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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Krell S-300i vs Onkyo A-9555

    As some may know the A-9555 is filling in for the S-300i. My comments are based on listening with the Monitor Audio RS6 speakers and the Marantz SA8001 as source.

    Both integrated amps are very good at instrumental textures. The S-300i wins in the bass department. Bass is richer and fuller with the Krell along with better control. The Onkyo does bass well but not quite the firm foundation of the S-300i. The Krell is a little dry in sound while the Onkyo brings a little extra life to the sound. Neither could you call colored nor unnatural but amps do sound different. I would almost call the Onkyo better in L-R imaging but the Krell is better at overall size, width and depth of soundstage.

    I bought the Krell based on reviews and reputation. I bought the amp with the idea it had the power to drive any speaker I would be able to afford to pair with it. I genuinely like the amp's sound and the fact is is not bright sounding. I hate bright sounding electronics.

    Now when we look at economics the Onkyo last listed for $799 and I bought it new for $500. The Krell listed for $2500 and I paid $2500. Out of pocket the Krell was 5 times more expensive. Does it sound 5 times better? Is it more dependable? Will I still consider the Krell my last integrated amp? I may have answers once the amp is back but now I can say the Onkyo is one hell of an amp.
    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
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  2. #2
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Interesting....keep us posted!
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I just realized I have an A, B, C system.

    Marantz SA8001. Class A
    Monitor Audio RS6 Class B limited low frequency
    Onkyo A-9555 Class C

    No importance but just a thought.

    I had never paired the A-9555 with the RS6's but I am looking forward to playing music tonight. The Krell is refined and the Onkyo is fun. Going to have some fun tonight.
    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
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    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    The Lucinda Williams "Live @ The Filmore" shows the superiority and makes me miss the Krell.
    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
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    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  5. #5
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    Hello JM, Ya, i've been following the other thread...but now that you mention fun-vs-dry, which amp presents the music to you that keeps your feet tapping the most?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    A better question for me would be which makes you want to pull out your baton and conduct. Seriously I think the Onkyo causes more musically motivated movement. The Krell is for the head and the Onkyo would be more for the heart. Electric guitar can be awesome played through the Onkyo but Bass and Drums amazing when the Krell is in the system. The Onkyo brings the musicians closer with a little more dynamic energy. The Krell assigns seats and lets you hear the venue. Lucinda Williams "Live @ The Filmore" one of my favorite live cd's does not sound as good with the Onkyo as it does with the Krell.
    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

  7. #7
    RGA
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    Don't take this the wrong way but rather than assume the Onkyo is "one hell of an amp" because it is in the Krell ballpark - I would look at the Krell and wonder why it's not all that much better (in some ways not as good) as a mass market product.

    Krell has always been a brute force macro-kind of amplifier and does that quite well - but to me they don't make any emotional connection nor are they particularly good at subtlety. From reading your comparison you're arriving at the same conclusion - even if you're not fully realizing the implication that in the important part of music reproduction - a mass market $500 product is beating something "supposedly" high end. And with a better speaker or an easier to drive speaker some of the Onkyo problems might actually go away. The Krell problems won't because after all they're already made to bully every speaker because they're built to drive everything (which means invariably that it will "overdrive" most.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    Don't take this the wrong way but rather than assume the Onkyo is "one hell of an amp" because it is in the Krell ballpark - I would look at the Krell and wonder why it's not all that much better (in some ways not as good) as a mass market product.

    Krell has always been a brute force macro-kind of amplifier and does that quite well - but to me they don't make any emotional connection nor are they particularly good at subtlety. From reading your comparison you're arriving at the same conclusion - even if you're not fully realizing the implication that in the important part of music reproduction - a mass market $500 product is beating something "supposedly" high end. And with a better speaker or an easier to drive speaker some of the Onkyo problems might actually go away. The Krell problems won't because after all they're already made to bully every speaker because they're built to drive everything (which means invariably that it will "overdrive" most.



    Of course the Krell was developing some problems so until it is repaired I cannot really compare the two. The Onkyo A-9555 has a peak in frequencies that makes sound more exciting but puts an edge on some female vocalists.

    The Monitor Audio RS6's are easy to drive and the Onkyo still has more audible flaws. I was very happy with the Krell and about the time I began being unhappy with the speakers and cables I was using is I think when the problems first started. By the time I noticed the shifting to the left of the soundstage and the noise that continued in the right channel after the amp was on standby I realized there was a problem. So it would be unfair to judge the Krell.
    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
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  9. #9
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    krell V Onkyo

    The Onkyo is a very good amp. The Krell is suspect for the money, and their past stellar reputation. I listened to the Krell and then the Anthem 225i. I bought the Anthem. $1600.00, 75 wpc more power, made in North America vs China for the Krell. And, finally the sound production was better. No slam against the Krell, the Anthem is just better in presenting a clean, detailed, nuanced sound...without adding any crap to the signal. I felt emotion with the anthem that I did not feel with the Krell, it was the way the sound was presented. Dan D'Agostino would not have put this product on the market. I found it interesting that every review, sans one, gave the Krell high marks. Its like, its a Krell, it has to be good.....Whathifi has a true picture of the Krell, and mimics to an extent what I heard. I thought....well, its a British mag, they have slammed US products before, while giving suspect British products 5/5, but in this case, they were right. It's all relative, if you enjoy the Krell then enough said. In the end, when your unit is fixed, I think you will find the Krell exceeds the Onkyo.

  10. #10
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    My last solid state amp was a Classe CAP-150 which was also a supposedly high end amp. It was an integrated amp making 150 watts per channel and cost around $2500. Actually I've heard it referred to as the "Canadian" Krell. It also recieved glowing reviews yet I found it to be sterile and devoid of life. In terms of musicality and overall enjoyment the $5000 system of Classe/Aerials couldn't compete with my $500 system of Miniwatt SET/Tektons.

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    My last solid state amp was a Classe CAP-150 which was also a supposedly high end amp. It was an integrated amp making 150 watts per channel and cost around $2500. Actually I've heard it referred to as the "Canadian" Krell. It also recieved glowing reviews yet I found it to be sterile and devoid of life. In terms of musicality and overall enjoyment the $5000 system of Classe/Aerials couldn't compete with my $500 system of Miniwatt SET/Tektons.
    You simply prefer a different sound. That doesn't mean that another person might not prefer the "sterile" sound, nor that the supposedly sterile sound isn't actually more accurate.

  12. #12
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    My last solid state amp was a Classe CAP-150 which was also a supposedly high end amp. It was an integrated amp making 150 watts per channel and cost around $2500. Actually I've heard it referred to as the "Canadian" Krell. It also recieved glowing reviews yet I found it to be sterile and devoid of life. In terms of musicality and overall enjoyment the $5000 system of Classe/Aerials couldn't compete with my $500 system of Miniwatt SET/Tektons.


    I have never heard a Classe amp in person, but back when I was in the market for one, I read a lot of reviews on all of them. Your assessment of the Classe amp seems to agree with most of what I read about them. Most reviews used the words flat, or boring. I guess they have a more laid back sound than most prefer.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  13. #13
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    It's hard to imagine anyone preferring lifeless sterile sounding music or better yet admitting to it. One exception might be those who are tone deaf and I've known a few in public music classes.

    Music is life and human passion must be conveyed in it's sound. I've played in bands all my life and have seen musicians who were technically by the book yet possessed no "feeling" in their tone and approach. That's the way I judge audio. If a system is unable to reproduce the musician's "feeling" it's not for me. Tubes tend to do it and triodes better still.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    The Krell S-300i is a very neutral int. amp. It is not an amp if you want to add excitement to your system. If you find your music exciting the Krell will let you hear everything in the recording. From the tight well controlled bass to the wide and deep soundstage the Krell is for me.

    The Cambridge Audio 640 was colored enough to impart a sound to most music. The Onkyo is a little cleaner sounding but is not the clear window on the sound the Krell is. Since the Krell does not impart any sound to the music each cd or record sounds unique.

    All the reviews I have read mention that the S-300i is different from it's predecessors. The earlier Krell int. amps were reported to be thin sounding with lesser soundstaging so whoever designed the S-300i be it Dan or someone else I would say they got it right.
    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
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  15. #15
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    It's hard to imagine anyone preferring lifeless sterile sounding music or better yet admitting to it. One exception might be those who are tone deaf and I've known a few in public music classes.

    Music is life and human passion must be conveyed in it's sound. I've played in bands all my life and have seen musicians who were technically by the book yet possessed no "feeling" in their tone and approach. That's the way I judge audio. If a system is unable to reproduce the musician's "feeling" it's not for me. Tubes tend to do it and triodes better still.
    I can't imagine a world where everyone prefers the same thing.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael View Post
    I can't imagine a world where everyone prefers the same thing.


    I have learned there are equipment bullies and we have to like what they do. Of course we know why bullies bully.
    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
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    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    I have learned there are equipment bullies and we have to like what they do. Of course we know why bullies bully.
    So what are you saying? We actually have 2 choices?

    Whatever Poultry likes and whatever RGA likes?

  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    It's hard to imagine anyone preferring lifeless sterile sounding music or better yet admitting to it. One exception might be those who are tone deaf and I've known a few in public music classes.
    ...
    Ha! Well agree that nobody likes sterile but I suspect I like what you call "sterile" where amps are concerned. I'm going to repeat something I've said before; ready??

    Here it is ...
    I have lots of recordings that sound sterile but that's because they're not very good recordings. The bad news is my amp doesn't caramelize these recordings; the good news is I hear good recordings at their best.

  19. #19
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    And we all know you can't polish a turd.

  20. #20
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    I have learned there are equipment bullies and we have to like what they do. Of course we know why bullies bully.
    Thank you, John. You're voice of calm.

    Sometimes I feel myself under duress to accept the sound preferred by RGA, Poultrygeist, Tube Fan, and a few others. On occassion I have over reacted in defence of my own preferences, e.g. by saying that my preference is "more accurate". But, come to think of it, that's exactly what they say.

  21. #21
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    You can't bully someone into liking something they've never heard.

  22. #22
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    You can't bully someone into liking something they've never heard.
    ... not for lack of trying.

  23. #23
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    It's the difference of opinion that is the life blood of any forum. You all would be bored to tears to read only posts extolling the virtues of sand amps. The main reason we participate in forums is to learn about things we may not know or have not considered. I would never have learned about SETs, full range drivers or open baffles had it not been for other forums. To relate a bad experience with a solid state amp can be educational but of course you can choose to take it as a slam on your own solid state gear.

    Expressing one's passion over something they believe is hardly bullying. It's working for me over at AK. After posting my 3 way OB plans my PM box is filled everyday with questions from members regarding their duplicate builds. Nothing is more exciting than to discover something great, share it with others and then see them experience the same joy you've had. If I've saved them a ton of cash in the process with better results that's just another plus.

  24. #24
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    This is an odd argument. Whatever happened to Variety being the spice of life?

    I have several setups that all sound different. I like certain qualities of each one of them and none are perfect.

    I have auditioned the SET FR speaker setups so the "You can't bully someone into liking something they've never heard." comment does not apply to me. I liked what I heard but I also like my Hybrid setup along with my simple Rotel receiver-JM speakers-OPPO93. The SET setups cannot blow the windows out or shake the pictures off the walls like my main rig can. But, they sound real nice at low levels.

    What is wrong with liking different types of setups?

  25. #25
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    The 60 inches of FR cones in my SET/SS powered 3 way OBs will wake the dead.

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