Krell Modulari Primo Bookshelf Speaker Reviewed

Published On: February 22, 2010
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Krell Modulari Primo Bookshelf Speaker Reviewed

The Modulari Primo is Krell's all out assault on the bookshelf speaker category. With a 0.75 inch thick aluminum enclosure, this baby of the LAT series weighs in at 85 pounds. Andrew Robinson loved their reference-level performance.

Krell Modulari Primo Bookshelf Speaker 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-LAT-Primo-Speakers-Reviewed.gifKrell, better known for their amplifier and preamplifier designs, have been building loudspeakers for many years now to varying degrees of success. Previous designs like Krell's LAT series of loudspeakers were a hit in the press, garnering many favorable reviews for not only their sonics but their looks as well. Another Krell loudspeaker offering, the Resolution series seemed to garner mixed reviews. Personally I always preferred the LAT series myself, though for the price I'm not sure they would be my go-to pick. That being said Krell has two new loudspeakers on the market, the Modulari Primo reviewed here and the Modulari Duo. Regardless of which speaker you choose be it the Modulari Primo monitor or the floor standing Duo these new speakers from Krell take no prisoners.

Additional Resources
• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews from
• Find a subwoofer to augment the bass of the Modulari Primo.

The Modulari Primo is a two-way monitor loudspeaker retailing for $20,000 a pair. The Modulari Primo is the most solid speaker I've ever encountered thanks to its three quarter inch all aluminum enclosure. A rap of the knuckles is met with the deadest thud one can imagine, not to mention throbbing knuckles. The Modulari Primo can be had in either silver or black and have a sort of guitar string like grill which do little to cover the drivers or protect them. Stands are sold separately, though the Modulari Primo can be placed on a shelf or in an entertainment center, just be sure your furniture is strong enough to handle each speaker's weight, which is a hefty 85 pounds per speaker. The solid enclosure houses a single one-inch ScanSpeak sourced ring tweeter mated to a single ScanSpeak sourced seven-inch aluminum mid-bass driver. The Modulari Primo can play surprisingly deep, deeper than its reported bass response of 48Hz would have you believe. The Modulari Primo is also relatively easy to drive with a sensitivity rating of 89dB into a nominal four Ohm load, though lets be honest, customers capable of purchasing a $20,000 pair of monitor speakers are not going to be connecting them to home theater receivers or the like. While the Modulari Primos can be driven by most anything, they still prefer the finer things in life; think a Krell integrated amplifier or even Krell separates.

So how do the Modulari Primos sound? The Modulari Primo sound unlike any monitor loudspeaker I've heard. They are so fast, so pure, so effortlessly musical and enjoyable they don't sound like a speaker at all. At no point during my audition did it feel like I was listening to a pair of drivers being powered by a stack of capacitors and circuit boards, instead the Modulari Primo proved to be transparent allowing the music and the artists to do the talking-ahem-singing. The midrange was supple and oh so sweet while not being syrupy or overly warm, which is more than I can say for a lot of other speakers. The treble performance was airy and nimble with incredible speed, dynamics and detail. As for the bass, the Modulari Primo play lower, with more authority than any monitor speaker has a right to. I've heard floor-standing loudspeakers with less impact and heft than the Modulari Primo. In terms of dynamics and soundstage, the Modulari Primo has no rival as far as I'm concerned. They image better than any bookshelf or monitor speaker I've encountered and can start and stop like no other, oh and they can handle insane amounts of power and energize a room without breaking a sweat.

Read about the high points and the low points of the Modulari Primo on Page 2.


High Points
• The Modulari Primo's fit and finish is as good as it gets. You're not going to find a more solidly built loudspeaker than the
Modulari Primo or Duo
• The Modulari Primo is a borderline full range loudspeaker as far as I'm concerned and better still it's a monitor/bookshelf design. Audiophiles or home theater enthusiasts with medium to even slightly larger rooms would be just fine with a pair or two of Modulari Primos to get the most out of their music or movie collection. If you want more oomph you can always upgrade your Modulari Primo to Duos. 
• The Modulari Primo midrange and high frequency performance has few rivals at its price point and well beyond. If you want to do better I believe you'll have to spend twice if not three times as much. 
• The Modulari Primo can be driven by most anything out there today, including a $499 integrated amplifier from NAD; that being said I'd recommend not skimping on the power and electronics. Mate them with Krell's small-integrated amp and matching CD/DVD player and you've got yourself a no-holds-barred, two-channel system for less than what you'd pay for a pair of Wilson Sasha W/P.

Low Points
• The Modulari Primo sound best when placed on stands, away from the front wall a bit. That being said, stands sturdy and elegant enough for the Modulari Primo aren't going to be cheap. 
• The Modulari Primo need to be positioned carefully for best results. Place them to close to a wall or corner and they'll load up and become to much of a good thing. If you have a lot of reflective surfaces the tweeter can glare at the extremes, however I have to guess anyone with twenty grand to spend of monitor speakers has thought about these issues or has built a room that combats them. 
• The Modulari Primo's "grill" does little to protect its drivers from harm, say the curious fingers of a young child or wet nose of a large dog. Because of their guitar string like look and implementation even this reviewer found himself strumming them every time he walked by.

At $20,000 a pair the Modulari Primo from Krell is not the epitome of affordability. There are plenty of high performance monitor loudspeakers out there for less, that being said, none of them can hold a candle to the Modulari Primo. Among bookshelf and/or monitor speakers the Modulari Primo has little if any competition and among floor standing speakers it mops the floor with several would be challengers as well, including some costing twice as much. Don't believe me? Go down to your local Krell dealer, sit down in front of a pair of Modulari Primos and hear for yourself. They are one of my current favorites and get my highest recommendation if you have the means and the system to support them.

Additional Resources
• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews from
• Find a subwoofer to augment the bass of the Modulari Primo.

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