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Thiel CS2.3
66 Reviews
rating  4.5 of 5
MSRP  3600.00
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Reviews 1 - 5 (66 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by bostonaudi a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 18, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Set up my Thiel 2.3’s last night and compared them to my hotrodded Maggie MMG's, outgoing Quad ESL-63's and a pair of Merlin VSM's w/BAM. The Thiels are pretty decent sounding, but there is a slight hardness in the midrange around female vocals, and the midrange’s coherence and ability to resolve is not as good as panels (Magnepans etc) or more expensive box speakers. I also compared them back to back with Merlin VSM’s with BAM. The Merlins are in another league. The Merlins are more musical, more coherent, not quite as 3D but overall a much more pleasing sound to the ear, and they open a much bigger window into the sound. There were subtle details we heard with the Merlins that we never noticed with the Thiels. It really sounds more like a band is in front of you with the Merlins. The Merlins bass also seemed more even and not as bumpy. In fact compared to the Merlins the overall frequency response of the Thiels seemed a little rough and bumpy. The person I bought the Thiels from upgraded to the Merlins and I could clearly hear why.

I suspect with speakers like Thiels and Dunlavys something is given up in the quest for absolute phase coherence. However, less is given up with Dunlavy’s, they don’t have that midrange edge.

I don’t dislike the 2.3’s but I think you have to choose components for them very carefully. If anything behind them isn’t completely up to par you’ll have cascading un-musicality. I do like the fact that they have better frequency extension over my Magnepans and Quads, and the bass is pretty good in my room. I have some experimenting to do still with placement and possibly a different power amp (I think a good tube amp may be essential).

Of course the Merlins are more expensive, and I have to admit when I heard the Thiel 2.4’s the midrange hardness was not present so they may have further tamed that a bit.

I don't buy the argument that a high current amp will necessarily tame a midrange hardness, if it's there it's there. One has to partner these speakers with premap and amp that are somewhat laid back, which is why many find that using a tube preamp helps.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   used



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by alex a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 21, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Some time ago I decided to replace my B&W 805 with some respectable speakers. After considering pros and cons of various speakers I decided to try Thiel 2.3 at home. They sounded great, in a different way then BW805 but I was not confident to buy them. And one day I had Thiels 2.3 and Avalon Symbols together in my room and Thiels outperformed Avalons in sound clarity and transparency. Avalon Symbols sounded nasally with strange coloration in comparison with Thiels. So now I am a user of Thiels and I am very satisfied with them. They sound great with my Mcintosh MA6500 integrated amplifier.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Purchased At:   Bratislava



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by esroberto a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 17, 2003

Bottom Line:   
OK, here it is in a nutshell: Thiels are very likely the most accurate speaker money can buy. This is great for those of us who've meticulously culled out the components of our utmost liking from the parade of products to which we are continuously exposed. This is awful for those of us who haven't. A good way to go about it, in my opinion, would be to upgrade speakers first if you're going to buy any other brand. But be warned: if there is a single component, cables and interconnects included, in your system that is not up to par, the Thiels will stand it blindfolded against a wall, give it a cigarette, drop a sword and put an end to it. If you're going to buy accurate, revealing speakers, it'd be a good idea to keep close tabs on what they're accurately revealing. Thiels are not harsh unless your amp is harsh. Thiels are not efficient unless you give them what you know they want, at the very minimum, 60Wpc. Whatever the characteristics of your present set-up, that's what's going to shine through on the Thiels. With my Musical Fidelity A308cr separates and tweaked-out phono set-up, it's sheer bliss. My Thiels are new 2.3's, and they pair up with the Velodyne HGS-II 12" sub I bought for my 1.5's beautifully, though the sub doesn't have all that much to do anymore. I listen without the sub as much as I do with, nowadays. BREAK-IN. That's one thing that could turn off folks borrowing a new pair of Thiels for home audition. There's a lot going on in that crossover network! Don't bail on new Thiels until they've played moderately for at least 150 - 200 hours. Then give 'em a good, hard listen for a couple of weeks, and send 'em back to the store. I dare ya. Let's see how long it takes ya listening to anything else before you haul ass back to the store to grab the Thiels.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   Nicholson's HiFi, Na



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by hubbard32 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 17, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I auditioned many speakers in my own home before I decided on the Thiel 2.3's. I tried Martin Logan's, JM Labs, B&W, Monitor Audio, Energy Veritas, Vienna plus many more speakers in dealer show rooms. Many of these speakers had great aspects, but none of them could match the over all quality of the Thiels. These speakers have great highs, mids and powerful controled bass.
I listen to all kinds of music from jazz to electronic to classical to rock, and these beautiful speakers handel it all. I was not only looking for speakers that could deal with all my music, but also needed speakers that could deal with theater application. The Thiels handel theater duties better than I could have ever imagined! I will complement these speakers with a Sunfire sub and never look back and wonder "what could have been. the build quality is another area where the thiels blow away the competition. I have never seen a speaker in the 4,000 price range that could even come close to their quality construction. I would guess that the margins at Thiel are less than at their competitors, because they are obviuosly putting more time and care into their cabenets and drivers. If you are into this crazy $$$ hobby, you obviously care about quality... dont miss out on the Thiels. When you hear these speakers you know that you've moved up to a new level of performance. I suspect that I will be a Thiel customer for many years to come.

JOB WELL DONE THIEL... KEEP IT UP!!!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   Future Sound



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by David a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 10, 2002

Bottom Line:   
For those who have read through the reviews of the Thiel 2.3 speakers on this site, exasperation would be a reasonable reaction. Are the 2.3s excellent transparent speakers, or are they harsh, grating overdesigned speakers that hide behind a claim of "accurate" reproduction?
I purchased a pair of demo 2.3s about three months ago, and here's the bottom line - these are terrific speakers, but only if you already have, or plan to purchase at the same time, a high quality, high current amplifier that is rated at least 200 watts rms continuous into 8 ohms.
Unlike so much else in high end audio, the 2.3's need for associated electronics is actually grounded in physics and electrical engineering, not in the fancy of an audio reviewer or a "golden-eared" audiophile (otherwise known in the trade as a "sucker" or a "goldmine"). The Thiel 2.3s use first-order crossovers and a concentric midrange/tweeter with a mechanical crossover - essentially a high tech whizzer cone. The design is also inefficient, and presents a complex load to the amplifier.
What all this means is that the 2.3s are capable of producing an astonishingly stable soundstage and very fast transients, but at a price - they need VERY clean power, and lots of it, or they sound harsh and metallic.
I listened to the Thiel demos in a high-end dealer's showroom and was delighted by their clarity and imaging. I noted they were being driven by a McIntosh MC202 power amplifier, but figured that the NAD C270 I had at home would be sufficient - I was wrong.
When I got the 2.3s home, I was deeply disappointed - all the faults mentioned in prior reviews were in evidence - harshness, boxiness, limited soundstage and metallic overtones. I contacted Thiel to ask if the problem could be room interaction. Thiel's response was direct and candid - I needed a high current amplifier.
After looking at several options, I decided to go with the conrad-johnson MF2500, because it has a reputation for "smoothing out" bright or harsh speakers. So I brought one home, hooked it up, and ... My jaw dropped. These were not the same speakers I had listened to a few days earlier. The high end was smooth, voices were natural, and the soundstage was rock solid with a strong center.
The moral to the story - Figure on spending a total of at least $5500 for the combination of speakers and amp.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   JS Audio, Bethesda,




Reviews 1 - 5 (66 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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