Power Amplifier Reviews

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Michael Trei  |  Jan 25, 2000  |  First Published: Jan 26, 2000  |  0 comments
Hard-core gear maker Krell makes a poweful argument with KAV-250a and KAV-250a/3.

Since their inception some 20 years ago, Krell has remained about as hard-core of an audiophile company as you're likely to find. Back in 1980, Krell shocked the hi-fi world with their enormous KSA-100. Since then, they have remained on the cutting edge of solid-state electronics. Just when you thought they couldn't push things any further, they would obliterate the competition with some unimaginably huge and powerful beast. The most recent example of this is the Master Reference series that they describe as being "mini-sized," but I think they must have been comparing the amps with a British car.

Ultimate AV Staff  |  Jul 10, 2006  |  0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $5,000, $5,500 and $6,000, respectively for five, six and seven channels</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: 5/6/7 channels; 125-Watts per channel into 8 ohms/250-Watts into 4 ohms</LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended and balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706krellshowamp.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=205 BORDER=0>

Chris Lewis  |  Nov 04, 2002  |  First Published: Nov 05, 2002  |  0 comments
With the Showcase pre/pro-and-amp combo, Krell hits a new low—price point, that is.

Much is made of the intense competition that goes on in the receiver game, and understandably so. For the most part, these are companies that have piles of money to spend on advertising, have the resources and inclination to bring out new models every year, and have hordes of accountants and marketing types to keep watch on things likemarket placement, pricing, competitor activity, and so on. But what about the healthy (and growing) competition in the separates arena, especially at the lower (all things being relative) price points? It may not draw the receiver war's headlines, involve a fraction of the corporate expenditure and model turnover, or feature dueling laser shows from multilevel booths at industry trade shows. But, make no mistake, the competition here is no less intense, no less important to the industry as a whole, and no less beneficial to its particular crop of potential buyers.

Michael Trei  |  Feb 13, 2019  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,250

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Class-A sound with improved efficiency
Exceptional transparency and control
Minus
Not the most powerful amp on the block
Display unnecessary for most users

THE VERDICT
Krell returns to form with an exceptionally capable amplifier for well-heeled home theaters where quality takes precedence over quantity.

It's hard to overstate the importance of Krell Industries in the history of high-end audio. Founded by Dan and Rondi D'Agostino in 1980, Krell was the audio equivalent of Lamborghini—an audacious riposte to more Ferrari-like rivals such as Mark Levinson and Audio Research. For almost three decades, Krell went from strength to strength, introducing a stream of ever more ambitious products that tested the depth of their customers' pockets, along with the strength of their audio equipment shelving. Then, starting around a decade ago, the brand slowly slipped off the radar screens of most audiophiles.

Daniel Kumin  |  Jun 08, 2017  |  5 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,800, $2,950

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High power in compact, Class D package
Dynamic, uncolored sound
Runs relatively cool
Minus
Channel configurations not ideal for typical surround layouts

THE VERDICT
All the power most will ever need, with the sound quality you want in a slim, cool-running package.

Power amplifiers are God’s gift to the long-suffering audio reviewer, his (or her) compensation for all those A/V receivers, smart-streamers, net-connected speakers, and assorted other CPU-centric components that gray and thin our hair. No arcane MAC or IP addresses for the power amp; no obfuscatory wireless setup routines, stubbornly mute computer connections for auto-EQ procedures, or HDMI ports that refuse to shake hands with other HDMI ports. Whatever its provenance, the power amp demands little more than audio inputs, speaker outputs, and a power cord and calls it good.

Chris Lewis  |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments
Lexicon's CX-7 is ready for its due.

No matter the dollar amount involved, it happens to everyone: You get locked on to something new, you watch the glowing reviews and awards pile up, and you consider pulling the trigger when either financial reality or conservatism kicks in. You ultimately think, "If only it were a few hundred (or thousand, or hundred thousand) dollars less." Patience usually pays off, though. That's as clear in the A/V world as it is anywhere, especially in the high end. It's only natural that, when a manufacturer rolls out a new design or line, they start with their best foot forward, which usually ends up being the more-expensive foot. However, most manufacturers will eventually give those of you who are limited to lower price brackets—either by choice or necessity—a taste with lower-priced models. With the legitimate companies, the gap in price between models is almost always significantly greater than the gap in performance.

Chris Lewis  |  Dec 19, 2002  |  First Published: Dec 20, 2002  |  0 comments
Lexicon's MC-12 pre/pro gets a high-powered playmate.

I suppose that I'm starting to sound like a broken record when I talk about the concept of matching in home theater, but how else can I call attention to one of the most important aspects of creating a successful system? After all, matching audio/video equipment is not unlike matching in other areas of our lives. The proper combination of amps, speakers, room characteristics, and, well, everything else can create an exciting, dynamic, and highly satisfying experience for all involved. The wrong combination is usually mundane, lifeless, and, if you will, impotent. Sparks in the listening room come about in a similar way as sparks in other rooms of the house—they require experience and effort. A little bit of passion never hurts, either.

Jerry Kindela  |  Jul 23, 2007  |  0 comments
Pushing the technology envelope.

Founded in early 1972 by Ivor Tiefenbrun, Scottish manufacturer Linn Products has consistently been on the cutting edge of audio development and delivered products that have enamored many audiophiles. Just think of the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, the Sondek CD12 compact-disc player, or even the Komponent speaker system that Michael Trei reviewed in these pages (in the March 2006 issue). Linn has routinely pushed the boundaries and treaded ahead of the manufacturing pack. Case in point: the Chakra range of amplifiers, which rely on switch-mode power supplies, plus other proprietary developments on the audio-circuit side.

Steven Stone  |  Dec 11, 2002  |  0 comments

In the realm of 2-channel high-end audio, tube power amplifiers are still king&mdash;so you'd expect them to hold court, or at least a decent market share, in the world of high-end home theater as well. Alas, most home theaters are tubeless, except for the cathode-ray tubes in CRT projectors and direct-view monitors. Perhaps the time has come for tube power amplifiers to make an inroad into home theater. Manley Laboratories' new Snapper monoblock&mdash;the first tube-based power amplifier to be reviewed in the <I>Guide</I>&mdash;could be just the unit to pull the sword from the stone.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 04, 2011  |  10 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Receiver priced, separates performance and power • Next-gen Internet connectivity and versatility • Sophisticated sonics, simplified setup

Everybody’s Been Burned

Are you weighed down by a boat anchor of an expensive, powerful, but obsolete A/V receiver that doesn’t have HDMI inputs or processing for the latest lossless audio formats? You’re not alone. Everybody’s been burned by fast-moving technological change. You could unload your boat anchor for a few hundred dollars on eBay or AudiogoN and start over. But should you? Consider that today’s cost-conscious race-to-the-bottom A/V receivers and even some separates seem to be getting cheaper but worse sounding, not better. But if Marantz’s AV7005 surround processor and MM7055 amplifier are as good as the hype suggests, this could be the way to go. And in case of future obsolescence, at least now you’re into separates, which makes upgrades a less pricey proposition.

uavKim Wilson  |  Aug 20, 2008  |  0 comments

In the world of cars, any make and model will get you where you need to go. Some will get you there faster, and others will get you there in style. However, only a select few exude an air of sophistication and grace.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 13, 2008  |  0 comments
An Antidote to the AVR

With flagship A/V receivers approaching apartment building size and black-hole heft, there’s a great deal to be said about separating the brains of the operation from the brawn. If you choose separates, it means you never have to borrow a construction crane to hoist a feature-laden, mega-watt seven- or eight-channel receiver onto a tall equipment rack.

David Vaughn  |  Feb 20, 2013  |  16 comments

AV8801 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
MM8077 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: AV8801, $3,599; MM8077, $2,399 At a Glance: Up to 11.2-channel playback with Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Sub EQ HT Apple AirPlay support

As A/V enthusiasts, we are constantly on the lookout for the best audio and video we can find, and when we reach that state of nirvana, we enjoy our equipment until the next CES or CEDIA when we then hear about something new and begin to worry that our system will soon be second best. Writing for Home Theater makes me an unwilling accomplice in this never-ending cycle of upgrade-itis, but truth be told, I’m just as affected by this as the rest of you. Thankfully, I’m able to get my fix by having lots of equipment moving through my rack, but every now and then, I fall in love with a piece and don’t want it to leave my possession.

 |  Jul 10, 2006  |  0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $7,600</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: Seven channels; 200-Watts per channel into 8 ohms</LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended and balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706macmc207.jpg" WIDTH=270 HEIGHT=175 BORDER=0>

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