question about Thiel CS 2


A friend has offered me a pair of Thiel CS 2 speakers with a Audionics BK-ST 140 pre-amp, Rotel RC-1070 tuner, and NAD 5000 CD-player for about $1,000. I have a small NAD CD player and a pair of Focal bookshelf speakers, so this would be a big upgrade for me. I love music but have not gotten anything fancy in regards to audio equipment and don't know anything about it. I have two questions:

1. Are Thiel CS 2's weak in regards to bass? Because they seemed a little tinny to me without a lot of bass. Could just be my friend's set-up.

2. The only space in my apartment that might work is a 15' by 7' room. I wouldn't easily be able to put the speakers on the wide side because of door placement. I know this would not be an ideal set-up. The speakers would be close together and close to the walls. My question is, given my alternative, would having this system in a non-ideal set-up be a decent option compared to the alternative (which would be NOT having the system)?

Thank you!
Sam
ryunosuke13
As far as I remember, the CS-2s I listened to aeons ago had bass; so it's either a matter of speaker placement or the amp can't drive them, probably the latter as the sound is tinny. (Is your amp powerful enough to drive them?)
Anyway, I liked what I heard then: realistic, nice tonal balance, good soundstage (i.e. good high-frequency extension).  I listened to them nearfield & far, and both were ok, but the room was much bigger than yours & the speakers were a good distance apart from one another & from their back wall.
Maybe stick with what you have?
 
ryunosuke13

A Thiel loudspeaker can be tricky to dial into a room properly. If your friend will allow try it before purchase, place the CS2 into your apt room for an evaluation. The vintage Thiel speakers can be placed closer together than models made around 2000 and newer. If you decide to purchase please join us over on the Thiel Owners thread which offers a plethora of valuable information on this Legendary brand.

Happy Listening!
I would not call the Thiel CS2s "tinny" from my listening to them, they put out a good amount of bass until cutting off at 40 Hz; however, overall Thiels of that vintage were voiced a little more towards the highs than to give a warm sound (the opposite of the Vandersteens of that era).  I almost bought them (this was back in 1986 or so) till I heard the Thiel 3.5s, which had more bass and a more open soundstage in comparison.  Jafant's advice is good, as your room is potentially a tricky one.  Ideally you want to sit back a bit from Thiel speakers for them to sound their most coherent, so having them on the short wall with room to bring them out into the room a little would be a good thing, but I'm not sure having them close to the sidewalls will let you hear them at their best (though sidewall room treatments, even plants, might help).  Good luck--I think they are still fine speakers, a solid design. 
Agree on placement, couple of DIY absorber panels or buy 2 from GIK Acoustics at first reflection points ( find these w mirror and a helper )
join the Thiel thread as Jafant mentioned - wealth of experts there !!!!
is the preamp the famous BT-2 ?
that is a good one IMO
buy the Jim Smith Book - Get Better Sound used on Amazon from about $15 )
have fun
listen to tunes !!!!!!

Hey Sam,
I've owned the same pair of CS2's since 1986. All previous comments in response to your inquiry are 95% accurate. May as well not be repetitive. 

Thiel speakers are often mentioned as being revealing. They are! I think they pretty accurately reproduce upstream music material as well as amplification. I may miss a few points here as I am not nearly as knowledgeable as many on this forum. 
I would not say they are warmer than Vandersteen's. I found Vandy's more "warm" than my Thiels. 

Room placement is important to obtain the most from these gems. Thiel advises about 2 feet from a back wall. Damping in front of, on the floor, and sidewalls would help a lot. As you know many software programs exist the assist with this.

When I auditioned these they were in a totally carpet dampened room. Funny, carpet on the floor, walls and ceiling! :) Oh my the sound stage and imaging. I was seduced.......I walked upon to within about 2 feet of either speaker and the sound was riveted exactly in between them! Sound could not be discerned coming from the front of each speaker!
I should have taken note of the amplification. I suspect due to the type of folks at Berkeley audio that a pretty powerful tube amp was used.  Sound was warm, rich, detailed, luscious but not muddled a bit. I was in love. Still am. 

Bass: Jim Thiel, RIP, explained the cut off at 40hz provided the listener with accurate bass reproduction over the majority of available program material save for organ, where capacity dipping into the 20's is needed. Reading JT's description of his creation gives a strong feel for how much he truly cared about accuracy in audio reproduction. 

I initially drove them with a Bryston 2B, only 50 watts. Sound seemed  "thin, grainy, a bit hard" and had little strong bass. The 2B didn't have enough amperage to effectively drive bass units. 1994 came along and I purchased a Hafler 9180. Thiels are 6 ohm so I can drive 137 watts peak into them with sufficient amperage to bring out the bass. I suspect I could get even more bass using a higher current amp but I cannot afford the purchase and I am firmly committed to MOSFETS. Hafler as you may know has always been likened to more of a tube like sound. Would love to hear them driven by a strong tube amp.

So I think using an amp with enough current (maybe even a MOSFET type) and quality program material would showcase there bass capability to it's limit anyway. 

Please excuse the ramble. Hope my additional comments help. I you have not purchased them, do! Hopefully the drivers are in good shape.

Cheers

Thanks to all of you! I really appreciate it. It's wonderful to get this info when I am such a newbie.

Here's the update. I went to listen to some favorite CD's with my friend on the system. I intended to pass, but upon hearing them, I realized that I need these speakers in my life. Wow. It was an amazing experience. Even if I can't set them up perfectly, they will be a huge change for me. 

So I have them! The pre-amp is indeed the BT-2. :) I'm really excited to set them up and see how they sound.

I decided to reorient my whole living room to make room for them. I am able to get them 55 inches apart which is better than what I could have done in the old space. I could get them farther apart but that would mean putting one of them in a bump out which doesn't seem that great. I haven't set them up yet. I will update once I do. Good to know that there are online resources to help me with setting up the room.

Thanks again to all of you for your perspectives. Listening to them sealed the deal for me, but it was nice to get this feedback to cement my decision.

I may look into getting a subwoofer as I will set it up to my tv (I had to put it right on either side of my tv anyway and some movies have very low bass. 
ryunosuke13
Nice score! I look forward to you joining us over on the Thiel Owners thread. Several of the guys own these Vintage models. You will feel at home among fans of this brand.  Happy Listening!
The Thiel CS2’s and the B&k ST 140 can work very nicely together. I would not consider the combination tinny at all. 
The room placement is a concern. Though not having the same bass depth response as the CS 2’s, and not a particularly good match with the B&K ST 140, the Thiel MCS might be a 
better fit for your room.
That amp was a Sam Tellig favorite for years.  He loved the "Mosfet Mist" sound of it, which made it slightly warm-sounding.  It should work on the Thiels; I've heard them with NAD, Adcom  and Aragon amps and they were able to drive them.
Post removed 

The B&K St 140 isn't that comfortable driving sub 8 Ohm loads.

The Thiel CS 2's with their smooth, steady 6 Ohm nominal / 5 Ohm minimum rated impedance is one of the very few Thiel's suited to the B&K St 140. A nice sonic match and terrific combined value.



https://www.stereophile.com/content/bk-st-140-power-amplifier-1989-measurements

https://www.stereophile.com/content/thiel-cs2-loudspeaker-measurements

ST 140 was a total copy of a Van Alstine  amp of the time .