McIntosh Mx151 vs. Krell Foundation vs Arcam AV 860

Hell all.  I'm in the process of building a nice HT and Audio system.  I decided on the Sonus Faber Evolution and a matching Amati Futura Center speaker.  I need to decide on an amp and AV processor.  I would like some insight on with to chose:

Taking a poll with people in the know: of the three which would give me the best pairing/performance.


Im open other suggestions as well. 
I have a McIntosh MX136 and MX121 and have had a MX120. They have all worked flawlessly. I also have had 3 Arcam HT processors and all 3 died. Never again Arcam for me. I have never owned Krell.
I still own the MX121, but recently swapped it out for the Anthem AVM60.  The one challenge I have with McIntosh and HT, is they havne't quite embraced the capabilities of modules and firmware upgrades.  When you're dropping $5k plus on a HT pre, inability to upgrade it with firmware or modules, it creates a Stockholm Syndrome mentality.  I'm not advocating to not go with McIntosh, just know that the code/features within the chassis will be its forever limit.  Being that HT is super dynamic in new technologies vs. straight 2-channel, this is now a consideration I evaluate.  

I suppose one might say that's the game you play; which I concur in the $1k-$2k range, but as a consumer, I expect more for a $6k HT preamp.  As a FYI, and I hope I don't get flagged, The Music Room has a used MX151.  After stating everything I just stated, if you can pick a used one up, you will not be disappointed with that piece.  It has Dolby Atmos and also has the MEN220 built into it, which is worth its weight in gold for room correction.  I've ran one in my 2-channel setup, unbelievable.

 Many places are blowing out the higher end Marantz models, to make room for the new stuff.  I've owned one and I liked the sound signature on it.  The Anthem AVM60 is pretty slick, especially with room correction.  You get a visualization of the peaks, so it's helpful if you move into getting room treatments, I don't know if the output visualizations are available with the MX151.  As far as sound, with movies it's great, but I don't use it for 2-channel listening, as I have a separate system for that.
We are an Audio Control dealer and their processors are amazing and very reliable.

They are an American company that builds their products actually in America.

They share development costs with Arcam and the  two companies products are similar.

Audio Control bigger power supply better dacs 
I have a Krell Foundation 4k UHD and I can say that the sound quality is very impressive. Stereo playback is just absolutely top notch. It also has tons of inputs, outputs, and configuration settings.

I will say - I am unhappy with the On Screen Display (OSD) and programming menu. Yes - you can access it through a web browser, which is extremely helpful - but it man it looks like it was written in DOS pre AOL...I actually had to make an excel spreadsheet so I could track all the menus, sub-menus, etc - because it is extremely confusing to use and you never quite know what you are doing since there is no graphic presentation of where you actually are in the sub-menus...

like this:

here's some images I grabbed from my unit: (when accessing via my computer)

Also, the Krell seems to have about a 60% success rate when accepting remote input commands from my Harmony hub unit. Every other piece of AV gear I have, and that numbers 7, work every time with the Harmony.

I am looking into a McIntosh MX151 since there OSD and user interface seems like the kind of quality and well thought out UI that a $5k home theater processor should have.

Here's a link to some of what I presume are the MX151 OSD menus are:

I haven't actually used the MX151 programming so I am not saying it's easier/better - it just certainly looks like it is laid out in a much more professional fashion.

I do not want to bad mouth the Krell since it really produces top notch sound and video functionality, but man I just wish it was easier to use...

Just my thoughts!
The problem with the Krell is it is only HDMI 2.0 (not 2.0a or 2.0b). 2.0 cannot pass HDR and cannot be fixed with a software upgrade. It is a hardware issue.

For this reason, in my search, it was taken off the list.

i now have Arcam AV860 and I’m not totally blown away with unit. Dirac has given me many issues especially in different gain issue between my amps.

NAD M17 not ready yet. Always coming soon.

The lower level McIntosh is pretty much a rebadged Marantz.

The pre pro landscape sucks right now. I’m not sure if I will stay the course with Arcam and wait to see what’s coming next year.

i miss Classe but their final unit was a mess too.
Also, do you consider the MX151 “lower level McIntosh”!

just curious - no bias in that question!
I really wanted to like the Krell, but the poor user functionality and no HDR is a deal breaker.  
Thank you all for your input.  I see that Emotiva has come out with a pretty slick pre/pro slated to be available Q1 of 2018.  Anyone can weigh in on this unit vs the Anthem/Arcam based on the specs?
I like emotiva, I had their XMC-1. And Dirac is good room correction software. That being said, the RMC-1 was supposed to be out last year, and Marantz is using the same DSPs in their new pre/pro.  The XMC-1 takes 45 seconds to boot up from off, or you can run it in standby, but it’s a very high power standby (30W).  I’d wait to see what the boot and power situation with the RMC-1 is before you fall in love with it. 
Like mcgal, my experience with Arcam won't be repeated.  I went through two AVR 600's.  One died, both were very buggy.
What is the difference between the Arcam 860 and the Arcam AVR 850?  I am confused?
I've owned a Krell Foundation 4K Ultra HD for about three years and my experience matches @babyseaotter99 .  Truly excellent audio performance.  Lots of inputs and outputs.  Clunky OSD with 1980s feel to it.  I'm using mine with a Panasonic Viera VT60 plasma panel, though,which is 1080p not 4K.  So I'm not suffering from the shortcomings highlighted by @dynguy (yet).  However, Krell just began offering an HDMI-switcher unit that works in tandem with the Foundation and addresses the shortcomings.  This two-box approach is similar to what Meridian did with their G-series processors and HD621 switcher.  I like the Foundation so much that I might just buy the new Krell switcher in anticipation of going 4K on the panel some day.  Though, to be honest, I hope my VT60 never dies.
@srestivo the Krell 4k will pass 4k signals. So even if you do upgrade to a 4K TV it will handle the signals. The switcher allows passing 4k HDR and HDMI 2.0. I guess most newer TVs are 4k HDR hence the need for the switcher. $1,000 for an HDMI switch is pretty steep though, but I guess it's Krell so it's gonna be pricey.

I agree - if I ever upgrade to a 4k HDR TV I will likely get that switcher rather than go to a new processor, but my Pioneer plasma is going strong after 12 years (knock on wood!)

"We have had many requests for an add on to the Foundation to support HDR and HDMI2.0b, hence, the Krell HDMI 4K HDR Switcher with specs shown below. It hooks into your RS 232 port via an adapter, supplied with the unit."

I too have the last model Panasonic Plasma 65 inch.

Still loving the picture.  Just looks more natural and pleasing than even my 45" 4K in the den.

I use a McIntosh MX 134 for my sound.  Still sounds perfect with the McIntosh amps all around. 

I bypass it via HDMI from Oppo to Tv, so having the bit older Mc pre/pro doesn't hurt that part at all.


Would you need or care for supports for 4K HDR pass through hdcp 2.2, HDMI 2.0a or Dolby Atmos, DTS-X in a HT preamp processor that you are going to get? Did you already purchase a pre pro yet since this is an older thread from 2017. Cause when you first asked or considered buying a pre pro back in 2017 you did consider the McIntosh MX151, which is an older and discontinued McIntosh processor, that does not support 4K at all. The MX160, which is a replacement model for the MX151, does support 4K Dolby Atmos DTS-X but not sure if it supports the latest HDR & Dolby Vision or not and don’t know what HDMI version the MX160 is on.

The McIntosh MX150/151/160 are McIntosh’s flagship HT processors and share nothing with Marantz processors whereas the MX13x/120/121/122 are McIntosh’s lower end or entry level HT processors and aren’t simply re-badged of Marantz flagship HT processors (AV8801/AV8802/AV8805). They use Marantz’s AV880x platforms : Marantz’s HDMI boards and AV processings, Audyssey room corrections, GUI, OSD, firmwares & remotes but McIntosh designed and built their own power supplies, voltage regulators, DAC, audio clocking and analog audio input & output stages & circuitry. They aren’t complete Marantz AV880x rebadged units. Basically with their lower end or entry level HT processors, McIntosh designed and built their own audio components and parts, so, the internal topology or architecture of audio circuitry design were pure McIntosh’s.
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