It’s been a long time coming but the eagerly awaited Krell K-300i integrated amplifier has finally arrived in Australia.
While initially due to be released last year Krell developed an upgrade path to their iBias circuitry during its construction. This new circuit has since been rolled out to all Krell power amplifiers under the ‘XD’ banner. We have already upgraded our existing floor stock to the XD design, and it works!
The K-300i has been on the American market (admittedly in small numbers) for some months now, and the comments filtering back have been glowing, so we were pleased to finally get our hands on some stock. We have not had the amp long enough to properly run it in (that will take weeks), but the listening that we have done to date has been extremely positive. Even if the K-300i was only half as good as everyone says it is it would have been a winner, thankfully it has exceeded our expectations.
Playing Soundgardens ‘Black Hole Sun’ at ear splitting levels did not faze it.
The K-300i is the latest of a long run of integrated amplifiers with ‘300 (signifying 150 watts/channel) as part of their model no. Each of these has been very well received, but this unit stands head and shoulders above the rest. This is a seriously good amplifier. I have spent some hours listening to the K-300i, and I have thrown everything I can at it. The K-300i has more control and perceived power (it sounds much louder than its rated 150watts) than any integrated amplifier of this size should. It is rock solid. At the same time it is musical and engaging. Playing Soundgardens ‘Black Hole Sun’ at ear splitting levels did not faze it.
The track ‘Liberty’ by Anette Askvik is a recent favourite of ours, and I have seldom heard it sound more involving. Nigel Westlake’s percussive ‘Hymn to the Aten’ (from the album Missa Solis) will test the dynamic capabilities of any amplifier, and it the K-300i came through with flying colours. ‘Blackbird’ by Fat Freddy’s Drop, again played at volume, remained detailed with air and precise imaging. I found myself searching for more tracks to play, spending far more time with this amp than I had intended. This was time well spent, it reinforced the impact that a good amplifier can have on a system – something that is often overlooked.
Almost all my listening was through Tidal via Roon. That’s correct – the K-300i (the digital version at least) is Roon enabled, will decode MQA files, and supports Tidal, Spotify Connect, Deezer and vTuner. It also features a Bluetooth receiver with aptX technology. All you need for a high-quality system is an internet connection, a K-300i and a good pair of speakers (most of my auditioning was through B&W 803 D3’s).
There are two versions of the K-300i, with digital inputs ($11,995), or a strictly analogue version without the digital board – although it still features HDMI in/outputs ($9,995), and both come in either silver or black finish.