What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 4 Aug 2008, 5:00pm

Krell FBI

Tested at £15250
100100
5

A serious amp in every sense of the word, it’s capable of propelling you into silly grin territory with ease

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For

  • Massive sound, allied to delicacy and refinement
  • serious kit rack presence…

Against

  • It won’t fit into most kit racks
  • no shortage of rivals at this level

KRELL's FBI is one of two single-box amps in the Connecticut company's catalogue – the other is the rather more compact KAV-400Xi – and it's referred to as a ‘large format integrated amplifier'.

No kidding: this amp stands 26cm tall and weighs in at a toe-crushing 47.2kg. Simply getting it from the box is a two-person job, fully justifying the provision of substantial grab handles at the front and back.

Put simply, everything here is big. The output is 300W into 8 ohms, doubling as impedance falls so that it will pump 1200W per channel into the kind of 1-2 ohm loads that would have most amplifiers begging for mercy.

In this price range, balanced mode connections are a given, and the FBI also has standard phono inputs, preamp outs – should you need any more power, we assume – and such niceties as 12V trigger and remote control connections.

Groundshaking power
To all that weight, you can also add groundshaking power, allied to the kind of finesse you wouldn't have thought possible with such a massive amp.The Krell is fast and dynamic, and when you crank it up it just keeps on getting louder, with no shift in tonality or balance.

It isn't an easy listen. Rather, it demands attention and then rewards it with bass you can feel, endless drive and attack, and a beautiful combination of detail and openness.

True, there's no shortage of pre/powers around for this kind of money, but if you want to keep things as simple as it's possible to with an integrated amplifier, the FBI fits the bill.

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