I've been gifted a pair of Thiel CS2s

So, I'm starting with the speakers first. :D

They'll more than likely be sitting in an 10' x 8' x 9' (height) room, which hopefully is big enough for them.

Since, as I understand Thiels crave a lot of power,
I'm looking at amps that will double down to 4ohms.

My budget is probably about $1000 for both the amp (or integrated amp and a pre-amp.

I'm currently looking at Aragon 4004.
I'm wondering if this will be "too much" power,
as I live in a condo and it seems a number of sellers are selling the high power amps because they are downsizing.

Anyhow, what would be a good matching pre-amp for the Aragon 4004, in the $500 range?

I've also considered:
< $500 amps: Acurus, Anthem MCA2.

Rotel RB-1080, PS Audio HCA2, McCormack DNA 0.5, Anthem MCA2 (here as well)

Bryston 4B (but it sounds like the ST or SST would be better, but more costly), Conrad Johnson MF-2200, McCormack DNA-125.

I've been reading a lot and learning some.

All opinions welcome.

Your room is way too small for those speakers.
When I first got into this hobby, it was listening to a pair of Thiel CS2s. I think they will probably work OK in your room, and I think the Aragon would work fine with them--I heard them with that amp, an NAD 2200 and a Rotel amp. The better the amp, the better they will sound (my CS3's sounded really good with a Krell KSA 50 Mk II), and in a room your size I don't think that you need huge amounts of power. I have never heard the CS2s with tube amps, but I did hear 3.5s with them (a CJ Premiere amp) and they were beautiful, so you might not completely rule out a tube amp or integrated. If you do go with the Aragon (and you could get the 2004 as well, if you find one, as I don't think you'll need all the power of the 4004 in that room), the Aragon preamp, the 24K, I think, would be a good match.
I would run them with the McC dna .5 Get the deluxe version if you can-better connectors and wire.
I owned the 4004 and used a Aragon 24k (I think) with phono and outboard power supply. Used them w Apogee speakers. The aragon stuff is nice but I would go with the McC.
Emotiva make some really good, value-priced amps. The XPA-200 would seem to fit the bill for you, 150 watts/ch., $499. And they have a 30 day trial with free shipping to you. Also have a 5 years warranty...


You can also add Emo's USP-1 preamp and the whole schmeer will be less than $1,000...

Don;t worry about too much power. I have used Bel Canto REF1000Ms (1000W into 4 ohms) and Electrocompaniet Nemos (1200W) with my Thiels before.

The higher power gives it the headroom to handle fast dyamics where Thiels excel in.

I believe Thiel uses a lot of Bryston gear when doing internal tests
Thiel isn't a light 'trailer to your truck' so I'd second to Belcanto Ref1000. Wyred4Sound or Sunfire 2ch amps may be even more budget oriented choices.
I guarantee you'll hate this response. Getting those, or any for that matter, speakers set up in a room that is 10x8x9 is a major undertaking if you expect to obtain high(er) quality sound, especially a full range speaker not intended for such small space. Room acoustic's and speaker set up will be a bitch. I would think that your choice of an amp will be the least of your problems, and considering the room's size even a small amp will allow you to overdrive the room easily.

Assuming that you do not have an amp yet why not just buy a smaller integrated amp (tube or SS) which has high resale potential and play with set up and room acoustical treatments to see if the room can be used at all with these speakers. The are fine speakers but I don't think they were really intended to be used as nearfield monitors and that is what would work best in a room that size.



I agree with Newbee. I wanted the 2.4's but the specs and the dealers said that you need to be 8'-10' away from them so that the drivers will be able to integrate properly to your ears.

Your room is too small for these or Magnepan 1.7 or 3.7.

That`s very thoughtful advice.That speaker in this particular circumstance, room management is by far the first priority. I see no need for a very powerful amp in a room that size.Quality rather than watt quanity in this case is the route I`d follow.
Newbee and Chuck are right. I had thought your room was larger than it actually is. You are supposed to sit a fair distance from the Thiels for them to sound their best, and while they don't go much below 40Hz in frequency response that's still a good deal of bass for a smallish room. Experimenting as Newbee suggests is a good idea. I like the Thiels, and in the right room they're pretty good speakers, but they might not work at their best in your current room.
I ran the same speakers for many years, in various rooms. Your room is too small. Perhaps something like Thiel's SCS's might work.
Oh maybe it's meters?? I haven't seen room of that size. It seems to be closet or some study or something in feet...
Really strange.
As long as you can sit about 8 feet away from the speakers, I you should be able to get pretty good imaging and phase coherency.

My friend used to run 2.4s and 3.7s in a pretty tiny room.

Having some room treatment helps too.

For those offering suggestions, he's been gifted the speakers so that isn't going to change. I'd still see if he can get a bigger room but 10 feet length wide still seems OK.
I own 3.6 Thiels and they like to sit into the room, so away from the back wall to provide good soundstage and image.
One needs to sit at least 8' from the speakers. The speakers need to be at least 1' from the walls and at least 3' from the corners.
The room has to be able to accommodate greater than 40 Hz bass extension.
IME, the Thiel CS 2's ported bass is a bit looser than most other Thiels, the high end can sound hard if they're toed in towards the listener. This room appears as though it could exaggerate those bass issues, and the nearness of the side walls practically demand toe in to avoid the early reflections that the Thiels wide sound-stage is likely going to aggravate otherwise.
Being nearly a cube, and being so small this room is going to be problematic with most speakers, but CS 2's will most likely highlight these issues.
On the other hand the Theil CS 2's with their 6 Ohm nominal, 5 Ohm minimum impedance, and 87 dB sensitivity are perhaps Thiels easies amplifier load (though IME the CS 2's sonic signature does require careful amplifier selection), and are reputed to be Thiel's most durable product ever.
You know, this was one of the best Thiel CS2.4 setups I have listened to in the past, and it broke all of Thiel's positioning rules :)


It was less than 8 feet apart.

The guy was working in a Thiel dealership but this room doubled up as a workshop for his hifi DIY projects as well.

I dunno how much the CS2 is similar to the 2.4 but it's quite amazing what could be done with a bit of know how.
Thanks for reminding me, yes, the Thiels should to be at least 8' apart from each other as well. Ideally they would be 10' apart from each other, 10' from the listener, >5' from the side walls and >3' from the wall behind the speakers.

Thiel's own SCSs are a much better fit for this room.
You guys don't get it, do you?

He's not BUYING the CS2s.

He's been gifted the speakers.

It's not like he could ask to swap them for SCSs :)
Funny thing, Doggiehowser, I think most here do recognize that he was gifted speakers, but some of us here deal with the unvarnished truth as opposed to peddling unsupported allusions to what is possible. It would be more helpful to tell the OP what he can actually do to get him there than just to say you heard it done once by an audiophile and felt he was successful.

Here is something that is possible, not necessarily an answer. But it is what I would do if I had the problem. It is without regard to any possible intruding problems, doors, windows, necessary furniture, etc.

Place the speakers on the short wall. Place them within a foot of the side wall and a couple of feet from the back wall.

Place the listening chair so your head is about 7 feet back from the plane of the speakers.

Toe the speakers in so the axis crosses well in front of the listening chair (probably at about a 20 to 25 degree angle from the wall).

Place sound deadening materiels on the side walls that will seriously reduce FR above 1000hz (I'm arbitrary about that). Place some diffusing materiels on both the rear and front walls.

Be prepared to stuff the ports on the speakers to reduce the bass output to compensate for speaker placement (too close to walls/corners). Consider purchasing a sub woofer to place in the center of the speakers plane and cross over over killing the main speakers bass response at 200 hz +/-.

Because you are going to be sitting too close to the speakers make sure you have electronics on the warm side of neutral, especially in the mid's and highs, which will be fatiguing if not compensentated for.

A good starting point? Perhaps. Cheap? No. Easy? Definitely not! Worthwhile? Unlikely.

Now if I had to live in that room, music wise, what would I do? I'd get some monitor speakers desdigned to be used in small spaces (like the old Rogers LS3/5a) and set them up in the nearfield (4 to 6ft) treat room surfaces appropriately and enjoy. That would be, probably as good as it is going to ever get (in that room that is).

You shouldn't be so critical of those who recommended other stuff. Consider that they might just feel that the cost of using different speakers might just be less, and with better response, than using the gifted ones, especially after the money from the sale of the gifted speakers is subtracted.

Now Doggiehowser it is time to put your 'money' where your mouth is! What would you actually reccomend? :-(
I get it, this is Audiogon; sell them, and get appropriate speakers for the room.
I posted a pic earlier of my friend's 2.4 setup.

And it actually sounded better than a number of other 2.4 setups in larger rooms.

That's where my money is.
Good News! The room measures 10.5 feet by 15 feet (not including closet).

So, the recommended Thiel settings should be "in play".

So, if went with the McC DNA 0.5 what would be a good matching pre-amp.

Is solid-state or tube best?

thanks for all the feedback
I've had good results with tube preamps and SS amps (need the grunt to drive Thiels).

Have fun with the CS2s first.

If it really can't sing in the room, then try the other options: flog them off on Audiogon and get something else.

I dunno about sentiments here but if a relative or friend had gifted me the speakers, it would seem rude to sell it off to get something else.
Mrfarnham, a few questions:

1) What do you need in a pre-amp. Just a line stage? Remote? etc
2) What are your sources? How many do you have?
3) Sonically speaking do you have any expectations? Warm - neutral - cool?
4) Will you house all your stuff in the same location?
5) How much of your budget will be left after the amp purchase?
6) Have you ever heard your Thiels? Some folks find them a bit on the cool/analytical side of neutral.

That info should help folks make some meaningful recommendations.
Well, that changes things quite a bit, still a tight fit, not quite ideal, but it can work.
IME, the McCormack amps though very fine amps in their own right, and excellent with other speakers, are a bit too forward and shouty with the Thiel CS 2's.
With your budget, I'd consider a Forte' or conrad-johnson solid state amp. Either manufacturer's pres in either ss or tube would work nicely too.
My experience with an Electrocompaniet integrated was pleasurable, though ultimately just a bit dark on top for my tastes.
Doggiehowser, My money is with my direct experience of over a decade with the the CS 2's without concentric drivers, rather than with your recollection of your friends CS 2.4's with concentric drivers, in an undersized space.
Would you not exchange an over-sized gifted sweater for an appropriately sized one?
I expect that if the speakers had been given rather than sold, it might have been because there was a sentimental value. A generic brand new sweater wouldn't have that same attachment.
1) Pre-amp for volume control and connecting a CD player. Eventually, I might look at Home Theatre.
2) My current CD player would be a Bose Wave Radio/CD player. (brief pause to listen for the groans). My current experience with playing CD is they sound very muddled/washed out.
3) No expectations. From what I've read, the Thiels are very revealing. If you have a bad source, like for example a Bose Wave Radio/CD Player, then they will reproduce that very accurately.
4) Yes. Can you have 32" to 40" TV between the two speakers, if they are behind the speakers? I would imagine the amp and pre-amp would sit back there, as well. Although they could be anywhere else in the room - just have to run the cables.
5) If we go with the $1,000 figure, the current McC 0.5 is listed @ 650. So that would leave $350 for a a pre-amp. I could go higher. What is a good split between $$ for an amp and $$ for a pre-amp given a fixed limit of $$'s?
6)No. I actually still have them, in the boxes.

One person suggested I check pawn shops for deals. So, I suppose I could get a cheap receiver just to give them a spin. I could even try CostCo.

I just had a conversation with one of the techs from my church. He indicated they could be turning over the sound equipment. This would be professional level amps. I might be able to borrow one to give the Thiels a spin.

So I have some options.

Anybody have thoughts on the Emotiva line?
These would be brand new, as opposed to used.

I have been focusing on Class A amps.
Can Class A/B drive Thiels, as well?
Or, even Class D?

Thanks again for all the feedback.
I have used Bel Canto REF1000M (Class D) and Electrocompaniet Nemos (A/AB) as well as Plinius SA Reference (A)

I thought also heard a friend's Bryston AB amps drive Thiels.

The Bryston had better midrange vs the the Bel Cantos. But the Bel Cantos had better control of bass, very tight. With a tube preamp, the Bel Canto's midrange improved.

The Nemos improved further on the Bel Cantos bass control further with more authority and more meat. The Plinius was better again.
I have these speakers and picked them up off craigslist for not a lot and use them for a 2nd system.

They are very coherent which is a huge plus on them. The down side is they don't dig as deep as other speakers but they image very well.

I have them in a 12X14X8 room and it works well. Running it off a simple integrated amp that pushes 100 watts and a CDP and it works well.

They do have some top end sizzle and I did run them in my main system (VTL tube monos and BAT tube pre amp) which helped a little bit but still had the high end in tact. Room treatments also does help. I was planning on doing a restore on an old tube integrated I own and run it off around 80 watts tube power from 6550s.
With the budget you are working I think your money would be far better spend if you focused on getting a good integrated amp. Probably a SS one.

The problem is with Thiel speakers in general, and certainly the ones I drove (not your), SS amps can make a bright sound which can be unbearable to some listeners. Class A amps can sound excellent but you can't buy good Class A amps withing you budget. I found Threshold's SA3, a 50Wt amp, outstanding with my stuff, but that was $3000 new 15 years ago and they still sell used if you can find them for $1000+.

I would try to find an integrated amp which doubles down from say 100wts per channel in 8 ohms to 200 wts per channel in 4ohms (indicates high(er) current delivery, and which has a reputation for having a tone on the warm side of neutral. If I had to compromise on that I would give up a little on the current demand but not much. With any luck you might find one within your bugdet and then be able to find a good CDP.

You are, in a way sadly, coming up against making some serious compromises with speakers that don't like compromises. Good luck............
Some good thougts from Newbee.