THIEL Audio their demise...

It was with great sadness this morning when I visited the THIEL Audio website and saw photos of the 'new' designs.
When Jim Thiel designed speakers, there was a form follows function in place. He tried to create the 'Electrostatic Sound' using conventional drivers. Whether you agreed with his 'house sound' was as usual in audio, a personal preference. Some thought the sound 'bright' in the upper mid range. That's fine, personal 'taste' in sound drives us all to various products. One man's 'clear' is another man's 'bright'. But Jim's design philosophy was, 1st order crossovers, time alignment, low distortion--and that was his pursuit for thirty years.
Now, I go to their site and see, 'me too' looking boxes, no alignment (that I can see) and no mention of 1st order, low distortion.
Oh, they probably sound OK--maybe pretty good--but it's not the same company. I recognize the reason for buying a 'Name Brand' with international distribution, I did it myself eight years ago. However, any changes I made were notable improvements--in other words, I didn't buy a Monet and remove the oil and put a water color on the canvas.
I lost a friend when Jim died, and now the world has lost a great speaker line.
Yes, I had a similar experience. Soon after Jim's unfortunate demise I emailed the lady who was his right hand at that time & was apparently running the company then & asked her whether she would maintain the time-coherent design philosophy that Jim had developed over the years & what she knew about this sort of speaker design. I got no reply to my email. :(
Upon Jim's passing, I wrote that company off as a viable speaker company to buy products from.
I surmise here that nobody at the new Thiel understands time coherent speaker design [it's not an easy topic & most of the industry does not understand it as evident in the products that are available in the market. Now, add Thiel to that list! :( ]
Big THIEL fan here as well. It is going to be interesting as this saga unfolds. Duly noted whom is in-charge of R&D?

This will be the most discerning aspect wether or not thr company survives. Then again, as I have read about it, no one from the old "guard" hung around after JT's passing.
It seems to me that if those individuals really cared about their company, they would still be employed there.

Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Lrsky, unfortunately; well said.
First we lost John Dunlavy.
Then we lost Jim Thiel.
In the first instance, all was lost.
In the second instance, all was lost,... and then they trampled on a good mans name. Sure they paid for it, but still its all sad, very sad.
Bombaywalla - Kathy was a co-founder of the company along with Jim. They were friends in college. She was a major reason for Thiel's success. He was the designer, she did all the business and sales. It is unfortunately that she did not email you back but it was a very difficult time for her. They had started to revamp the company and then Jim passed away from years of smoking. New owners were brought in to finance the revamp. When the new owners took over, she was suppose to continue on the board, but she left (fired?) almost immediately because of major disagreements with the new owners.

Kathy is a fine lady and was a great partner for Jim. She has moved on, but I am sure she also has some regrets about the current direction of the company she helped found.
Add Cary Audio to the list. Dennis Had founded the company and was the company for many years. He was the one who made single ended tube amplifiers popular. He designed all the tube amps in Cary's current line but often said he had no idea how to design a solid state piece. He brought in new investors as he headed towards retirement and they basically pushed him aside. Dennis was a fine tube designer, but Cary no longer even does new tube amp designs. Their new designs are solid state and are manufactured in China.

Another one of the pioneers whose company has really changed its focus. Of course, his designs are hard to improve upon.
Its very difficult to design time and phase correct speakers. This is probably one of those cases where the company was bought for the name, but the new owner doesn't have the skill to continue the founders work. It looks like the same thing happened to Wadia.
You guys are killing me, LOL. Because of the thread, I had to connect my dusty Thiel CS-6's and the matching SS1 sub. The 6's are not the greatest dance partners, these beasts are heavy! I have not used them in three years. Change is good sometimes. THX...
Dtc, thanks for the 101 on Thiel speakers. I did learn something new today - that Kathy was an original founding partner.
"It seems to me that if those individuals really cared about their company, they would still be employed there.

Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Jafant (Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

That may not be true. Don't forget that when a business owner dies owning a company like this, there's usually a will in place to divide the estate amongst several people. They could have just as easily been fired by the new owners.
Sadly, the company is now run by investment bankers whose taste in music is limited in quality to that of an I-Pod.
Change is tough! It happens in all industries - and investment in business mean 1 thing and that is ROI. Sometimes that comes with true passion for the consumer and sometimes not.

I have 2 Thiel speakers, CS6 and 3.6. They have been part of my music enjoyment for 15+ years - especially the 3.6. They were my dream speaker when I first heard them and of course could not afford them at the time. Now the CS6 is my speaker but I will never part with the 3.6.

It is so disappointing, the demise of Thiel. They have a passionate following but I guess not mass appeal, not even among audiophiles. And trends show there are fewer and fewer of us audiophiles around - the current generation could not give 2 craps about sound quality - they may claim to like it but that is not where their hard earned cash is going.

What is sad for me as I get older and in a better position to buy (almost) what I want for my hobby Thiel is gone for me. I would have followed them as far as they wanted to take it but not now.
Actually Jim, Kathy and Tom, his brother were the three founding partners. Tom was an expert in woods and veneers and construction. He may have been the reason for such wonderful detail in their cabinetry. Tom left the company in the early '90's.
Since a "Company" is nothing more than its people, why doesn't the Thiel "old guard" start a new one?
The planet is awash in zero interest cash so financing shouldn't be a problem.
If they start small, speaker building is not a capital intensive enterprise.
What's the deal?
That's a great question.
However, all businesses face the issue of 'Barriers to entry', meaning, what obstacles must be overcome to enter a market successfully. The loudspeaker industry is loaded with competition and dealers have very high sales resistance, as most seem, in a word, jaded.
When I bought DK Designs back in '06 it was intended to be a launchpad for the Loudspeakers, the LSA's.
The plan was, call existing dealers for DK, now MY dealers and tell them, 'We'd like you to pick up our loudspeakers, too.'
The resistance was very strong. I finally resorted to, 'Let me send you a pair at no charge, if you like them, carry them.' It was sadly, a hat in hand proposition.
So, while you're right about being able to get money cheap, the start up for Domestic Production would be pretty high. My LSA's were mfg'd in China. So, I only had the raw cost of production. Even then, depending on the model, a minimum of 200 pairs had to be ordered.
So--it's a real issue for many potential 'start ups'.
As former Director of Sales for THIEL 15 years ago, that thought entered my mind--but as their production is domestically based with many employees and overhead, it didn't seem feasible to me. Maybe someone with more money could pull it off.
The net of all of this is--the THEIL that I enjoyed is gone. But, it seems to me purchasing THEIL and then changing the product, as the new owners have done, makes no sense.
It's tantamount to buying Coke and changing the formula--who in their right mind would do that??
Lrsky - Thanks. I could not remember Tom's name or details about him, so I didn't mention him. Thanks for you comments on the current company.
Starting a new "Thiel" like company with out Jim Thiel would be quite a challenge.