I am a Thiel owner myself and may be looking into an integrated amp.
I have spent much time w/ both Pass Labs + Mark Levinson, in fact, quite interested in the new ML integrated amp No. 585
Hopefully more Hegel users will chime in here.
I have listened to Vandersteen 3A's with Conrad Johnson amplification and thought that they sounded very good, if a bit polite.
I felt the same way about the Pass X350 with the Thiel CS5.
So while I very much understand your comment about McCormack's with Thiels, I wonder if your "bit shouty" could be my desire for "more presence"?
Gosh this is hard when you cannot listen to an amp before purchasing it!
^I can very well understand how you might feel about the above pairings. But, the Vandy's though sharing similar design paramters, are voiced differently than the Thiels, and the c-j's run in the same direction as the Vandys. Some of the McCormack amps have a very similar design to some c-j amps, but are again voiced differently. The McCormacks might just work for you, especially more so with the CS 5's, with their rather extreme load. I happen to like the X series Pass amps with Thiels, but can understand your misgivings. I hate to be so redundant, but the bipolar output Krells are in my mind the perfect match for the CS 5's, more so than the mosfet output competition. Maybe it's due the devices chosen or maybe not, but the big Krells work better with the CS 5's than any other amps I've heard with them.
Well for what it is worth, I am deciding that the Hegel H20 amp just does not cut it for me with the Thiel CS5's.
The bass is great and there is a lot of detail, however, I am not hearing quite the separation of instruments in the mix that I want. Also, there is an occasional edgy treble note that was not present with the Pass X350.
Still ranking the Pass first even though I think that it is a bit polite. It provided a lot of detail, nuance, and texture.
Still have not tried a Krell. So so far, I am at Krell?, Pass, or maybe McCormack and am not sure about any of this.