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Thiel Audio Owner's Thread - Page 14

post #391 of 953
audio_art,
So sorry that you are unhappy. I guess thats why their are so many different of everything.
I have been into hifi for a long time and have owned many speakers. And by far these are the best sounding speakers that I have ever owned. I have gone back to listening to old cd's and rediscovered them. I have owned them for about six months. Good luck on your search. I also, have owned other Thiel's for the last eight years.
post #392 of 953
Audio_art,

Why aren't you happy?

Am VERY interested to know why? Please also advise what other system pieces you are using?
post #393 of 953
Mark-
I just find that they are very hard and harsh sounding. Horns are unrealistically piercing, midrange lacks any warmth, and the bass is almost non-existing. I literally get an intense headache listening to them for more than 1/2 hour.

I am using a pairn of CA-M200's, aragon aurum preamp, and arcam cd72 player.

I had saved up for months till their release following all of the technical info on em, and convinced myself that this is what i would like.

I am dead serious about selling em..... 'one mans's loss is another man's gain' or something like that
post #394 of 953
audio_art,

suggest you try and listen at a dealer that is using different equipment. i have heard quite a few pairs with various set ups and they certainly don't sound as you described in any way shape or form....
post #395 of 953
I've heard them at an authorized Thiel dealer using Krelll Evolution amps and preamps along with some very expensive cd changer. Heard a slight difference. However, the fundemental sound was still there.

Also, I would say that only a handful of my cd's sound good on em. The rest are unlistenable.

To be honest with you, I haven't even had em on in over a month. And I used to listen to music everynight in place of TV.
post #396 of 953
well, these speakers dont add warmth or change the input signal in any way...some people may not like that and prefer a "change" in sound from the input signal......

good luck selling them...
post #397 of 953
Great review ... I'm keen to see the Stereophile measurements ...
post #398 of 953
audio_art, I've had the 3.7 for over a year. Audiophiles who have heard them are bowled over and do not think they are bright or harsh. However, they are very revealing, so you must avoid bright, harsh electronics. Also, if your room is extremely lively (reflective), you'll find the lower treble rather forward because of the speaker's wide radiation pattern.

The first thing I would try is a better CD player or DAC. I highly recommend the Lavry DA-10 DAC. Bayview Pro Audio sells it by mail with a 30-day money-back guaranty.

My more detailed comments are at:
http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl...59489&review=1

I would supplement that review by emphasizing the micro- and macro- dynamic liveliness of the speaker that really adds life to every recording.

(FYI, my power amp is a Parasound JC-1.)
post #399 of 953
Audio_Art, very sorry to hear of what happened, hope you can sell the 3.7 as planned. I also suffer from overly sensitive ears and cannot handle anything hard-etched or shrill. My system at home is built around the absolute need to remove all hard-etch shrill sound from our music so I can appreciate your experience.

The following is personal experience that may work well for your future speaker purchase, whatever the brand. It is all personal experience.

A decent speaker, even something like a Polk or Paradigm or a table-top office JBL, will definitely (personal experience) reflect the change in upstream components and cable quality. Slight differences could mean the upstream components were of similar sound quality or the cabling quality is suspect. When you shop around, it pays to understand the differences in the components when the shop switches them.

Some shops get lazy and use a simple central switch box to change components and speakers. THis is BAD because from experience, the switcher is so cheap, all the signals gets "filtered" through it. GOod shop will actually unplug and plug in the components when they switch. This guarantees that one hears the component and not the switcher. Of course, such dedicated shops will not be happy switching in and out more than 2 components. SO a bit of pre-visit research to identify the brand of interest will help them and help you.

It also pays to go to a shop that is willing to show off the likes of McIntosh, Audio Research's components with Wilson Audio speakers, Thiels, Vandersteen, Dynaudio and others. This will give a reference model with regards to what is possible. Do this regardless of what you are willing to pay. This exercise will set a baseline sound characteristics of these brands that you can use for comparison.

The conventional wisdom of "spend on the best speakers and skim on the upstream electronics" is WRONG. It was very very bad advice put forth by speaker salespeople. Speakers cannot and should not change whatever it is fed. Given you purchased the 3.7, you certainly do care about good sound. Whatever brand of speakers you buy will always be impacted by everything upstream from cables to players to amps.

If you are in the process of upgrading your system, I strongly suggest to first upgrade the CD or turntable ( or stylus ) and the interconnect cables. Then the amplifier, either a decent integrated amplifier (Marantz 8200) or if possible, a really good pre-amp/amp and associated interconnects. Listen to that system first through your existing speakers to see if there are significant differences. Unless the speakers are bad, the differences will be readily apparent. Then you can decide what speakers to use. The last step will be to change the speakers.

Another thing worth looking into is cables. Mass market skinny red+white RCA jacks are often horrible! Just for grins, I used a pair from our ARC CD2 to our ARC LS-25 and the cable butchered the sound. It came across shrill and thin and hard. I used that to convince skeptical friends and relatives who do not believe in cable quality. Start with something larger gauge. Even something from Blue Jeans Cable will do decent. It does not have to be extravagant. Blue Jean cables sells on line and will cut to your required length. Price is incredibly reasonable. I use Blue Jeans for our home theater and have compared them against our more expensive audio-only cables and Blue Jeans is definitely worth considering.

TELARC produces very good recording, so it may pay to get one or two "reference" CD's from them as a comparison. Play them on your system first, play the same on a shop system just to hear the differences. MP3 sound tracks, regardless of sampling rates, will compress and distort music. They sound bad except in lower performance speakers where everything sounds more or less the same.

Good luck!

ps. Luckily, we are very happy with our 3.7, at least with our components, because of its "transparency". No hard etch, very sweet mids and full and accurate lows.
post #400 of 953
Audio_Art,

Many CD's, especially in Rocks and Pops, are compressed. The sound engineers compress the sound so that everything sound about the same loudness. It is deliberately done for mass market gear so everyone can hear almost everything on the recording but nothing really sounds "real".

This sort of stupid sound-monkeying is most obvious in many PBS broadcast and recording. Whenever an orchestra gets louder, the volume goes down. When an orchestra plays softly, the volume or certain frequencies are emphasized. It is extremely bad "behaviors".

TELARC and Chesky (I think) are two that I know of who will record, engineer and produce full dynamics recordings. Other known brands do to but Telarc seems the most consistent thus far. Before you sell off the 3.7's, please get a few TELARC CD's just to see how they sound. It may be that the CD collection has to be upgraded and not the loudspeakers.

Cheers and good luck!
post #401 of 953
Elaborating on my previous post:

The clarity of the 3.7 does expose harshness in associated components. The 3.7 will not work out unless you're willing to invest in good quality electronics throughout the chain from CD player to power amp. The Classe CAM-200 was criticized in TAS 132 for having harsh treble. The Arcam CD-72 is a 6 year old so-so CD player. I'm not encouraging you to go into debt to keep the Thiel's happy, but you have to realize it does not make sense to invest in a state of the art loudspeaker if you're not willing to invest in comparable quality electronics. If you don't want to make the required investment in electronics, it makes sense to sell the Thiel. The good news is that the 30% price hike means you should be able to sell them for the price you paid.

For the benefit of other prospective Thiel 3.7 owners: These are NOT "ruthlessly revealing" speakers that sound good only with audiophile recordings. Most of my CD collection is classical music recorded 20 to 35 years ago on the big non-audiophile labels like DG and RCA, most of which are harsh or distorted to some degree. I would never buy a speaker that was not enjoyable on such recordings. In fact, I continue to be surprised and thrilled by how the clarity and dynamism of the Thiel 3.7 brings new life to my old CD's that I had considered mediocre.
post #402 of 953
Just to clarify w/o keep changing my posts . BobStern is absolutely correct. 3.7 is accurate but not "cold analytical".

I have a bunch of old CD's by RCA, Decca, Gramaphone, CBS, no name rock and pop type and surprisingly, most sound wonderful. They are not as good as better recording but they are not "bad". One big surprise was a Cirque Du Soleil disc (Quidam) that I had given up as a bad recording but came alive in its full-bodied beauty with the 3.7 so it is back in.

We do have some bad ones like my wife's Andre Reu's collection CD's from PBS; specifically the "Irish concert" and the "Italian concert". The music has been compressed or otherwise processed as to be horrible; thin, shrill and no life. They sound OK on lower resolution system so that is where they live.

So the 3.7 is definitely not a dead cold system but it does require good upstream components and cabling to bring them to life.

Another important consideration is break-in. Ours took about 100 hours of break-in to start hinting at their potential. Now at 300+ hours, they are sweet. So the long break-in is important as well.
post #403 of 953
Thread Starter 
If you own or plan to own the CS 3.7 might I suggest some tube gear from Cary Audio Design (amp and pre-amp). Many times you can pick up items 40-50% off on Audiogon. I bet the SLP 03 pre ($3000 MSRP) and the CAD120S amp ($5500 MSRP) would make them puppies (no pun intended) sing.

Bryston, Conrad Johnson and McIntosh is also a good fit. Many times Thiel demos speakers and test them in house with electronics from these firms. Again A'gon can save you some coin and you can put together a system for a reasonable investment that you can enjoy a lifetime.
post #404 of 953
I'd like to thank everyone for their input concerning my 3.7's.

It's truly amazing that Jim Thiel can design a speaker that is so wonderful that a bad thing can't be said bout it.

It's even more incredible that I cannot sell this engineering marvel for a fraction of it's $12,000 listing. Maybe that says more than all of your posts.
post #405 of 953
Used prices are fickle, and at the high end not too much different than car prices, where the big hit is for the person that bought it new.

The current state of the stock market doesn't help.

The advice around here is pretty spot on: They really shouldn't sound as bad as you describe unless there is a mechanical / electrical problem, an untreated room, or something amiss in the component chain feeding the speakers. They might not be to your liking, but if they are as crazy sounding as you describe, there is something else going on. For comparision sake, what speakers have you heard that you like? What did you have before the 3.7's?
post #406 of 953
There is nothing wrong with my Thiel CS3.7's. The dealer has confirmed that. Don't start speculating.

My previous speakers were a pair of B&W Nautilus 802's. In my opinion, these speakers were superior to the Thiels in every aspect. They were musical, had full strong bass, and a huge soundstage. Great recordings sounded great, while average to poor recordings were still listenable.

They were 8 years old, and I thought it was time for a change with technology and all that stuff. What a mistake! ! !
post #407 of 953
Good reference point. Thanks.

I actually went from B&W Nautilus 805 to Thiel 2.3's in my main system, and liked the change. (There were a few other speakers I tried, as well.)

With the Thiels, I could hear further into the soundstage and my listening room had no walls, on a good recording. But on poor mixes or recordings things are uglier on the Thiels than on the B&Ws. Actually, I wouldn't mind the B&Ws in my casual listening setup (where I am not necessarily in the sweet spot in a treated room with a controlled environment and I sometimes listen to streaming radio, gasp!) in place of the Thiel PCS I have in the second system, but I greatly prefer the Thiel approach (in this case, the 2.3's) in my main system.

Which is a long-winded way to say I agree the two house sounds are different and it ultimately comes down to what one prefers. I wish you the best with your quest. When we moved into our current place, I went through almost a dozen different speakers from Audiogon over 20 months until I found what I was looking for and what was working in the space.
post #408 of 953
Art Audio's experience illustrates the importance of buying a speaker based on auditioning them with a broad range of your favorite music, and not just audiophile recordings. Buying any expensive gear based on technical specifications or reviewers' opinions is foolish.

This is 10 times more true of speakers than electronics because speakers have a complex personality (frequency response, radiation pattern, impedance curve, etc), and what set of compromises you prefer comes down to your taste. No speaker approaches perfection. In fact, there is no agreement as to what a perfect speaker would be!

Art Audio said "I had saved up for months till their release following all of the technical info on em, and convinced myself that this is what i would like." In other words, he pretty much convinced himself to buy them before he'd ever heard them, based on technical specs and publicity.

Art Audio then said "I've heard them at an authorized Thiel dealer using Krelll Evolution amps and preamps along with some very expensive cd changer. Heard a slight difference. However, the fundamental sound was still there." In other words, he admits that he would have heard what he didn't like about them if he had critically listened at a dealer.

I would go even further and say I would never buy an expensive loudspeaker without a trial at home. A dealer's environment is very different. That's why I bought my 3.7 from Crutchfield with a 30-day satisfaction guaranty. (No, I did not impose on a dealer's time and then unethically deprive him of his commission by buying from Crutchfield. I bought them without a prior audition, knowing I had the 30-day return privilege to fall back on.)
post #409 of 953
FWIW, I find 30 days insufficient for test driving speakers (or other gear) so I buy "used" almost exclusively on the theory that if I lose a little money re-selling it 90 or 180 days later, I can consider that "rent". But some things are not available used (or are tough to re-sell) so it's an imperfect "rule" that I break for some technology (eg, video gear which progresses too quickly for "used" to be cost effective for my tastes).
post #410 of 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by audio_art View Post

I'd like to thank everyone for their input concerning my 3.7's.

It's truly amazing that Jim Thiel can design a speaker that is so wonderful that a bad thing can't be said bout it.

It's even more incredible that I cannot sell this engineering marvel for a fraction of it's $12,000 listing. Maybe that says more than all of your posts.

Speaking only for myself , I sure hope my posts did not come across as "defending" Thiel. I did not buy the 7.2, a previous Thiel flagship, because it sounded just a tad hard and edgy to my ears. All of Thiel's previous generation aluminum tweeter (before 3.7) had that effect on me. It was the only thing that kept me on the sideline for a long time until we came upon a set of used 2.4's. Even then, there were music I would not play on the 2.4's. I thought the recordings were bad. That qualifies as a criticism, I hope .

Your posts never clearly stated what components and cables are used in your set-up, so I naturally would point out all the audiophile tidbits to help see if you can enjoy the speakers. If my posts came across wrong, please accept my apology.

I am very familiar with a friend's 802's driven by his mostly McIntosh gear (MC23??, C1000, ARC CD3, Nordost Valhalla). We have even swapped gear and loaned each other our speakers. The 802's are indeed wonderful speakers. Without any info regarding your set-up and using only my friend as a sample, I can appreciate why you find the 3.7's not to your liking. It really is a matter of tastes in this case.

To me, the 802 is a polite, sweet and slightly mellow sounding system. It has a nice bloom that gives it a very cuddly warm characteristics. It is quite good at softening the edginess in solid state sound and sounds wonderful with tubes. It has that sensation of "warm-embrace" every time I listen to it. I want to dim the light, lay back down, turn up the heat and let the music wash all over me. Thiel 3.7's on the other hand, in this comparison, is more "critical". It is fast, no-nonsense and lively. It makes me sit up, listen to every breath of a singer and every pluck of an instrument. The 3.7 does nothing to the edginess in solid state gear. My ears can often hear them. While the 802's have a nice comfy bottom end, the 3.7's are tout, tight and punchy and definitely lack the lowest possible bass frequencies. Where the 802 paints a beautiful "picture" of sweet-embracing sound, the 3.7 tries to land the performance right in the room. In my own bias opinion, the 802 makes beautiful music while the 3.7 lets me hear a performance. I can actually live with both, I just cannot afford both and had to choose .

Speaking of buying yours, I came real close to taking the "bait", so to speak. If this economy did not turn sour so badly so fast, I would have bought a pair of 3.7's off Audiogon for $8000!

Again, I hope you are able to sell yours soon. Good luck!
post #411 of 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan_h View Post

FWIW, I find 30 days insufficient for test driving speakers (or other gear) so I buy "used" almost exclusively on the theory that if I lose a little money re-selling it 90 or 180 days later, I can consider that "rent". But some things are not available used (or are tough to re-sell) so it's an imperfect "rule" that I break for some technology (eg, video gear which progresses too quickly for "used" to be cost effective for my tastes).

Some dealers will gladly pack up their loaner, charge our credit card, and let us take things home to try. Of course, that requires a mutually-trusting relationship. When we return the gear, they credit our card.

I am glad Thiel took the Crutchfield route though. Our local Thiel dealer is too far, so an audition in the showroom is near impossible. So we took the plunge with Crutchfield's 30-day trial. Even with Crutchfield, it is very risky. If we happen to scratch anything or damage the packaging, or if shipment is lost, we are liable for some or all of the cost. Luckily, it worked out.

Audiogon though is still my favorite place to try brands .
post #412 of 953
Is the 3.7 measurements going to be in the Dec. issue of Stereophile? Its not in the Nov. as far as I saw...
post #413 of 953
i think the 3.7s will be reviewed in the DEC issue of home theater.

i'm not sure when stereophile will review them.......unless you heard from somewhere?
post #414 of 953
I have been looking in vain for a set of 5 or 7 Powerpoint 1.2s. Anyone have a line on some? Audiogon/ebay havent had any for a long time.
post #415 of 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hoepfl View Post

i think the 3.7s will be reviewed in the DEC issue of home theater.

i'm not sure when stereophile will review them.......unless you heard from somewhere?


From Stereophile online, John Atkinson said:

"That this is the case can be seen from looking, for example, at my nearfield measurements of the Thiel CS3.7's drive-units in this issue (fig.6). The difference in level between the outputs of the woofer (blue trace) and the passive radiator (red trace) at the reflex tuning frequency is 21dB, implying that any cross-contamination from the latter's output into the former's measurements is at most 9% and probably much less."

Harbeth M40.1 Review Comments
post #416 of 953
Dec 2008 stereophile by Wes Phillips review of the 3.7
The last two lines of the article were.
I can't live without the Thiel CS3.7. It might be the speaker of my lifetime, too.
Yes, he did say that the bottom end was a little lacking.
post #417 of 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by slots1 View Post

Dec 2008 stereophile by Wes Phillips review of the 3.7
The last two lines of the article were.
I can't live without the Thiel CS3.7. It might be the speaker of my lifetime, too.
Yes, he did say that the bottom end was a little lacking.

Looks like I'm headed to Barnes and Noble to pick up this issue!
post #418 of 953
So where's the matching centre ????
post #419 of 953
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter M View Post

So where's the matching centre ????

The SCS4 is a strong candidate for center channel.

We have been "testing" a SCS4 at home and after 150+ hours, it has really opened up. Initially, right out of the box, the unit sounded boxy, constricted and not open at all. It had the "typical" small bookshelf box sound; I was apprehensive. After the first 20 or so hours, it was much much better but the high end was not open, a bit "rolled off". At 100+ hours, everything changed and now, it sounds impressive.

For movies, playing complex and challenging PCM lossless track off BluRay disc, driven by a good amplifier, its performance is impressive. Well recorded voices come across natural and realistic as though they are in the room with me. Complex acoustic sounds (cars, birds, trees, whatever) come across full-bore with excellent resolution. Lower end (truck engine, drums, bass) is low enough to kick my seat or rattle my gut. The higher end, like the sharp high-pitch whine of a chopper engine is so real, it is like I am sitting in one. When appropriate, sounds coming off a good movie sound track can be felt, as it should be. There is excellent cohesion and excellent dispersion, no boxy constricted feel. This is one high-performance bookshelf speaker, Thiel did not cut corners or cheapen it. For $990, it is worth every penny.

My original intent was to try the SCS4, expecting it to sound boxy, send it to the side or back channel and then justify buying a MCS-1. Not any more, it will work as a center in our HT, now I just have to work up the courage to grab two more for rear channels.

Oh, try to use good "feet" to handle resonance. I use Nordost's simple aluminum "Pulsar Points" for better focus and reduced smear. It is a very slight improvement but what the heck, I had those points sitting around anyway.

Give it a listen, it may meet your needs.
post #420 of 953
Cal
I am using MSC1 for the center chanel. Of course, when I am playing stereo cd's I get up to see if the center is on. The 3.7's just produce such a great sound stage.
Side channels are the original power points. My backs are in the ceiling and are sonus.
Love the sound.
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