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noahbickart
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Krell Evolution 505

Two questions regarding the Krell:

1) On p. 91, Fred Kaplan describes the Krell as employing, "The Burr-Brown PCM1738 DACs, each capable of handling 24bit data...." As we know well, SACD employs DSD, which is a 1-bit codex. Does this mean that the Krell doesn't decode DSD but rather converts it to 24bit PCM data first? This would seem strange for a $10,000 player (it is one thing for the cheep OPPO).

2) Why don't these magabuck players have digital *inputs* so that one could make use of other digital sources, including my MacBook's 24/96 optical output, in a CAST environment? I remember a high end Adcom CD player used to have one...

-Noah

dcstep
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Re: Krell Evolution 505

Welcome to Stereophile forums.

As for the Krell review, I think you need to search over at Audiogon and Audioasylum for discussion of Krell's recent handling of warranty claims, particular some bad transports. I've read elsewhere that there have been management changes at Krell recently. You have to wonder if Krell of today is the same Krell as of old. The brand had lots of value, but as a buyer you need to be careful here.

The review disappointed me in that the Krell wasn't compared to the competition like Emm, dCS or even Esoteric. The fact that CD performance wasn't that close to vinyl on a VPI makes me think it's not really up to the competition, so I'd be concerned.

Most damning is the really bad characterization of the performance in balanced mode. I interpreted that to say something like, "don't even consider this unless you have Krell with CAST inputs." (IMHO, you need to read between the lines at Stereophile and their print competitors. Fortunately for you, here at the forum we can say what we really think). The designers of these things need to get them operating well in all modes. Despite the technical mumbo-jumbo, the balanced mode should sound darn good, not like there was a sheet thrown over it.

About the lack of digital inputs, I agree, it's stupid at that price range. Look to Emm, dCS and Playback Designs for pieces oriented toward digital users that expect performance comparable or better than vinyl. (I've got both).

Krell has made some really great components over the years, but this may not continue that tradition. Nothing in that review comforted me.

Dave

pbarach
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Re: Krell Evolution 505

(this is a sidebar) In Fred Kaplan's review of the Krell 505, he mentioned his "minute-by-minute" account of what a good system would reveal in the Zinman recording of Gorecki's Symphony #3 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). I'm putting in a plug for a much-better-recorded version of that piece, by the Royal Philharmonic under Yuri Simonov, with Susan Gritton, soprano (Membran 222835-203). This is a hybrid SACD with multichannel and stereo tracks, as well as redbook CD. Even the redbook has much clearer reproduction of the details of string bass bowing and articulation, pitch, and counterpoint. Also, it's a terrific performance of a moving, beautiful piece of (tonal) 20th century music.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Krell Evolution 505

OK. Now, let me pile on to that and recommend a really outstanding recording of the piece, SACD LR 105: "The world's first recording of M. Gorecki's famous Third Symphony conducted by the composer himself, during his 70th Birthday Concert Gala."

Kal

pbarach
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Re: Krell Evolution 505

Thanks for the recommendation, Kal. BTW there is also a DVD of this piece (with an Upshaw/Zinman soundtrack) in which the composer explains what was in his mind as he wrote the piece, interspersed with the music. Horrific Holocaust footage is also included. It's an excellent production that I saw on TV and was just recently released on a DVD (Amazon and other online places are selling it). However, start taking your Prozac about a week before watching this...

Editor
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Re: Krell Evolution 505


Quote:
1) On p. 91, Fred Kaplan describes the Krell as employing, "The Burr-Brown PCM1738 DACs, each capable of handling 24bit data...." As we know well, SACD employs DSD, which is a 1-bit codex. Does this mean that the Krell doesn't decode DSD but rather converts it to 24bit PCM data first?

The PCM1738 does have an operating mode where it will accept a DSD datastream and decode it natively.


Quote:
2) Why don't these magabuck players have digital *inputs* so that one could make use of other digital sources, including my MacBook's 24/96 optical output, in a CAST environment?

Many players do have such inputs. The Cary CAD306 SACD Pro that I am currently reviewing does, for example, though its outputs are conventional voltage-mode types. I do feel that a player at the Krell's price level should offer such an input.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

noahbickart
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Re: Krell Evolution 505

Thanks JA, for answering both questions.

-Noah

KBK
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Re: Krell Evolution 505


Quote:

The review disappointed me in that the Krell wasn't compared to the competition like Emm, dCS or even Esoteric. The fact that CD performance wasn't that close to vinyl on a VPI makes me think it's not really up to the competition, so I'd be concerned.

About the lack of digital inputs, I agree, it's stupid at that price range. Look to Emm, dCS and Playback Designs for pieces oriented toward digital users that expect performance comparable or better than vinyl. (I've got both).

Dave

If you are getting any digital to sound better than vinyl, then something is wrong with your vinyl rig, or you are deaf (Sorry! Harsh, yes, but emphatically true). One or the other, or both.

From the design end of things, I can tell you flat out, I've never heard ANY digital exceed the sonic fidelity of a good analog rig, and I don't expect to, until jitter is tamed/eliminated at the recording end, and at the playback end..and they sample at a minimum of 250-300khz, with 24bit depth. All of these points need to be addressed, as well as that of the weighting (design and intent of) of digital algorithms. Then they stand a chance of eclipsing analog sound.

But not yet. Not by a long shot.

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