I moved up from Thiel CS2s to a used pair of 3.6s recently.
I enjoy them without any regrets. I had listened to the speaker on and off over the past 10 years before making the purchase. My brief personal experience is that they are more challenging than the CS2s with regard to placement, music source quality and source equipment (Especially including the fine tuning type stuff like making sure connections are tight and clean.) But, with the greater challenge comes a more revealing speaker at all levels of performance. I am still working on placement. I'm still in the setup stage actually since I'm still experiementing with placement. What I have been able to minimize in my room is the extra mid and upper bass warmth. Some call this a certain pluminess, and object to it. I do not sense any overblown response in this region. A few inches of movement eliminated the hump. The speakers are not "bright" in my room, which is rather large and has no glass surfaces. Bright must apply to very early Thiel speakers (pre-1985) or it is a function of room (big sliding glass doors do seem to be a problem for another audiophile friend with the older Thiel CS3.5s) and electronics IMHO. I'm currently using a c-j PF-1 preamp and a Bryston 3B-ST amp. I've heard superb results with BAT, Krell, Pass and others also. I'd like to try a Classe amp on for size one day too. Some of my older CDs do not sound very good now however. The CS2s were more forgiving of bad digital sound. That does not mean they sounded good on the CS2s, but instead they sounded "less bad". The speakers seem to want a bigger amp at times too. The 3B-ST is 120 watts into 8 ohms. The Thiels are probably mostly a 4 ohm or less speaker. No one I know is using a tube amp with them so I am anxious to get mine back from the shop and give the two a whirl! A few friends suggest that I might want a preamp with a better bass capability also. Nevertheless, if you can afford them I think they will make good music for you. The CS6s are slightly better still and rumoured to require less amp to sound their best. The CS3.6 is also more or less a 10 year old design and supposedly due to be replaced by Thiel, though this has yet to happen despite the rumour being rather old. What you want is here, clear highs and bass punch, but you can find these elsewhere too. I'm fond of the bigger Dunlavy speakers too for example. I like what Revel and Vandersteen offer too. Genesis is supposed to be back in business too. You might listen to the Thiel CS7.2 s also. Good luck my friend. Bottom line: these are still very good and cost effective speakers...not the best or most expensive however. You need a decent sized room though. Used prices are often augmented by a warranty!!!
I owned a pair, loved them, and was sad to sell them. What they do well, they do as well as any speaker I've heard under $5000, and many over. Small jazz combos, solo and chamber classical, acoustic, female voices can't be beat. With the right equipment, they are absolutely amazing. The feeling of live music is recreated beyond belief. You can close your eyes . . .
However, for loud electric rock and orchestral music, they can be a bit harsh, or bright at higher volumes.
I have a pair of Snell B Minors I kept because they do everything very well, especially loud rock, but they don't come close to the 3.6's for the smaller, acoustic stuff.
I was tempted to keep both pair, but, though I like my gear, I really don't want to be dragging 150 pound speakers in and out of the room. I actually had them both set up at the same time and would just switch my speaker cable, but they took up too much room, especially with my other stuff.
I'm not a big fan of Martin Logans, but many other people seem to like them.
An audiogoner wanted to buy the Snells from me. He said the only speaker better was Coincident Technology, which is designed very much like the Snells.
Good luck on searching. Don't trust anyone (even me!). Trust your own ears.
I love mine! The only thing I wish is that I had a pair of 7.2's. I am currently using Conrad Johnson electronics (16ls II tubed pre / MF2500A ss amp) with a Sony SCD-1 front end and audioquest cables. I was driving them with a CJ Premier 11a (70W/Ch Tubed amp) I was amazed at how well that amp drove those speakers. The MF2500 does,however, deliver more bass. But the midrange detail that the 11a produced was simply sublime. Has me searching for a pair of 8a's.
post script....Thiel has been great with support for both speakers and I've basically had a 17 year relationship with the company. Warranty repairs on the CS2s went well. Questions over the years have all been answered within 48 hours. Excellent support AFTER the sale is the phrase that comes to mind. Hales, Avalon and Alon are three other brands you might check out too.
Not only a step up, IMO, it is one of the best speakers out there for the money. Search the threads, you will find many opinions, mostly positive. The only caveats is that (1) your source components will make or break the Thiels and (2) all the action happens between the speakers. They do not throw an image outside the speakers, so you will need about 9 feet between them and in front of them for proper imaging and soundstage. From my experience, they lose a lot when spaced closer than 8 feet together and within 3 feet of the side and back walls. They definitely need breathing room.
Other than that - their design hasn't changed in ten years, are built like a tank, and will last a good long time with Thiel's support. When I purchased mine, I was looking between them and the Avalon Radian HC (fifteen grand difference!). I still have mine and will never get rid of them; I let some good pieces go only to want them again but are now hard to find. These stay.
I love mine too, I'm using cj prem 14 with nos tubes, classe amp, meridian front end - all on the softer side of neutral. Over the past year I have upgraded cables to MIT 350 ref and evo ic's and most recently Oracle V3 speaker cables and they made a gigantic difference from top to bottom. Good advice above - they need spacing and room to breath on the sides to make them truely transparent and non-boxey sounding which I think is the best attribute of the 3.6's.
I wouldn't part with mine either. As noted above they do need some space and good amplification. With the above caveots I would without hesitation recommend them highly. I bought used and ended up dealing with Thiels service folks (Shari) quite a bit, they are awesome to work with.
I have to agree with everything written above. I have kept these for 9 years while I have upgraded all of my other equipment in phases. I went from a McCormack amp (a bit tubby, indistinct) to Classe CAM 200's (great improvement, better control and treble details/layers). I went from a passive line stage to an Audio Research LS7 to a BAT preamp (VK30)- the driving ability of the preamp made a huge difference in adding weight to the speakers. I have upgraded all of my MIT cables, and am now playing with room acoustics, feet, etc. The Thiels continue to pay me back with each improvement made, meaning that they have never been the weak link in the system. I also agree that the service/support has been outstanding, the few times I have needed it. If you are looking for a certain upfront 'bite' and aliveness to your vocals and horns, the Thiels are one of the few that have it. It is a double-edged sword, however, since you can have them sounding too harsh and sibilant with the wrong equipment. Best of luck on your search.
I'm looking to get a pair of pre-owned 3.6's but after reading all these responses i either need a bigger house or think about getting a smaller pair of thiels. My listening room is probably 15X20 at best(more like 12X18), what are your thoughts? I love the bass slam from the 3.6 but it looks like or sounds like speaker placement is critical with them.
Jcatral14, actually I think that the Thiels are unforgiving with regard to associated equipment. As for placement, I think they are unique in that they will reward you if you give them room and attention but can be forgiving of less than ideal placement. I know that sounds contradictory, but, it's true. Some other speakers fall apart(sonicaly not literaly) when not place just so. Thiels recommends a minimum of 1 foot behind, 3 feet from side walls, 8 feet beteen each other and 8 feet from the listener. You will be greatly rewarded if you can get them 3 feet from the rear wall, 5 feet from side walls, 10 feet apart and 10 feet from the listener. After that the big consideration is how much bass your room can handle. You can probably fit the 3.6's but the 2.3's or 2.4's are worthy of consideration.
Jcatral14 if you think you might ever move again and possibily have a bigger listening room..go ahead and get them. they will probably work in the room you have if your ceiling is not too low. You might need a lot of placement flexibility though...
i did have very short experiences with thiel 3.6, i fell these sp are analytical, and bright, they are not my cup of tea. They sound hifi, but not musical. They will be sound better with tube gears or tube sound like solid state amps.
No, I tried, Thiel is not my cup of tea.
I have owned the Thiel CS3.6's for the past 8 years, and I am very pleased with them. If you are contemplating getting a pair, I would make the following suggestions:
1) The 3.6 has been criticized in some quarters as being a "bright" speaker. I don't think this is so --- I think that it is an "accurate" speaker. I reproduces what it is fed. You may find that, once installed, it becomes the strongest link in your system, which means that it becomes necessary for you to use associated components of sufficient quality. With the 3.6, poor source material and inadequate electronics have nowhere to hide, but if the 3.6 is matched with appropriate electronics, a good recording will sound wonderful.
My system includes the following items:
CD transport: Denon DCD-1650AR
Interconnect: Harmonic Technology Magic Digital One, 1.5m, RCA
DAC: Dodson Audio DA-217MkIID
Interconnect: Harmonic Technology Magic Link One, 1m, XLR
Preamp: Bryston BP-20
Interconnect: Harmonic Technology Magic Link One, 1m, XLR
Power Amp: Aragon 8008BB
Speaker Cable: Analysis Plus Oval 9, 8 ft.
Speakers: Thiel CS3.6
AC Conditioning: ExactPower 2000
Power Cords: Stock
Equipment Rack: Atlantis Reference 5
I upgraded my system in stages after I got the 3.6's, and each change was audible. The most noticeable improvement was the Dodson DAC -- this represented a huge leap from the stock Denon player, which makes a very nice transport. I still want to upgrade my power cords and add a balanced power transformer for the AC, as finances permit, but the system is coming together. The main point is that if you buy speakers that are good enough, then they will not become obsolete; they will reward you with improved sound each time you upgrade one of your system components. The 3.6's, in my opinion, are that good, and are one of the best audio purchases I ever made.
2) The 3.6 needs room to breathe, which means a listening room of adequate size. My living room is 14 feet wide by 19 feet long; the speakers are on the short wall, firing down the length of the room. There are 4.5 feet between the rear wall and the speakers' front baffles. Distance to the right wall is 2 ft. 8 in., while distance to the left wall is 3 ft. 8 in., with a 1-foot-deep bookcase taking up part of that. The speakers are 7 ft. 8 in. apart, center-to-center, and the listening position is 11 feet from the speakers' front baffles. I have them facing almost straight ahead, toed in just a few degrees to compensate for the less-than-ideal distance to the side walls.
I would have preferred a bigger room, but this is what was available. All the same, the system sounds wonderful with the right material. On some recordings, the stereo image extends beyond the speakers, and on most recordings the system has a good illusion of front-to-back depth. The 3.6's are 3 dB down at 27 Hz, and they produce excellent bass in my room. I listen to classical music exclusively (instrumental, chamber, and orchestral); bass drum, organ, and string basses have real impact. Solo piano has the requisite solidity, and orchestral recordings have satisfying weight and heft.
The 3.6 can be found on AudiogoN for around $2K. Compared to today's speaker prices, I think this is a remarkable value. The associated components that I have can be found on AudiogoN for a total of around $10K or so, give or take $1K - $2K. If your room is big enough, and you can see your way clear to acquiring appropriate electronics, either now or later, I encourage you to consider the 3.6's.
To follow up on Jcatral14's post about room size and the Thiel 3.6s, what have people experienced in moving their Thiels closer or further away from the side and back walls?
I've found that the soundstage is deeper the further out the speakers are from the back wall. However, I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that as I pull my speaker up, my television set is no longer in the line between the speakers.
With regards to Turnarounds comments, i, too, have a tv in between the speakers however i dont have the room to pull my speakers out further into the room. I really love the Thiel sound but being that i love my other speakers (maggie 2.7qr and ML Aerius) I'm seriously contemplating just getting a sub to get the low end that i want. I realize i dont have the room to let the 3.6s breathe and so reluctantly i'll just look to get either a REL or ACI sub.
Jcatral14, I think you'll fine the Thiels are a lot more forgiving than any panel speaker with regards to distance from the back wall.
Has anyone paired this speaker with a classe ca200?
The amp has enough power right? 200W/Ch @8ohms, 400W/Ch@4ohms.
Jcatral, I have had this combination for over 2 years and am very satisfied. In fact, I recently added MIT oracle V3 speaker cables, they now have about 500 hours on them and I have never heard my system sound so good. The ca200 is PLENTY of power, it has never clipped, sounded compressed or strained in the least. I listen to moderate to loud levels in a large room and have plenty of volume. This amp is high current - I've owned it for 6 or 7 years with not one problem. Because of the high current design I find a simple MIT Z II powercord works best, much like spectral which is also a very high current design. Others I have tried (not extensive auditioning but enough for me) don't sound as good. They add a coloration like a mid-bass hump. The MIT cord simply relaxes things a bit, makes the stage a little deeper. As unsound mentions, the Thiels aren't nearly as difficult to drive as people assume, I've heard them in showrooms on much less - you can always add more power. As I have increased my investment upstream these speakers just get better and better. Placement is important, but I've always had a large room so I have lots of flexibility. I am 100% digital currently and under those circumstances I beleive strongly in having tubes somewhere in the chain - for me it's the preamp. That's another misnomer about Thiels - bright, no just accurate with a flat uncolored response - great recordings will blow you away, crappy ones will run you out of the room - same with electronics and cables mated with these boys. What you put in comes right out - that's what I like. Classe and Thiel are one of the signature matches in audio in my opinion and many others. Go for it!
While not my favorite combination, it's a wise one. One of the better amp values that works well with Thiels. At this price point you might want to consider the bigger solid state c-j's as well. I haven't heard the latest offerings from c-j yet (I plan to do so as soon as possible), but, they are reputed to be tighter in the bass region than their previous offerings.
I've had mine for about 6 months, bought them used for $1500 locally, and I couldn't be happier. I have read about their sensitivity to room placement, but I have not had the luxury of placing them for optimal sound. My living room / dining room is 14 X 23, but I have to position the speakers facing the long axis, about 3 feet apart and 1.5 feet from the back wall. They sound stunning, even with this less than optimal spacing. If you are after mid and hi range clarity, there is nothing better at anything close to this price. They also have TONS of very clean and powerful bass.
What about the naysayers? You do hear ALL the lousy quality of some 1980s vintage CDs. And source component weaknesses are revealed, too. On the other hand, when you get a disc with excellent recording quality, the Thiels reproduce that beautifully, too. And if you improve the rest of your system, the Thiels will make those investments pay off.
I'm using a Bryston 4B amp and BP20 preamp. And crappy cables. (That's next on my list.)
Used to own a pair. High quality and good sound. As in any speakers there are pro's and con's. They need alot of current to sound their best. They tend to be slightly on the bright side of neutral so the partnering cables and amp are important considerations. They tend to be "polite" with slightly reduced dynamics compared to some other speakers. On the plus side they are very transparent, coherent, with a great soundstage. Obviously I liked them since I bought them but have since upgraded. Enjoy listening.
Let's re-open this thread! I love my 3.6!!!
I brought mine a year ago on E-Bay for a NOS pair. I waited 10 years before I brought this speaker! Before that I have owned 2.2 and 2.4, brought new, then sold.
The 3.6 is the best thiel has designed as they had it in production for 10 years! What other speakers have lasted that long!
I bet even the new 3.7 is not going to win over it from head to toe.
Hello Jayarr, do you still have the Theil CS3.6? and what are driving them with? I currently have a pair and trying to match them with a nice amp. Classe, byrston 7b st, Krell KSA150 or Levonson ML23 What's your experience so far?
FWIW, I've been happy driving mine with a Parasound A-21.
I owned the 3.6 for about 8 years. They are great speakers. But they are picky as far as amp goes. I tried VTL 225, Krell KSA 100, and Classe 200. VTL 225 was the worst sounding with the 3.6. Nothing wrong with the 225, it was just that the 3.6 needed lots of current and power. The other two amps sounded fine. However, the best sounding amps in my experience was a pair of discontinued Brown Electronic Lab (BEL) MKIII. I am sure the BEL IV and V will be even better.
You need decent size room and don't put them too close to the wall. It is best to pull them away from walls; otherwise, the bass could be boomy and bloated and will muddy up the mids and highs.
The 3.6s are honest speakers that require very good source components. With the right amps and decent source components, the 3.6s are very nice.
Great speakers that with the right equipment and in the right room can be absolutely magical. But that exactly it, they are very revealing, which is good for music, but very challenging for the equipment... basically, you will need a good source, a good pre and a good amp (or a good integrated) or you will hear the flaws from upstream. I think one of the problem you'll commonly see with the 3.6's is that you can find them for quite reasonable money, and then people add the equipment that's in a similar price range and not liking what they heard. You're going to have to spend some good money on the amp (you don't need a lot of power, not SET's but also not a 1000W+ weld torch, but you will need lots of current and something that is stable into a low load)...
Then add the size demands. Thiel's design in general does require you to be the right distance away from the speaker to have all the drivers properly aligned. That's why a pair of 2.3's may sound better than a pair of 3.6's in certain smaller rooms... And then add the fact that 3.6's need room around them to properly breath and you start getting up there in room size.
I kept comming back to this pr! First, I paired them with Krell FPB600 and ML 38s preamp Sony SCD1 MIT magnum speaker cables, Transparent balanced interconnect cable. With this set up I was glad to have the oppurtunity to a have chance to listen to this wonderful pair of Thiel speakers! I just re-acquired my own CS3.6 from my previous buyer after 9 years!well this pair is now mated with Krell KSA 150 SONY XA3ES, Krell HTS pre/pro MIT cables, Balanced IC.. I am telling you this is where I have proven that any of these older model Krells KSA or FPB are the power this speakers need, they will drive he speakers with ease. 150 wpc Class A circuitry actually generating 220wpc into 8ohms and duobles into 4ohms and Thiels impedance deeps down to 2ohms! Krell amps are very stable with this impedance!
I had this one for a few years too! Still one of the best at that price range but needed very good amplification. With its 2nd hand price so low, you need an amp at least 3 times the valve to justify its quality.