Thiel 3.6's vs. Vandersteen 3 sigs

Looking to upgrade. Currently have Vandersteen 2ce's which sound great, but have slight bass. So, I had to get a Velodyne FSR 12 to compensate, but this is not a really good match, I know. Anyway, I miss the bass that my old Thiel 03a's had by themselves. I'm guessing that Thiel 3.6's may cover all bases well. I'm not familiar with the VD 3 sigs, just hoping that they would cover the low frequencies better. Of course, the other option in to get the Vandersteen sub and keep the 2ce's. By the way, the speakers are powered by a Moscode 600 with a Rogue Audio 66 Magnum preamp. Any suggestions?
I am a current Vandy 3A Sig owner and a former Thiel 03A owner (years ago). There is a world of difference between the Thiel sound and the Vandy sound. I find the Vandy's to be much closer to providing natural intrumental timbres than the Thiel's (which I consider to be "HI-FI" speakers if you kinow what I mean). I found my Theil's to be fatiguing - to the point that I eventually swapped out the tweeters to try to ameliorate the high end issues. That phase has long since passed and now I am a very happy owner of the Vandy 3A Sigs. I am very satisfied with the low end from this speaker in my rather small room. I have not heard the 2Ce's so I can't tell you how much better they are on the low end. But my main point still stands - Vandy's and Theil's are very different speakers and I can't imagine you liking the Theil's if you have been happy with the Vandy's overall sound, bass issues aside.
If you like the 2CE sonic signature you should certainly try the 3A Sig, they produce more bass and have a better midrange. The Thiel's sounds quite different from VS, I'm not sure they would make you happy if the 2Ces are your cup of tea, but for the bass.
Thiel speakers are analytical, harsh and unforgiving, go for the Vandy.
If you like the 2CE sonic signature you should certainly try the 3A Sig, they produce more bass and have a better midrange. The Thiel's sounds quite different from VS, I'm not sure they would make you happy if the 2Ces are your cup of tea, but for the bass.
Hey Chad, not exactly sure where you stand on the Thiels, can you be a little more specific?
The Thiel 3.6 bass goes pretty deep, but it is very well-controlled, such that you may feel it comes across somewhat lean, especially after the Vandy 2CEs. The mids and highs are good given that used speakers have been broken in. The highs are not as sharp/harsh as some of Thiel's subsequent designs.

Remember also, the 3.6 has earned a reputation as a difficult load, with impedance dipping to below 3 ohms at certain frequencies. Your Moscode 600 is known to be capable with difficult loads (one powered a vacuum cleaner at a CES?), so this should not be a problem.
I totally disagree with the Thiels being analytical and harsh -If they sounded this way, I would've unloaded them long ago - They need strong, solid power,and a decent front-end - They will reveal any weak links in your audio "chain" - I also don't know of a finer value (used) here on the 'gon - I would have never sold them for the Legacy, V/S and others that I've tried AND owned (not just demoed) In my current setup they sound full and powerful - To each their own...
I recently upgraded from the 2Ce's to the 3A Sigs, and I was astounded at the magnitude of the bass improvement. Turns out I have a significant standing wave problem in my listening room which only became apparent when I put the 3A's in my system. The bass of the 3A's will not disappoint, nor will the overall sound, given your opinion of your current Vandys. Good luck.

Either the 2CEs or the 3Asigs with the Vandy sub is a virtually seamless transition, IF you use good filters. The only way I could tell that my subs were on, was to pull the plug. I've moved on for other reasons, but if you like the VAndy sound odds are you will NOT like Thiels. And the Thiels are much more fussy about upstream components.
love em' I just love em'!
Thiels are as good as the music put into them.
I own both Vandys and Thiels and love em BOTH!!
While the differences between Thiel and Vandersteen seem to be very apparent to those on this forum, it surprises me that so many here, besides the Bdunne and Stevecham, fail to hear how much they have in common. My final decision ultimately came betweene Thiel and Vandersteen, I chose Thiel. Seems a lot of folks here failed to note that Bdunne previouly owned Thiels before Vandersteen and misses some of the qualites the Thiels provided.
I'd like to point out to Ddunne that the newer Thiel 3.6's are not sealed boxes, don't go as low and harder to drive than his previous Thiel 03a's. If your looking to recover that sound quality, may I suggest the Thiel 3.5's, as they are most similar yet quite a bit more refined. They can be found at absolute bargain prices now.
The bigger Thiels will not sound great unless fed with a lot of power. My experience with the 3.6s is that, when driven by a less than macho SS amp, they can sound thin. Feed them a good 300-500 watts and the sound becomes much fuller.
Agree with Sdatch. I've had my 3.6 for nearly 8 years. It's a fine speaker, considering what you can get them for these days on the used market. But they are very revealing of the source. (Or you can say that they are "picky" of what equipment they are mated to.) And they are power hungry. I've had many changes in my system in the past 8 years, and have been amazed at the "improvements" every time.

After living with it for 8 years, I was sure that I had driven them to their full potential. But earlier this year, I changed the amp from my long time reference, a Mark Levinson #333 (300wpc) to a Pass X350.5 (350wpc). I was floored by the improvement. Deeper bass, bigger soundstage, much more refined midrange. I wonder how much better the 3.6 can sound.

And if you think the 3.6 sounds analytical and harsh, please come by and hear my system. I've had over a dozen people that had the same opinion (incluidng some ex-3.6 owners)changed their minds after hearing my sytem.


Digital Front End: Mark Levinson #37 + Sonic Frontier SFD2 Mk II (NOS Amperex 6DJ8 tubes)
Analog Front End: Michell Orbe SE + SME V + Shelter 901/Benz M2 + ARC PH3 SE (NOS Amperex 7308 tubes)
Amplification: ARC LS-25 Mk I w/ GNSC ref mod (NOS Amperex 7308 + Telefunken 6DJ8 tubes) + Pass X350.5
Thanks for all of the great perspectives. I definitely agree with some of your experiences (even the old Thiels seemed to thrive with more power; would go deeper. Also, they were always a bit too bright for me. CD's could get annoying although vinyl would sound pretty sweet. Lastly, they sound impressive at first, with enough bass that a sub is not seemingly required). The Vandies sound rather plain in comparison and I don't mean that in a bad way. Bass extension would put them well ahead, overall. OK, so I'm going to look for a Vandersteen sub or the 3A's.
Bdunne, budget aside, I think you would be better off selling that 2s and buying 3As, then adding a sub with the 2s. You may not feel the need for a sub with the 3As, and I think you will find the midrange to be better as well -- you can always add a sub (preferably two)if you feel the need for sub 28Hz bass.
If I had to change from my 3.6's, I would be looking at the Vandies. They do share many characteristics. The disadvantage of Thiel's is the amp/current required. It sounds like you may have this covered. I have considered demo'ing the Rogue pre to see how a tube pre would sound with the 3.6. I would stay away from the sub, I've never heard a setup integrated enough for me. The 3.6 goes very deep and is very tight, especially with a big amp. I use Classe CAM-350's with great results. I would try to hear the 3.6 with your electronics before deciding. You can't lose either way.
No Thiels are not analytical, or harsh, or forward sounding.
The reason they sound that way when you heard them is because the components driving them were low fi.
If you use high quality components with good cables and follow placement recommendations, they are sublime. Vandersteens on the other hand sound good with cheap electronics because they are made with cheap components and designed for the average music listener, not the sophoisticated one.
The top end of Vandys is dull and rolled off, and the bass is boomy and inaccurate....just the cure for cheap electronics which sound harsh and have no real bass because they have cheap power supplies that can't deliver enough current to move the woofer accurately) and they are therefore perfect for unsophisticated listeners.
It doesnt bug me if Pepperdog doesnt like Vandersteen speakers but to say they are cheap and for "unsophisticated listeners" makes me question if he is Ignorant or a snob, or most likely a combination of both. The 5A and to a lesser extent the Quatro have anything but sloppy bass and cheap components so I doubt this opinion is one of experience.
As an owner of both CS6s and 2Ce Sigs, I can say that I am very fond of both Thiel and Vandersteen and can't imagine ever owning other brands from here on. Both manufacturers offer something quite different tonally, BUT they also both provide what few others can in the area of timbral accuracy from a time coherence standpoint. For me that's a gotta have. I tried to veer away from Thiel in favor of Dynaudio years ago and had to return to Thiel simply because I missed what these speakers do.

And for a lower-powered tube based system (Rogue Cronus or CJ CAV50) in a smaller room, the 2Ces rule.

Poor high-end response in Vandersteens? No way.

What Vandersteens are: some the best values and executions in speaker design and manufacture, ever.
Vandersteen uses some of the highest quality components in even his lower line of speakers that are available. I know, I've taken them apart.
Opinions like pepperdog just shows his biased ignorance.
BTW, Vandersteen's are some of the more accurate speakers available. They are easily in Theil's class for a lot less money and sound more musical to boot.
Getting lectured about Sophistication from a guy named Pepperdog........priceless.
If you can find an old copy of the Audio Perfectionist Journal, Richard Hardesty does an excellent comparison between Theil and Vandersteen.
I think price wise, a better comparison would be between the Theil's and the Quatro's.
I owned 3a sigs for a long time. The Quatro is a better speaker top to bottom. The 3a Sig is an excellent speaker but with the built in subs of the Quatro, the integration is better.
Theil's are good speakers but you must pay close attention to what components you use with them. Vandersteen's are more forgiving although the Quatro gets bright with the wrong electronics.
No Chad that's not quite correct. It's "sophoisticated" listeners. See the quote from his post:

>>they are made with cheap components and designed for the average music listener, not the sophoisticated one.<<

You'll have to admit, that pooperdog has a point here. We all cannot be as sophoisticated as he.
I understand that there is a revision to the 2CE sigs that have the same midrange driver as the 3asigs. Has anyone out there heard them? I spoke with Richard with hopes that I could upgrade my 2CEsigs but, he said that they are not upgradable...
The new 2Ce Sig II uses the tweeter and midrange of the 3a Sig. Great sounding speaker for $1995!
I disagree with anyone said Thiel sound harsh, analytical, dull...and Vandersteen sound would be better. I never own or heard any Vandersteen speaker but I do own a pair of Thiel 3.6 speaker for 7 years. I'm using krell FBP300 to drive this speaker. The result is super. Soundstage, resolution, outstanding. I tried to use my Krell KAV-1500 to run my 3.6 and the result was good but FPB300 and 3.6 is still better. I did had a pair of McCormark DNA-1 gold series brigded in mono block and the result was great, too. This speakers will sound best if you give them a lot of good power. Also, it depends on what kind of associate equiptments that feed them. Even a change in cable is already enough to make 3.6 sound beter or worst. About the Subwoofwer for Thiel 3.6, I had a Sunfire True sub signature years ago, this sub do adding a lot of bass for my system but the bass is not as tight as I axpected. Afer adding Earthquake Super Nova 15, I think the bass in my sytem was somewhat improve and now I am thinking of upgrading my sub to JL Fantom 13 or new Thiel Sub-1 with EQ and room correction system, I think it maybe what I'm looking for to get a complete full range sound in my system.
My system is Krell KRC-3, Integra Research RDC-7, Krell FPB300, CJ DR-1, Sony SCD-XA9000es, Denon DVD-5910ci, Theil 3.6, Theil MCS-1, Earthquake Super Nova 15, PS lab power plant and power director, and finally Tranparent reference cables connect all the sources together.
Audionuts you can love Thiel sound and I am sure you do but dont disagree and then admit you have no experience with 1 of the two speakers in question. If you have never heard a single Vandersteen isnt it a bit foolish to disagree it sounds better....or not?
Chadnliz, you were right about how foolish I am. but to say Thiel sound is dull and analytical is unfair. they may sound bad to somebody but there is a great number of Theil 3.6 lover out there. Thiel had keep this product for quiet a while untill now, so there has to be a great number of people love it. I will check the Vandy 3a sig out this weekend. It has been a long time that I haven't keep in touch with all the goodies out there. May be it is the time for me to go out and expore more.
I didnt want it to come across that I called you foolish, just the statement was. I dont think Thiel speakers are dull but I do think they can be harsh and un-forgiving, I know they can and do sound pleasing they are just not my cup of tea and too fussy.....the beauty of this hobby is one size doesnt fit all, how boring would that be????????
Respectfully disagree on Thiel being harsh/bright/"too" detailed, etc. . .

Just got a used pair of 2.2 for $500 on Ebay to go into a family room just for background music - I was just looking for a decent rep. speaker which wouldn't be offensive. Just to be used for background music.

Upon arrival I plopped them down in front of my Wilson Duettes in a dedicated listening room and played them for about 18 hours before listening carefully at all. No proper set-up, no spikes, just placed directly (inches) in front of my Wilsons. Ran them with ML amp and Audio Aero Capitole CD direct via its balance, variable analog out to the amp.

If these speakers (Thiel) sound bright to somebody I would contribute this to the individual either not knowing the difference between "detail" and "brightness". There are many people who prefer less detailed speakers with any sharpness to the music being rolled off and many of the highs being rolled off. There is nothing wrong with wanting this. The best speaker and sound is different for everybody and that is fine. Listening to live music (unamplified), horns and percussion in particular can frequently result in sounds that are "bright" to many peoples standards. This results from many things; personal preferences, our hearing smearing the "loud" sounds, too high a sound level and the environment. However, this is still part of the music, naturally produced. When a speaker reproduces these affects that occur on the recording they are reproducing the music (ie. recording) accurately with the proper detail. Speakers and electronics that reduce/eliminate these sounds from the recording when being played in our homes are not reproducing the music/recording accurately because they can't or are designed to roll-off "undesirable" artifacts of the music/recording. Some people want this, some don't.

Detail does not equal brightness. Brightness is a completely separate sound from detail, they do not go hand-in-hand.

Thiel speakers, in and of themselves are not "Bright" or "Etchy" - at least based on my very limited experience with them. Perhaps other components or source material can send music/signals to them that are bright, but the speaker (mine) itself is not.

I also would like to state that I disagree with the statement that Vandy's use cheap components, are not well made and are "low-fi".

Vandy's and Thiels have some differing characteristics to their sounds - one is not good and the other bad, just have some differences. Find what you like and support it. Thiels don't do everything perfectly, but then again I have never heard any component that does everything perfectly.
What about Thiel CS6 vs Vandersteen 3A Signature? I have a big room and I'm lusting for B&W 801 or 800 but can't afford 'em right now and B&W 802 seems rather smallish for my 50 sq.m I'm used to the big sound of JBL L150 and I want to keep the sound and the bass big but add all the bonuses of modern Hi End speakers - clarity, soundstage etc. Which one would be a better solution - Thiel CS6 (used) or Vandies? At the moment I have McIntosh 6900 and I know it's not enough for either of them but I plan to upgrade as well. Which speakers are more McIntosh friendly?
Both companies make great speakers. Just does not seem that bashing from either side makes any sense to me. They both shine with the right electronics, and no doubt the choice would be different depending on which brand you went for.
I am happy that people are still talking about Thiels CS3.6 as I have mine for so many years now. Tried to get rid of them but failed each time, it is just too hard to find a replacement with the money it yells. I love the soundstage and clean mids and highs. Not a very dynamic speaker.
One thing about both brands, owners to keep their speakers a long time, and if they make a change, it is "up the line" - that should tell you something. I would love to hear the 3.7.
I've had my 3.6's for 10 years and have no plans to take them out of my main system.
Thiels 3.6
Apparently I hit a "raw chord" with Chadnliz (how cute) about Vandersteens..and even though I mis-spelled sophisticated in my post, I stand by my judgement of Vandertsteen speakers...of which I've owned a few pairs.
Chadnliz has graced us with his keen observations and steadfast personal defense of a speaker company whose products he doesn't actually own.
After seeing the list of components (actually consumer grade HT gear) he does enjoy, it's apparent why he makes the comments he does.
Perhaps Audio Review would be a better "forum" for his opinions.
BTW-Pepper is my dog, is liz yours?
are you responding to something said 4 years ago?
My perspective is that both Vandersteen and Thiel make musical sounding speakers..they both need good electronics to make them sound their best....they both reveal faults preceeding them. My question is why your sub doesn't mate well with your Vendersteens. What do you hear that annoys your?
Wow. Trolls have good memories.
That is a good question (even though this is an old thread, the comparison might be perrenial)Stringreen. When I had a pair of 2Wq with 3A Sig - I could hardly tell the subwoofers were there, which is the sign of could matching between subwoofers and mains. Not sure I would use anything but VS subs if I owend VS speakers, no good reason to do otherwise IMHO.
Wow this is one for the books. SOTA, Anthem, Classe, VMPS, Aragon, VPI, Musical Surroundings, Lexicon, this is all consumer grade gear folks!
Vandersteen speakers, my dad lives 12 miles from me, I visit and li sten mkst everyday, put together his system for him and auditioned all gear in detail with him aswell. So I think I know a pretty good amount about the Wood Signature Quatro, the VC5 center and his 2 matched Vandy subs. Its nice to revisit useless threads and delusional posts.
Count to 10 and don't react:)
Wow, anyone stewing over a comment concerning "speakers" for about four years.....
Thanks to Pubul57 for the great advice!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Best wishes for a great audio New Year!