Integrated amp for Thiel 3.7's

I am sort off picking up where Thieliste, Jafant and others left off in the discussion thread about what electronics to use drive the Thiels.  I was, and I suppose still am looking for a preamp to drive my pass labs 60.5 mono's, but in reading some of the posts I have also started considering simplifying my system and just going for a high end integrated.  Part of the reason I am thinking about going in this new direction is that we may be moving- and this might be the right time to scale down.

I am not sure yet, but I have started thinking about it. 
For preamplifiers I keep on toying with the idea of a PS audio BHK, Pass labs xp12, Simaudio 740p, or an Aesthetix Calypso Eclipse.  One of these would replace my Prima Luna Dialogue Premium- as I have mentioned before I think I can probably get better detail, definition, and depth a preamp with a higher quality volume control (vs the Prima Luna blue velvet).

But maybe a high end integrated might actually do the trick as well- I cannot afford one of the new Uber integrateds but maybe some high quality used ones might work.  I am budgeting under usd10k.  By selling my other equipment I should be able to get to my budget with a relatively small additional investment (usd1-3k ?).

So I have been looking at Luxman 509x, Nelson Pass Int 250, Vitus RI-100 or RI-101....Diablo 300 would be out of my reach even used but maybe the 120, and maybe an ASR (the exclusive 2 would be so many boxes that it would defeat the whole purpose of consolidating the system- so maybe the 1?).  On these last 2 I really have no idea about how much one gives up going with the lower models.

Ultimately my hope is that the list above will still get me further than where I am with my current set up.

Anyway, would be very interested in your thoughts as I look at this new angle for my system.

With this kind of load, especially around the low bass with the added -phase angle, to get the VERY BEST out of these magic speakers, if you have the funds and because they are 91db efficient you need an integrated like the Gryphon Diablo 120 or the 300 but that maybe too expensive that can handle 2ohm or sub 2ohm loads continuously, and be comfortable doing it.
The 300 can do this 
2 x 300W (8 ohms),
2 x 600W (4 ohms),
2 x 950W (2 ohms)

So the 120 should do half those figures which is still plenty for you.
Cheers George
You have already created already a very good shortlist of Integrated amplifiers. The Integrateds have come along a lot recently. Some excellent options available for sure


I am looking forward in reading about the Integrated(s) auditioned.

There has never been a better time to consider this aural option.

Happy Listening!

What about the Hegel 390 or 590. I saw a 590 used for $8K.

Hegel sounds good with KEF, I think it would work great with the Thiel. I have owned Thiel and KEF and heard the Hegel 360 and also mono blocks with KEF Blades. 
Hello all,

I want apologize for having disappeared and dropping this thread but I unexpectedly had to travel for work.

I also wanted to thank everybody for their thoughts and advice- it has given me a lot to think about.

There is a rather interesting coincidence I should tell you about.  When I got from traveling one of the Pass Mono's died on me (maybe it heard I was thinking of integrated and decided to take it revenge?) so now I am actually using my back-up integrated- the Unison Research Unico Se with NOS tubes.  I have to say I am taken aback at haw good it sounds compared to the separates- not quite in the same league but closer than I would have expected.  And this has me thinking even more about an integrated.

I will actually look into Hegel- I do know about them but I have never had a chance to audition.  I know that they are very highly regarded and Magico crew is a big proponent (I in fact have a pair of Magico S1 Mk1 I have to get around to selling).  

@ georgehifi
 am indeed really tempted by the Diablo 120- I wish I had a better feel for the differences with Diablo 300.  That said it should be a pretty good match.

I have heard primaire and thought they did an excellent job however it was the more modest equipment.  I wasn't quite sure that Primaire was aimed at the more Uber integrated crowd but maybe I should reconsider? 

As of now I may have a chance to hear a Vitus RI100 from a local seller.  Very interested in any thoughts about this one.  Reviews have been great.

I also have a friend who insists that I should serious consider the Aesthetix Mimas and he is usually spit on.  I have always loved Aesthetix- he has an Aesthetix Janus and Atlas (standard version) running a pair of Carmels....absolutely suberb.  One of those situations that where you hear new details from music you have heard nameless time before.  Of course it helps that he has all Nordost top of line cabling, a Spiral Groove, and I think the top Lyra cartridge.  Whatever the case he suggests the Mimas can rival his separates or come extremely close.   I woudl egt it with an integrated phono to round out the set-up.  I am very interested in this option with maybe a slight reservation about this integrateds ability to drive the Thiels.  

Lastly, and speaking a cum phono option I am wondering about the Luxman- the new 509 seems to be building quite a following.  Any thoughts about it and the above?

pgastone OP

Like I said above, the amp for these needs current delivery down to 2ohms, I just posted up an integrated that would do, but it's too new for there to be any used ones. But it does have a dac and phono stge in it.

Cheers George 
Many separate power amps find the 3.7's load challenging. There aren't many integrateds capable of powering  those Thiel's to all they are capable of. Ideally you would have a minimum of 400 Watts per channel into 2 Ohms. More power into that impedance could be beneficial.
Yes I realize I need something that is v stable into 2 0hms considering how close to that level the  impedance  for a significant part of frequency spectrum.

I think that the Luxman should be able to handle that but I will have to double check.  The Mimas I am much less convinced about and I might even call Jim White.

I will certainly look at this Mark Levinson- I heard other recent offerings with different set-ups and I didn't always like it- but one can never know without testing with ones own.  So I am going to look at this as well- maybe try a demo.  The other issue is that if Icannot find used it is out of my budget.

I am curious about the Vitus if I do manage to get an in home demo.
@pgastone before making your final decision consider this baby too

(hoping that ‘gon trolls and teenagers still asleep 😴).

I have no affiliation with any audio-related manufacturer

pgastone OP

Don’t listen to those just saying get this or that, because "it’s stable into 2ohms".

There's more to it, there no use just saying an amp that stable at 2ohms will do, as a old 80’s NAD3020 Integrated is stable at 2ohms, and it’s got no chance of driving the Thiel 3.7’s.

Yes you need an amp that comfortable at 2ohms, but also one that can deliver big current right down to 2ohms and not sag.

And the way to tell is, one that can keep close to doubling it’s wattage from 8ohm to 4ohm then 4ohm to 2ohm. then you’ll have the ideal amp to get the best from these types of speakers.

Cheers George
yes absolutely- I always check if power doubles, or is close, every time the impedance doubles.  Although the specs often do go that far- and my general assumption, which I always try to duoble check if the measurements are available.   I also always check the specs of the power supply transformer.

@ hasmarto.  I had missed the this new Audio Analogue.  This is definitely worth looking into.  I used to live in Italy and I am familiar with the company so I'll do some research on this one.  Thanks for that!!

I always check if power doubles, or is close, every time the impedance doubles.
"correction wattage close to doubles if impedance halves"
Yes and if they don’t mention it in the specs, usually it can’t do it.
Cheers George
Hi @georgehifi : I have barely seen any amps mention the power rating at 2 Ohms. Even when they specified it as doubled when going from 8 Ohms to 4 Ohms. They typically say something like “... stable at 2 Ohms”. Any examples you can share for those Integrated that have specs sheets with ratings at 2 Ohms? Thanks 
Hi @georgehifi : I have barely seen any amps mention the power rating at 2 Ohms.
Yes many Mosfets and Class-D can double from 8ohm to 4ohm, but **** themselves severely into 2ohms, and either can’t increase at all from the 4ohm figure or actually go backwards, or worse still, blow or shut down.
Oh and forget about tubes altogether trying to do this.

They typically say something like “... stable at 2 Ohms”
Yes that’s a bit of a smoke screen, as even a 30w 1980’s NAD 32020 integrated is stable into 2ohms, just means it won’t oscillate or blow up, doesn’t mean at all that it can drive a speaker that’s 2ohms.

Cheers George
How about the Coda CSiB integrated:
Preamplifier section is built on the Burr Brown PGA2310. It controls an analog attenuator with 99 steps with precision resistors. The balanced input is organized without OP amps - the signal from the XLR connectors passes through a buffer with discrete transistors. All switching is built on miniature relays.
Power amplifier section using Precision Bias system originally developed for their Ts power amplifier, with discrete JFET differential input stage, VMOSFET voltage gain DC coupled to an ultra wide band bipolar output stage. Each channel has eight pairs of 230-watt bipolar MJL4281A / MJL4302A and two pairs of ThermalTrak NJL3281D / NJL1302D, In total of 20 output transistors in each channel.
Power supply is a 3kVA transformer with 80,000uF filter caps, capable of delivering 400 watts at 8 ohms and 800 watts at 4 ohms per channel and up to 8W operates in class A!
How about the Coda CSiB integrated:
This should work nicely, even though they don’t give the 2ohm wattage figure, 20 x bi-polars per channel, if the power supplies up to it it should give it a higher wattage figure into 2ohms, than it does into 4ohms.

Cheers George
Hmm thanks for that- definitely interesting.

Btw, anybody have thoughts on the Nelson integrated (250) are good and I obviously have some familiarity with the Pass sound that works well with the Thiels.
I obviously have to wonder how the INT250 would compare to mono 60.5's with the Prima Luna preamp....I would suspect that for the INT250 to be an upgrade the preamp section would be key.
Btw, anybody have thoughts on the Nelson integrated (250)

Generally push/pull complimentary Mosfets aren’t too good at doubling wattage and supplying current down into that broad band of 2ohms, I stick with and look for BJT (bi-polar) amps. Maybe the Coda above?
Cheers George
Thanks unsound.....but the price!
Can't really go there- even the progression clocks in at $18k.
^Yes, “the price” indeed! 
i think the value choice is to go used Krell separates.
Yes, but if I stick with separates I am very happy with Pass mono's driving the Thiels- they sound very impressive and have no issues driving them.  At this point I would go to my original plan of replacing the preamp which as of now I have narrowed to Pass Xp12 (to test brand synergy), Simaudio Moon 740p, or an Aesthetix Calypso/Janus signature.

I would assume that there should be some very good integrateds that should be able to compete with separates but without immediately escalating to $40k for a Momentum.
Not an overwhelming number of separates that can appropriately handle that load, and much fewer intergrateds up to the task.

@pgastone  I have gone through most integrated amps during several years to find the best one for my Thiel CS 3.7 and the only one that could really rival or even outperform very good separates is the Gryphon Diablo 300 and whithout having to spend 40k.

I'm lucky to live in Europe therefore Gryphon prices are much more affordable for me.

The good think about beeing a Gryphon owner is that if one day i want to upgrade to separates i could easily trade in my Diablo 300 for an Antileon Evo amp without loosing too much.

Meanwhile i'm enjoying the Diablo 300 - Thiel CS 3.7 combo.

I hope you have found what you are looking for your Thiel CS 3.7s.



If you guys want my take on Gryphon to drive CS 3.7s well it’s not a good choice.

I’ve had a Diablo 300 for a year and sold it because it was too bright and too lean sounding.

I now have a Vitus SIA-025 Mk2 class A, this is in a different league so much more musical and liquid sounding.

It delivers way more current than a Diablo 300 and therefore the bass is much deeper and solid.

I always listen in class A mode because this is where the magic happens.

If you can offord a used Vitus SIA-025 your Thiels will thank you.

I’ve had a Diablo 300 for a year and sold it because it was too bright and too lean sounding.

It took you (more than) a year to realize this?

I now have a Vitus SIA-025 Mk2 class A, this is in a different league so much more musical and liquid sounding.

If you really want to try a top class Integrated amp, you should try T+A PA 3100 HV. Since you are in Europe, you should get favorable pricing