When it comes to cost no object high-end full-range loudspeakers the list of products is small but distinguished. Manufacturers such as Wilson Audio, Bowers & Wilkins, Revel, Focal, Meridian and MBL all compete in this ultra exclusive club. Well, there's a new addition to the scene: the Krell Modulari Duo. While it may not be the biggest or even the most expensive, I argue it may just be the best of the whole bunch.
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Retailing for a whopping $65,000 a pair the Modulari Duos aren't cheap, however among their peers they're priced somewhere in the middle. Wilson Audio MAXX 3s and Alexandria X-2s, Focal Grande Utopia EMs and MBL 101 X-Tremes all cost more, upwards of $100,000 or more.
The Modulari Duo's are a two chassis design, each module being built with solid aluminum ranging in thickness from half an inch to one inch. The Modulari Duo is available in standard silver or black (custom finishes available at an extra cost) and has no real grill to speak of, allowing all five of the Duo's drivers to be on full display, all the time. The top half of the Modulari Duo is actually the Krell Modulari Primo, which is a two way monitor speaker consisting of a one-inch ring tweeter and seven inch aluminum mid-bass driver, both sourced from ScanSpeak. The bottom of the Modulari Duo is the Modulari subwoofer tower, which consists of three, eight-inch ScanSpeak woofers. Each woofer has a maximum excursion of one inch, allowing the Modulari Duo to reach notes down to 27Hz. Krell states that the Modulari Duo can reach and playback every single note on an 88 key grand piano including the 27.5Hz low A without strain.
For a true full range loudspeaker the Modulari Duo is rather compact measuring in at 46 inches high by nearly 15 inches wide and 25 inches deep. Compact may be one of the Modulari Duo's party pieces but light weight it is not; the Modulari Duo tips the scales at 345 pounds a piece.
So what does the Modulari Duos sound like? Do you believe in magic? I didn't until I heard the Modulari Duos at a recent Krell event. Powered by Krell's new Evolution 402e amplifier, driven by a Krell CD/DVD player and matching preamp the Modulari Duo's performance was jaw dropping. I'm at a loss to think of any instance in all my years of reviewing home theater and two channel audio equipment where I had been rendered speechless. But that's what the Modulari Duos do. They are so effortless and pure it's as if you're listening to music through no speaker at all. They are open, engaging, and rife with detail and air, yet have a natural way with dynamics and dimension that boarders on surreal. They can play soft or they can play loud, real loud, and everywhere in between. Though they may look like lifeless slabs of polished aluminum, the soul they posses inside is simply beautiful. If I could afford them I would've purchased them on the spot. Read about the high points and the low points of the Modulari Duo on Page 2.