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 Post subject: Vintage Thiel CS-3.5
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:49 am
Posts: 4
Location: Middle River, MD, US
Hello all!

While dropping off a Toshiba XA-1 HD-DVD player for service at my local vintage electronics repair shop, I noticed a pair of Thiel CS-3.5 speakers. They looked to be in pretty good shape...a few minor scratches in the cabinets, no real damage and some minor dimpling in the dust caps of the tweeters. The Thiel Electronic Bass Equalizer was in full working order. Even had the original product brochure from a long-gone Thiel dealer. I'm a big vintage audio fan and couldn't pass up making an offer. Happily, they accepted! After getting them home, I brought them into my media room and did a quick hook-up to an Onkyo receiver just to make sure they were in good working order. Even with a limited power from the Onkyo, the sound from the 3.5's was immediately captivating! Very forward presentation (These are NOT laid-back at all!) but with wide soundstage, the 3.5's really had a lot of presence all over the frequency band...especially down low. I've been searching for a full-range speaker that would allow me to go sans subwoofer and I think I've found it in this pair!

The serial numbers are consecutive, mine are Nos. 3739 & 3740. They were made when Thiel was still in Lexington, KY. Not sure about the production date, though. I'd appreciate any general info or tips, especially from Thiel owners, past or present. This weekend, I will finally have my little listening area set-up with my Denon PMA-2000 IVR driving the Thiels. So, what do you guys think?

Thanks for reading and for any info!


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Thiel CS-3.5
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:40 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:34 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Eugene, OR, US
Hello Alvin

I had been looking at a pair of CS3.6s at a shop 2 hours away , by the time they came down in price and when I was ready to rent a truck ( you know how heavy Thiels are ) and go and get them they were sold !
then about a year later and 2 years after Thiel was sold and moved to Tennessee I was able to purchase one of last pairs of CS2.7s available , direct from Thiel !
They replaced a pair of Image Concept 200s that I had for almost 20 years, they were 2 way with a great sound stage but didn't have the bass and I refuse to add a sub woofer .
I too hve some older equipment, a 1985 Merrill Turntable , a 1992 SD/A 490t Carver CD player , a 2010 SimAudio Moon 110 phone pre-amp, a 2014 Gold Point passive pre=amp and
a 2009 McCormack DNA-250 amp , I use Cardas Neutral Reference interconnects ans speaker cables.

If you log on and into and explore the forums under speakers you'll find a large number of Thiel owners that will offer advise .

It only gets better.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Thiel CS-3.5
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:37 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:19 am
Posts: 4
Location: Yonkers, NY, US
I'm jealous. I had a set in a less than optimal set up about 15 years ago. Then, some Maggie 3.3's fell in my lap and woefully, I said goodbye to my 3.5's. I found them more transparent without the bass module. Truthfully, the less than optimal part was a small living room in a noise conscience Manhattan building. Bass? The bitchy little townies would have had their pitchforks ready to take me out by the third track of a Gipsy Kings disc if I ever dared to venture that volume knob past 9:30, let alone explore some meaningful bass. So I can't say I ever got to stretch out seriously with the Bass EQ, but they sounded delightful even without it. I was just looking at a nicely priced pair for a second go round. Seriously good speakers. Loves tubes.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Thiel CS-3.5
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:49 am
Posts: 4
Location: Middle River, MD, US
Thanks for the replies, gentlemen...very much appreciated!

I have been enjoying my 3.5's for well over 2 months now and can honestly say that I am absoutely thrilled with them. Their ability to play so cleanly with that incredibly wide and open soundtage never fails to amaze me as I re-discover my music collection. They truly are full-range...the bass is deep, clean, precise and authrotative. The other thing I've found is that as difficult as they are supposed to be to drive, my Denon PMA-2000 IVR (160 watts @ 4 ohms) integrated seems to be getting on quite well with them. I am using the tape loop in my integrated to play through the Bass Module. The Thiels do like to be driven, though...they really open up and "clear their throats" as I turn up the wick. Truly stunning performers!!!

If I were to have one issue, it's that the Thiels expose poorly recorded material in a ruthless, almost non-correctable fashion. For instance, I have many CD's from the early days of the format that now have a harsh, irritatingly "bright" sound to them. What's even worse are digital files. I've been re-ripping my CD collection to loss-less FLAC, but any "lossy" files really are exposed in ways I never noticed as much before. Of course, Hi-Res files, DSD and MQA Master files from Tidal are played beautifully!

My current set-up is decidedly "Mid-Fi", but has everything I need to get very good sound:

- Denon PMA 2000IVR Integrated Amplifier
- Denon DVD-2900 CD/DVD-Audio/SACD Player
- Denon DJ VL12 Prime Direct-Drive Turntable with Shure M97xE (MC) & Denon 103R (MM) cartridges
- Thiel CS-3.5 w/Thiel Bass Module
- Toshiba Satellite laptop w/Meridian Explorer 2 USB DAC (MQA capable)
- Roon and Tidal digital-file playback/streaming applications
- AudioQuest Golden Gate interconnects
- Gotham SPK-8 speaker cables with Eminence E400 banana plugs
- Pangea Audio AC-9 (amplification) & AC-14 (sources) power cables
- Tripp Lite LCR2400 Line Conditioner

My current plan is to move towards seperates. While I truly enjoy my integrated, I have an inkling that something like vintage Adcom, Threshold or Krell amplification will open-up the Thiels even more. What I do wonder is if what I really need to tame the harshness I get from some music is tubes...maybe something vintage from Conrad Johnson or Audio Research will work? I don't know...would love any input or thoughts!

Anyway, here are some pics of my new little listening area. Thanks for reading!

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