I haven’t heard the EMM units (except at a Consumer Electronics Show too long ago to remember). But I have heard the old and new versions of the Krell Standard, side by side, and can report that I agree with JV (as this review bears out), although the new model is still deeper and tighter in the bass and slightly crisper on the treble transients.
What is different about the new model—which, on the outside, looks exactly like the old one—is where some qualms come into play, though they’re strictly ergonomic qualms. The main difference between the two is a new servo-drive—a change necessitated when the supplier, Philips, suddenly stopped producing the old one. In most ways, this turned out to be good news. Judging from a few online high-end chat sites, the old drive had notorious reliability problems. (An earlier version of the unit, which I started to review, went haywire, as did one purchased by a friend.) However, by all accounts, the new model is functioning fine. Still it, too, has some idiosyncrasies. It’s noisy, though not noisy enough to be heard when music is playing, as long as you’re sitting at least five feet away (except I should add for two discs in my collection that for some reason produce a very loud grinding). It takes a long time to load a disc (15 seconds for SACDs, 25 seconds for CDs). And after the first few seconds of a track, the track number disappears from the display panel. (If you like what you’re hearing on a CD and wonder which song it is, you’ll have to start the track over to find out.) Apparently, these problems are built into the drive; there’s nothing to be done. Krell’s technical people say they decided to use this drive anyway, because it sounds so much better than any other they’ve tried. I have no reason to doubt them. The machine is a bit of a drag, like cuff links on a sleeve. But, at least to my mind (yours may be to calculate costs and benefits differently), the pleasures outweigh the foibles.