Krell KSL line preamplifier Ancillary Components

Sidebar 2: Ancillary Components

A well-judged assessment of equipment of this quality requires several conditions to be satisfied. First, the equipment must be conditioned, run-in for several days, and well warmed up. Second, its mode of use and the chosen interfaces should be carefully selected, with allowance made for some experimentation to determine the optimum arrangement. This area includes balanced and unbalanced operation, and the choice of cables. Third, it's valuable to have a handful of comparable and reference components with which to compare. In the case of the KSL controller these included the Krell KBL and KSP-7B, the Conrad-Johnson PF-1, and the Classé DR6a preamps. I have also recently had experience with the C-J Premier 7A, Audio Research LS1, and Threshold FET 9.3. Power amplifiers available included the Krell KSA-80B and KSA-150B, the Threshold SA3.9, the Conrad-Johnson MF-200, and the Audio Research Classic 120 monoblocks.

Finally, the ancillaries must be up to the task. These included a Goldmund Studio/T4/Koetsu Rosewood 2 plus a Lingo Linn/Aro/Troika, these preamplified and conditioned via a Krell KSP-7B. For digital replay, an Audio Research DAC1 was available, supplemented by a Meridian 606 and fed from a Meridian 602 digital transport, as well as a Wadia WT-2000/DM64-4 combo, digitally linked via a wideband twisted-pair cable.

Most of the cables were of silver Teflon grade, not unlike Kimber, supplemented by MasterLink Black. Two classes of speaker were used for the auditioning: a low-impedance, power-hungry panel in the form of an Apogee Duetta Signature, and a sensitive moving-coil represented by the Spendor S100.

Program included a mix of rock and classical, from the limited-edition remix by Monster Cable of Michael Jackson's album Bad to recording engineer Tony Faulkner's purist CD production of Pachelbel's delightful Hexachordum Apollinis organ music on the small Greg Harrold instrument played by John Bult at Hertz Hall, Berkeley (MHMU907029; M50 tube mikes, Paravacini tube mixer, upgraded DCS Delta-Sigma 20-bit A/D). On LP, Rickie Lee Jones's Girl At Her Volcano continues to do sterling service backed by a selection of old favorites from Sheffield Lab, Reference Recordings, and the early Decca/Argo catalog.—Martin Colloms

Krell Industries, LLC
45 Connair Road
Orange, CT 06477-3650
(203) 799-9954

Axiom05's picture

Love these old reviews, brings back a lot of memories of reading Stereophile and trying to figure out how I could buy some of this stuff. It doesn't seem that long ago. Seems there were a lot more reviews per issue back then too.

jmsent's picture

would not be acceptable in a $500 preamp, much less one that sold for 2 grand. Odd that Krell didn't have a manufacturer's comment addressing this. High quality controls with near perfect tracking were certainly available in the early '90s. Most Japanese receivers did far better than this.

tonykaz's picture

You make a valid observation but it probably wouldn't bother me if I owned the piece, which, I did just look up on eBay to find one for under $1,000.

I was selling Audible Illusions PreAmps that had separate volume knobs for each channel, I felt it was a good design.

Krell is good gear, I could live with it.

Tony in Michigan