McIntosh is one of the most dependable brand names when it comes to high-end audio systems. For years the brand has been recognized by audiophiles throughout the world as equipment that delivers clear and consistent quality in music. McIntosh is probably best known for its amplifiers and preamps, but the company produces many other components and parts for stereo and home theatre.
What are the specs for the Krell FBP 200?
What else to know about the Krell FBP 200?
"After going through many amps during the course of the past year, I found a well priced FPB 200. To be honest, I was a bit leary based on reading so many Krell bashing threads and having had a Krell KAV 1500 5-channel amp in my system (FWIW, 5 channel amps are not good for 2-channel performance having used: Conrad Johnson, Krell, Proceed, Theta Dreadnaught II and a few others outside of my system - none were as good as a moderately priced 2-channel amp).
I run Wilson W/P speakers so I was a bit prepared to end up not liking this amp, thinking it would spit at me and chase me out of the room. At the time I purchased this amp, I also owned a Mark Levinson 331.5 and two BAT VK 60 monoblock amps to compare it to. I also was able to put in a pair of Thiel 2.2 speakers for listening. FWIW, I liked the BAT VK 60 amps very much and felt they were solid tubed power amps. With my Capitole CD player; however, I found that resolution and detail were lacking with the BATs in place (using a BAT VK 5i pre or the Capitole direct).
With the ML 331.5 in place, I felt that a lot of the resolution that was missing with the BATs was improved upon with the ML. I felt the ML could run well with both speakers (Thiel and Wilson) both direct from the Capitole or via the VK 5i preamp. However, I always felt that the ML was just not quite as musical as the BAT amps. I felt both were very good and bettered the other in very specific areas (partially mentioned above) and was overall pleased by owning both of the different amp setups.
When I introduced the Krell FPB 200 to the system I found that everything was overall more satisfying for me. If felt I had the benefits of the BATs (smoothness, sound stage, musicality) and the benefits of the ML's greater resolution and detail. While I am sure in comparison to some other amps, I will find that the FPB 200 has some weaknesses, I have not felt it lacking in any way.
In my experience, the Krell seemed to impart the character of the recording and other equipment in my chain more so than these other amps I have owned (and virtually all other amps I have listened to). I just felt the Krell let the music flow through better without imparting much of a sonic signature (other than excellent control). My system changed slightly when I bought a new Krell HTS 7.1 thinking that its 2-channel KCT based preamp would be sufficient and replaced the AA Capitole (due to shipping damage after having the tubes changed) to a Resolution Audio Opus 21 with GNSC mods. I feel that my sound stage depth and focus was impacted by the Krell 7.1 in 2-channel analog direct. I attribute this to the HTS 7.1, not the FPB 200 (as my stage depth and focus were excellent with the BAT VK 5i).
Just last week I had commented that it would be a very long time before I considered replacing the FPB 200. I am in the possible process of doing that right now. I have a Krell FPB 300-C used being picked up next week (at under $4K) for this amp I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see if there is a noticeable difference between the two.
Coming the day before the new Krell FPB 300-C I have a new Aesthetix Calypso being delivered. I will first install the 300-C into the system (without the Calypso) to see if there is a noticeable difference between the 200 and the 300-C based on my known set-up. Based on these results, I will then put the Calypso in the system and give it some time to break-in and then compare the 200 and the 300-C and again determine the differences. At some soon point, I will have either a 200 or a 300-C available for sale.
I would have to say, I would be pleasantly surprised if the 300-C shows a noticeable improvement over the 200. I have been so totally impressed by the 200 within my system that I find it hard to top for my personal preferenced. My experience with it can best be summarized by the following:
The Krell FPB 200 conveys the sound that is delivered to it, good or bad. I have found other than with the demonstration of excellent overall control, especially within the bass region, that the 200 has imparted little to none of its own sonic character.
Since many people buy audio components to change the sound, this may not be a good thing. There was a time in the past that I wanted an amp to soften the sound, I went with tubes. But to be honest I eventually began to miss what I was not hearing. To appreciate the Krell, in fact to enjoy the music fully when using the 200, one must insure that the source component and preamp (along with cables) are producing the sound that one wants to achieve. Relying on the Krell to change the sound (smoothing it, adding detail, adding soundstage, etc. . .) will not result in satisfying end results.
I have never had an amp that has been able to immediately portray or convey the other changes in my system as well. When I purchased my new Opus 21, I thought I would miss some of the warmth of the Capitole. After playing the Opus 21, I added Cardas Golden Cross balanced ICs as this is a known warm cable. I had already very much enjoyed the sound of the Opus with transparent cables. Putting the Cardas in place I was able to immediately recognize not just the much warmer sound, but the very noticeable loss in the bass slam region, less air in the mid to upper frequency ranges and a bit of a veiling of the overall sound. I attribute not these artifacts, but the fact these artifacts were so blatantly apparent to the Krell.
A good source with a good preamp and reasonable cabling will result in an excellent performing system, just don't expect the 200 to have a whole change on the signal it is being fed, it won't! If you think you can replace your tubed amp and keep the warmth and distortion that the tubed amp imparts to the sound, you won't. If you feel that your amp currently is imparting too much of a sonic signature to your sound, then get the 200 and the signature will be lost. You will hear the music, the source, the preamp and the cabling, but you are not likely to hear the Krell.
I am not a wholesale Krell die-hard. I have heard some of their amps that I was not remotely impressed by. But with the better amps (and this does not necessarily mean newest) I have found them to be absolutely supperb in many areas." - From AudioReview (2008)
Brief History of McIntosh
Long mapped-to Binghamton New York – the current headquarters and manufacturing center for Krell Labs – not many people know the brand was originally launched outside of the Nation’s Capital in Silver Spring Maryland, in 1949. In 1956, the brand built their original facility in New York, according to the official brand website.
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