At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Krell has announced a radical move in the world of integrated amplifiers. Until now, integrated amplifiers have typically sported analog inputs and S/PDIF or Toslink digital inputs. HDMI, streaming, and wireless connectivity have been glaringly absent. Krell has just changed that move with an upgrade to the Vanguard Digital Integrated Amplifier.
The upgraded Vanguard bridges the worlds of high end audio and streaming and features USB, HDMI inputs and output, coax and optical digital inputs; Ethernet music streaming controlled through dedicated iOS and Android apps; and apt-X Bluetooth wireless for convenient streaming from phones, tablets and computers. Deezer, and Vtuner streaming services are built in and controlled by dedicated iOS, and Android apps. In early 2015, a software update will add Pandora and Spotify apps.
The Digital Vanguard Includes:
- Coaxial and HDMI inputs support PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz. Optical input supports up to 24-bit/96kHz.
- USB and Network streaming support MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV (PCM), FLAC, ALAC up to 192kHz.
- Bluetooth streaming supports A2DP, AVRCP formats
“With the digital module installed, all you need to do is add speakers and you have a complete high-end audio system,” Krell President Bill McKiegan said. “If your focus is on digital music files and streaming, the Vanguard with the digital module will give you all the convenience of the mass-market streaming audio products, but with sound quality that’s far beyond what those products can achieve. It’s truly an audio product built for the next decade.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Krell is to be admired with its support of existing customers by offering them a clean upgrade path to bring previous generation models up to spec with the latest features. Existing Vanguards will be field upgradeable to the Digital Vanguard in Q1 2015 for a price $1,500.00. Moreover, high end audio manufacturers have typically lagged behind in the technology and features departments and Krell has refreshingly been an exception to that rule incorporating the latest features in high performance products.
The Digital Vanguard Integrated Amplifier is a powerhouse featuring a Class A preamplifier and 200 watt stereo amplifier. The Vanguard’s amplifier incorporates a massive power supply with a 750 VA toroidal transformer and 80,000 microfarads of storage capacitance. The tremendous amount of energy on tap allows the Vanguard to deliver 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms, doubling to 400 watts at 4 ohms. This is far more power than most other integrated amplifiers can deliver. Two quiet, thermostatically controlled fans permit the use of a surprisingly compact chassis, especially considering how much power the Vanguard produces.
The Vanguard is also custom-installer and home automation-friendly—not a feature normally seen with integrated amplifiers. The unit sports 3.5mm jacks for IR input and 12-volt trigger input and output, as well as optional rack-mount ears. Additionally, the unit can be controlled with home automation systems through its Ethernet connection.
Pricing and Availability
The suggested retail price of the Digital Vanguard is $6,000.00 and shipping Q1 2015. The existing Vanguard will continue with a suggested retail price of $4,500.00. Existing Vanguards will be field upgradeable to the Digital Vanguard in Q1 2015 for a price $1,500.00.