Thiel Owners


Guys-

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!
jafant

Showing 50 responses by yyzsantabarbara

I want to ask folks here about replacement drivers for the CS3.7. 

I am wondering if I should buy 2 tweeter/midrange drivers and keep in storage for potential future need. I plan to keep this speaker of years. 

Does the replacement of the driver just require unscrewing, soldering, and screwing the driver back on? Does it require any audio calibration after replacement to get it to factory spec? I have asked this question to Coherent Source but have not heard back from them yet. I thought I would also ask here too.

@unsound I hear you. I have very good sound now, I cannot stop listening. However, I think there is still another level I can get with more power. I sent Rory Rail at Benchmark an email asking about a second AHB2. I know 2 AHB2 and the CS3.7 has been discounted on this thread but I wanted to get confirmation from Benchmark before I close the door on that.

I forgot how fast the C3.7 sounds. Just an incredible speaker. I am incredibly happy I went with the CS3.7 over the newer speakers I had demoed and liked a lot. I love the CS3.7 sound, it just feels correct.
I did some online research and I found out that 1 AHB2 in stereo puts out 259 watts into 2 Ohms.  That is not too bad.

https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/speaker-efficiency-and-amplifier-power

Near the bottom in the section titled, " AHB2 OUTPUT VOLTAGE AND OUTPUT POWER"

They do not list any specs for mono mode at 2 Ohms.
Great info thanks. 

I will likely hear back from Benchmark that mono is not doable with the CS3.7. Your comments give even better reason to look at other options.
Let me chime in on the amp for the CS3.7. I will be getting mine on Saturday and will hook up a single Benchmark AHB2 ($3K) which has 194 watt at 4 Ohms. My room is small. I think the slightly warm top end of the CS3.7 will work well with the very neutral AHB2. If it does I will get a second ABB2 to run in mono since this stereo amp was designed to run even better in mono (or bridged). A long thread on A'gon about this topic.

If the AHB2 is not a good match with the CS3.7. The Luxman m900u and the CODA #8 for $6K or the CODA #12 are what I would consider next. These 3 amps are much more warmer than the AHB2. I don't think I will need to go this route but the CODA's and Luxman amp should be rather good with the CS3.7.
I meant to say the new CODA #16 that is supposed to be super quiet.
When I spoke to Rob Gillum about the robustness of the COAX he said that it was something that should last a very long time. However, he observed that most of the damaged COAX drivers occurred because people thought a $13K speaker can play as loud as an amp was capable.

I blew out my old Revel Salon 1 tweeters a couple of times with my Bryston 600 watt mono blocks. I have learned my lesson of playing too loud.

What this means to me is that the 3.7's are my permanent take to the grave office speakers (not blasting it in the office). I will get something else for my living room.
I never got the accolades given to the Cowboy Junkies "Trinity Sessions" album when I listened to it with all the other semi-decent systems I had. With the CS3.7 I get this album. Rather brilliant recording on the 3.7's.
I do not have a good baseline to compare and offer an opinion. My COAX was wired out of phase and also wired incorrectly between the tweeter and mid-range (on 1 COAX). This COAX was likely damaged from that second mess up. When I got the speaker home I definitely could hear some nastiness with that COAX. I could not hear it at the previous owners place. So I attribute that to amplification or me not listening so intently. 
I was mentioning getting a CODA #8 amp to power the CS3.7's. Well today I bought a used CODA CSib integrated that is maybe good for the CS3.7. I bought the integrated for my KEF LS50's and the new RAAL SR1a headphone amp that I will get sometime in 2021 (demoing at home now). 

I will put the CODA on the CS3.7 and compare with the 2 Benchmark AHB2's which will be my reference. I have a second AHB2 on order.
@sandydennis11  My fav speakers are #2 Thiel CS 3.7 and #1 KEF Blades. If you have the room those Blades would be an improvement from my side of the fence.
@jafant I heard the Bryston 4B3 + BP17 Cubed with Vandersteen a few weeks ago at a very high end shop. Being a previous Bryston owner I am familiar with the sound. The top end was definitely less harsh and the sound and soundstage was similar to the Benchmark AHB2 (which I just sold).

The only thing that struck me as a negative was that the sound was not projected out from the speakers as much as with the Mark Levinson 585 integrated that I heard 20 minutes earlier at another shop. I noticed the same thing with the AHB2 when I compered it to the ML 585 and Magico A3 (same room same gear).

I spoke to Gary Dayton of Bryston and he said that the BP 17 is the best sounding preamp in the lineup now and that the BP-26 will get cubed soon.


If anyone is interested. The CS3.7 I got had some scratches on the top black shell. So I contacted Rob Gillum and he told my to use a semi flat black #1613. So last night I taped the speakers up with some great 3M plastic wrap and spray painted it with the following.

Krylon 1613 Semi flat black spray paint 12oz -   $7.40

The shell looks brand new.

@tomthiel  I was reading a lot of posts all over the internet on Benchmark because I am currently buying some of their gear, including a couple of AHB2's. From what I read, I think the AHB2 gets a lot of respect in the HiFi community. Some people do not like it saying it is too dry for their tastes. Personally, I do not feel that way and love it (I owned it before).

Today, I was speaking with Mike Siau (maybe the son of John) of Benchmark on some issue with my HPA4 preamp. An incredible sounding unit which I am now wondering if I should buy a second unit. There was some minor issue with something and he did some somersaults to make sure things would get resolved ASAP without me missing a second of music. I feel good about supporting companies like this.
@brayeagle Last time I heard Bryston was a demo Gary Dayton was giving with Vandersteen in Southern Cal.. I asked him to compare the 26 vs the 17 cubed and he said the 17 cubed was the way to go. He claimed the new electronics were much better in the 17 cubed over the older 26 (which I owned for a few years)
Advice from Thiel owners. There is a 3.7 for sale on A'gon which I am sure a lot of you have seen. My room is 12x11x9 and acoustically treated. I listen while I work so the sound level is low to medium. Am I crazy to consider the 3.7's for this space.

https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/7605

I have always been of the opinion that the 3.7's were one of the best speakers I have ever heard and I have heard a lot of very expensive speakers.
@brayeagle I need to put my next floor standers in the space where the KEF LS50’s now reside. I cannot move anything now. I have identified 2 speakers that will work, Vivid Kaya 45, Paradigm Persona 3F, and maybe Yamaha NS5000. However, the 3.7’s is something I have a greater affinity for, even after all these years.

I would never have considered the 3.7 for this space but the person selling had them in a 10 x 10 space, which shocked me. I was left wondering if at low to med volume and in an acoustically treated room, would the 3.7’s work for me.

I owned the SCS4’s long ago and I believe they would work fine in this treated room.
Thanks everyone for your feedback on the 3.7's. My accountant was a party pooper today by informing me I have to make a larger than expected tax payment on Oct 15th. So no chance to make an offer on the 3.7 today.

However, I am going to keep my eyes open for other 3.7's for sale after the Christmas holidays. 
@tomthiel I am a huge Thiel fan myself. 

If I could find a 2.7 I would be interested but these things are becoming harder to find. Lucky for me the tax man is keeping me broke for a few more months. I will keep an eye out for the 3.7 or 2.7 because the coaxial driver and the dispersion pattern of these 2 speakers are good for my seating position. I am seated slight more to the left side of the room.
@thieliste  I do not want to press my luck. I won't elaborate on a public forum.

A few years ago some dealer in Southern Cal. had like something like 6 Thiel 3.7 speakers in storage that they wanted to clear out. I had no place to store it at that time. I should have got a storage unit, a real shame.
Thanks guys. I have been looking into the 2.7’s today.

The 3 office speakers I have previously narrowed down my search are 10K, 15K, and 18K MRSP. I know I would get the same audio happiness buying a 3.7 and the price would be a lot better. The 2.7 would seem like a smarter choice for my room and even cheaper. Those other speakers now are starting to seem a little expensive given my rekindled excitement for the Thiel.

A light-bulb moment for me today was when I realized a used 3.7 would be a good choice for my living room downstairs. It is 22 x 13 x 30+. There is an additional 5 feet that can be added to the 13 feet room width if I include the staircase. Currently that room is my toddlers play room and has no furniture (just toys). I have been trying to think of a dream speaker I can get down there that is sturdy (my 3 year old is strong), with strong drivers, and sounds great. It will get dinged up with the boy and his friends but these things are meant to be enjoyed.
I won't get a 2.7 or 3.7  for the office if I get the 3.7 for the downstairs. I just have to convince the wife that a toddler needs a 3.7. Though when we were dating 12 years ago she went with me to an audition of the 3.7 (in a smallish room) and I told her I would get this speaker one day. I had Revel Salon 1 at that time and loved the 3.7 so much more than the Salons. Good thing is my kid loves music like me and so does the wife, though a little less crazy than me about it.

At the time of the Salons I had a house in the woods in the Bay Area, CA and could crank my music at any time and any level. I got the house to fit the speakers (single life). I downsized from the Revel Salons to the AudioengineUSA 2+ desktop speakers ($299) when I moved down the coast with the wife.

If I cannot convince her of the 3.7 for the downstairs then a 2.7 or 3.7 for the upstairs. 

@tomic601 Thanks for the Thiel offer. I have my eyes on the Thiel 3.7 for the downstairs now.

A speaker you did recommend  to me in another post will get a much stronger second for look my office, the Vandersteen Treo CT. All this Thiel thinking made me circle back on the Treo CT.
A hypothetical question. How would the Thiel 3.7 sound in room that is 12’ W x 21’ L + 25' H. The main issue is the unequal side wall distances.

The speaker would need to go on the short wall. Facing the speakers, the right speaker would be 2 feet from the side and about 1.5 feet from the front wall. The left speaker would be 1.5 feet from the front wall but about 7 feet from the left side wall. There is a room entrance that is 5 feet wide and I am not including that area in the overall room because that space turns immediately into a staircase.

So my question is how would the Thiel 3.7 sound in this uneven side wall space room WITHOUT acoustic treatments?

Would I need to get a preamp with Balance controls to boost the left side?
Actually the ceiling is 25+ feet. The Width is 12 and Length is 21 feet. It is impossible for me to put the speakers along the long wall. California homes for the most part are not audio friendly.

Do you think the short wall (with non-uniform side wall distance) is a no go for the 3.7? I have some other speakers I am considering for this space but I wanted to investigate the 3.7 first.

The Yamaha NS 5000 is one speaker I am considering and that has foam plug on the back that can do some tricks when 1 speaker is not the same distance from the side wall as the other.

Another speaker under consideration is the Paradigm Persona 9H with it’s bass management.
I think they must have hired the Audiogon developers to help them. I called the 2 contact  numbers listed and both do not work.
Were there any changes to the CS 3.7 during its production run?



Thanks guys for the feedback. Now let's see if I can snag one.
@thieliste Thanks. Can this be easily done or would the speaker need to be shipped to Coherent Source Service?

Years ago I bought a cool car instead of the Thiel 3.7’s. I sold the car 2 weeks ago on Facebook, it was crazy, sold in less than an hour. I am thinking of getting that CS3.7 that got away all those years ago with the car sale proceeds.
Just bought a pair of CS3.7's. Going to drive and pick it up on Saturday.

It has been 12 years since I demoed and wanted to buy the CS 3.7 and the stars aligned quickly this past 3 weeks. I was going to buy the Yamaha NS5000 for the office but the CS3.7 will fit better (less bass) and I love this model. 

I am going to be putting this in my office which is way too small. However, I did demo them long ago in a small room (with subs no less). I also have the room acoustically treated and I am going to call up Mitch Barnett of Acoustic Sounds in Canada to develop a few convolution files (DRC) to run my digital via ROON.

My analog only SACD player may not work with the CS3.7 in this room since I won't be able to do DRC with that, but I also like headphones for that player.

I do have a much larger room downstairs for this speaker if I cannot make it work in the office, but my toddler has that as his play room. I can share with him once he goes back to school. Pretty sure this DRC exercise in the office will be successful, especially with the CS3.7.

My gear is an all Benchmark stack, HPA4 preamp | DAC3B | AHB2 amp | Benchmark Speaker cables | Benchmark StarQuad XLR between pre-amp and amp | Audience AU24 SE on 3 sources to the preamp.

I believe this should be a good sounding setup. If not the CS 3.7's go downstairs. I will likely get a second AHB2 to run in mono.
Thanks guys. I sold my SCS4 about 6 years ago and was not expecting to get a CS3.7. However, room treatments and DRC have made the CS3.7 placement seem possible in my office. I also have comfort with how to resolve problems with the CS3.7 from what I learned on this thread.

I do not think there will be a degradation of the sound via DRC, maybe an enhancement due to better room matching. That is getting the frequency curve to best match my room.

https://www.amazon.com/Accurate-Sound-Reproduction-Using-DSP-ebook/dp/B01FURPS40/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1...

This is the guy who I will get to make the optimal frequency curve for my room. This will be implemented as Convolution File(s). The execution of these files are supported in software such as ROON and JRiver. Sort of 2020's equivalent of the old hardware equalizer.

I got a cherry veneer CS3.7 which matches all my furniture in the office.  Was not trying to do that but it was a nice bonus.

The Gryphon Diablo should make a nice pairing with the CS3.7 or CS2.7. It will be interesting to see if my gear will work with the CS3.7. My gear is very neutral but the CS3.7 has a bit of warmth on top from what I remember so it should work. My current KEF LS50s sound great with the Benchmark gear. The aluminum coincident driver on the LS50s  is similar in intent to the CS3.7.
@scubabird
I think the KEF's are a bit like the Thiel's with the same type of tweeter and midrange combination (some similar sonic characteristics). I went from the Thiel SCS4 to the KEF LS50 and now to CS3.7. I preferred the LS50 in a smaller room over the SCS4.  SCS4 could play better in the larger room. 

I got some feedback to my driver replacement questions from Rob Gillium.

1) The driver replacement is fairly easy. Remove, solder , and secure. No sound calibration is necessary, but the drivers do require some playing time for break-in. The break-in time is usually around 200 hours, at a moderate volume level.

2) The CS2.7 and CS3.7 coaxes are $525 each, plus shipping. The woofers for the CS3.7 are $400 each, and the Passive Radiators are $200 each, plus shipping.

3) The newer crossover was added at serial number #882 (rev 2). I prefer the older style crossover which was done with point-to-point soldering on masonite. The newer style (revision 2) was done on a PC board.

4) The cap of the CS3.7 is power coated, however the original versions were an anodized aluminum (smooth). All versions can be touched up with a black semi-flat krypton paint #1613. 



@tomthiel I will have the following audio system on Saturday with an almost pure Benchmark setup.

Thiel CS3.7 | DAC3B | HPA4 preamp | single AHB2 amp | 2 tuners | SACD | 15 foot StarQuad XLR peamp-2-amp | Audience AU24 SE XLR and RCA | Benchmark speaker cable.

I went with the all Benchmark setup because I thought the HPA4 was the best piece of audio gear I ever heard and wanted to hear this gear in what Benchmark considers the optimal setup. They recommend professional StarQuad XLR. A lot of documentation on their web site.

The system today sounds very clear and neutral with my KEF LS50’s. No fatigue or harshness whatsoever. It definitely does not have that warm detailed glow of the Luxman m900u amp I heard and would not mind buying. It is more like a peek into the recording studio with this gear as compared to something like the Luxman.

I think the neutral Benchmark stack sounds even better than the most neutral system I have demoed in the past, a SimAudio stack with $15K-$20K pieces. I also like it much better than my old Bryston 4B-SST and 7B-SST gear I owned with Thiel SCS4 and KEF LS50. There is less harshness and fatigue compared to these 2 others.

My SACD player is a 20 year old modified Sony SCD-1 that sounds much warmer than my Benchmark DAC3B. I have started to play the SCD-1 again with increasing regularity since it sounds so incredible through the noiseless Benchmark stack. You can really flavor the sound with different types of sources since the Benchmark does not add anything to it. Some may not like this character but for me it is a revelation and the fact that is cheaper than the other options I was considering is icing on the cake.

I am not sure if the 4 Ohm CS3.7 will work with the single AHB2, pretty sure 2 AHB2’s will work. My room is small and i do not play that loud in my office. However, if the AHB2 is not a good match, the CS3.7 goes to another room and the AHB2 stays.
"Running Benchmark AHB2 in bridged mode and 4 Ohm Speaker "


https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/running-benchmark-ahb2-in-bridged-mode-and-4-ohm-speaker?high...

Here is the designer of the AHB2 addressing the posts on the thread linked above.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/running-benchmark-ahb2-in-bridged-mode-and-4-ohm-speaker/post...

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/running-benchmark-ahb2-in-bridged-mode-and-4-ohm-speaker/post...

BTW - I think the Purifi amps from guys like March Audio in Australia could be similar to the AHB2.

@unsound I saw your prior post on this and do have some concern that the amp may not work. Not a big deal if it does not, the CS3.7 is not going anywhere nor is the Benchmark stack. I plan on setting up 2 rooms once things get back to normal.

The Magico A3 speaker I demoed at a store with my old AHB2 sounded closed in with a single AHB2. I actually sold it after that demo since I was thinking I was going to get the Luxman. Though that changed when I bought the HPA4 and then re-purchased the AHB2.

I will find out soon enough. Unfortunately I do not have funds available to buy a second AHB2 in the short term.

BTW - Did you read the Benchmark designers comments on the links I posted above?

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/running-benchmark-ahb2-in-bridged-mode-and-4-ohm-speaker/post...

This is his profile on A’gon.
https://forum.audiogon.com/users/gearbuilder
@tomthiel @tmsrdg A big thanks for the posts about John Siau’s analysis and the hands on experience with the AHB2 + CS3.7. You guys just saved me a whole bunch of hassle. I can just concentrate on the single stereo amp and it sounds like I have a good combo for the CS3.7.

I think I will keep my eyes open for whatever Purifi comes out with. They are supposedly looking to delivery a new much more powerful Class D amplification module. I have not heard the first gen Purifi amps yet but they seem very similar to the AHB2.

BTW -  @tmsdrg I also tried the StarQuad XLR's on my sources but found that the Audience Au24 SE XLR was preferred. I happily use StarQuad for preamp-2-amp.



Well it was a car long journey to pick up my new Thiel CS3.7. A stop at IKEA for some kid shopping and a little driving day dreaming made it longer trip than expected. 

I am testing the speakers out now in my small office (see virtual systems for some old photos). In my treated room with my Benchmark gear, specifically the AHB2. The speakers do not seem to hit as hard as I remember. It also does not sound that much better than my KEF LS50's with the same Benchmark gear (a match made in heaven). It has more bass but the sound seems a little inhibited. On a scale of a 100. If the LS50 is a 60 the CS3.7 with the AHB2 seems like a 75. 

My room is not idea for a speaker like the CS3.7 but I am not getting any fatigue even though I am playing music a little louder than normal. Maybe my room is a bit dead.

Currently playing Van Halen debut. I can feel the bass notes hitting me but it does not seem that powerful. Now this could be an attribute of the amp. Some reviews of the AHB2 were mentioning that the bass tends to sound leaner. I think this sound is taking me back to my demo of the Magico A3 with a single AHB2 which I did not like. Though the CS3.7 sounds better than the A3 with the AHB2. The A3 was also in a much bigger room. Many factors that could be the cause of this difference.

Now when I demoed these speakers a decade ago with top end Classe gear it was a religious experience (a 99/100). The second best speaker demo I ever had (KEF Blade #1).  This is not what I am hearing now. It sounds very good but not incredible. I know incredible is hidden in these speakers.

I am getting a microphone next week to do some measurements. I will work with Mitch Barnett from Accurate Sound to create some Convolution files (DRC) for this setup to run on ROON. I don't think that will fix what I hearing or not hearing since the room acoustic seem to be decent at the moment. The DRC will make the room acoustics to be excellent.

I have 3 amps that I thought I would look at if the AHB2 was not a good match for the CS3.7.  The new CODA #16 maybe the best choice to match my HPA4 preamp since that amp is also very quiet (almost AHB2 level) and Class A for 100 watts. I need to research a bit more on that. The CODA #8 is a bit nosier but may be good enough at $6K. The Luxman m900u would also be great. Luckily I have no cash to spend and will use the AHB2 for some time and play around with DRC and placement. 

The great thing is that the CS3.7 seems to work in my tiny room without DRC. Which was very unexpected. So the CS3.7 is a longer term keeper.

My 4 year old son was listening to Van Halen with me on the bean bag and passed out sleeping. He was not feeling it either.

BTW - I am keeping the AHB2. It is a great amp for a matching speaker. A shame 2 mono's do not work with the CS3.7

@catalysis The reason the AHB2 is a keeper is because it is an outstanding amp. In the top 3 of amps I have heard, I like silence. The fact that it works for me so well with the KEF LS50 is reason alone to keep it since I am not getting rid of the LS50.

My office is small, so some subs are physically not possible. I have heard the CS3.7 sound great with a different amp so I will do some investigation and get it right for me. 

I forgot to mention that there maybe a new Purifi Class D amp (hear me out) with much bigger specs than the first iteration could be coming out soon. Now a few folks are raving about the Purifi modules like that review on SoundStageGlobal.com, comparing it  with $40K amps. These Purifi amps are in the AHB2 price range and are also almost as silent. They however, have more power where the Thiel CS3.7 could use.

I just read a post by someone from Brazil with a CS3.7 that is expecting a future Purifi amp with 1200 watts at 2 Ohms. He was saying that would be great for his speaker. I think I really need to investigate these new Purifi modules before I go down the road of a Class A or AB amp.

There was some info by TomThiel a few days ago mentioning the AHB2's designers analysis of the various Thiel models and the suitability to the AHB2 or 2 AHB2 in mono. You maybe able to figure out the suitability of the CS3.5 from that post. 

BTW - I had the DAC2 HGC into the AHB2 long ago and sold both. When I bought the HPA4 (or LA4) the DAC went up in quality a lot as compared to direct to amp. The Benchmark preamp is incredible, my favourite component from them. I have the DAC3B now but the DAC2 is just as good.
@unsound  I was thinking of getting a hardware based DRC system in the past. I looked at Room Perfect, Space Optimization, Deqx (sp?), and ARC3. I remember Space Optimization was describing setups where you can place the speaker against a wall and have the sound processed as if the speaker was in the optimal positioning away from the wall.

The DRC I will explore will be a software based solution running on my ROON Server (in another room).

https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/bits-and-bytes/what-is-accurate-sound-r923/

A note about the CS3.7 sound now. I am listening to the radio late at night at low volume. I seem to be hearing everything but just lower volume. I think that is a compliment to the speaker and the preamp (which I rave about). In the past, when I used to go DAC directly into the AHB2 I hated low volume listening. I felt like I was missing parts of the sound, not so with the HPA4 preamp. The CS3.7 is an added bonus for late night listening. Reproducing all that the preamp is feeding it.

I posted some photos of my room,
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/7605
Some interesting changes with the AHB2 and the CS3.7 after some playing last night and repositioning. I did the following for todays listen.

1) I moved the speakers closer to the side wall, 26 inches from the center of the tweeter to the side wall. Much closer than the manual recommends.

2) I moved the speaker back closer to the front wall, now 20 inches from the wall.  Much closer than the manual recommends.

3) I moved the GIK Acoustic panel that absorbs the first reflection further up away from the speaker by about 6 inches.

4) I lowered the balance adjustment on my preamp from 2 units favoring the right speaker down to 0. I used 2 for the KEF LS50's in a slightly different placement. I am slight off-center in my desk sitting position so this balance adjust was needed. I listen with my back to the speakers. Not as bad as it seems, it is actually pretty amazing given what I have work with. 

5) I moved some of my funky audio rack so that there was less surface area of the rack for the sound waves to hit. I hid some of this inside main rack. 

********************************************************

Even though this speaker is 8 years old, I think this speaker needed some warmup from not being used for a while. What I am hearing now sounds like a speaker breaking in, but doing it very fast. The seller had a new speaker setup so the CS3.7 was likely not  used for a while, not sure about this.

This is the sound I am hearing tonight with the same tracks as last night. The Van Halen debut sounds explosive today, just as it is supposed to. It sounds much more alive and large. I can hear the performers with more detail and separation. The bass is still lean but more present, I can hear it better. The great attribute of the AHB2 is the ability to feel like the performers are in the room with you, this is starting to happen.

I also played Bob Marley Exodus tonight, which has a lot of bass in the recording and it sounded very good. In my scale from 1 to 100. Right now the AHB2 + CS3.7 is like a 85. This may get to a level of excellence with more break-in or adjustments.

I think I will need to give the speaker a few more days of playing to see if it gets broken in more and then do another round of repositioning. My placement from yesterday may have been better.

So at the moment. I have much more bass with some room reinforcement and the speaker waking up from storage. Though it is a lean sounding bass and not fat, I like the lean sound. The treble sounds a little harder than the LS50. Not bad but a softening or warming up of the sound would be idea. 

I am starting to feel good about this setup.
@tmsrdg Not a trader but a long bag holder on a stock that was supposed to pay for this current audio system. Next year will be the year for that (which I say every year). 

I do software development. I have a lot of servers on the cloud that run production services which I wrote and manage. So I need a lot of monitors to see activity across the cloud machines and services.

@thieliste I know you were not referencing me on the DAC comment but have you heard any of the top end Luxman DACs. There is a new DAC chip in the $16K D-10X SACD that is supposed to be great. I heard the previous top of the line Luxman SACD's DAC and it was great. This new chip is supposed to measure like a Mola Mola Tambaqui and sound like a R2R. I am waiting for Luxman to release a DAC only version with this new chip. 

***************************************************************

The Thiel CS3.7 speakers have about 20 ours already in my house and it sounds totally different from the first couple of hours. Things have opened up with some explosive and fast sound. The soundstage is large and the great attributes of the AHB2 are being heard. A clear, almost like you are there with the performers. I do not get that feeling with other amps.

However, I think the amp is not the first choice for the CS3.7 if I had an unlimited selection of amps to choose from. I think more power would give the sound a little more grunt when it is called for. The top end is maybe a little harder than I want. Now this could be because the Thiel Coax driver plays harder than my KEF LS50. Or, my room is small and I am getting reflections (likely off my ceiling) that are smearing things up a little. My KEF's sounded a bit softer on top but they do not have the larger frequency response as the CS3.7 (in a small room). I am also playing it rather loud now since I am enjoying it. The DRC application that I am planning should be very interesting.

I can definitely say the AHB2 is a very very good amp on the Thiel CS3.7. It is not the best sound I have heard from this speaker but it is close and maybe the most clear. An ideal amp would be something that has the clear and silent background sound of the AHB2, with a bit more warmth, and a bit more power or grunt. The amps I listed before have some aspects of all of these attributes, though that AHB2 silent circuitry may not be duplicated by the others. I will test them out in house when I have the time, money, and energy. Right now I am just going to enjoy what I have since it sounds real good, a homerun in my books. Thanks Mr. Jim Thiel.

The best sound I ever got from the KEF LS50’s was with the AHB2. However, the LS50’s does not have much bass but is still rather good in a small room Now if a speaker can benefit from 2 AHB2’s, and a lot can, then that is another story.

I just listened to Linda Ronstadt’s Greatest Hits on the CS3.7 and single AHB2 and it sounded wonderful. I actually listened to it 2 times since I enjoyed it so much. However, listening to things like Zeppelin leaves me wanting more power.

I am keeping the AHB2 for its great synergy with my KEF LS50’s. I have decided on getting the $6K (less from a dealer) Coda #8 V2 which is 250 | 500 | 1000 at 8, 4, and 2 Ohms. It is also a little warmer (12 watts Class A) than the AHB2 which I think mates better with the Thiel CS3.7’s top end.
@tomthiel 

I want to modify yesterday's statement about the deep bass performance of the AHB-2. The more I listen the more I like it, and my in-room sound pressure measurements suggest that the bass amp is weaker. Therefore my call to Benchmark regarding gain; and here's hoping they can be matched. Then, of course, funds would have to be found.

I am finding the same thing with the AHB2. With some music it really sounds great. I was about to post an ad to sell my AHB2 to fund part of the cost of buying the Coda #8 (not sure V1, V2, or V3). If I sell the AHB2 I could get the Coda at the end of this month. However, I could not pull the trigger to sell the AHB2, it is too good. Unfortunately not good all the time with the CS3.7. I will keep the AHB2 around when I want to hear that clean all Benchmark sound and also get the Coda #8. 

The Coda #8 specs are as follows (8 Ohms | 4 Ohms | 2 Ohms):

  • V1 150 watts w/18 watts pure class A  (150 | 300 | 600)
  • V2 250 watts w/12 watts pure class A  (250 | 500 | 1000)
  • V3 350 watts w/8 watts pure class A    (350 | 700 | 1400)
$6K MSRP

I am trying to decided which version to get for my small room.

@unsound  

^Does the Class A drop, maintain or increase as impedance load is lowered?

Response from CODA

It drops. This is the nature of the calculation and is true for every amplifier.

CODA

So are there amps that maintain the Class A on lowered impedance?
My last comment on the AHB2 so I do not drone on and annoy people. I am doing acoustic measurements with REW software and Minidsp microphone. I am doing these measurements to have Accurate Sound of Canada’s Mitch Barnett analyze my room measurements and make me some Convolution files to run on my ROON server.

My first set of measurements came out with some graphs that seemed to me that the sound was bad. I though that cannot be good and decided to do some surgery to my room. Mind you I have no idea what the graphs mean. There was a lot of red colored measurements which could not be good.

I removed a side desk and some plants and moved my system even further away from the speakers.

(the last 2 photos are the result of the surgery)
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/7605

I ran the measurements again and this time hardly any red in the graphs. Maybe good news maybe bad news, no clue. What I do know is that the sound is much improved. The room sounds bigger and the amp sounds better. I could actually live with this sound. Though I still will get that Coda #8 amp given how much money I have already saved with this system.

That’s OK, I paid good money for the amp, need to put the amp to work.

When I first got the Thiel CS3.7 into my room I said the sound was like a 70/100. I got improvements with various steps. This room changes today take me to about 90/100. I am very interested to see what the DRC Convolution files do to the sound. I emailed the file to the engineer to do his magic. Good thing is that it is a matter of flipping a switch to either use the DRC or not use it.
@vair68robert Thanks for  your input. I am going to stick with the GIK panels for now because I am low on funds and also these panels made my room sound great with the KEF LS50s. Prior to the panels the sound was awful. I understand the CS3.7 is a different beast but I am getting close to the sound I want.

I am taking the the suggestion of unsound and moved my speaker back 1 foot from the back wall. This is the closet I have had any speaker in this room. Still trying to figure out if I like that positioning. Though with DRC it will not matter.

I am playing Santana's Caranvanserai SACD and it sounds pretty good. Thought last night when I played it on my headphones I was wowed and thought I need to hear this again on the CS3.7 in the morning. It is not as great on the speakers and I think it is not the room this time, Ii is the amp. This is an album where some power is required out of the amp. There is a lot of percussion on this album.

I got feedback from the DRC engineer this morning after I sent him my 2 preliminary measurement files. He plotted the measurement on a graph and the lines were very close from the 2 different days. The measurement with the desk in the room actually had a little better base. Though I liked the sound without the desk.  I will be sending more measurements today to get him going on the Convolution file generation for my room.