+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 51

Thread: My New Krell

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 471
    I'm Russell.

    Default My New Krell

    Grab your reading glasses and a beverage, this might take a bit.


    My New Krell

    As suggested on my last post, "I'm Getting A Krell!", here is the follow up after a few months of ownership. And let's just go ahead and say, I have never been happier with my stereo! It has made all the difference in the world. Night and day, no need for blind listening tests, it is a vast difference of an order of magnitude. So very different.

    I learned many years ago that when you hear a stereo, it's the amp that gives it's character. 30 years ago I had my first real high end stereo. (At least it was to me) that was an Adcom 555 and Adcom preamp, with Vandersteen 2C speakers. And it was awesome! One day, I had a new pair of tiny speakers I had purchased for the garage. I sat them on top of my 2C's, and hooked them to the amp. That day I had several friends over who knew my stereo well. After an hour of listening, I asked, what speakers are playing? And no one had realized it was the tiny 4 inch woofer monitors. The tone, the character, the color if you will, was the same. It lacked the bass of the 2C's but at median volume no one noticed.

    And so it was with this stereo. My monstrous Legacy Focus 20/20's have been in this room, 16x20 feet, for 3 years now. I had an amp before I bought them, a Forte' Model 3. A 200 wpc A/B switching amp. A nice amp! It really used to pump my old speakers. Nice smooth amp, doesn't have the bass slam of the Adcom, and the top end is much more fluid, but with the Legacy's it was just not cutting it. Now the Legacy's claim to have an SPL in the 90's, and only need 50 watts to drive them according to the owner's manual. But somehow, it was lacking, it sounded great! Everyone that heard it thought it was great! But, it lacked that magical quality of drawing one into the music. That power that makes you want to play one album after the other, each selection reminds you of the following one, and before you know it you've listened to it past your bed time. A property that old Adcom setup had. Even though many today would call that system unrefined, it had the magic! And friends from far and wide would come over to spend the evenings into the wee hours as I spun vinyl for them.

    So I borrowed a Crown amp from the band, a nice new D class amp that supposedly makes 475 watts at 4 ohms, which the Legacy's claim to be. And I bi-amped the speakers, I made up a very nice pair of 10 gauge wires, and used the Crown on the bass half of the cabinets. And it helped! It gave music a much needed kick in the pants. In fact, I could balance the bass and treble by adjusting the gain knobs on this XLS 2500. Problem solved! Well, not really. While it had more bass than before, which was somewhat satisfying, it still lacked the magic I was looking for. Still no gotcha, I was beginning to think it was me? Perhaps I had become jaded, perhaps I was too old to feel that passion for music? I have been through quite a lot over the past 15 years. Maybe I just didn't have that magic in me anymore?

    Enter the Krell FPB-300, a full Class A amp, all Class A all the time! And the minute I hooked it up, I knew within 5 seconds I had something! It was wonderful! I could hear it all! Smooth, luxurious, full bodied, satisfying sound! But I was still in for a surprise. After about an hour, after it was up to full temperature it only sounded more fluid, more sexy, more "there". In fact I had a problem, there was too much bass slam! It was overpowering, while the highs and mids were there, I had no problem hearing any instrument or vocal in the mix, it seemed boomy. But, some minor adjustments and I think I've got that problem tamed. These Legacy speakers have 3 toggle switches on the rear that allow you to cut or let through bass, midrange and high frequencies. I forget now, maybe a 3db cut? So, I simply switched the bass toggle down, and I've been enjoying it ever since. That and some speaker placement adjustments. I did pull them farther out into the room, and adjusted toe in, until it smoothed out.

    Over the past 3 years, I've bought a new turntable, and a new cartridge, and a new CD player! Actually, all used, not a single piece of my stereo is new. Well the cartridge was never used, but I bought it from someone who had never used it. It was like I was hearing all of this new equipment for the first time!

    My Cary 306.200 CD player is nice, looks like it was carved from a block of aluminum. Solid aluminum drawer, selectable filters, and inputs so I can run other digital sources through its internal DAC. I haven't tried that yet, but I might test it out by feeding the output of my Minidisc Recorder through it. And it sounds amazing! I had an old Sony 608ESD that I used for the best part of 30 years! And it was a top notch player, great dynamics. But unfortunately it succumbed to the ravages of time, and the laser was failing. I looked into fixing it, but it was cost prohibitive. So swapping it out for the Cary, I heard some improvement. Nothing too outstanding, but, more balanced, a bit more air at the top maybe? Until now. Wow what a difference a day makes! Played through the new Krell, it was nothing short of awesome! The music was huge! It threw a giant image. I could see down into the music like a microscope! But it wasn't analytical, or bright, it was warm, and smooth. But if I looked for the detail it was there. In spades! In fact, I found that I was playing at much lower volumes than before. I didn't have to crank it up as high to reach satisfaction, at conversation level, it has slam! It has punch! And vocals, and guitars, and drum whacks, all as true as an arrow. That magic I spoke of that I used to get from playing vinyl, I was getting it from CD's too! I was digging deep into my limited CD collection to find a new gem, finding something new on every recording, something I had not noticed before, or something that seemed different somehow. I could make out every note the bass player was playing, even through the most congested passages. The elusive kick drum was so evident! Guitar picks were easily discerned, each pluck, or finger slide, string buzz, laid bare in front of me!

    This says as much about the speakers as it does the amp. But without the amp, the speakers just couldn't do it. Who needs a subwoofer? Certainly not I, bass synth could be heard way down, vibrating the floorboards. 5 string bass's low B string was slamming! Certainly preserved the boogie woogie in songs that grooved, I found myself unconsciously toe tapping to everything! And occasionally throwing that imaginary drum stick up to take a lick!

    Then I got to cleaning a few records, and playing then immediately thereafter. And I thought for a while that this new Cary CD player had won the top spot? But, after about two albums I was reminded of that magic that comes from clean vinyl. Perhaps the CD player did have greater dynamics. And it allows me to pick each note apart, the black as soot backgrounds. By all accounts, if one were to listen to each for only one minute, they most certainly would pick the CD over the vinyl. But after hearing a half dozen albums, I realized that the magic had been found! I could not stop playing records. I was digging back for old favorites one after the other, Blue Oyster Cult's Cultasaurous Erectus, Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, Pat Travers' Crash and Burn, Stevie Ray Vaughn Double Trouble, Pink Floyd's Meddle, Heart's Dreamboat Anne. The acoustic guitars on that Dreamboat, and female vocals, a highly underrated album. And the list kept growing!

    I've got to say, and I've said this in my last post, I always hesitate, and worry, and wonder if this new piece of gear is worth the price? Every time, even used this is a lot of money! Will it be worth it? And every time, a resounding yes! The money is soon forgotten, but the increase in sound quality, the increase in musical enjoyment lasts and lasts! I have gotten more use out of my stereo over these past two months than I have over the past year! It has hardly been powered down. When I'm not playing records or spinning CD's, I'm listening to my Magnum Dynalab FT101 tuner! Again, I am now hearing it like it was the first time, how FM could be such a quality source? Most impressive, and great for times when you don't feel up to jumping up and down to flip records. The sound is very full, and warm, bass going way down, treble so smooth. Lots of air, un-congested and spacious.

    But my overall impression of the amp? Warm, full, with great slam and heft. But smooth, crystal clear highs without being edgy, fluid midrange, both male and female vocals are so true and real. It is the preverbal iron fist in the velvet glove. It reveals minute details all the way through, any and all parts of the recording are evident, even multi-tracked vocals reveal each track of it. Synth and keyboard are huge! Piano has that reverberant quality, left hand keys sound very real. Soundstage is wide, not in the room, but beyond the wall. But I believe that has more to do with my speaker placement than the amp. The soundstage could be much tighter, and possibly between the speakers if I could place them closer together. But it doesn't detract from the music, whatever it's doing it works. I could kick my own butt for not buying that Krell I've wanted since 1986!

    When I first heard a pair of Krell monoblocks driving a pair of Martin Logan Sequals. The salon had a Klyne preamp set up with two CD players I wanted to audition connected so I could switch back and forth. I sat there playing my own CDs for hours! The salesman finally had to interrupt me, I was having a bit too much fun! So, I've waited 31 years to fulfill my Krell desires, and I think of all the wasted years, I could have had that setup so many years ago, if I had only taken that second mortgage on the house. I guess all things in their own time. Now that I'm divorced there is no one to shame me for spending all my money on stereo! And all of this is with my Parasound Halo 3 preamp, I paid $300 used for it. What improvements will I hear once I've upgraded that to a Audio Research LS27? Or similar. It still has the bent fin from shipping, but at this point if it never gets fixed I'll be OK. I may never sell it anyway.













    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 1,291
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    thanks for the write up Russell , sounds like a beautiful amp indeed.
    modwright 36.5 DM /MSB s200 , / Marantz sa8005/bel canto 3.5, vbs , bel canto fm1
    sonos, . dct300/ /isotek sigmas /rfc/chord epic cabling/Kimber select/ proac studio 125

  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 471
    I'm Russell.

    Default

    Yea I've been laid up for a few days and I got bored, so thought I would write a bit! Sorry : but thanks Phil, I never expected to enjoy it this much!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,085
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Great write up Russell, we don't have the same Krell but I recognise a lot of what your saying, especially about the bass slam. You can never have enough bass slam I didn't know what to expect, I'd read of Krell being hard, cold, 'nails down a blackboard' etc. The reality is nothing like that.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 471
    I'm Russell.

    Default

    I've heard that too, and I just don't see it. If I had to characterize the overall sound in one word. I would say warm. What are they comparing it to if they hear hard and cold? They must have heard it in compromised conditions? If you try hard enough, you can make anything sound bad.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 26,739
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Russell's description of the sound is much the same as my thoughts about my Monarchy Audio power amp, which I suppose could be regarded as a scaled down Krell. Good Class A definitely suits my ears. Clean, smooth, clear and punchy!
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

  7. #7
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,085
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alphaGT View Post
    I've heard that too, and I just don't see it. If I had to characterize the overall sound in one word. I would say warm. What are they comparing it to if they hear hard and cold? They must have heard it in compromised conditions? If you try hard enough, you can make anything sound bad.
    Has to be bad matching, crappy pre-amp or something.

    I wouldn't say mine was 'warm' sounding, it sounds a lot like a beefier Radford STA15 to me. It is very easy on the ear, the opposite of nails on a blackboard, but not warm. I suppose the pre-amp used will affect the outcome hugely.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  8. #8
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 471
    I'm Russell.

    Default

    A new, or I should say another, preamp is next on my list. While I love my Parasound Halo 3, it is not a "high end" , preamp. I want a good tubed pre that has all the features I enjoy in the Halo 3. I'm sure an Audio Research LS27 will not sound, "warm", I'm also considering a used BAT VK-32 I think it is? It also has all the features I desire. Remote control, tape loop, balanced output, room for 5 inputs. These are not hard to find here in the states, I've got many of them on my watch list. There are many tubed preamps around but many fail on one or the other of my wants. I read that many mate Audio Research with Krell, hopefully it will brighten things up.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Join Date: Dec 2015

    Location: vancouver

    Posts: 642
    I'm danilo.

    Default simple evaluation testing

    Perhaps?
    Before going off on a tangent hunting Pre's.
    Build/assemble yourself a Dead simple Passive pre Basically a 10 k pot stepped attenuator at least, but no less than a 15$ Alps Blu Box pot.
    Connect wires/interconnects to it attach any source with a decent output ie CDP or DAC.
    Then listen.
    Should be the cleanest purest sounds that that Krell is capable of.
    There will be no impedence issues in the way either.
    IF it doesn't please.. then You have system issues:
    with the "Forbidden Planet" Krell
    OR possibly your sources OR speakers are not anywhere near as good as you were led to believe.
    Fairly common occurrence.. actually.
    Us Audio Weenies Are herd creatures
    My audio bits: Thorens / diy phono, CD/dvd player(s), diy pre, F6, Tannoy Golds in my boxes / my xovers, and of course all strung together with basic diy Wires
    Lots of Cd's, yet more audio files, a couple of hundred semi worn Lps.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 265
    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    I agree, but would make it a 100k pot, log of course just to ensure better non loading of previous O/P.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast



 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •