Symphonic Line Kraftquelle 2 MK2 integrated amp

07.04.2015..
Symphonic Line Kraftquelle 2
Symphonic Line Kraftquelle 2

Editor’s note - In German, Kraftquelle means "energy source".

 

 

The integrated amplifier here mentioned was born from the fine mind of Rolf Gemein, yet author of numerous acclaimed and successful electronics. On our own magazine, we have already tested the RG7 MK4 power amp. So, when Roberto delivered me the amplifier, I already imagined that I would enjoy some respectable electronics. An exemplary tidy manufacture: Mr. Gemein writes repeatedly that the company's philosophy is to look for, with its products, the harmony of design and sound, harmony that in my opinion is perfectly achieved by this Kraftquelle 2.

 

I will be forgiven by who, reasonably, will consider the term esoteric very overused in our field, but for this solid German integrated amp, I just have to use it. The word in question appears to have two origins: eisoteo, "penetrate into the interior through the exterior" and, in our case, the amp in question has had on me exactly that power. It did often took me almost in another dimension, cradled by its notes. The other meaning associated with the word esoteric is magical ... and our amplifier seemed to me exactly like that in many of the listening sessions I did. Its music kidnapped me so much that I felt abstracted from reality. If, at the beginning, I started to analyze the characteristics of the sound of the Kraftquelle, at the end I realized that I was immersed in the music streaming into the room. I felt a great epidermal and deep pleasure, often emotional, in listening.

 

The German gear seems very solid, with imposing but at the same time easy to handle knobs for the volume and for the selection of the inputs. The number of digital inputs is very rich. Moreover, the Kraftquelle has a MM and MC phono input. The preamplification and the out stage are distinct. In fact, on the back, are assembled RCA output as PREamplification and MAIN as out. Both RCA and power connectors are of excellent quality. A portion of the power supply, presumably transformers for pre and out stage, resides in a separate chassis and connects to the back of the amplifier via two cables with DIN connectors. I contacted Mr. Gemein to get much information as detailed as possible on integrated chips used in the pre and in the out stages, characteristics of the capacitors, type of power supply and so on. Actually, the answer has been not very exhaustive. We know that the capacitors are custom made and the transformer of the pre stage has 300 VA. I also asked why the device assembled only unbalanced inputs and output. I was intrigued by the fact that electronics of that rank did not use balanced inputs. The answer has highlighted his belief that, apart from a lower output volume, the unbalanced signal is like the balanced, maybe less extended in the low range, but most convincing in the high spectrum of the frequencies.

 

The device has six unbalanced RCA inputs and a tape monitor, MM or MC selectable, two per tape. It is possible to change the impedance with more of one thousand ohms for the MC. On the back there is the headphone jack which, when used, automatically mutes the speaker outputs.

The interior, as you can see from the pictures, is very tidy and rational. I would say that the engineering is impeccable. The transistors look like the Sanken, excellent starting point for a design of an amplifier, definitely very successful in the case of our Kraftquelle …

In our amp are applied also several bits of MDM, deadening material with excellent damping properties.

A note on the remote control: functional, yes, but I would have expected a better quality of manufacture, considered the superiority of the amplifier.

Now I carry the impressions of our friend Mauro Cittadini, after a careful listening to the amplifier connected to my setup:

 

"The manufacture is remarkable, robust, with a good choice of materials and a separate power supply unit. I consider that kind of solution always of great value. The sound is what I have rarely heard from a solid-state amp: smooth, without any bumps in the medium-high range, but detailed and defined at the same time. The bass range is very deep, material, absolutely not dry and really braking, as often happens in the solid-state amplification of new generation. In that regard, one wonders if this setting is correct in the general framework of the listening pleasure. The power reserve is impressive, no transient energy, even at high volume, is served less than good. Really nice the vocals, both male and female. I focused on a track I know very well: “Flum", composed by Bon Iver and starring Peter Gabriel on his album Scratch My Back. The playback of Peter’s voice is truly amazing".

 

Can I complain a little bit? Okay, a few things: defining cheap the remote control is a euphemism! Moreover, the motorized volume control is not precise and some more detailed information on the electronic components of this great amp would be appreciable.

The price? Some might say that the "good feelings" are priceless ... You bet! "

Before getting an idea of how this machine performs, several days have passed. Although the extreme quality of reproduction was sensed from the beginning, it took me a little time to absorb and fully appreciate the German gear. The Kraftquelle made the music, to which I listen regularly with different set-ups, a rarely heard finesse and completeness. Pay attention ... I do not mean that the same songs were presented in an artificial or "embellished" version, they were only made in a perfect natural way! In fact, it is with this last adjective that I would be able to define the German amp. In music playback, being natural is the most difficult thing to achieve, because so many parameters must do their part and merge into a single harmonic balance, and none of them should prevail. For example, in analyzing the dynamics of Kraftquelle, I can safely say that this parameter merges perfectly with the other parameters and gives emotions to the listener while, at the same time, it does overshadow the analysis of the dynamics itself... If we forget it, that means that the dynamics is all there!

Continuing the listening sessions with this excellent music machine, one afternoon I decided to do a full immersion varying as much as possible musical genres: from Cinematic Orchestra to Elisa, from the most famous philharmonic orchestras to baroque music. In all cases, I had the distinct feeling that the sound was played with elegance and naturalness out of the ordinary. No signs of unevenness in the entire frequency range, even at high volumes, and a reconstruction of the realism difficult to criticize ... An incredibly deep bass even though in some circumstances it appeared not perfectly controlled. So, I would say that it's really hard to criticize our amplifier. Connected to my system it has taken control of the situation at every opportunity and, with rare authority, driven my speakers, not really very easy, in a superlative way. He gave me exciting moments.

 

 

SCHEME SUMMARY

top score ✳✳✳✳✳ ReMusic Sparks

 

Timbric: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Point of excellence of Krafquelle II

Dynamics: ✳✳✳✳1/2 |Excellent

Detail: ✳✳✳✳1/2 | Present and perfectly inlaid in musicality

Clearness: ✳✳✳✳1/2 |Great transparency and neutrality

Image: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Very realistic

Rate: ✳✳✳✳ |It may seem not fast, but it is when necessary

Manufacture: ✳✳✳✳1/2 | Solid, everything is perfectly engineered, the remote control not at the same level of the amp

Price/quality ratio: ✳✳✳✳ |The selling price is quite expensive, but the quality is high

 

 

 

Official technical specifications:

Output Power: 2x140W 8ohm RMS / 2x250W 4ohm RMS

Inputs: 6 line and one phono

THD: <0.05 %

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz ±0.5dB

S/N ratio: >100dB

Dimensions: mm 325x105x420mm (WxHxD)

Weight: 14kg

 

Official Italian dealer: to Il tempio Esoterico website

Official current price in Italy: 12,500.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Roberto Fugito’s system

 

 
by Roberto Fugito
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