New (High-Order) Blood at Thiel
The TT3 was on passive display at CES, but a system was set up to show off the other new design for Mark, the TM3 (above), which is expected to sell for $2999/pair when it reaches the market in the summer. The two-way design combines a proprietary 6.5" woofer using a cast basket with a 1" tweeter and sounded larger, with more extended lows than you would expect from its size, Muddy Waters’ “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” also sounded palpably real. (The system included a dCS Puccini DAC, Dan D’Agostino amplification, and Tributaries cabling.)
I asked about the crossover, as the late Jim Thiel had been a strong proponent of first-order filters. Mark explained that without taking away from what Jim had achieved, he believed that while it is possible to achieve a flat, time-coincident on-axis response from a multiway design with first-order filters, this can involve compromises in the three-dimensional radiation pattern if the drive-units are not coincident. And as Floyd Toole has demonstrated, the time coherence of the first-arrival sound does not compensate, subjectively, for the problematic off-axis behavior. Although Mark believes Toole is correct, he performed extensive listening tests with prototypes of the TM3 before settling on the high-order crossover that was ultimately used.