No but I have to admit in pics it looks hideously tacky!
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See also this archived thread. As for the strange looks of the drivers, I'd warrant that Jim Thiel wouldn't have gone to the trouble unless the corrugations enabled lighter (which would mean thinner) yet stiffer diaphragms. Fortunately, Thiel has long been one of the few audiophile brands that has always designed their speakers to be used with the grilles in place and no sonic degradation. Which is probably a good thing in the case of the 3.7, because I'll bet those diaphragms could be more susceptible to deformation if touched than is usual, questions of appearance aside. As for the looks of the hemispherical top, I'll wait to see the whole thing in the flesh...
I am curious if this is going to be the design direction for the rest of line as upgrades are made. Thiel seems to play along a common design theme so my guess is yes....so with that......I wonder when the 6.0's and 7.2's are due. Can't say I like or dislike the looks until I see them in the showroom, however, the metal dome does have me concerned. I do think the look is going to be controversial enough to help the resale value of the existing line..and in this case the 3.6's.
With the round top and elliptical back, it may turn out to be somewhat reminiscent of a B&W Nautilus 802. R2D2-chic, anyone? Anyway, if the sound represents an advancement, I'm sure many 3.6 owners can get over the looks. At around a reported $8K, I wonder if the CS 6 will be discontinued until its next iteration upon this speaker's introduction.
Pops: I can picture the 6.2, it'll have the same basic layout as the 3.7 (a little taller and deeper I'm sure) but feature a midbass driver in that expanse of baffle between the woofer and the coaxial mid/tweet. The 7.3 will be similar to that, except even larger, and with a 12" woofer and passive radiator instead of 10". Probably these two speakers will have cast baffles made of something thinner yet stiffer than built-up layers of machined MDF, and the cabinet, at least in the 7.3, could be made from horizontally-stacked, die-cut ply layers, rather than scored and bent MDF as in the 3.7. A wild-card possibility is a triaxial compound driver. But it wouldn't surprise me if somewhere along the line, JT goes ahead and makes the logical but radical departure, using integrated digital crossovers and multi-way class-D amplification for an optimized system approach, maybe incorporating completely molded or otherwise non-wood cabinetry that does away with the furniture-appearance constraint on design and materials options.
I saw it at the CES show and it's actually look uglier in real life than on pictures ( trust me on this one: Metal helmet with wierd looking aluminum hub cabs for drivers). A combination of these speakers with Manley Neon Classic electronics is simply a killer to look at, period. I am sure it's going to sound great as everyone at Thiel is pretty excited about it. Once I have a chance to talk to Ken Hawkins, I will keep you posted.
Speakers were not avialable for active demo. at the show.
Unsound: I like the appearance of the signature sloped baffles (as have other manufacturers who've copied Thiel's look to one degree or another), and understand why they're necessary in JT's design philosophy, but believe they might contribute to the slightly downward-looking soundstage perspective I perceive in Thiels. The baffle slope, which tilts the driver axes upward, is why Thiels seem to have comparitively low-placed drivers. Even with the tilt, the optimum listening axis with many of their floorstanders is still fairly low in absolute terms unless you can sit pretty far away. The other contributor to this effect is that to prevent the slope from needing to be too steep and the tilt too great, the deep-basketed LF driver is placed far apart down near the floor. But in a first-order 3-way system, that driver still is making a healthy output well up into the midrange, where the ear can localize its unaturally low -- and distant in relation to the M/T -- position. Stepped baffles have their own difficulties though.
A better solution may be to eliminate the traditional baffle as such altogether. Vandersteen claim to do this, but really their product uses a width-minimized stepped baffle. Dunlavy used a stepped baffle in combination with non-reflective surface treatment. Something like the B&W Nautilus series comes closer, but these haven't aimed at being time-and-phase-coincident designs. GMA made a true baffleless time-coincident design that could be adjusted to fire at any listening axis, but not with acceptable aesthetics.
A triaxial coincident driver could cover the entire range outside of the low bass and finesse the problem away. Cabasse's "eyeball" is the only expample I know of, but again it's not a time-and-phase-coincident design, and higher-order slopes with non-planar-coincident voice-coils may have been necessary to even make it possible. I used to think Thiel would logically head the triaxial direction eventually, but now with the new compound driver in the 3.7 I think it's less likely. Reading the 6moons link above tells you why. The flat-diaphragm configuration JT has worked toward dictates such a large voice-coil for the first ring out from the tweeter, there's no way to build yet another ring farther out from that to make a 3-way.
There is a way potential way around this, which I hypothosized about in the other thread, before I knew for sure that the mid-ring of the 3.7 used a center-driven diaphragm with its own independent voice-coil. That is to make the central mid/tweet as a continuous shallow dome rather than a dome within a cone (perhaps utilizing corrugations on the outer diaphragm?), using Thiel's shared voice-coil "mechanical crossover" topology, and surround it with a flat corrugated ring using a separate voice-coil as developed for the 3.7. This could enable the triaxial configuration while keeping eveything compact enough to allow for planar-coincident voice-coil placement, and still avoid horn-loading effects on the dome tweeter. But given that the 3.7's mid-ring is apparently capable of extending so high in frequency by itself, the only reason for pursuing what I've described is if a similar ring could be made to go much lower into the upper-bass instead (with power handling).
All in all, something like this doesn't seem to be in the cards right now to judge from the 3.7 design. And depending on where the lower crossover point on the 3.7 winds up being located (look at how far down the ring driver appears to extend without specifying limits or power, according to Thiel's graph), it may not even be needed except for freeing up the LF driver to be larger. But I think this contingency almost certainly will be dealt with in the near future by simply adding a separate conventional mid-bass/lower-midrange driver to models larger than the 3.7 and keeping the compound driver a 2-way.
Zaikesman, I too like the look of the sloped baffle. It gives a sense of balance and makes the cabinet visually less obtrusive. I thought that the use of digital cross-overs and amplifcation might negate the need. The drivers could be timed delayed as needed in the digital domain. I suspect this would further help negate the effects of early reflections off the baffle itself. It might also reduce the cost of cabinet manufacture. As we have discussed many moons ago, I believe the sense of a lower soundstage is more of a room phenomenon. Since I moved from a room with 8' ceilings to one starting at 10' and peaking at 14' I have gone from a soundstage as you have described, listening from the balcony looking down, to one where I'm down below slightly looking up at the performers. I wonder if using a wider bafle might atually help on the smaller less expensive models. If one could control the reflections with predicitibily one could augment the bass from smaller drivers with room reinforcement. I suspect that room size may contribute as much as budget, when purchasing speakers. Placing a speaker 3' out from the rear wall (even if it has larger foot print) in a large room is not too inconvient, but in a small room it can become an obstacle. Personally I'd give up some imaging for a more balanced sound with a bit more bottom if I had to sacrafice something.