Thiel CS1.5 loudspeaker Page 2
This was a salesman friend of mine, ten years or so ago.
"What is it, Dean?"
"They're a great pair of little speakers. The Euphonic Audio Nymphs, made in New Egypt, New Jersey."
"You're putting me on. Nymphs from New Egypt, New Jersey?"
He wasn't kidding.
Only last week, my Russki friend Val—the madman from Minsk—phoned me in breathless enthusiasm.
"I've just traded in my CLSes." He'd only had them a few weeks.
"What have you bought now?"
"- - - - - - - speakers. They're fabulous."
A few days later, Marina and I were dining chez Val and Galina, and he demonstrated the speakers—stand-mounted jobs about the size of a pair of large Advents.
"How many of these speakers have actually been sold?" I asked Val.
"These are serial numbers 3 and 4."
"1 and 2 belong to the designer?"
"I suppose so. They're wonderful speakers for $850/pair. After he sold this pair, the designer decided to raise the price to $1250."
"You got a bargain."
Well, there's no telling what Russians will buy—even when they've been living in the US for nearly 20 years, like Val. The problem is, in Val's cramped, book-lined studio apartment, you can't sit more than 3' away from the speakers. Val should own a pair of speakers designed for nearfield listening—like a pair of LS3/5as. I didn't have the heart to tell him.
Anyway, I'm not sure how long Val will stay in love with his new speakers. During dinner, he took a 1912 Victrola acoustical gramophone, set it on a small table next to the dining table, and proceeded to play a stack of 78s throughout the meal.
"Ah," I enthused. "Now that's good sound. The solution to this tube vs solid-state stuff is to use neither."
"Yes, I thought of that. Plus, in the event that we have a nuclear war and lose electrical power, my gramophone will still play. Excuse me, I have to change the needle every two sides."
He put on another disc and cranked up the gramophone.
Caruso, Chaliapin—it was wonderful. Sure, there was no bass, no highs, and what midrange there was had what JA calls a "cupped hands" coloration. But what the music had—unlike many hi-fi systems—was immediacy.
I was going to tell Val about the Thiels. Nah—why make him feel bad about his new speakers? Except that he'll probably buy a new pair of speakers within a month or so anyway. Trouble is, Thiels aren't exotic enough.
Some audiophiles are born to live with exotic, four-of-a-kind speakers; others wouldn't even consider the Thiel CS1.5 because, at 33" high and +8" wide, it's not big enough. The floorstanding CS1.5s cost just $1990/pair—the smallest, least costly speakers in the Thiel Coherent Source line. But if you're into scale, if you like your speakers to play loud—whether headbanging rock or full-scale symphonic works—then these speakers are not for you.
On the other hand, if you're after truth of timbre, resolution, superb soundstaging and imaging, and you're not crazy about a large pair of speakers dominating your living or listening room, then the CS1.5 may be just what you want. They're for people who like to listen into a recording, not those who want to be bowled over by the sheer quantity of sound.