I used to have 5 Mani-2's in an HT environment, and drove them with a Theta Dreadnaught- superb match.
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From my experience, I have to admit that the Mani-2 is not an easy going loudspeaker. Their Isobalik configuration makes them quite difficult to set up and to find a perfect matching amp. However, while they are very picky on the amplification, but once you can find their match, heaven is just right in front of you!
To get "the best" out of the Mani-2 you really need to drive them with a good big amp. I first tried the YBA 2HC(110W)--not enough power. The mids and highs are superb but lack of low level details and bass control. Then with Krell FPB 200 -- very fast and detailed but too punchy bass and too bright, very edgy on the highs. Then with ARC VTM 200(Monoblock)-- good low level details and bass control, nice warm midrange, smoother and rounder highs, but the top end is a little cloudy.
Finally, Pass Labs X-600 -- my search was ended and my dreams finally came true. The X-600 is everything I ever ask for!! The speakers are simply disappeared from my room. The best sound stage I've ever heard from the Mani-2, very wide and deep. Superb deep bass details and control. Warm, detailed, and very clean mids through highs. Everything just sound incredibly perfect and so musical. Of course, for me, the X-600 is the best match to the Mani-2, period.
Ben- good summary, and interesting that you finally found the answer. I also found low-level detail to suffer on the Mani's with too low power, obviously due to their inherent inefficiency. The VTM 200 test was of particular interest, as I tried the Mani's with my buddys' ARC M-300MKII's, and the result was amazing- I learned that 300 good watts minimum is needed to get the magic out of these babies, and that was tube watts :-)