What models Thiels?......that may make advice easier to give, I happen to think Thiels often sound harsh which some share that opinion and others strongly disagree, I also think the Sophia is the best speaker Wison sells for the money in that the price to performance ratio is the most rational speaker in the line up. The Sophia sounded smoother than the Watt Puppy 8 to my ears.
I am not the most qualifead to answer as I am a poor participant in this hobby and only hear those in a demo with no long term experience.......but that my take.
If you've listened to Wilson's, and cannot decide whether the upgrade is worth it, then you've answered your own question.
You have to look at what the Thiel's do well and not so well. Figure out what the Wilson's do that you would like to have, in addition to what they don't do and you will miss. And then look at the price.
IMO .I agree with Chadnilz, I never like Theils because they sound "harsh" to me,and dislike the Wilson house sound except for the new Sophia 2 which is a winner (even though the retail price has gone way up over the past few months at my local dealer)..A no brainer for me..Wilson Sophia2!!!
If you can't decide, then there is no reason to do it, save your money.
That aside, you need to post your entire system, and tell us what you like/dislike currently, what you hope to achieve, and your budget. Cheers,
I personally think that the Sophias are the best value and sound in the Wilson line up. The Maxx's sound great but I feel they deliver too much bass and lose the overall emphasis on the full music presentation. The Sophias just seems to balance the full range in a smooth, articulate, distinct sound. I have listened to many Theils and although the newer models sound better than before, they just seem to lack the emotional conveyance of the music. In my opinion (opinion only) the Theils remind you that they are there and the Wilsons just deliver the music and you(I)get lost in the music. Again all just one man's opinion. My name is Theo and I approved this reply.
Only because the truth is sometimes painful.
Wilson better than Thiels?
Which is better Chocolate or Vanila? Better no, different yes, only you can decide.
If Thiel means truth I guess I and many others wish to be lied to, I can hear the truth by Sade or Fran Drescher, I happen to want to hear it from Sade where you may like Fran Drescher..........but tis still the truth.
Sbank and the others are right. UNLESS YOU HEAR A BIG IMPROVEMENT never change. There are very few systems that cannot be improved 10% to 50% by careful tuning. Most people change their systems before they have gotten the most out of them. Spend the money [probably a lot less] on improving what you have and don't change until you have recognized a flaw in your system that you cannot live with. AND FOR HEAVENS SAKE DON'T CHOOSE YOUR EQUIPMENT BY ASKING OTHER PEOPLE.
Brf is exactly right. I have a pair of Thiels and I love the sound. I had a buddy in the 80's and 90's that had the 2 2's and they sounded great in his home. I also had a buddy in the 90's that had the Wilson Watt/Puppies and his system blew me away. But whenever I heard the Thiels or the Wilsons in stores they were not nearly as impressive. In stores, Thiels always sounded harsh and the Wilsons sounded flat. So over the years I wasn't sure which way to go until I finally took the plunge and bought the Thiels. They didn't sound so great though until I changed amps, cables, source equipment, room, etc. I guess that is what makes this hobby so special.
So would I prefer the Wilson's over the Thiels? If money was not an issue, sure. But the difference is not enough to push me over the edge. I also know that everything in front of either of these speakers matters too.
Thiels don't sound harsh, they do reveal harsh sounding upstream equipment.
I've heard both the Thiels and Wilsons sound ear bleeding harsh and bright. i have heard the Thiels sound wonderful, and the Wilsons sound good. In equal price range i like the Thiels. Which Thiels do you own, and what Wilsons are you thinking about?
The folks who say that Thiels sound harsh are sadly mistaken (my opinion). I myself have been pondering whether to keep the Thiel 2.3's which I have enjoyed for the past six years or to upgrade to the Sophias. The Sophias have a better extended lower range are a little better in overall detail, dynamics and soundstage (wider & deeper). However, unless you have good front end components, can sound a tad forward. The Thiels on the other hand give the Wilsons a real good run for their money. The cabinets aren't as quiet as the Wilsons and could be a little better in sound stage depth. However, match it with some good tubes and get them placed properly in your room and boy do they sound fantastic. If you love acoustic music and vocals and want to hear subtle changes/differences in any equipment, the Thiels will clearly reveal them. Contrary to one of the above posts, there is absolutely NO lack in emotional conveyance of the music. Every time I hear Alison Krauss, Joni Michell or Mary Chapin Carpenter though them, I tend to close my eyes and smile. Although I love the Sophias, every time I compare them to the Thiels, I can't seem to justify spending 3 times more for them. However, being the nut I am will eventually get them. With the Thiels you get a lot for your money. Both are fantastic speakers designed by two of the best engineers. For now, my heart says Wilsons, but my wallet says Thiels and I know that I will be extremely happy with either.
Sorry for the late response. I live in the other side of the world!
My equipments are as follow.
CJ Premier 350/AR VT100ii
Meridian G08 CD
All Cables-Cardas golden ref.
I have always been a Thiel person. Owned 2.2, 2.4, and now 3.6.
The system has never been hashed if played in the right volume. It is very balanced but can sounded a little flat and lacks the last bit of emotions. What I am wanting is a bit more openness and a better sense of realism. I have thought about a total change of taste and go for Harbeth but there is no dealer in Sydney. Listened to the Wilson’s a few time and they seems very lively. I thought Thiel’s and Wilson’s are on the cool side and Wilson has better performance.
Well, Thiel’s are good speakers but after 15 years, I just want a change!
I used to think my Thiel CS6's were bright until I started to feed them properly. Like many of the great speakers they require a lot of care with regards to location, cabling and related equipment. They are unforgiving and will reveal any weakness in your system.
That said, change can be good.
Funny how these threads go. What's better- this or that?
I've salivated waiting to hear $50,000 Wilson's that disappointed me, and I've heard a pair of Dunlavy SC-5's that brought tears to my eyes. But I just can't proclaim one better than the other. Both are capable and very different approaches.
I've concluded that until you can have a speaker for an extended time and work with placement, room problems, etc, you never really know it.
I have thought about a total change of taste and go for Harbeth but there is no dealer in Sydney
Harbeth is an excellent idea - pity you can't hear them locally. Sydney Opera house use ATC - thats another British brand worth hearing if you have the itch to change. I expect they'll have a local dealer in Sydney as bands like INXS and ACDC used ATC. I' d suggest you try to hear as much as possible - you don't sound "100% sold" on the Wilsons...
It's just as everyone is saying- to hear these speakers at their best, you must hear them in someone's home set up properly with time and care. If I had not heard either the Thiels or the Wilsons in my buddies homes, I would not have given them a passing thought. I have heard each brand in a number of different stores in different cities over the years. They sounded good/bad but never to their full potential. Naturally, the stores are going to audition them with their front end equipment- good or bad. At least both brands typically warranted their own dedicated listening room vs. being lined up along the wall with all the usual suspects.
In my heart, what you need is a turntable, but that's for another thread.
Have you access to some other speaker cables to try w/your Thiels, perhaps MIT?
You've got a great preamp, and amps that are often paired with Thiels, so it's tough to nail it down. When you say, "a bit more openness and a better sense of realism", that just begs for analog...Cheers,
Shadorne, I think you are a fan of British sounds.
Are there main different between British and American sounds? ..... I hope I am not creating third world war here!!
I listened to the Proac D28/38 but I did not like it. I had a chance to listen to the HL-5 Long time ago and I can still remember that speaker has sometime special. I hope I can find one used. I don’t think that will be an up-grade but is a change of taste.
The Wilson’s sound is more inline with my existing taste; I will know for sure there is less to be compromised. But the price is ….. :(
Turntable… I got one too. Check my old threads.
Is my Thiels is up to its potentials? I think they are. I am not saying my systems sounded poor, it is just my up-grade buds…
I want to find a speaker that sounds more ‘life-like’ than my Thiels….
In Sydney, it is impossible to find proper listening trials for a lot of brands. There are only a handful of importers who still sells 2-channels. We are really in the out-back of Hi Ends!
Yeah, it'll come down to preference - especially considering audiophiles and enthusiasts alike will always differ on tastes.
I used to sell Thiel and Wilson both. I owned a pair of Thiel 2.3's, as I got a good deal on em. Still, the Wilson's through the line are better, but more expensive, IMO.
I like both, but would choose Thiels.
You might want to consider some Thiel 7.0 or higher. A buddy of mine had the 3.6's and then upgraded to the 7.0's. HUGE difference. The 7.0's are overall a smoother more realistic speaker with much better bass.
Hi Samzx12, I am not sure my room 4 x 6 meters(13.5 x 22fts) is big enough for such a big speaker.
As I also owned Audio Research VT100ii, I would like to try a tube friendly speaker for a change.
A much better upgrade wiich should be done no matter what speakers you end up owning is some easy and minimal room treatment. When I added two bass traps behind my speakers and two side absorbtion panels in front of my speakers I never heard a more significant improvement and I go thorugh a lot of equipment experimenting. I don't think you know what you speakers and electronics can do till you at least do some of this minimal room treatment - it effects bass, imaging, coherence, and balance - I think you would be suprised how much better what you have is once you get room treatment. I think it is one of the reasons the Merlin room is always among the best sounding rooms at shows, Bobby understand room treatment extremely well.
I have never heard Thiels with a tube amp. I'm guessing that since they need lots of current Thiels do not match well with tubes?
Tony, to get the best from Thiels with tubes can be quite expensive. With Thiels, solid state is much more cost effective.
Tony they do very well with tubes. I drive my CS6's with VTL 300 Deluxe Mono Blocks.
They can work with tubes, but Unsound has the right perspective on the issue IMHO.
With appropriate amplification I believe most of us could live comfortably with either Wilson or Thiel.
Both are fine products.
I'm sure Thiels can sound good with tubes- I'd love to hear that combo some time. But I bet they have to be some massive tube amps to get the full range like I enjoy. I found that the Thiels work much better with amps that have plenty of power and current. i.e. when the amp power rating doubles for each halving of impedence down to 1 ohm then it is capable of driving the Thiels.
I started out with a lesser amp and my new Thiels at the time just didn't quite do it for me. So, years back I took home the PL X350 from a dealer for an audition and that was it. I have been enjoying that amp with my CS6's ever since.
Of course the X350 was not cheap either. But it has so much power and current it can make just about any speaker stand up and salute. :)
Unsound: Lately I have been feeling like I may be missing something not having a big high powered Solid State amp (s). I got a good deal on a pair of Classe CAM 350 mono blocks. I'd read the reviews and a friend has a pair in use with his B&W 800's. Very respectable amps! After a week of heavy use all my wife and I could say is “ They sound well OK”. They do have better bass control than the tube amps but lack the soul of the VTL's. I've given them a month for my ear to adjust but we only miss the VTL's more. Now on my B&W 801 S-3 the CAM's best the VTL is every way. The CAM's also do a darn nice job driving my really hard to drive Acoustat Spectra 33's electrostatic monsters.
To be honest the only way I feel like I am missing something with the CS 6's is when I am not using the VTL 300 Deluxe amps. BTW: before buying the VTL's I used a Krell FPB 200 with my CS 6's.
I'm not quite convinced that Thiels are as power hungry as claimed. I've been using my 2.3's with a Conrad Johnson Premier 11A and it works great. The amp is only 70wpc and rarely do I see the amp pushing more than 5wpc at normal levels (the bias LED's go off). I'm certain that a more powerful amp will give more controlled bass and better dynamics, but when it comes to Thiels, the quality of the amp is more crucial than the wpc.
Vegasears, VTL 300's should be very nice indeed. Unless one listens to a very narrow range of music, in a small room, at low listening levels, puny SET's neeed not apply.
Sanji, true the Thiels need quality first, but, more of it will be more rewarding.
Wow. I find it rather interesting regarding personal taste here.
I've owned a couple of pairs of Thiel's in the past, as well as sold them on a retail level. While I felt they represented some very good value(I've had 2.3's, 1.5's, SCS3's and PCM 1's(?) in my system at home - all used with various combo's of tube and SS gear, such as Coda, Pass, Threshold, Classe, Audible Illusions, Audio Research, Sonic Frontiers, etc), I felt the Wilson's, as a line, were a better offering - albeit more expensive, at that. I thought the Wilson Cub's, Sophia's and WATT Puppies were much more dynamic, big sounding, threw a more solid image, and with better top end refinement than anything I've heard in the Thiel line (including 3.6's and 7.2's).
The impression I'm getting here is that more people here are Thiel fan's. Interesting. To each his (her) own, indeed.
I would, on a value scale still own a pair of 1.6's however. Again, I think Thiel's offer some fine value for the money. I just think they're not as strong as Wilson's, personally.
Wilsons are waaaaay more expensive is why most people own Thiels.
Personally I found Thiels to be a bit bright on the mids and top. Smaller midrange drivers and metal tweeters will do that. Of course better electronics will tame this down to a degree but I never found Thiels ear candy. Now i have heard the 3.7's and 7.0's and I did like them but we are talking about the best Thiels makes/made.
My buddies 3.6's didn't sound decent until he bought a Levinson 331.5 and then a 334. Thats when they started to sing. The extra power really woke them up.
Well (flame suit on) I think a lot of people perceive Wilson to be better because they cost MUCH more. If other companies such as ,Focal, B&W, Wilson, etc had the 3.7s in there line-up I bet they would be priced in the 18,000-25,000 rang. People also seem to like Wilsons if they value the bass drum punch highly.
Anyway I went shopping and thought I was set on a pair of Wilsons before listening (based on on-line reviews). While I liked them very much I ended up deciding on the Theils 3.7 over the sophia (cost not a concern... both expensive in the real world). I had NO interest in Theils before I heard them... they were not even on my sort list. The 3.7s had a lot more detail than the Sophia in the upper mids and highs. This extra detail was NOT brightness but real detail. The sophia (note it was a different shop/set up) seemed to have a sight mid bass hump and lacked a good amount of detail compared to the 3.7s. The sight mid bass hump did give them a little more body but to me it was less transparent. I heard the Duettes on they same system/room as the 3.7 and them seemed to have a very similar signature as the Sophia (slight bass hump and less detailed than the 3.7s) but the Duettes were not quite as dynamic. As a side note the Duettes seem good for there size but seemed about $5,000 over priced... almost the same price as the Sophia but not near as smooth.
On the 3.7 CDs with body had body and CDs without warmth/body did not. While the Sophias had a sight signiture (kick drum anyone?) to them IMO. Please keep in mind that my comments on from a purist standpoint and very critical, both are very good speakers!
If the Theils cost more I would still buy them over the Sophias. But I would still buy a pair of use Sophias if they were local and use them in a second system.
As a side note listen to Hard Rock 95% of the time.
FWIW, I find the Wilson's to be more dynamic, but the Thiels more linear and coherent.
"FWIW, I find the Wilson's to be more dynamic, but the Thiels more linear and coherent."
I agree 100% with this statement. I think that the 3.7 is the most coherent 3 way I have heard to date.
James 63. I think you are correct when you say "This extra detail was NOT brightness but real detail." This has been my experience with Thiels. The highly revealing nature of them are also merciless in showing the characteristics of other components in the chain. So some folks fault the speakers for being "bright" when in reality it's another component. This was evident in recent changes to power cords and conditioners in my system. The Thiels revealed the character of every single brand tested. Some components did accentuate the highs in a slight but unnatural fashion. I also upgraded the speaker cables to a brand/model which were more expensive than the speakers itself and the Thiels took the system to a whole new level by vanishing completely.
As for the Wilsons and the midbass/bass hump giving the music more body, I completely agree. However, after listening to the entire line of Wilsons, my experience has been that a seamless integration of the bass with the mids and treble happen when you get to the MAXX range and above. I'm sure that many Sophia and WP owners would disagree.
Although the Thiel Vs. Wilson comparison is a lot of fun, discussing what Thiels don't do well is missing the point completely. It's like looking at a glass which is 85% full and concentrating on the 15%. Thiels do a lot of things well while the Wilsons do a lot of things exceptionally well. But then again $$$$$.
Ok, well then there you have it! It's official!
Just about every audio enthusiasts and/or audiophile here apparently agrees that Thiel's are indeed better (+ value) and Wilson's are worse (+ > cost , thus = < value), correct?
Surely there must be a mathematician amongst us
who can turn the above theory into a real mathematical equation, and thus a scientific proof of some sort, yes?
OK so who then would like to step forward here and tackle this one for the Nobel prize in Home Audio? DOH!
Amazing... OK well let me just make sure I've got this right. So then would it be safe to surmise that, instead of buying a pair of, say, Wilson Sophia's, I could basically simply pull out several thousand dollars from my wallet, go over and flush it down the toilet, proceed to punch myself in the groin a few times, then make my way down the the local Thiel dealership to buy a pair of 3.7's, and I'd then still be ahead of the game, yes?
OK but wait. Wait. What if I were, say, into listening to stuff like Pink Floyd's SACD version of Dark Side of the Moon at concert playback volume levels?! Could I then assume that it would sound better plaid back on a pair of Thiel 3.7's on some tube amp's, over maybe a pair of WATT Puppies on Levinson's? Hummmmmm...I'm not so sure there. Or would it be safe to surmise that that listening to a full scale orchestral piece on vinyl would be best playing back through a system including a pair of Theil 2.4's over some Sophia's? Really? Or how about perhaps playing back Transformers or Iron Man at THX playback levels sounding better played through something like some Thiel SCS4's or even Power Points than it would using something like Wilson CUB's? Just checking...
Um, I'm not so sure that equation might work out after all. But that's just me. could be wrong ya know.
Playing music at concert levels or films at THX levels, I would first invest in some custum made earplugs. A concert is most of the time between 100 and 110dBA that will damage your ears.
At home I almost never go past 80 to 90dB, 80% of the time I listen between 75dB and 80dB.
I think it is safe to say that Wilson and Thiel both make excelent speakers both are really expensive but Wilson is even more expensive then Thiel.
Howabout Cremona M !!!? Is that an upgrade? Looks much smaller than the 3.6?
Ok, so I think we can say that Thiel's might possibly be better for those who appreciate more casual vocals and light instrumental music, and for those who have a more modest budget to spend on speakers. Also, for those who like wood finish on their furniture, the Thiel is the only choice here. As for Wilson's, you take your race car finish, and make it work with your lifestyle.
As for amplification, seems like those who appreciate light instumentals, vocals, and some chamber music as their listen of choice, a tube amp may or may not be your compliment of choice with Thiel's. Bass will likely be less impactful than with SS, however. With Wilson's you can easily use some tube gear, get some slamm and deep extension, as they are higher in sensitivity BY FAR than the competing Thiel's. Also, you can get by with lesser wattage amp's on the Wilson's. Wilson's are definitely more tuneable with either SS or tube amplification, IME. Either can also be done well with SS or tube preamp match-ups.
Wilson's are also likely better for those who want to spend a lot, and desire to get world class fit and finish, good sound, and "a conversation piece/statement pieces for their collection of "stuff!". Also, possibly, those with some cash to spend, who want a high end sounding, high performance HT system, and money's no object, then The Wilson's are likely a good choice to look at.
Doe's this sum up the situation more effectively?
"casual vocals and light instrumental music"? I suggest you let the reader, or better yet the listener, decide for themsleves.
Hi Luna. I'm assuming you want to improve your sound, not just change speakers-because you're 'bored' with them.
Judging from your system notes I'd say your biggest improvements would come from investing in some conditioning and isolation for your digital, and your preamp, along with a power cord like an MIT Shotgun AC1, or better, for each. For your amp, try to find an MIT Z Stabilizer or Z Stabilizer ll to plug into the adjoining receptacle of your amps power cord plug in. If you would like any details feel free to ask.
Well the two times I have auditioned the 3.7 I took a good bit of heavy metal ( not quite "casual vocals") with me. They did a very good job!
I've touched on this in a nother thread before, but I have a problem relying on anyone else's hearing . I'm assuming you meant better in sound quality, as I think its pretty safe to say both companies build quality is very high. What if the respondent to your question is a 55 year old with presbycussis, who cannot hear the upper treble range at all? What if the respondent's room is extremely absorptive while yours is more reflective? Would that make one speaker sound fine to him but too "hot" to you? Has the respondent listened to the speakers in que stion only in a dealer's showroom for an hour or two, at a show, or in his home every d ay for years? As others have stated, ancillary equipment and the t ype of music listened to make a difference as well. It's fine to gather and synthesize opinions f rom magazines and the people here, its part of due diligence, but in the end, I'm afraid only our own two ears can answer that kind of question. --Mrmitch