Krell Full Power Balanced 350mc monoblock amplifier Page 3

"CAST has another important aspect. It really doesn't matter how long the connecting cable is because the cable's reactive effects are still never going to be more than a negligible part of the total circuit impedance. This means that preamplifiers and power amplifiers can be placed where needed, unconstrained by cabling problems."

Well hey now, that sounds like the ideal solution! So I spent a fair amount of time playing the KCT two-zone preamplifier and KPS28c CD player into the 350Mcs using both CAST and "standard" interconnects. Here's where I come down on the matter: CAST technology works, no doubt about it. The black, discreet cables are relatively small in diameter and easy to run. They're perfect for custom installs where a snakepit of wires is a no-no. And they are neutral-sounding, as they should be, given the technical specs.

But—and I have a big one—I preferred the sound of the 350Mc on Synergistic Research Designers Reference with Active Shielding. Why? Well, I found I could "tune" the sound of the amps right to the top of the sonic bubble by swapping interconnects and speaker cable.

The KPS28c CD player was another matter. Look, I'm just totally spoiled by 24/192 upsamplers, and 16/44.1 just doesn't do it for me anymore. Even so, when I connected the KPS28c to the KCT with CAST connections, the Krell player gave the Accuphase DP-75V and the dCS Elgar/972 combination a good run for their money. It fell behind when it was connected with standard line-level interconnects of whatever brand or type (RCA or XLR) either into the KCT or into the other preamplifiers on hand.

So if you're going for Ultimate Sound, work those cables, baby. If you're going for Ultimate Convenience, go CAST and don't look back.

Sometimes I find it interesting to imagine a single word to describe a component under test. The 350Mc was a snap that way; it was totally organic.

Yes, I agree, that needs further elucidation. I caught a glimpse of it listening to Golden Earrings by the Ray Bryant Trio (VICJ-60212), one of the latest and most intoxicating XRCD2 releases yet by Alan Yoshida and Akira Taguchi at JVC Hollywood. This is a Rudy Van Gelder recording, bless his soul, in "big mono" as Taguchi calls it. The sound was big, meaty and round, lovely, airy, and transparent. You want to know what organic is? Play this recording. Love this recording as it wraps itself DNA-like into your mind and body. Try and stop hummin' the tune a hundred, a thousand times—it's the very essence of jazz.

There are some other recordings that slice deeply into my musical soul, that I become, you might say. The cover of "Bags Groove" from the XRCD of the same name, for instance, or another late-breaking XRCD2, Bill Evans' Green Dolphin Street (VICJ-60372). These beautifully mastered monos make evident certain properties that with stereo recordings become less critically important, tonal balance and overall harmonic structure, for example.

Take the bass solo just after four minutes into "Green Dolphin." Notes: "There's a roundness, an acoustic rightness that's light, lively, big, powerful and deep. An impressive in-control and comprehensive bottom end and midbass transition into a detailed, textured, super organic nubbly-with-detail midrange. Transitioning up smoothly, the upper registers are sweet and velvety, attractive with texture, no bite; it's all very intimate and musical." The mono image set up between the JMLab Utopias was huge yet very precisely defined, the seductive tonal balance drawing me into the music instantly yet profoundly.

Or try "Rent Party" (in stereo) from The Timekeepers (JVCXR-0206-2). The inner beauty and "believability" of this recording lies in the sleight-of-hand of reproducing the "real" sound of two pianos in your listening space. In this regard, the Krells were superb. The fullness of tone produced not by the 350s but by two pianos filled our listening space. Let's not even mention the jazzectasy produced when the bass and drum come in at that perfectly formed moment at 5:26, and on to the end of this golden slice of musical pie. Notes: "The 'mesh' between Basie and Peterson is perfectly set up. When the drums and bass come in, it's already a well-oiled machine dragging you deeper into the music, like putting your nose into a heady 50-year-old Armagnac." The Krell amps excelled at retrieving the pace and timing, the very nature of the music.

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