The Thiel and Levinson have alway's been an excellent match. A very good friend of mine sold both of these brands. He suggested the same combination to me. However the Thiel's I used were the Cs 2.2's. The speakers are gone but the Levinson is still with me.
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I was using Thiel CS6's before I bought Eggleston Andra's and I found Levinson gear is a perfect match for the Thiels. I was using a No. 336 with a No. 380s. I replaced the No. 380s with an ARC Ref One because I felt the Levinson preamp was a little murky and had a smaller soundstage. The 336 was a huge improvement over my Classe' 25 which I was using for a while. I also feel that to get the best sound from Thiels I had to use Transparent speaker cable. It really let the music through and made a perfect match!
I currently have a system that consists of thiel, classe', and MIT. I've done extensive auditioning to get a very refined and dynamic sound (thanks to my buddies at echo audio for letting me take home about anything). first off I'm a diehard fan of MIT wires and interconnects. and many shows have featured this combination that I have (though I came up with this combination by careful auditioning not by copying others.) But wires aren't your question so I'll get to the point. before you do anything................. .................DUMP THE POWERED PREAMP.......Go passive. smaller, less electronics so there much cheaper, no power to corrupt it. think about it. we use expensive line conditioners for bad current but it will never sound as good as not useing power at all! also with todays high bit rate and clarity a passive preamp should power any system just fine. I have never had to turn it all the way up. It would be way to loud to listen to. My jaw dropped when I put a reference line peeminence one in my system. I got it 6 months ago. It only cost $1500 new! and I got it for $400 used! and it came out in 1991! yes 1991! much older than the rest of my gear. but really why would that matter? the signal doesn't go through a power supply or complex circuits. only through a couple basic circuits and a volume control. keeping the signal very pure. Instantly I noticed an amazing amount of clarity. no guessing game. the bass was way stronger and tighter, the sound stage got deep. really deep, instruments were more localized, and there was a blackness and quietness to the background that was almost ominous. these weren't minor differences but huge ones. I can't push these enough. put a passive preamp head to head with something powered, newer, and more expensive. You won't be disapointed. these preamps really show the character of each amp because they don't add or color over the signal. then try the levinson amp if you want. you'll be able to compare the two easier. The passive preamp is an untapped goldmine. I suspect that part of the reason they are not pushed as hard as they should be is because electronics companies and retail stores would stand to loss millions.(I'll probably have mine for the next 20 years) not much technology that would need to be upgraded in these. pretty basic. and how can a company or store sell a $3000 powered preamp when the $1500 passive sounds so much better? also people generaly don't like to mix and match components, but you would have to with these since not many companies make passive preamps. Sorry if I sound so hardheaded and maybe overly fanatical about pushing these things but I just love them. Thanks......Todd K. m
I owned the ML33s up to a year ago. I fell in love with them the first time that I heard them, 4 years ago. I was using a pair of CS 6es with my ML33s and the ML32 which I purchased last year. I have to admit, as much as I liked the 33s, I never enjoyed the Thiel/Levinson combination. It was always dark, lifeless and very hifi. I can also tell you from experience that the 380s is a total piece of junk. Actually Levinson has never made a decent preamp, even the ML32 Reference leaves quite a lot to be desired. If you're looking for trully musical combination with your 7.2s, look at Lamm M2.1 amps with matching L1 preamp. The M2.1 is the high current version of their famous M1.1. The M2.1 is stable to below one ohm and has enough power to drive the 7.2s properly. This combination will give you the ultimate musicality, and you can forget about upgrades or tweaks for a very long time, if ever. The Levinson might initially satisfy you, but will definitely bore you within a few months of purchase. The upgrrade bug will strike again. You're welcome to cantact me, if you have any other questions regarding the Levinson/Thiel sound; [email protected] rgds, david k.
Interesting that you find that MIT cables synergize with A PASSIVE PREAMP. I too am a TOTAL fan of MIT cables (just got the 350 EVO's), but I'M NOT A FAN OF PASSIVE PREAMPS. MY CD player runs my Krell amp directly, AND IT'S PLENTY TRANPARENT AND HI-REZ...you'd be surprised. My room is VERY dialed in also...Anyhoo, great to see other fans of MIT...they've had a few duds, but MORE THAN MAKE UP FOR IT OVERALL!!
Don't know if you've bought yet, but I have to go with those who say that the Thiel/Levinson combo is a great one. I have an ML 27 driving Thiel 2.2s, and hope to upgrade the rest of my system to ML. I've listened to 7.2s driven with a 336/380S combination, and it was goosebump time for me on classical music.