Krell just announced Foundation, the latest in a long line of A/V processors. From decoding the latest lossless audio formats, extensive digital switching, 3DTV pass-through, and more, the Foundation is fully compliant with the digital age. Yet the 7.1-channel processor also features balanced audio outputs, automatic setup and room EQ. A slim new form factor exudes the Krell aesthetic, while allowing placement in smaller equipment racks.
In addition to 10 HDMI 1.4a inputs, the Foundation has 2 HDMI outputs, both of which feature Audio Return Channel. With ARC, a display device is able to send audio back down the HDMI cable to the processor. This is beneficial for those with televisions with built-in web streaming capability like Netflix or Pandora, so the streaming audio can use the full home theater system instead of just the TV’s speakers.
The Foundation passes video signals directly without any video processing, in and effort to provide bit-for-bit accuracy of the signal, up to 1080p/60. However, to simplify cabling, setup, and use, there is full transcoding of the 2 composite and 3 component analog video inputs to the HDMI outputs.
The Foundation includes a new Krell development – Intelligent HDMI switching. Intelligent HDMI switching is a combination of circuitry and software designed to optimize HDMI operation. Various parameters including the monitor’s electronic ID and source video resolution are stored in non-volatile memory. All 10 source inputs are always active so source, channel, video resolution, and audio format changes are reportedly instantaneous.
Krell designed the Foundation with flexibility and ease-of-use in mind, with extensive routing capability of the audio inputs to the various outputs. During setup, the specific paths will be chosen based on how the user intends to use each source, displays, and audio output channels.
The Foundation will allow owners to take full advantage of Dolby Digital, Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-ES Discrete, Matrix, and DTS-HD Master Audio. In addition, a full suite of post-processing modes are included, including Dolby Pro Logic IIx and DTS Neo 6. Krell’s proprietary surround modes, Party, General Admission, Front Row, and On Stage, offer a different way to listen to tracks.
The Foundation also features Krell’s Automatic Room Equalization System (ARES). ARES analyzes all the speakers in the system, their location, phase, and distance from each other, to determine the best crossover frequency, delay, and more. In addition, ARES incorporates the acoustics of the room to determine unique EQ curves for each of the 7.1 output channels. ARES can also be programmed to only adjust the low frequencies, leaving high frequencies unaltered.
The Foundation will be available at Krell authorized dealers in February 2013 for $6,500 MSRP.