Go with the X600.5.
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Sounds like you enjoy the power of power amps thus I hafta agree with Unsound. The Class A amp would likely give you something different on thaural palate, perhaps richer tone, but the loss of driving power would prolly bother you in the end. There is always a sure way to find out. Make friends with a good Pass dealer and try the two amps in your system.
I was surprised about the power and control of the XA100.5 which I own for 2 years. I know many amps of more than 300 watts p/channel who does not have this drive. So I guess the 160.5 will have more than enough drive. X600.5 could be a nive match as well. I am thinking about to buy these this year as well.
I've been listening to Thiel speakers of every level since 1994. The two things I've learned is that you MUST stick with the highest quality gear up front and that they always improve with more power. Anything less than 400 wpc is silly for the 7.2's if you want them to sound like the world-class speakers that they are. Room size is irrelevant. They eat watts for breakfast.
Does anyone know what the XA160's actually put out at full Class A/B power? If it's anything like the XA30.5, it will likely be much more than the 160 Class A watts.
What don't you like about the X600s? Do they have enough drive but they miss some Class A refinement/nuance and tonal richness? IOW, are they a bit dry or thin. If so, then I think this is what the X600.5 will improve upon.
I agree with the others who suggest you start by contacting Mark or Kent.
Jebsmith73, The Thiels dont allow for biamping.
Thresholdman, I tried both the 600 and 350.5 amps with my CS7.2s. I thought the .5 series was the better sounding amp, but didnt control the speakers like the 600 monos did. I would think the 600.5s would be the best of both worlds and they would be my choice if I was picking Pass Labs amps for them.
My personnel view is that either the XA160.5 or the XA200.5 would drive the 7.2's very well as both amps provide large amounts of current. But not knowing the type of music you listen to or the loudness level and room size/acoustics it is anyone's guess. And I agree with Harri009 that for the kind of money we are discussing the shipping costs re trivial.
Thanks for commenting on this thread. I think I'm going to go with the X600.5's. In the past I've talked to Kent at Pass Labs and he was at a loss to explain why the X350 could not drive the Thiel's adequately. The X350's sounded fine on acoustic music or small ensembles but the sound stage would collapse on larger scale (many instrument playing simultaneously) pieces. My system is in a great room which is 20 by 40 feet. I might give Kent a call before I place my order. I listen to rock, blues, and Jazz and I value dynamics. Most folks drive the Thiels with very large amplifiers.
Congrats on your purchase! I felt the same way when trying both the 350.5 and the Ayre V-1xe (200/400 wpc). Completely different speaker with the X600s and ended up with the Krell 650M monos. I'm wasnt in any where near the size room your in and still felt the 7.2s didnt open up to what they should without huge power.
I take that back. there's 6db for the xa30.5, but measurements of the xa100.5 were less than 200w total
so I'm not sure what the xa160.5 can do