe tapping time.
When I was first listening, my wife asked me if I had my REL sub on, I said no, why. She said the floor was shaking. No need to worry about using a sub with these. Bass is there in abundance, clean bass, tight bass. Not boomy, not overblown. Whatever is on the recording, is there.
A second CD, was an "audiophile" SACD, Getz Gilberto. My wife came down to my basement to listen to this one. And she didnt want to leave. The voices and everything, just fit in. Dynamics, power, soundstage. Without the analytic ear burning I get from some speakers.
On Eleanor McEvoy, an audiophile recording, Yola had awesome presence, tight and punchy powerful bass. Titanic, regular CD not audiophile, was mystical. On the first track, one gets drawn into the feeling. My CLS also had this magic mystica effect, but there was so much more "emotion" with the Krells.
Music which was unlistenable due to poor recordings on my CLS were still unlistenable on the Krells, but to a lesser degree. They became tolerable.
I had read all the reviews I could find on this speaker and have to agree with the one in the absolute sound and home theater mag. I also read the review about the resolution 1 speaker in Stereophile where they talked about a rolled off treble. I was expecting to hear similar on the Resolution 2 but danged if I can find it. They sound very extended to me, without being analytical. I am not sure what the measurements will show, but to me, I dont hear a roll off. One reason why I did not consider the 1's (in addition to the money) was it was a 4 way system. I prefer simpler systems. I also thought the size of those would overpower my listening room.
One other note before I end this, I also did some listening with Cary SLM200 amps, ARC SP10 and vinyl. The Cary's in Triode, are about half the power of the Plinius (which I still consider to be the best solid state amp I had ever heard), This combination also sounded excellent and powerful, but I think the extra power of the Plinius brings out another dimension in the speakers. At one time, because my Carys are so awesome, I tried selling the Plinius. Didnt think I needed it. Well, now thats all changed. The Plinius is an excellent match with the Krells.
This is the first equipment review I had ever written and hope enough details here to get an idea of the sound. I wanted to avoid overused phrases and over exuberance, but I am very happy. I have owned a lot of gear, still have my CLS speakers and JBL horn speakers. Had both Quad types, Celestions, Vandersteens, Altecs, Proacs and more that I cant remember. I cant state these are the best speakers I have ever heard because I dont think there is a best, just different. Audiophiles are always searching for better. I can state, that these are the best speakers I have ever owned and best I have ever heard in my system. Home Theater gave a RAVE award to these as best high end speakers. I agree for my my system. Forget all the pans about Krell, etc. Give these a listen in a properly set up system. Then prepare to be amazed. Anyways, as always, enjoy the music.

Associated gear
Sony XA9000es
Cary SL98P (Teflon Caps)
Plinius SA250 MkIV
Cardas Golden Ref throughout
It's great that you are reviewing a speaker that is quite new on the market and, thus, unknown to many of us. How much did they cost? How big are they? Also, could you describe the dimensions of your room? I would like to get an idea of how versatile they are in placement: did you score on your first try, or did you have to move 'em around to different spots? I enjoy reading about new products, especially from normal folks who actually experience them in a home environment -- as opposed to professional reviewers, who often have an agenda (intentionally or otherwise) -- so I enjoyed your review very much. Don't be concerned about your ears and the high frequency response of the speakers...I think Fremer's cochlea, anvil, and hammer are busted from too much neural stimulation over the years: I suspect an air-raid siren would sound rolled off to him. Happy listening!
Gerald Clifton
Glad someone enjoyed my review :))))))))))) My listening room is L shaped but the listening area is about 16 x 22 feet. The speakers weigh alot - about 140 pounds. I dont have the dimensions at my fingertips but they are not too imposing. As far as positioning, I know approximately where in my room they should go so it was fairly easy for me. The most I played in was the toe in, that seemed to make a big difference in soundstage and focus. Retail is $8000 on these speakers.
WHERE did you buy these speakers..i live in chicago and would like to hear them...thanks
Picked em up at ABT. You can email me and I will give you the rep who will let you audition with your own music. Or you can arrange maybe to listen to mine. I am in northern burbs.
Currently, I am in the market for a pair of loudspeakers. About two weeks ago, I went to a Krell dealer on the Northwest Highway in Palatine and auditioned both the Resolution 2 and 3. Unfortunately, this dealer does not have good setup. They are more into home theather. Eventhough this dealer has a lousy setup, I could hear how great these Krell Resolution speakers are. After auditioning the Krells, I had a chance to listen to Revel Ultima both Studios and Salon in a perfectly treated listening room with top of the line equipments. Those two are very musical and I consider the best loudspeakers that I have ever listen in my live. I wish I could have listened to the Krells in a better listening room and better equipment. It is not a fair comparision.
Few days ago I had a chance to audition Resolution 2 and I completly agree with Linnlp12 review. These are excellent speakers, specially for their price. System was Jeff Rowland Model501/Concerto pre and Ayre CX7e. My friend own Resolution 1 which are even better then Resolution 2 but, they need lot of clean power(Krell FPB400cx/KCT combo). Also, there is Krell LAT-1000 which is one of the best speakers that I ever heard( and I will probably buy them!). In fact, I like sound of all Krell speakers a lot( together with Sonus Faber and Wilson they are my favorits) but, I feel that too many people are sceptical about them...