Thiel with "Warmest" Midrange? 2.7 vs 3.7 vs Older


I know, I know, Thiels of all speakers are NOT known for a "warm" midrange, at least that's their reputation.

But I'd nonetheless be interested in how people would rate the general sense of midrange "warmth" and "fullness/richness" of the various Thiel models through the years, including the CS 3.7 and 2.7 models.

(I've noted that around the time of the CS 7.2 and CS6, I was actually seeing the descriptors like "smooth" and "warm balance" which is not something I'm seeing much in descriptions of the newer 2.7 and 3.7).

So I'd be interested in such comparisons between older to newer Thiels through the years, and for the 2.7 vs the 3.7.

Feel free to stop reading there, but for those interested below I'll share my thoughts about Thiel, why I'm asking this, and why I have "Thiel Fever" again…..

--------------------------

I'm on a quest to try Thiel speakers in my system again, and I'm particularly interested in the culmination of Jim Thiel's efforts, the CS 3.7. But it's been a long time since I've heard Thiels and unfortunately as we know, they've been discontinued, and all the product dumped by dealers. (I think I missed the boat by literally a month or two, my zeal-for-Thiel re-igniting just last month).

Like many audio-nuts, I've gone through periods of crazy extensive speaker auditioning (though I'm talking well in the past now, I've kept up minimally in the last decade or so).

I love a warm, full midrange (like many others here) and I feel that one of the defining elements of "real voices and acoustic instruments" is a sense of that organic warmth. That's after all why I also favour tube amplification (the ones that tend to reduce the mechanical elements of the sound - I happen to use Conrad Johnson amps at the moment).

So why am I after Thiels, given their reputation for leaner, cooler sound?

I'd always admired the Thiel speakers, starting with the 3.6 as I remember. They always struck me as somehow "telling me the truth" about a recording, and how those instruments sounded, in an almost Quad ESL type manner. (I don't mean the Whole Truth, neither being perfect speakers, but they gave some sort of window on the truth, a sense of accuracy within their limits, that seemed to separate them from the pack). So there was a certain rightness of tone I'd hear through the Thiels.

And one of the main characteristics I LOVED about the Thiels is one often mentioned in reviews: their amazing focus and density of sound. It's not just the concept of pin-point imagine per se, in terms of being able to point to exactly where an instrument is playing in the soundstage, but the sense of all the sonic information of that instrument coalesced into a dense whole - giving a better sense of solid objects vibrating sound in front of me, vs most other speakers. I think that was something that really connected me to their sound. I found even mediocre old recordings, though revealed as such, gained more life, drive and liveliness through the Thiels than the soggier-sound approach that can cover up harshness, but also
reduce the excitement of the presentation.

On the down side, Thiels to me sounded a bit over damped, a bit too tight, and a bit leaner than I would prefer. Instruments sounded made of the right materials, but reduced in weight. And the sound tended to be a bit on the dry, forward side. So I admired them, but couldn't love them. And my quest went on.

(I ended up, after Quad ESL 63/Gradient subwoofer, moving to Von Schwiekert VR4 Gen IIs…with stops at Shun Mook speakers, Waveform, Audio Physic virgo/Libra/Scorpio, Hales T-5s, Meadowlark, currently own some MBL 121s etc).

But way back at CES 2000, after hearing the Thiel CS6 speakers in a room or two (I'd heard and admired them in showrooms before) I happened upon the VAC amplification room, which also employed the CS6. I was about to move on when I realized I couldn't stop listening. I sat down and heard among the most beautiful reproduction I'd ever heard - this was Thiels…on TUBES! It had all the Thiel virtues I loved, the precision, truth, density of sound, tonal believability, dynamics etc, but it was no longer dry and tight, but had a liquidity and more of the body I found to be more believable and gorgeous. It was an epiphany: I'd always dismissed the combination as a no-go zone due to the Thiel rep for requiring beefy solid state amplification.

Not too long after that I got hold of a pair of CS6s to try with my Conrad Johnson Premier 12 140W/side amps.
And it was fantastic! I got essentially the same type of gorgeous mix of characteristics as I'd heard at CES. It wasn't just me: audio pals declared it the best sound they'd ever heard in my room. (My room is on the small side, 13' by 15,' but it's odd dimensions and large room opening has allowed all the large floor standing speakers to work well in the room, and I don't listen loud at all).

But, for various room aesthetic and ergonomic reasons, and because I was changing the room to home theatre, I couldn't keep the CS6s.

But now, after many years of using various other brands, I've got the hankering for Thiel again. I can't get out of my mind the characteristics they brought that I haven't quite found elsewhere.

And this led me to look into the "newer" CS3.7. I became excited about owning a Thiel speaker that could even surpass what I heard with the CS6, and which was also substantially smaller and lighter (important for how I will integrate this speaker into my room). The idea of owning the culmination of Jim Thiel's engineering efforts is very compelling.

But I realized I wanted the Thiels too late, only a month ago, just missing the boat after they'd been discontinued, and all the stocks dumped and snapped up.

So I have to appeal to those here with experience of these new Thiel models to help me out. I like a clean midrange, but I don't want sterile, nor do I want a speaker that will cause ear fatigue in the high frequencies (I have sensitive ears). And I guess the benchmark with which I'm most familiar is the CS6. Would you consider either the CS6 (or choose the 3.6, or CS7.2) to have a smoother, or warmer midrange relative to the newer 2.7 and 3.7 models?

Me sense in reading reviews is that the newer 2.7 and 3.7 have a "smoother" midrange insofar as being even lower in distortion than past Thiel speakers, but they could also sound brighter, being more extended in the highs (and the Thiel CS6 as I remember, was sometimes thought to be a bit lacking in the upper high frequency airiness, which perhaps even contributed to my ear comfort with that model?).

I'm hoping to strike magic again, pairing the 3.7 with my CJ Premier amps. As far as I can tell from the Stereophile measurements, the 3.7s don't look any harder to drive (re my CJ amps) than the CS6, or the killer loads of my MBL, Hales speakers etc.

I'm also possibly interested in pairing VAC with the Thiels - I see some Renaissance 70/70s on sale sometimes - given the magic I'd heard at CES with that amp and the Thiels. (And Thiel's own blog reported that amp did some magic with the 3.7).

Finally, since there are no 3.7s available (used or otherwise that I can find) at this time, I may pick up a second-hand pair of 2.7s. My sense is that I would grab them to tide me over until some 3.7s showed up, though perhaps I'd like them enough to stick with the 2.7. And on that note, for anyone who has heard the 2.7 and 3.7, is the midrange any more "full" or rich on the bigger speakers?

Any words of wisdom or experience on these matters will be gratefully received.

(And, may as well ask: does anyone have a pair of 3.7s for sale? :-) )

Thanks,

Prof
prof
Hello Prof, I have a fair amount of equipment including a pair of Thiel 3.7's
They are the second pair of a thiel speakers I have owned. I currently also have Von Schweikert VR-4 jrs, which I use with a pair of Von Schweikert 18" subs. I also have B&W nautilus 801's , studio electric speakers, and several others. I have multiple amps and preamps from Audio Research and Ayre. I mix and match from time to time.

The Thiel speakers have a beautiful midrange, perhaps the best of the lot. Yes, they are precise, fast, and image really, really well. But not at the expense of warmth in the minds. They sound quite warm when coupled wit the Audio Research Amps.

I don't know where you are, but you are welcome to come listen to them with both SS and tube gear and to compare them to the others. I am in Colorado.

Also, I think I would sell them to you. I have not been actively doing so, but I am wanting to consolidate and get one larger, amazing pair of speakers, so I could sell these.

You can call me at three oh three fore fore three ate five ate five if you want to chat, and perhaps have a listen.

Rich
'What's more comfortable, an ice-pick pushed through your ear into your brain or a screwdriver?" "I know neither is comfortable, but........"
Thanks Rich. Message sent :-)

Omsed, fair enough, there have always been Thiel-haters ;-)

As I said, I already have experience with Thiels in my home (CS6) giving a beautiful smooth, warm mid-range, so I know it's possible.
I am in the midst of switching over from a Pass Labs INT-30A/ Thiel 2.4 system to a Coincident Super Eclipse III/Coincident Frankenstein 300b SET system...

The Pass/Thiel combo is a bit warmer, at least with my source, the PS Audio DSD (and no pre-amp). I think the Coincident system is actually a bit hotter in the treble, and is more sensitive/revealing of high frequency distortion/sibilance.

I know many people (like Omsed) won't believe that a Thiel SS combo would be warmer than a 300b SET, but such is the outcome in my system & house. I always planned on just upgrading to 3.7s myself, but once the new ownership fired everyone and killed the old lines/designs, I decided it was time to switch companies.

I also heard the 2.7 at RMAF when they were just being released, and never felt like there was enough there to justify an upgrade from the 2.4s. The 3.7s were definitely a different story, however.
Prof-

another positive vote for Thiel loudspeakers. These are very versatile models, as you can use, solid-state or tubed gear. Separates or an integrated amp, Thiel will accommodate. Start w/ the model CS 2.4 for openers. I found this speaker wonderful w/ a Creek integrated amp and NAD cd player w/ Audioquest cables- a minimalist approach.

Next, I had the pleasure of auditioning the CS 2.7 and CS 3.7 models, same dealer/retailer-same listening sessions- w/ Anthem separates and Cary cd player w/ Audioquest cables/cords. My personal space will not allow for the CS 3.7, as this particular model, needs a very large space (20x20, 25x25, 30x30)...to really open up and do their best!

It is interesting as many owners enjoy ARC, Conrad Johnson, Pass Labs...w/ their Thiel speakers. It truly plays well, no pun, with others. Keep me posted and Happy Listening! JA
Cal3713,

That's interesting about the Thiel warmth over the coincident system (though I have to confess I'm not totally surprised, given my experience of coincident speakers...though I haven't heard them for a while now).
I keep hearing contrasting opinions about the 2.7, probably more than on the 3.7, some feeling "meh" who have heard them, others more enthusiastic. Whereas the admiration for the 3.7s seem to be consistent. Then again, far fewer have heard the 2.7 I gather.

Jafant,

Thanks for your input!

As I said I'm in a bit of a quandary: I could get either the 2.7 or the 3.7. The 2.7 certainly is a cheaper way of rolling the dice. (Though I don't know about their re-sale value relative to the 3.7 - it seems the 3.7s sell fairly consistently).

One Thiel dealer told me he actually preferred the 2.7s somewhat to the 3.7s, finding the 2.7s just a bit more sweet or forgiving, especially across a range of recording quality. I don't know if I've seen that opinion voiced elsewhere. What did you think between the two?

As for room size, the idea that the 3.7s need a big room could make me wary, except that I've had such success with large floor standing speakers in my smallish room (even the VR4s, which were rated down to 20hz). Though my room has become a bit more crowded with sofa furniture. I supposed the 2.7 could be a slightly better bet in terms of room integration, but on the other hand it feels like I want to "go for the gold" with the 3.7.

As for amplifiers, aye, there be magic.

It's always tough to know when an amp is going to work or not just by specs or even the recommendations of others. Because some will be happy with a set of trade-offs that others won't abide. For instance as you may well know, MBL Radialstrahler speakers are known for being a brutal load - 81db efficiency, into the lower 4ohms, which is why MBL builds those massively powerful amps.

And yet the best I ever heard the big MBL 101Ds was on tubes, at (ex) TAS writer Michael Gindi's place. My CJ premier 12s drive my MBL 121 monitors quite well and for the hell of it I tried my classic old Eico HF-81 14W integrated tube amp with the MBLs and the sound was MAGIC. I actually prefer it to the more powerful CJ amps.

My hunch is that the Thiels, like MBLs (or Hales that I also own) will reach their full dynamic potential with more powerful SS amps. But I'm willing to take a bit of a hit there as long as the Thiels maintain their core sonic qualities, smoothened out with tubes, as I got with the CS6.

Thanks for any further comments...
Another question for 2.7/3.7 owners or those who have heard them: at least one review (from Stereotimes) docked points from the 3.7 for having to "analytic" a tone with strings, for orchestra. Has anyone else found this, or do the Thiels reproduce strings/orchestral work well. I've been meaning to get back into orchestral recordings and I want strings to be rendered with their appropriate beauty. Thanks.
Prof, what do you mean when you say small room? I ask because I use a pair of Thiel 1.6s in a small room. They work beautifully IMO, but the lure of the 2.4 has had me for some time now. If a pair comes up within driving distance I may just get them and see how they work.
Hi Cal,
We use the same amplifier but I have the Total Eclipse rather than your Super Eclipse speaker. I agree there is much upper frequency information and resolution, but it's natural and not clinical in my system(nuanced, airy and open). Have you tried different placement and toe in of your speakers? I don't have the "hotter" presentation you describe(different room I realize as well). Just curious. I hope you're enjoying this new pairing.
Best Regards,
Charles,


Timrhu,

To describe my room: It's the first room on the main floor of our house, and it has a 6 foot wide entrance to the room (no door). The shape is broken up into odd angles on one side because of bay windows. So the room is 13' wide by 15' deep (at the deepest point of the bay windows).

For some reason this room has always worked for any size speaker, I'm supposing because of the broken up angles and large room opening. I've had some speaker manufacturers, and dealers, set up their full range speakers there and when the first see it they say "uh-oh, small room, might be tough" but then they are amazed at the sound we achieve.

I don't totally go for the big speakers absolutely require a big room (within reason). I've heard big speakers work well in small rooms (like mine). I read in a thread recently on the Quad ESL-63s that they "need a big room" to breath and work right. But they sounded incredible in my room, and the first time I heard them was in a pal's place, in a teeny portion of his basement literally not a lot wider than his couch, the Quads pretty much squished to nearfield, and the sound blew me away.

Acoustics are still a bitch though. I'd always set up my speakers so my listening sofa was at the long wall (near the room opening) and speakers were just forward of the bay window area, which worked great. But when I experimented in switching the seating/speakers 180 degrees for a home theater set up, the acoustics went to crap! It was demoralizing. But the room was totally re-done in consultation with an acoustician, there's tons of absorption, treatment, and now it sounds better than ever.
So I'm optimistic about the Thiels working in the room, even though I haven't had a large floor stander there for a while.
My pleasure Prof-

anytime I can turn somebody onto Thiel- it is a good day!
IME, the CS 3.7 is the speaker to own, if you have the proper room size and never want to upgrade. In other words, it is "the" last speaker that you will ever purchase.

The bigger Thiel will require much power and a high-current power amp for best results! Feel free to contact me if I may be of further service. Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Jafant,

Could you elaborate about what differences you heard between the 2.7 and the 3.7 model? I'm still considering whether to start with the 2.7.

Also, when you say the 3.7 needs such a large room to work well, what do you base that upon? Have you heard it perform poorly in a small room?

(As I said, I haven't had problems getting full range speakers to work in my fairly small room, 13' x 15')
Prof,

Thanks for the informative response. I do enjoy the 1.6s in my small room but think I'll go for the 2.4 if I find a pair close enough.
Sure Prof-

the only difference between the CS 2.7 vs CS 3.7, is the soundstage. W/ the CS 3.7 it throws a very large, wide, deep, soundstage. This is the #1 reason for the larger room size. It is not a speaker to use w/out high power, high current amp. We are talking concert levels of performance here.

The CS 2.7 can stand a little less high power/current and be just as pleasing. Much will depend on your expectations and presentations. Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Charles, posting in your system thread to keep it on topic here...
Thanks Jafant,

Why do you think the 2.7 will do with less power/current?
It's rated close to the same bass response, has I believe the same type of impedance as the 3.7, but is even less sensitive (87db). I've seen others say the 3.7 should be easier to drive than the 2.7...?
Sure Prof-

I had a wonderful experience w/ the Thiel CS 2.4 speaker, the pre-2.7 model, on a Creek integrated amp. The CS 2.7 rating is not much higher then the CS 2.4.

That said, if one wanted to get a Creek or Pass Labs integrated (the only ones that I would consider) it is good to learn that these models can get you by.

The Thiel's are that good. Additionally, I had another sweet experience w/ an Anthem 225 integrated on the CS 3.7, and it drove them w/ authority! Yet a second choice other than a robust high power/current amp.
Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
On the theme of Thiels, amps and tubes...

I'm presuming (hoping) to have success driving either the Thiel 2.7 or 3.7 with my Conrad Johnson Premier 12 Monoblocks. I've had plenty of speakers through my place and the Premier 12s haven't let me down yet.

For example, here are Stereophile Measurements for 3 speakers I've used with the Premier 12 amps:

Hales Transcendence 5:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/hales-design-group-transcendence-five-loudspeaker-measurements

MBL Radialstrahler 121

http://www.stereophile.com/content/mbl-radialstrahler-101e-mkii-loudspeaker-measurements

(I put up the Stereophile measurements for the 101E because my small stand-mounted 121 MBLs are spec'd the same: 81dB/2.83V/m. Nominal impedance: 4 ohms).

Thiel CS6

http://www.stereophile.com/content/thiel-cs6-loudspeaker-measurements

And how here are Stereophile's measurments for the Thiel
CS 3.7:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/thiel-cs37-loudspeaker-measurements

All three of those previous speakers came with reviewers etc warning "Pig to drive! Only BIG SS AMPS will do!" Yet, my CJ amps drove those first three speakers really nicely IMO. Does anyone see a reason, from the measurements, suggesting the CS 3.7s wouldn't work as well? Anything tougher to drive about them than the others?

(Again, my room is smallish at 13' x 15' and I don't listen very loud, which helps).

Opinions and insight welcome.
Prof,
If your amplifier could successfully drive those 3 speakers to your satisfaction, the Thiel 3.7 shouldn't be a problem either. That CJ amplifier must have really fine transformers and a stout power supply to handle that group of speakers.It appears to me you have nothing to worry about. Your amplifier has proven its capability with very demanding speakers. Some might say a SS amp could provide even higher current. That doesn't necessarily mean it will 'sound' better however than your CJ.
Cool stuff folks, thanks.

Way back in the day, my tube amp journey started with a Conrad Johnson MV55 power amp. It powered my Quad 63s and my Von Schweikerts nicely, but then I got in some other more demanding speakers and I could clearly hear the amp struggling to control them, especially the bottom end.
So I moved up to the Premier 12s and never had an issue since - it sounds both CJ-liquid, well controlled and "muscular" with every speaker so far. (Pretty much as Michael Fremer described them in his old review).

Though I always had on hand a beefy SS amp as well, usually a big Bryston, which I always used on every speaker at some point, simply to make sure I knew what the speaker could sound like when assured a good supply of current/control.
Of course, I always heard what the Bryston did for the sound - the usual beefy SS amp virtues - tightening things up, bottom end slam, more focus etc. But it was never as involving as the tube gear I'd use, always a bit too "tight" and "dry" vs what I liked. (I also tried various other SS amps, from Pass, Musical Fidelity and others...always preferring tube amps).

But it's so often unpredictable too. I remember my CJ MV55 not being in control of some Waveform speakers, switching to Bryston to get that precision. But it just "dried up" the sound IMO. Then I tried it with a locally built even less powerful tube amp and that amp controlled the Waveforms better than the CJ, and I got closer to the best of both worlds. Weird stuff.

Anyway, I hope I get to hear for myself one of these Thiels sooner rather than later. I really want to experience the pinnacle of Jim Thiel's design efforts!
get the CS3.7, I used to own a pr of Cs2.4, I was going to upgrade to a pr of CS2.7 when Thiel had the price drop on CS2.7 from 10k to 8k, so I thought I should be able to trade in my CS2.4 and get CS2.7 for under $5k. So one weekend, I drove about 2hrs to my closest Thiel dealer, that had both models on display. They told me the CS2.7 were not totally broken-in yet. I A/Bed them back to back with the same equipment. It was no comparison, the CS3.7 just sounded so much better, wider and deeper sound stage. The CS2.7s were good, but CS3.7s were noticeably better. luckily, They were some how very eager to get rid of the demo pr of CS3.7. I got the demo pr of CS3.7 for a little bit more than a pr of new CS2.7. It was a no-brainer, and I don't have to think about upgrading my speakers anymore.
I've had quite a lot of experience with Thiels and tubes , for what it's worth. Firstly , 2.4s with an ARC REf 110 , currently 3.7's with an ARC REF 150.
the 3.7s love power but they also LOVE tubes ( IMO). I've read descriptions of Thiels being pigs to drive... Not sure I completely agree.Sure , Jim used to say " Watts are cheap" but the 3.7s can happily be run by tubes .
Great stuff, very encouraging. (And very persuasive Richardyc).

I'm wondering about the bass difference between the 2.7 and 3.7. The 2.7 is rated down to 35Hz, the 3.7 to 33Hz, so on paper very little difference. Though with the bigger woofer the 3.7 will be pushing more air.

I'm not actually a bass-head at all, and prefer nice pitch and control in the bass region. Any comparisons in bass quality between the two would be appreciated.

I know someone who might sell me a pair of 2.7s in the most gorgeous ebony finish I've seen. It's probably the most beautiful speaker I've ever seen (from photos). And then I could pick up a pair of 3.7s in cherry wood. It's a nice finish, but definitely not my favorite, and I would seriously contemplate having it re-finished darker.
The choice about which way to go is killin' me.

(As for re-sale value, I get the feeling the 3.7s seem to sell pretty consistently...and I'm less sure about re-sale value of the 2.7s at this point).
Prof,
It seems the 3.7 is the speaker you 'really' want. Based on the responses posted here the 3.7 is simply the better speaker. I believe in getting what you truly want the first time around(if you can afford it). In the short and long term you're happier and content. This approach lessens 2nd guessing and the need to upgrade. Summary, get what you genuinely desire.
There is a very informative discussion of the bass in the 2.7 versus 3.7 in this post from 2 years ago :

Thiel 2.7

The 2.7 was Jim's design and included much that he learned from designing the 3.7.
I just stumbled on this thread from Prof - always excited to read and talk about Thiels, they are the only speaker for me. My experience run deep with legacy brands, the 3.6 and the CS6.

I have used 3.6's for about 12 years and have owned the CS6 for a while as well. I prefer the 3.6 and currently that is what I am running, but occasionally throw the 6's in. They have obvious family similarities but have differences also since the driver design is different. Prof, like you, once you get the presentation of truth and beautiful tonality baked into your head it is hard for me to settle for other speakers.

I actually built my dedicated room around them, ventured off to another brand - Egglestons for a short while and came back to Thiel. Great upstream choices and also very important - room to experiment with placement makes the 3.6 for me unbeatable, for my taste that is!

With a lot of space between them the are boxless and open with dense and intimate soundstage presentation when called for. I really looked hard at the 3.7 when it came out, listened to it alot at 2 different B/M. One with uber expensive upstream components/cables and one with I believe NAD integrated and digital with marginally priced cabling. Both systems sounded great but I just could not see dropping 12 to 14K for what I perceived to be not that much difference over my 3.6. I am sure side by side it would be different. But my enjoyment level is plenty high, so I passed. I am getting to the point where if I can't hear it in my room, I cannot get excited about taking a plunge. I am not a fan of buying and selling - I tend to hang on to my equipment - as you can see from my system page, I have other stuff not listed! My wife enjoys reminding me of that habit also... And demo's on things other than cables is hard to find.

I have no experience with the 2.4 or 2.7 but have certainly read glowing remarks from owners on this site and in this thread. It is so disappointing that Thiel is no longer in business as we know it, but that is the business world we live in, not a lot of esoteric businesses in high end audio left.
I agree with Charles, get the 3.7s. That said, if you want to pick up a pair of 2.4s to hold you over, I've got a set in maple that I need to put up for sale.
In my experience, Thiels need tubes. I had 3.6s for 8 years starting in 1993 and I was able to try a number of different amps on them including Classe DR-10 and CA300, high power Forte, a pair of custom 2A3 push-pull monos, push-pull 300Bs, Cary 40M monos and a Dyna ST-70. To my great surprise, the very best sound was from the Dyna, either totally stock or with some carefully chosen mods. The Dyna wouldn't play as loud as I wanted and its bass control suffered on moderately loud passages, but it (and the other tube amps to a lesser degree) had a far more satisfying tonal balance and micro-dynamics than the transistor amps I tried. If I still had the Thiels I would use them with higher powered push-pull tubes. But I decided instead to switch to a speaker that was happier with tubes in the first place.

As a dealer wisely told me when I was looking for tube amps to drive the 3.6s, the Thiels can sound very good with enough power, either tube or solid state, but only with expensive speaker cables to offset their inherently lean and somewhat bright tonal balance. At the time, this meant top-of-the-line Transparent, MIT or Synergistic Research. I have no idea what cables in today's marketplace would be a good complement.
I never tried it, but in line with someone's comments above, I have heard people say that AR is a great match for Thiel, and VAC at some point was voicing their components with Thiels. I, of course, had great success using a lower-powered SS with mine, but still, I have no doubts the CJs will sound great with the 3.7s (or whatever else the OP decides to buy).
I appreciate all the contributions to this thread.

Hey Thiel 3.7 owners…

I've pretty much decided on getting the 3.7s :-)

(And while I've posted the following question in another forum, I could use input here from 3.7 owners especially)

But I do have some limitations, not much room to play with.

I find in my room, especially since I switched the seating design for home theatre, that an optimal speaker distance from me is between 7 and 8 feet. I like this distance because it edges into near field and I get less room, more of the recording space. The rap on Thiels is you are supposed to get far away from them for driver integration, 8 feet and beyond.

Wes Philips stated he sat 91" away (basically 7 1/2 feet away) and didn't complain of any lack of driver integration. So that sounds promising. Ideally, I'd push it even a bit further to 7 feet.

Which brings on another question I could use help with:

Can anyone with the Thiel 3.7s tell me, by actually having tried it (or trying it) whether the sound remains ok, integrated, at 7 feet (and between 7 and 8 feet)?

Many thanks.

(I seem to remember I had the Thiel CS6s working well from a distance like that, but it was a long time ago now…)
Prof, I find your post very interesting. I think I hear much of the very same things that you do, but come to have very different preferences and conclusions. I must say, I am much more familiar with Thiel's older gear than the models you have specifically inquired about.
Prof, I think you are fine with that distance. Both auditions for me were close or in near field and the speakers sounded great. Go for it!
02-26-15: Salectric
In my experience, Thiels need tubes.

Wow I wish I had the guts to try that! I do not believe they would drive the Thiels on dynamic music, like rock which is my preferred medium.

Salectric, you are right regarding cables, I have tried alot. Cable/amp matching and tubes in the preamp are key to a full bodied sound because Thiels are by nature on the lean side, ever so slightly.

So much equipment and cables today seem to strive for ultimate resolution. I finally found out what my buddy JMcGrogan professes - you are either revealing or musical. Thiels can be the ultimate in musicality but upstream has to be chosen very carefully.
Unsound,

That's cool. I've always felt that the ultimate goal for describing audio is to describe it accurately enough so that the person reading can get an idea if he'd like the sound or not.

I completely understand people coming to different conclusions about the Thiel sound. (And, who knows, when/if I get myself some new Thiels, maybe I won't be as enthusiastic as I figured).
Pops

Thanks for the info, that's encouraging to read that the 3.7s sounded ok sitting closer.

As for amp stuff, I'll let you know how my CJs drive the Thiels.

It always amazes me the balancing act in combining equipment, how I can loose an essential aspect of the sound I like by changing a pre-amp or whatever. (Though I'm not big on cables making a difference, to be honest, yes I've tried).
Prof, for the most part I actually agree with you about "...the Thiel sound...", it's the other things such as associated gear, room compatibility and set up where we diverge. But as you say, "That's cool.".
What did you decide Prof?

are you still considering these loudspeakers? did you get a demo yet? Keep me posted aand Happy Listening! JA
Jafant,

Thanks for your interest :-)

I'm still tortured about which move to make. I would have snapped up the 3.7s immediately, but as I mentioned earlier they are in a light cherry finish that wouldn't match our decor. I generally love the look of the 3.7s I've seen (in photos) in the amberwood and especially ebony finish. But who knows how long I'd have to wait for a pair with the right finish, in great condition, from a trustworthy seller?
Alternatively I can have the cherry-wood 3.7s re-finished (Thiel said they'd do it if I want) in a stain of my choice.
That could likely get it the right shade to blend in better at our house, though ultimately I'm sure amberwood or ebony would still be the more beautiful finish.

(I know lots of people love cherrywood finishes, but I prefer darker woods, hence why our house uses darker wood).

So I'm still trying to decide: 1. Grab a pair in cherry, in terrific condition, from a trustworthy seller...basically the "bird in the hand" as it were. Listen to them, see if they are keepers, and then re-finish them.

Or pass on them and wait..not sure how long...for an appropriate other pair in the other finishes.

OR...pick up the ebony 2.7s which I love the look of, but which I would likely want to upgrade from to the 3.7s (and hence have to sell them).

I can make an air-tight case in my head for any of the choices and it's driving me nuts!

I need some audio-therapy...
^Buy a WTB (Wanted To Buy) ad here on Audiogon?

Update: I purchased a pair of 3.7s! I should have them
by next weekend. I'm excited and a bit nervous, because it's a real "buy and try" situation, and I have some challenges with my room and amplification. Hopefully things work out. I swear I was tempted to grab that CJ 350 SS amp that just sold on Audiogon, just as a back up but couldn't justify the expense at this point.

I will be testing the outer limits for the Thiels, smallish room, closer seating, lowish power amp (CJ Premier 12 140W tubes). I'm even going to hook them up to my old Eico HF-81 for kicks (hey, they worked with my MBLs).

I'll report back the results.

(I'd originally thought the 3.7s would dry up on the used market somewhat, given 2014 saw all the dealers dumping their demo units and those are all gone. But no, the 3.7s have been popping up everywhere in the last month).
Outstanding! Prof-

are the speakers new or used/demo. The better thing about use/demo, is that, they are already broken in (somewhat.

If new, the speakers are going to require 500 hrs., to be fully broken -in. Keep me posted as often as you wish. Happy Listening!
Congratulations Prof, look forward to hearing your impressions!
Thanks folks.

They are second hand, about 4 years old. You can't get new anymore. It is nice that they will be broken in (but hopefully not broken in transport!).

BTW, I was perusing the web concerning Thiels and saw several old announcements concerning a sort of experiment, where writers at Rolling Stone were given a really high end set up to listen to, including the Thiel 3.7s. It's a shame there seems to have been no follow up as to the results:

http://www.cnet.com/news/rolling-stone-magazine-discovers-high-end-audio/
Thanks! for sharing -Prof. I venture to say that most writers for RS or Spin would not have any concept of audiophile speakers. Let alone know how to enjoy them!
Did your 3.7's arrive? Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
UPDATE:

I received my pair of Thiel 3.7s last weekend. I'm going to give my initial impressions.

First, to re-cap, my situation posed (at least purportedly) challenges to a speaker like the 3.7. I have a smallish 15' by 13' room. I'm using low powered amps relative to what is typically recommended (I'm using Conrad Johnson Premier 12 140W/side amps, wheres most people say the Thiels "need" high wattage/current SS amps). I can't put the Thiels very far away from me due to room/sofa/set up restrictions, and it's typically touted that the Thiels need significant distance to become coherent. Further, I have very sensitive ears and here I had chosen a brand with a reputation for "ruthlessly revealing" and often "bright" sounding.

On paper, it doesn't bode well.

But how have things turned out in practice?

Great!

I've only had about 4 days of listening and dialing them in, and I clearly have more experimentation ahead of me.
But so far I'm getting what I hoped from the Thiels.

The first thing is, to my relief, the Thiels have NOT proven to be "bright" or aggressive. Just the opposite!
They are not detailed as in "added brightness emphasizing details," rather they are "naturally" detailed by having such low distortion, so little added "hash" to the sound, such a low "noise floor" that I can simply hear instruments as naturally organically detailed, not hyped. Far from fatiguing, I've found the Thiels invite longer fatigue-free listening than almost any speaker I've had. (Once I sit down, it can be 5 hours at a time listening...yes I'm not sleeping enough...)

I have a well damped room, so that would help. Also, being driven by the CJs no doubt aids this sense of relaxed detail. Which is as I wish it.

Do they work with the CJ 140W amps? Yes. That is, I'm not getting bass incontinence - the bass region is taut, controlled, and tonally dense in just that "Thiel way" that I love. The bass region is so defined, it allows large instruments, e.g. stand up bass, to be fully holographically placed in the soundstage. All the taught bass information coming from the instrument, not diffusing into the speakers. This is probably the tightest, most tonal and integrated bass I've heard in my room, be it monitor or floor standing speaker.

It's not perfect. I hear bass nodes here and there, room interaction, but it's rare and the same thing happens with any other speakers. (And it's frankly much more in control than what I tend to hear at other audiophile pal's set ups, even in their bigger rooms).

I've done lots of SS vs my tube amp comparisons with hard to drive speakers in the past, so I know the differences. I can recognize that the Thiels are capable of even greater bass control, lower bass and "slam/impact," and greater overall dynamics than what I'm getting, if feed a lot more watts/current. However, I'm still getting the general positive characteristics - density, coherency, tactile, control, dynamic aliveness - that I find often favors Thiel vs some other brands, and which suits my taste.

Positioning? They sounded good at around 8 feet away, just over 2 feet from the back wall, about 6.9 feet apart, as a starting position. However, I am enamored of a more nearfield listening experience. I'm used to having my speakers close, with a very wide spread, to the point where I'm immersed in the sound, not just watching it from across the room. Each day I've edged the 3.7s closer, and as with other speakers in my room, the rewards have been a smoother sounding frequency response, less room hash, more richly differentiated timbral qualities, more detail, spaciousness...basically more "entering the recording space and hearing more of what's in the recording."

At this point the Thiels are about 7 feet from me and it is really glorious. They are holding up well in terms of coherence, and the soundstaging is deep and precise. I'm going to try spreading them further apart to widen the impressiveness.

For me, beautiful, accurate/convincing timbral quality is job one for any speaker that I'm going to spend time listening to.

To that end, I've played with my sources - using my original locally built tube pre-amp (quite a neutral/frequency-extended sounding pre-amp), my newly acquired CJ Premier 16LS2 preamp (gorgeous tone and clarity, smoothness) and running my Benchmark DAC directly into the CJs. This combined with slight alterations of speaker positioning, slight toe-in or not etc, has allowed me to experience a variety of tonal qualities, depending on what I want. Right now I have the Thiels dialed in to provide a very focused image quality and an incredibly realistic tonal presentation.
Trumptes sound gorgeously "warm and brassy," voices convincing, wood sounds like wood. One test I do is play recordings of things like drums, bongos, hand claps etc and compare them to myself clapping/drumming on myself/objects in the room. When a system departs from reality - the case with most systems - there is a distinct disconnect between the tonal reality and presence of my sounds vs the reproduced sounds. But with the Thiels as I've got them sounding now, this discontinuity is close to gone. A bongo slapped in the soundfield between the speakers has a tonal/dynamic presence just like my own hand claps and slapping of my thigh. I've always found this "reality factor" a predictor of my longer term satisfaction with a system, and the Thiels are particularly amazing here.

Also, I played a recording of me playing my acoustic guitar (recorded in the same room) through the Thiels and they pretty much nailed the sound of the guitar.
It was like I just holographically appeared in the room corner behind the speakers, playing guitar, with no hint the speakers themselves were making any "sound."

The 3.7s have a reputation of super detail, extracting the last ounce of information from the source. Have I been bowled over by this aspect of the Thiels? Yes and no. Yes in terms of how *naturally* they uncover subtle details. But no as in I'm not necessarily hearing things like more fingers on strings, or the teeny sounds we often associate with hearing more detail. They are there, but the thing is I listen to a variety of speakers at home, and those include the MBL 121 Radialstrahler omnis. I have still rarely, if ever, heard a speaker that reproduces fine detail so effortlessly and naturally as the MBLs. They tend to make other speakers, good on their own, sound crude and mechanical in comparison. The Thiels get a closer to MBL-like sense of detail, though I still think the MBLs get that last bit of natural realism - e.g. just how fine, delicate and organic the sound is of human fingers plucking strings, on classical guitar, etc. I LOVE the sound of drum cymbals through the Thiels, so open and tonally believable. Though the MBLs do even better there.

The Thiels are giving me that other thing I was craving, and that I'd always loved about Thiels: that sense of believable image density. Not just image focus per se, but the way the Thiels organize all the sound that seems to go diffused or astray in other systems, to where they should be. It's not just that I can tell exactly what is making a sound and where in the mix. It's the impression of solidity and density to the instruments in front of me: a wood block sounds so solid you could tap it yourself. A sax has more of that vibrating column of air and brass, tactile quality. My Hales speakers get much of the tonal beauty right in instruments, but they lack this quality of presence and texture added by the Thiels. And it's more engaging.

Finally, my main impression of the Thiels really recapitulates the impression given in almost all the reviews
of the 3.7: the sense of reality and aliveness they present.

Talking about detail, soundstaging, timbral quality, dynamic etc on their own doesn't do the Thiels justice. Because that's not what they are about, as it were. The design goal, from phase/time coherency onward, is about "coherency." And that is what I hear: the Thiels seem to launch all attributes of an instrument at once, from the same space, like a live instrument would, giving the impression of "real instruments being played by real musicians" rather than as set of sonic attributes. On the Thiels, more than any other speaker I've had, I'm continually made aware of the *performance* of the musician, the dynamic ebb and flow of each one's efforts.
My foot is always tapping along to what the musicians are doing. This is just what I was looking for, so it's wonderful to experience.

Not that I think it's the perfect speaker, or even perfect in my room. I can see why some have issues with the bass region. The 3.7s are so controlled and restrained that you really find out when there is less bass in many recordings than you thought. They have a tendency to thus sound "smaller" and less substantial, more often, and with more recordings, than lots of other full range floor standing speakers. But when there is significant bass in the recording, you also hear it. Personally, especially in my smaller room, I enjoy the restraint shown by the Thiels.
Though, yes, sometimes I would like even more size and lushness to the sound, e.g. some classical recordings.

Also, in real life acoustic sounds are huge and lush relative to their reproduced counterparts. The Thiels have always been somewhat subtractive in this respect. I can accept this due to how much I appreciate all the other qualities that the Thiels are *especially* good at portraying, and which are engaging. So it's always a compromise. There are certainly systems that provide more realistic lushness and body to sounds. Though I usually have other quibbles when I hear them as well. (e.g. probably the most full sounding mids I ever had in my room were either the Quad ESL 63s with Gradient Subwoofers or the Von Schweikert VR 4 Gen 2 speakers. HUGE body to midrange sounds. But...neither to my ears sounded quite as timbrally convincing as the Thiels, and neither offered the solidity of sound of the Thiels).

I also might have some issues making these speakers work for me, insofar as I have to transport them in and out of the room for listening sessions.

But from what I've heard so far, I'm very impressed.
Great to read-Prof!

I am happy that you are happy. I do not think that I steered you wrong, in my description, of these wonderful loudspeakers. Truth is, I would never endorse any gear, w/o much exposure / demo sessions to form my final opinion.

Your over-view was excellent. Very precise in terms of the things you are hearing. You will most certainly get "texture" otherwise called "timbre". It is truly a remarkable thing upon hearing it.

PLease keep me posted and Happy Listening! -JA
Thanks for reading Jafant.

I've always liked some of the qualities of high sensitive speaker designs, like Lowther-based speakers. They have that sense of dynamic projection and aliveness that gives things like percussion instruments, piano playing, acoustic guitar, a solidity and "thereness." But of course there are the colorations, limited bass etc.

The Thiels give some of those qualities to reproduced music. (Interestingly enough from a low sensitity speaker!)

Jafant,

One thing:

"Your over-view was excellent. Very precise in terms of the things you are hearing. You will most certainly get "texture" otherwise called "timbre".

Actually, in my view at least those are two different qualities. For me timbral quality is the accuracy of tone/harmonics, where wood sounds like wood, brass like brass, plastic like plastic, etc. The Hales line of speakers were among the best I've ever heard at nailing and re-creating a convincing array of instrumental timbers. The main thing my Hales speakers have lacked is the sense of "texture," which IMO is where you sense the physical characteristics of the object being played, the bow on the cello string, fingers plucking the guitar, and the sense that each object is vibrating the air in front of you as it would if present. A sort of reach-out-and-touch it quality.

You can start to loose this quality when, for instance, really underpowering speakers, where you may get a beautiful tone, but a limpid sound in which threadbare sonic images aren't really moving much sound.
Thanks! for sharing- Prof.

I knew I had witnessed something special during my 1st demo w/ the CS 2.4 loudspeaker. It was connected to a Creek integrated and NAD 565 BEE cd player. The texture & timbre were both present in spades.

Now, if Creek would only build a more robust integrated amp, say 200wpc. This could be quite the sonic match for a CS 2.4 or CS 2.7 loudspeaker.

Keep me posted as you massage your new speakers into your listening room!