New Amps to match up with PSB T3 speakers


Hi All,I'm looking to upgrade my Bel Canto Ref 1000 MK2 monos and wonder what amps you think would match up with the T3's? The current amps OK but sometimes on the sharp sounding side for me. Any advice?Joe
Ag insider logo xs@2xdonpepe
The T3’s are very neutral so if you can pair them with something more musical they scale up extremely well. I had a NAD M27 and when I sold that and went to a BAT VK-6200, my T3’s didn’t even sound like the same speakers anymore.

What is your budget?
It's possible you don't like the sonics of an ICE power amplifier, or it doesn't have good synergy with PSB's. The T3's are listed as 8 ohm speakers but their impedance curve is closer to 4 ohms across the frequency range. You should probably stay with a relatively high power amp. Class A/AB or some high power tube monoblocks.
 
I've heard them with Pass XA100.5 monoblocks and they sounded amazing. If your budget doesn't allow, I suspect a lower power Pass stereo amp will be fine as well. Just make sure your preamp matches well with the lower than normal input impedance of the Pass amps.
Thanks guys,My budget is around 6K. My preamps are Ayre K-1xe with phono section and a Belles 21A which was just serviced and upgraded by David Belles. My CD player is a Cambridge audio Azur 851C. My TT is a Sota Nova with a Jelco 750 arm. Frankly you are shooting over my head, in discussing impedance. While I have a masters level education, I am in this regard technically ignorant. I have been in and out of this addiction a few times.  In the past I lived in NYC in the height of the Brick and mortar era and was able to visit my dealers and listen to equipment and decide by what sounded great to me. I now live in South Carolina and shops are scarce, so I come to you for assistance. In the past I've had and liked, Quad, ProAc, Vandersteen 5A and Monitor audio speakers. EAR 501Mk2 monos, Threshold and JC1 Mono amps, all good. Pre amps included Conrad Johnson, Audible Allusions and JC2, all were nice. VPI TNT and scout master were TT i liked. I am now retired and I suspect this may be my last system. Thank you for your assistance, I appreciate your courtesy and consideration.Joe
donpepe, you obviously have musically trained ears based on your ownership history and currently own a very respectable preamp. A matching Ayre amp(s) like an MX-R would be a no brainer and could definitely drive those speakers with no problem. Ayre doesn’t show the output impedance for your preamp but whatever other amplifier you select it would be good to make sure that the ratio between the amp input impedance and your Ayre preamp output impedance is greater than 20, as a general rule. Ayre amps pose no issues since their input impedance is astronomically high.
@donpepe I would make sure that whatever amp you choose have the ability to deliver lots of current. As another poster mentioned, the T3’s are close to 4 ohms during much of the frequency curve. When I went from the Class D to the BAT, the bass delivery and detail the T3’s produced changed dramatically for the better. It went from the NAD ’house sound’, (somewhat thin but detailed with good sound-stage) to a much more harmonically richer and detailed speaker.

There are couple of BAT VK-600’s for sale right now. That is the bigger brother of the AMP I have. At least one is the Batpack version with upgraded capacitors. That one is only $3600. That's priced well. The BAT doubles down in current to 4 ohms, and is not rated at 2. You could also look into a BAT VK-6200 2 channel. They probably go for under $3500. *edited*

The BAT signature is neutral warm, sublimely detailed with excellent current delivery.

Call Larry Diaz at Highend Palace. 786-388-8050
Larry worked with me for 3 months when I was looking for my AMP. He gets 5 stars.
Tell him Charles recommended you speak with him.


I have been using Herron Audio M-1 amps.  Very pleased with their performance.  My speakers run a minimum of around 3 ohms up to over 16 ohms.  I can find no audible signature or issues with the Herron amps.  They are very good bottom to top and easy to drive with just about any front-end equipment on the market with their high input impedance.  They fit your budget.  
 hi All,I'm considering the following Amps but haven't listened to any of them and some would exceed my budget. If you're familiar with them, I would appreciate your opinion.Thanks,joe
Sorry, here's the list:Ayre MX-R,Pass labs X350.8,Bat VK-600SE,McIntosh MC452 and MC601's.Thanks,Joe
I think the Mac fear would add a nice bit of warmth to the T3's,  but not the level of detail and speed as some of the others. The 350.8 is a very nice amp that I think would work quite well with the T3's. The BAT I think is one of the most versatile. It has a level of warmth,  detail,  dynamics and Bass control that I think would help you get the most from your speakers. 

What kind of music do you listen to most? I think rock would favor the BAT,  with it being a toss-up between the Pass and BAT on other kinds of music. If you favor dynamics detail and like a bit of neutral warmth,  go with BAT. If you like a bit more warmth with a bit less emphasis on dynamics and speed,  than you might favor the Pass. Either way you probably couldn't go wrong.

BAT has amazing customer service btw. You can call and talk to any of the 2 principals,  Viktor or Steve anytime. They really stand behind all their products. 

Good luck! 👍
Why dont you give us a call we are long time PSB dealers we had T3 on the floor for years.

We sell many fantastic amps Cj, BAT,
Electrocompaniet, Anthem, and others.

Your amps and digital are both giving you that sterile sound. We tested the Bel Cantos in our shop, impressive bass, clarity and dynamics,way to lean in the midrange.

Same thing with the Cambridge which we also sold, clean but not engaging a Lumim D2 Sounds way better.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
don, what ever you do get rid of that Cambridge, look into the oppo, or the nad 565beee or higher and even the Marantz stuff aint bad.  those psbs like tube preamps.  last the best amp on your list is that pass.  I personally have Conrad Johnson gear myself.  but am looking into pass, hegel, and plinius.
I have a tube pre amp that I'm not using, a Belles 21A, just back from Belles, perhaps I'll put it back in the system for a bit to hear what it does sonically. I'm currently using a Ayre 1-XE pre with a phono section that I like. If the Belles sound better, I'll sell the Ayre, I could use the $ cash towards the new amp. I have no experience with the Nad and Marantz but I have an Oppo in the closet that i bought a few years back that I thought was to bright. What are you using for CD playback?Thanks,Joe
my beloved rotel 975 is on its last legs, so I only play it now and then,  my favorite cd player.  I had a Cambridge from audio advisor but sent it back because it was awful, got a nad  545bee then the 546bee for my wife that I liked,  got a Marantz 5005 for my daughters system and played it until I got the new opp 203, the oppo is still in break in mood. but I don't find any of the them bright.  the nad has the richest sound, used it to take the edge off my axiom speakers.....
It'll be interesting what you find after hearing the Belles preamp back in your system.  I had a couple questions:

- What cables, interconnects are you using?
- Are you using any power conditioning?

Soix,Current speaker cable is Siltech, 330L classic Anniversary series, NBS Monitors, Dynamic design Lotus type SE, Audio sensibility Statement for Phono, all balanced. I use PC's from Dynamic design, Acoustic Zen, and Siltech. Power conditioner is PS audio Premier. I'm just breaking in a new Jelco 750 arm. My TT right now sounds much, much  better than my CD player. My intention is to try the Belles 21A (tubes) tomorrow, it will play nice  with the amps and in a way I'm hoping they sound good enough to make it easy for me to choose.Joe

McIntosh 452, fantastic.
Bryston and Krell, bright.
Just went after a Mac 452 on a friends recommendation.
@soix 
my tube pre sounds much better with CD PLAYBACK  and good with records but a too noisy with TT PLAYBACK. IF THE TT PLAYBACK WAS QUIET WITH THE TUBE PLAYER MY CHOICE WOULD EASILY BE THE BELLES. Any thoughts??




donpepe
New Amps to match up with PSB T3 speakers


An amp cable of running into a 4ohm load continuously without breaking a sweat, would be ideal, as this graph shows most of the bass will present to the amp as 4ohms, and that’s where all the power is needed.
https://www.stereophile.com/images/816PSBT3fig1.jpg
The minimum value is 3.5 ohms at 85Hz, and the phase angle (dotted trace) is generally low. Any amplifier that is comfortable driving 4 ohms will have no difficulty with the Imagine T3.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/psb-imagine-t3-loudspeaker-measurements#GZR7pZC0BuBOkOK1.99


Whatever you get, see if Stereophile has done a review on it, and see in the test bench measurements if it’s happy doing 4ohms.

Cheers George

So, would you still be looking to upgrade the amps or are you now happy with the way your system sounds (TT noise notwithstanding) with the 21A?

What phono pre are you using with the Belles?  In reading the Soundstage review of the 21A there was no mention of noise with vinyl (he was using a Belles phono pre BTW). 

I am happy with the 21A but can't ignore the noise. I have (sick man) be looking today for tube preamps on this site, i know i can't any that interest me. The reason being that I ordered a McIntosh MC 450.
George:Mcintosh literature reports 450 watts across 8,4 and 2omhs.Sadly, i have never heard the 452 bought it at the urging of a friend who loves Mac's. I heard McIntosh amps when I was a young audiophile (about a hundred years ago) and kinda remember liking the full, round sound.P.S. I had a large wood stand made for me, when all was set up,every thing sounded better than before through both pre amps. If i had waited till after the rack came I might not have bought the 452, alas.
Regards,Joe
Sorry Soix,I'm using the PS Audio NuWave phono pre.
George:Mcintosh literature reports 450 watts across 8,4 and 2omhs.Sadly, i have never heard the 452 bought it at the urging of a friend who loves Mac’s.
Looked at both, and though I’m not a believer in having output transformers on solid state amps, yes both the 450 and the 452 have 4ohm speaker taps and should be fine, they both even have 2ohm taps and that could be even tighter and controled in the bass than the 4ohm, try both.

My pick out of the list you posted, would be the Ayre MX-R first Bat VK-600SE second, Pass third. 
"The MXR input impedance was extremely high, at least 1 megohm even at 20kHz: The MX-R won’t load down the partnering preamplifier at all."
Which means all forms of sources or preamps will be perfect match with this, source direct, tube pre’s, solid state pre’s, passive pre’s and tvc pre’s


Cheers George
I just bought the new Nad m17v with vm300  I heard at Cedia for my t3 pretty outstanding