Does a Class D amp match well with Thiel Speakers?

I am considering purchasing either the the Thiel 2.4 or 3.7 Speakers. Definitely, I would appreciate the feedback.
My 2.3's sound better than ever on a pair of (class D) Rowland 201's. So,
yea, I think it's a perfect match. Yet, whether that "match" is
one that would suit your tastes -- and I won't pretend that it's not a
question of individual taste -- is something you'll have to hear to decide for

The one thing Thiels definitely do need is plenty of good, clean power.
Class D thus is a perfectly good (and relatively more efficient) means of
feeding Thiels just what they need. But certainly not the only means.
Personally, I'd love to hear a pair if 3.7's on some, say, Rowland or Bel
Canto, class D monoblocks...suspect it would be fantastic.
Since Spectron will let me demo it for a month, I was considering that amplifier and has received rave reviews. In the past, I owned the Thiel 2.3 Speakers for 10 years.
Friend of mine has a Audio Research D300 I think it is and he loves it with his 3.7's. Another buddy has a ARC D135 and it sounds great.
I own sililarely difficult to drive speakers: Sasha by Wilson Audio. I tried many amplifiers (mostly class A and A/AB) and I am extremely happy with Spectron amplifier (matched with Joule-Electra preamplifier).

If you can audition Spectron - go for it, and you will have your own opinion.

Just a clarification to a note posted above. ARC's class D amps were the 150.2 and 300.2, both using Triamp modules, which went into production in 2004 and were discontinued when Triamp went out of business in 2007 (the 300.2 is not the same as the D300, an older class A/B SS model from the mid-90s). Their current class D amps are the brand-new DS225 and DS450. The SD135 (produced after the 150.2 & 300.2, and before the new DS series) was a class A/B amp.
Put me on the Spectron side of this answer.
The 'only' issue is THIEL's propensity toward an analytical sound...usually ameliorated with tubes in the preamp stage...just sayin'.

Good listening.

Again, you may consider a tube order to 'soften' the sound.
The THIEL can be, depending on the other gear in the system, somewhat 'dry' sounding. Potato, potaaaato.
I always preferred them with a tube somewhere.
Kathy Gornik, (now owner of THIEL) and I used to say, laughingly, 'I never heard a solid state amp that I didn't like better with a tube preamp'....the meaning clear, especially in the context of THIEL speakers in the chain.

Sam, you're welcome. Hope I didn't come across as some kind of "ARC know-it-all", merely that since I use a 150.2 with my Maggies, I have a vested interested in ARC's "Class D" amps! I'm also consistent with many of the other posters in this thread in that I too use a tube pre amp (in my case an ARC SP-8) in front of the SS amp, so while I don't have experience with the Thiel speakers, my general experience and choices seem in-line with the others.
Class D is the first place I would look to power Thiels well.

I use an ARC tube pre-amp with my Class D amp and power and current hungry OHM speakers and find that to be a very effective combo.

Not all Class Ds are equally tube preamp friendly. Ones with higher input impedance (60Kohm or higher)are the safest bets.
IMHO class D is not the way to go with Theil speakers. Have any of you folks with Thiels or any other speakers that need lots of clean power and will play down to 1 ohm heard the Sanders Sound Systems class AB Magtech amp. The Magtech amp can be auditioned free for 30 days. Check out the Magtech at Also check out the review on the Magtech amp in Feb 2011 issue 210 of the Absolute Sound. I personally feel that you could spend 5 or 6 times the price of the Magtech price and not get any improvement in sound. The Magtech plays the music as is with no colorations. It is a real sleeper.
Soundlock makes a good point.
Jim Thiel, starting in 1988, while developing the CS5's discovered that, by using bass drivers that drop precipitously in resistance, that this had a side effect of pulling more current from the amplifier--acting 'almost' as an equalizer on the bottom/bass region.
I have not discussed this, but it seems plausible, AND if Jim said it to be true, I don't need much else to bolster this opinion.
So...with that said--an amp with lots of balls, doubling as the impedence drops more and more, as they do get into the 2 ohm region with the THIEL 3.7--should mate well with a 'Krell-like' bass performer. I don't ascribe to the Magtech amp, as I haven't heard it...yet, he's right on the mark in his assessment. THIEL's need current.
As a side note--one very hard earned lesson by Jim that year was, that virtually everyone exaggerated their current delivery on the amplifiers--very few did what the manufacturers claimed.

Good listening...

I think everyone agree they need power and current.

That means either Krell like big heavy and inefficient monster amp or smaller, more manageable and energy efficient Class D.
If you are going to pair the Thiels with Class D you would be better served with a tube preamp IMHO.
A couple of responses ago I wrote:

"Put me on the Spectron side of this answer.
The 'only' issue is THIEL's propensity toward an analytical sound...usually ameliorated with tubes in the preamp stage...just sayin'."

We're in total agreement.

Good listening.
In response to Mapman's thread. He is correct that most powerful amps are big, heavy, run hot as Hades, but the Magtech only weighs 55 lbs and idles at I believe 12 watts. It runs cool and designed to be left on all the time if you desire. I had a McIntosh MC-402 before I purchased the Magtech. I was a little skeptical about this amp, but the Magtech has a 30 days free trial period and after I listened to it, the Mac went up for sale. I just can't understand why someone that needs a highpowered amp that is reasonably priced would not opt to try the Magtech. It want cost you a dime to try it for 30 days. Before some of you folks jump on me for touting this amp, NO, I have no business interest with Sanders Sound Systems. I am just a very happy customer who believes that it is a fantastic amp with a real world price and a lifetime warranty. I am driving a pair of Duntech Sovereign speakers and they have never sounded better. Just my 2 cents worth. Happy listening fellow audiophiles.
The 'only' issue is THIEL's propensity toward an analytical sound...usually ameliorated with tubes in the preamp stage...just sayin'.

Larry is right .. in fact I'm enjoing the Lector Zoe tube preamp in front my Parasound Halo JC1's - Thiel CS2.4 more than the Pass Labs X1
"The 'only' issue is THIEL's propensity toward an analytical sound...usually ameliorated with tubes in the preamp stage...just sayin'."

I prefer speakers capable of "analytical sound". Its usually not too hard to tame them as needed or if desired.

Remember, its not generally hard to take something (like detail) away if it is there, but it is impossible to add it accurately if not.

An analogy is HD TV. The more resolution and detail out of the can, the better. Detail can easily be filtered if needed or desired later from there with a few simple adjustments on a good set.

I suspect there are few video buffs that would not want as much resolution and detail as possible, yet this abounds with audio buffs. Go figure!

Can anything we listen to really be any worse than watching Snookie in hd?
To MAPMAN: AMEN brother. You called it like it is. Thanks for saying it. Wish I had thought to say it. Couldn't have been stated any better.
I agree with Mapman and prefer heaps of detail which Thiel delivers in spades. Preferring to stay with a solid state preamp, I am curious if it matters whether the amp is Class D or not when matching a preamp. Is the Pass X-10 (excellent reviews) a good match? What other solid state preamp would work well?
Totally disagree with MAPMAN. Cannot disagree more.

I want to be grabbed by music, I want to experience trans similar or identical I have inside symphonic hall. I do not give a dumn if musicians there play with high resolution or no resolution I want to be in this trans inder full influcence of old "replitian" brain

Every time my cortex (smart brain) note details or something else during the playback - its not a music its a sound you like or not and I believe as a rule its one or another kind of distortion

Simon Thacher of Spectron has the same philosophy and when I am listening to my LA-300 Joule-Electra ("most romantic" ) preamp matched to my Spectrons AND recording is GOOD - I am in paradise.

While, I believe that there is no one "correct" way to listen to music I suspect that majority will choose my way...or not
Anybody understand what Dob is talking about??? Doesn't make much sense to me what he is saying. Well, to each his own as Elmer said when he kissed the cow goodnight.
I think I understand.

I think we share similar goals but perhaps may take different approaches in achieving it.
"Anybody understand what Dob is talking about??? Doesn't make much sense to me what he is saying. "

Soundlock, I am sure you have attended live acoustic music concerts. How was your experience there? Was resolution sufficiently high for you, soundtage wide enough, bass deep and rich and not bloated? Did midrange had good rich texture?

I suspect that you never asked your yourself any of these questions because you came to enjoy MUSIC, particularly if your favorite pieces or performers were there. I presume that after a minute or two you closed your eyes and let music "carry" you.

I want to experience the same while listening to the recorded music. If I am forced to pay attention to super wide soundstage very minute details or whatever then I am not listening to music but evaluate sound and I don;t want to do sound evaluation I want to enjoy misic.

Of course, AFTER listening session I can go back to my aural memory and tell you what I think (feel) about bass, or level of details for example... but I, personally do not care much about it, I want to be "grabbed" by music, to be fully emotionally involved and deeper this (emotional) involment is the better component or recording in question is in my opinion. That's all.

Kind Regards
"I want to be "grabbed" by music, to be fully emotionally involved and deeper this (emotional) involment .... That's all."

I suspect most music lovers want that but the factors which determine whether it is accomplished or not on a case by case basis will vary.

That's what makes the world go round

Audiophiles are unique only in that "sound quality", whatever that means to each, matters.

For many reasons, detail may not matter much to some to achieve their goals and may for others.

If it does, Thiels are a good choice I think and Class D a reasonable choice to go with them.

Bad sound quality bothers me, whether live or with audio gear, it doesn't matter. I only think about detail if I know something pleasant is there but I do not hear it, otherwise it is not an issue.

If you never listen to music that is detailed or ignore the details when they exist, you might never know what you are missing. Then again, you may not even care, which is fine!

Ignorance (not knowing or being aware of something) can be bliss, for sure!
There is an incredible struggle going on in design work.
Design is about 1's and 0's, X's and O's--formulas.
Music is about emotion and feeling, (think Micarelli playing Emmanuelle with Botti or, you name the piece).
The two posters here, duking it out are a perfect example of the thoughts which tug at a designers heart (and to be truthful, purse strings).
At what point does my speaker sound 'flat and neutral', and then at what point does that (even 1/4db difference in output of the tweeter, give it an overly analytical sound, or, God forbid, 'bright and hashy'?
I personally went for this: "The best tweeter I ever heard, I didn't." Try to tuck the tweeter in right beneath the midrange--measures flat, but never, never calls attention to itself. Also, chose a tweeter that doesn't 'spike' in the last octave, (10Khz to 20Khz). At least the last octaves for most of us...(note: does not include your favorite Akita, or Corgi.)
The problem with this 'careful balance of loudspeakers is', that that damn 'free will' thing rears its ugly head.
One designer of a THIEL like sound is realizing that the customer NEEDS some electronic 'help' while another is thinking the exact same thing, but hoping for the opposite 'voicing' of electronics, say Vandersteen/THIEL.

I was wondering if this debate would develop and I'm glad it did.
Personally, I went for a 'really dynamic midrange', flat but not too forward high end...and think that that's what we hear 'live' in an accoustic venue.
The third, most important diminsion in audio is the listener, his/her preferences. Interesting.

Good listening.

Just wanted to say how much I appreciated (and agree with) Dob's extended explanation of what he is looking for in music and in audio technology. I'm off to listen to Itzhak Perlman this evening, and I certainly hope I don't find myself analyzing the sound stage or the detail I'm hearing, both because he is a wonderful musician, and because it will be live, so what I hear is what there is.

I'm reminded of a chamber concert I went to a couple of months back at a local church. My wife and I were sitting about 5th row, the quartet was up on the "stage." I remember at one point thinking that I couldn't locate the instruments with pin-point accuracy, there wasn't a lot of depth to the soundstage and ... I remembered this was a live performance, not me sitting at a dealer evaluating equipment. Whatever I was hearing was what the musicians were doing, even if it didn't fit the vocabulary that is typically used when reviewing audio equipment. So of course I said "stop this, enjoy the music" and I did. Reminds me of a separate thread somewhere which made the point that when we listen to audio at home, we're listening to microphone placement and equalization and equipment, lots of stuff which isn't really the music or performance itself, so we develop a vocabulary to fit, which again isn't the vocabulary that would be appropriate for the performance itself. Which I believe is exactly what Dob said very well in his post.
I don't think using live music as an example is any kind of valid argument against detail or any other aspect of good sound in home audio.

Yes, live performances are the benchmark that many of us strive to achieve at home.

Detail and all the rest DONE WELL helps achieve that. It's not done in opposition to that goal.

And if someone decides to do what they do for other reasons, more power to them. As long as they enjoy the results.
There really is not a substantive audio correlation between listening to live music and listening to music being reproduced on a high end system. Thus, they are both 2 entirely different musical experiences without being right or wrong regardless of how well both are executed. However, I still want to hear (if possible) much detail in a live setting as opposed to just a wall of sound.

Does anybody like the preamplifier BAT VK-42SE?
Mapman, Tommy: I was not trying to create an opposition between listening to live music and listening to audio. Nor was I arguing against detail, "air," sound staging, or any of the other terms we use when evaluating an audio system. But what I was trying to say is that what I value most about my system, i.e. the moments which I wish would occur more often, are those when I'm listening at home, and rather than being conscious of the detail, etc., I suddenly sit up a little straighter because for a moment (usually with solo voices) it sounds like the singer is actually in my room, and I go "wow, that's amazing." So in fact I'm agreeing 100% with Mapman when he says that detail and the rest, done well, achieve a bit of that benchmark of the live performance; I'm just happier when they are working their magic at a sort of subconscious level. And I haven't forgotten where this thread began, with a question about class-D amps and Thiels. As I said in my first posting, my combination of class D ARC amp and tube ARC pre, with Maggies (since I have no experience with Thiels) does, on occasion, provide that little bit of that magic; it is very possible that other combinations may provide that magic even more consistently.
From the subconscious perspective of listening to music, I concur and should not be a homework assignment. With certitude, I like the 'let the music flow' attitude while immersing in the audio delight experience. Indeed, I appreciate the feedback about the Class D ARC amplifier with difficult to drive speakers as it is working well for you. Conversely, most audio dealers do not want to embrace Class D (assuming because most do not sell the product). With all sincerity, a good audio amplifier should not be designated to 1 particular class, especially in the year 2011! Oh, by the way, we all are getting just a bit older than yesterday and think where high end audio will be in 2050 and beyond. Will Audiogon still exist or will it be......gone.
I'll agree that toss everything in the pot and it either works or doesn't work in the end.

Detail, imaging, dynamics, etc. are all just means to an end.
" I'm just happier when they are working their magic at a sort of subconscious level"

This is design philosophy expressed by Simon Thacher of Spectron in his article:

and I believe also expressed by Ralph "Athmosphere" in his white papers when he describes the role of very low level of odd order harmonic distortions in music perception...

The entirely opposite road was taken by David Wilson, who 10-15 years ago had recording studio and he built for himself recording monitor WATT. It was extremely sensitive to detail as very good recording monitor should (no emotional involvment here - you change something and then you listen the results). A few friends asked him to build WATT for them too and it is how Wilson Audio - famous speaker manufacturer was born. I always had to tame earlier WATT/Puppy with old Conrad-Johnston warm tube pre/power amplifier: it was wonderful, wonderful combination [ well, except neither amp nor speakers could reproduce sympnonic creshendo but its another story)