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Krell's $65,000 heavy-metal speaker flies high!

Krell's Modulari Duo Reference speaker is a certifiably wild concoction of solid aluminum and no-holds-barred engineering.

The Modulari Reference is a two-piece system. Steve Guttenberg

Krell's Modulari Duo Reference speakers make other speaker manufacturers cry.

Well, not exactly weep, but while I was reviewing these incredible speakers an executive from a respected American speaker company dropped by my apartment. To say he was bowled over by the mighty Krells is an understatement; he couldn't take his eyes off them. Then he ran his fingers over the exquisitely machined metalwork and asked to play a couple of tunes. Talk about shock and awe; he said, "They're $65,000? [EXPLETIVE DELETED], they're really good!" I've never seen one manufacturer so visibly shaken by another's wares.

The Krell Modulari Duo Reference has that sort of effect on people. Even folks who couldn't care less about high-end audio "get" these speakers. The sound all but reaches out and grabs your most sensitive parts and shakes them. My full review is in Home Entertainment magazine.

The Modulari Duo Reference is a blatantly original, thoroughly masculine design, but at 44 inches tall, 11 wide and 29 deep, it can fit in average size rooms. But the floors better be up for the job. Each speaker weighs 345 pounds; it's fair to assume the bulk of the weight can be attributed to its thick-walled aluminum construction. The speaker's heavily ribbed flanks contrast nicely with broad expanses of beautifully machined metal. There's a clear aesthetic kinship with Krell's electronics.

The Modulari Duo Reference is a two-piece system. The top speaker, available separately as the Modulari Primo ($20,000/pair), is a two-way design featuring a 7-inch aluminum woofer and 1-inch ring radiator tweeter, with a rather lethal looking point in its center. The lower cabinet houses three 8-inch aluminum woofers in its vault-like enclosure. All of the drivers are displayed behind acoustically transparent rubber "string" grilles.

Gold plated metal bars connect the top and bottom parts of the speaker. Steve Guttenberg

Bass, oh boy, these speakers love bass. It's nice and deep, and definition is as nimble as I've heard. Midrange and treble were brilliantly resolved, without a hint of grain; the speakers treated less than perfect recordings with a deft touch.

The Modulari Duo Reference gave me a new appreciation for "Led Zeppelin II." Oh, man, the band was a gigantic rhythm machine, and John Bonham's drums, unleashed by these amazing speakers, took my breath away.

The Modulari Duo Reference as an ambitious, no-holds barred assault on the state of the art, a guilty pleasure of the highest order. Your heart will beat a little faster when the Modulari Duo References are on the job.

Granted, only a handful of Audiophiliac readers could ever dream of buying a set of Krell speakers, but that's true of silly expensive cars like Ferrari, which saw sales increases last year. Revenues were up 15.2 percent over 2007's record year. So far, 2009 looks good.

Apparently, movie stars, sports heroes, rock icons, and CEOs are still swimming in cash.