3 channel amp to compliment Pass Aleph 30 for HT

I have a anologue 5.1 preamp (Audio Refinement Pre-5) and a 30w/30w power amp (Pass Labs Aleph 30).
Given the low power ClassA amp what would be a 3 channel amp and musical subwoofer for a home theater/music system?
Good question. Given the wattage, you might even consider some lower power tube monoblocks to give you another 3 channels. Alternatively, perhaps a Monarchy Audio SM-70 (25watts per side class A) for the 2 rear channels, leaving you the center channel to fill. The Monarchy can also be bridged to mono, so a second one could give you the center channel, matched of course, but at higher wattage (can't recall, maybe 45-50 watts mono). That might present a problem with appropriate setting of volume levels, but a Rothwell inline attenuator could be used to drop the volume 10db on the center channel bridged monoblock. You'd want to look at the decibel levels to see if that suggestion holds any water. But anyway, you could get creative if you don't find a 3-channel amp that's a perfect match, that's my message I guess.
I would recommend buying more Pass Labs Aleph XX amps. Anything else will be a compromise. Those Pass Labs Aleph 60 monos just sold, so you missed those. Add 60's to the front and move the 30's to the rear. 6ch is not a bad idea either in case you want to move up to 6.1 later.

If you really want a 3ch amp there is a Mccormack DNA-HT1 available. But, for 500 bucks more you could have a stack of Pass amps instead.

If you really don't care much about muti-channel music or the quality of surround sound than there are many more choices. Match your amps and your speakers for the best results.

REL subs seem to be a big favorite when it comes to musical subs. You can spend hours reading up on these in the forums.
I have considered two more Aleph 30s, but it seemed like overkill for the rears. Maybe the recommendation of 3 Monarchy would be the best bet. But at ther cost 2 more Aleph 30 seems more practical, it just seems like over kill for the rears.

I was thinking the REL sub would give the sound I am looking for in the bass region especially since the Aleph is so high quality for my R&L channel.
If you want something truely inexpensive, decent sounding and unobtrusive, buy a Teac AL700P. It is a small 3-channel Digital/switching amp and it has gotten excellent reviews on some of the audio geek sites. It can be purchased for $99 brand spanking new! It may not have the typical audiophile overkill, but it would be a truely inexpensive way to test the waters and see if 5.1 is right for you.

Check out audiocircle and audioasylum for details. Also, several companies are modding these and creating really inexpensive audiophile amplifiers. However, most of the hot rod mods remove one channel of amplification. Lastly, there are some easy DIY mods for these, so you could buy two of them, modify them for high performance 2-channel output, use one for surrounds and one (one channel of it) for the center channel.


Yep, seems like overkill, but the only way to do it right. The Pass amps will hold their value too, so it's not like you are throwing your money away.

This is a common mistake made with multichannel set-ups. Different amps and speakers for the surround and center channels. It's no different than making your right speaker different than your left. Think about it.

Monarchy makes good amps. Not a bad choice, just different.

Another solution would be to buy a cheaper 5 channel amp and switch to your Pass amps for stereo. You would need to switch cabling though. Or, you could sell the Pass and put the cash towards a more expensive 5-channel amp.
In response to:
"Monarchy makes good amps. Not a bad choice, just different."

Maybe a Monorchy monoblock would be good for the center and another Aleph 30 for the rears. (Or even 3 Monarchys for the remainin channels.) How ore these units different sounding. This might change the sound balance.

Maybe it is not a good choice to change amps but stay with all Pass Labs Alephs. I assumed the rears wheren't that critical. Is thisa false impression.

What about another Pass for the rears and not center channel. Just direct the center channel info to the L&R in the sources menu. Yes/no?
Just as speakers sound different, so do amps. I can't say what the differences will be between Pass and Monarchy, but they will sound different.

Surround mix distribution:

50% Center
20% Left
20% Right
10% Surround channels

Yes, you could use 3 identical mono's or a 3 ch amp for the fronts and use the Pass for the rears. As you can see, about 90% of the mix would be matched.

The rears are only 10%. Yes, it is the least critical. It's hard to justify spending the same amout for only 10% of the sound. I am only suggesting that matching everything is ideal, and that is what Dolby Labs recommends. Anything else will be a compromise.

You could go with no center channel. Here is a thread that gives some insight from others that have tried the center channel thing and found they prefer a system without it.