Thursday, April 07, 2005

Thiel CS2.4 speakers

Source: Prestige Audio Video April 2005, TAS issue 144, Haute Fidelite January 2005, 6moons January 2004, Soundstage November 2003.

See those reviews. Every one of them concludes that the CS2.4 is one awesome speaker. Furthermore, in German audio magazines' (Stereoplay and Audio) review list the CS2.4 has scored the highest points than any other speaker at €5.500 price range.

And yet, I have always wondered why Thiel speakers, in particular the smaller models, have not received greater success in Europe - or at least none the audiophiles I know use them. I have personally listened to model CS 2.4 and if I were seeking 5.500 Euros speakers these would be on top of my short-list (it's an insult for us Europeans that they cost less than 4.000 USD in the States!). These time and phase coherent, 1st order cross-over speakers resample me of Dunlavy IVA - uncanny sense of scale and acouctic space, "rightness" of re-production of music, and well defined and taut bass. However, 2.4s are more airy than Dunlavys, and in clarity terms close to electrostats and planars.

Sure, it's a bitch to drive (87dB sensitive, a 4-ohm nominal impedance hovering around 4ohm from 100Hz to 20kHz (yep, impedance curve indeed is linear between that audioband!), Thiel's minimum recommended listening distance should be adhered in order drivers to integrate (that 1st order cross-over) and so forth, but still for me the most underrated speaker out there. Compared with similarly priced B&Ws I would opt for Thiel everytime. Ah, power of marketing... Warning, be prepared to make an effort with the latest Thiel speakers, system matching is a key, avoid bright sounding components. Both CS2.4 and CS1.6 speakers have extended treble, which some listeners find a tad too bright with some components.

Viewpoint: As an owner of Revel Studio speakers I agree entirely with Marc Mickelson from Soudstage: "In strict sonic terms, the speaker that the CS2.4 reminds me of more than any other is the Revel Ultima Studio. The CS2.4 shares neutrality and precision with the Studio, along with deep bass, and thinking back, I suspect that both are similarly challenging for an amplifier to drive -- SETs need not apply. Of course, the Studios cost almost $11,000 per pair, considerably more than the CS2.4s. If you are considering purchasing the Revel Studios, or another speaker in their price range, do hear (and see) the Thiel CS2.4s as well. You may save yourself a wad of cash."

BTW, in the panel discussion during the CES 2005 Thiel's CEO commented that over 50% of companies sales comes from home-theather installations of their in- and on-wall speakers. I find that amazing.

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