Affordable "Thiel type" speakers are?

Hi All,

I am a big fan of the Thiel's highly detailed, transparent, tight sound. In my main system in a smaller room I have 2.4s and in my secondary system in an 18x14x10 room 3.5s. I like the 3.5s a lot but the 2.4s are a clear step up in all respects except for bass depth. I have been looking for 3.6s within driving distance for almost a year with no luck. What I'm wondering is, is there any other candidate I should be considering if I come across it at a good price (i.e. $1400-$1700)? Again, my priorities are detail, transparency and tight bass.

Thanks in Advance
You would probably like something from Audio Physic. You can probably find something used in your price range.
Not sure your find anything as the 2.4 are pretty nice at their list price and compare pretty well with speakers that cost more. Vandersteen (ugly) Usher' and magnepan 1.7s come to mind.

There is a pair of usher Dancer Mini 2 on here way below normal price because they are stuffed.
A pre owned pair of Vandersteen 3A Sigs also has its drivers wired in phase like the Thiels and can perform superbly in that size room.
Why other folks are recommending speakers with outta phase
mid ranges for you is beyond me.

*needs appropriate amplification
Thanks Unsound, just what I would like to have, but I'm afraid of shipping damage even if in original boxes. If they were within 250 miles of me I'd be picking them up this weekend!
Thanks also Steuspeed, but I've been doing the national Craigslist search for months. One would think some would have been listed, but none have been so far within 250 miles of Daytona Beach.
I do know of some Revel F 50s within driving distance, but they can't be auditioned so I'm not sure if they would be a clear step up from my 3.5s in detail, transparency and bass taughtness.
I thought that coaxial KEFs are decent. The Q series are made in china. But I thought that they had a very good imaging. Not in the same class as the 2.4s but they are pretty affordable.
"but I'm afraid of shipping damage even if in original boxes."

The condition is rate only 5/10. What could possibly happen that would disappoint you in shipping.

Vandersteens don't sound like Thiels, but that's Johnny's response to every speaker thread because he is a Vandersteen dealer.

If the Revels are within driving distance go listen to them.

KEFs don't sound like Thiels either. Not even close.
A pre owned pair of Vandersteen 3A Sigs also has its drivers wired in phase like the Thiels and can perform superbly in that size room. Why other folks are recommending speakers with outta phase mid ranges for you is beyond me.

I understand why you would say that given that the Vandersteen's are time and phase correct like the Thiels, but if you read the OP's description of what type of sound he is looking for I'm not sure that the 3's would be the best choice. I just don't think they sound that similar. In all fairness to Vandersteen, though, they are very transparent, and if the OP was willing to buy some other components as well, I think it would be possible to get much closer to the Thiel's sound. I may be wrong, but it looks like the OP just wants to buy speakers.

"Vandersteens don't sound like Thiels, but that's Johnny's response to every speaker thread because he is a Vandersteen dealer."

I really don't think thats the case here. He also has many other brands of speakers besides Vandersteen. He could just as easily recommend something else. Also, its looks like the OP doesn't live anywhere near in Audio Connection and would probably not be in his territory anyway.
I have no dog in the fight as I said he should look for Pre owned Vaandersteen 3A Sigs.
I am trying to open his world up to the positive advantages of 3A Sigs lower baffle diffraction,Boxless smoother in room response also Phase and Time correct design
We have taken many pairs of 3.6s,3.5s 2.2s etc in trade toward the 3A Sigs.
Rrog,Ditto on the Vandersteens. They sound nothing like Thiels!
Why would someone recommend Vandersteens when the guy likes Thiels? Apples and Oranges.
FWIW, I think the Vandersteens share a lot in common with the Thiels, just not the particular aspects the OP suggests he's seeking. At this price point I suggest just sticking with the Thiels.
Thanks All for the ideas,
I have been a transparency and detail guy since 1992 when I got my Apogee Slant 6 speakers. In '95 I bought some Vandy 2CEs for a secondary system and liked them a lot, but in comparison with the Apogees felt they were somewhat veiled and a bit less detailed.
In 2011 I ran into a very good deal locally on some Thiel 3.5s and decided to take a chance on them based on their reputation, even though they sounded mediocre in the seller's mid-fi system. I was somewhat surprized and pleased that they sounded more transparent, detailed and had tighter bass than my Apogees. The only problem was that they seemed a little bright at first and required upgrading my electronics to sound really good. With a Threshold pre and C-J 2300A amp feeding them they were a big step up from my previous system. Out of curiosity, I did try out the Slant 6s and 2CEs with the new electronics and did feel that while both responded very nicely, I still preferred the 3.5s by a good margin. At this point decided that I liked the Thiel "house sound".
Shortly after this I converted a little used TV room to a "man cave" and moved the audio system there. Looking for even better sound there, after getting much help form Agoners, I bought some new Thiel 2.4 demos at a great price and moved the 3.5s into the bigger room which has now become my secondary system.
Hence the original post looking to improve the sound in that room. What I was wondering about, since I haven't located any 3.6 Thiels, is whether I had other good options given my listening tastes. I am a big believer in buying used and don't want to audition something at a dealer if I know I am not going to buy there so I lack info as to what other possibilities there might be.
There have been advances in speaker design since the 3.5s came out and who knows that the Vandy 3A Sig does not have more of what I am looking for than the 3.5s do. I don't feel that my 2CEs do, but that too is an older design. Stereophile rates the PSB Synchrony 1s class A, but do they have more transparency and detail than the 3.5s? I don't know. So, given the helpful insights I have been given here in the past, I posted looking for suggestions from folks who were familiar with the Thiel sound and were aware of other affordable options that I should consider. Perhaps I should have listed the subject as "Affordable options to Thiel 3.5s which would be a step up in detail, transparency and bass taughtness". Anyway, given this clarification of what I am looking for help with, does anyone have any thoughts to share? My secondary system electronics are ARC 14 pre and Hafler 9500 power and I recognize that I will probably need to upgrade the Hafler to get the best out of anything that is a step up from the 3.5s. And yes, I realize that the 3.5s would improve with better amplification, but they can't catch the 2.4s since I have compared them in the same room with the really good electronics.
Thanks in advance,
I have 2.4s and the bass is incredibly good so I don't know what you mean except fot the bass. What are you driving them with?
Hi Stevecham,
I am not looking for a step up from the 2.4s in my main system. I am completely satisfied with them and prefer their bass to the 3.5s overall because it is tighter and more defined, although the 3.5s do go deeper. What I am trying to get info on is affordable, step up, non-Thiel speakers from my 3.5s, not the 2.4s. I am only asking this because I can't afford another pair of 2.4s and have not been able to find any 3.6s within 250 miles. My latest post was a bit long winded but it gives the background on my situation including the amplification used in both systems.
Thanks for the interest
I think you did a pretty good job of explaining what it is you want. I still think you may like a used pair of Audio Physic. Of course, they don't sound exactly like a pair of Thiel's but I do think that someone that likes Thiel will probably like Audio Physic as well. You should easily be able to find something used in your price range. As far as PBS goes, my guess is that you would not be happy with them. To me, at least, they are just very generic sounding. From a sound quality standpoint, they don't do anything wrong. But thats it. I know you mention that Stereophile likes them. Just to be fair, I should tell you that I don't read any type of audio publications. (Stereophile, TAS etc.) I've never found them to be all that helpful.
I find it surprising that given your desires nobody has mentioned Thiel 2.3. They can be had for cheap these days ~$1K+, and are in most respects identical to the 2.4, which was merely a mildly tweaked 2.3. I bought 2.3s in '02 & 2.4s in '06 and have kept both of them as main speakers ever since, so am intimately familiar with their similarities. (2.3 > 3.6 IMO)

Frequency balance is the main difference, 2.4 having more output below 50Hz, less output in the presence region (2-5K).

My experience is the 2.3 soundstages better because the baffle is rounded w/o sharp edges and the grille does not interfere unlike the form over function recessed 2.4 grille.

2.3 every bit as detailed, transparent and tight as 2.4.

Same cabinet structure, slightly different crossovers, 2.4 coax uses a smaller more powerful magnet that doesn't handle high power as well as 2.3, woofers very similar, 2.4 has better spikes and terminals, both excellently constructed and detailed.

In fact, I can make you a sweet deal on my own 2.3s!
Well, just for the record Drjay, I've heard both speakers many times in many different rooms with various gear, and I have a differing opinion on the 2.4's vs. the 3.5's. IMHO, not only do the sealed box 3.5's go deeper, but are tighter and better better defined in the bass, as well as more coherent too, than the passive radiator 2.4's. The 3.5's do show bass limitations when called upon to play low bass LOUDLY. YMMV.
Don Vito
If you got out there and heard both speakers with a good low feedback amp
You would appriciate that its the phase correct area that they are both connected. They both play live recorded music with superb tonality while also preserving overtones thats where other speakers are much different.
Hi Unsound,
I totally respect your opinion and you are a gentleman whose inputs in past posts have helped me a great deal in getting my main system to the point I am truly happy with it. What I personally prefer most in the 2.4s over my 3.5s is the detail. I notice more of everything from top to bottom in a recording with the 2.4s and do not feel that this is due to frequency response issues. As Gary at Thiel says, "2.4s reveal everything in the recording whether you like it or not."
I see that a legitimate point of view of this could be that the 2.4s have crossed the line from wonderfully detailed into being "clinical or hyperarticulate". I certainly don't feel my 3.5s are lifeless or homogenized, so it seems perfectly appropriate to describe them as more coherent. As you point out it is a matter of personal preference.
If I run across some affordable Audio Physics I will certainly try to audition them since their design philosophy suggests they might have a lot of the 2.4 characteristics that I like, but my intuition tells me moving to Thiel 2.3s, although a worthy suggestion, would feel like a lateral move.
Based on all the input so far it appears that my best bet is to be more patient and just keep looking for 3.6s, which from all I've read, are somewhat more detailed than the 3.5s. I am, however, still open to any other suggestions.
Thanks to All
When you say you feel the 2.3s would "feel like a lateral move" are you referencing the 3.5s or 2.4s?

My understanding was you were trying to upgrade the 3.5s, but were very happy with the 2.4s as they are.

The 2.3s are a lateral move from the 2.4s, but my demoing suggests they are "better" sounding, more-modern design than the 3.6. Sonically 2.3s sound far more like the 2.4 than the 3.6. The 3.6 will play louder & deeper with enough power, but to my ear the 2.3 & 2.4 have more of those 'Thiel' characteristics you describe than do the older-school 3.6. 3.6 designed in '92 vs 2.3 clean-slate design in '98.

And in some ways the 2.3 lateral move may even exceed the 2.4s for you with tighter (though not deeper) bass, more perceived midrange detail, and marginally better soundstaging. Your subject line is "Affordable 'Thiel type' speakers are?" -- actual Thiel speakers for $1200!

OK, I've argued my case far enough :-)
"I think the Vandersteens share a lot in common with the Thiels"

I always considered Vandersteens and Thiels opposites.
The OP wants a speaker that sounds like Theil. I was a long time owner of Vandersteen and I liked them very much.My friend owned Thiels and I thought them to be a bright sounding speaker when compared to Vandys. They are apples and oranges.I don't care if the design is the same they do not sound like each other. I still say why recommend Vandersteen when he likes Thiels?
Thanks Unsound, for the Ebay lead.
Unfortunately, over 400 miles and 6 hours drive time one way to Stockbridge Ga. is too much for this old guy. I'll go up to 250 miles if I can find some that look promising, but that is about my limit. I have decided though, that unless I run into some Audio Physics close by to audition, I'll just be more patient and watch for 3.6s. It is not as if I am unhappy with my 3.5s, just looking for a bit more. I am within easy driving distance of Orlando and Jacksonville and could stretch myself to the Ft. Lauderdale, Miami area so it isn't as if I'm in the middle of North Dakota.
BTW to the Vandersteen fans who have responded, I like my 2CEs a lot and do feel they do a great deal of what the Thiels do. My preference in no way suggests that I think the Thiels "blow away" the Vandys. I have a suspicion that Jim Smith of "Get Better Sound" might suggest that I have an excessive focus on "audiophile sound effects" which detracts from my emotional connection with the music. Vandys are a top shelf speaker in my book, as are the Apogee Slant 6s which I still have. I have to move some speakers out of the house, but all of them are so nice I hate to see any of them go.
Thanks to everyone for the inputs, I do feel clearer about my options and for now I'll opt to watch and wait for 3.6s.
I'll keep my eyes open for 3.6's. Please keep in mind that the 3.6's are much(!) more demanding of amplification than the 3.5's, budget accordingly.
Maggie 1.6 with a Vandy Sub?Used of course. I have that combo as well as Vandy 3A Sigs in another system. Both excellent. Just a suggestion. Good luck.