Thiel CS.5 loudspeaker Page 4
Now for 2: we're not quite talking "one-note bass"—more like "two- or three-note bass." I could differentiate the pitch on these lower notes, but just. Not bad for what's essentially a small, two-way, ported design. My listening notes for "Dance Macabre," from Alexander Gibson and the New Symphony Orchestra of London's Witches Brew (Classic LSC-2225), say, "The bass is surprisingly good," which turned out to be an oft-recurring comment.
Did they go loud? Pretty loud. On "Exercise No.14," from Frank Zappa and the Ensemble Modern's The Yellow Shark (Barking Pumpkin R2 71600), my spl meter was claiming 102dB peaks, with the average in the low 90s. At these levels, the big drum-whacks were a little edgy, the xylophone runs sounded quite coarse, and a general sense of congestion and foreshortening of depth set in; but, hey—that's pretty loud, bud.
Let's face it, these baby Thiels aren't lease-breaker specials. But keep the levels down in the sane area, and the signs of strain go away. For me, that was low-to-mid 80dB for the average stuff, 92dB peaks for the drum blasts.
As I was saying...
I like the Thiel CS.5. It's small and cute, and will fit into just about any room, with any decor. They image like the dickens; like a good flanker, they go deep and wide; they're detailed but not fatiguing; and they even produce some more-than-decent bass. What more could you want?
If you're a bass nut, you'd want more bass; but if you're a member of the Cult of the Shaking Wall, you probably quit reading this at the specification box anyway. If you like your music really loud, you'll need to pay more to get more. But for the rest of us, the CS.5s are some very fine music-makers.
Are they a bargain? That's up to you. They're floorstanders, don't forget, so you won't have to add-in the price of stands. And you can't biwire, so think of the savings on that extra run of cable! There are a lot of speakers of varying capabilities at this price point (footnote 4), so you've got to shop around and see which ones get you most fired up.
Me, I think they're swell and provide a lot of sound for the money. If what I've said wets your whistle, then I highly recommend you check them out. Just make sure they've been broken-in. And that you've left those preconceptions at home.
Footnote 4: This is a just-about content-free statement, since there are lots of speakers at every price point. Audio magazine's annual equipment guide shows that there are far more speakers out there than any other class of component.