Build me a killer Rock/Metal Rig for 1K

my old rig is history..devoured by a audio eating species called AudiogoN'ers All I could save were a pair of Thiel 3.5's that have many good years left on them.They are 89 dB and 4 ohm of hunger.Help me..for less than $1000 show me an amp to tame the Thiel beasts,a pre(tubed/remote) to sweeten the Thiel beast.A CDP or SACDP to sing to the Thiel beast.My cage is 14'X20'X8' I listen to classic rock/metalmodern rock/metal lots of classic pop and some heavy metal rap.I dont need window shattering SPL's just decent volume with great bass and transparency. Oh yeah,I also need recommendations for cables to keep the Thiel beast from wandering away and some wires to tie the electronics together.A grand aint much to work on so, vintage gear?
UNDER A GRAND EY? That would be tough if you plan on keeping up with the THIEL QUALITY level!!!
However, fear not. For what you're after, I think I can help from experience. I used to own a couple of thiel models, and also like some occasional hard hitting rock and such, just as yourself.
So let me get this straight first. You want the CD player, the amp, and the preamp for under a grand used? Wow...that is a toughy.
But, I think you might be able to squeeze it out. Infact, I have an extremely, way way too good sounding DVD player that sounds MONDO excellente from the analog outs for standard CD's! Infact, it humbles many much more expensive dedicated cd players, really! I used to run some very expensive gear with it, and it beats up on a lot of players out there, and just plain sounds fantastic! The DVD player I'm refering to is the DVDA310 Panasonic from a few years back. Infact Absolute sound did a review on it back in April or May of 98, and said it "rivaled Levinson CD separates" at the time! I found one, played around with it, and couldn't believe how good it sounded! Infact, for digital CD's, I wouldn't even bother with much more right now. It sounds extremley musical and transparent! I know for a fact you would flip for the sound on 16/44 CD's from it, I know it! I would even sell you mine (system is down for while) for like $200 (retail was $700 new). ALSO, IT HAS AN ADJUSTABLE VOLUME CONTROL FROM THE REMOTE!! So, you could even use it as a preamp if you ever needed it to, and just go dirrect to an amp...very handy indeed. Not to mention it also playes DD video movies, and has a 6 channel out. The unit is beefy and weigs like 12 lbs.
For amps, you will DEFINITELY want to use an amp that's got BALLS to drive the Thiels!..especially for rock and heavy dynamic stuff. You could find a used 200 w/ch range amp like the Parasound HCA1500 as BARE MINIMUM, or even better, used Aragon 4004 amp for around the $400-600 mark. The Aragon is probably stronger, and should be OK on the Thiels, but the Parasound is a pinch smoother on top for your EDGY SOUNDING TREBBLE with Thiels. Other than those, maybe you could find a great deal on a used Adcom GFA5802 or something, but I'm not sure how cheep you could get that, and still have some bucks left over for the preamp. Also, the Aragon is stronger in the base by a little.
For that price range though, I can't think of much you wouild consider to drive those with descent overall acceptable sound quality! You might try to use a McCormmack DNA .5 amp, which is superb for the money, if you can get it in that price range I just mentioned. Besides those, maybe some old Bryston amp or something. That is tough.
Anyway if you could get some of the above chioces, you should be doing good. These amps should have enough TORQUE to push the Thiels, and you'll need every bit of it!
Also, stay away from the PASSIVE preamp ultimately, and go with an active. I used a passive preamp, as well as CD dirrect from the DVD player on occasions. But ultimately it's not as dynamic as a good active preamp.
For premps, you might find a killer deal on some kind of a TUBE PREAMP to TAME your Thiels top end a bit. it's gonna be hard to squeeze it in under $1000 mark for all however. But you could find some kind of cheep deal on a used Audio Research TUBE preamp. That should help your Thiels and still sound like a GOOD MATCH. Or, you could, depending on budget after amp and CD player, or whatever, look for some DYNACO or GOLDEN TUBE preamp that should sound descent enough for your budget. HUMMMMMM....tough indeed.
So, let's recap:
$200 for a used Panasonic DVDA310 for CD's/DVD's(sound A!!)
$400-600 for either Parasound HCA1500, Aragon 4004, etc.
$300-500 for good tube preamp:Golden Tube, Audio Res, Dynaco

Yes, you might go over by a buck or so, but I would bet you that if you ended up with, say, the Panasonic DVDA310 player, a good condition used Aragon 4004 or something, or even a MKII version of the 4004, and a nice little tube preamp for your system, you would have some KILLER SOUND FROM THOSE SEPAKERS DUDE!...NO KIDDING! I would bet that no one else could put you together anything better, with your speakers, for that $1000 point!!!...NO WAY!
So, there's my suggestions.
Best of luck to ya...
I would like to add more.I had to sell off my old stereo this past summer for a couple of personal reasons.I got e-mails from some of my friends here when they saw my stuff was for sale.Some even offered to loan me gear until I got a new rig put back together.You all know who you are and I say thank you!! I bought the Thiels just before I decided I had to sell everything.I was talked into keeping the Thiels by one of you.I know many believe the 3.5's arent a good rock speaker.Well,right now its all I have to work around and I am keeping them.I was heavily into vinyl but thats all gone,at least for now.I would like to try a cheaper Sony SACD player and I have made a couple offeres on a c-333es but right now they are a bit too high on the used market($400) or so.Im also considering a integrated amp but all Ive seen dont have the current to run the 3.5'sSo I am asking all of you to help me get music back into my life for a 'whopping' $1000 budget.Thanks all!!
It may not be ideal but worth considering, a used Linn Classik. They can be had for under $1000 and are truly an all-in-one product. The Classik has tone controls if you choose to use'em, allowing you to add a bit more bottom end. The Classik is NOT a low end unit or mid0fi unit, I heard one being used with a pair of Revels at a guys house, nice sound was coming out of the Revels. Leaves a bit of coin for some speaker cables and still meets your $1000 target.
Oh, He wants REMOTE with his killer tube preamp, 250w amp and SACD front end for $1k. Not much to ask. While your at it build me a state-of-the-art classical music system, all OTL tube with remote and a Rockport analog rig for $1500. Oh and by the way I just have to keep these Cerwin-Vega 15" 3-ways.
I couldn't disagree with hifiguy more. I used to own the Thiel 3.5's and solid state gear is awful with these speakers. The Thiel's are bright! I also have always found the Parasound gear to be bright. If you want your ears to bleed then go that route. Right here at Audiogon in a Demo gear ad there is a AQ1003 for sale for $620. That is a great piece and you get it with a warrenty. They are big sounding tube watts and it can drive low impedance loads. Pick up a Sony SACD Crutchfield for$250, also new with warrenty. You're not going to get remote at this price but after buying the amp and CD player that leaves you about $100 for cabling. The guys selling the amp can help you there. The Thiel's really are beasts and the only way to tame them in my opinion is to use tubes. In your price range I don't think you can do better than the AQ1003.
Thank you Jeff and hifiguy.
TWI,please flame elsewhere.You are of no help.
Please keep them coming and again,thank you guys!
The Jolida 1501RC is 100wpc SS amp with a tubed pre section - I don't know if that's enough to run those Theils? About $600.

NAD C541i CD player - $350-400.

There is a Hafler DH-500 (250wpc) right now on E-BAY for $349. Then you could build a Bottlehead Foreplay for $150, or some turn up built and used, usually tricked out for about $300.

It is tough to meet all of those specs at that price, but not impossible if you are patient.
I just went through a similar transformation.My speakers are Infinity RSIIIb's,spl 89 dbs same as your Theil's.
The Sony sacd from Cruchfield for 250 new in a no brainer.
For a preamp YS-Audio a Hong Kong manufacture ,sells their symphony tube model including shipping to your door for $400.00.It is a killer preamp.We compared it to a Cary $1600.unit,Counterpointe 5.1,Audio Innovation's,and Conrad Johnson's PV-5 it blew them all away.This may be the biggest give away in hi-end audio today.The construction,metal work,and sound are to die for.Good people too.
For the amp I suggest a used Golden Tube SE-40,these are available in great shape in the 400-500 range.It is rated at 40/ch, has 3-5881/channel.They look and sound like a $3000.00 amp.That is why in my opinion they went out of business.They lost money on ever one they made. This amp I feel is a steal a these prices.
Best of luck on your system.
Metal, eh? Sweeten the Thiel beast inside your cage, eh? Forget bright sounding solid state gear with Thiels, obviously. Can you tolerate neutral gear with the Thiels? If not this maybe ultimately the wrong speaker, IMO. But given your situation you'll have to make them work. So we need a lush solid state amp, then. A tube amp with the testicular fortitude you crave will be over your budget. But there is lush solid state to be had. The best example I've seen is an Audio Alchemy OM-150 amp. Figure $500-600 used for one with both external power supplies. You'll probably need both. Lush midrange and a bone crushing bottom end. Class A up to 15-20W, 150W into 8, 250-300W into 4 (depending on who you ask), stable into 2.

Parasound also has some powerful amps in this price range, and they're decent, but a little colored in their sound. I'd forget adcom and rotel for this task. I prefer 6550/KT88s for metal, and adcom is very much the opposite of that. You might also look at B&K. I think they have a Reference 2220 that isn't too bad. Not sure what it goes for used, but it's like $1k new, so it might be close to the Audio Alchemy. Other brands I liked metal on were Classe (CA201?) and a McCormack DNA. But those are probably too much, even used.

As for the preamp. You're not gonna find a remote control tube pre, and stay under budget. Especially after budgeting for a muscle amp. The matching audio alchemy pre amp (DLC) wasn't bad. ($125-250 used, depending on what power supply). Sort of transparent for the $$$. Personally I'd just get the amp first, and try a discman with volume control directly into the amp. See how you like it. That may be good enough.

After for the player. I'd be tempted to try a DVD player with volume control or even a discman. It depends on what you have on hand. That would someehat eliminate the need for a line stage preamp. If you're after SACD, your best bet is a Sony 500V or CE775 changer. Figure $100-200 depending on if you can find one. I haven't heard them, but they are reported to the somewhat warm sounding. So they shouldn't suck too bad. :-) but if you get one of those, you'll need a line stage for volume attenuation.

Feedback? (pun not intended).
David, I understand your wish list. Now let's get real. Some one on a tight budget should forget remote controlled tubes. To expensive to start with. An older model will probably need new tubes. That means more money. Most tube preamps have high output impedances which would restrict your choice of solid state amps with their usual low input impedance. The one exception that might fit into your budget is the McCormack amps, which by the way would accomodate a passive preamp as well. IMHO the McCormacks while rather smooth on top (important) and having good power below( also important) are a bit too forward for the Thiels. Though they would work very well only the big(read expensive)C-J solid state amps can handle the 4 Ohm load. I'm going to make some suggestions that may not fit all your criterion but I think will none the less work nicely together. These items are currently for sale on Audiogon: AMP Muse 100 2000 Special Edition (200 Watts into 4 OHms) at $625 OBO, PREAMP Audio Alchemy DLC (remote, 4 inputs, no tape loop or phono)$245 OBO, CD CAl Temperst MK III $225 OBO. I know that adds up to $1120. Remember that all these items are listed with OBO (or best offer). I think (hope) you can negotiate at least 10% off. There are some other choices out there as well. If you pay for shipping I'll send you free a pair of good condition Monster Power Line 2 speaker cables (I believe they were once Monster's top of the line). I think some body can offer you a good deal on some decent interconnects. Good luck.
INfact, not only do I KNOW that no tube amp at his budget, for his purposes will work for him with those Thiels, but I would suggest CALLING THIEL!!! I would suggest picking the people at Thiel's brain (probably get Sheri on the Phone, but also talk to a tech or Jim Thiel or some one). I bet you anything they would suggest like a used TUBE PREAMP with solid state amp! for his budget!
Thanks everyone for the tips!
Thank you for the offer Siem a.k.a. Unsound.I will be in touch with you.
Here's another question.Does Sony make a SACD player with remote volume?

you have been given some good ideas on amps but I would stay away from the Golden Tubes unless you are real handy at fixing things. I have a friend, who is handy, owned 2 of the SE40s and never stopped working on them. He talked with lots of other owners and found the same trend. The Classe would certainly fit the bill if you can find one at $400-$600 (don't worry about age they have great build quality and are reliable). Would not do parasound, B&K, or Adcom, I don't think you will get the "warmness" you need alothough you would get all the balls. Not familiar with McCormick, outside of articles, but it might do the trick. Another couple of great values that should have the power needed:
*Audio Analoge Donizetti power for sale right now for $800 but that is a little high. You will have to wait and watch for the right situation since they don't come around too often. Great looking gear too.

*Marsh 200w - pushing your budget but there are 2 on AGON both under $900 right now.

Musical Fidelity - a little high but you might be able to find something in your range

Sim Audio - there is a W4070 right now for $650...killer deal. Older model but it would do the trick.

Electrocompaniet - in particular the AW60FTT...there was someone selling 2, $650 each, and his add is still up. I owned this and I like it better than anything else I have mentioned so far. Original retail was $1999 (a little high). Look under AW60 because the guy spelled Electro wrong. If you have to wait, I think it would be worth it. 60W of class A power (acts like 100+) and very warm (some might say dark...but what do they know)

NAD - known for being "dark" also but plenty of drive and headroom (their specialty) and you should be able to find an older retired model well within your budget.

ANOTHER THOUGHT: Consider an integrated and drop the pre tube requirement, it would save a lot of money and if you stuck to Sim, Musical Fidelity, Electrocompaniet and Sim (maybe even the NAD) I think you would find everything you want.

Don't know the YS-Audio but I would take a chance for that kind of money.

Consance T99 retails for $799 and now comes with a remote option - you will have to look around to find the remote option and get it used. Maybe you can find a dealer willing to sell a "demo" to you. I bet they would like to move some of the equipment.

Call some dealers and see if you can find a used or demo piece at the right price.

I wouldn't do anything out of my way to get SACD since there isn't enough software out there to please a Rock dude like you. However, if it comes with the deal, why not.

Sony - the Sony line is extensive and have changed models so many times it is hard to keep up. But study the line and almost anything you settle on will be a good buy. They have really done an excellant job on trickle down since the relase of SACD, specially the SCD-1.

Cambridge Audio D-500SE - mint unit for $250 right now on AGON...not SACD but you are going to have to go a long way to get better sound for the price.

There are others but it isn't necessary to look further.

Nordost Blue Heaven used - about $100 bucks a pair for 1m
or Nordost Solor Wind 1m pair $110 retail, tough to find used...all the Nordost is fast, great bass, and neutral. If you want coloration (i.e. warmth) go with Van Den Hul in this too...about the same price.

Van Den Hul - The Wind MkII they changed the model number but I believe this is the same model I bought. Butt ugly but it will make your system sing...warmth and deep taught bass. 8ft terminated pair was around $175 retail...again, you will have to do some homework but it will be worth the work.

1. Save some more money and get $1500 and the task will be much easier.
2. Consider selling the Theils and combining the money (again the $1500 for other would be best) then start from scratch so you don't have to worry so much about a hard-to-drive speaker. Triangle (both are 90db+ so any amp you want will do) Antal ($1500 retail) and Celius ($2000 retail)...not a better sounding speaker in that price range, though MANY others would disagree. I am not sure of how they would do with so much Rock music but I guess real could even supplement with a used paradigm sub and kick some serious, heavy metal, guitar toten, funny cigerette smokin, thunder clappin, jaw-droppin, knee bendin, in-your-face, rock the house, slammin, ear-bleeding, love-makin, ROCK AND ROLL BABY!!!!!!

Have fun
I agree with Aroc on the KT88 tubes for metal - I have the Rogue Audio M120 monoblocks, $1500-$1800/pair - out of the price range of course, but where I finally settled.

An amp that hasn't been mentioned yet, and should be worth a look is the Conrad Johnson Sonograph SA400: $800-$1000 and 200 (or was it 220?) smooth, sweet watts. Lower power and lower price is the SA250 for around $600 or a little more. They don't come up too often, and sell fairly quickly, but they may be a little more lush than the McCormacks at the same price range. Either CJ or McCormack are good options in the price range, though.

As for B&K, I'd avoid the newer amps (EX-, REF-) and consider one of their older higher-powered amp or pair of monos (M200 I think it was called) If your Thiels have a wicked impedance curve, however, B&K may not be your ticket - some of their amps don't have the grip to handle tricky impedances.

I am sorry you have had problems and had to divest. It is important to have music in your life. If I were in your situation, I would strongly consider a Superphon RevelationII preamp ($350) and PS Audio 200C ($375) on Agon right now. Both products were designed by Stan Warren and repersent excellent values. The Superphon has a superb phono stage should you ever get back into vinyl. The PS Audio is 200 watts per channel and should mate well with the Thiel's. There is also a Sumo Andromeda II for $500 and White monobloc 250 watt amps also $500. But for just over $700, the Superphon and PS Audio combo leaves you money for the Sony and a cheap tuner if you want. Or maybe for some music. No tubes and no remote, but a reasonable compromise imho.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide.

Good Luck!

Suffer a little.

Save your money.

You need about $2k minimum to do what you ask.

I agree with the posts that say you cannot do what you want with what you have.

Having said that, for what you want you should slay the "Thiel beast" by dumping them and buy Klipshorns. With the leftover money (if you are lucky) and your 1k buy a Manley Stingray integrated amp and and an Ah tjoeb 4000 cd player. This system will destroy your Thiels plus whatever amp and cd player you can get for 1k.

Now you are talking "killer rock/metal rig."
I read'em all; alot of people here have certainly put forth some effort. I'm not going to tell him to bail since he does have to listen to something. The Aragon hifiguy recommends is a good choice. I'm not big into balancing the coloration "du jour" as one person put it--you just need good accurate gear for cheap that can drive your pair of relatively inefficient demanding speakers. A nice SS amp for the Thiels would be the way to go-espeically since you need power. I think B&K and Aragon are generally a cut above Adcom and Paraound. Brystons also another (there's a few over there for <$500). If you insist on having tubes in the system get it in the preamp-- but forget about the remote, its too much a stretch at your budget. For a front end I've owned a Parasound c/dp 1000 and it was a good unit--you could get one for between $100 and $160 used. Parasound doesn't make cd players anymore so you won't find a new one anyhow. It also has a coax digital out so you can upgrade the DAC later. That way you'll have something to listen to and when you upgrade you won't have lost a penny on this initial purchase. SACD is not a great format you might not want to get to caught up in it: a standard CD actually has better High Frequency capability and DVD-A is really the winner over SACD and CD. And with all the varying quality of different DACs it turns into apples v oranges real quick and you don't know what's to blame for the sound. The recordings can dominate it all: a good recording on Metal Cassette tape on a Nakamich dragon could outperform a poor SACD recording. I would forget about the cables too. If anything build some yourself and/or wait 'til later for what you want to do there.

CD Player $100-$150 (w/ digital out so you can upgrade later)
Amplifier $500 (Aragon, Bryston, B&K, Van Alstine,etc.)
Preamplifier $350 (Aragon, Van Alstine, others)

Use 14g cable from either Audioadvisor at $.30ft or check out stuff is all under $.50ft too. Pauls equipment recommendations are good too. Audiolab has had some decent budget pieces also. Don't get too hung up on power ratings. Shoot for around 100watts. But the difference between 120 wpc and 160wpc is only marginally audible--especially the way some speakers start to compress at higher volumes and you might only walk away with a 1 db at best with those extra 40 watts depeding on specifics.
I agree with hifiguy, great idea...CALL THEIL, they can tell you...I hear they have good service

have fun

Yeah I have to totally disagree with the gentleman who doesn't agree with BALANCING TONALITY and such with gear! Especially at this price level!! Even ultra high end stuff needs to BALANCE for sound with other gear sonically! From years of working around high end products, that theory of just putting together a bunch of "SONICALLY TRANSPARANT/UNCOLORED" gear doens't every really work out! EACH AND EVERY PIECE has it's own sonic signature, no matter what you do! EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT GEAR IN THIS BUSINESS!...SO total tranaparancy has to be a mystical perceived factor.
I think people do best to Soniclally match up components that MATE well with each other, and BALANCE each other out. The reason people lilke Thiels with Tubes is for this very reason! Thiels often tend to error towards brightness, and tubes tends to BALANCE THAT OUT. Since there's NO TOTALLY TRANPARANT speaker out there, you should match gear for proper tonality. That's the way it is.
As for BALANCING THE SOUND, my years of audiophile experience ALWAYS SUGGESTS that ALWAYS comes down to SYSTEM MATCHING when in comes to compoenents! yes BALANCE is what you're after, with ALL GEAR! THAT'S RIGHT, ALL GEAR has it's own sound and characteristics WHICH NEED TO BE MATED PROPERLY FOR BEST SOUND! There is NO PERFECT GEAR OUT THERE!...IT'S all flawed! And like any relationship, it needs proper balance to work best. End of story.
Anyone who thinks you shouldn't match gear for BALANCE, or coloration or whatever needs to tell me about some system they have, or have heard, WHICH IS SONICALLY NEUTRAL AND TOTALLY TRANSPARANT, AND WITHOUT NEED FOR SYSTEM MATCHING!...DOESN'T EXIST!!! There is NO perfect gear!
As for what Ezmeraldal1 mentioned regarding the Parasound CDp/1000, I used to have that unit in my system for a while and it's not very good! Infact, as a standalone unit, even the little Jolida CD601, Cal audio DX1 and 2, Cal audio Icon MKII, Acurus ACD11,and Rega Planet CD player's are all MUCH better than that player you mentioned! Yeah granted they can't be had as cheep, but for a $100 more you can get most of these used. That said, my DVDA310 is STILL BETTER THAN ALL OF THESE PLAYERS SONICALLY! And you can buy mine for $200 with remote and volume control for Passive set up!!
He will STILL NEED a tube preamp to match with his solid state amp at that budget, and it'll be workable with in a few bucks or so. '
Also, if you likes the Thiels, you should stick with em. That's my take.
Let me break it down again:

Panasonic DVDA310 ...$200 or less
Aragon 4004(or 4004 MKII..even better)...$400-600
used tube preamp in the $200-500 range.

You'll have killer sound, and you can upgrade pieces in the future should your budget allow. For right now however, at that price range, you'll not get better sound from your speakers for YOUR PURPOSES! I garantee it!
David, very sorry to hear of your circumstances, but I hope the audio divestiture is the greatest of your troubles.

And now for something *completely* different ...let me suggest something off the wall (my specialty) ... I don't know how important aesthetics are and if you are handy, but what about making a DIY powered sub to take much of the Thiel load off the amp, then go with a tube integrated or separates (which should then have ample power)? Given your not-huge room size, I wouldn't think the 89 dB sensitivity is the key issue. Don't know the impedance curve of the Thiel's but wouldn't the most severe dips be in the lower frequencies? You could make something like a sealed Shiva alignment with a Parts Express plate amp for a touch over $200 - which may be less than the margin between acceptable go-it-alone amps?

Just a thought.
Inscrutable, The Thiel 3.5 impedance load is 4 Ohms nominal and 4 Ohms minimal. Frequency response is 20 to 20K +/- 2 db. The speakers are time and phase coherent. I really think adding a sub woofer would be a big mistake. I think the most importatnt piece in this particular puzzle is the amplifier. My suggestions were based upon currently available items. My first pick in an amp any where near this price point is the C-J 2300. But alas that's would leave nothing left for the rest of the system. My next choice would be a pair of B&K M 200's. A pair recently sold for $600. Alas, the only ones currently available are being sought for 50% more that that. The C-J would permit a tube pre when more money was available. The B&K's input impedance load isn't that complimentary to tubes. An inoffensive preamp would be the second in priority. As digital improves at a faster rate than most any other products combined with typically poor (from the sellers perspective) resale value upgrades here should be considered last. I know, garbage in - garbage out. But we're dealing with a very tight budget here.
Are you sure about the impedance figures? That would be the first speaker of which I've heard that had a completely flat impedance curves - most drop at least 10-15% (usually much more) from nominal to minimum. Some M-L stats go down to almost 1 ohm. A flat 4 ohms and 89 dB/W-m is not a very tough load. I agree that I wouldn't normally want to integrate a sub ... but the $ differential to get a powerful stable amp that does it all into a portrayed very difficult load got me thinking about how to tame the load instead. If the mountain won't come to Mohammed ...
Inscrutable, those are the manufacturers specs. While all such specs need to be taken with a grain of salt I believe Thiel to be one of the better manufacturers in regard to legitimate specs. Jim Thiel intentionaly designs his products in this manner. Of course this keeps amps that are up to the impedance load very stable. Some complain that the extra components used in his crossovers to accomplish this suck the energy out of the system. I don't have an opinon on that. These speakers were $2850 when new over 10 years ago. I think the specs are pretty impressive. IMHO the sound is impressive too. This is a high performance vehicle.To add a cheap crossover and amp to this design (with the extra cost cabling) would be like putting training wheels on a Ferrari. I appreciate your innovative, out of the box thinking but I don't think it's an appropriate course of action. BTW Thiel origianlly recommended 40-250 watts per channel then increased the recommedation to 50-250 watts per channel. When I asked Jim Thiel about these recommendations he said that they were in reference to standard solid state 8 Ohm ratings and a more accurate guide would be 100-500 watts into 4 Ohms. Unlike many other speakers The Thiels don't roll off the top end. As such any abberations in this region will be heard loud and clear. That's why many say the Thiels are bright and need warm and/or tube equipment preceeding them. There is some truth to this. I would argue that you really need clean, accurate equipment preceeding them, other wise you might be throwing away some of that resolution. What's needed is a powerfull, clean amp that can handle a steady 4 Ohm load. That kind of amp usually costs money. If one can't afford that, then the warm compensating approach would make more sense than going with a typical cheap bright, chalky front end.
Unsound, I don't disagree with anything you've said. This is going to be a temporary, stepping-stone solution to get some music playing. [David, I don't mean to refer to you in 3rd person as if you're not here, but I don't know if you are here ;-)] If David is eventually going to get to a balanced system, and buys cdp, pre, and amp for $1k, my guess is he's not very happy with any of them, and certainly none of them survive into the 'permanent' solution. Frankly, my first thought is to sell the Thiels and then buy a complete well-balanced system, but it sounded like David was reluctant to part with the last/cornerstone of his system, and I can understand that. Disregarding that, I thought about a cdp with variable output direct into an amp of reasonable quality. A 'powerful, clean amp that can handle a steady 4 ohm load' is not that rare nor pricey. I'm thinking something SS like a McCormack 0.5, Belles 150A, or Citation 5.1 - with some patience, all can be had around $600-700 used. That leaves $300-400 for the cdp. This won't be the last word, but a couple reasonably good choices with line level output control are the Newcastle 980 and the H-K 8550. The amps still have up-side potential, and bought at the right price all this will resell easily.
Inscrutable and Dave, I can't comment about most of your recommendations mentioned above, as I don't have any experience with most of them. I do agree with your McCormack recommendation whole heartedly as a viable option. Dave, how about an update?
Ok-Im tempted to sell the 3.5's.
I have 2 people that have been interested for some time.
My best and most solid offer is for $700 in my pocket.
I just paid $840 for them so it would be a loss for sure.
I like the idea of running a CDP straight into an amp until I can pick up another pre.But then,what about the bass eq.?? Hows that going to be used with no pre or tape input??
I feel stuck and a bit cursed by the Thiels.
I did run them once with my old gear (rogue 99,Planet,Le Amp Monos @100 wpc) and I got good volume,bass and transparency but the soundstage was like 5 feet wide and a foot deep.Coming off an Aleph-3 that really sucked!
I dont know,selling the Thiels seems like the way to go and starting over but I dont think Im going to find a better speaker for < a K.....confusing or what???
David, I would love to buy your speakers from you. That said, I belive the system I recommended from the available items for sale on Audiogon in the above post and some of the latter suggestions for items not currently available would make you happy. All of the items mentioned were bargains that competed fairly well against more expensive competitors when new. The amp appears to be new. If you look at the origianl list price of these items and compare them with the origianl list price of your speakers,you'll see that their not out of their league. BTW, the price of the Muse amp has just been reduced and if you could swing a bit more money (perhaps spending a little less on the CD player (Marantz?) you might be able to go for the Muse 150 mono's (300 Watts into 4 Ohms)that are also for sale. You might be able to put the Thiel's equalizer between the CD player and the amp. Unfortunatley I don't know how this would effect the signal with regards to input and output impedance and drain on the signal strenght level. I would strongly recommend talking to Thiel before embarking on this. To do this you'll need a CD player with a high quality volume control, high output, low output impedance going into short low capacitance interconnects into the Equalizer into short low capcitance interconnects (if the equalizer doesn't have a captive cable)into an amp that is very sensitive and has a high input impedance and between 100 and 500 Watts into 4 Ohms. BTW, at the risk of offending many here on Audiogon, I don't think it's necessary to have a tube preamp to have good sound with the Thiels. The best set up I ever heard with Thiel 3.5's was completely solid state (I'll admit it wasn't an inexpensive system). If you previously enjoyed a low powered Pass amp, perhaps your not the headbanger we all seem to think you are. I'm sure a lot of the advise given here has been done with that perception. Don't get too frustrated, there are always solutions. Keep us up to date on your decisisons. Good luck and good listening.
I thought you could get more for them...before you sell...get a clear idea of what road you would take if you had the money for them.

Are you going to take the same money and buy something else? If so, what? What will be "better" than the Theil's for $800ish?

If you combine the sale money with other money you have saved what then? What speaker and then what approach on the rest of your system?

Are you sure you have to have a "tube pre" and are you sure you have to have seperate pre and amp?

Are you sure your budget is only $1000?

I would answer these questions first.
1. much do you have to work with all together, is there any flexibility and if so how far will you stretch?

2. Do you have to have tube-pre and seperate amp? If not, you probably can find solid state seperates that fit the bill or an integrated that takes you where you want to go. (also, an integrated saves you the cost of a pair of interconnects) Sim Audio Moon I5 ($1200-$1350 used).

3. If you forget the above and decide to sell the speakers, what them? $800? What can you buy that is better for $800? Will you combine other money, if so, it will change the whole dynamics of what you are doing. AN ASIDE: I am not saying these are "better" than the Thiel from a purest stand point, but given your situation here is what I think. If you go to change speakers, look at the PSB Stratus Gold (or Gold "i")...tons of ROCKIN Speaker(does well with finnese also). Goes down to mid thirties (literal chest slamming), plays very loud without losing focus and is reasonably priced. Can get the old Gold (not i version) for $600 to $800 and you can get the latest "i" version for around a $1000 (should be one on AGON now). I owned the old Gold and sold it to a best friend 2 years ago and they still are one of the best values in full range speakers you can buy (he still owns them, still likes them, still likes me). In my house (12x19x8 LR), when cranked, just using a top line receiver at the time, I could literally shake the house and slam you in the chest with the right music. Also, they are VERY VERY easy to match, run about 89db or 90db at 8 ohms so you don't need a lot of power to carnk them. I started out with a little 30 watt receiver (20 plus years old) and then graduated to a flagship Yamaha and then beyond to the "true" high-end stuff (although I am still amazed at how good some of the "cheap" "junk" will often take you 85%-90% of the way). Each change I made they responded well and sounded better. Highly recommended. (since then I have owned Sonus Faber Gauneri (10k), Kharma Ceramique 2 (11.5k, JM Lab Minis (8200)...and have tried many many more, because I am good friends with a dealer, and the PSB can hold their own. I have asked myself many times if it really was worth 10 and 20 times the cost? Very subjective but I was lucky and only paid $500 for my do the math, that is a lot of supporting equipment and/or a lot of music.

Let us know what you deicde, I am curious and hope the best for you.

I reached deeper into my dirty jeans and pulled out a wad of cash.
on order is a Electrocompaniet AW 74 fully ballanced dual toroid high current class A bias Thiel slayer!
The check goes out tomorrow!!!!
Questions I can find answers to:
Its 75wpc @8ohm...what is the wpc at 4 ohm and wpc at 2ohm? Ive read the amp is 30 amps per side.What does that mean? Is this amp a good choice for my Thiels 3.5's?
I was told I wouldnt be able to find a tube pre with remote within budget.I scored a Audcom AP-110 with remote,upgraded auricaps and NOS Teleffunkns for $200 shipped! retail is $400 + the cost of the caps and the tels which are included in the price.'
This pre will hold me until I can upgrade.
Does anyone have any info on Audcom?
I still need a CDP or SACD player.
I am interested in the DVD Panasonic DVDA310 that was offered to me by hifiguy.I tried to get a hold of you hifiguy but your address didnt work.
Any other suggestions on a good CDP or Sacd player in the $200-$300 range? The Panasonic DVD does look good though for the money.
I want to get this rig built by next weekend.
I need 8 but preferaby 10 feet of speaker cable and 1 meter rca interconnect and 1.5 meter RCA interconnects.
Whats a good choice for these. Time to beg.....Unsound has offered to send me his monster speaker cables on loan.Could anyone offer me some interconnects to borrow or buy at a good price until I can afford to upgrade the cables and wires? Im trustworthy and any loan will be returned per agreement.I, of course will pay all shipping goal is to finally have music flowing in my house again.
I want to thank everyone for the awesome efforts you put into this thread!! I will remmber you all and hopefully I can be of service to you in the future as you were to me.Im proud to be associated with such fine people.
Thank you
sorry,its the Electro AW 75
David, the Electrocompaniet gear should sound wonderful with the Thiels. I think your unit puts out 120 (?) watts into 4 Ohms. While they don't quite double down, they are stable to 2 Ohms, they should have no problem with the Thiel 3.5's 4 Ohm load. The Electrocompaniet sound is warm and velvety with out any hint of bightness. They remind me of the much more expensive Mark Levinson gear. In addition they have a rather high input impedance which should make matching a tube preamp quite synergistic. While I'm enthusastic about your choice in amps I wonder if they have the power to provide you "A KILLER ROCK/METAL RIG" with the Thiel 3.5's. The Thiel 3.5's "real" power recommendation is 100-500 watts into 4 Ohms. While it's obviously a rather crude recommendation, the old cliche' in HiFi to double the the manufacturers minimum power recommendation seems to have worked for a lot of people for a long time. As for the Audcom, it's a bit of an unknown quantity (quality?) and there lies the rub. Yes, I've seen the ads but with out personal experince I wouldn't make a recommendation. Just because it has tubes doesn't necessarily make it good. I hope it all works out for you.
Unsound- Thanks again for all your help.You are a CLASS A audiogon member for sure. I wont have a 'killer' rock/metal rig but Im sure I'll be pleased.Besides according to one member here,one needs thousands of wpc to be a head banger so I guess few here will ever have such a system :~) re:audcom preamp. hey,its a start and a cheap way to have tubes and remote.Its a gamble but for the price and the mod. and the telefunkens its an interestingbuy.I can get by on some cheap wire for now but I still have no source! Its fun shopping here,so much to choose from but confusing as heck!
David, best of luck on your new system. Please give us an update after you have everything settled in. Perhaps you can give a review on the Audcom. You may have discovered the next great bargain. Give me a call, so we can get those cables out to you. BTW, you can keep them. Should you upgrade just send on to the next person in similar circumstances.
How about ANYTHING beefy with a great treble control?!
I am glad to see you go with the Electro. I don't know about the AW75 but I owned the AW60, as mentioned above, and have heard the AW120 and Nemos and they all have a similar sound so I suspect the AW75 will also. Now, the 75 is the amp you can bridge for 220w right? If so, you can save for a second one, bridge them and use them as mono blocks running 220 a side. That ought to rock.

Don't know the pre amp so I can't say. However, if you don't like it after a bit, you could try and different approach and sell it and the amp and buy an Electro integrated. Just a thought.

Cheap wire. How cheap? Nordost makes a inexpensive speaker wire that runs about $120 a 8 ft pair, if I remember right; it is called Flatline Gold Mk II. Both my kids use it.

Do you need interconnects too? I assume yes. If so, you will need two pair right? [source to pre and pre to amp] or is there something else in the chain? Again, with Nordost you can go with either Solar Wind (about $110 1M pair retail) or Blue Heaven (about $200 1M pair). Used? Blue Heaven is around $100 (currently one pair for this on AGON) and Solar wind, if you can find them, should run under $100.

There are others, but if this fits your budget, I think they will mate well with your system. Need to know how much you want to spend. If you can't find what you want, email me because I have an inside track to several lines (Nordost, XLO, Tara Labs, Analysis Plus, Van Den Hul, Harmonic Technology, Magnan, and...I don't remember them all but this is enough, right?)

Good listening, let me know what happens.

Hey, here is a great deal on AGON for XLO, 10 ft just like you want. I have owned these and bought them as a present for my nephew and I think they are a steal for $110. Go to: XLO VDO ER-12 10ft speaker cable

If you got a $100 bucks you can't beat it.

Bbtuna, brings up some great ideas. If the Electrocompaniet can be bridged you might get all you were looking for and then some. IMHO the Nordost might work very well with Electrocompaniet, especially as interconnects in your particular system. There are some really good buys (as low as $15) on Straightwire and Wire World cables right now on Audiogon. Your speakers are internaly wired with Straightwire and the Wire World products are from the same designer as Straightwire. What's your budget for a source?
The Electro I was thinking about is the new 220. However, I recently emailed the manufactuer and asked about bridging on the AW60...I understand that all of their models will bridge. They sent me a diagram and explanation...very nice and very helpful.

I think the Nordost, or other flatwire products, would be the better route to go if you can swing the price. I know the Thiel sound and the Electro leans to the "dark" side (not bad more of a signature of warmth) and the Nordost works real well with both. I have tons of experience with a number of products around my Electro which stayed stationary throughout all the moves. That said to try and convince you to go with Nordost.

Anyway, I am excited about the new fun you have coming.

It sounds like you have it together. Check out Music Direct,they have a SonySCD-CE775 Sacd player on sale for 249.99.This unit was reviewed in the June/july Absolute Sound mag. They called it a steal at 400.00.I freind of mine just replaced his Naim CdI with it.What an improvement.
I have a thread in the digital section about my search fo a source.Please feel free to join in and express your opinions.
The thread is " single disc sacd player for $300.
I sure am cheap,arent I?

You must save and take a the leap to $1500 ...

The Jolida 1501RC is one of those rare finds, a hybrid
integrated 100-watt amp for under $600. Superb unit.

The mmf cd-25 is another gem by Music Hall, a lovely CD
player that can be had for around $500.

The DIY speakers by EFE have to be heard to be believed.
Assembled by Ed himself, they run about $600. But you
could step down to his modified BIC towers for $400.

For the amp and CD player, contact Walter Liederman at

For the speakers, contact Ed Frias at