The amp is hugely powerful, but graceful and composed at quiet levels. There’s a paradox about amps that have huge power reserves, in that they often show their best side at incredibly low levels. Sometimes, at low, late night listening SPLs, the interaction between tweeter and woofer can appear less coherent. It’s as if the crossover stopped behaving itself and let the two drivers play their own games. Here, the Krell S300i’s power reserves keep woofer and tweeter on track, even when the volume level is at ‘001’. That kind of control doesn’t come cheap, and is normally the reason why people buy Krell pre/powers.
At this point though, the mild ‘shhhh’ of the background noise begins to be apparent. This is very mild (think ‘well designed valve amp’, rather than ‘someone making a cappuccino in the corner of the room’) and is quickly forgotten about when raising the volume even slightly, because this background noise is quieter than most CDs spinning up. So in many settings, you might not even hear it. It’s there, though and some will never be able to settle down with a solid-state amplifier that isn’t free from background noise. More fool them, the lose out on a remarkable sounding amplifier because of something they will struggle to hear under normal conditions. While we are on the subject of stray noises, the amp does make a whisper-quiet ‘phut-phut’ sound as the volume control goes through its steps. Consider it the computer-age version of relays switching in and out. Pay it no heed, though.
The S300i is a really good amplifier. It’s almost good enough to soak up sales of the Evolution 222 preamp and 302 power amplifier, unless you happen to try to partner it with really daft, punishing loads. With its combination of ‘next gen’ inputs (like that iPod connector) and the sort of build quality that could make ‘Black Box’ flight recorders look shoddy. Whether this is My First Krell, or the Krell you never thought you could afford, the S300i must rank as one of the best integrated amps in the business.
Type: Stereo integrated amplifier, balanced Class A input stage, current mode power stage, 750 VA toroidal transformer, 38,000µF reservoir capacitance
Inputs: single ended line (X3), XLR balanced line (x1), direct iPod connection (x1), home theatre preamp input (x1), RS-232, RC-5, 12 VDC triggers
Outputs: WBT loudspeaker binding posts
Power output: 150W into eight ohms, 300W into four ohms
Dimensions (WxHxD): 43.82x10.16x44.45cm
Tel: +44 (0)208 971 3909