Love sound and hate price.
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I think the Krell sound is typical high end SS. Very analytical, resolved, bass strong, perhaps a bit cool in palate, with a big soundstage. I also think the more expensive the krell, the more body you get to the sound, wiht a sweeter top end. However, you always get bass and control with Krell stuff..that's almost agiven.
In general however, I think typical Krell would compare against a more gernal romantic, euphoric, tube like, liquid, syrupy sound and such, which you might find from most tube gear, or SS with a fatter upper/mid bass and such.
Of course, this is my take. I've sold Krell over the years. And I find the midline stuff is descent, and the expensive stuff is much better. All in all, I like the line...especially the AV pre/pro's for movies.
Krell sounds liquid and smooth as well to my ears.
True not as warm as some tubes, but the sound is good enough so that you won't miss the warmth - it is pleasant enough on it's own terms.
I also like the dynamic quality of Krell - it breaths life into music in a punchy and satisfying way that most tubes cannot.
I don't think it's correct calling Krell Bright! I've heard Krell sound bright in certain system combinations. But that goes with lots of gear combo's. The more analytical you get, the more things can tip "hot" tonally. It's a balancing act indeed.
As a line the Krell isn't bright though. I'd say it's good hifi effort, and better than most.
i had an fpb-300 amp that
1. worked perfectly/looked great
2. threw a big 3d stage
3. sounded quite good, except that compared to a pass aleph amp, had a slight silvery top end, not unpleasant in any way, but wasn't as transparent as the pass. otoh, the pass amp had softer bass. also, the krell was $8k, the pass (1.2's)
were $14k. halcro's get out of the way even more, but lack "body", which i ultimately prefer.
The only Krell I have heard was through a set of B&W 800's.
I don't remember them sound that bright. Could of been though.
What I do remember was they sounded really TUBBY on the bottom end.
They may not sound like this now, as the gear I was listeng to was 10-15 years old.
Do yourself a favor and buy a Bryston or Sim Audio.
I have owned a number of pieces of Krell over the last five years. I just sold an FPB 200 and have an FPB 700cx coming (hopefully today). The 200 never sounded bright. I would argue that any overly bright sounding amp is a result of a poor quality room. No one designs a piece of gear to sound bright.
Krell gear can be analytical, but that is more an attribute of their pre-amps than their amps.
My FPB 200 was not bright in the highs (in my room the highs were a little rolled off, but that was in my room), but at the same time I would not consider the mids to be 'liquid.' It offered a good, smooth midrange, but not to the point of being liquid. The bass was tight, and well defined, which very few tube amps, or SS for that matter are capable of doing.
The strong points of the Krell amps (Mostly the newer amps which are actually biased into class A to their full rated power) are their well defined bass and the large, detailed soundstage. Those are not the only positive aspects of Krell amps, but those are the ones that stand out most prominantly. They are capable (with good clean power) of bringing sound from a deep dark soundstage.
I have compared the Krell to similarly rated SS and tube amps, and the Krell does it better than the other amps I have heard. I have not heard anywhere near everything out there, but IMO the Krell does not have a strong, pronounced sound of their own. They have good control over what is supplied to them. Look upstream for the sound.
I'll be the last to suggest that associated equipment and listening room acoustics don't play a major role in one's
evaluation of a particular component. It's foolish to think otherwise!
The fact remains, however, that this obsessive hobby is purely subjective, meaning that the original premise ("The Krell sound---love it/hate it?")is, itself, moot.
What I (and, apparently, Theo) consider "bright" may be considered "mellow" to another listener, and "dull" to yet another. So what else is new?
I would also suggest that there may well be substantial differences within the Krell family of componentry.
Perhaps you've hit on the problem I had: my Krell was the, I believe, KAV300i(?). It's been a few years, so I'm not sure of the proper number, but it was an integrated.
I suppose this doesn't qualify as a "real" Krell. So be it. It was, however, an unpleasant enough experience that I've had no desire to try another example of that brand. I can't even mitigate my opinion by citing build quality, etc.: one of the RCA connectors actually liked the interconnect so much that it detached itself from the backplate!
The latest Krell "Class A" FPB amps - the ones with the "x"
suffix - are somewhat of a departure from the classic Krell
They are much sweeter than their predecessors.
I also agree that the "Krell sound" is very system dependent.
If you have speakers that need and can really use the high
current / high power capability of the Krells - like ribbon
speakers - then these amps really come into their own.
With reference to "morbius's" response:
I was using the integrated KAV300i with Maggie 3.5R's and I could never arrive at a satisfactory treble level, even after adding attenuating resistors to the high freq. connections in lieu of the standard jumpers. Those ribbon tweeters, in combo with the Krell, set my teeth on edge.(And the input was from a Wadia 830, which is infamous for its high freq. rolloff!)
But, again, the integrated amps probably don't qualify as "real" Krells. I won't argue with that opinion, having never again bothered to audition Krell products.
I now have SoundLab A-3's, powered by Bryston 7B-ST's, fed by a Burmester 001, all of which I find extremely satisfying. I still have the Maggies and recently had reason to put them back into service temporarily. With the Brystons, they are still a bit bright, but nowhere near the annoying level created by the Krell.
The Kav's are IMO not a good choice for full range ribbon systems...weak power supply turns them bright when driven hard. (I own a Kav-500). It's a great little amp for my Vmps 626's or my Apogee Centaur Minors but falls apart quickly on my Duetta Sig's. The old Krell Ksa-250 is smooth as butter on the big ribbons. Of course it's power supply is over 4 times the Kav's.
There is nothing to love about the sound of Krell products made in the last 5 years. Uninvolving musically and ridiculously priced, current Krell electronics and those made in the last 5 or 6 years do not hold a candle to the products they made in the mid 1990's. If you are looking for Krell products, do not hesitate to buy the FPB line which was their last serious effort to make gear for serious high-end audiophiles. Unfortunately, you do not often see this line up for sale on Audiogon. Everything since then has been aimed more at the home theater market and not serious 2 channel audiophiles. Krell has lost their way and is being outdone by many many electronics manufacturers less expensively.
Ahhhh, the Stage...what a beautiful sounding speaker!
Sorry, I can't help much. My 626's were bought (3 of them) as part of an all Vmps surround system 8 years ago and are soft-dome.
I have a Vmps dealer near my home and have listened to most models (not the new RM-30's or RM-X's yet). But, only at the dealer and not in my home. I have also not listened to a pair of Stages for around 3-4 years.
I am illiterate in the hifi talk but I do own the equipment. I was into hifi stereo back in 1975 but then started having childern. they are gone now and so I got back in to it. I started off with the kav-300r. The sound and stereo seperation was better then anything I had ever heard in my life to that point. To say the kav line isn't that good is silly. With the right speakers they sound great! I currently own a fpb-400cx with a kct pre-amp and b&w N802 speakers. It sounds better then the kav line but the kav was pretty darn good. My current system will bring tears to your eyes it's so good sounding "if you like music". I have demoed many types but for me the Krells I liked the best. PS, I recently picked up a used McIntosh MR-7083 tuner, it almost sounds as good as a cd player! and that's saying a lot. I never knew FM radio could sound so good. I am the most critically discerning person I know of, almost unsatisfiable, and I like the current Krell class-A equipment. Everyone has differant tastes, I like my sound system to reflect as close as possible the real thing.
I've owned two Krells, currently a FPB200 and previously a KAV300i. The 300i didn't really do much for me, having tried it in a couple different setups it was ultimately replaced with a CJ tubed integrated, the CAV50, which blew it away sonically.
I'm now trying a FPB200 with mixed results. The rest of my system: Audio Alchemy DDS Pro Transport, AA Dti pro32 digital interface, MF A324 Upsampler DAC, MIT reference digital cable, ARC LS 15 Preamp, Purist Audio single ended I/C, DH Labs Silver Ref XLR's, Chord Flatline Bi-Wires, and Maggie 3.6R's.
The sound that I get from my system is basically inconsistent and too dependant on the recording quality of the source material, which is 99% CD (I have SACD but using a Pioneer Elite 45i it doesn't sound as good as CD).
The system, and note that I say 'system' is overly bright and analytical on most music. Some CD's that are recorded well, and recorded on the warmer side, sound excellent, but 70% of my collection (varied, including rock, jazz, classical, blues etc) sounds too bright.
Having tried other amps, including tubed Cary monoblocks, a vintage Perreaux bi-amped configuration, Mac 252, Belles and CJ's, the Krell made the following differences:
Excellent soundstage depth.
Slightly improved soundstage width.
More detail - better resolution.
More solid imaging
Clearer, more precise presentation.
Clean / tight bass reproduction
Those are positives, but the negatives are:
less musically satisfying
Less able to tolerate louder volumes
Too edgy and bright
Timbral information lacking, no real substance to strings and percussion
Ultimately shorter listening sessions.
The last point really sums it up for me - 'ultimately shorter listening sessions'.
It's hard to get into the groove with my present system, and I'm trying to figure out what to change. I think it's wrong to blame the Krell, it's a system synergy issue, where the Magnepans are a little forward to begin with and the Krell doesn't help any in that direction.
My Cary V12i Monos were far more musically satisfying in my system, but they were unable to open up the soundstage on the Maggies, and stage presentation is something that I hold high on my priority list. SPL's were also limited using the Cary's, as they would regularly pop the tweeter fuses, which hasn't happened so far with the Krell.
So to get back on track for this thread, I don't think there is a 'Krell sound' per se, just a system synergy issue that is perhaps more profound than with other manufacturers components.
I personally think that the Maggie/Krell is not such a good match - it's quite 'audiophile' in a sense (stage, imaging, detail), but not musically satisfying enough.
So my advice is to be careful to match Krell amps with other components that are not on the bright or analytical side.
PS - I'm open to suggestions on where to go next with my system, change the speakers?....change the amp?...change both?...buy a boombox..? what the heck.
Rooze, how about looking at the source. What's up with the TT?
I just got a Krell FPB 700cx yesterday. The sound is amazing, after only four hours of running the PAD burn-in CD. The amp, so far has struck me as being very neutral, and reflective of the componants upstream. More listening will reveal a better qualified summary.
Nate, glad to hear that the Krell arrived safely. Sorry I missed the chance to get a listen yesterday, I got your email Friday morning, and your phone message late last night when we got home from dinner.
I tried to be careful not to say that there is anything wrong with the Krell, I don't think that there is. It's a system synergy issue, but I have to wonder if the system ever has a chance of sounding good with both the Krell and the Maggie's, regardless of what I do with the source and/or other ancillary equipment. I might be wrong in that assumption and I would very much like to be proven so.
The TT is probably just too 'basic' to have a chance of sounding any better than the CD front end. It's a nice TT for the money, but I need to spend a lot more to get something that will perform well in my system. I get a taste for what vinyl is about with the Rega, but I know from owning an LP12 for many years that it is capable of much, much more. It would probably help to at least spend a bit of time setting the Rega up properly, and hopefully I can borrow your setup device, and maybe even your expertise for a couple hours soon.
I'm going to setup a system in the basement when you're done with the Cary's, using my old speakers and probably the turntable. That will give me the opportunity to start selling off some components from the main system, to finance a change in direction.
I haven't decided yet what the change will be, new speakers possibly, to mate with the Cary's. Or, new amps, to match better with the maggie's....maybe scale back on amps and speakers, and use the left over cash towards vinyl.
Anyway....there I go again!! Susan says it's a 'Libran trademark', hopping from one foot to the other.
I'm going now, no I'm not, yes I am, no...I'll stay a while longer, have to go.
The lowest note on a string bass has a fundamental pitch of about 40 cycles per second. At a live performance,the difference tones add an ambiance to the bass that is usually not present with recordings-even with a subwoofer.
Difference tones? See The Psychology of Music By Carl Seashore for more on difference tones.(Quick take,a 40 cycle tone creates an "undertone" at 20 cycles,that creates an undertone at 10 and so on.)
The "Krell Sound" as I understand it,is an attempt to recreate the bass response of a live performace by what many call "bass grip".
Other posters have mentioned that componant matching is important and I agree with them.
Bozzy...I just noticed in another thread that you have B&W 703s...I Have the CDM1nt's and just upgraded from a bryston B60 integrated to an Electrocompaniet ECI-3. From the forum posts I have read on the Electrocompaniet website, alot of the people are using B&W's with Electro gear. I understand that the Nemo monoblocks were made with the N801's in mind. You may want to check out some of their lower power stereo or monoblock amps in the 200+wpc range. They seem to go for pretty reasonable prices used...I have alredy been drooling over the used amps for sale here on the gon but have to start somewhere. And no...I have no affiliation with them.
p.s. the pictures definitely do not do them justice