Upgrade Thiel CS3.6 to CS6??

I am thinking about bidding on a pair of Thiel CS6 speakers in bird's-eye maple, and would like some input from those of you familiar with these speakers. I have owned a pair of CS3.6's for seven and a-half years and I've been generally very pleased with their sound. Can anyone out there tell me what I can expect to gain in terms of sound and performance by upgrading? Do the CS6's have bi-amping/wiring capabilities? My current amp is a Mark Levinson No. 23.5 which is what I plan on using should I get the CS6. I'd imagine that should be adequate as it is capable of delivering 400 WPC continuous into a 4 ohm load. I also have a Mark Levinson No. 27.5 that could be used in a bi-amp setup if the speaker is capable. My listening preferences are extremely diverse and include rock, folk, classical, jazz, "adult alternative".

My other concern would be room size and the restriction to a fairly near-field listening position. My room is somewhat odd in its layout. The dimensions are: 13 feet wide and 22 feet long. The caveat is that the room opens into a foyer and is interrupted by a staircase that cuts off about half of the back wall. In other words, half of the back wall is 14 feet from the front wall and ends at the stairs, while the other half of the back wall is 22 feet from the front wall and extends into the foyer. I hope that made sense. Because of the staircase and foyer, I must sit about 8 feet from the front plane of the speakers. I keep the back edge of my CS3.6's about 30 inches away from the front wall and the center axis of each speaker lies 40 inches from each side wall. The speakers are 75 inches apart when measeured from the center axis of each. Is my room too small to accomodate the CS6's? Please keep in mind that I will likely be moving into a different home in the next 1-2 years (with definite plans for a dedicated larger listening room), so I could live with the current suboptimally sized room temporarily.

Thanks to all and happy listening!!

Hey Mark,

You may be shocked to find that the CS6 is a step backwards, other than the PCS, the CS6 is easily the worst speaker Thiel may have ever made.

I know the shizzel is going to rain down on that comment but three years having to listen that speaker at work was a major dissappointment, only speaker that was worse was the Amati homage. There should have been a 6.2 but there isn't and never will be. In fact if you look at the configuration, the CS6 is a 3.6 at twice the price and half the performance.

If you want to upgrade and stay with Thiel, buy a new pair of 2.4's which smoke any of the current thiels. The first one that doesn't have a sibilance problem... etc. Trade one of your amps for a subwoofer.

As a thiel owner and fan from the early 90's CS1.2, CS2.2 owner I can only tell you what misery it was to try to sell a brand that under performed so badly, CS2.3, PCS, CS7.2, CS6 all underwhelming speakers. Looked cool though.

Anyone with an ear will support my opinion the the 2.4 is a Phoenix rising from the ashes of a speaker line that has grown old and wasn't very good to start with.

The 2.4 is what your 3.6 was all those years ago a bargain at any price and a great speaker.

Hopefully that wasn't too emotional. :)
Wow...thanks!!...I think. I appreciate your honesty. Maybe I'll just keep the 3.6s.
Get the 2.4's they're twice as good as your 3.6's. and their smaller size will further be beneficial in suiting your room situation by giving you even more setup flexibility.

This past decade had been a long one when it has come to speaker technology and your speakers are on the long end of that decade. I wasn't sparing you the necessity to upgrade, I just wanted to make sure that if you were spending the money you'd get what you thought you were paying for. :)

Dear Edwards
I am also getting the CS2.4 as front speakers, MGS1 as center speaker, SS1 as subwoofer and probably Powerpoint or CS1.6 as rear surrounds. I am into HT and 2-channel music. I am looking at Pass Lab X5 as power amp. and a Simaudio Stargate or EDS Theartermaster 8800 pro as processor. What is your advice? I have not confirmed any of the above as yet.
I have also had discussions with personnel of a high end audio store in whose opinions I have always found trustworthy. I have also owned the Thiel 3.6 as you do. I was inquiring about an upgrade to the CS6 as well, and was told a similar story as D_edwards portrayed.

I was "steered" to either go with the 2.4 (supposed to be very good) or to wait until after the first of the year in which Jim Thiel is supposed to unveil the 3.7 at CES and it is supposed to *smoke* the CS6 and CS7.2. I have been told rumblings of about $5.5-6K retail estimated for CS3.7
I have the CS 2.4 and they out perform most speakers that cost twice as much. I've listened to the CS6 and I will tell you save the money and buy a used pair of CS 2.4 that are going for $2,800.00- $3,100.00 and laugh all the way to the bank. The soundstage is huge and wide. Give it plenty of power and hang on for the ride of your life from a speaker of this size. I use a Bryston 14b-sst and found this to pair well with the CS 2.4. As to the CS 7.2 well that is another thread.

I had a pair of 3.6 and 2.3 for front and rear speakers in an HT system. This was quite nice but the pair of Talon Khorus and Peregrine that replaced the Thiels is simply in a completely different league.

There is a very natural tonal balance to the Talons that the Thiels simply don't have. The Talons have a dynamic capability, incredible low-end extension and quite a warm midrange presence that again, the Thiels don't have. And for those of you who claim the incredible Thiel resolution, it's all there in the Talons. Amps used here were ARC Classic 150s and Counterpoint NPS 400 which had no difficulty driving the Thiels.

One advantage of the Talons is that they are more efficient and an easier speaker to drive which opens up the amp options greatly. To pay new prices for Thiels vs the used prices for the Talons makes absolutely no sense.

You folks who are touting the superiority of the 3.6 or the 2.4 over the 6 must be smoking some very good stuff. I did extensive comparisons of all three a little over a year ago powered by Levinson, Krell and Musical Fidelity and by far the CS6 was superior in every way. Far better extended with a much larger soundstage and clarity, better midrange and 3 dimensionality. I really have to chuckle sometimes at the blanket statements made here, but each to his or her own I suppose.

I think the problem here is that Thiel CS6 and up are not your average speaker. They require very high output amps to even come close to understanding what performance exists. A quick store demo with these level speakers not paired to the right amp is a waste of time.

The 2.4's are a great speaker, they are slightly better than the 3.6 but neither can manage what the CS6 can do powered correctly. What makes them attractive is the performance using a reasonable powered amplifier.

With that all said the Thiel CS6 is for very large soundstage at high levels and is not suited for small light listening like the lower lines. If you prefer to push the limits the Thiel CS6 comes alive at 500+ watts of quality power and the performance will amaze anyone. The top end blows away B&W in this regime and set up properly has all the bass response one could ask for sans subwoofer.


You absolutely need to do an in home demo of the CS6 with proper amplification before crossing it off the list. While Jim Thiel is always improving his product and learning better ways to make a speaker his new products do not make his past lines obsolete by any means. Whether you love or hate Thiel you have to respect a manufacturer who can make their own drivers that can withstand very high input levels sustained.

"if you have a preference to rock music I would rethink about purchasing Thiels, just my opinion" excerpted from a post by Chryslers Rule

Yeah, well he likes Rock and that's just your opinion. In his room your suggested wattage would mean his system would be outputting 112dB at his seating position, so this is not practical and likely speaker damage danger zone. I can't believe you haven't blown up your speakers yet. You have a very special pair of CS6's.


I bet you love the percussive hits of the drums and the sense that the guitars and brass have real sense of bite to them. You can't get that kind of clarity with the other speakers. The 6's just seem to highlight the instruments in the stage with a pinpoint accuracy that your Dynaudios and the 2.4's cannot match correct?

Tell me I'm wrong and I'm on the j :)

Well, this thread certainly has opened up Pandora's box. All of your opinions are well taken and appreciated. I was unaware that a 3.7 was on the horizon. Perhaps, I ought to wait to see what fruits it might bear.

I still haven't made any decisions. I have already bid on the CS6, but I have a feeling that my max bid will not stand up. I certainly think the seller would not want to let go of these for less than 1/3 the original cost, even though there is no reserve price. At the current level of bidding I would be stealing these if the auction ended right now. There are still 5 more days for the auction to progress.

Again, considering the CS6. Is a Mark Levinson 23.5 sufficient to drive this speaker to a reasonable level of performance? It can definitely provide 400 WPC continuous into a 4 ohm load.

I am still quite happy with my CS3.6's, and really would rather keep them, if the consensus is that the CS6 is not much (if any) of an upgrade. Otherwise, the logical step would be to wait and see what the 3.7 will bring to the table.
Your Levinson amp is quite capable of driving the Thiels to a satisfactory level for best performance. Whether or not the 6's are a substantial enough upgrade over the 3.6's is something you must decide. In my opinion they are especially given their price on the used market but again you must decide. The 6.0's are far superior, again in my opinion, over the 2.4's. Thiels tend to have a common sound quality through-out their line. The bigger models simply dig deeper and extend higher and with better clarity and more detail than their lessor models. Hope this helps.

Let me present my hidden agenda




I was waiting for this, above in these links to measurements you can see the difference between the 2.4, CS6 and the 7.2 which uses a Gen 2 version of the coincident driver. Atleast 10% smoother than gen. 1

I have a personal opinion and I expressed it, but let me state clearly that the CS6 fans have every right to their opinion about the sound. Funny thing is they have honed in on certain aspects of the sound that makes the CS6 unique to the 2.4. When looking at the maesurements the only thing i would argue is the CS6 having a better midrange, because if we just look at the data that would be hard to substantiate. But it may be their preference. What I'm trying to show is that people have preferences and satisfying those preferences is all anyone needs to worry about but when you're giving advice in a forum its not good enough to simply say its better...better why? How....how can you justify an 8dB dip in the midrange as superior? See a few paragraphs down for why and how.

So as the victim ( I mean original poster) how do you know which way to go? Measurements help guide the way if you can quantify them into what you like and be honest with yourself if something you like does not fit a "technical" ideal. tube guys have grown a sense of humor about this and distortion #'s do not matter and no longer explode into a thousand post thread of misunderstanding. They accept the technical flaw and get what they want from the sound.

Looking at these measurements there is no wonder that you will have people on distinct sides of the fence regarding these two speakers. They are dramatically different which debunks a few erroneous statements that all Thiel speakers sound alike. And also that the "lessor" models aren't as extended as the the moror? models. The 2.4 gives up 5 hz in bass extension to CS6 (somewhat insignificant to the original poster) and has a tweeter that is flat to 24Khz. And well since my preference is for Flat speakers with an excellent power response there's no wonder I like the 2.4 so much relative to the CS6.

I know most of you haven't done the research I have but the CS6 is an imaging machine, that dip in the upper mids is a trick found on the 2.3 and the early CS7 and about a thousand other wanabe high end speakers. Folks look long and hard at what a great imaging speaker measures like. And feel free to move through the remarkable amount of speakers that use this trick to image (Wilson Watt puppy's)etc.

Since I do not use my speakers like a TV, this is lost on me and the metallic tinge it creates to the violins leaves me cold. This is typically the price paid for great imaging a slight nasal character or metallic sound to strings, there are others but this coloration is very consistent from speaker to speaker.

Thing is if you like the CS6 this what you like and if you like the 2.4 that is what you like and nobody can criticize that opinion until you make unsubstantiated comments about better and best or is technically impossible.

I admit to looking hypocritical through my earlier post but it was to reach this end...have a good reason based in fact, audio is not some random crapshoot, there are real things going on that can be counted on and measured. there will always be a surprise here and there but that is the anomally not a reason to throughout the rules.

Review outlets are givng you some facts you can work with, use them to build some knowledge on real materials not some writers ability for digging superlatives out of the thesaurus. These products are expensive and if you care so much about it why not learn the facts not the BS.

I don't mean to belittle anyone and any insults by stating the obvious or what appears to be assumption about, anyone or any group and what those people know was likely a result of my writing for a wide audience and the effort to keep this as short as possible.

Thanks for reading my post,
have a good one

This debate is starting to get good!
It all boils down to your listening preference. My personal opinion and experience , because I have the CS 2.4, is that the price difference between the CS 2.4 and CS6 to me is not worth paying the extra 5k. However, I also have the CS 7.2 with Pass Labs X600 and it is definetely worth the difference in price as a few other Audiogoners have the same setup and can testify to how incredible this sounds.
Yes Irish, but how is your listening preference defined? What does it say when you prefer the 7.2? Are you willing to take the good with the bad? The reason I ask this is this is not in the context of making a decision about your system, but how do you relate it to others when making a recommendation.

With no common experience, same room, same time , same system it is impossible to bridge the gap and build meaningful discussion without some universal information. Because neither of will trust (rightfully so) that we had any where near the same experience.

You can look at the Thiel 7.2 measurement and know now if i'm going to like the 7.2 or not.
To add some fuel to the fire, I found that I actually preferred the sound of 3.6's to 2.4's. Yes, I can hear how from a transparency perspective, the 2.4's may be an improvement, but like many things, it is dependant upon your other gear and the interaction thereof. Attributes of the 3.6's which I prefer over the 2.4's mostly deal with conveying a sense of scale and weight. When I put on recordings of large orchestral pieces, the 2.4's did not do as good of a job as the 3.6's at convincing me there was a full-sized symphony orchestra spread out in front of me. The 3.6's also had much more low end, at least to my ears, but if you have a quality sub, this might not matter.

I'd stick with the 3.6's for now, and see if the 3.7's ever materialize.
Thiel informs me the 3.7 won't arrive until next summer at the earliest.
To claim that Amati Homage is the worst speaker one has ever heard is bold, very bold.
Keep in mind that Thiel's policy is that they will not introduce an "upgrade" until they are certain that it represents a definite and noticeable improvement over the current model. The fact that the 3.6 has been in the lineup for 11 or so years should tell you something!
D edwards, You are so right about that and I have to confess to all here that as a result of that extensive listening, I have owned the CS6 for a little over a year now powered by Krell KCT CAST connected to a Krell 400cx and coupled to the 6s via Harmonic Tech Prosilway 9 cables. Now I'm considering one of Thiels subs to obtain extension flatness all the way to 20Hz. Question is whether their single 10" deiver sub will do the trick in my room.
I just spent a few hours auditioning the CS2.4 and CS6 powered by the Musical Fidelity kW500 integrated amp with Valhalla cables. I did not do a head to head comparison of the 6 vs 3.6. Unfortunately, the dealer's setup did not allow for proper placement of the CS6 speaker. In other words, the listening position constraint would not allow the listener to sit the requisite 10 feet from the tweeter/midrange driver. The bass was also booming and over-exaggerated with the CS6 due to room placement/listener issues and likely standing waves. As you could imagine, this was very frustrating. The room was simply too small for the CS6 to be properly auditioned. The CS2.4 fared better in the same listening room. I really was impressed with the 2.4s imaging, clarity and low frequency tightness and extension. I'm sure the boomy bass issue with the CS6 could be dealt with by proper placement of the listener and speaker in my home listening room (plus some room treatment if need be). It would have been helpful to hear the speaker in the showroom seated the proper distance from the speaker to allow for the drivers to integrate.


Where were you, at D edwards showroom?

The Music Fidelity was also the wrong amplifier for the CS6's anyhow so you were wasting your time.

Good Luck,
Well, I thought I'd update you all on where things stand. I decided to let another bidder steal the CS6. He got a fantastic deal ($3050) on these 6 month old gorgeous BEM speakers that cost $10,000 new. The lady of the house thought the 6s were too big, so I had to acquiesce.
The good news is: THE CS2.4S ARE ON THE WAY!! I've decided to add a second system and keep the 3.6s. Hopefully, the 3.7 will be worth the wait (another 12-18 months, I'm told).

Now, I would like to ask of you all another favor. Please provide your input on speaker cables. The budget will be under $600 on the used market.

Thanks to all of you for your valuable input.


That was a steal on those CS6's! Wow!

As for cables, I use Cardas Neutral Reference, which I like very well with my 3.6's. I drive them with Theta Enterprises, with Reich connectors, so I have the Reich paddles on the amp end of the Cardas cables.
I don't believe you will regret your purchase. I've had my 2.4's for three or four months and they sound better every time I sit down and listen. I am more content with my current system than I've ever been and I have owned several speakers over the past few years. I was in your situation in debating between a set of 6's or 2.4's. I decided to go with the 2.4's and wait to see how the 3.7's turned out. I am using a Pass X250.5 with Acoustic Zen Hologram cables. I haven't tried other cables as I am satisfied with the AZ's.

Good luck and happy listening,