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Krell 400cx

MartinLogan Owners (MLO)

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Kenscollick

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I have been a fan of Krell long before I could afford them.

One of my earliest experiences was at a CES show quite a few years ago. [It was a summer CES in Chicago] Dan D’Agostino and Gayle Sanders were displaying together at an art gallery a little off the main show area. Krell and Apogee had been bedfellows for quite a few years and Dan was unable to get Apogee to create a flagship speaker [this was just before the Studio Grand] Martin Logan had just created the original Statement and that was the system along with 4 Krell Reference amplifiers. The sound was truly stunning.

Fast forward to last summer I had the opportunity to visit Martin Logan on my way to Colorado. Jeff was giving me a tour of the place when I told him about my experience years before in Chicago. He absolutely remembered the show because he had driven the speakers to the gallery and set them up.

The Amp that I am writing about is my 400cx. This is my third Krell a 100s, and a FPB 300 preceded the 400 the upgrades along the way show the genius of Krell.

First the 400cx never seems strained, clinical, or anything but musical and true to the source. The bass as you would expect with Prodigies is deep, tight, and very well controlled. One of my favorite songs for this is funeral for a friend. The synthesizer and drums in the intro need to be heard to be believed low and clean as is the deep bass on David Bowies Little Wonder makes you think something has to give but never does.

Where this Krell really shines is the rest of the audio spectrum, Pianos sound exactly as they should overtones are intact and images are exactly where they should be. The top end seems to go forever clear clean without any hint of fatigue. The Krell FPB 400cx has a great ability to create an ambient feel with a natural and airy sense of space. It placed all the performers and instruments very well and had glorious midrange quality. I don’t remember ever hearing an amplifier in my system with a soundstage as clear and specifically rendered as the Krell FPB 400cx.

During one of our regional get together kachi22 admitted that he did not expect much from the system being digital and solid state but he was soon converted.

There are many great amps that work well with our Martin Logan’s but for my money it will be Krell for a long time.

My system here:http://www.martinloganowners.com/~tdacquis/forum/showthread.php?t=169
 

HsvToolFool

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I have the FPB 300c which is the immediate predecessor
to the 400cx. It makes sense to add my review to this
thread rather than start another. The 300c is identical to
the 400cx with some subtle input circuitry changes and a
bias adjustment permitting a 100W power rating increase.
I can send my amp back to Krell and have it upgraded to
the 400cx for very little money, but I never seem to get
motivated enough to live without my amp for several
weeks.

My tastes run toward accuracy and fidelity rather than
romance and warmth. But I despise harsh, analytical
systems. It's a difficult balancing act.

I suspect most ML fans enjoy imaging and detail above
other aspects of hi-fi, and the Krell FPB family couples
well with ML in this regard.

I upgraded my 300c from a McCormack DNA-1 back when
I owned SL3s. Although the DNA was no wimpy amp, my
first impression was that the SL3s played an octave lower
using the 300c. Even after I added a gigantic subwoofer a
year later, it was mostly used only for home theater and
Telarc pipe organ adrenaline fixes. The dynamics and slam
for stereo music was very fun using only the SL3s and the
Krell.

I now have Summits and the FPB 300c is still a perfect
compliment. I no longer use the sub as the Summits are
quite adequate by themselves. I also finally got around to
upgrading my sources to a BAT tubed CD player with a
balanced Krell 280p preamp. They get along very nicely
with the FPB 300c! Very accurate and dynamic with no
tube-ish bloom. In short, the Krell FPB series are good as
it gets if you prefer neutrality.

Since Kenscollick's review covers the amp's performance
so well, I wanted to present my theory of why the big,
neutral amps are such good choice for ML speakers.

The weakness of the third-gen ML speakers (and it was a
subtle issue) was integrating the lighting-fast panel with
a relatively sluggish cone woofer. It's not that ML sounds
bad driven by a home theater receiver or a 20W tube amp.
It's just that the speaker's potential is not achieved.

I suspect that massive solid-state amps grab that woofer
with an iron fist and dictate the cone's every twitch. Being
able to ignore varying impedance loads from the panel is
a big advantage too. The combination explains why huge
Krell, BAT, Bryston, etc were ideal matches (and still are)
for larger ML models. Until you hear for yourself, the overall
improvement in detail made by a tighter mid-to-low bass
is astonishing.

Of course, the old "garbage-in, garbage-out" adage become
critical. If your upstream is sub-par to your speakers and
amp while you save a bit more money to upgrade, expect
existing flaws to be more obvious. Like many here, I've
heard Krell/ML demos which were unlistenable due to poor
system combinations.

Also, don't judge Krell FPB amps from auditions of the
more common KAV-series or Krell integrated amps. Totally
different level of performance from the FPB line.

Finally, I regret that I have not auditioned the newer Krell
Evo amps and can't comment on the differences.
 
Joined
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What do you folks think about the Krell KSA200S

I just bought a pair of used Summit X's to replace my Apogee Duetta Signatures. Of course now I must sell the Apogees to help pay for the X's. My preamp is a Lexicon MC-12 but now I am searching for an amp. I am looking for some suggestions.

I read your comments about the Krell FPB 400CX FPB 300C (did I get the model numbers right?) but I can't afford the 4 to $5k these go for used.
I was thinking about a class a used solid state amp, possibly a Krell somewhere around $2K. I think I need at least 100Wpc, preferably more. Any suggestions will be appreciated. What do you folks think about the Krell KSA200S
I will probably list my Apogees here as well as with Audiogon. Thanks and I'm glad to be a member of this group.
Bob
 

Kenscollick

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Hello Bob and congrats on your new ML's just courious what amplifier were you using with the Apogees? they are pretty power hungry in their own right. I think you will find the Summits with their powered woofer an easier speaker to drive.

I am a believer that the ML's need current so sound their best and that is where a good solid state design really shines, and Krell is one of the best. No real surprise that the newer Krells of the one's that i have owned sounded better than the previous ones up to and including my current EVO 400"s

I understand not wanting to spend a lot on a amp but you get what you pay for. They are a lot of great amps on the used market that should make your ML's shine Of the older krells I wouldnt go back too far stay with a design that uses balanced inputs. I would also offer the same advice to other brands. of the non-krells I would most likely look at Pass, and other high current designs.

Have fun during your journey in this great hobby.

http://www.martinloganowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=169
 

KrellYourLife

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Italy - Trento
What do you folks think about the Krell KSA200S

I just bought a pair of used Summit X's to replace my Apogee Duetta Signatures. Of course now I must sell the Apogees to help pay for the X's. My preamp is a Lexicon MC-12 but now I am searching for an amp. I am looking for some suggestions.

I read your comments about the Krell FPB 400CX FPB 300C (did I get the model numbers right?) but I can't afford the 4 to $5k these go for used.
I was thinking about a class a used solid state amp, possibly a Krell somewhere around $2K. I think I need at least 100Wpc, preferably more. Any suggestions will be appreciated. What do you folks think about the Krell KSA200S
I will probably list my Apogees here as well as with Audiogon. Thanks and I'm glad to be a member of this group.
Bob

Still an excellent amplifier and a perfect match for all ML speakers. I cannot hear real differences between my KSA 100S and my FPB300CX.
I imagine it's the same for the KSA200S.
 
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