The Silverlines are very good speaker.Though Aragon made (when it was Mondial)(and makes) a very good amp,it general percieved they are a hair bright,and I would concur with that.If you really love the Silverlines than you should reconsider your amplification.The rule of thumb is go with your speakers as you first priority amd work your way back.
I don't know about the Silverlines being "better" than the other fine speakers you mention, but I will add that Thiel will shortly be releasing the new CS2.4 to replace the 2.3.
Zaikesman, do you kknow something that we don't? I thought Thiels next speaker would be a new 3 series.
I've owned the original Sonatinas since January '00. I've used them with three tube amps with very good effect. I've heard the "tube preferred" line but can't comment on what they sound like with SS. They are a very detailed speaker but I wouldn't call them bright. Thiels are bright, or just too damn analytical.
I'm also considering selling my Sonatinas, not because I'm unhappy with them, more because I want to explore other speaker types AND find a more suitable mate for my 3.5wpc SET amp. The Sonatinas are remarkable capable performers with the Moth amp but I can't help feeling what it could do with something more efficient.
Don't let someone else tell you what your ears should be hearing. Consider a pass x150, pass aleph, Sim Audio w-3, Plinius sa102, etc and put a tube preamp in front. Or maybe go with passive preamp and ss poweramp or otl tube amp. Point is not to limit yourself to someone else's recommendations (esp the reviewer's), but rather be creative and adventurous in arriving in building out your system.
BTW, Thiel CS2.4 has been unveiled at CES. It is basically a 2.3 incorporating driver technology from the CS1.6. It also features an oval shaped passive radiator.
I've had the Sonata II (as front speakers) for almost 2 years now and my amp is the Moon Titan (5 X 200W) They need a rather large room to perform well and they are very sensitive to placement. Once you get it right, they are most pleasing. I have not tried them with tube amps. I like to listen to music louder than average (I think). To me, they sound very good with SS. I don't think that they are bright sounding speakers, it all depends on everything else they are hooked up to: source, cables etc. As always, it is a matter of taste and that can vary very much from one person to another.
Unsound, I had always assumed the same thing, but as Drubin hipped me to, and Jazzdude confirms here, the 2.3 turns out to have had a relatively short run by Thiel standards. All of which makes me very curious for what's in store with the 3-series, which was for so long effectively their brand leader. (Still haven't been able to set the date for my service/tour factory visit yet, due to the Thiel crew's having been away at the show last week, but I should finally get things arranged this week. I look foward to hearing and learning whatever I can during my day there.)
I've sold both the Audio Physic and Thiel line in the past. I would call neither the Virgo's nor the 2.3's(current drivers) bright at all! Yes they're on the edge of refinement(as are all more accurate high end speakers IMO), and could sound either bright or "rolled-off" depending on assiciated equipment. Perhaps the older Thiel offerings had some mid/upper trebble accentuation characteristics(possibly dealt with with tubes for best results...as it's all balance anyway). But The Thiels are certainly very refined sounding monitors to my ears with the right gear. The Virgo's are also excellent speakers, within reason with most music/audio sources.
I can't speak for the Siverline's, but you might just "try" something and find out! Like anything else, you'll have to try it with your gear, in your system, with your room, to your ears to find out!
I owned the 2.3's for some time, and they were very good with more powerful hi-end amps(the 200w/ch aragon should do fine with them for now). I also like "jazzdudes" suggestion about a tube preamp up front! This balances things well and ads some "tube magic"! Also, I think the 2.3's are a better choice for larger dynamic stuff, like Rock or HT. Good luck
I drive my Silverline Sonatina II's with a Krell FPB 300cx power amp (300 watts/ch and very musical; much different than earlier Krells). My speakers sing with this amp. Excellent clarity, tight (but not overly deep) bass, an unequalled midrange and a sweet, extended top.
I think you see many references to tube amps with these speakers not because tubes are any better sounding, but because these speakers are so efficient and also mate well with tubes. But I heard these with tubes (Cary Rocket 88) and my Krell stomps the tube amp.
I also think the reason you see some of these on sale is because they are something of a "bridge" speaker in cost: on the high side of mid - priced high end sopeakers, but on the low side of sub - $10K speakers. I have listened to the Merlim Millenium VSM and the Von Schweikert VR5 over the last few days, and while both speakers do certain things better than the Sonatinas, neither of them are as organically rewarding.
I had basically the same question s as Sunnyjim but must alsohave pair down my choices to both style and musicality. In todays world, home owners want audio excellence and speakers that can fit in to elegant spaces. The Sonatinas are very nice looking and may work well with my CJ tube gear. Audio Physics sound nice and are fairly attractive...but exposed drivers don't cut it outside of a listening room. V erity seems to get it right on all counts. I love Merlin VSMs but not for design reasons. It has to be more than just fit and finish...maybe we should change from WAF to DF or design factor.
I want to thank all for their excellent and helpful comments. This type of response again confirms for me what a great membership we have. Best regards for the New Year!! Jimbo