Who says the iPod is LowFi?

Long before the iPod gained dominance as the defacto portable media device, audiophiles were voicing their concerns about where the music world might be headed with the popularity of lowfi MP3 music files. For some the introduction of Krell's S-300i Integrated Amplifier, which interfaces with the iPod, could be seen as a "if you can't beat them join them" strategy. A different perspective would be that the iPod is no longer considered a lowfi product.

Sure the iPod can hold thousands of low bitrate audio files but it can also store lossless audio files. Essentially a tiny portable hard drive, the iPod is capable of storing what every kind of music (and video) files you see fit to sync to it via iTunes.

Krell, known for their high-end pedigree of extreme performance products, would seem an unlikely iPod ally. However, convenience and quality do not have to be mutually exclusive. The Krell S300i Integrated Amplifier is the top-end option for audiophiles that want their cake and eat it, too.

The S300i is the only audio component that uses an interface that takes audio directly from the iPod/iPhone's fully differential output. The iPod interface cable is included and you can control your iPod using the supplied aluminum remote that ships with the S-300i.

A theater pass-through mode allows the S-300i to operate seamlessly in conjunction with a surround-sound system. In this mode, listeners can enjoy the S-300i’s high-quality sound and formidable output while allowing a surround-sound receiver to handle the center and surround channels. The inclusion of this mode means that two-channel audio enthusiasts don't have to sacrifice sound quality or convenience if they decide to add surround sound to their system.

Installers and systems integrators will find all the features they need to make the S-300i work with external control systems such as AMX and Crestron touchscreens. The back panel includes 3.5mm jacks for IR input and 12-volt trigger input and output, as well as an RS-232 connector. While rack ears are available for hiding the S-300i away in a secluded equipment rack, the elegant brushed aluminum chassis is designed for prominent display and looks impressive in a contemporary dcor.

According to Dan D’Agostino, cofounder, CEO, and Chief Designer of Krell Industries, the iPod interface and menu-driven control of the S-300i provides a new level of convenience for devotees of two-channel audio. Krell calls it an affordable way to bring their incomparable sound quality into any home. At $2500, it's hardly inexpensive but for a Krell product it is virtually dirt cheap and sure to deliver unrivaled performance from your iPod-based music collection.