Krell 707 Evolution. Is this the Best Processor? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I've said it before, if you're serious about music, buying a piece to do double duty (music and movies), particularly at this price point, is a waste of money.

Agree to disagree on this one!

Although, I did buy my SSP for multi-channel music playback - the fact that it also happens to play back movies is a bonus. Perhaps this is the right approach?

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post #92 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I can see spending a lot for a music system as there are pristine recordings to be heard and can be so well reproduced by the aforementioned mega-priced gear.

However, Movie sound for home is different. With HDMI, you simply don't need analog sections and a whole other bunch of useless features. Blu Ray discs (soundtracks) are highly mixed, multi-tracked, make believe sound. There is no 'pureness' in the typical movie soundtrack be it Transformers 2 or A Beautiful Mind.

The idea that a movie recording is better on a $30K pre-amp than the run of the mill $10K (or cheaper model), to me, is ludicrous. The SSP in my opinion is not the most important cog in the machine - particularly as we are no longer in an analog world.

I've said it before, if you're serious about music, buying a piece to do double duty (music and movies), particularly at this price point, is a waste of money. Buy the DCS or such and put it in it's own room. Room treatments would certainly be different as would doing away with acoustical problems that may be created by a decent sized movie screen!

I see your point but I disagree. People spending multiple 100K on a theater may be happy to spend 30K on a SSP rather then 10K if it buys a bit more setup/EQ flexibility, dialogue clarity, and impact on "end the world" scenes. Now if you're saying the 10K SSP is completely functionally and sonically equivalent to the 30K SSP we are indeed dealing with pure snake oil. I think most people would disagree. Diminishing returns, yes. Snakeoil, no.
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post #93 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

Not sure I entirely 'get' the logic here. Unless one happens to have digitial speakers, surely the function of the SSP as an analog preamp is as critical as anything it might do as a processor of incoming digital signals? Your analogy to the Ayre player is a good one; I guess I see the SSP in a similar light.

One can, I suppose, use a two-channel analog preamp to augment the SSP, but absent analog sources (which I do not use) the approach seems unecessary if hi-end SSPs have correspondingly best-in-class analog output capability.

So, the question is, 'do they' and does a best-in-class analog output capability justify the $30K pricetag? Matjet suggests the Krell 707 does, and I believe the Meridian 861v6 does also.

I am not talking about "analog output capability", but about performance as an analog preamp with analog inputs. If the 707 makes a very expensive preamp for say a turntable obsolete (obsolete again!), 30K is alot easier to justify for a turntable user than someone with just analog sources.

The Meridian does digitize all analog inputs, and since a LP spinning purist would never want to do this, the 861 is not an option for them.

Which makes me think of a very intersting question. Kal's assessment was mostly based on MCH music performance using HDMI input (BR music and SACD). If the 707 has such a stellar analog preamp, it would be very interesting to hook up a Marantz ud9004 and compare the MCH analog and digital route. This setup could the best of both worlds in terms of ability to do DSD direct using the 707 MCH analog preamp for MCH SACD music, and HDMI and the DSP for Blu Ray movie sources.
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post #94 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

Agree to disagree on this one!

Although, I did buy my SSP for multi-channel music playback - the fact that it also happens to play back movies is a bonus. Perhaps this is the right approach?

Same here. Besides, first, I don't have the extra room, and second the idea of replicating a big investment in electronics for the sake of "purity" to me is rediculous.
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post #95 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Which makes me think of a very intersting question. Kal's assessment was mostly based on MCH music performance using HDMI input (BR music and SACD). If the 707 has such a stellar analog preamp, it would be very interesting to hook up a Marantz ud9004 and compare the MCH analog and digital route. This setup could the best of both worlds in terms of ability to do DSD direct using the 707 MCH analog preamp for MCH SACD music, and HDMI and the DSP for Blu Ray movie sources.

Why would I use analog if HDMI was available?

Besides, the UCD9004 has a severely compromised HDMI output resolution with SACDs making this comparison biased, at best.

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post #96 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

I am not talking about "analog output capability", but about performance as an analog preamp with analog inputs. If the 707 makes a very expensive preamp for say a turntable obsolete (obsolete again!), 30K is alot easier to justify for a turntable user than someone with just analog sources.

You may well be right, although even those of us with only digital sources may find $30K worthwhile for best-in-class analog output capability (obviating the need for a 2-ch analog preamp). Some years ago I compared CD through my Meridian 861v4 versus a VTL preamp (cannot now recall which model; the 6.5 I think?) and, frankly, there wasn't much of a difference - both sounded superb (maybe I'd have given the VTL a slight edge, but not enough to justify the incremental cost). So, from my perspective the entry cost for the 861 includes a top quality preamp section, even if .....

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The Meridian does digitize all analog inputs, and since a LP spinning purist would never want to do this, the 861 is not an option for them.

.... I were still spinning vinyl, I'd have looked elsewhere.

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post #97 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

I see your point but I disagree. People spending multiple 100K on a theater may be happy to spend 30K on a SSP rather then 10K if it buys a bit more setup/EQ flexibility, dialogue clarity, and impact on "end the world" scenes. Now if you're saying the 10K SSP is completely functionally and sonically equivalent to the 30K SSP we are indeed dealing with pure snake oil. I think most people would disagree. Diminishing returns, yes. Snakeoil, no.

Not saying snake oil but, IMO, there is a limit on what money will buy you in an SSP (in terms of sonics) for movie sound. $30K far exceeds that threshold.

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post #98 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Which makes me think of a very intersting question. Kal's assessment was mostly based on MCH music performance using HDMI input (BR music and SACD). If the 707 has such a stellar analog preamp, it would be very interesting to hook up a Marantz ud9004 and compare the MCH analog and digital route. This setup could the best of both worlds in terms of ability to do DSD direct using the 707 MCH analog preamp for MCH SACD music, and HDMI and the DSP for Blu Ray movie sources.

Marantz is problematic with SACD, but the Ayre isn't (at least, I don't think it is?). This would be a most interesting comparison with the Ayre just to see how the 707 performs solely as an analog preamp - although perhaps, at the end of the day, all one ends up comapring are the two sets of DACs?

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post #99 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Why would I use analog if HDMI was available?

Because there is a distinct possiblity analog sounds better. To my knowledge, you have never had a very good MCH analog preamp and MCH analog SACD player. The best would be your (I believe) parasoud P7, and Oppo 83 SE. The Marantz ud9004 and Krell 707 combo would be in a whole different class. The majority of folks that have this option (and that does not need/have room EQ) finds DSD direct to sound better than DSD->PCM conversion.

Apparently the 707 packs a SOTA processor and SOTA MCH analog preamp, so this would be the ideal machine for this shootout.

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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Besides, the UCD9004 has a severely compromised HDMI output resolution with SACDs making this comparison biased, at best.

Absolutely correct. If you have the Ayre Universal in house for review this would be your ideal HDMI SACD source for the shootout.

In the analog corner: ud9004 + 707 analog preamp
in the digital corner: Ayre + 707 SSP

This would have been extremely interesting (to me anyway)....
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post #100 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 12:13 PM
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Because there is a distinct possiblity analog sounds better. To my knowledge, you have never had a very good MCH analog preamp and MCH analog SACD player.

Not true. You can check my past reviews of many multichannel analog preamps.

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In the analog corner: ud9004 + 707 analog preamp
in the digital corner: Ayre + 707 SSP

This would have been extremely interesting (to me anyway)....

Too many variables to inspire my interest.

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post #101 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

What were your top three and why? Did you demo all three?

I usually try before I buy and unless it's not possible, always in my system. My Top 3 are:
- Meridian 861v6
- Tact Audio MkIII
- ADA Mach IV

Turntable is a good point, I'm not an analogue guy (anymore). If I'd still use analogue sources for music, I'd probably add a 2-channel analogue pre-amp to the chain. I personally ended up with the 861v6. Why? Because it sounded best to me.

Is it worth to spend $30k for a processor that handles movies? Depends on what you want. Now, the Meridian is a little more expensive in the US compared to the UK. But personally, I'd be happy to pay some additional money for the added performance. The difference is not small in my opinion.

But I completely understand those who want to save a few bucks and go somewhere else. Those are all excellent processor and one could easily replace a Mach IV or Mk3 in two or three years, buy something new and still save some money.

The Tact brings some interesting options, which the others don't have. Like digital inputs and up to 192kHz digital output (Blu-Ray ripping and copy protection removal necessary... not legal). The Meridian only allows a digital chain with 96kHz and only with Meridian speakers, while other digital speakers are limited to 48kHz. Unless one chooses the analogue output cards. The ADA is analogue only... so choose your poison.

As stated above, since I'm not using analogue sources, I'd personally pick one of the above listed processors over the 707. But again, that's just my opinion.

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post #102 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Not true. You can check my past reviews of many multichannel analog preamps.

The main contenders in the MCH analog preamp major leaugue are the Six Shooter, the Switchman and the Audio Research - none of which you have reviewed. Besides, I am talking about an all analog MCH SACD setup (player + preamp), for which you need the player and preamp at the same time.

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Too many variables to inspire my interest.

There are only two variables - analog signal path and digital signal path. You compare 2 channel analog and digital all the time (and reported prefering the Sony XA5400 SACD analog on the 707).

If you had a player that has 5.1 analog output of the same caliber as the Sony (i.e. the ud9004) on 2 channel, and the 707 has 5.1 analog preamp circuits equivalent to the 2 channel, why would the 5.1 analog route not sound better than digital as well? (not considering the merits of roomEQ of course)
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post #103 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

Marantz is problematic with SACD, but the Ayre isn't (at least, I don't think it is?). This would be a most interesting comparison with the Ayre just to see how the 707 performs solely as an analog preamp - although perhaps, at the end of the day, all one ends up comapring are the two sets of DACs?

No, you are also comparing two different architectures. One (conversion in the player) involves signal degradation caused by sending it over an extra pair of analog cables into an analog preamp, the other (conversion in the SSP) involves signal degradation caused by sending the signal digitally over HDMI and the jitter problems associated with this.

Also, if you do DSD direct in the player, and need to convert to PCM in the SSP (the Krell probably does not support DSD direct - no high end SSP does), you are comparing DSD direct and DSD converted to PCM. In my experience this is a hands down win for DSD direct.
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post #104 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

The main contenders in the MCH analog preamp major leaugue are the Six Shooter, the Switchman and the Audio Research - none of which you have reviewed. Besides, I am talking about an all analog MCH SACD setup (player + preamp), for which you need the player and preamp at the same time.

Well, I did review the AR.

Quote:


There are only two variables - analog signal path and digital signal path. You compare 2 channel analog and digital all the time (and reported prefering the Sony XA5400 SACD analog on the 707).

Read your own suggestion again. You suggest different players for the analog and digital sources. Do you not see that introduces another variable?

Quote:


If you had a player that has 5.1 analog output of the same caliber as the Sony (i.e. the ud9004) on 2 channel, and the 707 has 5.1 analog preamp circuits equivalent to the 2 channel, why would the 5.1 analog route not sound better than digital as well? (not considering the merits of roomEQ of course)

Not only too many variables, you offer too many presumptions.

You are looking for validation of your choices/assumptions and I have no real interest in them, one way or the other. No need to comment further.

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post #105 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

No, you are also comparing two different architectures. One (conversion in the player) involves signal degradation caused by sending it over an extra pair of analog cables into an analog preamp, the other (conversion in the SSP) involves signal degradation caused by sending the signal digitally over HDMI and the jitter problems associated with this.

Also, if you do DSD direct in the player, and need to convert to PCM in the SSP (the Krell probably does not support DSD direct - no high end SSP does), you are comparing DSD direct and DSD converted to PCM. In my experience this is a hands down win for DSD direct.

OK, perhaps I misunderstood. I thought you were talking about digital media in general as opposed to just SACD. So, I agree with your comments above regardling SACD - even though my experience with converting DSD to PCM is somewhat less injurous. With CD, still by far the most common disc that gets played in my system, at least, the comparison is probably mostly about the DACs, although there is also the issue of digital versus analog volume controls and analog interconnects, but no HDMI.

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post #106 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Well, I did review the AR.

Missed that. I'll check the archives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Read your own suggestion again. You suggest different players for the analog and digital sources. Do you not see that introduces another variable?

Good point. I got carried away.

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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

You are looking for validation of your choices/assumptions and I have no real interest in them, one way or the other. No need to comment further.

Not the case. Before I bought my CBIII+Six Shooter, I made an offer on a used 861v4 (which was declined). Next, I was holding out for the CBIII/HDMI upgrade (which did not materialize). I finally pulled the trigger on a ud9004after an extensive debate with Charles Hansson, who expected the analog route to sound better than digital. But I could have easily gone the other way. My used CBIII+SS+ new ud9004 cost about the same as used 861v4 + HD621 + Oppo83, and I genuinly do not know what I would have liked better.

For movies, analog vs digital would not be an interesting question- a movie based system will be HDMI/digital any day. However, since your column is "MUSIC in the round", and most MCH music is on SACD, I think comparing a SOTA analog setup and a SOTA digital system would be addressing a perfectly legitimate issue.

I understand and respect you have no interest in a MCH analog versus MCH digital shootout (I would not either if I were you), but my motives are pure and simple the pursuit of high end audio knowledge.
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post #107 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

For movies, analog vs digital would not be an interesting question- a movie based system will be HDMI/digital any day. However, since your column is "MUSIC in the round", and most MCH music is on SACD, I think comparing a SOTA analog setup and a SOTA digital system would be addressing a perfectly legitimate issue.

I understand and respect you have no interest in a MCH analog versus MCH digital shootout (I would not either if I were you), but my motives are pure and simple the pursuit of high end audio knowledge.

I did imply and intend not to respond further on this matter but, honestly, the comparison of "a SOTA analog setup and a SOTA digital system" is pointless since the outcome is specific to the particular components of the two systems. Unless a comparison is limited to a single variable, it cannot say anything generalizable.

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post #108 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

I did imply and intend not to respond further on this matter but, honestly, the comparison of "a SOTA analog setup and a SOTA digital system" is pointless since the outcome is specific to the particular components of the two systems. Unless a comparison is limited to a single variable, it cannot say anything generalizable.

Kal, I appreciate your patience. I fully realize MCH analog is a dead end technology with no products and of no commercial interest to anyone.

BUT, come to think of it, jackx posted his system in this thread and he is the proud owned of a 707, reference MCH downstream components, and a ....ud9004. So jackx, if you have a Blu Ray music disc (say a 2L Nordic sound recording), and you compare analog into your 707 and HDMI into the 707, what do you like best?
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post #109 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 09:06 PM
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I have been a 707 owner just about since it came to market. In my opinion, the 707 is not overpriced at all. There is definitely some misunderstanding about the purpose of the product. It wasn't designed solely to be a $30k HDMI music/ movie SSP. It is a reference level 2 channel preamp, video processor, and HDMI equipped processor all in one. The key element is it's one-box solution. The 707 was designed for the user who wants the ultimate 2 channel playback but who also has a home theater. That's really all there is to it. If you don't have a home theater, don't buy the 707, but instead buy the evolution 2. If you don't want to play music, buy the s-1200. BUT if you want ultimate music playback combined with ultimate multichannel audio/ video performance audition the 707 and you will be blown away.
I must say I have received incredible customer service from Krell. It was a treat to bring my 707 to the factory, get a tour, and have the software upgraded right before me.
Don't forget that the 707 has CAST outputs for every channel (unlike the s-1200) and 2 sets of CAST inputs. All I know is that no matter what I throw at the 707 it performs at the highest level.
With regards to stereophile, it definitely wasn't the most ecstatic review I've read but it did make the 500 Recommended Components as a Class A SSP.
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post #110 of 209 Old 10-25-2010, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by spearl8 View Post

I have been a 707 owner just about since it came to market. In my opinion, the 707 is not overpriced at all. There is definitely some misunderstanding about the purpose of the product. It wasn't designed solely to be a $30k HDMI music/ movie SSP. It is a reference level 2 channel preamp, video processor, and HDMI equipped processor all in one. The key element is it's one-box solution. The 707 was designed for the user who wants the ultimate 2 channel playback but who also has a home theater. That's really all there is to it. If you don't have a home theater, don't buy the 707, but instead buy the evolution 2. If you don't want to play music, buy the s-1200. BUT if you want ultimate music playback combined with ultimate multichannel audio/ video performance audition the 707 and you will be blown away.
I must say I have received incredible customer service from Krell. It was a treat to bring my 707 to the factory, get a tour, and have the software upgraded right before me.
Don't forget that the 707 has CAST outputs for every channel (unlike the s-1200) and 2 sets of CAST inputs. All I know is that no matter what I throw at the 707 it performs at the highest level.
With regards to stereophile, it definitely wasn't the most ecstatic review I've read but it did make the 500 Recommended Components as a Class A SSP.

As one of KRELL 707 owner , I'm 100% agree with your comment .
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post #111 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 12:14 AM
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What gets me Kal,is you guys do have influence on people and you know it.Having owned your gear in the past...what did your review accomplish?To me it seemed to say"Hey this unit is overpriced and its setup is not that smooth at all,dont buy"
As with Mikey(who dribbles over Music Fidelity with every review)you guys seem to think that all convience store owners drive Ferarri's.
I would buy(if I could afford and used of course)a one box reference unit but never with your review gear.I mean no disrespect but if you are going to use your reviews in these tough times to advise people on the product,you may want to do so with the proper level of evaluation...is all
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post #112 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 05:49 AM
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What gets me Kal,is you guys do have influence on people and you know it.Having owned your gear in the past...what did your review accomplish?To me it seemed to say"Hey this unit is overpriced and its setup is not that smooth at all,dont buy"

I am not, nor have I ever been, an equipment reviewer; however, as a long time reader of magazines like Stereophile, what I want from a review/reviewer is an honest assessment of a component. That this assessment is done in the context of a reviewers system - and his/her level of comfort with that system - is a necessary 'constraint'. The suggestion, in this case, that the review was somehow 'sandbagged' flies in the face of logic and the facts. Beyond that, I'm not sure what point you were actually trying to make.

It certainly does seem to me, absent any direct experience with the unit, that the 707 belongs in any discussion of the top eschelon SSPs. Whether it is 'the best' becomes a largely subjective assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. For those consumers willing to consider the absurd notion of spending $20K + on a single component, some will pick it, others will not.

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post #113 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:00 AM
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Like all else, the owners will bitch and the have nots will see the review as unbiased and fair.

$30K for any HT product, short of front projection, IMO is pure waste. I could care less all the things a piece does. Like all multi-use components, it appears convenient but master of none.

Is the scaler on par with the excellent $6K Lumagen? No. The $6K Lake EQ/DSP or $10K TEQ? No. The $50K Krell 2 Ch pre-amp? No... but it is convenient...

If this piece was truly a statement piece, it has to beat all at what it does. So, go back to drawing board, have it beat all the above manufacturers or dedicated components and apply the reasonable $100K MSRP to make all functions reference class. But at $30K, in my estimation (and Kal's), it is nice but comes up short on sum of all its parts... but, alas, it is convenient.

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post #114 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ca1ore View Post

...the absurd notion of spending $20K + on a single component...

Can you share with us your experience and/or expertise with $20K+ components on which you base your assertion that the purchase of any of them is "absurd"?

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post #115 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:10 AM
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Can you share with us your experience and/or expertise with $20K+ components on which you base your assertion that the purchase of any of them is "absurd"?

To a point, I agree (for HT equipment - not dedicated music components). Short of front projection, I see little reason to ever spend $30K on a HT component. $30K is beyond the threshold for a typical sized room and what is needed to play a Blu Ray track in a reference manner. We are not talking analog any more - digital done well is still [relatively] cheap. Fact is, however, manufacturers know this as there is little available at that price point.

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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #116 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Is the scaler on par with the excellent $6K Lumagen? No. The $6K Lake EQ/DSP or $10K TEQ? No. The $50K Krell 2 Ch pre-amp? No... but it is convenient...

Have you heard the 707? (Have you even seen one...?) Have you actually made any of those comparisons you mentioned?

Or are you just engaging in your favorite pastime of opining (endlessly) on gear you've never owned or heard/seen...?

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post #117 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rider View Post

Have you heard the 707? (Have you even seen one...?) Have you actually made any of those comparisons you mentioned?

Or are you just engaging in your favorite pastime of opining (endlessly) on gear you've never owned or heard/seen...?

No. Don't need to. I know the state of the HT art. Kal's comments certainly confirm my feelings. There has been nothing released in the last few years in terms of new technology that is a game changer. This is pure Krell fluff. What's new here?

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post #118 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:30 AM
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No. Don't need to. I know the state of the HT art. Kal's comments certainly confirm my feelings. There has been nothing released in the last few years in terms of new technology that is a game changer. This is pure Krell fluff. What's new here?

So you don't even need to audition a component: all you need is your "knowledge of state of the HT art" and a magazine reviewer's opinion to "confirm your feelings" (your feelings????) in order to determine that the component's performance is inferior to other products, and that the product itself is "pure fluff."

Seriously Jeff, aren't you embarrassed to write crap like that?

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post #119 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rider View Post

So you don't even need to audition a component: all you need is your "knowledge of state of the HT art" and a magazine reviewer's opinion to "confirm your feelings" (your feelings????) in order to determine that the component's performance is inferior to other products, and that the product itself is "pure fluff."

Seriously Jeff, aren't you embarrassed to write crap like that?

What has changed in pre-amp technology / DSP technology that would provide a significant sonic improvement to Transformers II, The natural, or American Beauty that has escaped the other manufacturers? Tell me! I want to know so I can go buy it. You're telling me Krell has re-invented the wheel and I say ********!

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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #120 of 209 Old 10-26-2010, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

What has changed in pre-amp technology / DSP technology that would provide a significant sonic improvement to Transformers II, The natural, or American Beauty? Tell me! I want to know so I can go buy it.

It's not something I, Kal, or anyone can tell you. I know this may be antithetical to your approach, but in order to find out, you have to go and audition the piece for yourself.

You sound like the (famous but untrue) quote from the director of the patent office at the end of the 19th century, who supposedly recommended closing the US Patent Office because "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

If in fact you are interested in buying something that would be better, why don't you go listen to the 707? Discreet analog design is constantly evolving and improving. Maybe Krell has come up with some very elegant designs that actually do produce a tangible sonic improvement? Maybe, maybe not-- that's for you to decide for yourself. And if so, maybe it's not enough to compel you to spend the $$ for the improvement you hear, but that's a separate issue.

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