If you've got the space, absolutely not. I would recommend better amplification though.
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Thanks for the replies. I have the space. The center is a Focal 700 which seems to integrate seamlessly with the CS2's. I am using an NAD T955 5 channel amp and it is not breaking a sweat driving the 2's and Focal. Everything is playing nice together, using a Yamaha 700 Aventage as a pre amp. The system sounds very good. My wife comented on the amount of detail not previously present with the AVR's as the only amplification. With the NAD all the speakers have come alive. I am the original owner of the CS2's, (1986), so I am aware of the challenges they create for amplifiers. My NAD experiences tell me the 955 is a good match to the Thiel set up. If for some reason the NAD struggles, (which I doubt), I can always go to a Shearbourne, Marantz, Parasound or Rotel power amplifier. The reason I am so confident in the NAD, I listened to Tom Waits "Used Songs" cd through the NAD + CS2's ... Tom never sounded as good as he did this time!! Let you know how this Gumbo of vintage equipment impersonating Home Theater works out once I have it all in place.
The CS 2's are probably the easiest of Thiels ever made to drive. The Cs 3's are much more difficult to drive. Not only is the impedance lower, the equalizer puts significant demands on the amp. Furthermore, the top end of the CS 3's just might be the "hottest" of any Thiel made, even more so than the CS 2's. Careful amplifier considerations are absolutely mandatory. BTW, I'd suggest trying the CS 3's as the front mains and the CS 2's as the surrounds.
I will be using the 3's as fronts and the 2's as surrounds and will not use the equalizer as reccomended by Thiel. I called Thiel, asked about the eq and the Thiel Technical Manager did not reccomend using the eq if a sub is being used. I am using a Hsu Research sub which is pretty powerful. Once everything was hooked up, it sounded excellent! The NAD is not even breaking a sweat. I have the soft clipping engaged, just in case! But so far ... great sound!!
As much as I respect Gary, I still question the the use of the CS 3's sans eq if the amps are up to the job. Many (including myself) feel that the only place for a single sub is for the dedicated single sub output of surround sound, and that in typical stereo it can actually hinder proper bass production. Having multiple low frequency outputs can alleviate standing wave problems that almost always occur. The CS 3's bass output certainly qualifies as being capable of such low frequency output. The CS 3 unlike the Thiels that followed offers bi-wiring, so the eq can be inserted in such a way as to have little effect above bass frequencies. Most subs work best when crossed over to the lowest frequencies, as they typically are quite clumsy when asked to work much over the lowest octave. Unfortunately unlike the Thiel CS 3.5, the eq for the CS 3 doesn't have adjustable cutoff, which would allow integrating the sub below 40 Hz. With out using the CS 3's eq, I can't help but feel you would have been better off with two pairs of CS 2's. The CS 2's actually have deeper bass than the CS 3's sans eq, as well as a slightly sweeter top end. If your not using the CS 3's eq, you might want to try using the CS 2's as the mains.
Ok folks, here is the update! For home theater forget the equalizer! You do not need it! For those of you that insist it is needed, a dumb question I will pose to you ... are you using or have you used the system described in order to be qualified to jump in and critique? If you are then bless you!! Your preference is the equalizer being used. By golly if the head of Thiel support does not reccomend it if a sub is in use... who am I to question him? He's been there a while!!
Anyway, the report ... the Focal center integrates with the Thiels extremely well, the whole thing is seamless. The CS2's as surrounds are absolutely awesome. I played the scene from The Dark Knight where Ledger steals the semi to go after the convoy carrying the councilman and I have to say, the realistic bullets flying over my head and the realistic sounds of bullets going through metal were phenomenal. The bombings are incredible, the HSU sub again, matches the Thiels like they belong together. The NAD T955 is still trying to get a workout and it has not. It is handling the speaker set up like they are wimpy things. Tron The Legacy absolutely blew me away! The clarity, depth and detail are amazing. Essentially I am saying that I whole heartely reccomend the CS3's SANS equalizer as fronts with the CS2's as surrounds. Look at it this way, I have a total of $1,200.00 in current money tied to a set up that today will cost over $23,000.00 to replace! And yes, it does sound like it is worth that much!! Merry Christmas everyone! I am about to sit back and watch Marsalis and Willie Nelson on Blue Ray!!
Hit them straight!!!!
Hi all ! Glad it worked well for you . I was considering the 3's at one time but due to low funds went with the 2's . The local dealer and a few customers recommended using the 3's sans EQ. Never know till you try . Btw , the 2's are the easiest thiel to drive , the 3's prob not too bad w/o the Eq . The EQ really puts more demand on the amp .
Bogiedr, Have you tried using the eq? Do you have the eq? FWIW, and with all due respect to Gary, I've been using Thiels for much longer than Gary has been working there. He came on long after the CS 3's were discontinued. My reasoning is sound, I've heard them with and without. The CS 3's sans eq roll off rather high, which means the subs need to roll off beyond there optimum. Have you tried using the CS 2's as the mains. They'll go lower than the CS 3's sans eq and will be smoother in the critical midrange-treble. I'll take a wild guess that you have the CS 2's out further in the room than the CS 3's sans eq. The ported bass of the CS's will be less muddy out from the walls and the CS 3's sans eq sealed box bass will benefit more from near wall placement than the CS 2's. Since your using subs. The only advantage of the CS 3's over the CS 2's, is in the deepness and phase coherency of the bass, but most of that is negated if you don't use the eq. Without the eq the CS 2's are a better speaker. I'd suggest selling the CS 3's an replacing them with another pair of CS 2's.
Thanks Bradluke! Unsound, I appreciate your responses and your tone, very informative, and I mean that! What got me started wondering about a full vintage Thiel speaker system for HT was hooking up the 2's as fronts, which had collected dust since they were replaced by a pair of Von Schweikert VR2's in my two channel system some 7 or 8 years ago. The pricing of the CS3's without the EQ made it a no brainer to buy them, even repairing the tweeter and mid on one of them. Because of the room configuration, the system actually sounds excellent with the 3's up front and the 2's as surrounds. I will give it a couple of months and see how I feel at that time. Right now I am enjoying the way this system sounds. My wife who is becoming quite the audiophile is very pleased with the sound of the HT, and we know how much that plays into the equation! Anyway, cheers everyone, Happy New Year and we'll continue chatting!!
Hit them straight!