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Shifting to piano next continued being impressive. The Jazz Chihiro Yamanaka pulls from the ivories on Abyss is insane. Such is the impression of technical perfection that I had to crack into my ‘special occasions’ trunk and pour a 12-year old Karuizawa Japanese single malt. Okay, Japan’s cultural export business is quite diversified and hits top grades in more than one discipline. The thought to continue with a Japanese luxury amp did arise briefly but the sheer comfort and satisfaction from this sterling US/Sino co-production plus the Japanese spirit quickly put an end to it.

It was really something how tacitly the Krell rendered the brushes on the drum skins. Regardless what I focused on, I always encountered a density of detail yet the bigger musical picture never faded. In matters of musical cohesiveness and connective tissue, the Krell nearly mirrored my tubed Jadis. On detail retrieval however, the Krell beat it soundly. Pop next. On Goldfrapp’s "Human" [Felt Mountain], the bass growls abysmally to underline existentialism in an impressive arrangement between synth effects and Alison Goldfrapp's peculiar voice. Once again I tended to simply enter the music rather than prick up my ears to – find nothing to complain about. Before you begin to mistrust me, true, other amps in this segment produce bass with more tautness, dryness and sheer brutality. Others have a skoch more shimmer or airiness on top. But I’d be worried that in trade for small percentage points in lows and highs, those would risk a greater loss in musical pleasure.

Don’t ask but flipping through my music collection, I got hung up on a few party compilations dating back to the 90s. Uploading my collection to hard disk way back when, I apparently hadn’t been too choosy in my rush to max out on my storage capacity. Optimized for disco pounders with concomitantly squashed dynamics, these tracks usually are little fun over quality hifi systems. They tend to sound flat, flaccid and boring. Not so with the S-300i. It doesn’t ‘make’ sound of course so data or dynamics not captured on the software can’t and won’t get magically added.

But while I can’t really explain how, it managed to get 70’s, 80’s and 90’s pop, rock, funk and soul to swing. The only thing missing was a bass control to goose the boom in typical 80s fashion. With all its high-end qualities, Krell’s S-300i is clearly not above accompanying this or the other party. And trust me, there’ll be dancing! To approach the inevitable transition to more serious fare in stages, I remained with dance music, albeit ballet and Strawinsky’s Sacre du Printemps [Pierre Boulez, Cleveland Orchestra].

As soon as the bassoons kick in, one senses tension and anticipation in the audience. Then the first instrumental answers commence between playful woodwinds contrasted by powerful rhythmic pounding with big stringed instruments before the kettle drums add even more color for true Cinerama scope. Admittedly a bit kitsch and folksy, it’s a potent tear jerker and listening over Krell’s S-300i was no less beautiful or practical. You see, one may cave in for that first tear in the corner and let it drop. Or in a different mode, one can focus on the recorded detail, the clear tone colors, articulate attacks, deep layering and remain coolly analytical.