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02-04-2013, 11:06 AM #1
Krell 707 3D Surround Processor
This is a review of the Krell 707 3D Processor. I have found it always difficult to compare one component to another one. Not for myself, but on line.
People buy the stereo system that they like the best, or as time goes by, they get used to and enjoy the one they have. So many people will say that they have the best unit available because that is their personal preference. In fact, when they make comparisons, they are not using a standard, such as real music, but what they now feel real music sounds like….often their own system. About 20 years ago people with really good mid-priced units starting attacking, on line and in fanzines, people who bought more expensive stereos. Again, they felt their units sounded the best and paying more was wrong, even immoral to some degree. So instead of discussions, we often got arguments, especially when it came to wiring. So this is about my preferences.
I also understand that people will have greater experiences comparing one unit to another and some people even use electronic measuring tools which I do not have. But if you want one person’s opinion!
Unlike a two channel music system, with a surround unit, I have no standard. I don’t know what the Millennium Falcon, the Enterprise, or the Planet Pandora really sounds like.
Let me list the things I look for in equipment:
Ease of Setting Up!
Ease of Use!
Updatability and Service!
Ease of Setting Up:
This is the only place where I give a sigh. Without an on screen menu and a better set of instructions, the Krell is a bit difficult to set up. At least it was for me and my dealer. A better interface would have made that so much easier. Instead of going to one menu site on the machine and giving all the instructions and information to, let’s say the DVD, you have to go to separate menus of “Video,” “Audio,” “Triggers and so forth. The instruction booklet is also hard to use. It only comes in a PDF and, if you print it out, the pages are not numbered. But this does NOT take away from it’s performance in any way.
I have had the 707 up and running for a month. “The Man from K.R.E.L.L”. did come over and fully adjusted the machines and showed me how to do many more things. Again, the only problem with the unit is the instruction booklet.
I have a 6.1 system. When I set the surround channels, the rear speaker would not go on and when I set the rear channel the surrounds would not go on. After talking to the helpful people at Krell, I found a way around that, by setting the system to a 7.1 system and using a ‘Y” cable to create one channel. The Krell service group gave me great support and said they would fix the menu to better accommodate 6.1.
Ease of Use.
Once set up, this machine is the easiest thing in the world to use. The unit had easy discrete buttons and you did not go through a long menu for quick adjustments. Yeah, I wish the buttons were a bit larger. The machine is quiet, but it does give off a little bit of heat. There are also commands in the unit that can help you set your universal remote. Instead of going through menus to do simple things (like on the ML) I was easily able to do most functions quickly. The Krell labels functions, like TV, Game, DVD, CD etc. But I have a few that they don’t list (Like Laser Disc) so I simply taped the real function on the machine.
Outstanding. The Krell unit doesn’t upscale any signal from an HDMI, it only up scaled analog signals. So my Verizon cable box is projected at 780P not 1080P. But I connected the component cables (analog) and boosted them to 1080p. The HDMI looked a bit better, so no loss. I did boost the image from my old Laser Disc Player and it looks fine. The Blu Ray image was fantastic and I could NOT believe how great the 3D Avatar movie looked, as well as the movies I list below. Wow. Really, wow. Also, the standard def images from the cable box also looked very good.
The DTS-HD sound on Avitar was also unbelievably great. So was Koyaanisqatsi, The Fifth Element, Superman, and The Dark Knight Rises. I like it when a surround system places you in a bubble of sound, rather than hearing sound coming from each channel. This does that so well. And not just with DTS, but with Dolby Digital on the cable broadcasts. I saw a bit of Jurassic Park, Casper, and a half dozen other movies. Both sound and picture improved as I used the unit more.
I learned how to do the automatic settings which include room size and shape, speaker amounts and placement, speaker frequencies and other little touches.
THE DIFFERENCE IN SOUND AND TONE WAS INCREDIBLE. The automatic settings proved great, especially in the matters of the sub-woofer and bass. It was a much better, fuller and real sound than my own settings. For example, I played the Empire Strikes Back’s first half with my settings and the second half with the new, automatic settings. The second half sounded much, much better, especially the bass.
It’s all a matter of perspective. It all started in the 1980s, with The Empire Strikes Back. Surround sound was new, AND two channel. Most movies then, especially the Bond pictures, had the sound placed in from the perspective of the viewer, so almost everything was in front of you. This included most off screen sounds including music. Starting with Empire, Lucas put you in the CENTER of the sound. So when Bond got into a car, you heard the car in front of you. But when Harrison Ford gets into a truck, you hear the sound as he would, all around you. And music can out of the rear speakers also. Many people, in the 1980s and 1990s had just four speakers for surround, the center being a “phantom.” This most often worked out until people began to use the THX standard. The center channel became a necessity to hear the dialogue well.
So I always put on a Bond and a Lucas movie when setting up a new surround system. If they both sound great, I know everything is OK. And they both sounded great here, but better with the auto settings.
The Krell give you three “memories” that you can use for the room, so I was able to compare MY manual settings to the machines. In addition you can make adjustments and apply them to individual devices. For example, my TV cable box requires a 4 db increase in the rear and surrounds speakers to sound just right, but I do not have to make this adjustment each time, the machine automatically does.
The only processor I can compare this to is the defunct Mark Levenson 502. The picture on the ML look about as good for the Blu-Ray, but the Krell surpasses it, easily, in just about every category listed above, especially updatability and reliability. The 502 was down (broken) MORE than half the time I had it. And it didn’t take DTS HD, Dolby HD or 3D.
Updatability and Service!
Krell has updated this machine three times and they have even more software updates. That’s good. Everyone helped me at Krell, the service was fantastic. Often, if I had to leave a message, I got a return call within the hour. They were just great.
Krell also wants this to be your two channel pre-amp and has special settings for that which I have not tried yet. A final, funny thought. My friends saw, in 3D, John Carter here the other night. It was their first 3D movie and it looked and sounded great. The movie is not that good, but they were so impressed by the sight and sound that they thought it was one of the best movies ever!
My system is: Mark Levinson 32 pre-amp, Revel Salon 2 front speakers, Revel Voice 2 middle, Thiel Sub-woofer 2 and three Powerplanes rear and surround; Krell Evolution 600 for front speakers, Krell450Mcx middle, and Proceed HPA-3 amp for surround and back, JVC DLA RS66 projector and Oppo 105 Blu-Ray.
Last edited by Lefisc; 02-04-2013 at 02:39 PM.
02-04-2013, 01:33 PM #2
Nice write up.
02-05-2013, 02:30 PM #3
Thanks for the user review.
Did you read Dr. Taraszka's over at HomeTheaterReview.com? He had a 707 as well as many of the other competing preamps in the class including the Meridian 861 v6, Classe SSP 800 etc....
02-05-2013, 03:46 PM #4
- Join Date
- Sep 2012
One reason I will probably never get a super costly pre-pro is because I would want to have it in an absolutely stellar space.
Then again there are guys that feel the same way and manage to set-up stuff that is doable on "mere mortal" terms. Here is a variation on such a thing from the world of high performance cars and associated space to work on / admire them -- Jack Olsen's Garage - Car Craft MagazineJoseph Zgymunt
02-05-2013, 03:52 PM #5
1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
How did you score pictures of all three of my home theaters?
02-05-2013, 04:10 PM #6
- Join Date
- Sep 2012
Realistically the top one is so big I suspect it was somebody who maybe converted an former indoor pool space to home theater space.
The other two appear to have ceiling height not too much greater than what could be achieved in a modern home. I really like spaces that don't seem overly "done up" but I know that all that veneer in the middle one will cost as much as some people's whole house and the kinds of designer fabrics / leather used for the upholstered walls on the bottom one are not much more affordable.
My darned champagne tastes don't sit well with my beer budget (at least I can afford micro-brew )Joseph Zgymunt
02-05-2013, 05:21 PM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
- Largo, Florida
I totally agree with you sonically on the Krell Evo 707!
Hell, I would still have mine if it weren't for the divorce......
I personally didn't find the setup menus were difficult, but then again, I have used so many AV preamps, this thing is way better than the Linn AV5102 (the worst set up menus in history) and honestly I didn't mind the audio and video being separated.
The Krell Evo 707 is an amazing two channel preamp, and I suspect you can easily replace your ML 32 with it (as long as you don't prefer the sound of the ML 32, taste comes in here....) as it is that good, in fact, EVERY channel on that beast is built the same as the top Krell preamp from the time it was made (forget which model it was off hand now but...) even the subwoofers!!! I had mine running to a Krell Evo 403e and Wilson Sasha W/P's and Center 2 all wired with Transparent Ref XL balanced IC and speaker cables. Yes, it does put out some heat, even in standby mode, so it isn't the greenest piece of AV gear I have ever owned, but it sounded fantastic!
I actually helped a lot with the firmware for this piece, Brett D would send me the newest files, then I'd use them and send back what worked and didn't... Never had any input on the design as I left that to them as I didn't mind the menu structure. I was the first person to get the Dual DSP upgrade too, and while installing the boards, Brett called me, almost crapped my pants! I had been doing tons of eye cases at a local surgery center (I am an anesthesiologist) and was literally sticking needles into peoples eyes all day long, that did not scare me as much as 'operating' inside the 707! When Brett called me to see how the install was going I freaked out! Oh well, all went well, and it worked without a hitch. I was no where near as afraid when swapping out the boards on the Classe' SSP-800 as I didn't need to undo screws with a 12" long allen key from the board on the floor of the 707......
02-06-2013, 11:23 AM #8
Jerry, Kenny and the gang
I hadn’t read that excellent review until you referred me., He covers a lot of important points I didn’t, but my unit does have the DTS_Master sound and 3D updates his didn’t.
He’s also much stronger than me and was able to move around the equipment in a way I cannot. What I want to do is compare the two channel sound (using my Esoteric K-03 SACD player AND my Day Sequerra FM Tuner) to the ML 32. I also want to try out the new Krell caste\ wiring If the sound comes close, I will remove the ML from the system, as you suggest.
But first, of course:
- I have to remove the current wiring and put in the cast
- Find an equivalent external PHONO PRE-AMP to replace the one in the ML 32
- Find a buyer for the 32 so I can buy the items I mentioned!
I did not have the time, but I would post an addendum comparing the LPCM sound to the DTS Master HD sound. I did not think to compare the DVD sound to the Blu Ray sound, figuring people who bought this have blu-rays, but I should have done it.
With the Man From K.R.E.L.L. here, I did compare the 720 HDMI connection of my Verizon cable box to the analog component output (720 upscaled to 1080P) and found the 720P was a more pleasing picture. But I was surprised how well the SD pictures looked over the HDMI.
Kenny, you mentioned that you did not have trouble with the set up menus. May I say that I might not have had a problem if I had a 5.1 or 7.1 system, but as I wrote, “I have a 6.1 system. When I set the surround channels, the rear speaker would not go on and when I set the rear channel the surrounds would not go on. “That was the problem. And it took some time to “fix.”
It also took a little time for the Man From K.R.E.L.L. to see what I was talking about and he said they had made a mistake.
If you want to imagine what my room looks like, just take a look at the second picture. Then, imagine how it would look if Godzilla stepped on it.
PS: I feel like I have gotten old. I like just sitting down and turning on a movie or TV show and enjoying it. I used to do all these tests and rewiring and loved doing it. Now, I just sit down and my only interruption is an occasional bathroom break. I think “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (directors’ Cut) holds the record for most bathroom breaks in my house.
I wondered how anyone sat through that entire movie after they bought one of those HUGE cups of soda at the theatre!!!!!!
02-06-2013, 02:37 PM #9
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
- Largo, Florida
I did add the Dual DSP board (and thus DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD) and added an addendum to the review on those formats.
You can try the CAST, I did, but I way preferred my balance Transparent cabling to Krell's CAST, YMMV so it is worth a try, see if your dealer won't lend you some CAST cables to try it for yourself.
I did notice you had an issue with setting up a 6.1 system, I seemed to remember the earlier firmware clearly having a 6.1 option, maybe that got lost in the newer firmware, sorry you had that issue.
Let us know what you think when you swap out the ML 32, also a very nice two channel preamp, but I'd like to hear your thoughts when you do!
02-06-2013, 02:50 PM #10
I too am using Transparent balanced cabling (brilliant minds think alike) and I am glad you posted what you did. Bill K, president of Krell, saw in my house the 6.1 issue and said they are writing firmware to correct it. When you say you have 6.1 system, the menu fails to give you proper options for it, so you lose a speaker or two.
I will probably move everything over to the Krell and, until further notice, so to speak, use my ML 32 as a phono pre amp. (until I sell it). So I will let you know how it works out.