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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Happiness Is A Warm Krell S-300i

    When I was much younger I enjoyed the book "Happiness Is A Warm Puppy" by Charles M. Schulz. The Krell S-300i is also bringing much happiness and joy to my life. Before I continue with the review I need to add another literary reference.

    "A Tale Of Two Krells" My current S-300i is the second integrated amp from Krell and purchased through Music Direct. Both were fine performers but the first had a bad input button on the front of the int. amp. The input was still accessible from the remote and did not cause any sonic issues. The Krell was sounding so good that I debated sending it back. I decided in months to come I would regret having a non-functioning input button. I called the service department at Music Direct and spoke with Angie and we arranged for a quick exchange and in a few days the new amp was here. I would like to take this time to thank Angie and Music Direct for taking care of this problem so promptly.

    Both amps needed to warm up but by the third day I could hear improvements in the amps. Out of the box the sound was better than previous electronics I had owned. During the first few days the soundstage deepened, the highs smoothed out and the midrange filled in nicely. Reading the instructions I was interested to read that Krell suggests using only the power cord that came with the amp and power conditioning was not needed. I also decided not to change the fuse even though my previous experience showed an audible improvement. I like the warranty included and did not want to void it in the first two weeks.

    The S-300i is very revealing. I do not mean this in a non musical way but I became aware that my Micropurl IC's were not what was needed. I am now using AudioQuest King Cobras between the Marantz SA8001 and the Krell S-300i. This is not a review for the King Cobras but they are very good for the money. The Krell will also let you know if a recording is not well made. Those discs are still listenable and enjoyable but you will appreciate your better recordings.

    I have read reviews for years where they speak of the midrange sounding thin and without body. I now know what they mean. Instruments have body and voices come from flesh and blood singers. I find it much easier to tell instruments from one another in complex music and large ensembles. When background singers join in I enjoy knowing where they are in the soundstage and how many of them there are. The Krell S-300i gets the midrange right to my ears in my system.

    When I listen to music I sit much as I would at a live event and concentrate at what is being played. I listen to music much the way some watch tv by staring at the space between the two speakers instead of at the screen. The soundstage delivered by the S-300i helps with this enjoyment. The depth and width of the soundstage fills one end of my room. The focus and definiton of the instruments and voices within the soundstage make it very easy to follow the musical parts of the recording. Since I have not had musical training of any kind some of the soundstage cues help me in my enjoyment of some music.

    Bass is tight and controlled. My Mo Fi's sound like they go deeper in the bass but I am not really able to judge the bass since my speakers do not go into the lower octaves. What I do hear has proper fullness and textures of the instruments. Interestingly I find this added bass control heps when I am listening to agressive rock or heavy metal. Happily there is no bloat or mud in the lower ranges.

    The amp does pace and timing well but without drawing too much attention to the beat. If you want to tap your foot it is easy to find the beat but it is just part of the musical whole and not a driving force. From rock, jazz and to classical music the sound has a natural flow. The correct musical flow helps me enjoy classical music that I did not always open up to if parts lagged behind or sped up.

    The amp is not bright. Highs are detailed but balanced. Brushes on cymbals and drumheads sound more natural than a constant non musical swishing sound.

    An aspect of having this much power on hand with the S-300i is when listening to well recorded mass vocals. When all the singers join in and the volume increases the sound now swells in the room. The music grows louder without distortion. Of course with much of my classical music of large orchestras I enjoy the same effect but with voices I find it amazing.

    The Krell S-300i does not have any of the electrical grunge and hash that my original Cambridge Audio 640A had nor does it add sweetness to all the music like the Onkyo A-9555 did. The Krell has taught me that some of what I had enjoyed were actually colorations. I find I am enjoying the true sounds of instruments more than ever before. I am pleased and feel that purchasing this amp was money well spent.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  2. #2
    Suspended
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    Glad you are enjoying the amp. I didn't realize MD had picked up any Krell gear. Could be why our local dealer don't support them much any more but from what I've noticed MD is not a "low baller" on prices. It's also nice to have some one else around here that understands Krell isn't the audio spoiler some would make them out to be. It used to be unheard of a Krell having issues out of the box, I hope this isn't something we begin to see more of.

    Have you noticed, especially in drums, the snap and kick is there like a live set? And, brass being near glorious with the bite but not offensive? I mean there is different strokes for different folks but what Krell does they do very well. You should also be experiencing transient response like you've never experienced before.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    The S-300i is the only Krell product to be made in China. This did not concern me nor did the one bad pushbutton. I have no idea how many they purchase at a time so if one out of many is bad that is just my luck of the draw. The amp still worked completely with the remote it was just the one push button on the front. The build quality is excellent and all functions work well.

    I was listening to a live rock cd and what surprised me about the drums was the size of the drum kit. Since the soundstage is so solid as the drummer was playing different drums I had a real sense of where they were in the acoustic space. Oddly I do not know if I am hearing more snap. The Onkyo being thinner in the midrange sounded snappy with lots of attack but the Krell gives the snap but the full body of the sounds and not just the attack. I guess what I am saying is the Krell sounds more like drums heard live. Yes the brass is glorius and I have an old Helen Humes album recorded live and one of the cuts has three saxophonists on one cut. I can really hear the difference in instruments and playing. I am hearing music and not colorations for a change.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  4. #4
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I'm very happy for you. Better amps sound better. Every Krell I've ever heard was worth the money. You should invite any "all amps sound the same" locals over for a demo. It would give you a chance to show of your new baby that sounds better. Having nice gear isn't like having a Ferrari. You can't park it out front and have people walk by and drool on it. So, you have to get them in the sweet spot.
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  5. #5
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    The Krell S-300i is also bringing much happiness and joy to my life.
    Congrats. I get the same feeling about my Threshold. There is a sense of authority to its sound quality. BTW, I met Dan D'Agostino back in the 70s when he was the rep for Dayton-Wright and Dunlap-Clark. The Dreadnaught amp was a massive amp designed to deal with the punishing load of the D-W. I suspect that experience shaped his later Krell designs.

    rw

  6. #6
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    JM, congrats on the Krell addition.

    I enjoyed your review of the Krell and your glee jumped off the page at me. Happy listening!

    LeRoy

  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Leason reinforced

    JM, congradulations on your Krell and I hope you will enjoy it for a long time.

    The leason learned, (or reinforced), by your experience is that there generally is a real difference stepping up from entry-level, ableit good quality equipment, to mid-range, (or call it entry high-end if you prefer).

    This is what I experience when I moved up from a NAD C270 to Bel Canto eVo2i. And again when I compared an Adcom GPA-555II to my Monarchy SM-70 Pros. Both the NAD and (especially) the Adcom were very good components and sounded very agreeable. However the Bel Canto and Monarchy represented a step up in resolution over the former, and both delivered more precise bass than the NAD.

    But remember there are substantial differences among solid, mid-range components too. For example, the Bel Canto and Monarchy are distinctly different in character though one might perfer one or the other based on personal perference. ... So your journey is necessarily done, JM.

  8. #8
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Wow JM. Krell huh? Moving up in the world is a good thing. Glad you are enjoying them. Congrats, you deserve them.

    GM (turning green with envy)

    Good review.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  9. #9
    Ajani
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    Congrats JM!!! It's always good to see a forum member enjoying an upgrade (even though I'm envious right now )

    I wish you had the old Krell 400xi on hand to compare.... since I've read in recent reviews (HiFi News I believe) that your Krell is their best entry integrated yet - has a far less lean sound than previous models and is more appealing to both music and detail lovers.

  10. #10
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    Since we touched on this a bit I thought I'd post back. I got my fuses from Krell the other day and switched them out tonight. I have a certificate to sign and return in order to receive a check for $150.00. Switching fuses, I thought easy money, well the bottom fuses were a bit of a challenge to get to. Of course, getting them out isn't nearly as hard as putting new ones back in. I am proud of my dextarity I managed after a bit to get them back in there.

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