the first time Ė need advice about amp for magnepan 3.7's [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Mike Allen1010
01-20-2015, 04:05 PM
hello everyone,

This is my first post of any kind on an audio forum and Iím not really sure I am in the right place. I just registered to the website, believe I need to post here before I can post anywhere else.

I really enjoy music, but admit to being utterly overwhelmed by the technical information and wide range of audio products.

I am planning to purchase magnepan 3.7 speakers and I would really appreciate some advice about what kind of amplifier set up would work well for these given my current budget, with potential to upgrade in the future.

I have an Audio Research LS17SC preamplifier and use both digital and analog sources. I currently have a 10-year-old Rotel RB 980BX amplifier which has worked well with my Vandersteen II speakers.

I would very much appreciate any advice and suggestions about what kind of amplifier set up would make sense for the magnepan 3.7 speakers. I donít think I can afford the ideal amplifier set up now, but was hoping that I might be able to identify a cost effective, lightly used amplifier that would work at least on some level until I could upgrade.

My local audio dealer suggested that I needed at least 200 W of power and recommended an audio research DS 225 which I could buy used for $3900. Thatís a little more than I would like to spend, considering I just dropped what for me a significant dollars to get the magnepanís. However, thatís what I need to do to realize to some degree the potential of the speakers, that would be feasible over time (provided I can slip it by my wife!).

Iíve always been interested in the idea of using two separate amplifiers (I guess thatís called mono block?), as given my lack of knowledge it makes a certain amount of sense, however I have no idea if thatís reasonable or not.

I very much appreciate any advice or suggestions about what type/brand/models of amplifiers I should consider, potentially where I could shop for them, used if possible. Any other advice is also very much appreciated as I literally know nothing about audio electronics. For example, I understand my preamplifier has ďbalanced outputsĒ? Iím not sure what that is, but I was told that it would be best if I could find an amplifier that would accept those Ė does that make sense?

Many thanks, Mike

01-22-2015, 06:15 AM
Hi, Mike, and welcome to AR Forums.

I'm a Magneplanar owner myself, (MG 1.6QR), and I believe your choice of MG 3.7's well be hugely satisfying to you.

As for your ARC LS17 preamp, I'm covetous! I have an ARC LS9 which is solid state and would very much like to try the tube hybrid LS17.

I'm not so sure of the ARC DS225 amp however. It's a class D amp and not everyone likes the typical class D sound, although have a tube preamp upstream generally helps according to those who've tried that combo. Also, for $3900 I think you can do better than the DS225. In particular I'd recommend a Pass Labs model; personally I have an X150.5 and love it. The X150.5 puts 300 wpc into 4 ohms which is probably plenty for the 3.7's or you could step up to the X250.5. A used X150.5 would run $2500-2700, and a used X250.5 probably about the same or not much more than your dealer is asking for the DS225.

Mike Allen1010
01-22-2015, 12:04 PM
Thanks a lot Feaner I really appreciate the advice as I am starting from basically zero knowledge.

I appreciate your feedback about the class D amp. In comparison, what type/class is the Pass Labs X150.5/X250.5 you mentioned?

Sounds like maybe the type/class of amplifier is an important part of the selection criteria?

Thanks again for your time and assistance!

01-22-2015, 12:39 PM
Mike, the classes of amplifier available today are 'A', 'A/B', and 'D', (though there are other types). You can read up on amplifier classes HERE (

The Pass Labs amps in the X series are class AB; their XA series amps are class A. The Xnnn.5 amps, including the X150.5 and X250.5, are "high-bias" class A/B meaning that they extend class A operation to relatively higher power levels.

To address you question about "balanced" outputs, there are a caveates but in general it's better to used balanced connections between components if balance outputs and corresponding balanced inputs are available. The Pass Labs amps have balanced inputs and it would be preferable to use them with your LS17.

Here's a nice pic of my X150.5 ... :smile5: ...

Mr Peabody
01-22-2015, 02:54 PM
In defense of the ARC Class D amps, they aren't your typical Class D, they are rugged and last one I heard did have an ARC sound. One advantage as well is if the dealer would allow you to audition the ARC amp which he should looking at that large a purchase.

I think Maggies just need a powerful amp with current but with that being said not all would have good synergy (make a good match) with your preamp or speakers. If you like monoblocks look at the Parasound Halo JC1's, I think that's the right number. By the way, I love my Pass as well just throwing some options out.

01-22-2015, 08:28 PM
I also am a Maggie owner, a pair of 1.6's and run a Pass X250 amp and and a BAT tube preamp. I have a friend that has a pair of 3.7's and he drove them with an AVA 600R amp that runs at 600wpc and high current. He just bought a second 600R and is using them as mono blocks. I can tell you that on dynamic passages the extra power makes a difference.

I would strongly consider a used Pass X250 or 250.5. There is a 250.5 for sale on Audiogon for $4500

Pass Labs X-250.5 | Solid state | San Diego, California 92130 | AudiogoN - The High-end Audio Community (

Also consider Bryston and Classe amps. There is a Bryston 4b SST for sale

Bryston 4B-SST 2 17" Silver | Solid state | Richmond, Virginia 23220 | AudiogoN - The High-end Audio Community (

I prefer Pass and think that it will be a better match for the 3.7's.

Mr Peabody
01-22-2015, 08:45 PM
Actually, ARC tube pre with Classe amp is a pretty popular combo in some circles.

01-22-2015, 09:13 PM
Here is one more amp that would do well with the 3.7's-

Sanders Sound Systems - Magtech Amp (

Its regulated power supplies would be a great match for magnepans. The AVA amps also use regulated power supplies and work very well with Maggies.

Jack in Wilmington
01-23-2015, 05:01 AM
My local Maggie dealer runs their 3.7's with a Classe Amp, but I didn't catch the number as I was in there to hear other gear. There is a nice Classe CA-2200 on Audiogon for $2850 right now. Looks like it will have more than enough power to make your Maggies sing.