Krell KPS-20i CD player RH's System

Sidebar 1: RH's System

I put the Krell KPS-20i at the front of my playback system, playing discs on the KPS-20i's integral transport. The KPS-20i also saw time driven by the Mark Levinson No.31 transport via AES/EBU cable, using the KPS-20i as a digital processor. Further, I drove the Mark Levinson No.30.5 (fitted with the HDCD decoder/filter) and the Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 Mk.II from the Krell's digital output to assess the KPS-20i as a transport. Of course, having these superb Class A processors on hand made them natural points of comparison for the KPS-20i.

I found that the KPS-20i sounded best when used as a CD player—its primary function. I therefore performed almost all the auditioning in this mode, except for brief periods to examine the processor and transport sections separately. Also note that comparisons with the No.30.5 and SFD-2 Mk.II were made with these processors driven by the Mark Levinson No.31 transport. The 30.5/31 combination costs $24,445, and the SFD-2 Mk.II/No.31 pair is $13,790 (plus $300 for the AudioQuest Diamond x3 AES/EBU cable)—both considerably more than the KPS-20i.

The processors under audition drove an Audio Research LS5 Mk.II preamp (which has fully balanced topology) via AudioQuest Diamond x3 balanced interconnects. The power amplifiers were Audio Research VT150 tubed monoblocks driving Genesis II.5 loudspeakers. The long interconnect between the preamp and power amplifiers was AudioQuest Lapis x3, and loudspeaker cables were AudioQuest Dragon II. Power to the digital front-ends and preamplifier was conditioned by a Tice Powerblock, and an MIT Z-Stabilizer was plugged-in to the AC wall outlet. The KPS-20i was mounted on the sand-and-lead-shot–filled Merrill Stable Table.—Robert Harley

Krell Industries
45 Connair Rd.
P.O. Box 0533
Orange, CT 06477-0533
(203) 799-9954