Is Krell Out of Business?

A Krell mono amplifierRecently, we have spoken with multiple sources who have said that Krell Industries, a maker of high-end, high-performance electronics, has fallen on hard financial times. Some suggested the company closed at the end of last week for good. Others told us the company may be already in bankruptcy or in the process of filing for bankruptcy. Is this another Classé situation?

So what is really going on at Krell?…



While we have received outreach from various sources over the years about Krell, these tended to ebb and flow, and typically never amounted to much. However, recently, the number of people reaching out to us has increased noticeably. Not only that, but each had slightly different stories about the company – but stories that added up to the same thing – Krell was in trouble.

Some told us that Krell was on a cash basis with its suppliers, causing big backorders for product shipments. Others said the company was not issuing return merchandise authorizations (RMAs), even in the case of customer repair products.

A Prominent Audiophile Brand

Krell is a long time, well-known audiophile brand of separate electronics, such as amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, processors, and more. Started almost four decades ago by Dan and Rondi D’Agostino, the company flourished and was the go-to brand for many audiophiles. But as we’ve reported recently, the audiophile segment of the electronics business is a troubled space now – a segment whose glory days appear to be in the rearview mirror.

Krell Vanguard Universal DAC

Krell’s Vanguard Universal DAC

We reached out to Krell on Wednesday to see if we could discover what was happening at the company and if they were operating normally…or out of business. The first problem we ran into was that Krell was – in fact – closed part of the day on Wednesday. But they were closed like the rest of the East Coast, which was being hit with a major Nor’Easter winter storm dumping up to a foot or more of snow.

So…Is Krell in Bankruptcy? We Ask the Owner



Finally, during the storm, we connected with Krell co-founder and current owner Rondi D’Agostino. We asked D’Agostino, is Krell in bankruptcy or planning to file for bankruptcy?

“No, not at all,” said a surprised D’Agostino. “Whoever your source is, don’t use them anymore. They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

In other words, we pressed D’Agostino, you’re saying everything is fine…correct? “Well, it’s not perfect, but we’re not filing for bankruptcy and we’re not going out of business. It’s business as usual…after the storm is over.”

Temporarily Halting Incoming Service Units

In further discussion with D’Agostino, we attempted to determine why the sudden burst of rumors about Krell. She suggested that the source of all of these rumors may be as a result of a message the company had recently put out. This was a notice saying that Krell wasn’t accepting any more service units for some time. When we suggested that was a bit of an unusual communication, D’Agostino said that it was not financially driven – rather, they had just run out of space to accept more units for service and were seeking to stem the incoming flow while technicians processed units already in house.

“We just put a [temporary] halt on them,” D’Agostino said. “We’re getting through the backlog pretty good…they’ve been going out pretty regularly. So we’ll probably open up to start accepting more repair units starting tomorrow.”

Krell Solo 375 amplifier

What Krell is mostly known for is their amplifiers – in this case the Solo 375

No ‘Rhyme or Reason’



D’Agostino told us that there is “no rhyme or reason” to how many units come in for service at any one time. In late Fall, she said, they had hardly any units in for service work. But now, it’s a different story.

“We’ve been in business for 38-years, and there’s a ton of units out there,” D’Agostino told us, explaining that this normal service flow and not the result of some catastrophic failure. “So we just ran out of space, but we’re ready to open it up again for new service units.”

Launching a New Model

D’Agostino concluded our conversation by reassuring me that although people have predicted their demise at times over the years, Krell is still here and still going strong. As proof of that, she told us that the company is just about to launch another new model within the next 60-days.

Does that sound like a company out of business?

Learn all about Krell products at: www.krellonline.com.


About Ted

A sales and marketing specialist - primarily in the technology industry - I've experienced a sort of "circle of life" in business. I've been a mass merchant retailer, a specialty retailer, a specialty manufacturer, a large volume manufacturer, a distributor, and even represented sales representatives. Now the owner of a marketing company that works with a variety of businesses on improving their strategic marketing and business development - I analyze issues from all angles to develop holistic solutions.

Comments

Is Krell Out of Business? — 20 Comments

  1. New model is one thing, the ssp mk2 was rushed and still has bugs, i dont see the preamps as groundbreaking as the 707 which never got a second hdmi board… abandon product

  2. I can tell you that I am the Krell Representative and have not gotten paid for over a year and a half. Yes that indeed sounds like a company that doesn’t have money or is simply dishonest. We’ve hung around based on several sales managers promising to get us caught up and then they’re gone and payments stop again. If Rondi would like to respond then I’m all ears…but it starts with a check to pay past due commissions.

  3. I called Krell several times, message says the number is not in service. not sure why!!!
    I called 203-799-9796. also 203-799-9945. anyone was able to get hold of them?

  4. Krell has moved into smaller quarters in the back of the same building. I had my KSA-80B in for service in October. Dealt with Patrick and service was excellent, they recapped the unit and rebuilt it and it sounds the musical tour de force that it always was. It took about three weeks to turn the unit around. Its driving my one ohm Apogee Scintillas magnificently.

  5. I emailed Krell today complimenting them on the longevity of my PAM-5 preamplifier (30 years and still going strong) and received two replies of appreciation this same day from COO Walter Schofield and Technician Patrick Bresnahan. This is what quality products and service is all about.

  6. I talked with Krell around the end of December 2018.
    Thay fixed my problem that day.

    I will never use anything but krell.
    KRS 100
    KSA 250
    KSA 200
    KSA 100
    KRC
    KPA
    KPE
    MD 20
    KSA 50
    Krell phone 100

    All this I own.

  7. Ted Been a long time since we last met hope you are well!
    I have sold Krell products for more than 25+ years they have had some real issues past few years and sales are not just down people that once loved Krell have moved on to other brands. Well, Now they are attempting another ‘Comeback’ but, this time they have a new dealer agreement which is patently offensive in language and ideology. The agreement offers all the usual language most do with regards to internet sales but, they go as far as to name Audiogon (and others)even more disturbing that signing this agreement allows them to sue said dealer for selling on the internet for 3X’s the profit of whatever was advertised. Like Audiogon or Not (Ive been in both camps!) it IS the single largest collective marketplace for the people that purchase high-end audio i.e. Krell gear in 2019 WHY any of these manufactures dont simply understand that and work to CONTROL the way dealers advertise is beyond me, I say that w/39+ years experience in this industry. They could easily make requirements for MAPS price policies and set-up some kind of Territorial boundaries for each dealer instead they decided Audiogon is a “Problem” Not a resource & rather then look at their weak out of touch product line they resort to threaten their very dealers – the very people they hope will create an atmosphere for a comeback, while ignoring the reality that their customers are communicating in one well organized marketplace I would offer them Good Luck but luck cant fix STUPID!
    The internet & places like Audiogon are NOT going away better to figure out ways to operate in harmony on these sites

    • Hi Kevin,

      It HAS been quite a long time.

      I was unaware of their new dealer agreements and you raise some good points. Let’s see if someone from Krell is reading and chooses to respond to your point.

      I know that many manufacturers have told me of their difficulties in protecting their brands from being sold over the internet in contravention to their carefully laid distribution plans. It tends to be a multi-headed monster, and as more than one of these executives have said to me, “There is no good solution.”

      Thanks for your thoughts!

      Ted

  8. Let me just say that it is not easy to appease brick and mortar retailers, which are needed to demonstrate products effectively for consumers, and the internet, Audiogon or any other avenue, have been a huge source of complaints from many of them.

    In particular, the Dealer that wrote the tome today has been putting up Krell products as “new” at very low prices, which of course, is not acceptable, and they take business away from supporting Dealers. We need to preserve the integrity, value and legacy of the brand, and only those that do not understand that will complain.

      • Thanks for weighing in Walter. I know distribution policies and the presence of internet sales can be a complicated issue.

        I appreciate your contribution to the points raised.

        Ted

  9. Walter Thanks..but No thanks I am done with Krell!

    FYI, It’s important that you know before I made any decision I spoke with several big money buyers of audiophile gear about my continuing w/Krell about a harsh, albeit offensive contract and asked all of them would they be interested in looking at some NEW Krell products?
    Most of what I got was…
    “Krell is still in business? I heard they went under”
    Few that knew of new models said “I am not impressed” or worse yet
    “F Krell”……that is pretty much what they all said in end of the discussion I am not as harsh mine is a business decision entirely
    You can get all the reviews you want the very people that purchase this kind of gear are NOT interested and making it even harder & more expensive wouldn’t make it more appealing or improve already dismal sales
    I would offer you a ‘Good Luck’ but, luck isnt going to help Krell sadly

    • And there you have it folks, the personality disclosed and the reason that I sent a new contract with special wording for the Dealer that has caused great consternation among all others. I had to fire this very same Dealer for disruptive sales practices at another company. I don’t think I have to say any more, just that the end result of not having this entity as a Dealer was exactly what we were angling for to protect all other partners that are having great success with the resurgence of Krell. As always, my door is open for questions and we thank the dozens of Dealers and Distributors that have reconnected with the Krell brand for their support.

      Giving away product at crazy low prices around the entire country is not what Krell is about. We will support traditional business models, and have terminated many for not being a “viable partner”.

      Apologies for airing “dirty laundry” on a public forum.

      All the best,

      Walter
      +1-781-775-5650

  10. “The Personality disclosed”?? really that’s your reply?
    a childish personal attacks?? WOW
    I am going to email 100 of my repeat customers include the ridiculous contract you emailed me ask them –
    1- ‘what they think of Krell’
    2- what do you think of their dealer agreement
    3 – what do you think of their temporary CCO quote “Giving away product at crazy low prices around the entire country is not what Krell is about”

    I already know what I’ll get in return but watch I’ll be posting it here and dozen other places where audiophiles communicate. Resorting to personal attacks clearly shows you no intellectual argument and your “Personality disclosure” clear evidence how weak you truly are
    Problem with Krell i.e. failing companies isn’t their products its the dinosaurs they hire that simply can NOT conceptualize how to utilize the most powerful market place the World has ever known –
    For the record I give my customers FAIR pricing I make plenty of money and will NEVER apologize for that!

    • Well, if you will make it a mission to spread the word about Krell, please include your ads on Audiogon selling our new, not available to you yet, K-300i for $5500 brand new.

      I stand by my words and as I mentioned prior, I am always willing to talk on the phone and review your suggestions.

      I thought we were friends, you could have just called.

  11. Walter,

    Josh Crane at Audiogon here. I can tell you on good authority that Audiogon is ready to welcome manufacturer participation on the site. We would love to bridge the gap between the online community and traditional brick and mortar retailers. Here is an example of what we are doing for Wilson Audio https://www.audiogon.com/brands/wilson-audio

    Buyers will always flock to marketplaces to find deals on audio equipment, but that doesn’t mean that manufacturers can’t steer these buyers towards new Krell product with some well placed marketing on the site.

    This would also allow Krell to enforce Dealer restrictions while still allowing Dealer participation on the site. We could potentially even develop geographic boundaries for Dealers who are interested in advertising with us. We could, for example, only allow users from a certain state to see said listing.

    Brain storming and wanted to let you know that we are open to dialogue.

    Josh Crane
    josh.crane@audiogon.com

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