Thiel 7.2 - Classe, Krell or Bryston?

I have had the 7.2's for 18 years with Classe CAM 350 amps. My pre right now is a Classe SSP-800 as it is a home theater / music system . My phono stage is a Manley Steelhead. Nordost cables.

I have always felt the Classe's were a bit anemic and have been looking for one last lifetime AMP upgrade.

I have been looking at used Krell FPB 600's and the Bryston 28b SST2. My budget is 8k or under. 

As I will not have the opportunity to audition and would hate to spend the money and not have a big improvement on the Classe's I would appreciate any opinions
If you must stick with linear amps, what about Parasound? Less stark than Krell, perfectly neutral and plenty of guts, less expensive.

NAD and ATI are selling Class D amps based on Hypex you should also consider.


I heard these amps on sale here at A'Gon at the dealer (Bryston reps were demoing). They were driving Magico speakers costing over $150K. They sounded great then and will sound great with your Thiels. Now is a great time to buy a 28B-SST2).

Buying Bryston used is a no brainer for me. I am debating whether to get a 4B-SST3 for my office.

Mcintosh 601’s - the 501’s make my CS6 sing.  I used Classe for years and while they are powerful and a good match - they sound ever so slightly lean in the midrange compared to the Mac’s.

another +vote for Bryston. Please join us Thiel speakers fans over on the Thiel Owners thread. I would like to read more about your system(s), listening thoughts/impressions and fave music genres.
We all have an Audio journey to tell.
Happy Listening!
Bryston Amps were the late Jim Thiel's favorite amps. According to my dealer who knew Mr. Thiel for over 25 years he was not fond of McIntosh amps, Thiel and Bryston had a close relationship. No coincidence that Gary Dayton moved to Bryston after the Thiel sale.
I own the Krell FPB-600c and the Classe’ DR-9(s). Cannot speak to Bryston. The Krell drives my Thiels cleanly to mortifying volume levels and grabs the woofers sternly by the balls. The (old) Classe’ is more natural and involving, lacking in nothing to my ears with the Thiels. The DR-9 is my amp of choice between the two.

McCormack DNA500 might also be worth a look.  There's also a pair of Clayton M100 monoblocs for sale here now that I bet would sound sweet with the 7.2s.  Just a couple other options.  Best of luck. 

I owned the CAM-350s. A bit anemic, yes. I replaced them with the Modwright KWA-150SE (albeit not to power Thiel's). Huge step up.  Natural and musical like the Classe, but quieter and far punchier. In your price range more or less.
Dave, I always wanted to hear a DR-9.  I have owned my CA200 for I believe 20 years or so.   I was a Classe guy because I couldn’t afford Krell at the time.  It still delivers - I may put it back in the system today for old times sake.  

Hi pops,

I bought my DR-25 new but had coveted the older DR-9 for years afterward with all of the positive press re: it being the sweet spot among all A/B amps of the time.

About 18 months ago, I saw three for sale @ $1000 each and scooped them all up. Haven’t seen another for sale since. The positive press of the day was true and a reminder that power specs don't rule in audio.

I could be accused of living in the past, but I don’t see anything significantly "new under the sun" re: SS A/B amplifier technology since.

Kevinaudio, I haven’t heard the Classe pre you are using but have read good things about it.  I also have used Thiels 3.6 and CS6 for many years.  I have always used a tube linestage which added a little midrange “heft” for Thiels.  Have you considered that?  I believe your input impedance is high enough on the Classe to make it versatile with various tube preamps.

Dave, I saw those amps!  I considered grabbing one myself!  My Classe is easier to drive in terms of gain than my Mcintosh mono’s at 10K.  I am living in the past a bit myself with CJ/Classe/Thiel/Meridian.  The only components I have kept consistently updating is my analog front end - has kept me plenty busy!  Why mess with success?

I have the serious listening and home theater system combined. I used to have a nice BAT tubeamp and my theater processor hooked up together (L and R through the BAT) it created too many problems with 2 preamps and also watching tv put a lot of hours on the tubes.

I scraped that approach and researched the best I could find that would work for HT and 2 channel analog and came up with the Classe ssp-800. 

If I ever go to two separate systems I think I would use the manley steelhead as the preamp - any suggestions on reasonable priced speaker cables for the Bryston and Thiel 7.2. I bought the Bryston balanced interconnects to try instead of my RCA Nordost Quatrofils.
Speaker cables - I use Straightwire Maestro II.  I have run the gambit on speaker cables and found the SW's to be the most balanced in terms of clarity, transparency, and tone top to bottom.

There's a completely recapped Krell FPB-700cx up for sale now for $6500. That should be able to drive any speaker reasonably well.
I purchased Bryston 28bsst2's here on Audiogon.

I set them up last night and am very pleased. Now comes new speaker cables, power and interconnects. 

I looked for the Maestro's suggested here by Pops and cannot find them.

The helpful gent at the cable company is recommending Synergistic which I am considering for the Speaker cable. I purchase the Bryston Balanced IC's at Brystons suggestion to replace my Nordost Quattro fil's which unfortunately RCA, I am also thinking about power chords.

Hi Kevin,

Congrats on your new amp.

I have used a variety of speaker cables over the years with my Thiels and either Krell or Classe’ amplifiers. Maestro’s were good. The Crescendos were better. SR Tesla Precision Reference, even better. Replaced them recently with Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme, much better still (and inexpensive compared to SR). FWIW.