|Krell FPB 350Mcx Monoblock Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Mono Amplifiers|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Friday, 01 November 2002|
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If you have been into high-performance audio for more than a couple of months, there has been at least one point when you lusted for Krell gear in your system. Dan D’Agostino’s passion and joie de vivre for everything else he does in life (exotic cars, motorcycles, cooking and more) doesn’t even compare with his enthusiasm for the high art form of musical reproduction. Ask anyone who knows the subject about great sound and you are likely to hear Krell brought into the conversation. Krell does nothing better than make amplifiers.
The Krell Full Power Balanced 350Mcx, as it is formally known, is a 350 watts per channel (into eight ohm impedances) mono amplifier priced at $6,000 each or (more frequently) at $12,000 per pair. The amp is based on Class A circuitry, which is expensive to design and manufacture but results in a very clean sound that directly addresses the main knock the tube guys have regarding solid state amps, which is that they sound harsh and artificial. These Krells and other Class A based amps like Cello’s Performance IIs, absolutely refute this. In the lower impedance range that you sometimes find on speakers like MartinLogans, Revels and B&Ws, the Krell 350Mcx outputs even more juice – 700 watts per channel into four ohms and 1400 watts into two ohms.
The 350Mcx is, believe it or not, the entry level of the Class A Series of Krell mono power amps with the FPB450Mcx and FPB450Mcx at, you guessed it, 450 watts per channel and 750 watts per channel, respectively. The 350Mcx is physically 12.5 inches tall by a uniquely narrow 10.5 inches wide and 16 inches deep. Because the amp is mono, there is no need for an excessively large chassis. The size allows you to place an amp closer to a speaker or in an out of the way location.
The Krell FBB 350Mcx is dressed with Krell’s proprietary Krellcoat finish on its exterior and are available as left finned, right finned, or as symmetrical pairs.. The overall look of the component is understated and elegant. The black finish is not too shiny, which gives the amp the subtle, timeless appeal of a black pinstripe Brioni suit. The amp is dressed with polished aluminum adornments that are layered on the front to liven up the design. The look is finished off with three bright blue LED lights that give the design flair and a physical presence in the room.
The 350Mcx can accept inputs from balanced XLR connectors and Krell's CAST technology. I used balanced connections for the right and left channel outputs from my Mark Levinson No. 40 AV preamp via Transparent Reference interconnects. If you run an all-Krell system, either using one of their CD players with volume control, a more modern Krell stereo preamp or one of the more recent Krell AV preamps, you might choose to connect the system via Krell’s new CASTII technology. Krell reports lower noise and an even better connection than with traditional cables, thanks to input output technology that has trickled down from Krell’s statement amplifier, the Master Reference.