Thiel 7.2: amps suggestions please

I'm a 7.2 owner who looking for a really good amp to match with my speakers. My actual ss monoblocks rated at 250 watts(doubling on 4, 2,1 ohm) Class A probably are not enough: my feeling is that 7.2's eats power like no other speaker except Apogees ! Welcome to any suggestion, specially from 7.2 owners. Thanks.

I only have the 6's but they require similar power and Mcintosh 1201's just make the grade. There is an awful awakening around 3-400 watts into an absolute treasure of sound. If you are in or near NY you are welcome to audition. I am sure you are aware Thiel highly suggests Krell.
Manley or VTL big monoblocks. Like you said, the more power, the better. Perhaps the large Atma-Spheres, but even that may not be enough. Not too many options that I know of. I've seen them demoed with Audio Research monos, but IMHO, you can do better for the same money.
Have you asked Thiel? Cheers,
You may glean some useful info from a thread I initiated on 6-25-04 titled "Thiel 7.2 or Revel studios". I have done extensive research regarding the Thiels CS7.2 I have called Thiel and have been in contact with Sheri. I have gone as far as to schedule a flight on Aug.20th to tour the factory and listen to the amp/pre amp combos they have set up. Theil told me that they continuously try various combonations of associated gear, however they mentioned that the BAT VK 51 SE pre amp combined with the BAT VK 600 (Mono for 600 wpc into a 8 ohm load) produced one of the best sounds they have heard from their speakers. Obviously their listening preference may or maynot be the same as yours. They did say that the combo of tube pre amp with SS power amp produced some of the best results in their listening test. I can speak from first hand experience (according to my listening preference) that the combo of BAT VK 51 SE and Pass Labs X600 was nothing short of breathtaking. I want to listen to a few more combos before I lay that kind of cash on the table. I would be willing to give you my opion of what I heard at Thiel from the 7.2 and the associated gear they used.
Thank you Spencer. As far as your question, no, I don't ask yet... but probably I'll email to Shari soon ;-) How about Pass Labs X600 ?
Thank you very much guys. Unfortunately I live in Italy, so I cannot accept your invitation Chryslers rule. Me too I have a tube preamp with 2 italians mosfet monoblocks rated 250 w... As far as the similarity between Cs 6 and Cs 7.2 regarding the power required is concerned, I don't agree with your opinion since I recently had the Cs6 in the same gear: while the sound of cs 6 was dynamic, real, refined and live, the 7.2 sound poor, anaemic, not at all satisfactory. Thank you Roger for telling me your experience; if you like email me again or post here, I'm very curious about your Thiel tour !
I had a pair of the orignal CS7s that I powered with Bryston 7BSTs and although the sound was very good I always felt there something missing in the soundstage depth. A little over a year ago I traded to my current setup of CS6s and a Krell 400cx and I couldn't be happier. I am convinced that the amp provides planty of current to make these speakers sound fabulous at any level. What I hear now is the truth of the recording, with top to bottom clarity, fullness and musicality. I'm also fan of other well designed and executed high current SS amps such as Pass, Levinson, Rowland, but for the Thiels, Krell floated my boat.


I find your experience intriguing, I am not familiar with your amps. Perhaps some others can also verify your take that the 7.2's are considerable more difficult to drive, I can't speak on that as I have not owned them, yet. To my knowledge the woofer and coax are the same units but of course there is the additional midrange and very different crossovers. Do I understand that the difference you notice is very considerable? It would be my guess that the dynamics is related to damping factor of the amps, the 7.2 would probably require additional control to exhibit similar dynamics to the 6 but a significant difference is puzzling.

I know an individual who went from 6 to 7.2 with Krell 350MCX's and didn't have any issues with lack of power or dynamics. Of course it depends on your listening tastes but this individual prefers large dynamic classical passages as myself and thought the 7.2's were significantly more dramatic given the same gear.

Thiel may have experience with your amps and can suggest an alternative, the Pass Labs and Mcintosh are both reasonably priced alternatives for high power although not as articulate as the considerably higher priced amps out there.

You also mention a tube preamp which I have found certain tubes can significantly affect the soundstage, my experience was also as much as swapping amps.
Thank you Stevecham for adding your personal experience with Krell.
For Chryslers rule: I think the main problem, as you have mentioned, is the more complex crossover, there are 4 drivers instead of 3, yes the woofer (magnet and coil, not the diaphragm) is approximately the same, but the midbass is specific and the coax mid/tw are not the same of CS6. My monoblocks are pretty unknown in Usa (see , the model is the A200 Reference) and my feeling is that the amps have no sufficient juice for the 7.2, but for the 6 yes. Changing from 6 to 7.2 simply the sound is not real, solid and live any longer. Just my little experience, of course.
Looking at your question from the amp's point of view ... Musical Fidelity's representatives at the NYC HI FI show this past May were recommending pairing their amps with Thiels. They were pairing their latest KW 500 amp with Thiels 7.2. I wasn't sold on the sound, but it was set-up in a ballroom, which is not your typical set-up.

Regards, Rich
Thanks for your input Rich.
How many hours do you have on the 7.2's? The break-in period can be relatively long and the speakers will sound just as you've described if not broken in.

If break-in is not the issue, an alternative to the big amps previously suggested is the "poor man's Krell" - Bryston 14B-SST. I had one in my system with the CS6s and was very impressed. The 14B is a 600 watt dual mono in a single chassis. Very big soundstage and incredibly low noise floor. Microdynamics abound. Nice piece of gear for half the price of Krell/Levinson.
Thank you Proberts for your advice on Bryston amps and also (even more interesting) for the break-in remark. Really I don't know for sure if the 7.2 are well broken in since they were a dealer demo... In any case how many hours are needed for a complete break-in in your opinion ? 100, 200 or more ? Best ;-)
Luke 72. If you look on page 6 of your owners manual Thiel rewcommends 50 hours a fairly loud volume. At 100 hours Thiels claims you will still notice an improvement in the sound. Hope this helps.
Proberst887 I did not have the same results as you did with the Bryston 14b-SST. At higher volume levels during extented periods of listening the amp would start to clip. I am not talking insane levels but to the level it would test the amp. I believe in one of the reviews done by Stereophile they used the mono block version 7b-SST and it clipped while auditioning the Thiel CS 7.2 I like the amp but for the Thiels it does not give it enough air to breath and test the speakers potential. That is why I am in the market for a amp to power the CS 7.2.-Peace
Thanks again for your input Irish65. I know Thiel's manual recommendations but I like to ear a first hand experience from the owners too. When have you listen to the X600 amps with BAT VK 51 SE Irish65 ?
After listening to a number of amps to drive my CD3.6's, I had an opportunity to try them with a pair of Theta Digital Enterprises, and I immediately fell in love. Shari does recommend Theta Digital amps, and the two companies have exhibited together on numerous occassions. I think that the Enterprises would be more than enough to drive your 7.2's, but if you wanted to step up to the Citadels, that is another option. For the record, my second favorite amp with the 3.6's was an Edge NL-10. The Edge amps are also very good for SS and can drive difficult loads like the Thiels.
Thank yoy Tombowlus for adding your experience. Digital amps probably are the future of amplification. Best, Luca.
Let me jump in if I may.

Take my remarks with the proverbial grain of salt since I do not own the 7.2s But I will say that one of the GREATEST listening experiences I've had was a system using Krell FPB-650mc monoblocks to drive CS-7.2s.

I'm not a big fan of Krell nor am I a "basher", but this setup was simply breathtaking. The sound possessed "reach out and touch it" realism.

The rest of the system was equally high-end with all Krell Reference electronics and Nordost Valhalla cabling.

On another sidenote, I would have to agree about the CS-6s being easier to drive as I had the opportunity to hear them at another dealer driven by BAT VK-60 monoblocks with good results, but NOTHING like the Krell/CS-7.2 setup.

For the record, Theta Digital's amps are not "digital" amps. Their name just happens to be Theta Digital.
Thank you Gullahisland, actually the Krell are suggested from Thiel factory: probably the combo is very successful even if a lot of people don't love the Krell sound. Now I'm a little inclined to buy a Pass amps, the X600 in particular, probably with less slam in the bottom end but, I hope , more musical.
Ok, thanks.
I listened to the Pass Labs X600 with the BAT VK 51 SE about a month ago. I use the same three cds when I demo new equipment so that I can immediatly distinguish the difference to the gear I previously auditioned. I am currently setting up a listening session using a CJ premier LS 16 tube/pre amp with a ss Plinius SA250 (pure class A). I hope to do this before my trip to Thiel this Friday so I can compare it to their setup. Like I said before the combo of the Pass&BAT was breathtaking but I am going to continue my search for the Holy Grail.
Have a fun looking for your Audio Nirvana Irish ;-)
Just for your info I emailed Shary yesterday but since she has not replyied yet I think the factory is closed now...
Have you tested the Bat/Pass equipment with 7.2 at home or in the dealer showroom ? Thanks again. Cheers.
Luke 72, I heard the CS6 and the Stratos Oddyssey Extreme
combination, its one of the most musical, and natural
sounding combo, I heard.I still miss the music that came
I listened to the Pass Labs/Bat in a home. The speakers were mine and the other gear was others. The room was 18'x20'. Thiel is not closed. They just came off a two week break last week. Sheri emailed me Friday with a scheduled tour with her so I am sure she is still trying to catch up from being away. I see from your replies in your thread that you are leaning towards the Pass Labs. I thought it was incredible but I want to listen to a few more on my list before I lay out that kind of money. You can get one here on Audiogon used for $6,800.00-$7,000.00. New they are $16,000.00 which I am sure you are well aware of.
Thanks Jayctoy. Hey Irish, lucky man since you can listen to a lot of great pieces in order to decide definitely what's the best for you ! I'm jealous ;-) Probably you are right about Shari's reply, I have to have a little bit of patience... Thanks again.
Pass Labs x600 is about one of the best deals going on the used market, is virtually indestructable, is made by a top-notch company, and drives the 7.2s effortlessly. Compare the price of the Pass monoblocks with the Krell monoblocks, and for me the choice was obvious. I have not done comparisons with my current setup, but I had a Krell amp with my 2.3s and I understand the appeal. The Pass monoblocks should really leave nothing to be desired. I found mine at a price that was literally to good to be true.

For the 7.2s, the more power you give them, the better. Perhaps the folks at Thiel could give you better advice, but you should probably be looking for at least 400 watts for your new amp to let them shine.

Irish65, please report your findings from you listenings and what you finally decided upon.

Rob, thank you very much. I'm in contact with Irish, yes, and he's just replyed to me after his tour at Thiel factory, he decided for the Pass X600 too. Cheers, Luca.
P.S.: you have a great gear, enjoy !
Rob, your "virtual system" is the reason why 5 months ago I started to investigate about Pass amps, thanks.
I received suggestions also from Thiel's factory: they currently use Krells for the 7.2 but now I'm waiting for my pair of Pass X600.
I'll repost here after audition with the amps. Again many thanks for all suggestions and comments Audiogoners, and thanks again to Shari at Thiel, great support !
You probably can't go wrong with the X600's! Pass was definitely on my short list, but unfortunately, I was not able to audition them.
I hope so, Tom ! Thanks.
Yeah, what does Thiel know anyway? They use Krell but I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Good idea: stick with the Pass. The Krell would sound better, a lot better, but yeah, stick with the Pass.
I forgot to tell you, I heard the combination,of Thiel
CS6 and Pass X250, its not even close to the Oddssey
Stratos extreme.
Thanks again guys, time will tell, as soon I can listen the new combo... but I'm confident it will quite good.
Kevinkwann, your comment sounds ironic: fine, a little irony is always welcome !
I've ben auditioning a ton of McIntosh gear lately, and I have to urge anyone looking at the big Thiels to try the MC 501 monoblocks. They can put out massive amounts of juice into any load, and are a good balance in the spectrum of warm/detailed. They are also half the price of the big Pass. Of course YMMV.
Now i have the pass X600: great amps, a little on the dry side but with my valve preamp the sound is good, fast and musical. Therefore I decided to sell my Thiels because they don't fit well my huge room: sound is boomy with lots of resonances.
Sorry, I meant "however", not "therefore".
I am very curious your opinion on new Jeff Rowland 501 monoblocks driving thiels 7.2 - please try these amps before selling thiels! These little wonders can drive speakers like: big Maggies (Audioshow in Germany), SoundLab A-1 full range electrostats (in Colorado Audio Society special pre-show meeting), and I saw somewhere on the net a pics where 501's were driving flagship JMLab Utopias. All these speakers are very difficult to drive as you know. Besides isn't it a great idea to have such a tiny sexy amps hidden behind the speakers and just two boxes (CD + pre) on the floor between speakers (no big Altars of raks between speakers that spoils imaging tremendously...)
Thanks for your advice Pathos; now I'm driving Thiels with the Pass X600, great combo: dynamics, speed, accuracy, a liquid midrange and no grainy highs... but im my room the Avalon Radians work better... btw, in a few months I'll change my address so no more huge dining room for me...