I have owned many integrated amplifiers, these include: NAD C320BEE, Consonance A-100 Linear, Cambridge Audio 840C, Creek 5350, Arcam FMJ-A22, Krell KAV-300iL, Krell KAV-400xi, and the PS Audio GCA-250.
I have tried most of the aforementioned amps powering Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SE monitors. I plain and simple like the Krell 300r better than any of the others. It is very dynamic, smooth, detailed and has incredible bass punch. Imaging is pinpoint and soundstage width and depth are outstanding. The tuner is absolutely astonishing, build quality and reliability are first rate!.
The Dynaudios are a fairly difficult load with a 6 ohm impedance and 85dB sensitivity. The 300r drives them effortlessly. With used prices considered it is an absolute steal and still to this day an excellent amplifier. There is better available but it will cost dearly to get it.
I am a huge music lover who listening all kinds of music except rap & country and am also an audio enthusiast changing the equip regularly for hobby. But, while ago, I finally got the Harbeth(my dream monitor) HLP3-ES2 and tried to find an amp to match with this power hungry 83db tiny monitor.(I have Accuphase 406, Mac MC 162, Marantz PM17. Harman Kardon(crap!- Don't ever buy this brand. don't even want to mention model name) While my beloved Accuphase can drive Harbeth with ease(but reserved for my N804), Both Mac & Marantz didn't feed Harbeth enough. It was quite good but definitely needed power. (I have never seen meter of Mac hittiing peak its 160w level with mid volume.)
Now, it's turn of Krell. One word is Whoa..... I just couldn't shut my mouth. This was my first reaction. It really makes Harbeth shinny than ever. If I say Accuphase is known for it's silky smoothness, this slim & modern looking dude gives full authority & plenty of straight power reverved. And the main reason to buy this was because of its tuner section famous for. I was quite impressed with its tuner ability(reminds me Accuphase & tandberg tuner - but not retro sound like those but more sophisticated & modern sound.)Also, it gives great pleasures to my eyes when I control it with remote. When handling volume, it's glory blue light blinking so attractive. And never exceed more than half of volume meter even at high volume with Harbeth.
There might be better receivers outthere. But, I will keep this until I find better one which I don't think easy to find!)
After listenting to classical and contemporary instrumental music on good mid-fi receivers and entry level hi-end integrated amps for the last 20+ years, I was ready purchase true professional quality equipment. However, I did not want the inconvience and inflated cost of most separates. Also, I also have absolutely zilch interest in home theater. (The last time I went to a movie was 1985.)
About 15 months ago I first saw and listened to the KAV 300R at Ultimate Electronics and was very impressed with its clean sound, impressive rock solid build quality, and simple operation. The FM turner sounded nearly as good as many CD medium priced players. However, the $3,500 price tag was a tad too much for my budget. I am very glad that I waited.
Shortly after Krell discontinued this receiver, I noticed that Ultimate reduced the price to $2,300. Three months later I bought the last demo unit available in Phoenix for $1,700. After a little over a month of listening, I have to say that this is the best audio equipment investment that I have ever made. The Krell receiver literally upgraded my entire system (CD player, tape deck, speakers, and cables)and all 350 CD's.
Bass range is extended, tight, and fast. The sound stage is three dimensional and much like that of a live performance. Music is cleanly reproduced with real AUTHORITY, even a low listening levels. I am sure that equipment is available that takes these qualities to a higher level, but I have to believe that the extra money spent won't result in proportional improvement.
I spend hours listening to CDs that I have owned and listened to for years and hear things that I had not noticed before.
Ratings below reflect my purchase price and how the unit compares with all equipment that I have listened to.
My system: Krell KAV300R receiver, Marantz Model 17 CD player, Audio Zen WOW interconnects, Clements 207 di speakers, DH Labs Q-10 speaker cable, Tice A/V Solo Power Conditioner, Acme Audio Wall Socket
I was in the market for audio equipment of excellent quality and uncompromising sound for a second system in the front of the house. I originally went looking for sepeates from the usual culprits: NAD, Classe, McIntosh and whatever else the local boutiques carried. What I found was a real break in price/performance above the really big, mainstream recivers and the more esoteric high end stuff.
While Yamaha, Sony, Marantz and others are doing excellent work with their best products, I wanted something that clearly stated "Music, for it's own sake". None of the main stream makers seems to embody that philosophy, so I looked higher. Yamaha's best, for example, is the RX-V1. It's clearly biased towards A/V, and does well there. Beyond that, and you get into integrated amps and seperates, usually for a significant amount more.
This Krell sits nicely in the middle of all that (esp. at the floor sample sale price). The built-in tuner is supposd to be excellent, but I haven't spent enough time with it to comment. It's existance does add a cosiderable amount to the price tag, so be sure you want that before buying.
Overall, the unit is a tank, and rightly so. If it creaks when you pick it up, put it right back down. This one won't. It doesn't stand tall (buy a big Class A amp if you want that), but sits wide. Connections on the back are correct for this class and type of gear with one balanced and three unbalanced inputs.
By the way, if you've never hear the difference between balanced and unbalanced inputs, ask your dealer to show you... you'll be stunned. The 6dB gain is a real one, and I'll take 6dB wherever I can get it. It's the only way to go once you're done with the low end stuff.
Anyway, you hook up your speakers with 5 way posts, and away you go. The Krell is new to me, and I can't afford to flesh out the system quite yet, so I hung my existing Sony MegaChanger off it (Kimber PBJ interconnect) and attached the home theater's Paradigm Studio 20s (Kimber 4TC @ 10 feet) as well. I set the digital volume at about 40%, and queued up the first track.
I nearly had to leave the room with the powerful wave of music that leaped forth from the Studio 20s. No kidding; I felt the very real desire to stand away from the wall of sound washing over me, like standing too close to the cliff's edge while the wind poured over the ocean and up the cliff face.
I turned to say someting to my wife, and found that the music was already too loud to be heard even when shouting. This is where I got the first sense of the excellence this device had brought to the room: clean, clear music crashing like waves through the front of the house with no immediate sense of overpowerment. Loud music reproduced poorly can crush you, making you dash for the volume control. There was no such reaction here.
The word I was trying to get out to her, and finally did when I got up to stand next to her, was "Authority". Never before had I hear my familiar music collection delivered with such command and presence. I'm used to the sound of the Studio 20s, which are excellent for small monitors. The simple addition of the Krell fundamentally changed the output of these from pleasing to stunning. Music went from enjoyable to amazing.
We had several other things to do that afternoon when we brought it home, and we found ourselves late because we just had to queue up a bunch of other stuff to see how it sounded.
If you are looking for something to bring a clear change in how you appreciate your music, then you owe Krell a look.
* key is to match components. And fortunate for me that this synergy is present with the following equipment: Classe CDP1 CD Player Kimber KCAG pure silver balanced interconects Krell 300r Receiver Kimber Bifocal biwired cables Renaissance Spirits monitors
I started playing B flat Coronet aka Trumpet 1971 and by 1980 playmany different instruments while in concert bands. I think I have a bit of an ear to judge equipment by - the music. And have own a lot of great equipment from the likes of Sonic Frontiers, Theta, Magnum Dynalab, Opera, Art, Classe and have had the luxury to do a lot of auditioning many other brands with many different types of music. I am not going to get into the tube transistor argument. But I will say my Class CAP 80 and Sonic Frontiers SFS80 were pretty close sonically and made me reconsider the tube argument or buying all those expensive exotic tubes. The Krell advances the transistor argument one step further by surpassing the performance of Classe.
I will not say this is the BEST thing I have ever heard. My friends custom built system eclipses systems in excess of $250K. But I can honestly say this is "pretty darn good" and I can furthermore say that I have enjoyed the music while forgeting about the equipment without putting much effort into it at all. Isn't that what it is all about, the music and not the equipment.
I'll take price and performane into consideration and give it two 5's but really a ( 4.75) 95 out of 100 overall would be more realistic!
You pay big time to get trying to that unobtainable 100%!