Thiel Owners


I just scored a sweet pair of CS 2.4SE loudspeakers. Anyone else currently or previously owned this model?
Owners of the CS 2.4 or CS 2.7 are free to chime in as well. Thiel are excellent w/ both tubed or solid-state gear!

Keep me posted & Happy Listening!

Showing 50 responses by unsound

^New to me. The website info is impressive.
@thieliste, Depending on the specific models of course, I think the Krells are closer to the Gryphons than the Brystons. On the used market here in the US one could can get Krell separates that perform closer to the Gryphon separates for less than the price of a Gryphon integrated. Too often in this hobby brands become victims of their own previous success's. They lose the mystique of their elusive exclusivity, and undeservingly become shunned upon by the snobs.
@tmsrdg, re: Spectral and Thiel, the specs you posted are a bit off for both brands. Both brands are a bit better than posted. From a technical standpoint though not quite absolutely ideal they should be an appropriate, adequate combination so long as one doesn’t play too loud and/or play in too large a room. When I lived in NYC my most often used dealer carried both lines. They frequently paired them with various Thiel models. Interestingly, they never seemed to be paired for long durations. I have not heard the combinations with more modern Thiel’s. I’m not quite sure but perhaps the CS 2.3’s were the last models I’ve heard them paired with. From a technical standpoint the more recent Thiel’s are a bit more challenging for the Spectral’s than the legacy Thiel’s, but still appropriate. Sonically, I can imagine models like the CS 3.7’s perhaps being a bit better fit than the legacy Thiel’s. But, that’s just speculative.
FWIW, IMHO, While I have true respect for the Spectral gear, I never much cared for them. To my ears, while fast and clean and pure, they sounded somewhat white and bleached. Spectral was a long time Absolute Sound editor’s choice favorite; Stephen Hill used Thiel 3.5’s with a Spectral DMA-50 amp (Threshold pre and Straightwire Maestro cables) for mastering the "the absolute sound HEARTS of SPACE" recording. And they did work rather well in the famous Avalon, MIT "2C3D" systems that were deservedly quite famous. (FYI, I’m not a fan of MIT cabling with Thiel’s either. YMMV!) The somewhat unique technical characteristics make system matching somewhat more limiting than most, and I would recommend making inquires into parts and service availabilities before purchase.
Not my first choice, but I can certainly imagine others enjoying the combinations.
@Jafant, sure an amp that doubles down from 8 to 4 Ohms is satisfactory enough for a speaker that operates within that load. For a speaker that operates below that, it’s a matter of physics and the necessary electrical engineering to navigate it. After that it’s a matter or taste. I’m not out to burst your bubble, after all the point of all of this is to seek joy. You believe what you want, spend your money as you see fit, but it’s hard to argue with the facts.
@yyzsantabarbara, The latest Krell’s unlike most of the earlier Dan D’Agostino era separates models are no longer spec’d into 2 Ohms. The newest Krell’s like the original models have returned to forced fan cooling. Something I personally don’t care for. I’ll hazard an assumption that at 2 Ohms those Coda Class A specs can be reduced to 25% of their 8 Ohm Class A rating.
@tmsrdg, Thiel recommends as little as 100 Watts for the 3.7’s. IMHO, the 200 minimum you suggested might work better. As I’ve suggested in the past, those are standard 8 Ohm power ratings that should be doubled down with actual minimum impedance.
^It’s all about using the right tool for the job at hand. A different particularly fine tool might be better for a different job.
Tomthiel has offered unique insight regarding the CS5 baffles in this thread.
@jon_5912, Before I forget, let's remember that those calculations were for a 1 meter distance, not the 3 meter recommended distance. Even allowing for the greater efficiency of doubling the channels, and the typical room gain, in practice we can expect much greater power demands in typical use.
@thoft, sounds like a nice piece for a different application.
@thoft, Yes, I’m serious.
@thoft, I once heard B&W 802’s through a Counterpoint hybrid amp playing the most glorious chorale music at one of StereoExchange’s older locations in NYC. A huge space. It was the one and only time I remembered enjoying B&W’s. I had become somewhat friendly with a few of the staff. After about 20 minutes the salesman waived his hand over the Counterpoint and said it was getting hot and he proceeded to shut it down. He then whispered in my ear that these things have a tendency to burst into flames. Something that I’ve heard oft heard repeated over the years since then, 

While some might enjoy these Thiels with tube amps, ultimately I don't  believe tubes are the ideal match:

I can't comment on Pops current cable recommendations, and I know he's previously tried some of the following, but I'll put them forward any way:

Alpha-Core Goertz (w/ rc networks or zobels)



Wire World


^Interesting, your impressions of the MI 2's vs. the MI 3's were so different than mine. I found the MI 3's to negate the emphasis of the brightness region (mid to lower treble), centering  the sonic midrange, and though appearing contradictory; making the bass both tighter and richer . Perhaps it's due to different model Thiel's, with different amps, in different rooms through different ears. :-)

oblgny, the older Thiels such as your 3.5's (I'm a big fan) were much more accommodating to tube amps  with very steady impedances that didn't drop below the 4 Ohms. Thiels such as the CS 5's, and later ones with concentric drivers presented a very different load to amplifiers.
^The CS 5's are wonderful, but besides the need for an appropriate room, they really need a large amplifier budget.
Maplegrovemusic, ones room and listening position will ultimately determine speaker positioning. The Thiels are very accurate off axis to begin with, and straight ahead positioning can help provide a wide soundstage as well as negate some brightness. More importantly to attain driver integration and wave form fidelity; one should sit at least 8' from Thiels.

dar57, Most rooms vary enough, that there are no hard rules. My room is very similar to yours, though I do have a rather high ceiling.

I prefer the long wall placement when it can work. I have my Thiel's backs out 3' from the wall behind them, 10' apart center to center, >5' from speaker cabinet wall to side wall, with my listening position close up against the opposing wall with a large piece of thick foam with thick fabric covering, speakers are about 9' from the listening position firing straight ahead, without toe in.

Of course one could use other approaches, i.e., rule of thirds, etc.. With Thiels  do try to keep 8'-12' from listening position to speaker. Keeping the entertainment center cabinet well away from the speakers is a very good idea!

Pops, thanks, but perhaps except for the long wall placement; it's more like reading the manual :-). I have tried other placements, the Dunlavy approach was especially insightful, but Thiel's recommendations seems to work best, at least for me.

The bottom placement of the speaker terminals might be nuisance when auditioning cables, but once one's decided upon their favorite cables, I find their unobtrusive appearance and the hidden from children, pets, etc. a bonus. I would think again about raising the speakers.

BTW, why travel to get cables when cables can come to you;

oblgny, At the risk of appearing petty, the 3.5's come with an external equalizer or bass booster not a cross-over. Though the smooth impedance rise with it's insertion mitigates its total demand on amplifiers, it does put added demands on amplifiers none the less. The point being, extra power can be quite beneficial with these particular speakers.

It appears as though you might be able to use the Primare i22 with the 3.5's if you aren't using the tape loop for anything else.

Though it was some time ago, and the state of Class D amps might have progressed since then, Jim Thiel once told me that Class D amps were only suitable for subwoofers, and not competitive with traditional amps further up the frequency range.

If you like to try different gear with your Thiel 3.5's, I suggest you consider some iron fists in a velvet glove old school high out
put big iron: Krell, Threshold, etc.

I suppose the MF200 would sort of qualify. I'm a fan of c-j ss. I ran an MF 80 with CS 2's (Thiel's easiest load) when I had a smaller room years ago. The c-j's don't quite double down the same way, and the bass isn't quite as tight. A small bit of c-j warmth coloration seeps through, but that isn't exactly unwelcome with these older Thiels. The c-j ss amps match very nicely with most tube pres as well. C-j's own ss pres are quite nice too. BTW, I found the Goertz Alpha-Core MI series cables to work beautifully with c-j and Thiel.

I keep an eye on Class D, though I haven't heard all the latest. Conceptually I love the idea,  and while there are differences amongst them, I find the treble curious on all of them. Is it because I'm not used to such a clean presentation, or are they lacking in harmonic extension? I'm not really sure. What little there is of published measurements are not especially encouraging. I hope I can look forward to your sharing  your impressions of them, especially with the 3.5's!

^Not at all surprised that the AR pre imparts less warmth than the c-j pre.
I too am a Pass fan. Perhaps you might enjoy Pass's previous products: Threshold. Which were reputed to be used by Jim Thiel when developing these earlier Thiels (& Pass used Thiels amongst others then too). Good examples should be considerably less expensive than more recent Pass Labs. Keep in mind that these older amps might need some refreshing: caps, bias, etc..

oblgny, I've heard the other arguments, but I steadfastly believe that "backasswards" is exactly how you should build a system! Starting with knowing how much of the contents of the billfold in your back pocket your willing to depart with, to the listening position in your room (where the sum everything before comes together), and the room (don't forget the treatment) is so important, then to speakers (the most colored of components, so make sure that those colorizations are the least objectionable possible) that will vary more in rooms more so than the vast majority of reasonably compatible electronics ever will, to the amplification needed to drive those speakers in that room, then keep going back to the source(s), then to the rack, finally fine tune with cables.

If you like Pass Labs, there's a good chance you'll like Threshold, some even prefer the Thresholds.

Curious that they list the doubling down 4 Ohm rating of their A60 amp (250/500 both channels driven) but not their A34.2. If it's not specified, I'd be hesitant to assume anything.

Unless the amp has lots of power to spare, if it doesn't double down, it will compromise frequency linearity with most dynamic speakers such as your Thiels.

^I don't see a 4 Ohm spec for the A32.4 on Primare's web site, do you know what it is?
^non-specific specifications:-).
I'd jump on those 5's as well, except for the cost of appropriate amplification.
Steve, I'm glad your happy with that sound.

The 3.5's and 3.6's used different drivers, similar but different cross-overs. The 3.5's used bass eq/boosted sealed boxes, and with the 3.6's a passive radiator.

IMHO, the 3.5's are more coherent, have deeper bass response, and are easier to amplify. The 3.6's are more refined and suave in the mid to upper frequencies, and are capable of more dynamic range.

The amplification requirements of both requires careful consideration, especially for the 3.6's. With that said, most seem to prefer the 3.6's and I seem to be I the minority of preferring the 3.5's.

Oblgny, I'd suggest trying the 40 Hz setting on Thiel's eq and using the sub below that point. This might increase the dynamic range, and "ease". Though the dynamic range of the bass on the 3.5's isn't it's strongest point, overall the Thiel 3.5's stereo bass w/ eq  provides better bass than many subs. So much of this depends on your  amp and especially your room.

^If I may; it's not a typical eq. It's really a bass only booster.

 By compensating for the natural bass roll off of the 10' woofers in a relatively modest sized sealed box cabinet Jim Thiel (and others including B&W, KEF ,etc.) was able to make a truly full range speaker with a high WAF.

 The disadvantage of this approach is a bit more cabling in the loop, and more demands on the woofers and amplifier (more on this later), and of course the rightly or wrongly audiophile thought of anathema of putting more electronics in the path.

The advantage is of course true full range bass (!) in a much less expensive to make (well) and easier to sell smaller cabinet. Some have suggested less energy storage, and tighter response from the smaller woofers than would otherwise be necessary as a plus.

 As for the extra amplifier demands, yes it's true, but in the case of the Theil 3.5's it's not quite as challenging as it might first appear.  The 3.5's are spec'd as 4 Ohm nominal, 4 Ohm minimum, and they do have a very smooth steady impedance, but at 70 Hz,  the eq gradually starts to put more and more demands on the amplifier to compensate for that typical sealed box roll off, but just as that happens the impedance plot starts to increase  and ergo so does the sensitivity. See, quite brilliant.

Jim put  one small switch on the eq to access bass response to either 40 Hz or 20 Hz to  adapt to different sized rooms or musical demands. By musical demands I mean bass volume. Some music such a much popular music doesn't have much below 40 Hz but is typically played very loud in that region, where as other music such as much classical music might go deeper but not necessarily as loud there. The 3.5's can play deep bass quite loudly in typical rooms, but truth be told, one can only bend the laws of physics so far; very loud, very deep bass still needs a much bigger and much more expensive speaker system.

 As Jim Thiel once told me, unfortunately the eq raised a red flag to many audiophiles with preconceived prejudices. One might imagine that with today's digital room correction eq's this strategy might return, as one could not only dial in accurate bass to anechoic standards, but also to customers individual rooms in the very frequency range most likely to be problematic.

^oops, that's a 10" woofer not a 10' woofer. :-)
^Interesting how Jim Thiel's own subs were all sealed boxes.
^I can't help you with that.
 Yes, some of the Coda guys came from Threshold, and the some of the similarities are quite obvious.
Oblgny, the 2.4's will be smoother, more refined in the upper midrange/treble, the 3.5's are more coherent throughout, have deeper bass and is much easier to drive.
Many, if not most would choose the 2.4's, I much prefer the sealed box 3.5's.
^I prefer the bottom mounted cable terminals:-).

Oblgny, I'm confident that you would find that Coda amp very satisfactory with either Thiel.
^IME, moving from a 3 series to a 2 series is not "...moving up...".
^Some of the Pass Aleph series amps might not be suitable.
^ FWIW, it does appear to be a very good value, butI think you'll find the Coda integrated will have less Class A bias than the separates.
oblgny, The spikes for the 3.5's are intended to couple the speakers to the floor where appropriate(!). These early Thiels were provided with two sets of spikes, one set was blunt tipped for direct contact with hard, firm flooring and the other set was pointed in order to pierce through carpeting to make contact with firm flooring. The spikes when inserted into the speaker bases hardly protruded, and not intended to be used just to elevate the speakers. In fact, Thiel suggested not using them when the speakers would be placed on flooring that might vibrate with such coupling. Thiel used to offer the replacement spikes for a very nominal fee.   
robinbarbour, While that would seem to make sense, I can't confirm or deny that to be true. Please keep in mind that while up until very recently one could find many attributes that Thiel speakers shared, Jim Thiel got there through various means. With the speakers under consideration, the 3.5's and 6's used eq'd sealed boxes or passive radiators, different box volumes, and perhaps most importantly different drivers and at different price points.
The Thiel CS 6's are less sensitive, the minimum impedance nearly half that of the Theil 3.5's, and the Thiel recommended more power for the CS 6's (100-400 Watts per channel) than the CS 3.5's (50-250 Watts per channel).
saffron_boots, Yes, Jim Thiel told me that his power recommendations were based upon quality 8 Ohm ss amplification ratings that could double down, and if one were to choose to use tube amplification they should double the power accordingly.
I had the opportunity to speak with him a few times, and he was always a patient, perfect gentleman.
I too am enamored with the 3.5's, IMHO all things considered, it might have been his best product. It takes much more money to get somewhat better performance. Being the absolute bargains they were when new, and even more so now on the used market, I fear that some don't realize that for them to be all they can be, they need to be fed with appropriate gear that could very well exceed the current cost of these speakers.
If your ever feeling generous about wine recommendations, please share! Though they're usually a bit out of my budget for regular consumption, amongst others, I have a particular fondness for both red and white Burgundies, and late harvest Rieslings.:-) 
Jafant, it might be a bit more complicated than that.