This is out of character for me. I'm not one to tell anyone that cables are pancea for all audio gremlins. May I take a page from fellow and highly respected Audiogoner Sean and recommend you try some Alpha-Core Goertz MI speaker cables. Alpha-Core offers a generous free trial period, so there is very little loose here. BTW, this isn't to suggest that your system might not improve with different amplification. While the Aragon isn't bad, Thiels will validate an upgrade. Of course your room and and desired volume levels with have a lot to do with amplifcation. My general advise for Thiels is to buy quality first, followed by quantity. If you can afford it, buy the highest quality amp at the highest power level Thiel suggests for your speaker. If you can't do that, perhaps try doubling the minimum power suggested. Please keep in mind the minimum impedance your Thiels will present to the amplfier.
I've owned 2.2's for 9 years, but haven't used any of the amps you mention. What were the "bunch of amps" you've been through lately, and in what ways did none improve on the Aragon (if I take your implication correctly)? Can you also tell me the rated power of that amp, and the size of your room? And how did the ARC and Arye amps get to be your two finalists? It seems from your post that you haven't actually heard them with your speakers, but I'm assuming you've heard them somewhere...
I am driving my Thiel 2.2s with an Ayre V5xe via a PSE HL-1 preamp. It sounds great, the best sound I have ever had. The E upgrade is a great improvement over the X upgrade, which was a great upgrade over the standard V. In fact, I really wasn't very happy with the standard V, because it was very lean in the bass. The XE has very good, if not slamming bass. The transparency of the V5xe is remarkable with the 2.2s. The sound is warm and tames some of the down side of the Thiel's treble. I've never heard the Aragons, but I would give the Ayre's a shot. I'm looking to upgrade to the 3.6 and have no interest in a new amp. I'm sold on the V5xe.
I have tried the DNA 0.5, DNA 225, DNA 0.5 Deluxe with Rev B, and now the Aragon 8002. THe Aragon, has the most slam factor, something which really surprised me, especially w.r.t the nearly 2x as powerful 225. The bass is just alive, tight, and pumping. I seriously could not ask for a better bottom end. The 225 was the best at treble and dimensionality. THe midrange on the Aragon with the ARC LS 15 is better (for me) than the TLC-1/225. Just a more real and alive feel. Of course not a fair comparison b/c I never had the chance to listen to the 225/ARC combo. Anyway, the Aragon is 125 into 8 250 into 4, it sounds as 'powerful' as the 225. VEry nice amp. Room is 25x25x9, but the one side tapers down about midway to 11 wide (behind me, an L-shape) . I am going to audition the Ayre soon, never heard the ARC 100.2, only read about; as such a bit of a leap of faith!
I own the DNA-125 and 500, but haven't heard the 225. It's true the 500, which is based on a bridged 225, is not a 'rich' or 'dark' sounding amp, but has great extension and dimensionality, as well as clarity/resolution. Perceived tonal balance is an interrelated phenomenon. I find the 500's bass is the most complex and authoritative I've had, but it's so well-defined and integrated, and the entire spectrum so free from compression, that the LF actually doesn't call as much attention to itself as with some lower-powered and -priced amps I've had. In any case, the 2.2 isn't really a speaker for assessing ultimate LF 'weight' and 'slam' (my room is about 14 x 23 x 8, open to a staircase into another room). I guess if I were you, based on your positive comments about the 225 in your other threads, I'd want to hear it again with your current preamp. But I'll be interested to learn your impressions of the Ayre.
I bought a Parasound Halo P3/A21 combo to try with my 2.2's. I figured it was worth a try at half to a third the price that I'd otherwise pay and I got them with a 30 day return.
They're keepers, at least for me. When I put on a well recorded CD and close my eyes the speakers and room disappear. Acoustic instruments sound exactly like themselves, the soundstage is precise and extends beyond the speakers. Bass sounds like I've got a sub in the system. When I play my Taiko drum CD's, not only do I get the big drum 'slam', but I can hear the distinct individual sound of the different drums.
I'd previously been driving them with a Roksan Kandy at 200 amps into the 4 ohms. It wasn't enough. Even at the moderate listening levels that I like, you need a lot of power and current to bring these puppies to heel.
wow, 200 amps into 4 ohms, was that peak or continuous :)
power = I^2R; 200*200*4= 160,000 watts. I bet they did more than heel...more like yelp, cry, and stay-dead!
Here's the link for the Kandy:
I see that they're now claiming 180 watts into 4 ohms- they used to claim 220, so they much have adopted more conservative standards. This is a very good amp, but not adequate for the Thiel 2.2's. The Parasound at 400 watts with 60 amps of current does a much better job. The Thiel's are a difficult load, but are very rewarding when given what they need.
I spent several months auditioning possible replacements listening to speakers up to the Wilson Maxx and did not find anything I liked any better than the 2.2's.
I agree with you the 2.2s are fantastic, smoothest thiel's I have heard, but also full of detail and they image like crazy. No desire to replace them! They reflect tiny changes upstream, and are beautiful to boot.
Until I actually buy a new amp, I am having some fun with the Aragon 8002: Performing some power supply mods in the hopes of refining the presence region/top end sparkle. Like I stated earlier the bass/slam factor is there in spades, as much as I could hope for, but ultimately the Aragon lacks that nth degree of refinement in the upper midrange/treble spectrum. I continue, however, to be amazed at the synergy with the ARC-LS 15.
If any one is interested with the specifics of this first round of mods let me know.
Belasarius: Gee, with comments like $40K Wilsons not sounding any better than your 2.2's (last seen going used for around $1K), you might start a market run on 'em and help me upgrade to the forthcoming 3.7's :-)
How was the Ayre up there?
I have not yet made it to GLA to audition the Ayre vx5E/2.4 combo. I am taking along my preamp and cables, maybe digital source too. I just need to find the time, but having a baby at home makes it a tad more challenging. I am hoping to go very soon.