Give up on Thiel 3.6 or try another amp again ?


These speakers sound amazing sometimes, especially on small-scale, well recorded material (regardless of genre).

I tried a PS Audio HCA-2 and an Aragon 8002, neither of which sounded particularly good. I'm now driving them with a pair of 90 wpc Quicksilver mono tube amps. I know this is against conventional wisdom, but I like them more than the previous amps as long as I keep the volume moderate.

The problem is that the speakers don't open up and bloom as I turn them up for either large-scale classical or rock music, but rather get hard sounding. It could be the small room overloading, but I suspect it's the amps running out of steam.

Ideally, I would have an unlimited budget to power these speakers with a huge, clean solid state amp. Sadly, I have pretty much no budget at all, so I'd have to sell the Quicksilvers to finance a new amp. This would leave me with $1200 or so for a good, high current, high wattage amp.

I was thinking a used Parasound A21 might fit the bill, but there aren't a whole lot of other options in this price range that seem optimum.

Truthfully, I am starting to think it would more make sense to explore other used speaker options; as nice as the Thiels sound at times, they may simply be too impractical given my financial constraints. Perhaps a pair of Vandersteen 3A signatures or a new pair of 2ce Signature Mk. II? Perhaps the Gallo 3.1s?

What would you do if you were me?

btw, the rest of the system consists of a Quicksilver linestage and a Rega Saturn CD player. Thanks!
jonathan1257
Knowing this thread is old and I had moved on from my 2.2s a long while back (referencing the dates herein). Low and behold, I am back again with Thiels and levinson.

I got the CS6 (which may actually be moderately easier to drive than the 3.6s???) and now have a Levinson 334 amp. Normally, I would say this is under powered, but I can tell you this amp is driving these speakers in my much larger room than the OPs with great results.

A poster above asked about Class D amps. I happen to have a pair of Bel Canto Ref. 1000s - no, they don't mate well with the Thiel speakers (at least the 6s).

Funny thing, in comparison to the much lower powered ML 334 at 250 watts @ 4 ohms, the 1,000 watts at 4 ohms of the Bel Cantos is not nearly powerful enough to drive these speakers. They get harder sounding in a hurry and the soundstage congests. No where near the same level of performance on these speakers - an not even close to an emotional impact with the Bel Cantos on the Thiels.

The Bel Cantos do sound very good on my Maggies though!
If you want warmth and drive capability, Krell FPB amps 300cx or higher will solve all perceived drive problems with Thiels. I've used a 400cx with CS6s for the past 9 years without any issues and I am very happy with this combo.
Steve, I love the FPB Series amps. I owned a 300C for a few years and mistakenly sold it when I decided to try a SET based system. Well after listening to a fraction of the musical production via a SET system, I quickly and happily moved away from that avenue.

The 300C is one of my favorite amps. I like the C versions better than the CX versions (because I think the sound is pretty much unchanged and they the C version can be had for less). I sort of felt that the 300C was replaced by the 400CX (not the 300CX, which is what would have made sense to me).

I am actually considering getting some FPB monos - my preference would be the 350MC amps. I love the Krell amps (though not as crazy about the original Evo series which no longer operate in all Class A).
I have the 3.6s also. I originally tried driving them with a Sony TA-N80ES. They sounded OK but there was still obviously room for more.

I picked up a second TA-N80ES. The owners' manual does not seem to recommend bridging the amp for low impedance speakers - the 3.6 is a nominal 4 ohm design.

But, I tried it anyway and they work fine. While bridged, they seem like 500 wpc amps for a one kiloWatt system!

Best of all, both of the power amps were purchased at $100 each! While I'm confident that a pair of Parasound monoblocs or Mark Levinsons would do a better job, for $200 I'm VERY pleased.
Ckoffend and Warnerwh have very valid points justifying careful consideration. Thiels are revealing not only of all electronics and cabling "upstream" but of program material as well. Room placement and sound dampening have a clear influence. I have a lesser pair of vintage CS 2's. I know I could improve the sound by having them in a larger room, with optimal placement away from walls, other furnishings and adding sound dampening where needed. It is true they can throw a vast soundstage and accurately represent program material.