« 2014 RLX Driving Impressions | Main | 2014 RLX Trim and Color Information »

The Krell Audio System is Outstanding

I just had some quality listening time in the new RLX with Krell and RLX with upgraded ELS to compare the two. Verdict? It is Krell by a huge margin! Things to note, the Krell system does not play DVD-A. Somehow, I'm not sure how I missed this detail. It does however support DTS which is probably a good thing since those discs might be easier to find.

So, lacking a DTS disc, I switched to a CD for my auditions. Tomorrow, I'll bring a few CDs from home but today I used E. Bernstein "The Magnificent Seven" from the Telarc CD "Round-Up" to compare the two systems.

Without a doubt the Krell audio system has a significantly wider dynamic range. The highs are much higher and the lows significantly more "solid". I should probably mention at this point that I generally like audio that is a little "rolled off" on the high-end. For example, years ago I deliberately selected Magnaplanar MGIIc's versus MGIII's because I didn't care for the ribbon tweeter in the latter.

The Krell system seems a little on the bright side to my ears, back in my audio days I didn't like titanium magnesium dome tweeters and I still don't. However I was able to fix this with a very small adjustment to the treble (But for this discussion all controls were left "flat").

I found the amount of detail stunning. Krell specified a metal speaker grill vs. the more common plastic.  This allowed for more acoustic transparency while providing protection for the Xylon woofers.  This extra effort paid off, you could practically hear each stroke of the violin bow as they pulled it across the strings. Some of the brightness was mitigated by the higher quality center channel speaker. Considering how much work this does in the ELS system I've always felt it was a place that could be improved considerably and I believe the Krell system has done it.

I felt that the bass response was also excellent. The Krell system was not only deeper, but faster as well. I'm not kidding when I say it sounds like a good pair of Magnepan MGIIIs or Martin Logan's (with a small woofer). This may sound a little over-the-top but it gave me chills to hear it. Having been out of the audio business for so long, it was amazing to hear this level of detail in the lower ranges. In comparison, the ELS system sounded muddy although slightly "punchier".

Even with a "mere" CD the transient response was impressive. I dug out an old test CD from the Alpine Car Audio Nationals Competition! Once again, I was quite impressed with the detail. You can hear Jennifer Warrens drawing a breath between verses of the Famous Blue Raincoat and Billy Cobham's drums have impact yet sound tightly controlled. Once again, I felt the system was a little bright, but I can't tell if it's "me" or the magnesium domes.

Switching to my Gold Sheffield Labs "James Newton Howard" disc was equally revealing. The definition in the bass guitar on "Gone Buttlefishin'" was outstanding. Also, stripped of the 'glossy' GRP production of the Alpine Reference disc, this sounded a little smoother on the top end.

It's important to note that we're talking about the quality of the bass response and not the quantity. With the Krell, you can hear the timpani's rolling in towards the end of "Planet Krypton" on the Alpine disc. With the ELS, there is a sense of the rumble, but not the individual drum hits. I suppose it's difficult to explain, but I suggest that when you preview these, use some music you're familiar with and allow enough time for some back to back comparisons.

Reader Comments (1)

Would really like to hear the man in the mirror instrumental on this system. As a runner up at the Alpine Car Audio nationals. To be able to sit in a car, close your eyes and reach out to each instrument in its own position on the stage. You would have had been there to experience it.
March 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThePrinterGuy

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.