What amp for Thiel cs3.5's?

I'm looking for a SS amp for my 3.5's. I Don't have a lot of money to spend. $500 is about it (I will buy used). Do i need something that's around 200W/ch into 8ohms (must double down into 4 ohms) or should I get something a little smaller of better quality? I would really appreciate any advice.
I've owned a lot of Thiels and a lot of different amps.

Here's the hard truth

If you only wanted to spend $500.00 on an amp you should have bought different speakers.

I don't think you'll be happy with anything less than a Classe 301 to drive those beasts.

Personally I think the Classe 401 would be a perfect mate!

Oh and be prepared to lay out for some good cabling too. If you ever want to truly enjoy those speakers, I mean really here them sing your going to need some high grade cables. I'd start saving for some Reference MIT cabling (ref 350's min.)

I'm not trying to discourage you. I just know first hand what it takes with those speakers. If you have to you can purchase something to get by for now but later your going to have to pay the piper for great sound.

Good luck
It sounds like you're out of your league with these babies. The plain ole truth (again) is that $500 is not going to buy you much in the way of power and quality; which these babies require. The 3.5s are killer speakers and deserve better than what $500 will buy....peace, warren
I do think that you have at least one viable option in that price range. I would suggest that you pick up an Adcom GFA-555II. It is 325w per side into the 3.5's 4 ohm load, and should power your Thiels quite well. Some folks don't care for Adcoms, but to my ears, their older bi-polar designs are really great amps for the money. Check out the archived reviews on Stereophile.com. Another advantage of the GFA-555II is that if you pick up a second one, you can run them each in bridged mono mode, putting out 850w into each Thiel. This is exactly the configuration that I use with my CS3.6's, and I find it to be quite satisfying.

Hope this helps, Tom.
A fine neutral or slightly warm sounding amp should do the trick. Stay away from bright or sterile sounding amps. . .you would not be happy with these.
Ketchup, I had the 3.5s and couldn't get them to sound anything less than very bright. I tried Transparent cables to tune down the treble with only limited success. I tried the following SS amps with them. A B&K ST140, which didn't have enough power (about 105 watts). They need power in the 4 ohm and below range. A Musical Design 150-D (150 watts)and an Adcom 5500 (200 watts). Both of these amps had the power but still sounded bright. I was surprised because all these amps use Mofets, which are supposed to sound more like tubes. In addition, my pre-amp is a tubed model. Thiel was/is aware of this problem. I think that I remember hearing about a crossover mod/change that Thiel was offering on these 3.5s. You might want to check on that. Jim
I have a Conrad Johnson MF2500A driving my Thiel 3.6's and feel it does a great job. This amp is about 1800 to 2200 used which is out of your price range. I agree with warrenh in that you need good clean power to drive the Thiels and get the most out of them. And believe me they have alot to offer if driven correctly.You might get away with a CJ MF2250A which is about 1200 to 1500 used and puts out 125wpc.
You could get a Parasound that will put out 300wpc into 4 ohms for that money or a Rotel. Either will do the job fine and the differences are small between these and the much more expensive amps. Good Luck
A Parasound 1500a might be a temporary fix.........
I use an Aragon 8008BB to drive my Thiel 3.6's, and I've been very pleased with it. It supplies 200wpc into 8 ohms and 400wpc into 4 ohms. It is very solidly built, and it seems to be a good match for the Thiels. The sound is both full-bodied and transparent. You can probably find one used for around $1K; this is a little above your range, but it represents a lot of amp for the money.

Good luck!
I know that I'm not able to give the Thiels what they really deserve by spending around $500 on a used amp. That's why i asked if i should buy quantity or quality. both is out of the question at this point in time. the plan is to buy something to get me by for now and definitely upgrade later. I guess the subject of my original post should have been "what amp to cripple my thiels the least" :)

would a CJ sonograph SA250 provide good, clean power? it is 125W into 8ohms/250 into 4ohms.

thanks for all the help!
Ketchup, not all Sonographe SA250's are able to "double down". Only the most recent limited special edition samples have this capability.
unsound, do you know how to find out if a certain sa250 is able to double down into 4ohms?
Ketchup, let me first advise you that the notion of doubling down, is just that, a notion. The truth of the matter is more often than not a manufacturer will under rate their amps power out put into 8 Ohms, ergo their 4 Ohm loads appear to be "doubling down". Before you get the idea that this is just an effort to dupe the public, please keep in mind that this usually only done by the the "better" manufacturers and is usually limited to solid state gear. This is much like (in the good old days) the conservative under rating of horse power in better automobiles. Basicaly it's still a decent measure of an amps ability to handle lower impedances. During my last conversation with the folks at Conrad-Johnson, I was told that these particular Sonographe's were a limited edition run for one particular dealer, and they recommended it as a good value amp to use with Thiels. Now that recommendation may be taken as self serving, but, c-j has a very good reputation for customer service. My own experience indicates that reputation to be deserved.
Do you have a hotdog, some onions and mustard to go with the ketchup?
Try a Electrocompany AW-75 if you can find one.If not a aw-100 might be a ggod choice and easier to find for sale compared to the aw-75.
in fact,I have only seen 2 aw-75's for sale anywhere in 3 years.The very last one to pop up on Audiogon I grabbed.Its a semi rare and worth the effort to find one.
The one I have has the upraded duo mono toroidal trannies
Its 75 wpc/8ohm 145 wpc/4ohm but has tremendous current.Idles at 60 ampules and can handle going up to 85 ampules peak.
This amp drives my 3.5's to satisfying spl's on rock and metel.It sounds "tube" smooth as well.

A small glass vial that is sealed after filling and used chiefly as a container for a hypodermic injection solution

David99 I like your ingredient to go with Ketchup,Kimchi
will make taste more smoother. Find a used oddysey
this are very very good combination.I am very impress
to the musicality.David thank you for the laugh.
does anyone know the difference between the cj mf2250 and the mf2250A?
Upgraded parts.
I would go for a Tandberg 3026A 0r 3006A. Both of these amps are solid state but have a reputation for sounding "Tube like" as far as solid state equipment goes. Tandberg's have a reputation for being quality built. Both of those amps have 150 watts per side and are conservatively rated at that. I bought a pair of Tandberg 3009A monoblocks from a guy who had a set of Thiel's, he said the combination sounded great.

spend a little more for the muse 160 mkII stereo amp.

it is a great sounding amp and a good fit with the thiels.... you would have to spend alot more to do better with this combo (i dont have one for sale nor am i affiliated with muse)

good luck,


I have a 18x30 ft pool room to fill. I had a $2k budget for a 2 channel system. I spent $1,500 on a pair of Thiel 3.5s, a Panamax 5300, a NAD 542, and AudioQuest cables. I have used a ASL1003dt ($400 used) with 30 watts and I am currently using a Cayin TA30 ($600 used) with 30 watts to drive my 3.5s. I do not require earth shaking volume in my room but I can still fill the room nicely. I am extremely happy with the quality of sound. My Thiels are not bright and they sound natural and image beautifully. I had big reservations about trying this combo but it has really paid off for me. The ASL seems to handle the Thiels with a little more ease than the Cayin but I would recommend both. I have blown away my audiogeek friends who have spent $10K + to get a fraction better sound. This combo may not work for some people but I came in under budget and have a beautifull sounding system.
Has anyone used the Bel Canto eVo2 amplifier with Thiel CS3.5 speakers? Is this a viable combination? Bel Canto claims 240 watts per channel into 4 ohms.
The Bel Canto would work just fine. I have owned CS7s and now have CS6s...the 3.6s will work fine as long as the amp can put out at least 100W into 4 Ohms.