Krell Illusion II preamp and Duo 300 XD amplifier, VPI HW-40 turntable, Audio Technica Art 1000 cartridge, Alta Audio Alec loudspeakers, and ZenSati Zorro cabling

Krell’s immensely energetic Walter Schofield was in the middle of a system description when I entered the room, so I didn't know exactly what I was hearing, but whatever it was, the fact that I’d just submitted my review of the Krell K-300i integrated before boarding a plane for Denver left me very eager to hear it.

Dean Martin’s voice, on LP, sounded drop dead gorgeous. The sound was open and inviting, with just a tip of bright edge on top. (It's OK; I’ve got a bright edge in my own system.) I could hear every overdone portamento, every little extra bubble of sentiment-laden vibrato. But as gorgeous as the sound was, I also knew that the plush midrange of Martin’s voice, like the warm core of Ella Fitzgerald’s instrument, rarely fails to show off a system to best advantage. I needed another sample.

On another track, James Taylor’s “Her Town Too,” there was no fall-off in transparency or pleasure. Once again, the sound was open and revealing, with every bit of post-production reverb exposed. I just loved listening to this system.

As I learned after listening, components included the Krell Illusion II preamp ($7700) and Duo 300 XD amplifier ($10,500), VPI's 40th anniversary HW-40 turntable with Fatboy Gimbal 3-D printed tonearm ($15,000) and Audio Technica Art 1000 cartridge ($5000), the brand new Alta Audio Alec loudspeakers ($10,000/pair [Apparently this is still being discussed. The most reliable-seeming info we received: "TBD, but no more than $10,000/pair"—Ed.]), and ZenSati Zorro cabling.

After the demo, Alta’s Michael Levy told me that the speaker’s 93dB sensitivity is more than 3dB better than its predecessor’s. Among its features are a 10.5’ transmission line, a tuned port, and a retuned cabinet with most of the padding removed. “The speaker’s tuning was based on feedback from a beta test group that included people who work with live sound,” Levy said. “It took over two years to perfect.”

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JVS, let Jim Austin review the Krell Duo 300-XD with the Revel Salon2 ........ It is Jim Austin's turn now :-) ........