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Thiel Audio Owner's Thread

post #1 of 953
Thread Starter 
I've been very impressed with this company's products and performance. My experience has been they are always in the top tier in sound quality at shows I attend (CEDIA and CES).

Presently I have the CS1.6 and MCS1 in a LCR demo setup (Power Plane 1.2 in-walls pending installation) with the CS3.7 (this model is what sold me on Thiel) and CS7.2 on the way.

At this point the MCS1 center (some use this speaker for full front LCR duties) is fantastic and the CS1.6 has a remarkable soundstage, dispersion and sweet midrange for its price point.

Now I'm looking for end user comments. Please share your experience and recommendations.
post #2 of 953
Nice. Its about darn time someone started a thread on Thiel.

The CS1.6 image better than anything under 3K. And that MCS1 center channel is a behemoth.

I am anxiously awaiting the CS3.7 Seems like forever, but Thiel will only accept the best.

What are running your Thiels with mmiles?
post #3 of 953
My first pair of "real" speakers was a set of CS3.0s. I bought these used in the mid-80s, still own them now, even though they are stored in the boneyard (attic). Learned a lot about audio, playing with these. They were very unforgiving, differences in electronics, even cables, were noticeable with these speakers. But boy could they throw an image. I used my Aragon 8008BB as the power amp, with the tweeters padded down with resistors, to tame the high end.

The most impressive thing I remember was Thiel service. Both woofers failed, at different time periods, a few years after I bought them. Even as a second hand customer, Thiel replaced them under warranty!

Biggest problem I had with them was the factory supplied external EQ unit, which had to be sent to the factory for adjustments several times. I ended up forgoing the EQ for a subwoofer.

For HT, now I run cheaper, more forgiving Paradigm Studios. But if I had the cash, I would pick Thiels over Paradigm Signatures, in a heartbeat.
post #4 of 953
It's nice to have a Thiel thread, even if it's likely to get somewhat limited viewing. Thiel speakers are often dismissed on the AVS Forum as too expensive and too revealing of poor source material or inexpensive electronics. For me, though, these speakers have a clarity and degree of realism that is found in all too few speakers. Thiel also produces unique products that fill a niche while retaining audiophile performance levels. That's how I feel about the Powerpoint 1.2 and the SmartSubs -- each is an elegant solution to a speaker engineering or placement problem.

I've had a set of CS 2.2 speakers in my living room stereo system for many years, and more recently built a 5.1 HT basement system using 5 Powerpoints and an SS1 sub. The Thiels in either system excel in imaging, clarity, and natural sound reproduction. I wouldn't be surprised if the new 3.7 floorstanders set an even higher standard.

If you haven't heard a Thiel system, give one a listen before you make any other major speaker investments.

SDL
post #5 of 953
I also have a pair of CS3's for my main fronts, with an MCS-1 for the center and power points (times four) surrounds. I started to think about replacing them with the 3.6 awhile back, but rumors of the 3.7's were starting to circulate, so I decided to wait.

And wait. And wait.

Now that more info is available, I think I've decided against them. I don't see any way that they will match up with my existing speakers due to different cone materials, and the price? WOW. I wasn't expecting almost 10k.

I think I'll be prowling Audiogon for 3.6's that aren't too far away.
post #6 of 953
John,

I have to agree about the price of the 3.7. It's certainly too much for me, but it's definitely one of the speakers I'd be auditioning if I did have that much to spend on a pair of speakers.

SDL
post #7 of 953
10k for the 3.7 made me frown.
post #8 of 953
Thread Starter 
Sorry that I let this thread drift off but other personal matters have demanded more of my attention.

I use the McIntosh MC207 amp and MX135 processor. It is a great match. The Mac is outstanding in 2-channel and is dead quiet.

The 1.6's are an extreme value at $2,490.00 MSRP.

I have the 7.2's in my warehouse waiting on some help installing them (240 lbs each and come very well packed and crated).

The 3.7's are a fantastic product as well. Many companies used this speaker in thier sound rooms at CES in the Venitian. It will be a huge hit I'm sure. Mr. T has done it again...

As far as the sadness on the 10K price tag well that cannot be escaped but when compared to others and 50-100% more the 3.7 holds it own and more.

Regards,
Mike
post #9 of 953
I have a pair of Thiel CS6's that I am very happy with. Started out with Thiel 3.6's which I really enjoyed. The 6's give a larger sound stage and a tighter and more powerful bass. I am the second owner and I have had warranty work done for free from Thiel. I power my setup with a Sonic Frontier CD and Power 3 Pre Amp and Krell FPB 250M monos. They do like a good set of electronics running them and I would like to try out some larger Krell amps or maybe switch over to some VTL equipment. I would highly recommend Thiel speakers.
post #10 of 953
The CS3.7s are supposed to be shipping March. Finally! Cant wait.
post #11 of 953
I've been into stereo, quad 4 channel surround sound, and now home theater since the mid-60's. I believe I now have some of the finest speakers for my money. I have Thiel 2.3 fronts, PCS rear surrounds, Monitor Audio Silver 10i center setup for my home theater and music room. These Thiels are by far the clearest speakers I've heard and powered by B&K Ref 50 and B&K 7250 II rated at 200 wpc. I have a second HT setup in my family room - Monitor Audio Silver Series - Silver 7, 4i, 10i - powered by a B&K 507. The Monitor Audios are great speakers in their own right but the Thiels are definitely more transparent and have a wider soundstage with movies and music. What is very interesting is the Monitor Audio Silver 10i center channel is sonically compatible with the Thiels. At least for me, I hear a pretty seamless front soundstage from the left, center, right speakers. I was planning to buy a Thiel SCS for the center but have held off for now since the Silver 10i is doing an acceptable job. Having two top notch systems mean I don't lose any sound quality when using either system. Both systems have Earthquake subs providing the low bass. I really love them Thiels!
post #12 of 953
On my current audio setup I am using Thiel CS2.4s for the left and right, an MCS1 for the center and two PCSs for the surrounds. I am building a dedicated home theater and due to space constraints, have to replace the PCS surrounds with in-wall speakers. Thiels PowerPlanes are great but just too pricey. Does anyone have anysuggestions for other in-wall speakers that would be a good match for the Thiels? Triad and Niles have both been recommended.
post #13 of 953
I have a pair of Thiel 3.6's (about 12 years old) that I use and enjoy, and a Thiel SCS that I used for a previous iteration of home theater that was dismantled due to my wife's inability to master the inputs and remotes. I am now planning a new, more user friendly home theater with a custom installer. I am at present considering surround speakers, with the following options under consideration for a 15 by 18 foot room.

1) Two wall mounted Powerpoint 1.2's for 5.1 surround, appropriately positioned.

or

2) The speakers above, with two ceiling mounted Higher plane 1.2's for rear channel and 7.1.

While I am not restricted by finances to an inordinant degree, they are by no means infinite. If the benefit is marginal, I would prefer to invest the resources elsewhere, but I do not want to kick myself post install for lack of foresight.

Thanks in advance for your help.
post #14 of 953
I bought a pair of 2.2s about 12 years ago for a stereo only setup. I really wanted the 3.6s but simply couldn't afford them. At the time I knew nothing at all about Thiel. I hadn't read a single review or seen them advertised, however when the salesman first fired them up I instantly knew I'd found what I'd been searching for the past ten years.

Over time this grew to a 5.1 system with an SCS2 for the centre and two more for the surrounds. Then came an MCS1 for the centre and one more SCS2 to make 7.1.

About two years ago I finally replaced the 2.2s with 2.4s, so currently I have 2.4s front, MCS1 centre, and four SCS2s.

I can't wait to hear the 3.7s as I think they're going to be something really special.

I'd be reluctant to partner them with the MCS1 centre as I'm a believer in three very closely matched speakers across the front. The 2.4s and MCS1 achieve this really well with the same tweeter/mid driver. I wonder how long it will be before they have a replacement for the MCS1 using the new tweeter/mid from the 3.7 ?
post #15 of 953
What better thread to make my first forum post on.

I own a pair of 2.4s that I'm running off a 2ch Rotel amp. When my wife and I were initially auditioning new speakers we were looking closely at MLs, B&Ws, along with the Thiels. For the price and for what we like in a speaker (terrific accuracy) we couldn't find an equal. The MLs had an awesome sense of spaciousness but lacked the precision of the Thiels. As for the B&Ws, they were too laid back in their midrange and the highs were very harsh (this was before the new D series which has corrected that).

As has been said earlier the Thiels are pretty unforgiving if your sources aren't clean, and they will probably make you disappointed that some of your favoriate CDs and DVDs weren't mixed better, but I appreciate a speaker that can show me those flaws, because I know something that is well recorded/mixed will sound all that much better for it.

Long story short, I love my Thiels and look forward to building around them for years to come.
post #16 of 953
As I posted earlier, I've been looking for a less expensive in-wall alternative to my Thiel PCSs for use as the surrounds. However, the more I listen closely to the soundtracks on movies, the more I realise that a lot of music scores are fed through the surrounds (often more than the front speakers) and that the surrounds aren't just merely for effects and atmosphere. I've gotten so use to the excellent music representation from the Thiels I might not be happy with something else. Might have to pony up the bucks for those Thiel PowerPlanes after all!

Dave
post #17 of 953
One interesting trend I've noticed in Thiel's most recent speakers is a move toward using cast aluminum as a significant part of the cabinet design. We're very used to aluminum cone drivers, but Thiel's widespread use of aluminum cabinet components is more recent.

When Thiel turned the original Powerpoints into the 1.2 version, they changed from a molded plastic cabinet to cast aluminum. At first I thought this was mainly a durability issue, but when I spoke to Shari Graham in Thiel's customer service, she told me an interesting story. Apparently, Thiel has had an employee who works in the warehouse and has a reputation for having a "tin ear." He has rarely been able to hear differences between speakers, even when most other staff are hearing night-and-day differences. So they pulled him over to listen to the Powerpoint 1.2 vs. the original. When he heard a big difference in clarity and smoothness with the new cabinet, they knew they had a product change that really mattered for any listener.

Now we're seeing a cast aluminum section on the front of the new SCS4 speakers as well as a curved aluminum top and the front faceplate for the CS 3.7. There appear to be some real advantages in cabinet rigidity and vibration damping with these products. I'd love to have a chance to get a good listen to the 3.7 even though it's out of my price range. Also, despite my admiration for the natural wood finishes on Thiel's speakers, I bet the 3.7 would look stunning entirely in satin black.

SDL
post #18 of 953
I purchased my Thiel 7.2's and MCS1's several years ago after I auditioned several other brands including B&W, Sonus Faber, Martin Logans, ad nauseum. They equalled or bettered all of those I listened to, but they take extra effort to really shine in a given listening space. If you have a huge listening area, that's a definite plus. The 7.2's will work in a smallish environment, but to be considered the speaker of the millenium as a German HiFi magazine described them, they need a large area so that they can be placed away from all walls and to increase their physical separation. Placement, toe-in, and lengthy, general trial & error are required to really optimize their performance. They also require lots of power to give them that wonderful, rich, lifelike sound they produce. Krell 600 watters for starters. After a lot of work and expense, you will truly have the speaker of the millenium -- I haven't heard a better setup for home theater and now that we have lossless surround from Blu-ray and HD DVD it just doesn't get any better.
post #19 of 953
Bump


Quote:
Originally Posted by 6 Iron View Post

I have a pair of Thiel 3.6's (about 12 years old) that I use and enjoy, and a Thiel SCS that I used for a previous iteration of home theater that was dismantled due to my wife's inability to master the inputs and remotes. I am now planning a new, more user friendly home theater with a custom installer. I am at present considering surround speakers, with the following options under consideration for a 15 by 18 foot room.

1) Two wall mounted Powerpoint 1.2's for 5.1 surround, appropriately positioned.

or

2) The speakers above, with two ceiling mounted Higher plane 1.2's for rear channel and 7.1.

While I am not restricted by finances to an inordinant degree, they are by no means infinite. If the benefit is marginal, I would prefer to invest the resources elsewhere, but I do not want to kick myself post install for lack of foresight.

Thanks in advance for your help.
post #20 of 953
Has anyone heard the 3.7? Maybe at CES?
post #21 of 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6 Iron View Post

I have a pair of Thiel 3.6's (about 12 years old) that I use and enjoy, and a Thiel SCS that I used for a previous iteration of home theater that was dismantled due to my wife's inability to master the inputs and remotes. I am now planning a new, more user friendly home theater with a custom installer. I am at present considering surround speakers, with the following options under consideration for a 15 by 18 foot room.

1) Two wall mounted Powerpoint 1.2's for 5.1 surround, appropriately positioned.

or

2) The speakers above, with two ceiling mounted Higher plane 1.2's for rear channel and 7.1.

While I am not restricted by finances to an inordinant degree, they are by no means infinite. If the benefit is marginal, I would prefer to invest the resources elsewhere, but I do not want to kick myself post install for lack of foresight.

Thanks in advance for your help.

I can't tell you that 5.1 would sound better than 7.1, because it probably wouldn't. However, when I was setting up my basement HT, I chose to go 5.1 to save some money. (I did put in some conduit for wiring 2 additional channels if I feel like I need to go that route at a later date.) Five Powerpoints were already expensive enough that I couldn't justify the cost of a couple more of them, plus the cost of decent amplification for 2 more channels. A 5.1 set-up can sound great -- especially with Thiels for the speakers.

SDL
post #22 of 953
6 Iron: I believe that you will find the surround sound experience to be enhanced considerably when you go to a rear channel 6.1 or a dual rear 7.1 steup. There are many soundtracks that have rear center info that is distinguishable from the L-R rear surrounds. At the present time, you do not have to fully commit on the rear center but since you are working with a custom installer, go ahead and install the additional rear center wiring now in case you do decide to go 6.1/7.1 in the future. If you could do a temporary setup using rear bookshelf speakers, you could get a sense of what the soundstage sounds like (albeit from non-Thiel speakers) and then make the decision as to whether a rear center will make a big difference to your movie enjoyment or not. I believe in experimentation as much as practicable. Experiencing the sonic difference between 5.1 versus 6.1/7.1 first hand in your listening room is the only true measure from which to judge. Perhaps you could locate a Thiel dealer that would allow an in-home demo of the speakers you are considering. IMO, having a rear center speaker(s) makes a big difference, especially when the surround channel info has a lot encoded in it and it is relevant to the action on the screen.
post #23 of 953
6 iron,

I agree with Whalen's suggestion to experiment as much as possible to see what sounds best in your room. You might find that 7.1 makes a big difference -- or very little difference -- in your setting.

When I positioned my Powerpoints for 5.1, I followed the suggestions of Thiel's customer service, which recommended a set-up that was based more on the 5-channel audio specs than on standard Dolby guidelines. This means that my surrounds are behind me and separated about the same distance from each other as are my L/R fronts. If I ever go to 7.1, I will be adding a surround on either side of the listening area and then routing the rear signals to the current Powerpoints mounted behind the listeners. My current set-up (though non-standard) gives me more sound from behind than if I had used a 5.1 arrangement with 2 side speakers and no back speakers.

Thiel also recommended locating all 3 front speakers the same distance out from the front wall. This was recommended to spread the "sweet spot" for multiple listeners a bit more than with the center speaker mounted closer to the front wall than the L/R (to make the L/C/R speakers equidistant from a single primary listener).

I probably should have done more experimenting before just following Thiel's suggestions, but it would have been tough mounting and re-mounting the Powerpoints on the ceiling. Fortunately, I've been very happy with the end product.

SDL
post #24 of 953
SDL,

It's been said many times that everyone do not have a standard room that reacts just like it should on paper. So experimentation with speaker positioning can yield some surprising results, especially if you have a lot of stuffed furniture or not, heavy wall-to-wall carpet or area throw rug on wood floor, bare walls with hardwood floors or a irregular room shape with open areas next to two or three walls. You've heard it all before if you have spent any time with serious hifi equipment. The same holds true for subwoofer placement. All in all, the journey is a lot of fun, isn't it? I usually take an equipment manufacturer's suggestions for initial setup as the starting point and go from there. Over the years, my wife has directed furniture replacements and rearrangements of same, thus requiring repositioning and readjusting my setup to meet not only her requirements but try to achieve an acceptable sonic solution. I'm sure many of you have experienced similar situations in your own home.

As an illustration, I was required by my wife to reposition my entire a/v system in a 180 degree scenario a few years ago (changing from one side of the room to the opposite wall) had some challenges but it worked out in the end. The ideal spot for my left front speaker ended up next to the walkway between rooms which was in danger of people banging into it. So that left me with only a couple of alternate locations that would be acceptable to my wife. Eventually, an acceptable spot was agreed upon where the left front blends in nicely although it is a bit wider off center than the right front.
post #25 of 953
Thank you so much for your input. I will let you know how it turns out.
post #26 of 953
Thread Starter 
6Iron,

A well set up 5.1 (quite alot depend on the mix of the source material) is as good as 7.1 IMHO for most rooms.

Now in a larger room with rear seating 7.1 (jazzed by the pre pro) is outstanding for effects for sure.

Note:

Power Pt = on ceiling (great sound but odd looking to me)
View Pt = on wall ("plasma speakers" can be customized)
Higher Plane = in ceiling
Power Plane = in wall (my choice. I like the sound and the look)

Now who said 3.7?

Outstanding speaker. I've heard at CEDIA and CES (in the Thiel booth and others) and is the main reason for me taking the line!

At $10K (yes not cheap) it compares quite well with speakers 2 to 3X its cost.

I hope mine get hear before March!

Now on to aluminum.

I'm told its all about rigidity and reducing cabinet resonance. All I can say is if Jim Thiel says its the way to go then so be it. You can't find any fault with his track record in this field.


Regards,
Mike
post #27 of 953
Can't believe there's finally a Thiel owners' thread. I'm sure the vast majority on this forum can't understand why we would own them. Too bright, too expensive, yada, yada, yada.
I fell in love with the 2.2s almost 15 years ago, but couldn't afford them. A year ago I decided to act upon my dream and get the 2.4s. But my room was horrible. Not only were the Thiels a no go, so were every floorstander and monitor I tried. I was crushed.
But my Thiel dealer sugested the new Powerpoint 1.2s and one of smart subs. Must say I was skeptical of him and his suggestion. No way I could audition them in my home. No sane person would take an $8,000 leap of faith - right? Wrong - afterall, I was desperate. I had the money and I had needs.
So, a year later, I'm probably the only two-channel guy on this forum using two powerpoints, a SS-2 Thiel sub and the PX02 passive crossover. The powerpoints are on sidewalls 15 feet apart and 4 feet off the floor. They are great for what they do. But I think the sub makes the system. It's not only linear down to about 17 HZ but it seems to fill in the sound of the powerpoints in the 70-90 hz region.
The whole package produces very high quality sound - much better than I ever hoped for in my room. But beware, if your source material is not of the highest quality, it will be very apparent on this Thiel system.
A word of advice to the bassheads on this forum, don't bother with a Thiel setup. You are not gonna get boomy or overdone low frequencies. You are going to get fast, articulate bass. Nothing like listening to Charlie Haden or Brian Bromberg for acoustic bass.
While I've never heard a smart sub in a how theater setting, I can't imagine it wouldn't be more than adequate. But it's expensive, and in my opinion, really shines for music reproduction.
While I'm very happy with my system, I long for the time I might purchase one of the Thiel floorstanders. That won't happen until I buy as new house. Maybe the 3.7 will provide impetus for that!
post #28 of 953
A couple of years ago my local audio dealer was at my house to drop off an amp (he specialized in B&W speakers) and he wanted to hear my 7.2's. My good cd player had a short so I inserted a copy of Sultans of Swing in my crappy dvd player and let her rip. After listening for a couple of minutes he remarked that my subwoofers sounded awesome and that they blended in seamlessly with my Thiels. I told him that the subwoofers were not on line and that he was just listening to the two Thiels. He was so impressed with the sound of the Thiels that night he immediately signed up to become a Thiel dealer. True story.
post #29 of 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shipper View Post

While I've never heard a smart sub in a how theater setting, I can't imagine it wouldn't be more than adequate. But it's expensive, and in my opinion, really shines for music reproduction.

I agree with your comments about the Thiel SmartSubs -- fast, articulate bass that is never boomy or bloated. I just wanted to reassure you that my SS1 sub, five Powerpoints, and Thiel's passive 5-channel crossover do a wonderful job with home theater. The system is great for movie music, dialogue, environmental sound effects, and even explosions. It may not put out quite the SPLs of some larger subs, but it goes very low and the bass it produces is real and natural. It has also scared a few people when they have been surprised by a burst of loud action on the movie screen.

These are not inexpensive products, but they do perform at a very high level.

SDL
post #30 of 953
Does anyone have any links to comments from CES on the 3.7s.

I've had trouble finding what people thought of them.
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