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Krell & Bryston amp owners  

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

I am about to purchase a new amp this week. I would appreciate any feedback on this matter.

I have the B&W 804 speakers. Currently I will be running LCR for some time, so I need 3ch amp or better. I am 80% music.

My choices are:

I have some concerns for the Krell. First, this amp is rated 250 watts and my speakers can go up to 200w max and I listen at low volumes 100% of the time. Would Krell be overkill? Second, I hear that this amp runs hot. Third, it is being replaced by a new model so it is yesterdays design, but with full 5 year warranty.

Bryston has 20 years warranty, safe power of 120w per channel, less heat and current model.

I have checked all reviews and they both sound good for music & HT. Bryston's added 2ch will be future proof for SACD & DVD-A.

So, please go ahead and vote for the amp of your choice.
I need your feedback asap if possible since I intend to order tomorrow.

post #2 of 55
First, don't worry about too much power; it is almost always true that speakers are fired by an amplifier running out of power and distorting (or clipping) and sending nasty distorted signals to the speaker.
Personally I would go with the Bryston. Great amp from a great company and as you point out, plenty of room to grow.

Buzz Goddard
TAG Mclaren Audio
post #3 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your vote for Bryston. I appreciate you being neutral on this as TAG's amp is also a great piece of equipment.

Ok. Bryston 1, Krell 0 for now.

post #4 of 55
I hope this doesn't confuse the issue, but I use a Bryston 4B ST (250w x 2) amp with my Nautilus 804s. For HT, I run them in phantom mode. BTW, I very rarely listen at more than 90 decibels. I REALLY love the 804/4B ST combination.

I'd much rather go with 250wpc (Krell or Bryston) than 120wpc. If you're running 3 N804s for LCR, you might consider 1 4B ST & 1 Powerpac 120.

post #5 of 55
i have both the krell kav 500 and kav 250 with aerial 7b's cc3 and sr3. the don't run to hot. in comparison the parasound 2205 i had ran much hotter. Although i haven't heard the bryston and can tell you that the Krell amps are powerful and clear. i can recommend without hesitation.
post #6 of 55
The Bryston 9b is an excellent amp. It has a 12v turn on trigger which is very nice. It was a little underpowered for my needs so I decide to buy another amplifier. But if you do not need the power, it's hard to beat. I think the Tag is as good though but at a higher price. What I like most about the Bryston, is the midrange seems to be exceptional. I heard it used in a room that I am very familiar with and driving speakers in that same room that I have auditioned extensively. The dealer normally does not sell Bryston, it was a apecial order, but because of the fine performance of the 9b is picking up the line. I noticed the added clarity of vocals and asked the dealer if he had made the same observation. He said it was the strong point of the amplifier and what drew him to it most.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.

[This message has been edited by Bulldogger (edited 05-15-2001).]
post #7 of 55
I don't own either of these but have to give a thumbs up to Bryston durability and warranty. I've had one 3B (100wpc) for something like 12 years now and another 3B for around 6. I've still got 8 years left on the warranty of the first unit!

Tom L.
post #8 of 55
I own the 9B-ST and am very happy with it. As was pointed out by someone who knows a lot more about audio than I do, you don't have to worry about the power rating of the speakers. Incidentally, each Bryston amp is measured and packed with its own spec. sheet -- mine averaged about 155w across the five channels. The S/N was an extremely good 117; very quiet.

I compared it to the Krell, Proceed, Aragon and a few others; they're all good and subtly different. The Bryston is cheaper.
post #9 of 55
Thread Starter 
Ok. Thanks to all for the feedback.

For now:

Bryston 4 votes
Krell 1 vote

..and 1 vote for either of them.

Please keep voting

post #10 of 55
Haven't listened to Krell or ML but have a pair of Bryston 7B's driving my B&W's and love them. Very powerful, great dynamics and have NO sound of it's own. Best SS amp buy for the buck IMO. Btw how much price difference are you looking at b/w the Krell & Bryston, why not use the savings to upgrade to the 803 or even 802? You should get 250W/ch for your 804's and can always add more (4B, 6B, etc) since the entire ST line has identical gain & sonic character.


[This message has been edited by pmf (edited 05-15-2001).]
post #11 of 55
FOr the buck, at new prices with reasonable discount, the Bryston will outperform the Krell dollar for dollar. And then if you're crazy like me and solder in the internal Bybee devices (I have had five 7Bs for over four years now) (see thread in past few weeks at Audio Video Improvement forum) performance will jump upwards!!!

But your vote should be your pocketbook and your ears.

A friend of mine and forum member and former Special Guest is a Bryston dealer, Loren Roetman, lgroetman@mailcity.com

If you are doing a quick purchase, I suspect Loren will give you a pretty good deal. He has previously posted here on the forum that he is willing to consider giving better discounts if a customer has done all the homework and only needs to purchase the item from him - but that it may also depend on his relationship with the manufacturer.

Steve Bruzonsky

[This message has been edited by Steve Bruzonsky (edited 05-15-2001).]
post #12 of 55
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for quality input. Looks like Bryston is the way to go.

To answer an earlier post, the Krell goes for $2,999 and the Bryston about the same.

Thanks again,

post #13 of 55
I have a few Bryston amps ( a 4B-ST and a pair of 7B-ST's ). I would recommend bigger power than what a 9B-ST offers, especially with larger speakers. The extra power handling will deliver better dynamics and bass control.

Here is my "I hope I die before I get old" statement:
Why plan for the future with the 9B-ST when you can enjoy more today with a 4B-ST or a pair of 7B ST's !

If you consider used: $1500 will get a 4B-ST and $3000 will get a pair of 7B-ST's. That 20-year user-transferabble warranty does come in handy.

Of course, if you appreciate the services of your local dealer, then by all means buy from them.

- Andy
post #14 of 55
Thread Starter 

Given a low decibel output listening levels, how can a more powerful amp sound better than one with less power? The Krell is 250 watts, the Bryston about 120 watts. If I listen in general at say 50W output, do you think that Krell will sound better?
post #15 of 55

I'm no audiophile, but I believe I can address the last question from the engineering perspective. Music is a frequncy and apmplitude varying continuous DC signal. Therefore, if your "average" listening level is 50W, perhaps about 90db, then peaks in the music might go to 105 db (think loud cymbal crash). Your amp's ability to provide the needed power to reproduce such transients is important. Without it, the music would be compressed in volume. While the 250W rating on the Krell is probably continuous output, the transient wattage capability of an amplifier is usually proportional to its rms wattage.

post #16 of 55
You have, sir, what my grandmother always calls a Happy Problem. Both of your choices are great amps.

But I can't believe nobody has stood up for the Krell. I've been using Krell components for a dozen years, and currently have the 5-channel successor to the KAV-250a/3, plus FPBs for the two front channels.

Given these choices, and the fact that the Krell was much more expensive than the Bryston until superseded by the newer model, it shouldn't be surprising that more people own and are speaking up for the Bryston. But I think you'd be nuts to pass up the Krell at the same price.

-- Rob
post #17 of 55
I have the 9b-ST powering my NHT VT3 which are not really efficient at 86dbs. I think I would go deaf before hearing the Bryston clip or strain.


[This message has been edited by Jose (edited 05-16-2001).]
post #18 of 55

As far as the power difference, it really depends on your speaker efficiency. I think the N804 aren't the highest(upper 80s). Speaking in general terms, a speaker with an efficiency of 87db at 1w/m would require twice as much power as a 90db efficient speaker to reach a peak of 100db. Once you get to a 100w output level, a mere 3db increase in sound pressure would require double the power to 200w. The other thing to consider is that the impedance load seen by the amp changes dramatically as different frequency are amplified and fed to the speaker. Both the Krell and Bryston can easily drive 4 ohm loads and the power output are doubled into these loads. So, do you need a 250W amp to drive your speakers? Well, it depends on how loud you listen and what type of music. If you need the extra 4db-6db headroom offered by a 250W amp, then maybe you do.

As far as Krell vs. Bryston, they are definitely different sounding. Krell amplifiers (especially the FPB series) have a distinct sound that people either like or dislike. The Bryston is neutral with excellent bass control. The Krell is similar but is a little more pronounced in the highs and has the Krell sound. If you are going to buy new, I would take them both home at the same time and listen to them for a couple of days. This will make your decision much easier. I own a 9BST-THX for my theater and love it. I use a little for music but use tube gear for serious 2-channel listening.

[This message has been edited by Fireball (edited 05-16-2001).]
post #19 of 55
To be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time auditioning Bryston amps. What Bryston gear I have listened to, however, offers great value for the money. However, I will say that IMHO, Krell delivers incredible performance--at a price. The bass is extended and tight, while the soundstage is wide and detailed. A bit forward (as opposed to laid-back). Very articulate amp and has tons of current--can drive nearly any speaker with ease. Standard rules apply: the incremental improvements are gonna cost ya!

Prior/current owned Krell amps include FPB-250M's, KAV-250a's, KAV-1500a.
post #20 of 55
Thread Starter 
Well, this is getting harder to decide. Nobody has both amps in stock in NYC. Can you believe that! So taking it at home and listening on my own setup is out of question.

Therefore, since I do not know how the Krell sounds and given that the Bryston is more neutral, logic says go with the 9ST THX so there wont be any surprises.

Thank you all for constructive input. I will let you guys know what I buy today.

post #21 of 55
If you get the units for the same price, go for the Krell! The 2 channel sister model was voted the best amp of the year in the price range up to US5000 (Absolute Sound). I believe most of the votes above didn't take into consideration that the Krell went for the same price. The MSRP a few months ago I would guess was over 4000.
The 9b is an excellent choice as well so you really can't go wrong, whatever you decide.
Give them both an audit and let us know what you decided.

BR /// Rob
post #22 of 55
Thread Starter 

Yes, I can get them for the same price of about $3,000.

Original Krell msrp is $4,200 and Bryston msrp is, I think $3,700.

post #23 of 55

There aren't two separate stores that each have one of the models in stock? If you can find a 3BST, 5BST, or 8BST, they will sound very similiar to a 9bST...or even if you find a 4bST, you'll still get the picture. I strongly...strongly recommend you listen before you buy. I wouldn't rush into it. That's part of the fun of buying high-end euipment anyway...listening and comparing for yourself. There is no substitute for your own ears and preferences.
post #24 of 55
Given the price is the same.... You gotta go with the Krell...
I've got a Krell KAV250a and N802s
The B&W speakers love power....
For the same price, it's a no-brainer..
my .02
post #25 of 55
Keep in mind when you said 'same price' that is with the 5 channel Bryston vs 3 channel Krell. You are comparing apples to oranges here. You should compare the Krell to something like a Bryston 6B which is 250W/ch x3 I think.

post #26 of 55
I vote for Bryston with B&W.
Depending on your taste, if you favours WARM sound stay away Krell.
post #27 of 55
My liking for more power does not stem for just playing loud. I find even at lower volumes, a bigger amp will deliver better dynamics and handle transient peaks better.

I also feel that my Bryston 4B-ST could be a bit deeper in the bass regions. The 7B-ST's have excellent bass depth control. With the 7B's you the option of running them run in a Series-bridged mode ( voltage ) or a Parallel-bridged mode ( current ). My own speakers have better bass in Series mode whereas my friend's Martin Logan CLS-IIz work better in Parallel mode.

- Andy
post #28 of 55
Here is a vote for the Krell. I'm running a Krell KAV-250a/3 and KAV-150/a set-up with B&W 604's, CC6 and 601's. I've been very pleased with the set-up. I did audition some Bryston amps, but didn't like the sound as much as with the Krells. Although, it must be noted that I was never able to demo both amps in the same store, so there could very well have been set-up differences...
post #29 of 55
Go with a Bryston 9B, then if you don't think you have enough power down the road buy a 4B-st and use the 2 channels in the 9b to power something else, like multi-room audio or that upgrade to 7.1 channel.

Buying a 9B here, same setup except I'm starting with 805's in front with HTM-2 and upgrading to 804's in 4-6 months. At this time, I will rotate the 805's to the rear channels.


[This message has been edited by AnthonyS (edited 05-16-2001).]
post #30 of 55
Thread Starter 
I would like to start by saying Thank You to all of you for your valuable input on this matter. You have been the decisive factor: here is how.

As I stated earlier, I was ready to buy first thing yesterday morning. I read your posts one more time and I decided to “try†to buy the Bryston, so I first called a Bryston dealer here in NYC. I said to the person on the phone that I would come in, give my credit card and take my 9B THX home and I asked how much? He said retail. I said no discounts? He says we only charge retail, no discounts. Well, do you have it in stock? The answer was no.

I think that attitude was enough for me not to give my business to that store. They should win my heart before getting a buck from me. Hey, even a free cable would be enough. I am not looking for a bargain but a sale incentive. Well, yes this is the way I am.
So I called another store in Chinatown – and that is another story.

At that point I turned to the out-of-state dealers to order one. Well, it turns out that Bryston has territorial restrictions and I could not be served by these people.

I tried, really.

So, Krell was my new target. BTW, I was bias towards Krell from the beginning but did not want to reflect that when I started this post, try to convince myself at the same time to be neutral. The KAV-250/3 was still available, no tax from out-of-state for $2999 + S&H.

At that point I went trough the forum members input one more time.

I decided to buy Krell. But now I wanted something else. Today, I went to a NYC Krell dealer and listen carefully to FPB 200c and KAV-200a/5, the new five channel, 200W HTS equipment. I had an A/B comparison with the same setup, same room, same everything. The sonic difference was noticeable but very, very minimal. My salesperson pointed out that the new 5ch amp uses the same technology as the FPB 200c, which is now 3 years old. That explains the extremely good sonic characteristics of the KAV-200a/5. It is really something better than the last 5ch, KAV-1500. I was not going to stop myself from getting the best there is. I considered buying two FPB 200c for a total of four channels. And for a good deal as well.

BTW, Krell does not have territorial restrictions as I could order anything out-of-state and not pay sales tax.

So I listened, listened more… I bought the KAV-200a/5. Beautiful sound and even more beautiful looks. It will be delivered within two weeks.

The moral of the story is this: Everything happens in life for a purpose. The fact that I “couldn’t†buy the Bryston locally (because of the attitude of the dealer) or out-of-state looked sad but I was rewarded at the end with my match. It is interesting to see the quality breath of the high-end dealers or maybe should I say salespeople.

The forum members were the best help. So thank you all one more time, and a special thanks for the people who are making this forum available to us.

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