While not an owner of 3.6's I do own the 1.5's as my 2nd pair of speakers. Presently mated with a Rogue 66 preamp and a Bryston 4B-ST and I think the set-up works great! Given that, my suggestion would be a pair of 7B-ST monoblocks (alternate choice would be a used 14B-ST - 2 7B amps in one chassis and reported better output devices) and a Rogue 99 (tubed preamp - magnum version preferred). You should be able to get both if buying used for your target budget amount. I am sure you will get many other good suggestions which will no doubt offer you much satisfaction but this combo should be auditioned if possible. Bryston is very hard to beat at their pricepoints and have a history of being marrying well with Maggies. Rogue products are a wonderful purchase given their quality/dollar spent ratio.
Used Krell FPB 300 if you really want to see what the Maggies can do. $5k will cover it!
On the other hand you could keep your Rotel and give the rest to the poor. Probably a better choice.
I am using an ARC VT100MkII with my 2.5Rs and I am very satsified. I'd be interested to know if the VT100 had enough juice for the 3.6s. All the Magenplanar speakers benefit from as much power as you can given them. Personally I think the ARC tube amps work well with Magneplanars, but I understand that Bryston is now the amp of choice.
A friend of mine runs his Maggie 3.6 with the Innersound 2 channel (300wpc) with great success. I do prefer the sound when we put my Mcintosh 352 on them however. Either way great sound from those speakers.
Wolcott p220 monoblocks. I used 6-7 different amps with my 1.6's. Including pass labs aleph and vt100m2.
The wolcotts were far superior to other amps. VERY VERY powerful.
To answer your other question, you do not need monoblocs to bi-amp. Bi-amping requires a total of 4 amplifier channels, so you could use 2 stereo amps, 1 stereo and 2 mono amps, or 4 mono amps.
I've been up and down audio road in the past 12 years. I cut my audiophile teeth on Maggies. I presently have the 1.6's and have used them with, solid state and tubes. I have had VTL MB250 mono's, VAC 70/70 Renaissance that uses 300Bs, Marsh A400... I have had over 20 different amps and 10 different preamps during my course with Maggies. I value having a holographic image thrown down in front of me. I am not a truth of timbre freak. Soundstaging-that artifact of stereo-is where I like it. I like being washed over with sound and the entertainment quality that comes from having the illusion satisfied with sound that has dimension, body, harmonics, ambience, and imaging.
Having tried so many combinations over the years I thought I would get more enjoyment out of selling my system to fund a Harley Davidson. The system was a Levinson #39 CD, Hovland HP 100 pre, and Vac 70/70. Well, I got the Harley, held on to the Maggies and cables, and set out to rebuild
the system without going overboard. I happened on to some fantastic buys that has given me the most satisfaction out of anything I have owned previously. I picked up a Polyfusion 960 amp. This amp uses MOSFETS in the output and is extremely well built and good looking. You do need current-the Maggies sucked every bit of juice that a Pass X250 could throw at it. The meter said so. The Polyfusion has 360,000 mfd of capacitance in the power supply so you won't modulate the current out of the outlet. I thought I needed to get back into tubes-until I got this amp. I did consider the Odyssey also. I picked the 960 up for $1500, used, from Primus in Kansas City. This was selling for $5000 at one time. It is $3700 direct, new. Check the company out. They will be around for awhile as audiophile products are not thier only gig. Hold out for one on the used market if you can.
The preamp. Again, I tried different combinations without having to ransom my finances. Conrad Johnson, Audio Research, passive controllers, ROTEL(!!). The Copland preamps are the best-kept secret out there. I currently have the CTA 305. This is where we seperate the men from the boys. This preamp has the most amazing holographic presentation I have heard. This is a strength of Copland as I had a CSA 303 before the Hovland and it too had this quality. It also lets the system get up and go with pace, rythym, and timing. The system has a lot of "dig" to it. This was the same with the previous Copland. It has a big midrange with a lot of density and harmonic presentation. It uses tubes and has a great phono stage with it.
So, as you can see, I have been through quite a bit trying to get the sound I needed from Maggies. It was only by not trying to force it that I finally got the system I wanted, without trying. E mail back if you would like to know where my previous Copland is at, or if I can help you in any other way. If you are in the Omaha area, I'd be happy to let you try the "chair" on and see what I am talking about.
i have the 1.5's in my system. i am using a krell ksa 100 mark11 amp with a conrad johnson pv10a tube pre amp i think it is an excellent combo for the maggies, and i have heard them with many other set ups. i purchased these on the used market at a reasonable price. i know the krell can easily power the 3.6's
What kind of music do you listen to? At what volume?? What qualities or musical characteristics do you like to hear??? What do you value most in musical presentation??
The answer to those questions will dictate which direction to go. Maggies need lots of juice to come alive. That usually means solid state as tube juice can get expensive (though within your budget) Audio Research amps are often paired with Maggies as well as Bryston and Classe's in the SS department. I have used both with my 2.7's with very satisfying results. I use a tube pre. (ARC)
Tubes are often used to keep their fast and detailed presentation from becoming too foreward. SS state is often used to help tighten and control the bass, but if that's not your thing.... then....
I have the Maggie 2.7R and currently using an Ayre V3 power amp. Considering getting another one to bi-amp the setup. This does a real nice job on the highs (really sweet sounding) without any harshness and gets the bottom end to be a little more pronounced. Although, I don't listen to much hard rock so that may not be a fair assessment. When I bought the Ayre, I tried it, Bryston, and Mark Levinson (not sure what model) on the 3.6's. The Ayre provided a sweetness that had a good goose bump factor :). Hope you can get a chance to listen to this combo.
PLINIUS....SA100MKIII. Almost unbeatable as far as solid state goes. They can be had for around $1800-2200 in mint condition.
Thanks a lot to everyone for the informative responses. To answer you question Fzxguy, I listen to contemporary and old school jazz, acoustical, and almost any great vocalist or for that matter, any great recording.
I listen at moderate volume, unless I want to feel like I am at a concert then I crank it up.
I like music to sound like music, especially timbre, and realistic midrange. I will not go as far to say that I am a tube or solid state guy. However, The best system I've heard to date consisted of Martin Logan CLS 2, Kinergetic subs, Theta, and Audio Research front end. That was 10 years ago. Since then, I've listened to an all digital Meridian system and some others, but I still like the ML setup better. I am a sucker for a great midrange. I have the utmost respect for Mark Levinson and his products and B&w, but I recently listened to the highly acclaimed Revel F-30's, and some B&W 801's and I thought that something was wrong with me. How could the 4k Maggies sound more realistic, at least to me than both of these speakers? Both were mated with Levinson gear.
Observations like this is why I posted my question in the first place. I am not an expert in home audio as most of you guys/gals are. My background started managing a high-end car audio shop where in most cases if you combined top flight equipment you would always get great results. It is so much different with home audio. There is so much to be said about Synergy and how it applies to high end audio
I am using two pair of Transcendent T8 OTL Monoblocks in a passive biamp arrangement. Plenty of power in a 20x30 room. The best I have heard in my home. The Joule Electra LA-100 Mark III pre-amp, with Purist Audio Silver wiring, really adds the finishing touch.
I thought that OTL amps were optimzed for 16 ohms?
The McCormack amps work well with the Maggies. The DNA-1 dlx does a great job driving my 3.6´s.
The Transcendent T-8 Monoblocks are rated @ 50watts per amp into 4 ohms and 80 watts into 8 ohms. The Magnepan 3.6's are rated @ 4 ohms. I find 100 OTL watts per channel to be more that enough in my 20 X 30 room with vaulted ceilings.
I hope this helps, Ebonyvette.
I have the predecessor to your 3.6 the 3.5 and I have gotten EXCELENT results using BAT electronics. Currently I am using a vk3i and vk500 but i have heard the set up using a vk200 which would be within your price range even including some good quality cables. Also , AGon often has BAT gear on the site. Most of the ads state they are upgrading to higher dollar BAT products- a good testimonial.