Thiel SCS3

After auditioning a pair of Thiel CS 1.6's at home in my system, I've decided to sell my B&W Nautilus 804's and the HTM2 center. I love the B&Ws, but I have a relatively small listening area and I found that the Thiel's opened up at a much lower volume, making them a better match for my space. I haven't heard the SCS3, but I am a little shocked at its price. A pair of Thiel CS 1.6s will cost me what I consider a reasonable $2100, but a single coax design SCS3 is $1400. Thiel also promotes the SCS3 as a surround. Their pricing would make your surrounds more expensive than your fronts. It just doesn't make sense to me. My local dealer said alot of his Thiel sales go south because of this. Maybe the SCS3 is a wonderful center and worth the price, but I'm still a little confused. I'd love to hear from Thiel owners that use the SCS3 as a center, or better yet, possibly use a non Thiel that matches up well with the CS 1.6s. As another alternative, I'm also in the market for a used SCS3 if anyones selling one. Regards Herb
I'm using one between a pair of 2.3's. For years I resisted – it is startlingly expensive for a center channel, I agree. Finally bit the bullet and found one used. What can I say, it's as nice as you would expect from Thiel. Expensive though it may be, the good folks at Thiel are straight shooters, and you get what you pay for. It's a really nice speaker.

Is it worth it for a center channel? Dunno. I suspect that it's overkill for my system (the HT bits of which are running off of a Marantz receiver). I have no reservations whatsoever about the mains, which are driven by appropriately refined equipment, but I have always suspected that I may not be getting everything possible out of the center due to what I am using to make it go. What more, the level of expectations that I put on a center channel are much lower than what I demand from the mains – which pull primary duty in a dedicated 2-channel system. When it comes to the HT (the only time when the center is put to work), my only real requirement is that I can understand what the hell people are saying. Yes, I am happy to presume there is a seamless soundstage across the front because of the similar drivers, blah, blah, blah – but what do I know? Perhaps it’s just so perfect I barely notice it – and would scream and tear my hair out if it were gone, but I’m not entirely convinced that a much more modestly priced speaker couldn’t play the dialog bits just as adequately. Glad to have it, to be sure – but I hesitate to say I need it. (Ok, I clearly NEED it in the sense we all understand too well, but that goes without saying…).

As for the surrounds, not a chance. I went with a pair of Definitive Technology bi-polar surrounds, $450 used for the pair used, hung from the wall, and have no regrets. Perhaps I’m wrong, but just not convinced there’s all that much critical info coming from the back. Whistles, bells, bullet zings, and a host of gee-wiz effects-type stuff, sure – but do you need a high-end, refined and (above all) expensive speaker to pull that off? Not in my house.

If you like the Thiels, why not hang onto the B&W center for a bit and see how it goes? If you don't find yourslef wishing for a Thiel center, don't. If you do, then you'll clearly have your reasons (defining "need" is so insideously personal, after all...) and there you go. Just my thoughts. Enjoy.
I have the 1.6's and use the SCS3 as my center channel speaker. I bought the lot here on Audiogon. They are an excellent trio, but at used prices only. Especially the SCS3. It's retail price is absurd. While I've found it important to match the three front speakers, for the surrounds you can go with something different. I use M&K and they work fine. So, find yourself a used SCS3 and have your dealer help find you find some less expensive speakers to use as your surrounds.
Thanks Mezmo, is that your real name, if so, great name. I agree with you entirely. I'm very unpicky in regards to HT. My main concern is great stereo. That being said, I have a feeling that I'll also bite the same bullit you bit and buy the SCS3, if I buy the Thiels. When I demoed the CS 1.6s in my system the 1.6s were playing at a comfortable level before the B&W HTM2 center even made a sound. That's the main reason the 1.6s are still at the top of my list. Today I went and listened to a pair of Spendor S5e's and ProAc studio 130's. I was very impressed with both. The dealer had them set up with tube amps so I can't really translate the experience to my system I gave the edge to the ProAcs but have a feeling the Spendors would be a better match for my system and listening area. I'm a dealers nightmare, "can we move these speakers into this room?" I also want to take everything home for the ultimate test with my room and equipment. Regards Herb
I've got the same as Egrady....until we get to comparing wallets.

(Bought all three from a dealer.)

Have to admit that the SCS3 is an amazing center. Even gives local news anchors an amazing quality.

My room is tiny so I stuck some Gallo a'Diva sphere's up for surrounds...they're not too bad. (for the size and $$)

Don't forget about the PowerPoints -- they'll match your 1.6's and are easier to find used or demo.

Wait for one to come available used - I replaced my LCR-15 with the SCS-3 (see my system) and was very pleased -It really helps round-out the front three...I enjoy listening to music more on surround sound settings (on the ead pro.) vs 2 channel - It does make a huge difference
I use a SCS3 with my CS6s and Powerplane surrounds. For home theater, more info comes from the center than any other channel so you may want to consider having the "matching" center at least. I agree that matching surrounds is overkill for most systems as long as the surrounds are decent. I will upgrade to the larger Thiel center at some point as I feel it would blend with my bigger Thiels better.
I have Thiel CS1.6's and am using Old Paradigm Atom's as surrounds and an Infinity Interlude 25 center channel speaker. I also have an Atlantic Technology THX subwoofer.

Quite a mis-mash and most people would say what the heck are you doing. However, the system blends quite nicely in movie mode. My greatest trepidation was how well the center channel would blend with the Thiels. My previous speakers were Infinity RS5b's. Believe it or not the Infinity center channel integrates very well with the Thiel's. The Infinity has metal drivers and this might be part of the reason. Once calibrated the whole thing is seamless.

Having said all that, I really would like to put a Thiel speaker in the center, but it would have to be a great deal and used. The surrounds are fine.
Hi, I use the thiel CS1.5 for the fronts SCS3 center and CS.5 for the rears. While the SCS3 is expensive it does make for an excellent center channel. I agree with the others that for the surrounds you can do with a less expensive speaker. That is why I went with the CS.5's. I have been using this set up for 4 years along with a rel strata III.
I have an all thiel system except for the sub (duh! given the expense of the ss1/22)which is a velodyne uld 15. I use 2.3 mains with scs's as surrounds; scs3 as center. For the 1.6, I think the scs is fine as a center. You may have picked up the scs3, however, I saw go for 650 on a'gon. If not, you can pick up the scs for 3-400 and I think it will go fine with your 1.6's.. I used an scs for a center with 2.2's for 7 years, and sold the scs for what I paid for it...mb
The yet to be released SCS4 is expected to sell for around $1K each, less than the previous SCS3, and the SCS4 is touted as sounding better to boot.
I know this is an old thread, but I'd like to update my part of it. I still own the Thiel CS1.6 mains and am now using an SCS3 as center channel. It blends beautifully and sounds fantastic. I am curious though about whether the SCS4 would make things even better. Any thoughts?
I have both a SCS3 and a SCS4 as centers. The 3 is quite good, but I find the 4 to be cleaner for dialog. I am running them both off Yamaha receivers with a 180 watt ATI and a 200 watt B&K amp respectively. I think the 4 is a better center, but not sure I would pay a lot for the upgrade. The 4 is being used with 1.6s in a theater. I have never swapped them around in any scientific way to do real comparisons, so I cannot be definitive about the differences.
I used the SCS4 for my TV and movies (on 2 channel) and I was extremely pleased that I could get away with such a setup for TV viewing.

Enjoy the Music has a nice review of a 5 speaker SCS4 HT system.

"THIEL SCS4 Monitors With SS1 SmartSub Subwoofer"