FWIW, I'm driving my Ref 3's with 12 wpc of SET power, plus the Gallo SA amp on the woofers' second voice coils, so I wouldn't worry unduly about having enough power :-)
This is in a pretty huge room, BTW.
No amp suggestions, but good luck.
I run the Wyred 4 Sound 250WPC amp, class D, and it sounds great with my 3.1s. No complaints here, a much better match than a pair of Cary Six Pacs for me (these were sloppy in the bass)
Given my experience, I do agree that you want some current to drive the bass driver cleanly
Good luck finding the right amp, I don't think these speakers are too picky.
I had a Wyred 4 Sound ST-1000 500WPC amp with my 3.1's and it was way more than needed, I think the 250 would be plenty of power for them. The sound was excellent and the price fits your budget. I am currently running a Clayton 50WPC Class A amp which gives me everything I need and have heard them sound glorious with a 20 WPC 300B but your going to need some juice to play the music you like loud.
I have not heard the Modwright/Wyred 4 Sound combination. My preamp was a Cary98SLP.
If you are patient the Wyred 4 Sound amps are coming up used pretty regularly now. I paid $1,500.00 for my ST-1000.
I am running a Music Reference RM-200II, which is over your price, to very good results. Roger Modjeski was running a special for his RM-10 tube amp for $1,450.00, regular $1,950.00 That included shipping. He says that is his favorite amplifier. It is 35 watts per channel. I do not know if he is still running that special, but you may want to contact him and find out.
Great suggestions. From reading the forums, it seems class D or tube are the way to go. I was trying to avoid tube amps due to the maintenance factor and that I sometimes play music loud. My thinking was the Modwright would bring warmth to the system, even with a class D amp in place. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Also - has anyone tried Channel Island amps? I'm looking at the D-200.
OK - I've narrowed my option to the amps below. Any advice, pro's, cons, weaknesses etc...?
Wyred 4 Sound st-500
Channel Island D-200
I run a Butler TBD2250 tube/SS hybrid. Runs cool all day and plenty of power. See this review of the Butler used with the Gallos. http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/butler/2250_3.html
The Butler TBD2250 seems to be a great pairing. Does anyone know how often these are available used?
There is a 5 channel Butler TBD5150 available. Does anyone know if this would work in 2 channel, and if so, how it would compare to the TBD2250?
Anthony Gallo develops all of his speakers, specifically Ref 3.1 using Spectron Audio amplifiers. As far as I know they will present them at CES 2010 next January.
Its all for the good reason: heavenly combination.
Best of Luck
I run a Son of Ampzilla 2000 with my Modwright 9.0SE (Signature Truth). IMO, it's a superb amp. You might be able to find a used one for $1500, or so.
Of the three you've listed I'd probably lean toward the DNA, as I prefer the sonics of conventional amps. I'd highly recommend looking at the Modwright Signature Truth mods. They are a significant improvement over the base SE.
Since you listen to loud electronic and hip-hop music, I suggest that you stretch your budget to buy a good 200W per channel amp.
Dallo 3.1s demand lots of current to deliver deep, powerful bass.
I have had excellent results with Parasound. McIntosh and Gamut amps.
for what it's worth I run the same Modwright with a McCormack
DNA 1 and it is a fine match. As you may know,the McCormacks
can be upgraded by Steve McCormack .I've spoken with him,only
briefly,but he is quite helpful and friendly. A high current amp that doubles into 4 ohms.