Krell 707 3D Processor
This is a review of the Krell 707 3D Processor. I have found it always difficult to compare one component to another one. Not for myself, but on line.
People buy the stereo system that they like the best, or as time goes by, they get used to and enjoy the one they have. So many people will say that they have the best unit available because that is their personal preference. In fact, when they make comparisons, they are not using a standard, such as real music, but what they now feel real music sounds like….often their own system. About 20 years ago people with really good mid-priced units starting attacking, on line and in fanzines, people who bought more expensive stereos. Again, they felt their units sounded the best and paying more was wrong, even immoral to some degree. So instead of discussions, we often got arguments, especially when it came to wiring. So this is about my preferences.
Unlike a two channel music system, with a surround unit, I have no standard. I don’t know what the Millennium Falcon, the Enterprise, or the Planet Pandora really sounds like.
Let me list the things I look for in equipment:
Ease of Setting Up!
Ease of Use!
Updatability and Service!
Let me first state that I give the Krell unit an “A.”
Ease of Setting Up:
This is the only place where I give a sigh. Without an on screen menu and a better set of instructions, the Krell is a bit difficult to set up. At least it was for me and my dealer. A better interface would have made that so much easier. Instead of going to one menu site on the machine and giving all the instructions and information to, let’s say the DVD, you have to go to separate menus of “Video,” “Audio,” “Triggers and so forth. The instruction booklet is also hard to use. It only comes in a PDF and, if you print it out, the pages are not numbered. But this does NOT take away from it’s performance in any way.
I have a 6.1 system, the best my room can do. When I set the surround channels, the rear speaker would not go on and when I set the rear channel the surrounds would not go on. After talking to the helpful people at Krell, I found a way around that, by setting the system to a 7.1 system and using a ‘Y” cable to create one channel. The Krell service group gave me great support and said they would fix the menu to better accommodate 6.1. They also fixed a “freezing” problem I had.
Ease of Use.
Once set up, this machine is the easiest thing in the world to use. The unit had easy discrete buttons and you did not go through a long menu for quick adjustments. Yeah, I wish the buttons were a bit larger. The machine is quiet, but it does give off a little bit of heat. There are also commands in the unit that can help you set your universal remote. Instead of going through menus to do simple things (like on the ML) I was easily able to do most functions quickly. The Krell labels functions, like TV, Game, DVD, CD etc. But I have a few that they don’t list (Like Laser Disc) so I simply taped the real function on the machine.
Outstanding. The Krell unit doesn’t upscale any signal from an HDMI, it only up scaled analog signals. So my Verizon cable box is projected at 780P not 1080P. But I connected the component cables (analog) and boosted them to 1080p. The HDMI looked a bit better, so no loss. I did boost the image from my old Laser Disc Player and it looks fine. The Blu Ray image was fantastic and I could NOT believe how great the 3D Avatar movie looked, as well as the movies I list below. Wow. Really, wow. Also, the standard def images from the cable box also looked very good.
The DTS-HD sound on Avitar was also unbelievably great. So was Koyaanisqatsi, The Fifth Element, Superman, and The Dark Knight Rises. I like it when a surround system places you in a bubble of sound, rather than hearing sound coming from each channel. This does that so well. And not just with DTS, but with Dolby Digital on the cable broadcasts. I saw a bit of Jurassic Park, Casper, and a half dozen other movies. Both sound and picture improved as I used the unit more.
The only processor I can compare this to is the defunct Mark Levenson 502. The picture on the ML look about as good for the Blu-Ray, but the Krell surpasses it, easily, in just about every category listed above, especially updatability and reliability. The 502 was down (broken) MORE than half the time I had it. And it didn’t take DTS HD, Dolby HD or 3D.
Updatability and Service!
Krell has updated this machine three times and they have even more software updates. That’s good. Everyone helped me at Krell, the service was fantastic. Often, if I had to leave a message, I got a return call within the hour. They were just great.
But why not an A plus? You’ll just have to wait. I need to have the machine a while longer to get the complete hang of it. I also want to learn how to use their equalization and have the machine a few months before I comment on reliability. Finally, Krell also wants this to be your two channel pre-amp and has special settings for that which I have not tried yet.
My system is: Mark Levinson 32 pre-amp, Revel Salon 2 front speakers, Revel Voice 2 middle, Thiel Sub-woofer 2 and three Powerplanes rear and surround; Krell Evolution 600 for front speakers, Krell 450Mcx middle, and Proceed HPA-3 amp for surround and back, JVC DLA RS66 projector and Oppo 105 Blu-Ray.
Re: Krell 707 3D Processor
An important addendum!
I have now have had the 707 up and running for a month. The Man from K.R.E.L.L. did come over and fully adjusted the machines and showed me how to do many more things. Again, the only problem with the unit is the instruction booklet.
I learned how to do the automatic settings which include room size and shape, speaker amounts and placement, speaker frequencies and other little touches.
THE DIFFERENCE IN SOUND AND TONE WAS INCREDIBLE. The automatic settings proved great, especially in the matters of the sub-woofer and bass. It was a much better, fuller and real sound than my own settings. For example, I played the Empire Strikes Back’s first half with my settings and the second half with the new, automatic settings. The second half sounded much, much better, especially the bass.
It’s all a matter of perspective. It all started in the 1980s, with The Empire Strikes Back. Surround sound was new, AND two channel. Most movies then, especially the Bond pictures, had the sound placed in from the perspective of the viewer, so almost everything was in front of you. This included most off screen sounds including music. Starting with Empire, Lucas put you in the CENTER of the sound. So when Bond got into a car, you heard the car in front of you. But when Harrison Ford gets into a truck, you hear the sound as he would, all around you. And music can out of the rear speakers also. Many people, in the 1980s and 1990s had just four speakers for surround, the center being a “phantom.” This most often worked out until people began to use the THX standard. The center channel became a necessity to hear the dialogue well.
So I always but on a Bond and a Lucas movie when setting up a new surround system. If they both sound great, I know everything is OK. And they both sounded great here, but better with the auto settings.
The Krell give you three “memories” that you can use for the room, so I was able to compare MY manual settings to the machines. In addition you can make adjustments and apply them to individual devices. For example, my TV cable box requires a 4 db increase in the rear and surrounds speakers to sound just right, but I do not have to make this adjustment each time, the machine automatically does.
A final, funny thought. My friends saw, in 3D, John Carter here the other night. It was their first 3D movie and it looked and sounded great. The movie is not that good, but they were so impressed by the sight and sound that it was one of the best movies ever!
PS: Because of the change in wiring and moving this heavy 65 lb unit, it will take me some time to compare it to my two channel pre amp.
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