|Krell KCT Stereo Preamplifier|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers Stereo Preamps|
|Written by Augie Bettencourt|
|Thursday, 01 January 2004|
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Sacred Love (A&M Records) shows us that Gordon Sumner (AKA: Sting) still has something to offer Police fans and his latest CD rocks harder than many previous attempts. “Send Your Love” features flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo and has an upbeat dance sound that’s extremely dynamic when heard through the Krell KCT preamp. Amigo’s flamenco work is coherent and full-bodied and Sting’s voice has a precise tonal quality with unrivaled clarity. The Krell KCT also performed admirably when I listened to, “The Book of My Life” from the same CD. It’s a sober ballad featuring Anoushka Shankar on the sitar. The emotion and sorrow in Sting’s voice is heightened by the Far Eastern sound of the sitar, while I was treated to some of the most open, effortless, musically honest sound my system has produced. Other preamplifiers may have an “easy like Sunday morning” sound, sacrificing detail for rounded edges, but none of the others that I’ve heard sound more true to the source with a completely unveiled presentation.
Next I listened to Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head (Capitol Records) and the song “The Scientist.” This song starts with a beautiful slow piano solo, with harmonic texture and coherent musical reproduction across the entire frequency spectrum. Just as the sound of Chris Martin’s voice slowly begins to accompany the piano, I heard an image so deep and three-dimensional I felt as if I could put my arm through it. With the Krell KCT, I heard every nuance of Martin’s voice with a level of detail I’ve seldom experienced before. The next song I listened to was “Warning Sign.” I was again reminded of the Krell KCT's ability to convey a sense of realism, emotion and the presence of an almost scarily convincing soundstage. I have heard many reference preamps in my time, all displaying characteristics that made them extraordinary. However, for the first time, I was hearing one that had no immediate shortcomings whatsoever. The KCT was purring like a finely tuned German engine.
Barry White’s The Best of Barry White: The Millennium Collection (Island-Def Jam Music Group) is an excellent “greatest hits” CD, and “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby” is one of Barry’s most funky tunes. The song starts off with a pounding bass line that has never sounded tighter or more powerful and no other preamplifier/amplifier combination I’ve heard has offered a more tight-fisted, iron grip control of my Martin Logan Prodigies. It’s a rare combination of brute force and emotion in the rumbling, basso profundo of White’s voice that’s rarely heard.
What should be considered White’s theme song, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” is an upbeat disco number that literally came alive with a broad, open soundstage and a revealing level of detail that I’ve simply never heard my system produce before.
Another favorite is Keb' Mo’s self-titled CD and the song “Every Morning” (Epic Records). With the Krell KCT, Keb' Mo’s vocals had a very open and natural sound with excellent soundstage width and depth. His guitar had proper acoustic tonal quality with an exceptional airy feel. With every pluck of his guitar, I heard very distinct accuracy. Keb' Mo’s voice had perhaps the most clarity and best pitch definition that I’ve ever heard in my system and considering the amount of preamps that I’ve heard, this is quite an accomplishment and a testament to the Krell CAST system. The differences I heard by comparing the CAST connections to the balanced connections were not minor, and I can confirm Krell’s claims of improved dynamic range, transient impact, width and depth of soundstage and improved tonal quality when using the CAST connections. The second song I listened to from the same CD was “Am I Wrong.” I was reminded of Krell’s reputation for excellent dynamics and great bass slam, with the deepest and most powerful bass my Prodigies have ever produced.