I have heard the 3.6's with the McIntosh 501's...sounded very good, relaxed, smooth, deep natural bass, and airy highs. Didn't sound like it was breaking a sweat even at higher SPL's. I wasn't able to compare the 501's directly to my Parasound JC1's, but I suspect they would hold there own. For myself, I'm quite happy with the JC1's driving the Magnepan 3.6's...an amp you may also want to consider for the 20.1's IMHO.
I own Mac 501's driving Thiel 3.6 and am very happy.
Have you considered the MC2102 100 watt tube amp? I've heard this with the 1.6, 3.6, and 20.1. It's a fantastic combo. Also, the MA2275 integrated is another nice tube option from Mac. Maggies just love the tubes!
MC2102 on a 20.1? I dont think that would be a good idea, my 3.6's clipped my 1201's! As for the 2275 I dont think it could properly drive a 1.6 or higher...maybe the MMG or 12's.
Clipping point has a lot to do with room size. If your room is large, that last 3dB of volume can eat up a lot of Watts - even 1200! Arthur
I power my MG-20's with a combination of Threshold SA-1s with a Pass labs 350.5. The 350.5 sounds great on these speakers and powers them effortlessly. So even if you are not going to bi-amp your maggies I would suggest you add the Pass labs 350.5 to your audtion list. I see no problems because of not using a standalone pre-amp in your setup with the 350.5. Good luck in your audtioning ,your MG20.1s are amazing speakers!
Don't even think about the Paraounds JC-1s on the 20.1s. I tried them and they were pushed to their limit. Their transformers are too small. They can't deliver enough voltage. You need a very powerful amp either a Classe Omega, Rowland, Levinson, or one of the high-powered ARC amps if you want tubes.
Another great tube option is the Jolida JD 3000A 200 watt mono blocs. My Maggie dealer uses these as the default amps for the 20.1 and 3.6. He also happens to sell more Magnepan speakers than any other dealer in the U.S.
Huge power from the 211 tubes, never lacking anything. Banish any thoughts of a subwoofer. And you'll likely never go back to SS, certainly not the ever over-hyped, over-priced bricks like Levinson, Musical Fidelity, Krell, etc.
Gladstone: Parasound JC-1 pushed to the limit with the MG20.1s??! That does not sound right. Maybe you had issues with your power connection to the JC-1s, or some other problem.?
I run my 20.1s with a pair of JC-1, and IMHO the JC-1 powers the 20.1 effortlessly! I'm currently adding a 2nd pair of JC-1s for a bi-amp setup, and frankly I'm a bit worried that putting 2x800W into one 20.1 will be too much...
It won't be too much. It should sound a lot better with more power.
Yes, the JC-1 can run the 20.1s, but it doesn't control them the way a truly high-powered amp does. Just look at how little the JC-1s weigh. The real bruisers weigh 100-200 pounds a piece because they have big power supplies. I'm using the JC-1s on a pair of Magnepan 1.6s, where they sound much better.
Instead of getting another set of JC-1s, I'd save some money in your place and get the Classe Omicron or Omega, MK. 1. Far superior. I had them side by side. No contest.
The JC1 does have a pretty decent power supply -- the best you can get in an amp that only costs $6000/pair.
FWIW, my Magnepan dealer recommends Bryston 7B-SST for the 20.1s. The Bryston 7B weighs only 50 lbs. At least the JC1 is 64 lbs....
Of couse the Omega is better. At $25k/pair it has to be better... Why not get a pair of Simaudio Moon Rocks. They are 220 lbs each. Maybe that qualifies?
Hard to imagine going wrong with the 501's.
SimAudio W10's might work well with the 20's. They work very well with the 3.6's. Remember that the Mac's don't double into 4 ohms. I understand the power stage is looking at the fixed impedance of the Autoformers, but I tried the MC252 in my system on the 3.6's and it shut down on thermal overload after a few minutes of playing at moderate levels.
I've also driven a 600w (into 4 ohms) digital amp into clipping on the 3.6's....I'd get an amp with high current capacity into lower impedances and avoid any chance of under-powering the 20's.
I meant Classe Omicron or Omega MK 1--they're available for 5-6,000,
On my 20.1s, I went from Omicron MK to the mono pairs you mention. Yes, the monos are better, but the originals are not that far off.
Another suggestion to try might be Steve McCormack's DNA-500. Lots of current and power(500w/900w) with excellent sonic presentation.
I had the MC602 for about 10 months and I'm turely impressed with the performance of the unit. Based on it's power, sound and yes, those beautiful blue eyes, I purchased the MX135 video control center. I've listened to the 402, 501, 602 and for me the choice was the 602. The next amp for me, MC1201!! Make no mistake, Mac amps are AMPS.
Gladstone: Are you bi-amping your MG20.1s? From my understanding that's one of the first major improvements you can/should do once you have even a half-decent amplifier. (Just consider the fact that Jim Winey is bi-amping his own 20.1s and recommends this wholeheartedly). One of the nice things about bi-amping the 20.1s is that the low and high require about the same power, so using identical amps is not overkill in any way.
AFAIK, getting rid of the "mediocre" passive crossover is a major improvement. I don't want to buy 2nd hand amps, so my only option would be to get 4 brand new Omegas. That's $50,000. Considering that the JC1's are $12,000 that's one heck of a difference. I doubt *I* could justify paying $38k more for the sound of the Omegas...
I rebuilt the crossover and combined the internal and external and eliminated numerous connections. My reservation about active is that the only one that might be good enough is the Pass, costs $6,000, and I still wonder if it isn't as good as my retooled crossover. Though I will try active at some point.
Innersound ESL Monoblocks. The KW ones, about 10K used. Best I have heard on 20.1's.
Okay, now time for some facts:
For all I can tell, the Parasound JC-1s are indeed "TOO MUCH" for the MG20.1. For all I can see, Magnepan's specs are completely correct. More than 500W is more than the 20.1 can take... (The JC-1 is in theory capable of putting out approx 1100 watts into Maggie's 4 ohms).
Putting Classé Omegas on the 20.1 and claiming they need, or can take, the power is insane! In practice, the MG20.1s can't take nearly 50% of the power the Omegas are capable of...
The JC-1s are already MORE than the 20.1 can handle!
There's a lot of snake oil going on here, for sure... And I believed in some of it... Duh!
Well, at least I did not fall for all that cable madness :)
Peter: have you actually *heard* the JC-1s (broken in, please!) driving the MG20.1s, either single- or bi-amped? Or is your comment about them being "too much", i.e. too powerful, pure speculation? The same goes for the Classe Omegas' power being "insane".
And a lot of people say they hear differences among cables used with them. Bunch of snake oil, I tell ya! :-)
Peter...you mising point. Both amp have some headroom for drive 20.1 Both amp on paper are good choice for 20.1
Some people use JC1 with 20.1 and claim 'great sound' 'great match'....this is what is important, not what paper says or grandma tell you when sitting by fireplace.
I have heard the JC-1's with the 20.1 (broken in), I think they sound fantastic. Dynamic, deep, and fast. Great match.
That said, I reiterate my earlier suggestion, especially since I have seen some on sale here for $7k, the Innersound monoblocks (KW) are the best match I have ever heard on the very fine 20.1's.
Im running the 20.1 with the new MC2301 from Mcintosh. Before that Ive used a Plinius 250MK4. This was the combo I really loved. But now with the macs Im in heaven.
My wife jumps around and my kids forced me to play playsation. Sometimes you have to ignore the world around you and try to fined ways to communicate this nice. So I convinced my wife to do some helpful cleaning work and my kids try to reach my high score at grand turismo 5 until they come back to me.
Love them all. Enjoying every second.
Hope you will do so soon.
A friend went from the ARC Ref. 210s to the Mac 1201 monoblocks with his system. Huge improvement in the way the music is presented, and in detail and bass. The sound stage depth was flat and now is crazy deep. Great amps.
That said, he uses all the power the Macs have to give when playing loud music. I hear this combo alot, and They sound great together.