I am considering switching from by current Thiels to the VSAs. While the selling price new is much more for the Thiels, I bought them used for about the same price as the VSAs are new so it would be about a wash financially.
My goal would be to improve the soundstage (I don't get much depth out of the Thiels), warm up the mids and highs without losing extension, have powerful bass, and have a smaller cabinet. From what I have read (I have not heard yet) the VSAs seem to be strong in these categories.
Does anyone think this would be a reasonable or crazy change?
i think you might wanna look elsewhere before dumping your thiels. i haven't heard the cs6, but i almost bought a pair of cs2.3 on my search for a speaker. i've heard a vr-4 gen.iii with an ead pre/pro and aragon 8008bb. i wasn't very impressed personally. haven't heard the vr-4 jr though. i too would suggest a source change before making a speaker change. if you're dead set on a speaker change, i think the gershman avant garde rx-20 might meet the requirements you're looking for. of course, i'm biased since i own a pair. good luck in your hunt.
Yes, you are crazy. Thiel 6.0 is among the best speakers I have ever heard. Maybe you really should change first the source, as Tvad said. I dont know McCormack, but I heard Thiel with Pass 250, and that combination might provide what you are after. Kimber cables also might warm up the system. Alternatively, I would suggest to look after a used wilson benesch act I. That more or less able to provide what you are after, although it has less bass extension and less treble energy than the thiel. I have only heard the vr-4junior with BAT electronics. That system was a bit muddy and slow. I really think that that step would be a majpr step backward.
Before changing anything you should experiment with speaker/listener placement paying particular attention to speaker toe-in. Moving the speakers further into the room might help with the soundstage depth issue. Alternatively, a good tube parametric EQ (Manley, EAR) will also accomplish what you seek.
BTW, due to their cabinet shapes the VR4 Jr. will look much larger in most rooms than the Thiel.
I have put better (Naim, Arcam, Ayre) digital sources into the system and have only seen slight improvements that I would not pay the thousands of dollars to achieve. I primarily listen to vinyl now anyway and that has proven to be a better source than the pioneer. I still believe that the speakers (and how they interact in the room) have by far the most impact on the sound of a system. (assuming decent source and amplifiers)
That is why I am considering changing the Thiels. I just don't seem to be getting that magical enveloping sound I am hoping for. I have been reading many positive comments on the VSAs and thought they would be worth an audition. I have moved them around (within the tolerable parameters) and tried cables. Don't get me wrong, it sounds good. i just would like to try to take it up a notch in the areas I mentioned and think that a different speaker might be worth trying.
Thiels are a double edged sword. They will reveal any flaws in the equipment upstream. Any minor change(s) in the system with Thiels can yield significant results (good or bad). However, if you spend the time with proper speaker placement you will be richly rewarded. If you get to much side wall reflection then a little toe-in will be beneficial. If you have plenty of space between the speakers and the wall then the Thiels generally sound best without any toe-in. I would also follow the suggestions above to look for a another cdp. I had some of the more expensive Sony's with my Thiels and it was simular to what you are experiencing. The Modwright would bring some warmth to your system. Or a tube pre amp. It is more expensive to add warmth to your system this way than with cables but you will have much better results. I use a Pass amp but others have had great success with Classe and Mac. I agree with the above posts that it would be a step backward to dump the CS6 for VR4 JR.
"Am I crazy?" Yes indeed. You have a great pair of speakers, there. I also agree about the source. Time to make a change. As far as soundstage goes: maybe you can give us the scoop about their placement. Usually shallow depth means speakers are not far enough away from the wall. If depth of soundstage is what you're after, I don't think changing your speakers will get you there.
I say go for it. As good as your Thiels are, they just aren't doing it for you. Maybe the VR-4jr's won't either but there's only one way to find out, and isn't that what this hobby is all about. The VSA's aren't chopped liver, I feel they play with speakers costing much more than their asking price. And more importantly fill those needs you mentioned in your original post.
I never like the sound of Thiels. Maybe the ones I heard were set up wrong, but they always sounded bright and fatiguing. It's hard to believe though, that all the reviewers could be so wrong about them. But your pre/amp/cdp combination is bright and won't bring out the Thiels best qualities. Your options are either change electronics and keep the speakers, or vice versa. If you choose the latter, the VR4 jr's are an exceptionally good choice, and there are some used ones for sale.
I think you will be disapointed by the bass the 4Jrs put out compared to the Theils. The Jrs have good bass, but it isn't weighty and full the way it is with a big speaker. I have mine in a pretty big room 18x24 and while they sound good, they are far from what I would consider full range.
Just a thought. I recently purchased a DEQX preamp that completely transformed a pair of speakers that were ruthlessly revealing and too bright for my tastes. The DEQX has very sophisticated DSP speaker correction capabilities that correct crossover, phase, and frequency response problems; corrects for room interactions; and allows for tailoring frequency response to ones tastes (ie fancy tone control). The results are amazing- adds coherency, liquidity, etc and completely eliminates the brightness/edginess/hardness I had before with these speakers. I went through a lot of expensive gear with these speakers, and nothing has come close to the positive impact of the DEQX.
I found that once the DEQX has corrected speaker and room interaction problems, the amp, source, and cabling become much less important. Also the DAC in the DEQX is as good or better than the ones in several 1-2K CDPs I currently own. Vinyl stills sounds great through the DEQX even though the analog signal is converted to digital, and then back to analog.
The DEQX just might get you where you want to go with your existing system.
As the above poster states the DEQX may be what you need. Or maybe some room treatment if you don't have any. Room acoustics are a huge factor and can drastically change the way your speakers sound. Those are excellent speakers and maybe the Von Schweikerts you would like better but until you make sure your room problems are minimized I think I'd stick with the Thiels. Tact, similar to the Deqx, is also offering refurbed 2.0 units with both a/d and d/a modules for 1500 with a 2 year warranty. Good luck.
You seem confident about your sources so I would suggest another speaker for you to consider - a used pair of Talon Khorus. These are in the $3-4k range on the used market. I was a long time Magnepan 3.3 owner but wanted a more dynamic speaker so I tried the Thiel....both the 3.6 and the 2.3.
These Thiels were both ok but I could not hear what all the hoopla was with Thiel speakers. They sounded too forward at the dealer in an all BAT setup with Linn TT. None of this is bright gear. In my system (all ARC at the time) there was no forwardness but the magic of the Magnepan was absolutely gone. Forget about warmth with Thiels. It's simply not there - I don't care what anyone says. Toe-in, speaker placement, yada yada yada, the warmth is not there. But before I went back to the Magnepan, I tried the Khorus.
The Talons have far more low end extension - absolutely no comparison. There is much more resolution in the treble and somewhat of the Magnepan midrange magic. The Talons are an outstanding dynamic speaker that destroy the Thiels I owned in every way. But keep in mind these Thiels are a "step down" from your CS6. Still, the 3.6 was no huge step up from the 2.3.
If you want to stay with a dynamic speaker try the Talons. I kept mine for my HT system and they are perfect for this. They are a little bigger than the Thiels but not by much. And btw, the Thiel dealer I mentioned was also a VS dealer and I heard the VR4's there. They sounded wonderfully musical vs. the rather analytical Thiel.
hi bundy, just another opinion - I know you listen to mostly vinyl now so you might be buttoned up there,but to reiterate some posts above, your digital source is not going to get you where you want to be. I disagree with Jafox, I have Thiel 3.6's and my system is warm, Thiels can be warm. I've got CJ premier 14 tubes and Macintosh monoblocks with all MIT cabling and it is a very unfatiguing system, sometimes a bit too far on the warm side, especially with mullard 6gk5 tubes. My meridian front end 200/263 is long in the tooth but very analog like and that is where it all starts. you also need alot of room for thiels to breathe, I'm fortunate that I do. Sometimes I find placing your thiels closer together, say 7 to 7.5 feet warms up the presentation and makes the stage deeper. This is contrary to alot of opinions with thiels, but if your room is not dead on you have more room interaction with a greater spread and a more diffuse and bright presentation - at least in my setup. Good luck with your decision.
If the 3.6 is considered one of the warmer sounding models, then no wonder Bundy is wanting more here. I guess it all comes down to what our reference point is to warmth.
If you live in Minnesota and it's 55 degrees in March, that is considered warm. But people in Phoenix were complaining it was cold back in Feb when the temps were 75.
For me, warmth implies more body and presence in the lower mids with great harmonic richness. There's added weight to vocals and piano notes that are so very lush and rich. This is the Magnepan speaker. This is the Cardas Golden Cross (too much in fact). This is the ARC LS5 line stage and VT130 amp. This is the Manley Reference Dac. This is the Koetsu cartridge. This is NOT the Thiel 3.6 speaker!
My Thiels (3.6's) through a very large deep soundstage and are not harsh or bright in any manner; not fatiguing in any way. I have simply not experienced what Jafox is describing. Are they detailed yes without a doubt this is another aspect I like about them. I hear everything the music has to offer. For electronics I have a Conrad Johnson Premier 16lsII and a CJ MF2500A power amp, of which I just sold, an SCD-1 for the front end and all Audioquest cabling Anaconda and Volcano. If your 6.0's are not giving you the dimensionality you are seeking then it is the electronics not the speakers. Just my opinion.
I'm sorry Jafox but I must still disagree, I have what you mentioned with my set-up. The 3.6 is reputed as one of the most nuetral and uncolored floor standing speaker, logic would suggest what goes in must come out - that has been the case for me. All of my electronics and cables lean towards a warm, rich harmonic tone in the lower and upper mids and thats what the 3.6 delivers. I have had other components in my system, even kimber KCTG and KCAG and admittedly it was over the top a bit and was slightly fatiguing. I have also had other dacs that were a little too much of what initially seemed a good thing. Really, I've probably been lucky matching up my components but I've always stuck with the same brands for the most part, just moved up the line. Thiels are alot of work no doubt but well worth it when matched up to your satisfaction and placed properly in the room.
Only way to tell is go listen to them. I heard a pair of the thiels when i sold my old amp And ive heard the von schweikert theres not a day and night diffrence by no means. The von schweikerts need good tuba amplification or its a waste of your time. im running mine with rouge zeus and have evry bit of the extension and are Much more effecient with deep wide soundstage. I wouldnt but a pair new though way too expensive get a good pair of 6's used will blow the thiels away
Explain blow the Thiels away. I just listened to a pair of Wilson Audio Maxx's and I would not say they even blew my 3.6's away let alone 6.0's. Now I admitt I have not heard Von Schweikerts and maybe they are that good. But I do know how good Thiels can sound and it is going to take quite a speaker to blow them (3.6,6.0,7.2)away.
You have to have acoustic materials absorption panels with thiels to close to side walls and too far from the rear walls and short ceilings. My theta digital gear made the widest and deepest soundstage Ive ever heard from any of the thiel loudspeaker
My current system.
Sony SCD-1, Theta Gen VA, Pass Labs x-2 , X-350, Thiel 2.3s Harm Tech Pro Silway II, Pro-9, Audience Power Chords.
I also have to worry about my room measures 12 x 15 x 10 a non dedicated or closed listening room. I am using Jon Risch DIY acoustic panels (on the three(3) 1st reflection points and six(6) smaller panels on the front wall; these have made the greatest impact on sound stage depth. I also use 4 Jon Risch quick & dirty DIY bass traps. All of my materials cost less than $75.00. No tools involved. The Jon Risch DIY acoustics far exceed my expectations. Jon Risch is on the Audio Asylum. Under the Tweakers/DIY Asylum.
It must be you roomand or placement. Listen to Jimi's Voodoo Child (slight return). On the last part of this piece with the CS6s, Jimi's swims in a 360 arc all over my room and front to back. I play this piece to impress friends when I want them to hear why "surround sound" is entirely possible with two channel. The Thiels are 9 feet apart and are slightly toed in. They are 30 inches from the front wall and critical listenign is about 10 feet from the line drawn between the fronts of the speakers. Closing one's eyes they completely disappear. Soundstaging problems are certainly not a concern with these speakers.
There are two versions of "Voodoo Child" on "Electric Ladyland" - the 15 minute job, and then the closing track. Stevecham is referring to the latter. On the label it says "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)".