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Krell Evolution 202 Stereo Preamplifier Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 2007
Article Index
Krell Evolution 202 Stereo Preamplifier
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The Downside
Sonically, the most jaded recording and mastering engineers would be hard-pressed to pick fault with the electronics. Krell critics will need to reevaluate their opinion of Krell based on the extended highs and even better bass that one can hear on the Evolution system. Yet there are issues that need to be considered when investing in a system at this level. First of all is heat. The Evolution 900 amplifiers pump heat into your room, the likes of which I haven’t felt from an amplifier since the days of the Cello Performance II Class A mono blocks. I had my AC unit set on 69 when it wasn’t even 69 outside in order to keep my room comfortable during my many hours with the Krell Evolution system. Size is another consideration if you, like me, rack-mount your equipment. I am not sure a typical Middle Atlantic rack will accommodate the depth or the weight of the amplifiers. Perhaps they are meant to be installed on the floor, parked on some slabs of granite, but as a recovering audiophile, I do what I can to rack-mount my gear in order to have the best of both worlds.

The Evolution 202 stereo preamp is also hard to pick fault with. As a two-chassis device, it competes favorably with the best from Mark Levinson and Halcro and, as a system, provides impressive musical performance. With that said, the remote truly stinks. Built of aluminum, it is heavy, not backlit and hard to use. To suggest that an audiophile client will be using a Crestron system is a bit presumptuous. The buttons are all about the same size. Volume should be larger and should be more responsive. The knob on the front of the preamp is great, but the remote stinks.

The Krell Evolution 505 SACD player is a very capable front end and a valued part of the overall audio system. Its remote is just as bad as the Evolution 202, with the front faceplate taking the “one button fits all” approach too far. In a dimmed room, it’s nearly impossible to make the player do what you want. Switching from 5.1 SACD to stereo is a complicated but not impossible feat for the player. There should be one button that accomplishes this important task. The last dig on the player is a frustrating one, and that is at $10,000, there is no excuse for the 505 not to play every DVD-Audio title - not just the ones without digital rights management coding. When $500 players on the market can play every disc on the market, it's hard to understand why a $10,000 unit can't perform the same feat.

In terms of accurate and exciting musical reproduction, I don’t think you can do any better than the Krell Evolution system in today’s marketplace. $65,000 is a lot of money to invest if you are judging the performance of the system merely from this review. Before you pass judgment on the system, take a listen with my warning – the sound is addictive. You might find yourself rolling into your local high-end audio dealer at 1 PM to find the salesman looking to actually go home at 7 PM, and you’ll be wondering where the time went as well as the remainder of your home equity line of credit.

Dan D’Agostino and Krell have outdone themselves with this Evolution audio system. It is the most exciting package of electronics I have auditioned in my system. The Evolution system was able to get bass from my Wilson WATT Puppy Version 7 loudspeakers that I thought you needed a subwoofer to hear. The highs are spectacular and the ability to resolve detail is second to none. Forget the Patek Philippe for now. Cancel your order for the Gulfstream G150 – you might just need a Krell Evolution audio system first.

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