Howard - help please! WHICH vintage Krell?
Certainly. I sold many pairs of these magnificent but tricky-to-drive speakers when I ran Subjective Audio. I was, so I’m told Apogee's most successful UK retailer. i mention this because I have a lot of direct, personal hands-on experience.
The simple part of my 2-part answer is re the brand. It has to be Krell. It always was back then and during the interim period I've heard nothing and read of nothing that can be accomplish this task. You may or may not know that the catalyst for the creation of Krell and its initial products was the Apogee range of speakers.
From memory and notes - here are my observations. I should point out that after the KSA series ended its production run I became convinced (and subsequent exposure has reinforced that initial view) that subsequent ranges despite being vastly more powerful, ugly and heavy progressively produced a sterile sound which although initial impressive was un-engaging.
The minimum you gat get away with:
A single stereo KSA-50
The most magical sound from a single stereo Krell:
A single stereo KSA-80
Almost as magical as the above but more powerful and less dynamically restricted at higher sound pressure levels
2 stereo KSA-50s
A sensible compromise re muscle, dynamics and still musically engaging
1 x single KSA 100
More muscle and still very good
2 x stereo KSA-100s
KSA-200 and KMA-200. For me – and this is a purely personal opinion, this is when my adulation and love affair with this brand started to fade. Yes, colossal muscle, and visually awesome (but far from elegant) but musically engaging? Err no, not really, not for me.
Thinking about this now I once again have the distinct feeling that the Krell KSA-80 and to a slightly lesser extent the KSA-50 (oh wow, what a calling card, an opening statement and a declaration of intent) is right up there with the Levinson ML-2 and the Meridian 107 power amps as the finest I have ever heard.
So go get yourself a KSA-80, plug into the Apogees, ignore all Krell preamps from that era and live happily ever after.