personally I would look at your wires. I am a big fan of Kimber cable especially the selects. you have a cd only system once you think about replacing the Cary I would be thinking of a cd player with a volume control as far as the amp you have a keeper.
I tend to doubt the problems you cite are all Krell related.
I'd really work with the cables and speaker positioning before I sell and give up a known quantity, the Krells, for an unknown quantity. I also want to think the old Krell electronics would do almost as well as the new B&k in most areas and exceed them in a few others. That is a hope only however. Would the dealer allow you to take the B&Ks home for a few Sunday night listening sessions perhaps? That way you could get them back to him/her early on the following Mondays and you could take notes in a few leisurely and structured listening sessions...maybe with some well earred friends joining you too. At least try to minimize the number of variables during your comparisons, and your room is probably the biggest variable and the one not closely duplicated at the dealer, before you make a move. When purchasing my most recent set of speakers I noted the dealer room had a serious mid bass hump compared to my listening room. This anomaly was noted in the dealer room 7 years ago with the same speaker. Of course my room might have a suckout alternatively...who knows without measuring devices? The speakers were overly lush at the dealer with Krell or BAT electronics, but less lush at home with Bryston and c-j electronics. A different vintage of Krell electronics was present 7 years ago at the dealer by the way. Imaging was somewhat better at the dealer until I found the best placement. That took no less than seven listening sessions and numerous small speaker movements. Now I think the two are almost equal. Of course the dealer had a much better Cd player (for the price of a good used car) and cables. I DID have the same source material. What you often give up is not missed until the component is long gone....so try to be sure before you dismiss two good mono amps.
I would say yes, replace the Krells. I've never been a Krell fan. I am a fan of Vienna Acoustics however. I've recently sold my Beethovens and my Strauss are due in anyday now. I can't wait. I currently use a Classe CP-60 preamp with a Threshold T400 amp, which I believe is much more musical combo then the Krells. Krell is probably more dynamic and powerful, but too aggressive, and to my ears, a tad harsh. I use Tara Labs Decade cables.
I would think a tubed preamp may allow you to keep the Krell amp and be happy. Audition a Cary, CJ, or BAT to name a few. That may be the easiest way to go.
I have had several different Krell amps and pre-amps and have not found them to be harsh or overly aggresive. These are words which are typically applied by people who have never owned Krell or have a preconcieved notion of what everything should sound like based on what they currently own. For some reason many people feel the need to denigrate Krell equipment. Maybe if they put it down they will feel better about their equipment.
I will admit that every time I bought a newer piece of Krell it sounded better than the piece it replaced. If a person were comparing their new pre-amp to the older Krell maybe some of these discriptions would apply, but they would not be a criticism as much as a comparision.
I have been ridiculed by certain unnamed members of the AudiogoN community for liking Krell but it was by people whose discussion has proved them to be little more than idiots. Krell makes a good product, but it will not be for everyone. That doesn't make it bad. There are hundreds of appliance makers or auto makers each making different versions of the same thing. It is not the case that only one of them is good and all the others suck.
Based on all of this this or inspite of it there are tons of options for you. I am of the opinion that once your electronics are of a reasonable level cables will make the most obvious and cost effective improvement. Even spending outrageous ammounts of money on cable. The level of improvement is bigger with cables than it is with spending a comparable ammount on electronics. Everyone has their favorite cables. I tend to like Purist and Cardas with the Krell equipment I own.
Best of luck in your search. You will find as many opinions as you find responders to your thread.
The guys at tweeter are pretty cooperative. Why don't you ask them if you can swap your Krells into their setup?
Did you listen to your own CDs or new material?
It is not uncommon to hear differences in imaging characteristics among different speakers of the same line using the same electronics. Smaller speakers with fewer drivers can have better overall coherence and soundstaging but generally at the expense of bass extension.
How much attention have you paid to speaker placement? Are your speakers up against the back wall or out in the room? How far apart are they? This would be the first experiment I would perform.
Get a GamuT D-200 amp, and never look back.
I have a GamuT D-200 driving the Mahlers, and it is remarkable.
Three things mainly affect imaging: room acoustics, location and position of speakers in the room, and maintaining correct polarity between the respective left and right channels. On the last point, I have seen speaker pairs where one speaker is wired incorrectly and the polarity is reversed. As you might imagine, that scenario totally destroys imaging and needs to be corrected by reversing the positive and negative speaker wires (or rewiring one speaker correctly). If I were you, I'd get a hold of a test CD that has channel phasing tests and put the system through its paces. You could also check to see that you have not inadvertantly reversed the polarity of one channel somewhere in your playback chain (most likely at the speaker or amp).
If you find that everything is functioning as intended then it would be time to experiment with speaker placement and fine tuning their position in the room. Look at what furniture (if any) you have between your speakers; and the symmetry and similarity of the acoustic environment between the respective left and right speakers.
If your CD player has tubes, maybe it's time to install new tubes. Possibly, a decent equipment rack might help, as well.
I wouldn't start swapping equipment until you figure out exactly why your system doesn't image properly. Even cheap gear can image well and your gear is not what I'd call cheap...
I ditto Nrchy's comments on Krell equipment as I too have owned it for years and have had many different models. An FPB Krell amp is a major improvement over what you are using now and sonically will be a big improvement. However, I also agree your cable is weak...I have found Transparent work very well with Krell and Wilson, so I have gone the Reference XL route. Having said that, there are other great cables to audition and I would try the better names in the price ranges you can afford. B&K builds a good entry level, high end amp, but personally, it isn't on par with a Krell, Levinson, etc. Have fun in your pursuit of sonic nirvana.
Nrchy,congratulation if your Krell's sound good for your ears and you have not found them to be harsh.
I bought used FPB300C last year on Audiogon and sold on Ebay 6 weeks later. It was harsh and too forward to my EARS.
Harsh for my could be nirvana for someone.
John said Krell too harsh to his ears period. So what the real story ??
I doubt that harsh could be anyone's nirvana. What does harsh mean? I left room in my thread for any number of opinions. There is no piece of equipment that would be the best for everyone.
The problem could be your room, your ears, or any number of things. Are we to assume that since you don't like it the rest of us should throw our equipment away?!?
The real story probably has more to do with the sound you are accustomed to than how bad the Krell sounds. With the technological advances made in this age it's just foolish to think that any company would want to build an amp that sounds harsh. I don't know for a fact, but I would guess they have enough money to develop a good sounding amp. Why would they knowingly put out an inferior (read: harsh) amplifier.
You said, "These are words which are typically applied by people who have never owned Krell" mean that you don't think John has never heard or owned Krell.
Are people who said that have never owned Krell ??
I never said or against Krell or Krell's owner or even said that you should throw our equipments away since i don't like them in my statement.
BTW : Happy New Year for all of you !!
Nrchy, it's a matter of different taste. Harsh is a harsh word. Some like their equipment to be 'detailed' or 'revealing'. What may be detailed and revealing to one person is bright and harsh to another. The other side of the coin is some prefer a 'warm' or 'musical' sound. What may be warm and musical to one, may be dull or uninvolving to another. It comes down to a matter of balance and individual tastes. That's all. I admit I prefer a warmer sound to a revealing sound. You may not, that's your right. It's your money and you should be entitled to spend it as you see fit. Don't let anothers opinion of your system bother you. I actually enjoy it when a established audio magazine doesn't like something I like, because then I know the price will be falling and I can get it for less.
I was simply offering a suggestion. You're welcome to disagree with it. FWIW, I have owned a Krell DAC many years ago, and I have auditioned Krell amps and preamps in my system and others, I simply don't care for them. Nothing nasty. I'm not trying to start a Krell war, they're just not my cup of tea. That doesn't mean you're not entitled to enjoy them. If they make you want to listen to music more, then they are successful.
We own similar equipment. I have Beethovens with a Cary 303/100. Although I run a tube amp and preamp, I've found that placement and room interaction is critical. Don't spend money on changing amps yet before doing some homework in placement. Different cables will indeed make a difference but I think the major improvement will be with proper placement. In my 18 x 14 room the Beethovens are about 4' front the back wall and 3' from the side walls, with just a slight toe-in. In addition, using the supplied spikes, tilt them up about 5 degrees or so.
Good luck, Mike.
Itch, You could replace your krell with an old onkyo and get that imaging. Here is what I did the other day, I have been building a new room on to my home for the last few months. The room is far enough along to do some sound checks on so for the fun of it I took some of my old gear out there to have some New Years eve fun. There was a thread here about a month ago about correct speaker placement in a room so I thought I would try it out in my new room. I have a krell ksa-250 and a krell kav-500 but did not want to lug them out there so I took an old onkyo receiver that I do not use anymore. For speakers I took my rears out of my SS system (vmps 626's) and an old cdp player I do not use. I have a very good set of speaker stands I had bought a year or so ago but were still in their boxes so I took them out and used them for the small vmps. I got out my tape and armed with the info I got from the link in that thread I set to work on the correct speaker placement for that room. In about an hour I had some of the best imaging I have ever had out of any system. There were five of us out there and everyone kept saying how good the musc sounded, How the sound was so big,so deep and just seemed to wrap around the whole room. So what am I trying to say? Imaging is all about speaker placement not about gear. Oh buy the way, speaker wire was Home cheapo 14 gage and interconnects were bottom of the line vampire wire. You might want to keep that Krell and find that thread.