Best Amp with Magnepan 3.6's

Greetings - I currently own a pair of Magnepan 3.6's and am looking for any suggestions on an amp that would help me get the volume/sound I am missing.
My current systems is as follows:
Magnepan 3.6's
Rotel 1057 preamp
Rotel 1080 (200x2) amp
NAD 525BEE CD player
JL audio F110 sub
Transparent interconnects, and cables
As you can imagine I am not getting near the volume I would expect out of these 3.6's because of the limited power of my Rotel amp. I have researched different amplifiers and have it narrowed down to 2 (although I'm still open to suggestions). I've been looking into a Bryston 4B SST or a McIntosh MC402.
I would greatly appreciate any input or suggestions you may have. Thanks in advance.
I had the 1080 with my 3.6 and it is a good amp, just a bit of grain in the treble. To go forward, get a Bryston 4BSST, not 4BST. This gives a very pure delicate treble, great bass control, and if you want more muscle in the bass, get the 14BSST if the wallet can take the hit. I have tried about 10-15 amps and the Bryston is magic with the speakers. I have tried Nuforce, PSE, ARC, NAD (which did very well for the power output), and 200wpc tubes from MFA, Quicksilver V4, Dared tbues, Bella Extreme monos, and the best balance was with the Bryston, for a single amp. I currently biamp with the Marchand XM44, 4BSST in the bass, and a custom made tube amp in the mid-treble. The 3.6 takes huge amts. of power. Fed properly, they are pure magic. Jallen
While I have not heard the combo, some report decent results with the Spectron issue.

From experience, one of the ASP moduled ICE amps, like the BelCanto monoblocs do very well, indeed.
I have the PSAudio GCC250 of 500x2 into 4ohms on my 1.6s

Doesn't Magnepan demo w/Bryston at shows? If true, that should tell you something...hmmmmm
Can't go wrong with Wyred 4 Sound class D amp.
I use the SX-1000's monoblocks with my 1.6 Magnepan's and it's excellent. Very tube like sound with excellent bass, mids, highs and sound stage. Black background.
Yes the Bryston 4BSST/14BSST series are a natural match with Magnepan.Throw in a tube pre amp and you're there.
I have added Musical Fidelity 550K superchargers (monoblocks), to a Mapleshade modded Scott 222c. The best of both worlds. A sweet tube sound with excellent transient response, real bass and slam . Piano is magical.They make Maggies come alive.
Bel canto Ref1000s will sound great on them. They will batter those maggie panels into life and give you that bit extra in dynamics, separation, deep bass, and volume while remaining ICE cool...! Add a nice preamp maybe a nice tube one to flesh out the mids.

The Bryston will not give you the same level of clarity if you want speed and transparency. While a very good amp it is a bit tired now compared to the BC.
When I owned 3.6s, I used the Innersound ESL-300, good sounding and plenty of power (600WPC @ 4 ohms). Still got the amp. Can be had used for 1500-2000. Roger Sanders, the designer, supports the amp at Sanders Sound Systems.
Have Wyred and Bel Canto. Both are great, with the Wyred sounding better an being a much better value.
I just auditioned a new pair of 3.6's with the vertical crossovers, and with both the Bryston 4B-SST*2 and a McIntosh.
The 3.6's with the all Bryston were astonishing. I was very happy with the quality of the sound, The lows. mids were a quantum jump better in speed, clarity, hearing stuff I never heard before on well known CDs.. and only the treble was not better than my current system (Forte' 4a amp, Audio Research SP-15 and B&W 805s speakers)
I am a treble freak, so that the 3.6 with the Bryston was 'as good' was pretty good.
As for the all McIntosh with the 3.6... All I can say is it was very disapointing. All the midrange magic (slam, speed, clarity) I could hear with the Bryston stuff, was missing with the McIntosh. The McIntosh was inferior in every way as far as the quality of the music compared to the Bryston.
I do wish I could hear the 3.6's with some other amps.. but the Bryston and McIntosh were in the dealers showroom with the Maggies.. But I would like to hear the 3.6 with some other amps.. Bel Cantos would be a good audition.. but no maggie/ Bel canto dealers...
friend of mine operated 3.6's with a Classe CA-400 with excellent results. Used a Melos SHA Gold preamp and Theta front end
Thanks for the info Elizabeth, you confirmed what I have heard from others and I am definitely leaning towards the Bryston, but now its between the 4b sst and the 14b sst. Not sure if the 4b sst would give me enough power. Seems to be almost double the price (here on the Gon), and I don't know how much different the sound will be or how much more volume/base I would be able to pull out of the 14b sst that I wouldn't get from the 4b sst.
I really appreciate everyone’s input... thanks.
The 14B-SST is a stereo version of the mono 7B-SST. The 14B-SST cost new about the same as a PAIR of the 7B-SST.
The 7B-SST cost for each mono amp the same $$$ new as the Stereo 4B-SST. (thus twice the price for a pair).
I would hazard a guess that the 7B-SST each chassis is really pretty much a 4B-SST designed to be one amp. (where the 4B-SST can be bridged, but ONLY for use into 8ohms.. the 7B-SSt CAN BE USED into 4ohms like the Maggies, as can the 14B-SST.)
This long goofy explaination is just to let you know why the 14B-SST (and the pair of 7B-SST) are TWICE the price of the $b-SST
Here are my ratings for amps with Maggie 3.6R's the I have actually had in my system:

1) Cary Audio CAD500 MB mono blocks (current)

2) Bryston 7Bsst

3) Innersound ESL 300 (sublime too)

3) Parasound JC-1's

4) Bel Canto Ref 1000's (not new version)

5) McIntosh 501's (not a good match)

6) all the othe.......

I am currently thinking of trying the Wyred 4 sound amps in a bi-amp configuration. Just to try and mess up a good thing I assume. I don't think I will sell the Cary's when I do that though, they are too good to let go of.
Me again.I owned 1.6's and 3.6's Bryston 4BSST and 14BSST series amps used at different times on both sets of Maggies.The 4B has sufficient push to drive the 3.6's.The 14,has more slam in the bass area,but in my mind not enough to justify the additional expense.Place those saved dollars in a tube pre amp.
MacDad, Please sell me your Cary CAD 500MB LOL. I would not let go either. These have become like a rare commodity. I have been looking for a 2nd pair for weeks now and nope.

Thanks Markwatkiss - I've also been looking at the McIntosh c220 preamp - any thoughts?
Yes I have thoughts,lets take this off line.Flip me a pm and I'll pass on some particulars.
Pass Labs. Some friends and I have had several amps with Maggie 3.6's (and before that, 1.5's and 1.6's). The Pass Labs, in no special order, were the X150.5, X250.5 and X350.5. All 3 were excellent in bested the others in every category, in our opinions.

I'm using the X150.5 now and it has no problem in driving the 3.6's very easily (HiFi News mag. tested the X150.5 and found it clipped at 280wpc @8ohms!!! and 380wpc @4ohms).

The other amps tried were Krell KSA 50, Classe 201 and 401, Plinius (250wpc - don't recall the model #), Hafler 9501, Parasound (200 wpc - don't recall the model #). The Plinius was second best after the Pass Labs amps.
Bryston is all you need. Im with Markwatkiss here. Even the 4BST is a nice combo with a good tube pre amp.
I Tried the Bryston 4bsst at home for a weekend with my 3.6r's. The sound was much more powerful sounding as expected compared to my old 100w PSE amp. However the topend still sounded somewhat bright.

I've since then replaced the PSE with a Classe CA400 with the power doubling into 4 ohms at 800w. The going price is about 2k if you can find one.
The CA400 has a real sweet topend and midrange needed for my room, which has also been acoustically treated.
It also sounds as though I've added a sub with increased bass response.

If you stay with Bryston look into the 14b or 7b series.
The Cary CAD500mb is also a great choice as Cary Audio will build one for you when I last called them in August.

I have had the following in my system with Maggie 3.6's.

Classe'25. Used with 2 Vandersteen 2WQ subwoofers. Very dynamic but somewhat aggressive on top end. My long time friend. Drove my 3.6 for 5 years and prior to that my 1.6 for 4 years. It is a better match for the 1.6 which has a softer treble presentation.

Bel 1001 MkV. Only 100WPC@4ohms but had ample drive for music. Great bass even without subwoofers. Good mids and highs. Made a positive impression although it was auditioned in my home for only about 4 hours. Interestingly, one MkV was very immediate and dynamic but two MkV's had a more distant perspective similar to that of the Classe'25.

Theta Dreadnaught II. Also used with 2 Vandersteen 2WQ subs. Smooth top end along with a very expressive and expansive mids. Almost tubelike. Great soundstage. No loss of dynamics compared to the Classe or Bel. The best I've heard in my system. Installed 4 months ago.
The tube preamps I have used were the Music Reference RM 5 MKIII, the ARC LS15, 16, 25, Quicksilver linestage, and Full Function. I like the MR RM5 MKIII, and the Quicksilvers. The Quicksilver linestage is unbeievable for the money. I use the Full function Quickie as I need the phono. It is highly modified with new caps, silver wire, etc. The preamps worked well with the Brystons. I tried the 3.6 also with the 4BSST on the mid treble and the 7BST in the bass....very nice...addictive, and a tube preamp, electronic Xover/XM44 Marchand, and I want nothing more. My tube ammp is an Eico modified with V-caps, silver wire, etc.
Aragon 8008 BB
Ajackson1, I have decided to part with my Cary monoblocks.

When they are pried from my cold dead fingers!!!!

I do love these things, they are much warmer on the top end than the 7Bsst Brystons where.

The Innersounds (now Sanders Sound) are really sublime too.
I know there are some SimAudio amps that were supposed to be a match made in heaven for Maggies - I forget which model but worth a look in the archives...
Anyone tried the Lamm hybrids M2.2/2.1 Ref or tube amps like VTL 450 on 3.6´s?
I use a krell 400xi and drive my 3.6Rv's to ear shattering levels with no problems or protests. Treble is brassy and sweet, mids are full and clear and bass is phenomenal. Any amp used with the maggies MUST double it's 8ohm rating into 4ohms. Many designs still try to evade this important aspect of amplification. I owned Mcintosh 501 mono's which were surprisingly under powered despite their 500 watt peak power rating...they don't double down. Remember a great power cable and IC's with biwire speaker cables and upgraded crossover connections (Cardas Kit works well), is needed as well.
For once I agree with Dave.

Krell is definitely "ear shattering".

Couldn't describe it any better.
I used the Krell 400xi with my 1.6's and the 400xi sounded good. I upgraded to the Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000 monoblocks and I can't believe how great the music sounds now. All aspects have improved.
Audiofeil, you really shouldn't offer so much valuable information and practical knowledge to the masses for free. Such insight and wit surely require some sort of compensation. You are such a giver...and that excessive amiability you exude! I just wonder what we would do without your benevolent nature and loving guidance. You are the beacon in the night, the soure of enlightenment by which we all gain encouragement and reasurance.
Oh, in case Audiofeil didn't mention it, please read the Soundstage review of the 400xi by Philip Beaudette in the Dec 2006 issue online. That will give you an even more fleshed out idea of what the 400xi has to offer. Live recordings can be quite revealing of a system, as Mr. Beaudette points out. Sometimes those Audiofeil approved components aren't as realistic sounding as they are talked up to be...of course I'm sure it isn't intentional.
'Test Drove' the Krell 400xi with 3.6s and found it not quiet satisfying, not to mention that in about 30" of moderately loud R+R, it was hot enough to cook on.
If you go Krell, make sure you are properly vented.
I thought you had 1.6's Magfan? The audio loom, as Art Dudley put's it, must be woven thoughtfully and with great care. No piece of equipment can overcome improper use and setup. From power cords to tweeter attenuaters to room properties....ya cant's just plops it in and expect to impress ya! You have to talk nice to it and take it to dinner first and then play some poorly recorded music loud enough to hear the inner distortion you missed before. By ear shattering, I meant to say that in a moderately sized room, one can play a full scale symphony or jazz band recording to beyond "live" levels and have no worries. Perhaps you are used to cold running eco friendly next generation amplification? Have fun:O)
Sorry about not being clear: The 3.6 / Krell 400 combo was at the local mag/krell retailer. Sounded nice and nothing special, but ran way too hot.
Even had I been instantly impressed, I would have thought twice. And, while the setup was certainly not 'perfect', I don't believe it rose to the standard of 'improper use'. The maggies had plenty of space to work into and were not crowded. The room was moderately treated and used to demo a very good line of gear. Optimal/perfect? probably not.

The 1.6s are in the next room!
That's cool...I love my 400xi:O) Sometimes I think room acoustics and tweaking can mean more than anything. I remember listening to my system before I put the MIT Oracle AC 2 PC on the 400xi and the Cardas kit on the Maggie crossovers, the NBS jumpers on the attenuaters, the HiFi tuning fuses throughout, the solid oak platforms and brass footers under my gear and subs etc... Loving care can make a difference.
Agreed. My room is currently 100% guaranteed to be the weak point in my setup. All other mods / changes are on hold until I can 'fix' the room.

Of course, WAF is paramount at this point, since wall treatments and clouds are out of the question. Maybe some diffusion behind my panels would fly, but that would require some engineering or at MINIMUM at trip to the artificial plant store.

I am in the process of designing new hardwood frames and investigating rebuilding the crossovers to optimum, but stock design. Maggies are a DIY dream speaker.

Krell makes great stuff and it is still my favorite movie. But, I can't pass the physical to move it in, let alone afford the extra AC to keep the house cool in summer OR, for that matter, simply AFFORD it!!!
Maggie 3.6R is a wonderful speaker, I drove mine with a Rowland Continuum 500. The bigger amp really made the bass tighten and go deep without any loss of mid/top sweetness. Jeff's new amps work great with Maggie loads.
Bryston is great, and the Innersounds are also a good pick. Of all of these listed here in the thread, I have to 2nd the Pass amps and to say that as far as I can tell they are in a whole other league compared to most of what is mentioned here.

Innersound will have many more watts/$, but not quite the same sound in the mid and high frequencies. Bryston and Innersound are probably right on the inflection point on the curve of value/$ - the perfect place if you don't want to spend megabucks but want very serious gear.

That said, you can always pick up a used Pass Amp here or at RenoHiFi. However - be very careful. For Maggies, you only want to look at the .5 series (the most recent incarnation). So, for example 150.5, not 150. Or XA60.5, not XA60. (If you have 8-ohm speakers then it doesn't matter.) I would think that a used 150.5 might treat you really well and would be on the lower end for the Pass gear.

Some people say with maggies slightly lower quality and higher watts results in a more pleasing experience in the end. I have to say, I recently hooked up a kilowatt amp for 2 months (of much much lower quality overall than what I run normally) and it did bring out a different feeling than what I usually run and has me trying to figure out how to upgrade to higher watts.

In that vein, huge Kudos to Spectron as mentioned above. And - I haven't heard this but do wonder about it - as an interim value/$ play it would be interesting to do the highest wattage NuForce, Rowland, or even the super-high-wattage Rotel. I think that would be the 1572? 500 watts/channel at 4 ohms? And not very expensive compared to Pass or Spectron or even NuForce.

The drawback on some of the Class D stuff is the upper-mid and high range. So, if you got the 1572 for now, then in 3 years (or 3 months :)?) get something like a Pass Labs XA30.5 (Class A amp - extremely rare these days), and actively bi-amp, with the 500W on the bottom end, and the XA30.5 on the top end. That would be absolutely awesome! And a good value for what you are getting. I looked at the Rotel distortion curve vs freq several months ago, and the problems start well above the 200 - 250 crossover point that you would use on the 3.6s. The curve is totally flat below 250 Hz, can't remember, but I think it was 450 or 550 where it started moving up.
That said, here is a guy with Bryston hooked up to > 100k speakers.

The one thing I do agree with, is that people should focus more on speakers than the rest of the system. Many amps are extremely similar, same with CD players, but speakers are very, very different. I've found after many years of doing this that speakers and actually the pre-amp are the 2 critical pieces. I know there is a big 'source-as-important' camp out there as well, but for me many, many, many CD players and many, many, many DA converters sound extremely similar.
I am driving my 3.6Rs with Classé CA-M600 monoblocks at 1200 watt/4ohms fast, smooth, quiet, airy and
Just hooked up my new Wyred mAmps to my 3.6s.
Great bass out of the box with a deep soundstage. Can't wait for them to settle in after a couple of hundred hours. The sound is already very smooth and articulate and should only get better. Pretty incredible for $1800 a pair!