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Shocking Krell Destruction Hall of Shame Addition

These latest additions to the Hall of Shame are two of the worst cases of hi-fi electronics bodgery I’ve ever seen.

This shocking case of Krell destruction – of a Krell KRC preamp – by a so-called expert has to be seen to be believed. Visit my Hall of Shame for all the horrifying details, more photos and more detailed descriptions, plus even more cases.

Case 4 – “Soldering Teacher” Tries to ‘Upgrade’ a Krell KRC Preamplifier & Destroys it.

Krell KRC HR 1

The destruction of this Krell KRC preamp really angers me for a few reasons. The KRC is a superb preamp. There aren’t many improvements possible, even by people who know what they are doing, let alone by someone who can’t solder.

This KRC was destroyed by a guy on the east coast of Australia. Apparently he made or makes amplifiers. I wouldn’t want to look inside one of those. Goodness knows how people like this become established or develop a following. Anyway, this is what a regular Krell KRC preamp looks like with the cover off.

IMG 6654
Note the uppermost board, with the rows of chips, precision resistors and relays. Note also the volume encoder, top left. Spinning the encoder sends a series of pulses to the CPU, which instructs the chip-based switches to select the correct resistor string to produce the commanded volume level. This is a great, though expensive, way to implement a volume control. It’s very precise, very symmetrical in terms of channel balance. Note finally that, typical of Krell, there is very little wiring. Everything is super neat and well laid out.
IMG 6656
Standard unmodified Krell KRC. Dusty, yes, but note all the perfectly fitting, neatly installed capacitors. Everything here is carefully designed and executed, by people who really knew what they were doing.

A Few of the Gory Details…

Now let’s take a look at the Krell destruction KRC, after work done by this soldering teacher and hi-fi equipment destroyer extraordinaire.

IMG 6502
The upgraded Krell KRC. Before you ask, yes, this is the same model, it should look like the images you’ve just seen, not like this. Note that the entire precision attenuator board is gone. It’s been replaced with this Silicon Chip remote control volume kit – that’s the smaller green board, and cheap ALPS volume pot. Our guy reckoned this was an improvement and no, I’m not kidding. Note also the maze of shitty ribbon cable wiring, mass of bodged in resistors and replacement caps that are too tall and very poorly soldered in.
IMG 6503
This is not a joke, these are the original photos supplied to me by my colleague. Someone actually did this. Note the vaporized traces, horrible soldering and no attempt made to clean the board. This is a disgrace, pure and simple.
IMG 6505
With the top board now ‘missing’ (vaporized), the perpetrator had to bodge all the top row of board mounted connectors to the bottom board. They originally neatly attached to the top board, with everything fitting perfectly. Now it looks like this.
IMG 6504
This is without doubt, some of the worst bodgery I’ve ever seen. WHAT IS THIS??!!
IMG 6509
Why use an axial capacitor, or neatly mount a radial one, when you can bodge one in like this? Note the left capacitor lead doesn’t go through the board and is barely even soldered to the top. These are double sided, through-hole plated, multi-layer boards. Component leads should be inserted into holes and soldered from the bottom on a board like this.
IMG 6510
Let’s just re-orient ourselves again and take another look at this spectacular work, with Silicon Chip remote volume control ‘upgrade’. WHY???
IMG 6544
Yep, this replaces a CPU, switches, relays and super-high precision 0.1% metal film resistors. Why use a mil-spec precision resistive ladder when you can install the Silicon Chip the Studio Series Control Module..?
IMG 6511
Transistor and ribbon cable bodgery. Note the bodged in blue relay. This replaces one previously on the top board.
IMG 6512
Almost everything here is bodged. This is disgraceful, this preamp was someone’s pride and joy. This is no upgrade, it’s the total destruction of a beautiful, irreplaceable piece of equipment.
IMG 6520
These caps are too tall, the wrong values and soldered in so badly it looks like a child did it!
IMG 6521
More evidence of something blowing up and very hasty repairs. Remember – this preamp was in perfect original condition.

To read more about this unbelievable case of Krell destruction, visit the Hall of Shame.

Case 3 – Destroyed Harman / Kardon PM-655 Integrated Amplifier

This sad case came to me in February, 2018. My customer bought this new from Vince Ross Audio, back in the day.  When it broke he took it back to Vince to see who he recommended. Mistake…

img 8859
Nice amp the PM-655. From the outside, all looks normal.

A Few of the Gory Details…

img 8860
A closer look after removing the lid reveals this mess. Flux residue everywhere, and this is just the beginning.
img 8862
This is the bodged volume control repair. Note the cut quality factory wiring loom, and the shitty, bodged in ribbon cable, just tacked onto the underside of the board. One question – WHY??
img 8864
This is an abomination. Who would leave a job like this?
img 8865
Look closely at the joints
img 8866
This is appalling, note the unsoldered joints and mass of flux residue.

For the rest of this case and many others, visit my Hall of Shame.

Liquid Mike

As a kid, I cherished my Tandy 200-in-1 electronics project lab, Dick Smith electronics kits, my Dad's hi-fi and my own first proper system. Later, I created Liquid Audio to help keep classic hi-fi gear alive and well. Our mission: to deliver TLC for classic Japanese, American and European hi-fi stereo equipment.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. tim davis

    OMG! Terrible just terrible…

  2. Eddie Byrd

    II have a Krell krc 3 that needs a power transformer
    As for as I know that’s all it needs
    The technician that was working on it passed
    I would really like to get it going again
    Also would like to buy a krc hr if you ever run across one for sale
    Thanks
    Ed

    1. Liquid Mike

      Hi Ed, happy to assist with the transformer if Krell can supply me with one. If not, we would have to match something up. I’ll need the unit in with me though and I’m currently fully booked unfortunately!

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