RMAF 2018: KRELL, Alta, Acoustic Signature, AntiCables; A renewed faith


KRELL Industries unveils their new K-300i integrated, Alta Audio shows off their superbly underrated Celesta FRM-2 speaker, Acoustic Signature supplies all things analog with a Triple X turntable, whilst AntiCables ties it all together with bow.


The Story

Krell Industries, one of the first to ever offer a high-end integrated, debuted an updated K-300i integrated amplifier that sports copious amounts of power and connectivity.

Like the KAV-300i from 1996, and the S-300i over a decade later, the new K-300i aims to reclaim the helm the high-end integrated mountain top by delivering 150 wpc into 8-ohms, or 300 wpc into 4-ohms. Krell’s engineering manager David Goodman was on hand to guide us through a verbal tour of the topology changes and improvements, all resulting in a new amplifier circuit design. Similar to class-A amplifiers, the Krell iBias offers a lot of the same benefits, without all of the fire and brimstone associated with class-A. Flexing a 770VA transformer with 80,000uF of capacitance, I wouldn’t expect any loudspeaker connected to the new K-300i to become unruly.


Outfitted with an ESS Sabre Pro DAC, the K-300i allows a myriad of file playback options, it decodes MQA, is compatible with Spotify, vTuner, TIDAL, Deezer, QoBuz, and is also Roon Ready. If that were not enough, there’s HDMI and Bluetooth tossed in for good measure. Did I mention this thing also weighs a ton? Okay, maybe it’s just 52lbs, but you won’t see it in my backpack anytime soon.

Giving insight to what the new Krell could do, was the Alta Audio Celesta FRM-2 monitors. A two-way design that lives to tell the truth, and do so brutishly. Not to say the Celesta doesn’t have a delicate side, but when the highest class of bookshelf is needed, it is seldom sent in to do light work. With an impedance rating of 4-ohms, the Krell supplied 300 wpc for the monitors to dance with. Only a single six inch woofer (with a 3” voice coil) and custom ribbon tweeter, outfit the sturdy black lacquer cabinet.


The Sound

Having owned a Krell S-300i before, I was ready with dose of apprehension. Not to say that the S-300i wasn’t capable, it just never struck me as remarkable. So much hoopla surrounded the Krell name when I first encountered the S-300i amplifier of yore, and it left me wanting. The new Krell K-300i leaves much of that behind, and pays homage to the Krell that we (or some of us) remember. It trounced my low expectations, but not just with power, but with sophistication and refinement. This was no simple presentation of strength, this was grace and by the armful.

The Alta Audio Celesta FRM-2’s are a familiar and powerful set of speakers that I am familiar with. The new Krell did well to imbue them with much of the magic I remember when hearing them on much larger class-A mono-blocks (which shall go unnamed).


The System

Krell K-300i Integrated Amplifier – starting at $7,000 USD

Alta Audio Celesta FRM-2 Monitor Loudspeaker – $15,000 pr USD

Acoustic Signature Triple X w/TA3000 Tonearm and Dynavector XX-2 Cartridge (price unknown)

Cables by Anticables