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Reviewer: Mike Malinowski
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Walker Proscenium Black Diamond turntable; Walker Reference phono preamp; Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement
Preamp: Tenor Line1 Power1; VTL TL-7.5 Reference
Amp: Tenor 350M; darTZeel NHB-108
Speakers: Wilson X-2 Alexandria Series II
Cables: Silent Source Music Reference; Transparent Opus, OmegaMikro, Transparent XL w/MM interconnect; Silent Source and Xtreme between phono pre and preamp
Stands: Custom Renzetti Racks, VPI phono stand, Zoethecus, Walker Prologue Amp Stand
Powerline conditioning: Equi=Tech 10Q; Walker Audio Velocitor, PS Audio 300
Sundry accessories: Walker Audio Valid Points resonance control discs; ASC tube traps; Argent Room Lens; separate 100-amp sub panel feeding five dedicated cryo'd outlets; Loricraft Model 4 record cleaner; Audio Desk Record Cleaner; Walker Talisman
Room size: 29’ x 19’ x 10’ full ASC acoustic design.
Review component retail: $44.000/pr

For those familiar with KR Audio and the work of Eunice Kron and engineer Marek Gencev, the DXL monos display a clear family resemblance. Compared to traditional amps however, calling the Kronzillas unique is somewhat of an understatement. The distinctive tubes exclusive to KR Audio provide instant identity. To those new to the T1610, the DXL presents a compelling presence. Placed in a room filled with equipment, your gaze is invariably drawn to their industrial elegance. The whimsical name conjures a famous B movie monster of fire, strength and destruction. Whilst evocative, I can assure you that though powerful, your room and speakers are safe from atomic fire breath or any other destructive forces. Internally the circuit design has been updated and refined over the years. Both amps and tubes are produced in their own factory in Prague, Czech Republic.

The history.
Gifted designer Ricardo Kron was a man whose life had been immersed in music, having grown up with a father trained in the violin. Yet in addition to music he had an inherent mind for the technical and spent much of his early life experimenting with tubes and radios. A chance meeting with the owner of a vacuum tube company literally changed his life by leading to an initial investment and ultimately the ownership of what was KR Enterprise and today is KR Audio. In the mid 90s KR Enterprise was dedicated to the handmade manufacture of ultra-high quality audio tubes, some of which were quite unique. From any perspective it was a rather large gamble to dedicate one's life to an industry most believed to be headed for extinction. But that's exactly what Ricardo and his wife Eunice did. Tubes per se were not the final goal as they are but a means to an end. Therefore the Krons began designing their own line of amplifiers with distinctive hybrid circuitry mixing transistors and their own tubes.

At the point when the Krons should have been enjoying their success, Ricardo was tragically diagnosed with a terminal disease. He used his remaining time to address corporate affairs and complete the training of Marek Gencev who now serves as the technical boss of KR Audio. Today Eunice and Marek continue to expand upon Ricardo's legacy with significant new products and improvements in the existing product line. Their 140-watt flagship amplifier Kronzilla DXL is the subject of this review.

Physical description. Visually the amp demands placement front and center. This is a statement piece and as such not something you'll hide in a corner. If you're looking for visual understatement, the Kronzilla is not for you. If you appreciate design art combined with great sound, you will be impressed. The true stars are the T1610 tubes which visually dominate the layout. The T1610 is one of the few new tubes specifically designed for audio applications. They are exquisite, complex and photos neither do them justice nor convey their immense size. The pair is mounted as twin towers rising in the front, sitting nude and held upright only by the contact between five pins and socket. My initial reaction was that for a tube of its size and weight, some type of locking mechanism would be appropriate to keep the tube from being jostled loose if bumped yet in practice this clearly was not needed.

Two large rectangular transformers sit in the rear – one for power, the other for output coupling. The base is steel polished but not to a mirror finish and the reflections from it emphasize and define the tubes. Conspicuously absent is the lack of small signal input/driver tubes which we'll discuss shortly. The sides are finished in black textured paint. The black fins on each cheek imply that the enclosed transistor front end circuitry dissipates some heat. The rear is simple as expected, containing only single ended and balanced inputs, a power switch, the IEC connection and speaker terminals unfortunately shrouded by EU-mandated plastic covers where making the connection is somewhat harder than it needs to be. The front panel is as minimalist as the rear with just a small stand-by power button and indicator light. No meters, no biasing potentiometers. In all it's a very clean design with fit and finish as flawless as one would expect with this price tag.

Design. The T-1610 tubes are the heart and soul of the Kronzilla so let’s start there. From KR Audio, "the T-1610 is an ultra-linear low-frequency high-power triode capable of producing 22-45 watts of pure class A power. The T-1610 is an exceptional tube for those special applications requiring 50 watts or more of class A power… There is no other tube currently in production like [the] Kronzilla T-1610 power tube. There may be bigger transmitting tubes one can convert to audio operation but the T-1610 is a true triode designed specifically by KR Audio for audio use."