Thiel CS2 2 loudspeaker Review context
Amplifiers used during the preparation of this review included pairs of Mark Levinson No.20.6 and Audio Research Classic 120 monoblocks, while the preamplifier was first the Melos SHA-1 headphone amplifier, then a Melos 333 linestage, with a Mod Squad Phono Drive EPS handling LP signals. These were provided by a Linn Sondek/Trampolin/Lingo/Ekos/Troika setup sitting on an ArchiDee table, with the Troika subsequently replaced by Linn's new Arkiv phono cartridge.
Digital source components included the VTL Reference D/A processor driven by a Meridian 602 transport via Mod Squad Wonder Link, replaced by the Meitner IDAT (and for one brief, wonderful moment, the Mark Levinson No.30) driven by a Proceed PDT 2 transport via AudioQuest Digital Pro. Analog master tapes were played on my ReVox PR99. Interconnects consisted of 1m lengths of AudioQuest Diamond between digital processors and preamps; 15' lengths of MIT 330 between preamps and Classic 120 power amplifiers; and 15' lengths of balanced AudioQuest Lapis with the new AudioQuest XLR plugs between the Melos 333 and the Levinsons.
My room measures approximately 19' by 16.5', with a 9' ceiling. The wall behind the speakers is faced with books and LPs, while further book- and CD shelves occupy the positions on the sidewalls where the first reflection from each speaker would occur. The room is carpeted and there are also patches of Sonex foam on the ceiling to damp the first reflections of the sound. The other wall has RPG Abffusors behind the listening seat to absorb and diffuse what would otherwise be early rear-wall reflections of the sound that might blur the stereo imaging precision. ASC Tube Traps are used in the room corners to even out the room's bass resonances, the result being a relatively uniform reverberation time of around 200ms from the upper bass to the mid treble, falling to 150ms above 10kHz. The Thiels were used on their carpet-piercing spikes.—John Atkinson