Review: Thiel Audio CS-3.5 Speaker

Category: Speakers

I consider myself an upper middle class audio enthusiast that always tries to get a bang for the buck. As a professional entertainment journalist and author, music is a very important part of my life it being vinyl, my favorite, or CD/DVD the medium of choice, the quality of sound is of utmost importance to me. When I had the opportunity of purchasing a pair of pristine CS 3.5 at Audiogon, I jumped and it has paid off. Thiel speakers carry a 10-year warranty, no questions asked, and it is nice to purchase an 8-year-old speaker that is still under warranty. There is a reason why; the construction of these speakers is first class all the way. It is difficult for speakers this size to actually look good within the minimalist standards of today, but the Thiels look like class and wont hurt your decor, a plus with the wife after the initial shock. At first my wife looked at the speakers and screamed, they are too big!!!! The sound is where these speakers will win over your companion; after she listened to a favorite recording our argument-ended right there. She loved the sound and recognized a discernible difference in music she had been totally familiar with!!! Trust me, this is from a woman that was happy listening to music on an AIWA all-in-one component. These are not speakers that you will be moving often, they weight in excess of 70 pounds, you better make sure that you set them right from the beginning. I found they work better away from the walls, but the changes are minimal, these speakers can actually be set up once and forget about them. Their strength lies in the depth of the soundstage. You can actually pinpoint each instrument, and the conjunction of bass, treble and midrange is marked and never muffled. It makes for powerful and easy listening that is not overbearing, but actually quite soothing for such a large speaker. I spend a lot of my time listening to music in order to write reviews, these speakers are very critical and something that is not recorded properly will be exposed dramatically, as well as the overall flaws of your system. If you don’t mind being critical, then these are for you. They would help you appreciate your investment in quality electronics. I am way over $25,000 already, and the CS 3.5 will expose what needs to be changed. The same with recordings, the great ones will shine, the bad ones you will only listen to once. Who could ask for anything more?Strengths:Clarity of sound, depth of stage.Weaknesses:Need power, lots of clean power if that is a weakness. The wife would be spending too much time playing with your electronics, so it might help to improve family relations.

Associated gear
Magnum MF 330, preamp, MF 330 Power AMP, LP 12, Valhalla, Basic Plus, K9, Dennon 1000 Digital, cd/DVD, Nakamichi 600 cassette, Yamaha tuner and LD player

Showing 1 response by dabluguy

I concur with Lenny zwik. I have replaced the mids(free by Thiel) and was told by them some of this problem is attributed to the boosting caused by the EQ in the circuit. That is not to say to remove the EQ! Though keep in mind, this speakers strength is accuracy and speed, not pants flapping SPL's. In most rooms with enough quality power, you should be able to play louder than most folks could stand for any length of time. I moved from B&K Sonata M200 mono blocks running class A up to about 25 watts, to a pair of Bryston 7B's. A match made in heaven! Control! Control! Control! Faster, deeper, wider Low end soundstage with no overhang.
These speakers need lots of power and good cables and interconnects don't hurt either! I use doubles of Kimber 8TC and Hero to/from EQ.