KRELL K-300i

TR26.04.2020

Integrated amplifiers

The K-300i is the first new product from “the new” Krell, the cult audio manufacturer that almost died, then was revived, then almost died again, and now rises from the ashes under supervision of the original designer team minus Dan D’Agostino who runs his own business. The K-300i integrated amplifier embodies all what we liked about Krell.

Funkce a forma

95%
Ergonomie
81%
Zvuk
78%
Zpracování

The most important design feature is that the K-300i incorporates Krell’s proprietary iBias circuit, which monitors current flowing through both the positive and negative halves of the K-300i’s output stage and makes sure that the inactive half, that would otherwise switch off in a typical Class AB design, receives some minimum current. This way the inactive half never switches off completely and does not create switching distortion. It also means, according to Krell, that the amplifier’s operation is not affected by speaker impedance and operates in Class A for the first circa 90W, then it switches into AB up to 2x150W into 8 ohms or 2x300W into 4 ohms. This also means that the Krell takes 46W of power even if no signal is present on its speaker terminals.

I found interesting that Krell does not recommend to use power filters in the powerline that is feeding the K-300i. The company explains that beefy power supplies have always been the heart of their amplifiers and the filter should handle (in case of the K-300i) the peaks of 750W not to limit current.

In its standard version the K-300i is just a good old analogue amplifier. However, there is an optional digital module that turns it into a modern digital hub. The digital module adds ESS Sabre Pro based DAC that facilitates network streaming of AAC, ALAC, AIFF, FLAC, WAV, WMA, and DoP files up to 192kHz/24-bit from UPnP music servers or NAS devices. Via mconnect Control App (for Android and iOS) one can stream from Spotify, vTuner, Tidal, Deezer, and QoBuz, and is Roon and MQA friendly. HDMI 2.0 inputs and output supporting 4K UHD with HDR are available for TV viewing with audiophile grade sound quality. A USB port on the front panel plays music from USB flash disks, another USB port on the rear panel makes streaming music directly from a computer possible. The digital option also includes, optical Toslink and coaxial inputs, and a Bluetooth receiver featuring Qualcomm aptX connection technology.

Nízké frekvence

Váha
90
Výbušnost
86
Artikulace
82

Such a plethora of digital connections starkly contrasts with the Krell K-300i’s old-school look. The designers did not care about making the amp looking nice, rather they have made it superbly functional. In my opinion a little bit more effort would be appropriate to distinguish the Krell from a DIY amplifier. But maybe this is the industrial heritage we want from the brand?

Analogue part of the K-300i provides 2 balanced XLR inputs, 3 single-ended RCA inputs, and a preamp out on RCA. Everything is configurable through the display on the amplifier’s front panel, a remote controller is included. The specifications claim quite astounding signal to noise ratio of 117dB and a not-that-bad damping factor of 300.

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
88
Vzduch
87
Transparentnost
88

The Krell K-300i got me hooked the moment I pushed the play button. It casts spacious soundstage that may miss the delineation precision of the best separates, yet it the sonic picture spread is very enticing. Madeleine Peyroux’s Lonesome Road from Careless Love (Rounder) threw a deep and wide soundstage with centrally placed voice that was slightly less outlined from the music than I am used to hear. Still, I did not expect such a good performance from the integrated Krell. There was another moment that kept me playing this track over and over again – it ends with jabs on Hammond organ and these were incredibly full and warm through the K-300i, as if I was listening to a good turntable.

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
87
Dynamika
87
Časování
87

In the bass spectrum the K-300i was a typical Krell: the lows were deep, saturated and slightly heavy-handed. The sound was not swift and sparkling like let’s say Primare, rather it was deliberately “rock’n rolling”. That was the moment I reached for the Iron Maiden’s original unremastered Powerslave (EMI) which is not a typical audiophile recording. Through the Krell the CD managed to sound involving and the Steve Hariss’ bass had a wonderful round tone, guitars had the bite and Dickinson’s vocals were clean and extended.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
90
Šířka scény
90
Hloubka scény
90

The Krell K-300i is very well equipped integrated amplifier that provides both power and nuance to your music. I loved it with my eyes closed and felt disappointed when I had to look at it, especially considering the price we have to pay for it in Europe. But if you are buying only with your ears then this amplifier is a hot and a superb sounding candidate.

Cena v době recenze:215 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

Hifistore, Praha, +420 244 910 416

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: C.E.C. TL-51XR
  • Amplifiers: Mark Levinson No.526, Mark Levinson No.423
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Kubala-Sosna Emotion
  • Loudspeakers:  Revel Ultima Studio2
  • Power conditioning: IsoTek Titan, Shunyata Research Sigma HC, Nordost Qb8

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