Krell FPB-200 Amplifiers

4.42/5 (19 Reviews) MSRP : $6500.00


Product Description

2 channel, 200W at 8 ohms, power doubles each halving of impedance load


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Reviews 1 - 5 (19 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ckoffend a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 14, 2008

Bottom Line:   
After going through many amps during the course of the past year, I found a well priced FPB 200. To be honest, I was a bit leary based on reading so many Krell bashing threads and having had a Krell KAV 1500 5-channel amp in my system (FWIW, 5 channel amps are not good for 2-channel performance having used: Conrad Johnson, Krell, Proceed, Theta Dreadnaught II and a few others outside of my system - none were as good as a moderately priced 2-channel amp).

I run Wilson W/P speakers so I was a bit prepared to end up not liking this amp, thinking it would spit at me and chase me out of the room. At the time I purchased this amp, I also owned a Mark Levinson 331.5 and two BAT VK 60 monoblock amps to compare it to. I also was able to put in a pair of Thiel 2.2 speakers for listening. FWIW, I liked the BAT VK 60 amps very much and felt they were solid tubed power amps. With my Capitole CD player; however, I found that resolution and detail were lacking with the BATs in place (using a BAT VK 5i pre or the Capitole direct).

With the ML 331.5 in place, I felt that a lot of the resolution that was missing with the BATs was improved upon with the ML. I felt the ML could run well with both speakers (Thiel and Wilson) both direct from the Capitole or via the VK 5i preamp. However, I always felt that the ML was just not quite as musical as the BAT amps. I felt both were very good and bettered the other in very specific areas (partially mentioned above) and was overall pleased by owning both of the different amp setups.

When I introduced the Krell FPB 200 to the system I found that everything was overall more satisfying for me. If felt I had the benefits of the BATs (smoothness, sound stage, musicality) and the benefits of the ML's greater resolution and detail. While I am sure in comparison to some other amps, I will find that the FPB 200 has some weaknesses, I have not felt it lacking in any way.

In my experience, the Krell seemed to impart the character of the recording and other equipment in my chain more so than these other amps I have owned (and virtually all other amps I have listened to). I just felt the Krell let the music flow through better without imparting much of a sonic signature (other than excellent control). My system changed slightly when I bought a new Krell HTS 7.1 thinking that its 2-channel KCT based preamp would be sufficient and replaced the AA Capitole (due to shipping damage after having the tubes changed) to a Resolution Audio Opus 21 with GNSC mods. I feel that my sound stage depth and focus was impacted by the Krell 7.1 in 2-channel analog direct. I attribute this to the HTS 7.1, not the FPB 200 (as my stage depth and focus were excellent with the BAT VK 5i).

Just last week I had commented that it would be a very long time before I considered replacing the FPB 200. I am in the possible process of doing that right now. I have a Krell FPB 300-C used being picked up next week (at under $4K) for this amp I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see if there is a noticeable difference between the two.

Coming the day before the new Krell FPB 300-C I have a new Aesthetix Calypso being delivered. I will first install the 300-C into the system (without the Calypso) to see if there is a noticeable difference between the 200 and the 300-C based on my known set-up. Based on these results, I will then put the Calypso in the system and give it some time to break-in and then compare the 200 and the 300-C and again determine the differences. At some soon point, I will have either a 200 or a 300-C available for sale.

I would have to say, I would be pleasantly surprised if the 300-C shows a noticeable improvement over the 200. I have been so totally impressed by the 200 within my system that I find it hard to top for my personal preferenced. My experience with it can best be summarized by the following:

The Krell FPB 200 conveys the sound that is delivered to it, good or bad. I have found other than with the demonstration of excellent overall control, especially within the bass region, that the 200 has imparted little to none of its own sonic character.

Since many people buy audio components to change the sound, this may not be a good thing. There was a time in the past that I wanted an amp to soften the sound, I went with tubes. But to be honest I eventually began to miss what I was not hearing. To appreciate the Krell, in fact to enjoy the music fully when using the 200, one must insure that the source component and preamp (along with cables) are producing the sound that one wants to achieve. Relying on the Krell to change the sound (smoothing it, adding detail, adding soundstage, etc. . .) will not result in satisfying end results.

I have never had an amp that has been able to immediately portray or convey the other changes in my system as well. When I purchased my new Opus 21, I thought I would miss some of the warmth of the Capitole. After playing the Opus 21, I added Cardas Golden Cross balanced ICs as this is a known warm cable. I had already very much enjoyed the sound of the Opus with transparent cables. Putting the Cardas in place I was able to immediately recognize not just the much warmer sound, but the very noticeable loss in the bass slam region, less air in the mid to upper frequency ranges and a bit of a veiling of the overall sound. I attribute not these artifacts, but the fact these artifacts were so blatantly apparent to the Krell.

A good source with a good preamp and reasonable cabling will result in an excellent performing system, just don't expect the 200 to have a whole change on the signal it is being fed, it won't! If you think you can replace your tubed amp and keep the warmth and distortion that the tubed amp imparts to the sound, you won't. If you feel that your amp currently is imparting too much of a sonic signature to your sound, then get the 200 and the signature will be lost. You will hear the music, the source, the preamp and the cabling, but you are not likely to hear the Krell.

I am not a wholesale Krell die-hard. I have heard some of their amps that I was not remotely impressed by. But with the better amps (and this does not necessarily mean newest) I have found them to be absolutely supperb in many areas.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1997



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by jaxbaron a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 29, 2004

Bottom Line:   
This amp was a let down for me. I was looking to make a major upgrade from an acurus a-200 to power my Dunlavy 4a's which are very efficient but ruthlessly revealing. What I got from the fpb-200 was better bass and that was it. The highs still pierced my ears. After a while I switched to a Pass x-350 and not only did the high frequencies become totally natrual and smooth, the detail dramatically increased which just showed me how muddy the Krell was. This amp might sound ok with more colored speakers but you'll still be missing in detail. I lived with this amp for a year and couldnt be happier with the switch.

Associated gear:
Sonic Frontiers Line-3 Pre
Dunlavy SCIVA
Electrocompaniet Emc-1 mk11
Acoustic Zen cables throughout

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $2900.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Gucio a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 19, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have tried all the best amps under $1K and then under $2K, both tubes and solid-state. Finally my wife got fed up with large boxes arriving on our door step every few weeks so I decided to stop the chase and go for this little monster.

$3K was a bit of stretch but so far well worth it and unlike last eight amps I've tried this one can't be shipped very easy (100lb). I guess it will have to stay for a while.

I never though I would own Krell after reading all the Krell bashing on the net and even more for their prices. However friend of mine had one and after months of comparing all the other amps (see list below) to FPB200 I have decided to end my misery of finding a suitable power for my Dunlavy SC-IIIs.

This amp excells in every aspect.
Bass: incredibly tight and fully controlled revealing every nuance
Midrange: smooth and very open, almost liquid (this may vary with other components) exactly at the point where realy good tube and solid-state gear meets
Top: Very well extended and sweet
Imaging: Absolutely seemless
Tonal accuracy: very neutral but with feeling, piano and guitar sound right
Musicality: Included

This amp reveals every shade in music. It makes things sound interesting, I am starting to listen to more and more classical stuff.

This is the only Krell amp I have ever heard, I am sure some are really bad but FPB-200 turned out OK.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   www.echohifi.com



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by John a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 9, 2002

Bottom Line:   
After purchasing this amplifier I found everything--dynamic pacing with a full bodied sound. This amplifier is non-fatiguing. Fantastci soundstage and control over the music. Great sense of space and decay on music fade.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1998



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rmml a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 29, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This amp showed me what my Thiel CS3.6 is capable of. The only amp that is able to do this of all the amps I had.A match made in Audio heaven.
Head snapping dynamic shifts,chest pounding transient attack, humongous soundstage, dead on imaging,wide open top end with unbelievable extension,silky smooth mids, tight slammin' bottom end ,etc,etc, "it's all there".
You will get a lot of those moments when you listen to your system and you find yourself smiling thinking "Damn my stereo sounds good". At least I do.

other equipments:
EMC 1
SF Line 2SE
Krell FPB200
Thiel CS3.6
PS Audio PP300
NBS Monitor Series IC and speaker cable
FIM and NBS PCs

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997

Purchased At:   Nice older Audiophile from CO




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