Sorry, my web browser only allows so much text.
Anyway, I would like to know if anyone has tried the Monarchy SM 70 Pro solid state amps. I would particularly like to know how the system synergy would be for these paired with the Thiel CS 3.6 loudspeakers. I think the mono amps are rated for 140 watts/channel below 10 kHz (into 4 ohms load). This is a little on the low side of the power requirements for the big Thiels. I don't want to soften the sound too much. Hopefully I can attain a match that makes all types of music sound punchy enough. For example, I suspect that acoustic music would sound great, but what about grungy rock?
Thanks for any help.
How big is your room?
I have owned the Thiel CS 3.6 speakers since they were released, and the idea that they need a SS high-powered amp, I have found to be a croc-of-crap. It's a shortcoming of the amp.
The problem with these Thiels is that they hum along between 2.5 to 4.0 ohms. There's the power problem.
I have a tube amp that was custom built with a 3-ohm tap, and the Thiels play as loud as I want. My amp puts out 28 watts/ch triode. I have a small to medium size room.
Thanks, the plot thickens...
If nothing else, this process has been very educational.
I respectfully disagree with Kenny. Sure you'll get sounds from the Thiels with such an amp, but you won't get all the Thiels are capable of unless you get a more appropriate amp for the speakers.
Having owned thiels, I gotta agree with Unsound on this one. I too have run tubes into the Thiels via low ohm taps (4 to be precise, while not quite 3). At more than twice the power Kenny references, it was clear to me that the power available was not enough to drive the Thiels properly. I could get good volume no doubt, but the performance was not the same - no offense intended.
I think you are moving in a better direction with the Odyssey's, FWIW. Since it sounds like you may also consider used, your list can be opened up quite a bit. Why not call Jim or the new, knowledgeable lady over at Thiel (I forget her name, but she is pretty helpful). They can help point you in a good direction, just let them know your budget and goals.
Ckoffend, regretfully Jim is no longer with us. Shari left the firm a few years ago.
Masi61, I don't think the Monarchy SM70 is up to properly driving the 3.6's.
I agree with Unsound, I have driven 3.6 with classe 200 and Mcintosh 501's and the extra power really made them sing.
Unsound, thanks for that follow up. I was not aware that Jim is "no longer with us". I can't believe Shari has been gone a few years (I mean I believe you, but it doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I actually talked to her on the phone - once). Maybe in my age my memory is failing me already, but I'll still vote for Reagan for a second term ;)
Masi61, you might consider the Monarchy SE100s or SE160s; a pair of either will stretch your budget but not much. I have no personal experience with Monarchy products, but I've just ordered a pair of SM70Ps.
The SE100 is hybrid, with a 6DJ8 in the frontend and class-A-biased MOSFET outputs.
Masi61 - I don't mean to misdirect you, but the tube amp I'm using was custom built for the Thiels. The original version had a 4 ohm tap and could not do an adequate job with the Thiels. Once, this was changed to 3 ohms the difference was monumental.
For years, I powered the Thiels with a CJ Premier 11a and they sounded very good. Today, my custom amp from Sam's Audio Labs rivals the somewhat colored CJ in resolution, bass, extended treble, and power. See this old and short article from Soundstage.http://www.soundstage.com/rise01_4.htm
What's most important is that you audition different amps with the Thiels because it's only your ears that matter.
Thanks for the interest in this subject. Thanks Kenny for the recommendation of Sam's Audio. Did you send your own tube amp to him and ask him to modify it? Or did he build it from scratch? How much does something like this cost?
Jeffrey, thanks, I may call Monarchy Audio to audio to ask about their SE100's, to be honest with you, the thing I liked about the little SM70's is that they run the balanced XLR inputs which I think is cool because you could put little amp stands right next to each speaker and run longer XLR interconnects from your pre-amp. This would also allow shorter runs of speaker wire.
Right now I'm rather broke so I'm looking into using my NAD 2200 power amp for the Thiels. I don't want to even try it until I get the transformer hum (that I have written about in another thread here on Audiogon) fixed. I did email Sam's Audio and several other repair places around North America to see If they can build me a new power supply at a reasonable price (preferrably under $250). I had an audiophile update done on this amp last year and believe it sounds quite good and might even be a good match in the short term while I scrape some money together for the Odyssey Stratos SE.
Mais61, If your looking for a pair of mono amps with XLR inputs to adequately drive your 3.6's on a tight budget, you might want to keep your eyes open here for a pair of used B&K M200's. Caveat; not all B&K M200's came with balanced inputs, and B&K recently went out of business, so factory support won't be there. On the other hand these were fairly simple, yet robust designs that other outfits used to modify. I would think you could find outside help in the unlikely event that you needed them serviced. While these wouldn't be my top choice as the best sounding amps for your Thiels, they're darn close. Recently they've been selling for about $800 a pair here on Audiogon, and at that price are an absolute steal.
Thanks UnSound. I'll check into the B&K's too.
Masi61 - Sam Kim has been building amplifiers since he was sixteen years old back in the fifties. He's a Guru.
His partner Steve, who handles sales, will tell you stuff, like he told me, that simply sounds like hype. What hooked me was the money back guarantee if I didn't like how it sound.
Sam mainly builds Integrated Amps using old chasis' in excellent condition. That eliminates the high chassis cost that small boutique companies pass on to you. He specializes in push-pull circuits in full triode, and with all types of output tubes. He builds his amps from his head, so no schematics! To answer your question, it's from scratch, so what are your requirements?
Sam's signature designs are low watt for higher efficiency speakers. The Thiels were a challenge. Sam knew that they were 86 dB, but did not know their impedence of 2.5 to 4 ohms. His first amp utlizing EL34 tubes and a 4 ohm tap was unsucessful as the Thiels sucked the headroom out of the tubes. He re-designed the amp with 6550 tubes and the 3 ohm tap that made all the difference. The Thiels play loud for me with the volume at twelve o'clock.
I love tubes and I love the Thiels. When I first auditioned them the dealer sold Krell, BAT, and CJ. I chose the CJ over the Krell amp. But that's me!!! Sam's amp completely blows away my old CJ.
How big is your room? If it's huge, you may have a loudness issue. You can probably expect to pay about $3K for the amp, but keep in mind that this is preamp plus power amp.
Good luck, and listen to what the other members have recommended.
Masi61, an update, but first a correction--The SE-100 is no longer available, and the SE-160 and SE-250 poweramps are the hybrids.
The SM70 Pro is a stereo amp that's bridgeable via the RCA or the XLR/balanced input. In stereo it's 25WPC into 8 and 40WPC into 4 Ohms. In mono, it's 80 into 8 and 120 into 4. Also, Mr. Poon has come up with an ingenious (to me, at least) way to wire a biampable speaker to the 2 channels, so if the 3.6s are biwireable, you'll have 80 watts available into 4 Ohms per speaker. You get 2 brand-new amps for $1176 plus shipping. I recently listened for a week to a pair of SM70Ps driving my 89dB-sensitive, 4-Ohm, much-improved Audio physic Avanti IIIs. I thought they sounded quite fine--WARNING...I'm NOT a golden-eared audiofile--but I was still wanting a little more power even tho I do not listen at high levels. So I ordered a pair of...
...SE-160s for $2400. This is the hybrid amp that uses either a 6922/6DJ8 (and lots more) or a 12AT7 (your choice, at least for a while) and a MOSFET output stage, is biased class-A to c. 50 Watts (and that's LOTS of bias current!), and has NO negative feedback whatever. It's rated at 160 Watts into 8 Ohms, 320 into 4, and it's stable into 2. The reviews indicate it sounds a little better overall than the all-solidstate SM70P.
We'll hear what we hear, and I'll post again after they've been running a few days.
Initial impressions of the SE-160s are quite positive. They're not edgy as far as I can tell after a week; overall they sound quite good. I've compared different 12AT7s in them htis WE and have heard some differences, but all tubes were satisfactory and musical.
I had been driving the Avanti IIIs with 12-Watt SET monoamps, and is spite of the low power, the combination sounded very good. Saturday a friend and I were listening and heard a cymbal simply explode out of the orchestra as I've never heard before. I guess having enough power does make a difference. :-)
Ok, maybe I'm out of my league as far as my ears to yours, but I'm using an NAD 375BEE integrated Amp rated at 150W at 8&4 ohms, (and higher at 2 ohms) and with a ton of head room on my CS3.6s and they sound amazing at almost all volume levels. I've been told tht they'll lack detail with this amp, but to me it's a great combination.
You'll find many more choices at a $2000 price range than you will at the $1000 price range... Thiel's are a two edge sword... (and yes, I'm a Thiel owner, CS2.4's), they reveal lots of details, and well, they reveal a lot... For music this is good (to my ears), but for equipment this may not be good... Basically, you will know instantly if the equipment can't keep up with the speakers. For about $2000, I would look at Classe, Mark Levinson, Krell. You're not going to need lots and lots of power, but you will need lots and lots of current and something that is stable into a low load.
WOW Perfect timing! I just hooked up my Thiel CS3.6 to a newly acquired Krell KSA 150.I'm very contented. the sound is not fatiguing, very open and the base very tight The current preamp im using is a Krell HTS so I'm in the market for a nice preamp to smoothen the edge considering Audible illusion, ARC and even Bryston BP25(not to bad for the money)It's all true what they say about the Thiels needing class A circuitry and this my friends never disappoint you! I used Krell FPB 600 before with thiels and wow what a mate that was! Sold them(needed the cash and had no time to listen, kind of lay low at that time)then back to Krell KSA powering actual 220wpc into 8ohms and with the 2ohmer impedance(Thiels are notorious in this level) 400+ wpc. I AM A VERY HAPPY CAMPER :)Just want to share this experience! Good luck!
I believe the KSA 150 is stereo amp. Glad you like the KSA 150 and Thiel 3.6 combo. When your budget and space allows, try quality mono blocks. The soundstage with the 3.6 would be even more spectacular.
You may want to add BAT pre amps to that list. Krell's really shine when everything is fully balanced. The BAT pre's tend to be a smidgen darker, which I think would work fantastic in that set up.
Hello guys! Thanks for the input and recommendations on possible preamp purchase to match the Krell KSA 150. I am sure I got a great match here with the Thiels also using MIT cables MH750 shotgun. Great match!!! HAPPY!HAPPY!HAPPY!There is a ML preamp on auction currently on AG I think it is the ML7 preamp. Iam also going to watch this!