I like the Andras. I have never cared much for the Thiels but it's been quite a long time since I've heard them.
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I've not made the move, nor do I have Andras, but next smaller size - Fontaines (exact same top three drivers, just no woofer). About them I can assure you they very capably reproduce truthful timbre with transparency like no other speaker I've heard. I cannot comment on their dynamics other than I am satisfied with them running tubes.
Unsound I have definitely thought about 7.2's and spent a lot of time with 3.7'es a couple of years ago...almost bought them.
looking for something a little different and the Andra's have peaked my interest and sound like they might offer a more interesting midrange, smoother highs, and possibly deeper bass when driven with high power SS. I will keep my Thiels however since they have kept me happy for many years.
Thanks Rwwear and rockadanny for your insight!
Since your musical interests are mostly R&R it is difficult to recommend (or not)
speakers that are designed to be accurate in timbre on acoustic piano, strings,
and other acoustic instruments. the Andra's CAN be played very loud however-
each cabinet has TWO woofers and TWO midrange drivers- so dynamics is also assured. the Thiels and Egglestons are definitely different sounding speakers.
the only other thing that comes to mind are the incredible "reference" CS5i's that Thiel came out with that was a VERY powerful speaker- not everyone's taste but highly respected.
Those CS5i's are a great recommendation, and would be my first choice in your circumstances. I would think it safe to guess that you've tailored the rest of your system around the Thiel house sound. IMHO, changing speakers, more so than other components, can cause a domino effect of system changes. Be warned the CS5i's are especially demanding of amplification, especially in a room as large as yours. That room, while really conducive to Thiels, might be stretching the dynamic limitations of the 3.6's. That won't be the case with the CS5i's (perhaps Thiels all time best product) with the right amplification.
Thanks for the sound advice Unsound. The cs5 is an incredible speaker system from what I have heard! I just get nervous with components out of production, especially that long but I probably shouldn't as long as the company is in bus.
Probably the best advice, especially since I am so used to the house sound - which I love.
"I just get nervous with components out of production, especially that long but I probably shouldn't as long as the company is in bus."
You realize that the Andra II is also out of production too, right? (Albeit the Andra II has only been out of production for a year or so, which is not that long, and of course EgglestonWorks is still in business too.)
I can give the Andra II my highest recommendation in its price range, particularly for rock music. (And, as you know, I do own a pair, so take that with as many grains of salt as you like!!) ;-)
My two cents worth anyway.
Good Luck in your search.
You will miss the Thiels if you move to the Andra II. I would look for speakers that are more inline with the Thiel house sound that add more bass volume/slam/punch etc.
I listen to mostly rock and own Thiel CS2.4. I have being looking for the same reason that you have. I am coming to the conclusion that I want just a hint of bass coloration in the form of dynamic impact to drive the rock music.
With that being said I really dislike most speakers that I have demoed. You have to give up a lot of what Thiels get right in order to gain bass slam, or spend a lot of money and have it all.
I would demo the Revel Ultima line. The Salon go very cheep on this site and are the real deal. They will give you almost every thing Thiel's best speakers give and add bass punch and weight. I do think the highs are a little soft for rock music at some times but most people will love them.
Another speaker that sounds very good for rock music is the Sasha/Sophia 3 (they sound about the same...). They maybe too colored for you coming from Thiel. Yeah I just called the Sophia 3 colored and it is from an absolute perspective. They have a LOT of bass punch but it is a little peaky (in the room I heard them) and not as well integrated with the mids as Thiels 3.7 (never heard the 3.6). The upper mids on the Sopha 3 lack some the resolution compared to the 3.7.
With at being said the Revel Salon may be a good fit with great bass but more balance than the Wilsons (and better priced too). But I concider the Wilson line to be one of the best for rock music. It's colorations fit the music well. For me I will most likely move onto the 3.7, Salon, or maybe Kef 207/2 if I can ever get a demo...
Below I have added part of a review comparing the Andra II and Sasha.
"It is in the bass region where the Sasha scores a decisive victory that verged on being a vicious beatdown. The Andra IIs bass is very good, as far as it goes, which is to somewhere in the lower 30s in my current room. This room does not provide the assistive loading of the room in which I reviewed the Andra II back in 2002. The Sasha provided noticeably better definition and tautness and took that superiority into the very low 20s with consummate ease and shattering, floor-shaking power when called upon to do so. Here it was no contest: Sasha in a convincing TKO.
Through the mids, it was very nearly a push, with the Sasha inching a bit ahead. The Sasha's new midrange driver is truly special. As noted above, this unprepossessing-looking unit achieves a level of nuance and detail retrieval that has heretofore been the exclusive provenance of planar and electrostatic drivers. The Andra IIs midrange is, and remains, striking and exemplary in its honesty, and it took the Sasha to better it. The improvement is there, though it is marginal, but at these levels of performance (and cost) being marginally better is more significant than it is with lesser components. Slight advantage to Sasha.
In terms of the highs, the Andra IIs Dynaudio Esotar is perhaps my all-time favorite dome tweeter. Its airiness, precision and delicacy still remain at the top of the mark. Wilson Audio has worked wonders with its new version of the Focal Tioxid tweeter, to be sure. The Sasha W/P had definition and subtlety that were lacking from even the MAXX 2. The tweeter integrates better with its companion midrange driver(s) than any previous Wilson tweeter and provides musically excellent overall sonics, but it is not the last word in any one quality one desires from a tweeter, acquitting itself well across the board instead. Here, the Andra II wins by a heads length.
The Sasha consistently threw a bigger and more clearly defined soundstage and provided dynamics both great and small that few speakers anywhere can match. Overall, the Sasha was the better speaker in nearly every meaningful way. And well it should be"
Thanks Kurt_Tank and thanks for the insight when I e-mailed you privately for advice!
Thanks James for an incredible comparison and perspective! As a Thiel owner you obviously understand the house sound which I have enjoyed for many years. I am 95% happy to stay put but like you listen to primarily rock music and looking for just a little more slam/dynamics but not at the expense of the incredible Thiel transparency.
I spent a lot of time auditioning the 3.7's. They are great speakers - however, I felt they offered only a marginal improvement over my 3.6 so I couldn't see dropping 12 to 14K (new) on a pair at the time.
Have you ever tried anything from the Zu line? From what I have read they are rockers!
Hi Pops, the Andras are great speakers and have only been replaced with the MK111 version. Have not heard them but the newer version they went with aluminum sides instead of the granite which is on the original and MK2's.
The comparison above to the Sasha is this review is ONLY this person's opinion and that's it, there's more to it than just that and look at the price difference. These Andra speakers are so muscical and will have your toes tapping.
If you do go with Andra's your amplification will need to be changed so heads up on that. I had them paired up with Pass X600.5 mono blocks using a ARC Ref3 pre and the sound was marvelous. Also tried CAT stereo Sig. amp and that sounded great also but would not recomend the manufacture for other reasons. If I was looking at those I would have the REF3 again and Pass but want to try thier new XA series 100 or 160, would be a step up over the X600.5's.
You really need to hear which ever speaker it may be in a real world set-up, good luck with that. Like anything else you need to try at home but as we know speakers are much harder to do this.
Personally when comparing the Thiel, Sasha and Andra's my over all preferrence is Andras.
Good luck with your journey!
I really love my Andra ll's. Previously to the Andra's I had the Legacy Focus which is another great " Rock" speaker. I listened to many speakers including the Thiels,Wilson Watt Puppy 8's/ Sophia 2 and I chose the Andra ll's.
To me the Watt Puppy had a disjointed sound between the bass and the rest of the music. The Thiels sounded very lean. I have never listened to the new Wilson Sashas.
I am also using a Pass Labs Amp the X350.5 to drive the Andra's. But I think the Mac's would work great also.
Hi Pops, your Mac will work I owned a pair and actually had them paired up with the Andras with my ARC REF3. Then I had a chance to audition the Pass X600.5's again paired up with the ARC REF3 and prefered the sonics over all across the spectrum, no comparison actually. Notice how the ARC REF3 stays, that's a great pce and long term keeper always connected with balanced cables.
Just trying to assist because I've been there and done it already but those new Pass amps weren't out at the time so that's why I mentioned them also. I've heard the comparision in a friends set-up and preferred the new design by a large margine, only down factor is they do run warmer.
So to fast track and save your self some money and time this would be my sugestion;
ARC REF3 pre
Pass 100 or preferably 160's if you have a larger space and you are done for a very long time.
Regarding James63's advice about auditioning the Revel Salons: I would like to chime in that I owned the (Original) Salon's smaller brother, the Studio, and while it is a fine speaker, it is not quite in the same class as the Andra II. (I have auditioned the Salons too though, and they are basically just a Studio with deeper bass response.)
The bass response is the Revel's strength, as it is fairly deep, and very fast, (although no faster than the Andra II's Isobaric twin 12" woofers). The Salon does go deeper than the Andra II, but the Studio was not as deep as the Andra II is.
However, the mid-range while very neutral, is not as musical as the Andra II's is. Vocals on the Andra II are better than the Revel was capable of reproducing.
And the treble response on the Revel, while being very well extended, is not nearly as refined as the Andra II's Isotar tweeter. (This was the very first thing I noticed when I hooked up the Andra II speakers after having owned the Revel Studios for many years.)
In addition, the soundstaging and imaging of the Revel speaker while very good, not in the same class as the excellent imaging and soundstaging of the Andra II, (which is one of its strengths). The Andra II speakers disappear from the soundstage as well as any speaker I have ever heard, period, which is one of the things I really like about them. (They and the Avalon Eidolons are champs in this regard, in the $20-25K speaker class range.)
FYI, these commments are based upon the orginal Revel Ultima line of speakers, and not the current version, which I understand is better than the first.
And, as long as people are giving you alternative suggestions, I highly recommend giving the Avalon Eidolons (or the Avalong Indra, its replacement), an audition, as they are good competition to the Andra IIs. They have slightly less bass response, but have a slightly flatter frequency response in the mid-bass region, which while not being quite as good for rock, makes them slightly better for classical music, (IMHO anyway).
Those are my two more cents worth. (So now you have four cents worth of my advice!) ;-)
I owned Thiel 3.6's for 8 years. I added a REL Stadium II about 4 years after I got the Thiel's and it vastly improved them - and not just in the bottom end. When it was time to upgrade, I also wasn't thrilled with the 3.7's. I went a completely different direction and went with Magnepan 3.6's after listening to a lot of different speakers (Andra I's being one of them). They're a very different sound from everything else, but are simply amazing - provided you can feed them properly and live with their limitations (looks, placement, etc.).
Now I'm eagerly waiting to hear the new Magnepan 3.7's :)
Pops, it pains me somewhat to add another comment to this thread, but IF
get a really good piano recording- let's say Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
(everyone likes the B-MLS, don't they?) and compare the sound of the andra's
and the thiels, i don't see how you can not fall in love with the egglestons.
as far as the bass extension is concerned the andra's reach down below 20Hz,
so i cannot see how anyone within reason can complain about the bottom
And according to the audio beat, the tweeter is STILL "a head's length
better" than the $25K Wilson Sasha's? the Wilson's midrange was only
"slightly better?" JEEZ... hey, go back and read the reviews of the
andra I's and II's in stereophile if you like. BTW, the II's were evaluated in
conjunction with the "best amplifiers in the world!" (chuckle)- the
Halcro 58 Monoblocks. but i guess the andra's must have been a pretty good
speaker to listen through.
Look, even the Watt-Puppy 7's will stage better and image better than the
andra's, but which puts the subtle timbre of a plucked bass or a martin guitar
(okay, or a Steinway) into your room?
Anyway, whether or not you have alot of money, this is the opportunity to
trust your ears...
Pops, it pains me somewhat to add another comment to this thread, but IF you
get a really good piano recording- let's say Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (everyone likes the B-MLS, don't they?) and compare the sound of the andra's and the thiels, i don't see how you can not fall in love with the egglestons.
as far as the bass extension is concerned the andra's reach down below 20Hz,
so i cannot see how anyone within reason can complain about the bottom end.
And according to the audio beat, the tweeter is STILL "a head's length better" than the $25K Wilson Sasha's? the Wilson's midrange was only "slightly better?" JEEZ... hey, go back and read the reviews of the andra I's and II's in stereophile if you like. BTW, the II's were evaluated in conjunction with the "best amplifiers in the world!" (chuckle)- the Halcro 58 Monoblocks. but i guess the andra's must have been a pretty good speaker to listen through.
Look, even the Watt-Puppy 7's will stage better and image better than the andra's, but which puts the subtle timbre of a plucked bass or a martin guitar (okay, or a Steinway) into your room?
Anyway, whether or not you have alot of money, or you don't, this is the opportunity to trust your ears...
Thanks French Fries, great insight! And everyone else who contributed to help make my decision which I did! I got a pair of Andra II's yesterday, have spent only spent a few hours with them but am thrilled!
What an improvement over the Thiels! I think I almost have them dialed in on placement, they definitely like to be closer to the back wall than the Thiels. Mcintosh 501's drive them with ease which is good news for now.
First impressions versus the Thiels: more and deeper bass, much more refined midrange and smoother highs. No strain when cranked or with high demands, where the thiels would seem to be at the very top, like a smaller engine running full speed versus a BMW purring along at 90 mph. Giving the soundscape just a little "edge" to it with the thiels. Overall, just a very relaxing, refined, and totally resolving presentation. They are more transparent, completely disappear, like Paul Bolin mentioned in his s'phile review, you cannot stare down the speakers.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed!
Pops, congratulations in your purchase. I bought my Andra II new ~3 years ago and still very happy with them. 3 years is an eternity for me :-)
It took me a while to dial in the placement and I know every room, system ... are different so JFYI, I found Andra II sounds best in a wider than normal placement. I have mine positioned ~13' apart in an equilateral triangle to listening position. ~38" from front wall and moderate toe-in with intersection well behind my ears. If the speaker is too close to the front wall, all you hear is an one note bass.
Congrats! great speakers. If you think the 501's so good wait until you start trying different associated pces as I had mention earlier and recommened, you are in for a real treat. I did not have mine very close to the back wall or side walls, while in my seating position toe in was in such that the tweeters were firing just out side my ears.
F.Y.I. I placed mine on Sistrum SP1 platforms which was a very rewardimg improvement across the entire sonic spectrum, so much I still currently use them under my MBL 101E's.
James63 the tonal balance on both speakers is very good, the Andra's have more heft in the midrange which is great on voice - which the Thiels are no slouch. The highs are smoother, more transparant, with a longer decay. The Thiels by comparison just a slight edge and decay much faster, like on cymbols for example.
Knghifi thanks for the info on your placement, coincidentally I found 38" from the rear wall works best for me, I have them 9ft apart center to center and toed in firing just behind by ears I can still see the side panels. They aren't nearly as fussy as the Thiels.
Jayctoy - you obviously know the Andras, I can't believe you don't like them for rock - maybe the II's do a better job?
Dev - I see what you mean, I can imagine how these speakers sound with really top shelf amplification!
Pops are these brand new or used?
If they are brand new then you have yet to hear their full potential, as any new speaker break-in is very important and the base drivers in these are beast, take allot of time so just play them and enjoy and not be too credical, even in positioning them, playing music with losts of dynamics will do the trick. I have listened to those Thiel speakers many times and personally don't feel they even come close.