stay with kef and enjoy every piece of music you can feed 'em. there really is no choice if you love your music collection..
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I'm a current Thiel (1.6) owner and have owned the KEF Reference 3-II in the past.
I was disappointed with the 3-II (used with ARC VT-100 Mk III & ARC pre-amp).
I thought it lacking in overall resolution (could not play it very loud in my apartment, however).
I've never heard a bad word about the Thiel 3.6s (as long as it's used with a muscle amp).
I am trying to acquire some KEF 201 reference at the moment which means I'm both a KEF and Thiel fan and have no obvious bias.
Apples vs Oranges. I think the solution is to own both and change back and forth. They offer such differing sonic signatures, both pleasurable...
I've made this kind of decision with regard to amps, owning one tube integrated and one solid state integrated.
And now I own Silverline Sonatina Mk II and Thiel 1.6's, and I'm thinking, hmmmm, instead of choosing just one, given how different they sound and both great, why not keep both.
Great gear tends to hold it's value so the actual cost of ownership over several years might not be so great.
I know at least one other audiophile who adopts this same attitude.
Of course if you carry it to extremes then your home ends up looking like a dealership....
ps: Your first move though is to get a REL sub!
kef. i have a pair of kef reference 2 in my rec room and i preferred these to the thiels that i auditioned. kef's are a warmer speaker whereas the thiel were more on the cool side, less midrange and bottom end. if you are looking for speakers, i would expand your search and listen to Totem. i currently use the mani 2's in my listening room and (IMO) these speakers sound more musical than any kef's or thiels i have listened to. (i have auditioned the kef reference 4 along with the smaller and all the way up to the larger thiel's). good luck
Apples and Oranges.
Skater you say you have a system that "can handle Thiels" but what do you mean by that? What source(s) and amp are you using?
KEF and Thiel are very far apart in design goals and sonic characteristics; that's why this thread, in its current form, will get you alphabet soup for responses.
Do you want accuracy or euphony?
OK, have mixed responses. You are right, apples and oranges. Both are good at what they do. I'm looking for something with an accurate image. This system will comprise of a Prima Luna pre-amp, modified Proceed Amp2 (normally they sound very bright, but I've gotten rid of that and the highs are very smooth), and still banging around what CD player to use. I'm leaning toward the Thiels though. I listened to them on a Hovland preamp and they came alive!
If you stay with KEF, you will most likely have a similar sound to what you currently enjoy. What I mean is that since they are in the same family, they will have some Going to Thiels will most likely cause you to start changing other components in your system. ;-) Thiels are very revealing of the rest of the system. I've had my 3.6 for over 8 years. I've had major changes in my system during that time, and the Thiels never failed to deliver.
Not that the 3.6 does not have its shortcomings. One of the things that I've noticed is some congestions in the upper bass, lower midrange area. There's an article in the Hong Kong Audio magazine on how to "tweak" your speakers to counter this effect which require some surgery on the speakers. Another option is to get a pair of Sound Anchor's base for these speakers. I have the older style which wrapps around the base of each speaker. They are very effective alleviating the "congestion" problem and also tightens up the bass. A friend of mine just borrowed them to try in his system and he said that they made more improvement than any of the over $1k speaker cables he had been auditioning.
I've had the KEF Reference One's for a few years now. Other speakers with more speed, resolution and detail have come and gone. With the KEF's I find I can put on any CD in my collection, at any volume and relax into the music. It's a vey personal choice and no one can tell you which you'll like better.
I've owned high end KEFs in the past - and Thiel 3.6s for nearly a decade. Despite having spent 3 years auditioning amplifiers to find "the one" that properly drives the 3.6s in an oversized listening space, I've never found an acceptable replacement.
WARNING: In my experience - the Proceed isn't going to provide the horsepower you need to drive this loudspeaker in a large listening space. It isn't a matter of volume - even accoustic music at moderate levels can strain all but the most robust amplifiers.
To make matters worse, a number of highly regarded musclular amplifiers (i.e. Bryston) don't mate well with Mr. Thiel's design.
Go with the Thiel - upgrade your amp & never look back. You willl NOT regret it.