Best affordable amp for Thiel CS3.6


I have a pair of CS3.6's, which I am currently driving with a pair of Adcom GFA-555II's in bridged mono mode. While I am fairly happy with this setup, I realize that the Adcoms may not be in the same league as the Thiels. Any suggestions as to what amps mate well with the CS3.6's? Ideally, I'd love to find an amp (or two, if mono) for under $2,000, but if it's worthwhile, I may go higher. Obviously, if there is a great option out there for less money, I'd be even more interested. Used gear is fine with me, if it is quality gear. I am also considering modding my Adcoms to smooth out the mids/highs and add a little support in the low end.

Another consideration is that I am currently using an Adcom GFA-2535 for my center channel (Thiel SCS3) and surrounds (AR TSW-110), and since it is nice to have matching amps for HT, I'd probably have to add an additional amp or two (eventually).

My sources are currently a Denon DCM-460 and a JVC SA-600, but these are likely to be upgraded in the relatively near future. Both are sending digital outs to my Rotel RSP-1066, which handles the processing.

Thanks for any input/advice.

Tom.
tombowlus
I think you mentioned being a Progressive Audio customer in one of your posts. I know they have their Thiels primarily powered by Spectral gear in their showrooms. I ended up purchasing a Spectral/Thiel system. I have very little experience, so I'm wondering if you (or any one else) have heard this combo and what you think of the compatability. Have you considered Spectral?
Actually, no. I had not considered Spectral, and I had forgotten that Progressive carried them. Which model Thiels do you have? The word that I am receiving is that the CS3.6's are some of the hardest Thiels to drive, and that in fact, they rank up there with some of the hardest speakers to drive. They spend a lot of time down in the 2 Ohm range, and being very flat across such a wide frequency spectrum, they can place a lot of demands upon an amp. Progressive's #1 recommendation for the CS3.6 so far has been Krell. Theta is close, they say, but for slightly more money, a Krell would work better. They do believe that McCormack would be a very large step in the right direction, though, and would bridge the gap cost-wise between Adcom and Krell.

Do you recall the price range of the Spectral gear? I know very little about them. Interestingly, the last time I was down there, I heard Thiel speakers as part of three separate systems. Two of them used Krell gear, and one used Rotel gear. I ended up buying a Rotel RSP-1066 because of how close it came to matching the Krell Showcase. Amp-wise, though, I'd put Rotel fairly close to the same league as Adcom, and since I am looking for an upgrade, here, I hadn't really thought about Rotel. Still, they may be worth listening to again.

Thanks for the feedback. I have been shopping at Progressive since my college days back in the late '80's, and I have come to really trust and rely upon them.

Later, Tom.
Try a PS Audio HCA-2. There is a Positive Feedback.com article on this same speaker/amp match.
Really?! I had thought of the HCA-2, but wouldn't have thought that it would have enough juice for the CS3.6's. I will try to check out that article.

Thanks, Tom.
I'm glad to hear you trust Progressive because I put myself in their hands in large part when I put my system together. I have Thiel 2.4s driven by a Spectral DMA-100S. I got the amp used for just over 2,000 and it drives the speakers well, except for maybe the most extreme volumes. So for the 3.6s, while I'm sure the load would be no problem for any of the Spectral gear, you might want more wattage (mine is 100W into 8 ohms) which would probably push you above your stated budget. This may be why Progressive didn't mention Spectral. The other problem is Spectral demands that their amps be combined with Spectral pres. It wouldn't hurt to ask Progressive for their opinion on how the Spectrals stack up against the other gear if you talk to them again.
I listened to the McCormack DNA-125 and I thought the jump up from the Adcom (don't know what model) to the McCormack was greater, more striking than the jump up from the McCormack to the Spectral. Never auditioned Krell.
Enjoy your shopping.