Founded by audiophile engineer and designer, Dan D’Agostino in the mid-1970s, Krell was one of the biggest and best manufacturers of audiophile Compact Disc players and DACs, audiophile stereo preamps and legendary audiophile power amps. Dan’s amp designs as well as his prodigy, David Goldman, who designed many of the best, more modern Krell products, are considered to have best best bass performance than money can buy.

Krell was never cheap and it isn’t today. Products range from a $2,500 integrated amp to $10,000 plus preamps to $20,000 plus monoblock power amps. Krell made a $30,000 AV preamp for high end audiophile home theater users that was very popular in the mid-2000s but the company couldn’t keep up the cost and logistics of sourcing advanced semiconductors as well as the cost of licensing technologies like room correction, HDMI, Dolby and/or DTS surround and more so it stopped making AV preamps completely years ago.

Investors bought into Krell who had ties to Goldman Sachs. These so-called audio enthusiasts did a hostile take-over of the company and left the legendary audiophile brand wounded. Dan D’s ex-wife picked up the pieces and personally invested to keep the company going. That has limited the company’s ability to pursue relationships like the one that they had with Honda (for Acura) as well as to build new products.

Dan D’Agostino moved to Arizona and started a new electronics firm using his last name. These products have taken away much of Krell’s market share today in the United States but more importantly in the international market – specifically China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea where D’Agostino booms today. The Arizona-based firm also imports audiophile AC power accessory, Stromtank which is an over-the-top audiophile AC power battery backup product like the AudioQuest Niagara but more high end.

At one point, Krell delved into the complicated world of audiophile loudspeakers which was widely considered a marketing mistake. These metal, uber-high-end, very expensive speakers and metal audiophile subwoofers were amazing designs but audiophile dealers didn’t like the move as they sold other, competing products such as Magico, Wilson Audio, Focal, YG Acoustics, Magnepan, Bowers & Wilkins, MartinLogan and others. These dealers didn’t want or need a competing speaker brand in their stores and despite the incredible performance of Krell’s speakers they were discontinued.

The future of Krell is up in the air. Companies like Audio Research (the lauded tube-based electronics company) was sold for a mere $750,000 when it was recently spun off by the McIntosh Group. That’s not a good sign for Krell in any deal where they would sell.

Audiophiles who are fans of the hobby and know the history of the business are all rooting for Krell. Their challenges going forward are significant but we are all holding out hope that they will do well in the short term and thrive in the future.