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wow these are totally different beasts. Your going to be completly changing the sound. Thiels are strong, dynamic, fast, detailed and have a great sounstage (the total opposite of vandersteins which are reserved, laid back, slow, and warm) I would recommend the 2.3's instead of the 3.6's. The 2.3's are smaller but are newer and many feel are better. If you only like classical you may not like the thiels though and it's a pain in the butt to match gear with. They can be bright also if you don't watch what your pairing them with. This will be a drastic change I really recommend you listen to them first. If your looking for a great soundstage and imaging you can jump into and totally immerse you than thiel is the way to go. If you like that syrupy fix it sound than go with some bigger vandies.
I can only respond to the sound qualities of the Thiels. I own a pair of 22's which was replaced by the 2.3's. As people have stated, Thiels are very revealing. You will need a great source and tons of power. I originally ran my 22's with 200 wpc into 4 ohms. Granted it was with a Hafler amp, and the sound was not bad. Not harsh in any until you really open it up at high volume levels. Most people say Thiels do not play at high volume levels well. I made a small upgrade and am now using a Parasound amp rated at 400wpc into 4 ohms. What a night and day difference. I now have incredible bass. Bass that you hear even at very low listening levels. The biggest improvement is when I play my music rather loud. Absolutly no harshness. The sound is still sweet and smooth. Also noted, that I have my speakers in a room that does not have a concrete floor like most homes. My Thiels were spiked and sounded very nice. I added Vibapods under them and the improvement was amazing.
I also had 2.2s and had listened to 3.6s quite a few times. There are some good deals on used 3.6s...some as low as $1,700 a pair and that is a steal for such a good speaker. They need a lot of power...preferably solid state power. The speakers are very demanding. Someone mentioned the 2.3s, but since you can get 3.6s cheaper used, no need to look at the 2.3s. Another speaker you might want to listen to is the Dunlavy SC III, they are going for somewhere around $3,000 a pair new, retail is $4,000. Much more easy to drive and not so finicky about equipment further up in the chain. I'm using these speakers with ARC electronics and I love them, haven't missed my 2.2s at all.
I really appreciate the replies so far. Seems everyone agrees that these are great speakers which require a lot of power. I just purchased the new Bel Canto EVO which is 200 watts into 4 ohms. Do you think I have enough power? Also would like to know speaker cables everyone has found to work best with the 3.6. Thanks again guys you have been a great help. Rick
Hi, I'm driving my CS3.6 with Krell FPB200 amps (400 watts on 4 ohms)and this really made the Thiel's get all the power they need.Not a hint of brightness or grain on the highs, the reason I mentioned this is because the CS3.6 will sound bright if underpowered and you'll know it right away. Given that they are very demanding speakers and sensitive with cabling,the flipside is they are very rewarding once you actually hit the right combinations. I'm using Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cables and Silver Reference IC's on them now (and Nordost quattro fil between CD and preamp). I used to use all AQ cabling (AQ Diamond and Clear SE)on them before which also sounded good but the AZ cables gave it a touch of sweetness and warmth.
Don't know whether you have made a move yet but here's my experience. I've have 3.6's for about a month, drive em with a Classe 200 and using right now Kimber 8TC. I'm waiting on my MIT to be converted from bi to single wire, but the 8TC does a superb job. I've also got cj tubes in the preamp. I've got plenty of power, no harshness, not bright, smooth and ultra clear. I just had Clapton "24 nights" and SRV "Couldn't change the weather" cranked and I've never heard either better. Acoustic guitar is great as well as driving bass/rock/blues. Good luck in your decision.
i've never been fond of vandy's, always liked the thiels - for pretty much the reasons already stated above. so, if it were me, it's a no-brainer decision. however, if *you* really like those vandy's, i'd make sure ya had an opportunity to audition the thiels in a familiar setting.
regarding 3.6 vs 7, i'd suggest a pair of the 3.6's w/a dedicated subwoofer set-up - a pair of good subs, outboard electronic x-over, & decent hi-power s/s amp. more bang for the buck, imo...
nah, ya don't *need* subs w/the 3.6's, yust, imo, i'd rather have *that* set-up than a pair of 7's. when i had my thiel 3.5's in my main system, (due to electronic equalization, these are actually flat to 20hz), they were definitely improved w/a pair of vmps larger subs, x'd over at 70hz. i was able to lose the equalizer, too. the bass was tighter at volume, and the mids & highs were also better - less stress on that 10" driver, and losing the equalizer both helped.