I recommend that you add information on your electronics, as it is hard to form an opinion about the speakers without knowing what would drive them. Thiels with solid state are a lot more analytical and dry than Aerials with tubes. Swap the amps and the two systems move much closer to each other.
Also the 2.3's are no longer current, they were replaced by the new 2.4's. Thiels are not friendly speakers and are very hard to drive. Please dont misunderstand what I'm saying. I love Thiels and own them but they are not for everyone. I know a lot of people who put them in less than deserving systems and right away blamed the speakers for the crappy sound they were getting. If you cant feed them with lots of quality power, they will sound thin and brite.
They are also very sensitive to cables.
as always good luck
I owned Aerial 10's and changed to Montana EPS's. (Both driven with tubes.) However, just about any speaker needs to be away from the wall.
Thanks for the thoughts. To answer your electronics question:
I currently have Threshold amplification (Cary pre-). Avguygeorge, good point about placement; however, I think WAF would improve if I could reduce the distance to the front wall by a foot or two.
Check out Revel studios or the performa serials. I always loved Thiels and agree they need the right engine to drive, but finally purchased Revel Studios. These have something of the analytical style of the thiels with more mid range. A tad more musical although still somewhat unforgiving of poor equipment.
Wilson Sophia's should be considered as well.
First of all, I hope your relationship with your wife is solid, otherwise what's yours is hers. Mine is the Jazzmama on WMNF 88.5, she is picky about her music and how it sounds. She loves our Thiel 3.6 speakers aquired last year. The 3.6 offers greater frequency extention at both extremes, and greater transparency, detail and 3-dimentionality.
We replaced our Thiel 22's with the 3.6's and consider ourselves very fortunate to be in the top 3% of gear owners. We are using Levinson ML 2 monoblocks ( With a Threshold T-50 backup) with 390S cd player/processor. Also use Linn Axis w/ Grado Reference Master and a Levine phono preamp. Both sources directly drive amps. We have availiable Purist Audio Design Cables, latest generation if you need any.
No one complains about our system when they come to audition and our audio friends are very skeptical folks. We are now listening to the performance not the gear.
At this level good source results in great sound, conversely, mediocre source is not a fun time.
Mac I just heard the Thiel C6 with the oddyssey extreme
monos amps, Ive heard so many musical and expensive system
but this is the most natural sound and real, I have ever
heard, I I tell you I prefer it over andra 15k I own and
x250 pass amp combo, and andra krell 300 pre amp and amp
cast edition.Thats how good are the thiel and oddyssey combo
Even on home theater they came on top.DO YOURSELF A FAVOR
TRY THOSE COMBO.
We replaced Thiel CS2s (1985) with Thiel CS3.6s (2002). Wife strongly prefers the 3.6s. Sons also agree. Nice to have some bass. No problems driving them with Bryston 3B-ST or C-J MV-75a amps. Pondering the CS6s however. The main improvement is impossible to suggest as there were no areas the 3.6 was inferior to the 2s. The 3.6 is just a better speaker all around (especially in the lower ranges). If you like bargains the original Dunlavy SC-IVs might be worth a listen. The Thiels are not hard to drive so much as some electronics are unable to bring them up to the level other electronics can. Classe, Bryston, Levinson, Krell, Gryphon and Pass are some of the solid state designs that work well. There are others. Some "mid-fi" solid state is less than great. The bigger conrad-johnson tube amps do fine too if that is your cup of tea. I've heard satisfying results with older Audio Research hybrid designs as well as BAT solid state. Generally what drives one Thiel model will do okay with another. I am unfamiliar with Ariel other than reading reviews.
I owned and loved my Thiel 2.3's. I used a Sonic Frontiers Power tube amp to power them. They sang. I recetnly sold them because I don't have room for them in my new home. I am considering the Thiel PCS or Powerpoints (and a sub) now. Just to give you some perspective, the only other speaker I ever owned prior to the Thie's were several differnt pairs of Magnepan's. Now, I just can't seem to get away from Thiel. I third the opinion that you need to drive them with a quallity front end and quality amplification.
You need a lot of very clean, warm sounding power to make Thiels sing. It can be worth it. For some reason, Cardas Golden Cross speaker cables (that one model in particular) are a match made in heaven for Thiels.).
I had full-range Apogees and sold them knowing that there had to be something better out there. I spent several years and more money than I want to admit looking for that speaker. The only thing that came close to the transparency, detail, speed and imaging of the Apogee was the Martin-Logan CLS-IIz. Ive gone full circle and come back to an Apogee full range ribbon speaker. Sometimes you need to try different things to realize that you had what you wanted all along. Expensive trip, same destination
I demoed both the Thiel and Aerial extensively. I settled on the Aerial 10Ts. I have them coupled with Sim Audio's W5 power amp and Sim's P5 preamp. I have a Thule 150B CD player. The Aerials were much warmer and involving sound than the Thiels - even with solid state. I think that the 10Ts are still a superb speaker and can be had at a good price. If the are placed close to a wall I recommend plugging the port. I bought 2 port plugs from Dynaudio which work well. Aerial (or any rear ported speaker mfg.) should really supply these with the speakers as most of us cannot put the speakers well out into the room. I love my system and feel no need to change - as for now!
While I have not auditioned the Aerial 10T/20T models, I was not impressed w/ Aerial. Something was amiss during my demo time compared to the Thiel loudspeakers.
I replaced two pairs of Maggies, .7 and 1.7 respectively, as well as a pair of Von Schweikerts over the last year or so, never giving my current Thiel CS 3.5's up. As Jafant below knows all too well, I'm a Thielista - as is he.
I'll soon be reacquainting mine with a Pass Labs X150.5 amp, for me the best possible match of two brands that are uncompromisingly without coloration, that excel in clarity. You'll see that some folks feel that Thiels can sound "bright", and I guess my own ears either forgive that, or do not hear it.
On the used market Thiels are indeed a bargain now - and the only thing that would make me retire my 3.5's (not sell them) would be a pair of geographically desirable 3.6's, or higher. I really like Maggies for what they do so damn well, but Thiels add bass without the necessity for a sub.
My 3.5's are one foot from the rear wall. I have pictures in the virtual systems section here. It's a fairly big room with a sloping from 9' -17' ceiling. My loudest listening level is probably many other folks starting point, and I hear everything very clearly - even sitting 10 feet away.
I replaced a Polk SDA speaker set with Aerial 8bs on stand, on spikes into hockey pucks. Driven by MC2300
(Grateful Dead amp) and Mac C31v (this pre amp changed the sound of entire system for the better) I am happy as hell.
My garage system is a Mac 4100 driving Thiel 3.5s- very articulate system. Everything sounds great. Bassy but tight, great spectrum in mids and highs, not even using the equalizer.
I noticed some KLH 9s on Ebay near me. Anybody ever experience them?
..to these ears, Thiel 3.6's were pretty near the top of the heap...why oh why did I sell mine????
Interesting thread in that until yesterday it hadn't been responded to in over 13 years!
The OP said,
I've got fond memories of both Aerial and Thiel from my speaker shopping days 10 years ago.
Ten years prior to 2003 means the OP last shopped for Aerial and Thiel back in 1993, only two years after Aerial began their business of making speakers. Since the OP's system is not listed, I would be interested to hear about what speakers he actually ended up with. BTW, I am still quite happy with my Aerial 9s, which have faithfully improved with every system upgrade over the years. They are a nice combination of warmth, body, and impact, with pretty good bass, more than adequate detail and a relatively smooth top end.
@mitch2 ...totally agree! Seems the OP likes to resurrect old threads, especially to bash Aerial or Vandersteen. He's got Thiels, which I liked by the way, but the fanboy stuff is getting old. Oh, IMO.
The brands- Vandersteen , Aerial and Thiel all use a 1st order cross-over.
For those who have spent much time w/ all (3) speakers, will tell you that each has +/- in regards to its presentation, natural timbre.
These are not bad loudspeakers, per se, we all have to find our edges and pleasure principals. No doubt, (very) careful gear selection will place an important role here. Above all, do not forget Cabling to tie everything together. Happy Listening!
^The Aerial's don't use 1st order crossovers.
Well, unsound which order cross-over does the Aerial utilize?
^fourth-order, 24 dB, Linkwitz-Riley
That's why it does not sound as good as Thiel...