Krell demonstrated its "best-ever integrated amp" powering a pair of YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 speakers. Also, a peek inside the 4K/UHD Foundation pre/pro.
When you look at Krell's $4500 Vanguard 2-channel Integrated amp its not immediately apparent what a beast it is. If you try to pick it up, you get the first hint that it's not a typical compact integrated amp. The Vanguard fits into a standard rack and its only 4 inches tall, yet it weighs 40 lbs. That's because inside the chassis resides an amplifier capable of outputting 200 watts/channel of class A/B power into an 8 ohm load, or 400 watts/channel into a 4 ohm load.
With its Vanguart integrated amp, Krell packed plenty of power into a compact chassis.
There's more to the Vanguard than sheer power. World-class audio fidelity is what Krell is best known for. That's why the company used a class A preamp in the Vanguard that's derived from its flagship Illusion preamps in the Vanguard.
In an analog configuration, Krell's newest integrated amp includes a pair of balanced XLR inputs as well as three pairs of RCA connectors. However, the Vanguard Krell president Bill McKiegan showed at CES included an optional digital module. The upgrade adds USB, HDMI, Ethernet, plus coaxial and optical digital inputs to the unit's capabilities. There's even support for Bluetooth connectivity. Furthermore, HDMI pass-though makes it possible to connect to a TV for use as a 2-channel AV system—or to pass surround-sound to another preamp/processor.
Despite the inclusion of HDMI, the primary purpose of Krells Vanguard is high-quality 2-channel audio reproduction. The digital module supports 24-bit/192kHz PCM through HDMI and coaxial digital inputs as well as 24-bit/96kHz PCM through the optical connection. USB and network streaming offer compatibility with MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, FLAC, and ALAC formats up to 24-bit/192kHz.
Bill demoed the Vanguard powering a $45K pair of YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 speakers. The Haileys are rated at 4 ohms nominal and 3 ohms minimum impedance, but that load didn't phase the Vanguard at all. The system sounded great with music, it was reminiscent of the Krell iBias/YG Sonja system I heard at CES in 2014
. I fact I heard Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" at both demos, which cemented my impression that the Vanguard successfully delivered Krell's signature blend of power and high-fidelity in a compact package.
The Vanguard powered a pair of YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2s with 400 watts/channel going into a 4 ohm load
By the way, while I was in the Krell suite I grabbed a couple photos of the 4K/UHD upgraded Foundation
with the cover taken off. It's amazing what you can do in terms of cramming electronics into a tight space if you incorporate silent fans into your design. It's funny because when I first saw Krell many years ago, its amps were huge and featured elaborate heat sinks. With products like the Vanguard, Foundation, and iBais, it's the exact opposite—the company's latest gear fits neatly inside a rack and is notably compact considering what's packed inside each box.
Inside the Foundation 4K/UHD.
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