Krell KSA 100 Stereo Amplifier
Dan D'Agostino is a driven man, his all-consuming passions for sound, technology, and music made his first company, Krell Industries, the Ferrari of the high-end audio world in the 1980s. Dan plucked the Krell name from the classic sci-fi flick, "Forbidden Planet," and I'm guessing it was Dr. Morbius' line, "In times long past this planet was the home of a mighty and noble race of beings, which called themselves the Krell." that sparked D'Agostino's imagination. Dan and his wife Rondi launched the company with just one product, the KSA 100 amplifier, at the 1981 Consumer Electronics Show. In the early days the D'Agostinos worked hand to mouth, they'd build a few amps, put them in their car, drive them to a dealer, get a check, then build two more and so on.
In the early eighties there was a shakeout in the high-end audio industry, and only a few companies were advancing the state of the art of solid-state amplifiers. Threshold and Mark Levinson Audio Labs were at the top of the heap, until D'Agostino challenged them with his stereo Class A amplifier. The KSA 100 could drive any load, regardless of impedance. It delivered 100 watts into 8 ohms, 200 watts into 4, 800 watts into 2, and 1,600 watts into 1 ohm! At $2,200 it was pricey, but less expensive than the market leaders' offerings. I worked as a salesman at a high-end store in NYC (Sound by Singer), and I sold literally tons of Krells. The audiophile buzz was tremendous, so without a single ad or review those early Krell amps were in such high demand we couldn't keep them in stock, so every amp sold for full retail price! Krell's build and sound quality were irresistible, it was as simple as that.
I owned a KSA 100 in the 1980s, and while memories of sound from decades ago can't be trusted, I can now report the Krell sound was just as good as I remembered it. I recently bought a mint condition KSA 50 (the 50 watt amp that arrived in 1982). The "little" 60 pound, Class A amp still sounds spectacular. I'll never sell it.