Krell has had its share of ups and downs in the past few years, and not just of the managerial sort that recently resulted in recent new management and a solid attempt at reinvigorating the brand. Nearly a decade ago, the company made quite the statement amongst its better-heeled, die-hard with its $30,000 Evolution 707 AV preamp and similarly priced associated amplification. It also more recently launched the Foundation line, which represented a new strategy of bringing Krell's inimitable build quality and performance to a larger pool of consumers at more attainable price points.
At its heart, though, Krell has always been a company whose reputation lay not just with its build quality, but also its technology. Technology like Class A iBias topology, for example, which first debuted in Krell's new flagship and Chorus line of amplifiers as a novel way to provide coveted Class A sound quality while dealing with the topology's known issues: excessive power consumption and heat dissipation. The new Krell Theater 7 seven-channel amplifier benefits from a trickling down of that technology to a lower price point. At $7,500 retail, the Theater 7 is Krell's entry level seven channel amplifier. Total output is rated at 120 Watts per channel RMS into 8? with two channels driven and 105 Watts per channel RMS into 8? with all seven channels driven. With 4? loads, those numbers go up to 210 and 140 Watts, respectively.
As you might expect, given that the Theater 7 is a multichannel amp, setup isn't overly complicated. Analog inputs consist of seven XLR balanced or single-ended RCA connectors, and the outputs comprise seven sets of densely packed binding posts. The amp is reasonably beefy at 70 pounds, so you'll need to be careful not to stack it on top of other gear. And stacking other gear on top of it is an equally bad idea, as it needs some room to breathe.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Theater 7 is its Ethernet connection, which can be used to monitor the amp's performance and protection circuits, tweak presets like display brightness and timeout, mute individual channels, and update the firmware. You can also set up email alerts to automatically alert you or your dealer to issues pertaining to excessive current, overheating, short-circuiting, etc.
Krell is known for big, powerful, bass-forward amps, so my first question when sitting down to evaluate the Theater 7 was whether or not it could live up to that reputation at this lower price point. As such, I gave the Theater 7 a torture test right off the bat by playing some movies without a subwoofer and setting my Salk Signature Soundscape 12 speakers to full range.This effectively meant the 12-inch woofers on my Salks would serve as the de facto dual subs for the system, and the Krell Theater 7 would be driving that along with all the other channels simultaneously.
Krell Industries, LLC designs and manufactures high-performance audio and video equipment for serious music enthusiasts and home theater aficionados. Every Krell component is a unique synthesis of science and art. Recorded performances are, by their very nature, works born of passion. Our goal is to bring that passion to life in your home. From source to loudspeakers, Krell components reproduce the definitive music and home theater experience based on the principles of innovative engineering, impeccable build quality, and unerring accuracy in sonic reproduction.
20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.11 dB
<3 Hz to 200 kHz +0, –3 dB
>101 dB, wideband, unweighted, referred to full power output
>114 dB, “A”-weighted
Total harmonic distortion
<0.02% at 1 kHz, at 100 W, 8 Ω, two channels driven;
<0.20% at 20 kHz, at 100 W, 8 Ω, two channels driven;
Single-ended: 27 kΩ;
Balanced: 54 kΩ;
Single-ended or balanced: 1.50 V RMS
Output power, per channel
120W RMS at 8 Ω, 2 channels driven
115W RMS at 8 Ω, 3 channels driven
110W RMS at 8 Ω, 5 channels driven
105W RMS at 8 Ω, 7 channels driven
210W RMS at 4 Ω, 2 channels driven
190W RMS at 4 Ω, 3 channels driven
165W RMS at 4 Ω, 5 channels driven
140W RMS at 4 Ω, 7 channels driven
93 V peak-to-peak
33 V RMS
10 A peak
<0.025 Ω, 20 Hz to 20 kHz
>320, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, referred to 8 Ω
Standby: 1 W
Idle: 66 W
Maximum: 2000 W
Standby: 3.42 BTU/hr.
Idle: 225 BTU/hr.
Maximum: 2200 BTU/hr.
7 single-ended via RCA connector
7 balanced via XLR connector
7 pairs five-way binding posts
One 12 VDC input (12 V trigger) via 3.5 mm jack
17.1 in. W x 7.65 in. H x 21.10 in. D
434 mm W x 194 mm H x 536 mm D
80 lbs., 36.4 kg (shipping)
70 lbs., 31.8 kg (unit only)
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