Krell Evolution 402e Stereo Amplifier Reviewed

Published On: December 7, 2010
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Krell Evolution 402e Stereo Amplifier Reviewed

Krell is known for their big power output and stylish metal chassis. The new 402e stereo amp is the new big boy amp. The $18,500 amp has 370 watts for each of its channels, but sips only 2 watts in standby. See why this amp wins all the awards.

Krell Evolution 402e Stereo Amplifier Reviewed

  • Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.

Krell-Evolution-402e-reviewed.gifWhen you think of Krell electronics you're probably a lot like me, you envision large, silver or black clad hunks of steel that house enough power to jumpstart a small planet. Krell has always been about taking it to eleven and to hell with the status quo - more is always better. One only has to glance upon the Krell family tree of products to see what I'm on about, for everything Krell has made since their inception has been bigger, louder, more expensive and just down right nuts. That's why I love 'em and have been a fan since I first laid eyes on the KAV-300i integrated amp way back in high school.

But times they are a changing. The wanton excesses of just a few years ago have caught up with us and we've begun to shift our collective consciousness from buy, buy, buy to save, save, save. Where we once would've looked at a $2,500 HDTV and said, "Can I get 12 months same as cash with that," we now wait 12 months until we actually have the cash. It's a different world.

Additional Resources

The high-end audio/video space hasn't been spared, as many manufacturers have shuttered their doors or have been forced to scale back in an attempt to weather the storm. Dealers, the life's blood of the specialty high-end marketplace, are going out of business at such a rate that it's hard to keep up with all of them. Krell has had its share of bumps in the road too, with the unceremonious departure of its founder Dan D'Agostino in the fall of 2009 that left many of us in the home theater and audiophile community wondering if Krell was going to be the next giant to fall prey to an ailing economy.

It turns out that Krell is just fine and if the Evolution 402e reviewed here is any indication I'd say they're just getting warmed up.

The Evolution 402 retails for $18,500, which is a lot of cheese given the economy that I've just described; however compared to the competition the 402e is quite possibly a high-end bargain. So what does your eighteen-five get you? For starters the 402e is stunning to behold, though there is little that has changed visually from the previous 402. Hey, if it isn't broke don't fix it. The 402e's casework is phenomenal and one hundred percent Krell, measuring in at a staggering 17 inches wide by nearly 10 inches tall and 22 inches deep and tipping the scales at a back breaking 135 pounds. The front fascia features a vertical "stripe" of aluminum that bares Krell's name as well as the amp's model number, all resting above the 402e's large, circular standby/on button. The button glows blue when the amp is on and running and can glow green or red depending on how you have the 402e configured to run in standby mode.

One of the new features of the 402e over its predecessor is the addition of an eco friendly mode, which drops the 402e's standby power consumption from 370 watts to two. You read that correctly, the old 402e, in standby, drew 370 watts of total power whereas the new 402e can be configured to suck only two watts of power in standby. I say configured because you can still set up the 402e to be "percolating" all the time by holding in the front power button and powering off the main breaker then back on before releasing the button. This will cause the 402e's on/standby button to now glow red and raise the standby power draw back to 370 watts as well as require less time for the 402e to "warm up" for a critical listening session. Personally, I tried this procedure once but never left it engaged, for I'd rather wait 15 to 30 minutes for the amp to be ready to rock and roll and then have Southern California Edison watch my meter like a slot machine dial when I'm not home.

Around back the 402e is pretty straightforward with zero changes over the original 402. Looking at the back panel starting on the left side and moving down you'll find the 402e's inputs, which consist of Krell's CAST system as well as a pair of balanced and unbalanced audio inputs. Below the 402e's inputs rest two pairs of large, wing nut style binding posts that are nicely spaced, easy to tighten and can accept bare and spade terminated speaker cable. Along the right side of the back panel are the 402e's 12-volt triggers and backlight controls. In the lower right hand corner you'll find a simple, plastic switch, which is the 402e's main power breaker and a detachable power cord receptacle.

Inside is where most of the changes to the 402 have been made in order to transform it into the 402e. Power output remains the same at 400 watts per channel into eight Ohms, 800 watts per channel into four Ohms and 1,600 watts per channel into two Ohms, which is more than enough power to drive even the thirstiest of loudspeakers regardless of their size or the venue. The 402e now has an upgraded power supply, which includes a new toroidal transformer for the digital control circuitry as well as a substantial increase in capacitive power supply reserves which now rests at 170,000uF up from 132,000 as with the original 402. Krell has further refined their Active Cascode Topology with the 402e by being able to balance, more precisely, the current sharing among the seven sets of Active Cascode Quartets that are found in the 402e's output stage. For those of you unfamiliar with Krell's Active Cascode Topology, it basically takes the positive and negative rail voltages and spreads them out across rows of individual transistors designed to handle only certain portions of the incoming voltage, thus allowing the transistors to perform more efficiently as well as cut down on the amplifier's generation of negative feedback, which degrades sound quality.

Yes, but how does it sound?

The Hookup
How I came to get my hands on the first ever production model of the 402e began at CES this past January: I went to a Krell press event where they were demonstrating an early production model of the 402e along with their new Blu-ray player. There were a few audiophile and home theater journalists in attendance and needless to say we were all very impressed. I was so impressed that I immediately went to Krell's Director of Global Sales and Marketing, Bill McKiegan, and requested a review sample on the spot. A few weeks later the 402e arrived on my doorstep, much to the chagrin of the delivery guy.

Unpacking the 402e is a job for two people or your custom installer; however it can be done solo, though I don't recommend it. I installed the 402e in my reference system, naturally, positioning it on the floor between my Revel Studio2 loudspeakers and connecting the two via a pair of eight-foot Transparent Reference speaker cables. I went ahead and connected my Mark Levinson 326S preamp to the 402e via a pair of balanced Transparent Reference interconnects. For sources I utilized my Mark Levinson 512 CD/SACD player and trusty AppleTV, both connected to the 326S using Transparent Reference cables.

I should point out that I had an ulterior motive for wanting the 402e in my home besides just being able to review it. During its brief stint in my reference system I was hard at work finishing postproduction on my latest film "In The Darkness." After hearing the 402e at CES I wanted to have it for our final mixing sessions on the film, since we were mastering the film in high-resolution stereo. So, we bypassed all of my Mark Levinson equipment and ran the 402e straight from my sound designer's Pro Tools rig for the better part of a week while we finalized the film's sound design and score.

I let the 402e break in for the better part of a week before beginning any critical evaluation and/or using it to master any of the film's soundtracks.

At Krell's 2010 CES press event which I spoke about earlier, they played one of my all time favorite Diana Krall tracks, "A Case of You" from her Live in Paris album. I know this song inside and out and have never heard it reproduced as well as it was during the Krell demo at CES. As impressed as I was, I had to take it with a grain of salt, for hotel or trade show demos are often marred by bad room acoustics and poor setup, though I'd argue if it sounds good a trade show it's bound to sound better at home.

That being said, I tested my theory and loaded up Diana Krall's Live in Paris and skipped ahead to the song "A Case of You." While my home system is based around a pair of Revel Studio2 loudspeakers, versus the Krell Modulari Duos used at CES, the sound was remarkably similar and really showcased the 402e's ability to maintain its supreme performance despite changes in ones system. The opening notes were round, lush and hung beautifully in space between my speakers. However it was the reverberation and concussion of the piano's hammers against the strings that gave me goose bumps. The air being moved around inside Krall's concert grand bordered on tactile and added an even greater sense of air, space and dimension to the performance even after the notes themselves faded into oblivion to make way for the next. Krall's vocals had an in-room presence unlike anything I'd ever heard in my system. Despite "A Case of You" being from a live recording my seat was right next to Krall with the Paris audience extending for miles behind my front wall. The 402e's ability to recreate - scratch that - transform ones listening environment into the venue or recording space is uncanny and begs belief.

Since "A Case of You" featured Krall by herself with her piano I went ahead and left Paris in search of something a little heavier and uncovered one of my favorite 90's bands, Barenaked Ladies, and their album Born on a Pirate Ship (Reprise). Starting with the track "The Old Apartment" the 402e stunned me with its sheer precision and effortless detail. The opening drumbeat had such presence and weight that it actually caught me off guard for a moment, it was as if Krell had snuck a drum kit into my listening room in the few seconds I looked away to get my paper and pen ready to take notes. I was stunned, for nothing, not even the mighty Mark Levinson No 53s, were able to get me to suspend my belief in thinking there was a real drum kit in my house. The sound coming out of my Revel Studio2s courtesy of the 402e was so palpable, natural and effortless it felt as if I wasn't listening to any electronic equipment at all, replaced instead with live music, which is quite a feat considering Born on a Pirate Ship is a studio recorded album, unlike Diana Krall's Live in Paris I demoed earlier. I won't say that the 402e managed to fully fool me into thinking I was listening to a live event, but no amp has come closer to achieving this feat, in my system, than this. Everything that passed through the 402e was brought into supreme but appropriate focus. The background was dead silent, which only made the 402e's dynamic prowess all the more visceral and real. High frequencies were reproduced with such grace, texture and air that the trailing edges of notes, especially the cymbal crashes, seemed to go on and on and on, hanging delicately in space. Past Krell amplifiers have been criticized for being a bit to sharp and clinical in the treble region, an old observation that has since plagued Krell to some degree. Well, we can put that to rest, for the 402e is one of the purest, dare I say, most analog sounding amplifiers I've heard when it comes to high frequency reproduction.


I switched tracks to "In the Drink" and once again had to simply pick my jaw up off the floor. The opening guitar riff was hauntingly real in every way. Normally, when judging dynamics I turn to more bombastic selections. However the 402e with the track "In the Drink" showcased what true dynamics are all about. Every pluck and strum of the guitar strings were like finger prints with no two ever being alike and the 402e brought that to light, with detail, texture, weight and grunt that was explosive and immediate while still being soft and easy going. Once the song got going I could hear the floor boards below the artists' feet as they stamped and kicked in time with the beat but the best thing about the ambient tones was the fact that they actually appeared to be coming from my floor. The 402e has a soundstage that is equal parts width and depth but also height: this is an amp that doesn't float the music a foot or two off the floor then send it out and back for days, no, the 402e actually recreates the stage and the sound that's being produced on it.

After listening to Barenaked Ladies I went ahead and cued up Seventeen Days by 3 Doors Down on Dual Disc and the track "Father's Son" (Universal). As with my previous demo material the sound emanating from the speakers was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. To say the 402e has a way with music is an understatement. It doesn't just simply reproduce the notes nor does it try to put its own spin on the music, it just lets the music breathe. Lead singer Brad Arnold's vocals were front and center and stood out from the rest of the music behind him, though I could easily discern when he stepped away from the microphone as well as when he drifted from side to side thanks to the 402e's stunning accuracy and resolution. Normally we reviewers tend to try and classify a product's sound as being warm or lean, bright or dull...well the 402e isn't really any of these things unless of course the recorded material itself calls for it. Arnold's vocals aren't what I'd call warm but raspy, with a side of grit and instead of trying to smooth over the rough edges, the 402e lets Arnold be Arnold. The same holds true for the rest of the band and their instruments: guitars can sound supple and sweet just as easily as they can sound harsh and unforgiving, which is what the 402e will show you. However the 402e seems to have some sort of "do no harm" line drawn in the sand somewhere, for despite bringing every detail and nuance to life, even when you'd rather it didn't, it never sounds bad or wrong. It's as if its large standby/on button staring you in the face while you listen has a third feature: the "don't suck" button.

I decided enough was enough and got rough with the 402e, feeding it Static-X's "Push It" (Warner Brothers) and all the volume I felt my speakers and frankly my ears could handle. Well, it was louder than snot, louder than any listening session I'd ever conducted in my reference room. It was so loud in fact that I managed to knock over some picture frames on a nearby shelf. This was not about musicality any more than it was about finding the 402e's breaking point, which I was unable to find. The 402e played back "Push It" in excess of 100dB in my room for the entire track without so much as a hiccup. The sound was the same as it always was only there was more of it. It didn't compress one bit, instead it fought to break lose from the confines of the room itself. The bass was epic, exercising such control over the Studio2's bass drivers that I thought if the 402e had opposable thumbs it would've fitted a ball-gag to my Revel Studio2s for they had become its bitch. "Push It" cemented the 402e's abilities as a truly phenomenal amp, one that is unwavering in its pursuit of musical truth, capable of sonic feats I had never experienced on such a grand scale before.

Over the course of two weeks I continued to throw anything and everything at the 402e from Billy Joel's "Piano Man" to Busta Rhymes' "Break Ya Neck," and with each and every track I walked away from my listening session simply amazed at how Krell was able to turn an already solid amplifier in the 402 into an amp that bordered on otherworldly with the 402e. No matter what the genre or volume level, the 402e never ceased to amaze.

Like I said earlier, my reasons for wanting the 402e were not entirely altruistic. I requested it because I wanted to see if it could pull double duty as both a reference amplifier as well as a mastering one. My sound designer, Craig Polding, had been hard at work on the final mix for my latest film "In The Darkness" when the 402e arrived at my house. He had been using well-known powered speakers throughout the process up until it was time to lay down the final mix in my home studio. Craig and I have known each other for a while now, but I can tell there is always a tinge of reservation whenever I try and get him to use consumer grade electronics in conjunction with a professional mastering setup. Well, it took all of about eight seconds of the opening scene of the film to convince him that the 402e was no run of the mill consumer amplifier; in fact he didn't let the film play past the first scene before stopping it and apologizing for not having certain sound cues leveled properly. No apology was needed for I knew that the 402e was shining light on aspects of the film's soundtrack that he had only just barely heard before or never knew were present to begin with, which included a lot of ambient tones that he would later EQ out in Pro Tools - because the 402e shed light upon them. For me, mixing with the 402e in our studio was the ultimate test, for it had bridged the gap between the professional and consumer worlds so convincingly that we were able to utilize it from start to finish without having to rely on a professional, powered speaker setup as a backup or check system.

Now, Craig did mention that the idea of using such a high quality amplifier on a film that was having its global premiere via the Internet on was probably overkill, for the best speakers this film was probably ever going to see were that of a laptop computer. He had a point, however, when we were done mastering the final output we played that same file back via a variety of other systems in my home from a MacBook Pro to an Aperion Audio Soundbar and found the sound quality and the mix to be superior to that of the original, created with professional studio speakers. Now, I'm not suggesting that because we used a 402e that your computer speakers are going to all of a sudden sound like Krell Modulari Duos. But because the 402e is so good at extracting every last ounce of information we were able to better tune and level the subtle cues and nuances in the film's soundtrack so that they were then audible through lesser systems like a laptop or soundbar.

The Downside
If it seems like this review has been nothing but a love fest for all things Krell and the 402e. I apologize, I just wasn't expecting to be as impressed as I was. That being said the 402e does have a few shortcomings.

For starters, the 402e runs notably hot - too hot to touch after long or vigorous listening sessions. Proper ventilation isn't so much a suggestion as it is an absolute requirement. While the 402e will fit in a Middle Atlantic rack I'd hesitate to install it in one unless I had the proper cooling system in place. This is not an amplifier you simply want to have a few inches clearance top and bottom and you're good - this is an amp that should be placed in open air installations or forced air cooled racks for best performance. Trust me.

While the 402e's new two-watt standby mode is a wonderful addition, don't think that its true power requirements are more Earth-friendly because they're not. Simply hitting the standby/on button and taking the 402e out of standby mode and into idle increases its power draw to 570 watts. At full tilt the 402e can draw as many as 3,800 watts of power from your wall. Make no mistake; the 402e is all Krell all the time once you take it out of standby mode. They can put all the green lights on it they want, it's still a monster.

I wouldn't classify the 402e as an unforgiving amplifier but it will definitely point out weak links in the signal chain as well as let you know if your loudspeakers are up to snuff. While I found the 402e to be quite flexible in terms of source equipment and speakers I did notice that there were a few components that it didn't seem to play well with. The 402e is obviously designed with absolute performance in mind and as such should be paired with the best there is. Surprisingly, the 402e will let you know where your system may be lacking but never really at the cost of ruining your listening session. Can't say I've ever encountered that before.

I've saved my biggest observation about the Krell Evolution 402e for last. Earlier I spoke about our ailing economy and how the high-end market place is undergoing some radical changes, some for the best and others not so much. I also said that the 402e was in some ways a bargain, which I don't think is a term I believe has ever been associated with Krell products before. Now I'm not suggesting the 402e's retail price of $18,500 is something every man, woman and child can readily afford, however compared to other cost-no-object amplifiers, of which I consider the 402e to be one, it's one of the most affordable. I've heard a lot of great amplifiers over the years and have even reviewed a few in the months leading up to the 402e's arrival in my home and the 402e not only bested each and every one of them but it did so at a fraction of the cost.

The improvements found inside the 402e are going to be applied to all Krell Evolution amplifiers in the coming months, including the Krell Evolution 900 monaural amplifiers, which will set you back a whopping $50,000 for the pair. I'm not yet convinced that a 402e isn't all the amplifier any audiophile would ever need, but it is that good. It is hands down the best amplifier I've ever heard and the new benchmark for which all future cost-no-object amplifiers will be judged.

If the 402e I was given to review wasn't the only one currently in existence I would not be giving it back for I can't imagine listening to music or mastering another film without it. It is, quite simply, brilliant.

Additional Resources

  • Mike
    2011-02-22 11:52:22

    <p> sells the whole line of Krell products at a good price. easy way to get the price that they offer is through emailing [email protected]</p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-13 22:06:45

    <p>Less is more can be a good thing in audiophila but I would warn that you might ultimately want a TOP LEVEL preamp as some point in your rig. The component that raises and lowers your volume is pretty essential to your audio success.</p> <p>The good news is that you can build into it.</p>

  • Ken Taraszka, MD
    2010-06-13 22:00:34

    <p>Guy,</p> <p>Some systems do work best without preamp (well, actually the source has a preamp built in or it couldn't feed an amplifier) but this limits flexibility as these sources often have limited inputs, and for some, none. </p> <p>Do not underestimate the impact of a preamp. In many ways a preamp affects sound more than an amplifier.</p>

  • Guy
    2010-06-13 18:56:02

    <p>Hi!! Was wondering why not drive the amplifier directly into the ML 512 player since it has a bilt in volume control? I was under the impression that the best preamp was no does it sound directly? I have a friend who prefer his Wadia direct to amp.....</p> <p>Guy;-)</p>

  • Andrew Robinson Managing Edito
    2010-06-10 10:18:28

    <p>Porscheguy,</p> <p>I will agree with you that there are true bang-for-your-buck products out there in the HT and Audiophile space that don't carry $18,500 price tags. However, among cost no object amplifiers, a category that encompasses Mark Levinson, Pass Labs, Audio Research, Halcro, Lamm etc. the Krell 402e is far from being the most expensive and based on my experience and personal listening tests with the above mentioned brands I would have to say that it bests them in many regards hence my statement about it being a value and a benchmark. </p> <p>With regards to Emotiva, Outlaw or any other, truly affordable, amplifier they're all very good and worth looking into if that's what your budget will allow. Me personally, I'm an Outlaw man myself, though I do want to check out Emotiva in a big way and will soon. I appreciate the heads up on the Kavent brand, I had not heard of them before and will be checking them out as well. Personally, aside from the Krell 402e, three amplifiers hold a special place in my heart and all three of them are super affordable; NAD 218THX, Parasound Halo JC1 and Decware Zen Single Ended Triode Amplifiers. </p> <p>Thanks for participating in the discussion and thanks again for the heads up about Kavent. </p> <p>Andrew</p>

  • porscheguy
    2010-06-10 04:59:40

    <p>Here's another astounding value in amplifiers- Kavent. This guy has owned them all, I know that for sure and he thinks these are even better than the Emo's. $1500.00 ea.</p> <p></p> <p></p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-10 02:30:30

    <p>I would recommend some Salon 2s and a pair of Transparent XL speaker cables.</p>

  • Guy
    2010-06-10 02:27:42

    <p>Thanks Jerry for your input...the Krell looks like a great deal..the money saved over the ML could pay for a pair of Salon 2 and some!! </p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-10 01:46:19

    <p>Guy,</p> <p>I can't comment on why Stereophile and TAS do anything. They have a different publisher. </p> <p>I had the No. 53's at my house for a WHILE before Andrew did the review. They are REALLY cool and REALLY powerful. Bass is comparable with the edge going to the Krell. The Levinson have more power overall which was useful on my Revel Salon 2's. The highs are drastically improved on the Krell and ever so slightly different on the Levinson. Its a pick em based on taste. </p> <p>If price is a consideration - the Krell is a better value. At $18,500 and $50,000 we are talking about amps up there where the air is RARE. Before you spend the cash - you MUST audition both. Its worth spending the $$$ to travel if you have to.</p>

  • Guy
    2010-06-10 01:39:05

    <p>Jerry, I know the Krell is good but how would you compare it to the Mark Levinson No 53 ? I have read you ML review but would appreciate your input...I am not in the market but just curious!! I love the Revel salon 2 by the way I had a chance to listen to them in Montreal with a ML 512 player just like you are using....The thing that I don't understand is that the ML 53 is supposed to be the best amplifier ever made by ML but we never see any reviews,..if it's so good how come Stereophile and Absulute sound have not jump on the occasion?</p> <p>Thanks</p> <p>Guy;-)</p>

  • Ken Taraszka, MD
    2010-06-09 13:08:11

    <p>When it comes to Scotch, I'm more a Balvenie or Macallan fan, though I do have a warm spot for the older Taliskers as well (18 is OK, I am in love with the 25!)</p>

  • Ken Taraszka, MD
    2010-06-09 05:41:14

    <p>OK, I am glad you guys finally realized you were both on the same side!</p> <p>porscheguy, FWIW I have the Krell Evo 403, and also was at the demo where Krell A-B'd them to the 'old' Evolution series and the difference was huge, I likely will upgrade mine once available or sell it and go to the 600 or 900 Watt monos. Why? Because this is my hobby and to me it's worth it. I once was were you are, and through my passion for the hobby and continued upgrades developed into what my system is today.....</p> <p>That doesn't mean I didn't think I had a good rig, it just kept getting better and better and one day swapping in that $18,500 amp is a worthwhile move!</p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-09 02:31:41

    <p>Its a blessing to have owned 4 porsches. Truly.</p> <p>I know Dan D'Agostino pretty well (he is a HARDCORE car guy with many twin turbo 911's) and the idea that he wouldn't put the absolute best power cable on the planet on his amps is crazy. Do you need 24 inch wheels on your 997? Not a chance. The ones that come with it are just fine.</p> <p>Springbank is good but very peety. You have to be in the mood for that. Sometimes I am. I like the more port wood finished, darker Scotches. I know its not the MOST authentic - its just what I like.</p>

  • porscheguy
    2010-06-09 02:01:54

    <p>Well, I'm on my 4th Porsche, so I get it. My point was these big buck amps simply do not give you the return based on your investment - but we can disagree.</p> <p>You probably have a $20,000.00 power cable too :-)</p> <p>I'm a Spring Bank kinda guy.....</p> <p>Ec</p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-09 01:51:57

    <p>There is no rulebook for HDMI. The high end guys move hundreds of units when they are successful - not 100,000's like a Denon receiver.</p> <p>Note: Porsche took until the 2000's to include a CUP HOLDER.</p> <p>What you say about Emotiva is correct. They make a LOT of other company's products. Oppo makes many people's BR player. The same parent company that makes Outlaw also makes some of the Mark Levinson and other high end amps. </p>

  • porscheguy
    2010-06-09 01:46:13

    <p>And BTW, did you know that Emotiva builds "private label" products for some of the "High End" guys? They do. I cannot tell you who - I'm sworn to secrecy, but you would be shocked......</p> <p>They have a factory in China with 750 employees. That is way more manpower then they would ever need for just the Emo products.</p> <p>They have a new pre/pro the UMC-1. It has all of the latest decoding tecnology, and it sound fabulous - better then my Denon AVP 8000 which cost $3500 ten years ago.</p> <p>So how much is the UMC-1? $699.00 direct. If went through a HT store or Bestbuy it would be three times that price.</p> <p>The "high end" guys haven'y even figured out HDMI yet!</p> <p>Sheez...</p> <p>Ec</p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-09 01:46:04

    <p>You don't have to buy it if you don't see the value. As I posted earlier - this amp isn't for everyone and specifically NOT for the ultra-value guy. NAD has a cool cheaper class-D amp, NuForce ROCKs. Emotiva is really good Outlaw is also a major sleeper pick - REALLY GOOD. You don't have to spend $18,500 on an amp. If you do - you are in for a treat but you don't HAVE to spend the money.</p> <p>I've owned a 95' C2, 97 C4S and a 97 Twin Turbo 911 as well as an M3. I can say the M3 was the single worst car that I have ever owned. To compare the performance is not even close. Was the M3 fast? Sure. Did I have to take my 3w and Driver out of my golfbag before going to the club? Yup. The 911s never really broke. The M3 cost me on average $1100 a month in repairs when I owned it (a little less than a year). The point is - the extra money (bought the first 95 911 for about $52,000 and the M3 for $30,000) was worth it to me. The 911 was more money but worth it and THAT is what true luxury is about in my view.<br /> </p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-09 01:38:33

    <p>Some people drink rotgut and like it.</p> <p>Others drink Balvenie 21 or Macallan 30 and find it worth the money.</p> <p>I say if the rotgut tastes good to you - stick with it as you are going to save some serious money. For those who have a taste for the better - they have to spend. </p> <p>Having owned Krell (just PAID for a 300i integrated amp) amps and preamp - I can say they are truly amazing. Having heard both amps side by side (along with the entire audiophile press core) I can also say that they sound better than the old one. If you don't believe me a) test it for yourself or b) don't buy it. Its OK with me either way. Note: we are a publication NOT a store. I don't sell Krell or any other gear. We give FREE, top-level reviews to people to help them find the best gear. That's all. </p>

  • porscheguy
    2010-06-09 01:36:26

    <p>Well, I'm not buying your argument. I've sat in the selfish in front of all that esoteric gear, Krell, Mac, Theta, Wilson, Aerial and on it goes. And I'm not saying this amp doesn't sound great - it does I'm sure, but it does not sound 20 times better than the Emotiva amp, it does not sound twice as good as as Emotiva amp. It might deliver "air" and "nuance" (I love those words, reviewers use them all the time but they really mean nothing).</p> <p>What's in an $18,000.00 power amp? How much could you possibly pay for caps, boards and transformers? Its more about a niche market where the dealer makes a huge 50% profit and a company like Krell that's very small so their margins need to be huge.</p> <p>No, I'm not buying it. The return is simply not there.</p> <p>Have you seen the new Lexicon BR player? It is just an Oppo BD83 in sheep's clothing - literally.</p> <p>Oh by the way, Lexicon gets $3500.00 for their $500.00 "Oppo"............ Gimme a break....</p> <p>I have a 997 Carrera S that I paid $99,000.00 for and my friend has an M3 that cos $27,000.00 less.</p> <p>The M3 is certainly my car's performance equal, maybe better.......</p> <p>Ec</p>

  • DrNotes
    2010-06-09 01:32:22

    <p>You guys never give up with these overpriced conspicuous consumption products. I DARE you to do a double blind listening test like described by Porscheguy and document it on VIDEO from start to finish. Statements like how the floorboard sounds came from the floor are nothing short of ridiculous. Yes, this amp is so good that it figures out how to make the speakers aim a certain sound, its a fantasy and all in your head.</p> <p>You also go through the trouble to mention the brand name of the speaker cables like that is so important, showing what superior testing parameters you have defined. OK, to prove that that you were so precise, what about your personal audio preparations? What was the sound reflectivity index of your shirt, especially directly near your ears? Were your ear hairs and hairstyle properly trimmed as to not interfere with the path to your eardrums, not to mention any other possible obstructions (wax, etc.) in the ear canal? Were your ears inspected and certified to be in pristine condition first? Either you need to prepare EVERYTHING or your review is all subjective and worthless to the rest of us. Make everything perfect first or don't bother to go halfway.</p> <p>You actually even mention that you just wanted a high end amp to use for a mixing project and as usual you get it for FREE and then proceed to tell us its worth it. Saying its cheaper than other high end amps is like saying that jumping from a 50 story building hurts less than jumping from a 100 story building, another dopey comparison. The Porsche analogy is also just a bit off, you compare a car that is less the 3 times the price of another car and say its better. Well the Krell is over TWENTY time more expensive than the Emotiva amp, so you need to be talking about a car that sells for over $500K to make that point valid. As usual, there is no car that sells in that price range that is worth the money, they are all the same type of product, rich people's toys because they want to prove they can afford it. Stop wasting our time with your fantasy reviews just to get your hands on these products FOR FREE, its ridiculous. Just once I wish a reviewer would have the stones to say that any of these products are not worth 20 times more than a reasonably priced well made alternative. Rich people hire someone to waste their money for them and don't bother to read this crap anyway.<br /> </p>

  • Jerry Del Colliano
    2010-06-08 23:36:25

    <p>People who are in the market for value products should be looking at Emotiva, NuForce, Oppo, Benchmark, Noble Fidelity, Aperion and the like.</p> <p>This is KRELL we are talking about here and this is an $18,500 amp that can take down other amps costing 2x or more the price. At that level - its a bargain.</p> <p>Allow me to make a Porsche analogy (I was a concourse judge for a while and have been lucky enough to have owned three 911s in my life) - in 1995 when Porsche remade the 911 into the 993 body style the car was DRASTICALLY better but still had a sticker price of $59,995. That was down from the past but not cheap by any means. Krell is doing the same thing. The 402e is a huge improvement over the old amp (I have heard them A-B tested) and uses less energy and looks better. Its never going to woo somebody looking to buy an Emotiva for $800 just like a client like me who bought a VW GTI can't buy a 911. At the same time - I upgraded and upgraded until I could get that 911. I think if people heard this amp - they might want it ESPECIALLY as the economy gets better. Its a killer at ANY price</p>

  • porscheguy
    2010-06-08 23:04:25

    <p>Well, its a bit of a letdown as your opening comments where pointing to more affordable gear only to tell us this amp is $18,500.00......</p> <p>Of course its sold through a dealer so he's getting his usual huge markup, I wouldn't surprised if the dealer cost was less than half of the MSRP. Having some pretty good knowledge of whats in a power amp, I would say that there couldn't possibly be anything in that power amp to propel it to that lofty price.</p> <p>Audio is such a bell curve and the return is greatly diminished as the price escalates. Spending 10 times more gets you 5% improvement in SQ? Maybe not, as so much in audio are just perceptions.</p> <p>The internet direct companies are also feasting on the remains of the old dealer network business model by selling fabulous products at a mere fraction of the cost of the high end guys. Thats high end in price anyways.</p> <p>Companies such as Emotiva, SVS, Axiom, Outlaw and countless others are reinventing the way we buy our gear. Emotiva in particular, builds simply fabulous equipment and retails it for almost nothing compared to Krell or Mac etc. </p> <p>I'd bet in in a double blind listening test you would be hard pressed to hear the difference between an Emotiva XPA-2 @ $800.00 and this Krell at $18,500.00......</p> <p>Excuse me while I place my order for my $20,000.00 power cable.... Not!</p> <p>Times are a changin' :-)</p>

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