Krell in problems? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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From Agon...

"A reliable source just informed me that Krell, one of the leaders in American audio design has let go a large # of employees due to tough times.

Levinson did something similar just before the complete take-over by Harmon Industries.

Designers,Sales,production and techs were let go.

I was distressed when this happen to Levinson and even more so with this latest situation at Krell.

Krell amps especially have been the standard in Audiophile amps.Being a 2 channel purist and a loyal buyer of American product this is not a good sign of things to come.

If things are tough for Krell then the high end audio
industry is indeed in more trouble than we thought.

The latest EVO line in my opinion does not compare sonically or asthetically to previous models especially the just discontinued FPB CX line.

The chassis of the EVO products were from overseas(most likely China)which is something I believe Krell never did with it's premier line.

Is Krell the next big gun to sell and run?

I hope not!

I'm sure the Krell haters and some competitors are happy about this,however,it is not good for all who love this hobby. "

I heard some similar things from some European dealers. Hope this is not true...
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post #2 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 01:23 PM
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Well, there are rumors that Linn is about to roll.

So the death watch list is:
Linn
Krell
MLevinson
???

It's too bad, but the business will survive. Linn saw product quality decline, I don't know much about Krell and Levinson, I wonder if its their own doing.


Hey, the last time we saw an economic slow down, we lost a couple. Harmon shut down Proceed and I know there are others, Mintner
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post #3 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 01:49 PM
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Hi

Not a Krell fan personally but I share your passion for pure 2-ch music. If this is true, this is not good news...

One problem is that real advance in High Audio are far and few between... Aside from Dynamic multi-driver Speakers, we have had really small to imperceptible increasingly expensive "improvements" ... Sometimes these "improvements" are a strange turn for the worst.. many Krell devotees for example are not convinced by the new, naturally, more expensive EVO line...

One way out of this death spiral would be to is to increase the number of audiophiles, of people who care about proper and accurate reproduction of music. This requires sensible and truly high performance products... This would not be accomplished by lineups that place the products out of reach for most individuals... especially when the benefits are not clear even for your fans... One immensely comical aspect of this is the escalade of Turntable prices where now >50Kis commonplace...
Even the hardest core audiophiles has certainly felt a huge let down after auditioning several >$100K products, especially amplifiers but also a good numbers of speakers whose performance at the time of audition could be charitably termed laughable (several remains so even after tweaking ,positioning, optimizing but this is another subject)...

High Audio must bring VALUE to its products, else they will disappear...That would be to me very sad... I hope Krell comes out of this... I would like to see the High Audio industry returning to the vibrancy of the late 80s and early 90s...

Frantz
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post #4 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 01:57 PM
 
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One way out of this death spiral would be to is to increase the number of audiophiles, of people who care about proper and accurate reproduction of music.

Wouldn't that be worse for the krell product line?
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post #5 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 02:25 PM
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Could we then call this the 'death krell' for them?


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post #6 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 03:04 PM
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Krantzm, I couldnt agree with you more. The upper crust av companies are so quick to take advantage of the latent musical purist and all of their vinyl collections which have lay dormant in this digital age. Their new products are then subsequently stroked by the "professional reviews" with claims of new sonic excellence.

It reminds me of the american auto industry...what a spectacle of decline.

Expanding the entry and value end of sonics with quality innovative and upgradeable products is the key to staying alive. New consumers are bombarded by the large asian companies marketing and they never even get to experience the Krells of this world.

High end audio needs to get wise and be semi-affordable and fun to survive......
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post #7 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 05:00 PM
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If the product isnt worth the money they ask (Krell or whomever), it wont sell, regardless of namebrand. My thought is that some higher end products charge more just for the name, similar to Nike, or, dare I say Monster. The cost of the item needs to be of value, regardless of how much they wish to charge.
Theres only one reason they would go out of business, and its not because of a lack of high end consumers, (there are many left) its because their products arent worth the extra money just because they are named Krell.
Dont get me wrong, I think they make a fine product, but I dont think they've seperated themselves to the point that something a bit cheaper, but performs just as well can be ignored by the consumer.
Come up with something worth the extra dollars and it will sell.
Overprice something not so special it will sell much less.
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post #8 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 07:48 PM
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Well, I wouldn't jump to conclusions based on hearsay, but it does dovetail with a lot of the recent conversations lately. I think high-end is sooooo out of touch and selling based on perception rather than actual performance. I personally wouldn't mourn losing Krell as I don't think they've done much to further high-end for the last 15 years, but then, that goes for a lot of companies that have found that perception sells better than reality.

John
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post #9 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 08:49 PM
 
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High end audio needs to get wise and be semi-affordable and fun to survive......

And or keep up with technology but we have seen the high end drag their feet on that, but technology has passed the high end to the point that they can no longer push/design their own products.

And speaking of krell they are one of the most over priced high end companies around, just take a look at their LAT series of speakers.

Quote:


I think high-end is sooooo out of touch and selling based on perception rather than actual performance.

Bingo, and we have seen that with the home theater side of things.
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post #10 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 10:01 PM
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I'm not surprised at all to be honest.
As someone who has sold moderate to fairly higher end electronics for something like 8 or 9 years now, including krell, i believe you will see much more of this in the next few years. The world of car audio will be doing the same thing.

I see it from a few angles:
1. The general public doesnt have enough time anymore to sit down and listen to music which means they probably won't be willing to spend the time to enjoy what a middle to higher end system can do. Because of this, the budget will automatically shrink because its simply less important to people today. I think the average person see's music as a background medium instead of an entertainment medium now.
2. The midrange priced products (think denon, pioneer, marantz etc etc) have gotten much better and offer much more for your money. Most of these products will probably not sound as good or always last as long etc but you get a huge value for the dollar.
3. Today's house designs are very very open floorplans with lots of windows and tile floors etc. This doesn't do much for the world of higher end audio!
4. Many customers comming in today are much more willing to trust a review website instead of what they prefer
5. prices on many nicer items have gotten insane, even to someone in the industry. I try my best to not sell with my wallet
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post #11 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 10:27 PM
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Quote:


I see it from a few angles:
1. The general public doesnt have enough time anymore to sit down and listen to music which means they probably won't be willing to spend the time to enjoy what a middle to higher end system can do. Because of this, the budget will automatically shrink because its simply less important to people today. I think the average person see's music as a background medium instead of an entertainment medium now.

2.

That just doesn't make any sense...what poll or statistics are you refering to? AND the average person was not buying ultra high and anyway

Quote:


The midrange priced products (think denon, pioneer, marantz etc etc) have gotten much better and offer much more for your money. Most of these products will probably not sound as good or always last as long etc but you get a huge value for the dollar.

Denon, Pioneer and Marantz have always been Denon Pioneer and Marantz.The technology has improved more.
Quote:


3. Today's house designs are very very open floorplans with lots of windows and tile floors etc. This doesn't do much for the world of higher end audio!

These all window houses ..if they exist still would not deter and audiophile to set up a proper room.
Quote:


4. Many customers comming in today are much more willing to trust a review website instead of what they prefer

The internet has made it easier to purchase online and perhaps some will use web reviews to purchase rather than listen at a store. Show me a bad reviewer and I will show you someone who won't be getting pieces on loan to review.
5
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. prices on many nicer items have gotten insane, even to someone in the industry. I try my best to not sell with my wallet

The high end has always been insane what products are you refering to? Levinson 33 monoblocks were $30,000 10 years ago. and the #32 hasn't risen in price.

SORRY MAN, BUT I JUST THINK THAT YOUR POINTS ARE WAY OFF FOR WHY HIGH END IS DYING. U.S.CAPITALISM IS PART OF THE PROBLEM AND ALL THE MADE IN THE U.S.A. LOGOS ARE FALLING BY THE WAISTSIDE. THAT INCLUDES HIGHEND AUDIO LIKE KRELL VELODYNE ETC...WITH THEIR PRODUCTS BEING MADE IN CHINA. THE DOT COM, STOCK MARKET, REAL ESTATE AND DOLLAR BUBBLES HAVE BURST.
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post #12 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 10:28 PM
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I'll add a point, The Rick:

6) The 'magic smoke' has been let out of audio and video. It's more complex than ever, but the greeter at WalMart seems to know enough about a/v equipment for most people. Long gone is the day of the stereo shoppe or the TV repairman that was revered as a sacred god that could handle high voltages and make music or images come out of that outlet in the wall.

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post #13 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 11:09 PM
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Like Curt...

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post #14 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DOMAIN64 View Post

High end audio needs to get wise and be semi-affordable and fun to survive......

I find this position by you and Frantz non-nonsensical, or perhaps to put it better an oxymoron. There is plenty of affordable high-end audio equipment, the problem is that unless it has a very high price tag on it audiophiles don't consider it "high-end".
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post #15 of 157 Old 10-03-2007, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Latest news-almost 20 people were let go including Irv Gross...
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post #16 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kreso View Post

Latest news-almost 20 people were let go including Irv Gross...

Not good, not good.

I've been getting into the high-end more and more over the past year and I will echo the sentiment brought on by some: things are getting more expensive without true justification.

Perhaps it's time to somehow lasso up these exhorbitant prices of audio products and bring it closer to reality... maybe business will spark up again.

This is the reason why audiogon is such a success, because people aren't willing to pay retail primarily because of two main reasons:

1. Products are too expensive to begin with.
2. Performance, according to the consumer, does not justify the retail price.

I'm sure there's more reasons, but those are the 2 that stick in my head.

I think that the news about Krell's financial trouble is not good for audiophiles in general as it is further evidence of cracks in the high-end ceiling.

I hope the ceiling doesn't come crashing any time soon.... I just got into this hobby.

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post #17 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 03:37 AM
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I am surprised that no one mentions it but popularity of HT is also one of the reasons why the high-end, 2-CH purist stuff like full range mains, mammoth sized amps etc are disappearing.

BTW I don't have any stats either but I would tend to agree with therick on point 1. I am 35 and all the other customers of my A/V consultant I have met are older than me. Most of them are retired or near retirement and they are quiet stereotype 2-CH guys with a passion for classical music and/or Jazz. Don't mean anything bad about these genres of music its just that such folks fit into my idea of an audiophile perfectly

IGNORANCE IS A BLISS
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post #18 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 04:34 AM
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Isn't Irv part of the sales & marketing area of Krell? His being let go may simply be a reflection of poor decisions made by him that have resulted in declining sales.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #19 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 06:10 AM
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Chu

Very interesting observation. The latest Krell products have not fared well in the mind of Audiophiles in my opinion. The EVO line for example was not enthusiastically received by even Krell fans...

Dolarman.. Indeed there is the stereotype of older men being the Jazz and Classical music-loving audiophile. Yet even my son's friends sit down and take notice to how better their hip hop sounds on a good system, be it multi-channel (HT) or purist 2-Ch. If you listen to contemporary pop music, let us not term it Hip Hop listen to the M.I.A album Arular on a good system and you will understand what I mean. High End must equate high performance not just high prices.

I would agree to a point with QQQ: There exist a good number of affordable High End products. The leading high companies however, those who have consistently pushed the envelope in term of the highest quality products, thus the ones the general public knows and sees, have kept on a course of ever increasing prices for marginal to non-existent performance gains, thus casting a negative perception on the industry at large. Alienating their fan base who begin to see no reason to acquire more expensive but not necessarily better products. Someone mentioned Audiogon , this is decidedly a sign of people trying to get as much value out of their audiophile dollars as they can... I can understand a few expensive products representing a Technological tour de force but not an entire line based on out-of-this-world prices..

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post #20 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 06:40 AM
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I think a lot of audiophiles aren't buying *nearly* as much as they used to buy. I sell more audiophile gear to actual music lovers than to audiophiles. If a normal person calls you and asks if you have a product that does x,y,z, you have a sale. If an audiophile calls you for the same thing, you have maybe a 1 in 10 chance of selling it. And generally, when you don't, it's because of something unbelievably stupid. Like the guy that wouldn't buy an NAD M5 SACD because it didn't say "5.1" or "2.0" on the screen constantly, though he claimed it made sense because it was about 1/4 the price of a Krell for equal or better sound. Rather, you just press the button on the remote to select the track and it says for a split second what it's doing. I finally told him after weeks of him fretting about this, "well, if you can't tell it's 2.0 or 5.1 just by listening........". I think he bought the really expensive Krell (or maybe nothing at all, who knows).

In any case, I think going after only the extreme audiophile market is a recipe for long term disaster. The Krell KAV stuff is junk compared to its competition. And from what I've seen, a lot of hardcore Krell/B&W junkies around here have largely stopped buying the new stuff. As in practically all of them. Many are secretly buying other stuff. I've even been asked to not say anything or let it out that they bought more reasonable gear from me because they're afraid it will get back to the dealer or their friends will kick them out of the "club" (or at least give them crap about it). Seriously.

On another note, a lot of the self professed audiophiles kept telling me they didn't like my normal speakers, so I brought in a pair that was more expensive brighter/harsher, with more bass kick and an exaggerated soundstage. All these people *loved* this speaker. Not *one* bought a pair. Kept telling me how great they were though!

Some of these high-end companies resemble a scientology sect more than an audio brand as do their followers resemble Tom Cruise

John
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post #21 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 07:52 AM
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John

What sells more in audio. Do people tend to upgrade speakers more often then the electronics. As a comparison to video people will buy a screen or add on lens once, they will also hang onto a video processor for years but they will upgrade their projector every year.
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post #22 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 08:28 AM
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I've only been involved in this hobby for 8-9 years, but it seems to me that even in that relatively short amount of time a lot has changed. In those days there were big differences between CD players whereas now a $200 DVD player can perform within a hairs breadth of the best digital gear. The gap in amplifier performance (for SS designs) seems to have closed up as well to the point where only mega-buck systems can uncover the subtle differences between a $2K amp and a $10k amp.

Speakers continue to be seen by most as the most important component, but now, imo, many more audiophiles have come to realize that room acoustics are just as, if not more, important than speakers in determining sound quality.

Lastly, I think that a lack of real innovation has hurt the high end. Really, how much difference is there between a 10-year old Krell FBP-600 and the newer EVO amps? I think audiophiles have answered with their wallets.

I think that in order to thrive high end manufacturers need to come up with new products that are truly innovative and exciting, not just the same old audio meat and potatoes.
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post #23 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Gouger View Post

John

What sells more in audio. Do people tend to upgrade speakers more often then the electronics. As a comparison to video people will buy a screen or add on lens once, they will also hang onto a video processor for years but they will upgrade their projector every year.

Well, around here, we seem to have the terminal upgraders that absolutely had to have whatever new Krell or B&W that came to market or had to upgrade to more and more expensive versions. I think HT is changing that. When you see the quality difference of last year's projector compared to this year's, that's a whole lot bigger than an amp upgrade. Moreover, once an HT is setup, Mr "I listen solo with my head in a vice" finds out that his wife and kids want to watch a movie so he either does that or sets up a smaller, more reasonable system in a bedroom.

I don't think HT is the death of stereo music listening, but it could be the death of exotic (and typically unfounded) high-end.

John
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post #24 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim916 View Post

I've only been involved in this hobby for 8-9 years, but it seems to me that even in that relatively short amount of time a lot has changed .

Hey Tim, how much did your last "speaker upgrade" cost you?

John
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post #25 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

I don't think HT is the death of stereo music listening, but it could be the death of exotic (and typically unfounded) high-end.

That's another thing I'm afraid of.

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post #26 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 09:16 AM
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guys... in free market economies, things rise in price to a level that the market will bear. If we have obscenely high prices for very little gain, then guess what... that is what people are paying.

If wilson decides to add a 50K upgrade to a speaker that is insanely expensive already, then they are doing so since the market will bear it.

You do not think that wilson has some sort of formula for that upgrade, they had to do a little market testing. Like testing the waters at CES.

IF (and it is a big if) krell or others are in fiscally troubled waters, it has far less to do with their gear (which i feel is excellent) and more to do with not recognizing trends.

When companies who are regarded as top performers get into trouble, it is almost always due to not keeping their ears to the ground and missing trends and as such having products that suddenly do not reflect what their consumers want.

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post #27 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Hey Tim, how much did your last "speaker upgrade" cost you?

Relative to my means? A lot. However, I feel with absolute certainty that I got the most speaker possible for my money. Unlike before, I am now happy to sit on the sidelines for several years until I feel that I can afford something significantly better.
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post #28 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim916 View Post

Relative to my means? A lot. However, I feel with absolute certainty that I got the most speaker possible for my money. Unlike before, I am now happy to sit on the sidelines for several years until I feel that I can afford something significantly better.

Well, I meant the software upgrade

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post #29 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzman View Post

When companies who are regarded as top performers get into trouble, it is almost always due to not keeping their ears to the ground and missing trends and as such having products that suddenly do not reflect what their consumers want.

Very true. But also, the fact that Krell et al has been selling largely on the basis of "the new 5.7 Jr V2 SE is WAY better than last year's version!" and they've been getting away with it for a long time. Too long. How many "dramatic" and expensive non-differences can you sell before even the stupid people catch on and say "that's it, I'm done"?

Plus multi-channel preamp sales appear to be way off. The reality is that it is HDMI 1.3 or nothing and people are also just buying HDMI switchers and being okay with the systems. I feel that PLIIx is a downgrade from 6.1 and there aren't any true discrete 7.1 movie sound tracks of note. Most of high-end has been riding the HT wave, but even the HT wave appears to be a bit off right now, but most notably in the high-end separates. Besides, people weigh "well, what does $5K of preamp get me vs $5K of projector/TV?" and the PJ/TV will almost always win that competition.

I have a customer who felt SO ripped off by high-end that he refused to buy *anything* if someone referred to it as "high-end". I made that mistake by saying "these speakers are high-end on a low-end budget" and he went crazy on me (but in a sane kinda way - can you have a "fit of sanity"?) and I said "well, let me rephrase, it's a very high quality speaker and a great bargain". "Oh, well in that case, let me hear them". And that was that.

John
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post #30 of 157 Old 10-04-2007, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme View Post

Could we then call this the 'death krell' for them?

Weren't the Krell a technologically advanced, but extinct species? Hmmmmm........

John
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