Really need tubes imho. Vac is a classic pairing with Thiels.
18 responses Add your response
Been driving mine with a Bryston 4b-st for about three years and it works just fine as far as I am concerned. There's been a lot of chatter about driving Thiels here over the years -- some folks swear by Krell, while some will tell you to avoid the combination at all costs -- so I guess the main thing to take away from it all is that it really is a pretty subjective call. Some will say that the Bryston-Thiel combo tends to reinforce the tendency of both to lean towards the clinical, but I don't hear it that way (but then, I am running a very warm CDP (Meridian 508) and a tubed preamp (Rogue 99 Magnum)). I almost dumped the Bryston for a Plinius SA-100 recently (still kinda wish I had given it a try) but remian pleased with the Bryston and, as I am sure you know, their customer service is good and that warranty is the best in the business, bar none. (Got my Thiels used, and, in their prior life, they had been fed with a pair of Bryston 7b-st's -- would have been nice, but far more power than I'd ever need for my room and usage). Classe is often recommended, also.
The Thiels are current demanding, though. Although I haven't had much first hand experience with it myself, the prevailing sentiment seems to be that, in order to get the best out of them, you can readily make use of at least 200wpc from a solid state amp that runs A/B. With tubes or a pure class A solid state you could certainly get away with a lot less, but the key is to have plenty of available current to make them go. There are more efficient speaker designs that the mega-power amps are severe overkill for, and then there are less efficient designs that give the mega-power amps a reason to exist -- the Thiels are among the latter.
You can almost build things up in layers to achieve the sound you want, and only you can decide what that sound is. I began with the Thiels because I liked their sound, added the Bryston for the warranty and power requirements, threw on a tubed preamp because I wanted to warm things up a bit, added a tubed CDP for a little more warmth, went all silver interconnects to put a little zing back in, added a power block for a little more low-level fullness, retubed everything because I could, replaced the preamp alltogether for an all around improvement in clarity and detail, ditched the tubed CDP for the Meridian to add in more detail and bass control while retaining all of the lush warmth, an on, and on, etc. It's been a continuously evolving path through which I am both figuring out what I like and, hopefully, continuing to nudge things in that direction. I couldn't begin to guess whether where I've ended up is anywhere near where you want to be headed.
As far as some magical combination, there really is no such thing. Likewise, those who may claim that you absolutely HAVE to use X or avoid Y are, though 100% correct subjectively in terms of chasing their own dragons, ultimately splitting hairs among almost negligible minutia and likely taking things too seriously. The Thiels are pretty nice speakers -- give them enough current and they'll sound pretty good. Other than that, you've got a few too many moving variables for me to make any guesses -- other than one: do you need Transparent wires? Of course not. Maybe someone wiser than I can tell you how to get it all 100% perfect on the first try but I, not believing there is such a thing, can only encourage you to enjoy the ride.
I have been running them with the Odyssey monoblocks and love that combination. I tried them with several amps, including tube amps, but ended up going with the Odysseys. I'm downsizing my system now, but if I had to put up a larger system again, I would not hesitate on the Odysseys. I had tried the Stratos 2 channel from Odyssey also, but the monoblocks tend to take control of the speakers better and produce a larger soundstage, and of course improved bass response.
Whats your budget like? As you seem to be looking into both power and intergrated amps, are you decided on a pre-amp should you go with a power amp? What's the rest of your system like? What's your room like? What volume levels are you seeking? What are your musical preferences. Do you have particular sonic qualities that are of particular importance to you?
IF you're looking for Solid state amps that will drive the Thiels well, and sound world class, may I highly suggest trying the old used Threshold T200's! For around $1400-1600 you could get that amp, which is 100watts 8 ohms and 200watts 4 ohms. It was very very strong and refined. Very much like finding a used Pass X150(must used balanced xlr's). For the money, you'll not find any better sonically really. It's much stronger than 100w@8ohms would suggest! Infact, it was stronger than my Classe ca300 amp!
I do like tubes in the system with those speakers however, and would suggest a tube preamp to compliment it however. Still, for between $1400 and $2k, you can't do any better in solid state with those 2.3's( I owned em) than the Threshold T200 or Pass X150!
Bunkeromantik, I'm assuming you mean $3K for both pre and power amp or an integrated. Due to the impedance load presented by the Thiels, integrated choices will be limited. At that price point, I like the the big c-j solid state power amps with either a tube or solid state c-j pre (move up to something above a PV-10). I haven't heard them, but the Plinius stuff appears interesting. Think, smooth, neutral and gutsy.
i'm currently driving my 2.3s with plinius sa 100, CJ premier 17, and cary 303 - i find the tube pre amp and tube-like cary necessary to balance out the somewhat analytical thiels. i'm very happy with the SS amp / tube pre amp combo and listened to many amps in my search - found plinius to be the best match for my ears. people also like the classe with thiels, but in my opinion, the plinius does everything the classe does only better.
I have Thiel CS2.3's and used to drive them with Bryston 4B-ST and recently switched to Sim Audio Moon W-5. They sound fine with Bryston except if you want to listen listen at high spl's. They sound much better with the Moon W-5 with dynamics benfiting from the Moon's control and current plus the Moon has a touch of sweetness up top.
I recommend any amp that doubles down into 2 ohms (at least 700-800 wpc into 2 ohms) and has output impedence of 0.01-0.015 ohms.
Thiel 2.3s are between 2 and 4 ohms between 100 and 1000 Hz. This makes for a real current demand on any SS amp. You should use be looking at amps with a power rating into 2ohms, and preferably a doubling of power into 8-4-2 ohms. They are reasonably efficient watts vs spl (>87dB/W/m) but lesser amps will suffer at higher volumes and just not sound as good overall. Thiel tells me they use Krell 600W monoblocks to drive their 2.3s.
I'm using what I think is the minimum, a McCormack DNA 0.5 deluxe (SMC rev C), in a moderately large (and acoustically dead) room and sometimes like to crank rock music up. The amp starts compressing at much over 100dB, with 106dB peaks. Granted, this isn't the ideal pairing for loud rock. My amp makes 120Wpc into 8ohms, 220 into 4 and 330 into 2, and is rated for 25A current. A more powerful amp would likely enhance the speaker performance at somewhat lower volumes too.
I'm also using a tubed preamp and generally 'cool' audioquest interconnects - this plus the dead room keeps the treble energy well in check. But as those above have already suggested, you simply can't skimp on the quantity and quality of power for these speakers. I would think you could do fine for $3K used.
I'm using a McCormack DNA-1 (and a tube BAT VK-3i pre) to drive 2 2's.
For normal volumes, it sounds great! But either the amp or the speakers get rough at higher volumes. In other respects, I feel like I run out of gas with 185 respectable wpc in the McCormack long before the speakers are having difficulty.
By the way, the tube preamp REALLY helped tame the tweeter, but that probably isn't as much of an issue with the 2.3's.
I have 2.3's that I power with the MF A308cr separates, an upgrade of 450W>4 ohms from the MF A308 Integrated I had for about 5 months, rated at 300W>4 ohms. I had to do the upgrade; no matter what I listened to, classical to jazz to rock to electronica to whatever, the ease and fluidity of this combination made me constantly want a little more volume. By the time it'd get where I wanted it, peaks would cause the A308 Integrated to break up with a very loud TICK sound from one or both channels. I have to have music loud enough to cause a physical reaction from me to really submerse myself in it, and it took more than the Integrated's 300 watts to do it. But I have to tell you -- the combo of the MF A308cr separates and the 2.3's (with my Velodyne HGS-II 12" sub) is a remarkable experience to listen to, no matter the genre. If you get enough juice to your 2.3's, they can and will improve the quality of your life!
Great forum just signed on. This may be just the format for my dilemma.
There are no high-end audio establishments with in stock equipment in my area where I can go for demonstrations. Owning a pair of 2.3’s w/o proper electronics is presenting to be a problem. I auditioned them with the smaller MF integrated cr amp. The local MF dealer is getting in the 308 series integrated amp and CD player for me to audition. The problem here is although the 2.3’s will sound much better with the MF equipment than my run of the mill theater system currently pushing them, I still cannot make comparisons with other higher end components. My disposable income limits my capability of selling and re-purchasing equipment. My question is, how does the choke regulated 308 separates compare to the integrated 308 that is not choke regulated. I am open for suggestions. Can spend up to 6k on pre/power/cd, sacd/cables. I am not locked into purchasing MF equipment. What I do know is the Thiels are to stay, I love them.