It is mandatory that your listening position with Thiel floorstanders be at least 8'-10' from the speakers. Otherwise the drivers simply will not blend. This is a consequence of the first-order crossover.
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I recently picked up a pair of CS3.6's in used, but excellent condition. I can hear no midrange suck whatsoever, and my typical listening position is 9-10' from each speaker. In fact, I would call midrange accuracy to be one of their strong points, along with imaging, and an uncolored presentation. At 14' back, you should be very happy with them, unless your room is very large, in which case you may want to consider the CS6's.
Before I bought my 3.6's, I also auditioned the new CS2.4's and the 1.6's (both of which I auditioned with and without subs). Yes, the newer models have greater focus than the CS3.6's, but I found that I appreciated the more laid back and full sound of the 3.6's - especially considering that my system is a tad on the bright side.
Also, as I recall, in a subsequent, and fairly recent Stereophile issue, one of their reviewers revisited the 3.6's and stating that he did not hear the midrange suck that the '93 reviewer found.
I would suggest that you consider looking at some of the used CS3.6's that are out there. Many appear to be in excellent condition, and Thiel is quite generous on extending warranty repairs in situations where the speakers have not been abused. IMHO, the CS3.6's are a real bargain, considering the frequency range, neutrality, accuracy, and incredible imaging. And again, their customer support is excellent, even on used gear.
Happy hunting, Tom.
I was trying to understand better what you meant by the 2.4's having greater focus- do you mean better soundstaging and imaging than the 3.6?
I own the 3.6's, but I wouldn't have called them laid back (full, yes). My system also tends towards the bright side (just barely on the good edge of 'lots of detail' vs. 'too much sibilance'). Were you suggesting that the 2.4's were brighter and less laid-back than the 3.6's? I was considering moving to the 2.4's if they would offer smoother treble (but I'm not sure if you are indicating that). I am aware that I would be giving up some bass in the trade.
I wouldn't say that the imaging or the soundstage was necessarily better with the 2.4's. More like you were listening through a thin sheet of fabric with the 3.6's by comparison. So, I guess that would also mean that to my ears the 2.4's were brighter and less laid back. And by using that term for the 3.6's, I mean laid back only by comparison to other, newer, Thiels. In general, they are not what I would call a laid back speaker. And from what I could tell (not being able to do a direct A/B with identical systems), I did not think that the 2.4's had smoother treble. In fact, I'd say that my ears told me just the opposite. The 2.4's are great speakers. And they really wow you with their scalpel-like precision. Notes end exactly when they should. The definition between instruments is palpable. Overall, I liked them a lot. However, I liked the more full sound of the 3.6's, and I find the 3.6's to be a tad softer on the high end. Another factor in favor of the 3.6's is that the 2.4's don't feel like they are moving as much air. They just didn't have the same degree of weight to them, when the music calls for it.
Yes, I agree that the 2.4's are more forward sounding than both the 1.6's and the 3.6's. If you feel that the 3.6's take a bit of the edge off of your music, then the 2.4's are a better match. Conversely, if your system needs to have the reigns pulled in a bit on the high end, and needs a little beef added, then the 3.6's may be the ticket. I will say that the midrange focus on the 2.4's clearly exceeded that of the 3.6's. While I consider the 3.6's to have full, balanced midrange, by comparison to the 2.4's, the 3.6's sound slightly warm and fuzzy. With my system, and in my room, that is not such a bad thing. But if you had a fairly neutral system in an acoustically non-reflective room, the 2.4's (especially with a sub) would probably make you smile a little harder than the 3.6's.
All in all, they are both Thiels, and probably sound more alike than they do different.
Hope this helps, Tom.
Jazzdude: JA has acknowledged that these response measurements obtained for spaced-driver first-order speakers, such as the Thiels, are the predictable result of his limited distance mic placement.
Dan: You've been busy...I didn't know you had gone ahead and gotten the 2.4's. Still haven't heard them myself. Hope you're enjoying, but it sounds like there might be issues...
Alex, I did get the 2.4's, from a fellow Audiogoner. They arrived just before I had some back surgery, after which I went through one of those periods of not being too involved in my audio system. Starting to snap out of it now and getting back to serious listening.
The speakers did seem too forward to me at first, but I just got my preamp back from a minor modification and upgrade and now I'm not so sure. The Thiels are sounding quite right, actually. The bigger issue is that, while I find them terrific in many respects, I also find that I'm a little bored with the music. Uh-oh.
Hi bill, I know you have said your system leans towards the bright side, we have similar systems including thiel 3.6, one difference is my preamp is a CJ premier 14 and I can't recall yours. Our cables are almost identical, I have MIT reference IC's and until recently an Oracle V3. In my system the V3 pushed my system a little too bright or in your face. I went back to 750+S3 and the sound is more relaxed, especially on the top end - I think you have a V4. Just an observation in my system - might have nothing to do with yours.
Good Luck, Jerry
Hi Jerry (Pops),
you have a great memory! You're right, I think that cabling can be used to adjust a system wrt brightness. I had moved up from the 750 to the Oracle V4's, where I began hearing more bass weight and pitch, and more depth, so I would be hesitant to go back in the MIT line.
My interest in the 2.4 was to hear the latest in Thiel technology with the coaxial tweeter/midrange, and to see how they are handling the detail/brightness dilemma. Do you still have your 3.6's, or have you moved up to CS6's?
take care, Bill
Yes, I do mean "fuzzy" in the sense that you are thinking of, and I suppose that you could also use the word "opaque." However, keep in mind that I say this only "by comparison to the 2.4's" - which are so phenomenally "UN-fuzzy" and "UN-opaque". I would not say that the 3.6's are a fuzzy speaker. In fact, I very much like their detailed midrange. It's just that the 2.4's take this focus and detail to a higher level. Now, that may or may not be a great thing, depending on the rest of your system and room. Personally, with my setup, I prefer the more full sound of the 3.6's, and I am quite happy with their level of detail and accuracy.
Hopefully, I am not confusing you more than I already have...