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Thread: My Impression.

  1. #1
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    My Impression.

    Hi all,
    This is my review of Thiel CS3.6 and my JBL L100 t3.
    Because Audiogon.com currently has one set of Thiel CDS7.2 for sale. http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/auc....ull&1200104776 I wanted to move up to Thiel level so badly. Lucky enough, I have in-law that have lots of Thiels, and heíd let me audition them, willingly. At 165 lbs each, the Thiel CS7.2í are monster heavy. We didnít think it was safe caring them down stairs, so I decided to take home his smaller version, the Thiel CS3.6. Though this is a smaller version, but I have helped him re-positioned them around his house before so I know these are pretty heavy as well. Just checked on the Thielís website and they are 105 lbs. So, how do they sound with my Anthem AVM-30 and A5 amp (180w x 5)? It definitely takes more power to drive them than my JBL L100 t3.
    Bass: With only 10Ē driver, its bass is amazingly nice, well tuned and accurate. It could violently shake the room so itís great for movies, too. Its bass sounds much better than my JBL L100 t3. It makes mineís bass sounds like a DIY project even my JBL has 12Ē driver.
    Midrange: is not too bad. Voice is a little warmer and fuller than my JBL. Clarity is just so so.
    High: is clear but not dynamically loud enough.
    The Thiel sounds much mellow than my JBL L100 t3. If you are looking for pair of speakers that can sharply and clearly through everything at you, realistically, then Theil arenít for you. Power is never too much for Thiel loud speakers. I would say that you would never bottom out the Thielís drivers unless you hook it up with a commercial/ concert Amp, or if you are rich who would able to afford high power amp from Krell, Bryston, Audio Research, etc.
    See my signature for my test equipments. Test SACD is Tierney Sutton (Dancing In The Dark); Dire Straits CD. I didnít like it at first because of its mellow-ish. Up to this point, I am still having hard time getting the sweet spot. Its voice and bass are too strong, I canít be relaxing. Iím feeling like Iím in a sealed container and someone is thudding outside. In the long run, its bass is so disturbing. I may raise some controversy comments but I must express my own thoughts, I will keep my JBL L100 t3 and pass the Thiel. The JBLs are much easier to set up. Much easier to locate the sweet spot. Iíd like clarity and softness but these are too dull. It seems like the drivers move very slowly. Singerís voice sound sick like she/he has a cold or something. The instruments donít sound so real to me. Unable to locate its sweet spot, I can clearly hear ďsoundsĒ coming out from the 2 speakers. With my JBLs, I can close my eyes and could almost reach out and touch EVERY performer in front of me, laterally. I, too, brought home to audition the smallest version (CS1.x) few years back and they sounded just like this one but less bass. Thiels are expensive, it could be on many peopleís wish list but they are just simply not for me. I will put them in my house just so I could tell ev1 that I have Thiel but I wouldnít vote them over my JBL L100 t3. Sound skeptical?
    Well, if you are enjoying your Thiel, donít feel bad and just continue enjoying your gear. Because we all hear things differently, our liking is also diff from others and that concept applies the same to speakers. Not all speakers sound exactly the same. Each one has its own character so again, if you love yours, keep them and enjoy them.

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    It was long ago ...

    ... That I passed through my JBL phase. In fact it was the early '70s. I fell in love with the JBL Lancer 77's -- I'm not sure I actually compared them with the L100 though I did with several other JBL models. I really loved the brilliant, agressive sound or so I imagined.

    It was only my immediate financial situation that prevented me from poping the C$700 the 77's were at the time. But it turned out to be a good thing. A couple of months later I was able to A/B the 77's against AR3a's. For accuracy and transparency there was no comparison: the 3a's kicked the 77's butt around the block.
    ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My Impression.-jbl-lancer77.jpg  

  3. #3
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with your assessmetof the thiel cs3.6. These are great speakers. Very accurate, detailed with great transparency and imaging. The problem with them is that they are very revealing of poor recordings and poor signal sources as most high end speakers are. You are correct about the treble in that it is laid back somewhat. I was actually very impressed when I heard them with a $2500 CDP and about $6000 of amp and preamp.

    It just goes to show that every one hears things differently!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
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    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
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  4. #4
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    No heat comin' from these parts. I may not agree with you but if that's your bag baby, rawk on. There are entire forums out there devoted to JBLs and folks do alot of different and interesting things with 'em.

    And everyone does hear differently, hence the reson for hearing aids and eq boards. I've had conversations with folks on the RR board and wondered if we were listening to the same disc.

    Now you just gotta decide what it is that dissatsisfied you about the JBLs in the first place, can it be negated by optimizing other parts of the system, and whether it's worth it.

    Have fun.

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    To keep with a more dynamic sound you might try a pair of Paradigm, or Dynaudio if your budget would allow. My experience with Thiel is limited but I agree with some of what you heard. They are a more sweet and pleasant sounding speaker. Some people like that. That's why I said in one of my posts I didn't think they were good for R&R or other high energy music. I think the bass problem has to be room acoustics or placement, although they are a more mellow speaker, they certainly are clear and musical. You will also notice with better gear and speakers that sometimes there really isn't a "sweet spot", the instruments are spread out across the sound stage, a vocal may be off center, etc. I have a Cincinnati Pops Christmas disc that I love but it drives me crazy to listen because at times it sounds like only one speaker is playing until the other horns or something kicks in on the other channel. You will find that a good recording or presentation IS NOT supposed to have everything squeezed into the center of the speakers.

    Another thought, did you turn your sub off when listening to the 3.6's? New speakers would require new settings, so turn the sub off if you didn't already. Another suggestion is while you listen to the Thiels take the JBL's out of the room. An active speaker can create like a passive radiator effect on other speakers in the room, especially if you sat them right beside each other.

    I suggested Paradigm because they strike me as a lively speaker and they have a higher sensitivity which would make them easier to drive. Dynaudio can be lively when called upon to do so but it takes some juice to make them jump.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    1/ Another thought, did you turn your sub off when listening to the 3.6's? New speakers would require new settings, so turn the sub off if you didn't already.
    2/ Another suggestion is while you listen to the Thiels take the JBL's out of the room. An active speaker can create like a passive radiator effect on other speakers in the room, especially if you sat them right beside each other.
    3/ I suggested Paradigm because they strike me as a lively speaker and they have a higher sensitivity which would make them easier to drive.
    4/ Dynaudio can be lively when called upon to do so but it takes some juice to make them jump.
    1/ Are you speaking of my Velodyne powered sub? I don't have it hook up to 2-ch circuitry. Just a raw analog signal going straight to 2 front speakers.
    2/ I first pulled the JBL away and lay them down but it was so much work going back and forth when testing, so I ended up set them side by side, next to the Thiel.
    3/ I have a source that may let me borrow the Paradigm Signature S8, so...
    4/ I'm so tired right now. I'm full of disappointing about the Thiel.

  7. #7
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    Man, you are lucky, you have a lot of resources for checking out gear.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I alawys thought the Thiels sounded better about 3ft from the wall and about 6ft apart
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  9. #9
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    I can understand the 'culture shock' moving from JBLs to the Thiels. JBL's sound is definitely big and forward. There's no question that JBL have made and continue to make some of the finest speakers in the world. The only drawback of some JBL models I've heard is a tendency to become a bit fatiguing after a while. But thats nit picking...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I alawys thought the Thiels sounded better about 3ft from the wall and about 6ft apart
    You are right, that applies almost to any loud speakers. How far is it of the wall depends on the speakers and the room itself. In my case, the Thiels are 6 feet away alright, but I couldn't afford to move them any further from the wall because they will then be too close to my front seats; My 2nd row seats aren't that comfy. I just got home and listen to them again but no hope, the Thiel's charater aren't just my taste. I feel like someone is crushing my chest the whole time even with low or high volume. Well, let's put it this way, they are not bad speakers but if I have these Theils and not the JBLs, I would curious and spend lots of time to work with them to see what are they trully made of.
    Note: I haven't calibrate them but since I just use them for music, 2-ch., I thought this calibrating thing would not be necessary, right?



  11. #11
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    they are, of course, from a different world.

    I find my thiels sound exellent with classical, Jazz, Soul, funk, some electronical and some (but not all rock); and alot of other genres.
    The JBL's were great rock speakers, they sounded slightly bright, had puchy bass and were able to go loud. but they will fail in detail, clarity, imaging, soundstage, and frequency response compared to the thiels.
    however (as I said before), if your main genres are rock and stuff like that, don't go Thiel. If you like Jazz alot, definately go thiel.

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
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    MIT AVt 2 IC's
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    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  12. #12
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    gjpham, you are correct, when listening to stereo and not using your sub there wouldn't be anything to calibrate. It may be too that your room is just too small for that model of Thiel.

    Just my opinion, JBL has never appealed to me. It's not the highs so much as the bass and mids, the bass always seemed muddy and the mids, what mids. My opinion was formed by several samples of JBL but I have not heard like the classic Hartsfield or any of the Pro stuff.

    Heck, for fun, bring home a pair of Martin Logans. Of course you thought replacing center and surrounds were expensive with Thiel.....

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Your all wrong! There is no High End, and all this stuff sounds the same. 6000$ preamps? You gotta be kidding, all people with big systems and lots of money invested are just big egos with small brains.

    Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    1/ It may be too that your room is just too small for that model of Thiel.
    2/ the bass always seemed muddy and the mids, what mids.
    3/ Heck, for fun, bring home a pair of Martin Logans.
    4/ Of course you thought replacing center and surrounds were expensive with Thiel.....
    1/ Simple to joy, but complicate to understand it.
    2/ We are on the same page. I thought my JBL's bass was fine until I listen to the Thiel's.
    3/ Zero source to bring home the M.L.
    4/ JBL's service advisor once told me that their new LC2 center would match with my fronts. After experienced with the Thiel, this just happended to me last night: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...romZR40QQfviZ1

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Your all wrong! There is no High End, and all this stuff sounds the same. 6000$ preamps? You gotta be kidding, all people with big systems and lots of money invested are just big egos with small brains. Flo
    I'm scared to agree with you 100% but I will vote 95% for it. This is gotta hurt but I will agree with your statement. Ego = yes, big one. Small brain= I woulnd't dare to say.
    I have a source that I can come and listen to his many diff "high end" systems (no, it's not my in-law") which I could not even promounce or write the names down to Google them. My thoughts to Audio World is that if you have the money, go for what you think it is "sound good". because you can. If you can't afford the "high end" then dream on. But let me tell you, it's not all that. You may dissapointed both in sound and your bank account. Those "high end" speakers don't sound bad. They sound great and I can guarantee you that, but if I have to seat in front of them and squeze and squeze many hours to pick out what the "high end" speakers really made of then I can't really afford them. Make the story short, let's do a comparasion in audio cables. Yes, they sound diff but how much? Since they won't break my bank, I can afford them. In the end, dreams are always beautiful, aren't they?
    Last edited by gjpham; 01-07-2008 at 11:47 AM.

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    If you like the JBL's the center may be an option and at least your fronts would match. You might want to go ahead and borrow the Paradigm first before a commitment though. The Signature series are fairly expensive but the Studio Series are more affordable.

  17. #17
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gjpham
    I'm scared to agree with you 100% but I will vote 95% for it. This is gotta hurt but I will agree with your statement. Ego = yes, big one. Small brain= I woulnd't dare to say.
    I have a source that I can come and listen to his many diff "high end" systems (no, it's not my in-law") which I could not even promounce or write the names down to Google them. My thoughts to Audio World is that if you have the money, go for what you think it is "sound good". because you can. If you can't afford the "high end" then dream on. But let me tell you, it's not all that. You may dissapointed both in sound and your bank account. Those "high end" speakers don't sound bad. They sound great and I can guarantee you that, but if I have to seat in front of them and squeze and squeze many hours to pick out what the "high end" speakers really made of then I can't really afford them. Make the story short, let's do a comparasion in audio cables. Yes, they sound diff but how much? Since they won't break my bank, I can afford them. In the end, dreams are always beautiful, aren't they?
    I think you should see Flo's system

    Click: audioreview photo gallery --> member Galleries --> florian...
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Bring a sponge to wipe up all that saliva for when you finish drooling when you see Flo's system!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  19. #19
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    Yeah, gjpham, notice the signature and Google that. I'm almost certain that was Flo's attempt at humor

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    At least one guy fell for it

    No hard feelings
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Geez, I can't think of two more polar opposite approaches than Thiel and JBL! You really need to broaden your selections, because there's plenty of middle ground that you haven't touched yet.

    Having grown up with a set of JBL L65 Jubals and listened to numerous L100s and their legion imitators during the 70s and 80s, I can tell you that they have a distinct signature and one that's not especially accurate -- a rise in the highs and a nice sized bump in the midbass. A lot of music from that era sounds great on vintage JBLs because they were mixed and mastered using JBL monitors. In today's speaker market, manufacturers place much greater emphasis on accuracy, and the Thiel is indicative of that trend.

    If you're used to the JBLs, you won't like too many of the newer speakers because they tend to be designed with a flatter response curve in mind. Because of this, you might not like Paradigm's Signature series speakers either.

    If you want a modern speaker that does a decent job at preserving the gutteral punch of the vintage JBLs, you should try the Definitive Technology tower speakers. Among the newer speakers, they do a great job with classic rock. They're definitely not especially neutral with acoustic sources, but if you're used to the L100s, that might not matter to you. Another brand to consider is Klipsch.
    Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
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  22. #22
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    Geez, Wooch, Klipsch? I thought his purpose was to upgrade

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    ...If you're used to the JBLs, you won't like too many of the newer speakers because they tend to be designed with a flatter response curve in mind. Because of this, you might not like Paradigm's Signature series speakers either.....
    If ev1 agrees with his statement then my case is closed. I think this is the best answer/ solution so far for my "problem". Woochifer, I've listened plus audition many diff speakers from mid to "high end" (Florian, I haven't listened to yours yet), and you are right, none of them sounds like my JBL L100 t3. I agreed with you that newer and more expensive speakers seem to play flatter, more mellow. They don't seem to open up at all though the spec may show 25hz to 40Khz (I maybe lying but I once was told that some tweeters can reach up as high as 80Khz. Would y'all believe that? Only cats and dogs can hear that.)
    Florian, no hurt feelings here. Guys, give me earlier warning shot next time.

  24. #24
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gjpham
    If ev1 agrees with his statement then my case is closed. I think this is the best answer/ solution so far for my "problem". Woochifer, I've listened plus audition many diff speakers from mid to "high end" (Florian, I haven't listened to yours yet), and you are right, none of them sounds like my JBL L100 t3. I agreed with you that newer and more expensive speakers seem to play flatter, more mellow. They don't seem to open up at all though the spec may show 25hz to 40Khz (I maybe lying but I once was told that some tweeters can reach up as high as 80Khz. Would y'all believe that? Only cats and dogs can hear that.)
    Florian, no hurt feelings here. Guys, give me earlier warning shot next time.
    I partly agree...


    but then again, since you own Kimber cables (and especially the hero), I assume you also look for something to warmen the sound a little, and that's also a reason why you didn't like the Thiels IMHO. The kimbers are good cables, but I don't like them with thiels (I have a pair of kimber hero's here for auditioning), and find them sounding boring and 'flat' compared to the Siltech MXT New York's, Sonic Link black earth's and the other one I have here now (dunno the exact full name) PS audio Reference silver thing (fat nice cable)...

    BTW, I don't know why the JBL dude recommended that particular center, but that absolutely doesn't look like a match too me, in fact, I find that center looking cheap, and can't imagine it's sound would be even close to the L100t3's...

    perhaps you should try neutral sounding speakers (like Monitor Audio's (their Gold line is pretty good)), or Dynaudio...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  25. #25
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    gjpham, you missed the part where Wooch said, "there is plenty of middle ground between the JBL and Thiel". Depending on your room size you may just want to try a more appropriate size speaker for your room and amp. I haven't heard the Paradigm Signature but I have heard the Studio and they don't sound anything like Thiel. The Def Tech's are a good suggestion and some have built in amps for the woofer. If your goal is to improve your sound, then it's worth doing some more listening. I think what Wooch was saying is if you are happy with the JBL there really isn't a "better" speaker with similar sound. When we talk about a speaker being "flat" that is not a bad thing. The goal, or supposed goal, of a speaker is to be flat, meaning no one frequency is louder or softer than another, the reproduced frequency response is delivered with equal amplitude from the lowest to highest and everything in between. When saying your JBL's have a bass hump means in certain frequencies of the bass your speakers plays them louder than the rest of the frequency band. It sounded to me like you thought the 3.6's had too much bass and too mellow. So I also seem to remember you were trying to find a speaker with more midrange. I would say don't give up just take your time and try a few more brands.

    I heard an Anthem AVM20 and power amp, not sure which model amp, driving some Paradigm Studios. Before listening to a movie I had the guy drop in my Clapton, Slow Hand, CD. What sticks out in my mind on that audition was the clear extended highs and how the guitar came through. I thought it was a lively sound without being offensive. I'm thinking this may be what you are looking for. The Def Techs I've heard didn't have the same calibur of gear driving them so it's hard to say if they would be as good. But the built in amp would allow you to tailor your bass to taste and they do use titanium tweeters.

    So if I've gotten anything wrong about what you want let me know.

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