Founded in 1980, Krell Industries' amplifiers have long set the benchmark for sound quality, and at CES 2014 the company took the wraps off its latest generation iBias, high-efficiency power amps. That's a really big deal because while Krells have always sounded great, they sucked a lot of AC power out of the wall socket. They ran hot, so hot you couldn't rest your hand on the chassis, because most of the AC juice was converted to heat, not to making the power that drives your speakers. The heat was an unfortunate byproduct of Krell's Class A … Read more
Dan D'Agostino is one of the founding fathers of American high-end audio. He began his audio odyssey at age 11, patching together more than his share of amplifier kits as his father built Klipsch speakers. By 14, he graduated to a Marantz preamp and power amplifier, and AR 1 speakers with Janszen electrostatic tweeters, all purchased with money he earned "polishing the tubes, and sweeping up the floors" at his hometown hi-fi shop, the Audio Center in Niagara Falls, N.Y. He went on to receive his electrical engineering degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
He … Read more
High-end audio, just like high-end everything else--cars, clothes, watches, boats--is in large part about style. Sure, high-performance is part of the appeal, but exquisite build quality and eye-catching designs are essential for market success.
With that in mind I put together a nice assortment of some of the more dazzling high-end components currently on the scene.
Magico's speakers are built with solid, massively inert structures designed to ensure the only sound you hear comes from the speaker's tweeter, midrange, and woofer drivers. No other speaker I've heard approaches Magico's resolution and precision. The company's latest designs upped the ante and now feature even more extensive frames designed to quell structure borne resonance to produce the highest-resolution sound possible.
Founded in 1991 by legendary audio designer Nelson Pass, Pass Laboratories, sells its unique amplifiers, preamplifiers and speakers throughout the world. The company has been based in Foresthill, California, since its beginning, and is widely regarded as one of the most innovative audio brands in the world. Many Pass Labs amplifiers, like my XA100.5 are pure Class A designs, and deliver breathtakingly beautiful sound.
The Ayre MX-R mono amplifier (you need two for stereo) is a looker, but pardon me for a second while I get tweaky and gush over the MX-R's zero-feedback and fully-balanced circuitry. Ayre's founder and chief engineer Charles Hansen invests vast amounts of time fussing over the tiniest circuit details, listening obsessively to eke out a sound that gets his designs ever closer to perfection. Some of the MX-R's resistors and capacitors are built to his specifications.
The Krell Modulari Duo Reference is a blatantly original, thoroughly masculine design, but at 44 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and 29 inches deep, it can still fit in average size rooms. Each speaker weighs 345 pounds, it's fair to assume the bulk of the weight can be attributed to its thick-walled aluminum construction. If the goal was to make an absolutely dead cabinet, I'd say Krell has done it. The speaker's design shows a clear aesthetic kinship with Krell electronics.… Read more
Well, not exactly weep, but while I was reviewing these incredible speakers an executive from a respected American speaker company dropped by my apartment. To say he was bowled over by the mighty Krells is an understatement; he couldn't take his eyes off them. Then he ran his fingers over the exquisitely machined metalwork and asked to play a couple of tunes. Talk about shock and awe; he said, "They're $65,000? [EXPLETIVE DELETED], they're really good!" I've never seen one manufacturer so visibly shaken by another's wares.
The Krell Modulari Duo Reference has that sort of effect on people. Even folks who couldn't care less about high-end audio "get" these speakers. The sound all but reaches out and grabs your most sensitive parts and shakes them. My full review is in Home Entertainment magazine. … Read more
This is one product that aims to satisfy iPod fanboys and uncompromising audiophiles alike. Krell's Papa Dock and KID combo is a step ahead of the competition, designed based on an old-school separate component approach to fine music.
The KID may also be a first of its kind, featuring performance-centric class A electronics, high-end balanced XLR audio output and a built-in iPod dock, all in a beefy 10-pound metallic kit, according to Audio Junkies. Designed to complement the KID is the Papa Dock, which holds the above-mentioned deck and provides up to 150 watts of clean high-current amplification for … Read more
The Audiophiliac has been prowling the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) Expo in Denver over the past several days, looking for the latest and greatest audio products.
McIntosh's MT-10 turntable ($8,000) caused a stir. The turntable's bearing uses opposing magnets to "float" the platter and keep noise low.
I was blown away by Definitive Technology's new Mythos ST speakers ($3,600/pair). The skinny speakers somehow deliver truly deep bass, and the midrange and treble ranges were also exceptional.
Well that didn't take long. Just after we thought we'd come across one of the weirder pieces of sound equipment seen in awhile, along comes another to beat it out in spades. Not only does this system featured at Berlin's IFA trade show have an exceedingly esoteric design, but it's even more exclusive because of its price: $860,608, to be exact, which makes it the "world's most expensive stereo system" in the estimation of BornRich.
The centerpiece of this monstrosity is the Clearaudio "Statement" turntable pictured here for $137,000, … Read more