searching for opinions on an amp for monolith III

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JoeDatlanta

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I have a pair of monolith III's with the active crossover and want to upgrade to a better amp to push the panels. I plan to relegate a Classe 200 down to the woofers and upgrade the amp to push the panels. I have been looking at used equiptment as it seems I can get a lot of bang for the buck. Unfortunately, opportunities for demo are limited to non-existant for used/older equiptment. I have a budget up to around $4,000.00. I have seen A McIntosh 402, a Krell KAV 2250 and a few others for sale on Audiogon, but there is so little written about them pushing Monolith's that I am just not sure enough to pull the trigger. I don't need bottom end for the obvious reason and love the crispness and soundstage the Monoliths offer.

Anyone have thoughts to point me in the right direction or even some mistakes to avoid?

Thank so much,

Joe D
 
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johnwa

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Great to see another Monolith III fan and you are lucky enough to be in range of the foremost experts of Monolith's on the planet in JonFo. Look up his profile and posts and you will get a sense of what the exstreme can be but Cherian and others (search on Monolith) can give you good advice as well.

On my Monolith III set up, I am pushing the woofers with an older McIntosh 205 and panels with McIntosh 501's and like the combination. I would think the 402 would be plenty but there are so many options and combinations that you might want to do some auditioning if you can to see what apeals most to you.
 

JoeDatlanta

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Thank you, Johnwa. I will certainly read every posting of yours and JonFo and Cherian. (and others) as you suggest. I am relieved to have found some direction.

Regards,

JoeDatlanta
 

kwr

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Welcome Joe - there are a few Monolith owners here. Sound is of course a matter of taste but the Monoliths can soak up whatever power you can throw at them. If you like the sound with your Classe stay with them and simply source another second hand.

There is no commonality on this forum with respect to a brand of amplifier to run with the Monoliths but opinion certainly tends to a lot of quality power whether solid state or valves.

FWIW we went down the Plinius path with our Monoliths but would not have been upset if we had been forced to buy the Classe 400 we also auditioned at the time.

Kevin
 

JoeDatlanta

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Thank you, Kevin..

Any AMP you or anyone suggest I avoid? Anything simply ill-suited to the monoliths? The reality is I will not be able to audition a lot of amps. Reviews and opinions will therefore take on more importance. Especially opinions from people like you that actually own monoliths. If I buy something used I simply do not like, I can re-sell it without getting killed, I suspect. Not the process I want to get into, but at least I shouldn't be stuck if I buy a sought after amp.

I do appreciate your kindness in posting me a note, sir.

best,

Joe D
 

JonFo

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Hi Joe,

First, welcome aboard, and also welcome to the Monolith club! :welcome:

As the other have stated, if you like the sound of the Classe, then another would not be a bad choice.

However, I’d recommend the following amps in order of effectiveness with the big panels on the Monolith (IMHO).

Any used Sanders ESL amp.

Or since your budget is $4K, a new Sanders ESL stereo amp is in range

He offers free 30 day in-home trials. So no risk (other than I bet you’ll keep it ;-) )

Rogers old company was Innersound, and they are pretty much the same design. So any used Innersound monoblocks at the right price would also do the trick. Roger will even service/upgrade these for nominal fees.

After that, well, Sunfire is a good bet lower on the price scale, and these work really well with any ESL. And can drive the raw ESL panels (as in my center) with no problems. A bi-amped Monolith offers up a pretty demanding load on the amps, as its driving the panel direct.

So whatever you get, please ensure it can double its output into each halving of load (i.e. 200w / 8 ohms, should do 400 / 4 ohms, 800 w / 2 ohms) and be specified stable(in writing) into one or two ohm loads.

If you’re in Atlanta, we could meet up and compare amps someday.
 

Gordon Gray

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Hi Joe,

I know that Rich also speaks highly of the Sanders amp and I'm confident that it sounds great. However, I have always had an issue with a "one man" company. What happens, God forbid, if Roger is walking down the street and gets hit by a car or otherwise suffers a debilitating injury, can't work anymore, and his company vaporizes.

What happens if you need the product repaired?

What happens to the product's resale value?

I know some folks are comfortable with that and that's their choice.

FWIW, I've seen some Pass amps on the gon in your price range. Other members, including myself, find the Pass Lab amplifiers to perform quite well with the ML and their impedance loads.

The only issue some have had with this product is the heat generated by the amp, which is a direct result of the amps design and use of Class A operation.

Just a thought.

GG
 

Cherian

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Hello Joe,

Welcome to our little world. I feel the Monoliths are one of the best speakers made by ML. I may be a little biased because I own a pair. I recently changed from passive to an active crossover and am also bi-amped. For your 4 K budget I would consider a used Conrad Johnson Premier 350. I and others think this is one of the best SS amps ever made for the money. I know this is saying a lot because there are so many great amps out there. Still if you can get a chance to listen to one then by all means do and make up your own mind. Another good choice would be a Sanders Sound amp. You can get a new stereo amp from Sanders for about 4k. If you are using the stock ML EXOS crossover then matching the gain of the amps is a snap, the dip switch on the back allows for easy matching. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
 

Gordon Gray

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Hi Cherian,

I have a CJ preamp and I agree with you that the CJ Premier 350 would be an excellent recommendation. Jeff D. speaks very highly of this SS amp, as do others.

As always and if possible, an in home audition is the best way to decide.

GG
 

Dreamer

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Joe,

Look at the Carver Silver 7t or Silver 9t monoblocks. They have a lot of current, a very sweet sound, and can drive those panels with equal finesse at "polite" and "ear splitting" levels. They will NEVER run out of steam if you're using them to only drive the panels...

I've heard this combination, and it is VERY nice.

Plus you can usually pick up a near-mint pair used for well under $1600. And FYI, although Carver corp is no longer in business, Bob Carver and his main bench tech Rita have opened a new repair shop in Washington and offer complete repair/rebuild services for a VERY reasonable rate. So you could pick up a pair of Silver 7t's, ship them off to Bob himself, and have them returned to original factory performance levels for under $2000. How many other classic amp brands do you know that you can send back to the original designer to a total rebuild for under $200/unit?

Bob is a GREAT guy, and still very enthusiastic about his early work. I had the pleasure of meeting him last September at the CarverFest, and he is really a stand-up, laid-back guy. And truth be told, he's still designing GREAT amps, although he seems to be currently fascinated with hand-wired tube amps...

--Richard
 
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Rich

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I know that Rich also speaks highly of the Sanders amp and I'm confident that it sounds great. However, I have always had an issue with a "one man" company. What happens, God forbid, if Roger is walking down the street and gets hit by a car or otherwise suffers a debilitating injury, can't work anymore, and his company vaporizes.

What happens if you need the product repaired?

What happens to the product's resale value?

I know some folks are comfortable with that and that's their choice.

FWIW, I've seen some Pass amps on the gon in your price range. Other members, including myself, find the Pass Lab amplifiers to perform quite well with the ML and their impedance loads.

The only issue some have had with this product is the heat generated by the amp, which is a direct result of the amps design and use of Class A operation.

Just a thought.

GG

Gordon,

I have to say I got just a little tickled at you, first lamenting the risks of going with a one-man company, and then recommending Pass Labs. :ROFL:

Don't get me wrong. I love Pass Labs, as you know, and highly recommend their amps for Martin Logan speakers. But if you think that Pass Labs is much of a company without Nelson Pass, then I think you are fooling yourself. If Nelson passed away, I expect the company would go into liquidation soon after. He built that company out of his garage, and its new products continue to amaze only because he is still there as the leader in design and development. Once he is gone, I expect the company will disappear as well. So I don't see how that is much less risky than going with Roger Sanders' equipment.
 

MiTT

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I understand what you're saying Rich, but while I also admire Sanders, it is literally a one man company. Roger Sanders has no employee's other than himself, or at least that was the case when I spoke with him in October.

Pass has not only some employee's at Pass, but several at First Watt as well. I was speaking with a kid who was interning at First Watt at RMAF this year. He was telling me that Nelson makes all of the interns do a stint at First Watt for a year or so before they are allowed to "graduate" to Pass. He said he'd done everything from representing the company at trade shows to sweeping the floors, but that once he moved on to Pass he'd be working directly with the Engineering and R&D team. Probably still not a "big" company, but certainly more than a one man show.
 

twich54

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Pass has not only some employee's at Pass, but several at First Watt as well. I was speaking with a kid who was interning at First Watt at RMAF this year.
yep, so was I Tim and one of those "kids" happened to be Nelson's son !

With respect to the option of Sanders vs. Pass labs I don't think you would go wrong either way.
 

JoeDatlanta

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Thank you everyone. This is the sort of information I was hoping for. Now at least I have a reference point to start with, if not an exact choice.

As we all probably agree, this is a very high class prediciment I find myself in. ;-)

Best,

Joe D
 

theWB

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Joe,
Late to the thread, but I'll throw in my .02

The Chicago group was kind enough to all drag their amps over to my place one Sunday afternoon. I was impressed with both the Sanders and CJ 350 and how they drove my CLS. My preference was the Sanders, but the CJ 350 was very sweet as well. I'll probably end up with a Sanders Amp as soon as a save up enough coin. The Sanders was very small and compact compared to the CJ which works better for me, I also liked the fact that it did not generate heat, it ran very cool, It also has XLR connections which I prefer, the CJ doesn't.
 

Aceboympk

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Joe,
Late to the thread, but I'll throw in my .02

The Chicago group was kind enough to all drag their amps over to my place one Sunday afternoon. I was impressed with both the Sanders and CJ 350 and how they drove my CLS. My preference was the Sanders, but the CJ 350 was very sweet as well. I'll probably end up with a Sanders Amp as soon as a save up enough coin. The Sanders was very small and compact compared to the CJ which works better for me, I also liked the fact that it did not generate heat, it ran very cool, It also has XLR connections which I prefer, the CJ doesn't.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST MAY APPEAR TO BE A HIJACK. THIS IS AN ERROR ON THE PART OF THE POSTER WHO HAS NO CLUE ABOUT WHERE TO POST HIS MESSAGE. ANY FAULT MUST BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE NEWBIE WHO IS LOOKING FOR HELP. PLEASE FORGIVE HIS MORONIC DISPLAY OF USING CAPS. Sorry. :angel:

The "Chicago Group"? I'm in Chicago and have been a box speaker person for many years, but I'm considering replacing my box speakers with panel speakers.

So, how can a fellow Chicagoan get hooked up with the "Chicago Group"?

How can I get some much needed advice about my room/system? Can I entice any of you with some Portillos or Buena Beef food? I have plenty of drink too. :guiness:

Please email me if you would like to help. I'm dieing to know if ML is a viable alternative to my box speakers. I'm considering the Proidgy, Monolith III, and CLS III, though I'm COMPLETELY open to suggestions. I'm pretty demanding when it comes to speakers, so I need a full range configuration. Nothing boomy or mushy. Balanced, transparent, dynamic, airy, wide soundstage, etc... are the characteristics I need.

Here's my set up:
Room is roughly 14x25x8. The room is really more of an "L" shape, (no, not "EL" shaped ;) ) because of a bathroom. As such, my dedicated stereo area is the "short" side meaning the speakers are facing me 14' across from me, not 25' away. In fact, because my speakers are a few feet from the wall, they're more like 9' away from me.

Amps: I have Antique Sound Lab Hurricane mono blocks. These are valve amps that are 100 watts/ch. Triode and 200 watts/ch. Pentode. IMHO they are about as good as they get for high powered KT88/6550 amp. Supposedly they will drive full size electrostats without a problem. Any ideas about their ability to drive some huge panels?

Front end is a Doge 6 CDP. An absolute giant killer! I also own a Roksan Radius V TT w/Dynavector cart. LOVE vinly now more than ever!

Canary line stage pre-amp and phono stage. Boutique builder in California that hand builds their stuff with the highest grade components in the price range.

Current box speakers: Coincident Super Eclipse III's with upgraded internal wiring. Israel Blume MAY have the best sounding box speakers for tube based sytems. I also have the new Tyler Acoustic Monitors that replaced the Linbrook Signatures in case anyone would like to hear them.

I'd be thankful for any assistance. I am also considering some other box speakers (Wilson WATT, Coincident, Montana). But, I'm intrigued by panels and from what I read ML resolved some of the engineering issues that were reported (not by me) with panels.

Regards,
Mark
 

boxeater

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Dear All,

I am working on my rig, and I am posting to see if there is any updated thinking as to the best amp(s) available for the Monoliths? I will need two because I am running the Exos active crossover. I am currently running Anthem AMP2SEs, but I am looking for a better fitting upgrade. Much thanks!
 

JonFo

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For me it’s still Sanders ESL for the panels.

you could continue using the anthems on the woofers. Pretty much any decent class AB amp or class H will do for woofers
 

Robert D

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For me it’s still Sanders ESL for the panels.

you could continue using the anthems on the woofers. Pretty much any decent class AB amp or class H will do for woofers
So you have the Sanders setup that's shown on the web page I posted? That looks great.
 
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