I have lived with the Grand Piano for several years now and all I can say is that I loved them as much as ever! I'm still amazed some times of the sound they produce.
Good luck with your tough decision!
Good luck with your tough decision!
I've sold both the Theil and Sonus faber lines. I find I do like both those speakers. I do like the 1.6's overall, and think they are a tremendous speaker at the price range, or any! I'd chose those first. Both however have their strenght of clarity, detail, and balance. Yes, I think the Piano's are a bit warmer in body, while the Thiels are razor clear. They both need differnt gear ultimately...season to taste. I think you could however get superb sound from either with the right mix.
I would still however lean towards the 1.6's at the very least because they are a more sensitive speaker, thus easier to drive, with a bit more nimble dynamic to the sound. You have more options.
Still, it gets down to tastes. Me, I like both, but lean towards the 1.6's for movie/music if need be. I think it's a special little speaker actually. But, I'm sure some would differ, depending on experience and associated gear/setup, etc.
When Stereophile reviewed em, they hinted that they thought this should be one of the "speaker of the year" choices..I agree.
Razor clear versus warm. Real music, at least to me, is neither. Any speaker which, of its own performance "speaks" with too obvious of a voice, is noticably flawed.
I find the THIEL 1.6's too forward.
Oddly these speakers are so diametrically opposed to one another it seems strange you would narrow your choices to them. Perhaps in your lexicon of accuracy you have decided to pick something with the 'strongest' voice.
The Fabers will give you less 'apparent' detail, but more 'musical' enjoyment.
I hate to say that, after having worked for THIEL, but it is an honest answer.
As always, opinions are for those giving them. Extended, hands on will tell you more than anything else.
Recently I heard Thiels and sonus faber GP's as well as few other speakers, I am looking to replace paradigm ref 100 v2's. I preferred these in following order.
1. Odyssey lorelei - Really nice speakers, great soundstage great imaging.
2. JM lab Micro utopia (old version) - Overall good, best imaging and soundstaging (may be because of being a bookshelf)
3. Monitor Audio Gold ref 60 - Good soundatging, good imaging , may sound bright to some, but eill revel everything.
4. Magnepan 1.6 QR - Great speakers, lacks bass and narrow sweet spot.
5. Sonus Faber GP - Treble is one of the sweetest but lacks the the detail especially in the bass and lower midrange region.
6. Gallo ref III - Too short for floorstander, images are shorter than other speakers.
7. Theil 2.6 (?) - somewhere in between SF GP .. and BW 804
8. B&W 804 - lots of detail no bass, no deep soundstage.
9. Joseph audio 25i - same as above (B & W)
Now all these speakers except lorelei I heard at different dealers with different components (but those were really good), and there is chance that some of them were not set up correctly but still those were HI FI Shops.
Given the choice between Sonus faber and Theil I will prefer Sonus Faber all the time.
Hope this helps, Good Luck !
If I had to choose between the two it would be the Sonus Fabers all day long! Another speaker that sounds similar to the Grand Pianos are the Soliloquy 6.3s. The Sols are a tad more detailed and have much deeper bass but cost less.
Another sleeper that spanks both of these speakers IMHO is the Eminent LFT VIII. With tight bass,super transparency..it has the dynamics of a box speaker with the speed of an electrostatic. For the asking price I haven't heard a dynamic speaker several times it's price that could do what this speaker is capable of. I have a good friend who dumped a $6500.00 pair of box speakers for these. After hearing the comparison I could only agree.
I have been hearing a lot regarding Soliloquy, but have not been able to find a dealer in my area with them... so basically, I know nothing about them. I know the Thiels and teh Sonus are completely different sounds, but the nature of each speaker is what draws me towards them. I am leaning towards the Sonus because I have a large room, and with the added base response, I feel I will benefit from their sound. This is not an easy process, but it is certainly educational, as I am just beginning my quest for "Sonic Supremacy!!!" Thank's all, for your feedback.
I concur with Lrsky's statement. I have heard both the Sonus Faber GP's and Thiel 1.6 in my system. The 1.6 is too bright and forward sounding for my taste while the GP's are so much musical, smoother and refined in comparison.
I would go with the Sonus Fabers. I own a pair and it sounds great with my Plinius SA-100MkIII.
Funny how everyone's taste and experience differs. I've sold both the Sonus(current since the Electa Amator vII's were released) and Thiel lines, and understand both lines tend to need completely different gear and set up needs!!!
The Thiels have traditionally needed a "strait ahead set up approach", and have gleaned towards tubes to balance out the analytical nature of the speakers(Jim Thiel is typical German analytical engineered speakers true to form). Except for perhaps the 2.3's, 6's and 7.2's which were all superb with SS!!! Otherwise I've liked the tubes with the older Thiel and perhaps 1.6's. The SF's (with the exception of maybe the little $3k SF's)have always done better with SS amps, and a sever "toe in setup approach!" Infact my old Electa Amators(original's) were only superb with SS.
Still, the 1.6's call for a more forgiving amp and a straight ahead possitioning. The Grands, definitely SS and "toe in"! Who's to say one is better?....they need different care..that's it. There's ton's of good sounding passive speakers out there...these are two, with difffernt approaches and executions.
Let's face it all you Thiel nay-sayers....Stereophile didn't refer to the 1.6's as deserving the speaker of the year award for nothing! They are good with the right care.