Thiel CS1 loudspeaker Measurements

Sidebar 2: Measurements

I measured the frequency response of the speaker in the listening window—spatially averaged to minimize room standing-wave problems—using third-octave pink noise, and measured the near-field low-frequency response with a sinewave sweep to get an idea of the true bass extension. The nearfield –6dB point was a respectable 37.5Hz, which agreed closely with the measured amount of low bass in the room. This response showed only mild exaggeration in the upper bass, and the response was pretty flat through the midrange, ±2dB limits holding up to 3.15kHz. Above that frequency, however, there was a little too much energy—1–2dB or so—in the last two octaves, which correlates with the perceived treble sound balance.—John Atkinson

Thiel Audio Products Co.
566 Mainstream Drive, Suite 500
Nashville, TN 37228
(615) 913-8532

jtshaw's picture

I recall the uptilt in the treble, but soundstaging, imaging, and tuneful bass were utterly transfixing at the price.

At the time I had a Proton D-940 receiver and then an Adcom GFA-535 amp and GTP-500 tuner/preamp. This system kept me listening happily deep into the evening, especially when the source was an Acoustic Research ES-1 turntable with Rega RB-300 tonearm and Audio-Technica AT-140ML cartridge.

I don't mean to namedrop equipment, but I remember the system so vividly because it was my introduction to the high end. Such a delight for a young person with a first-job modest salary in the late 1980s. Thanks so much for posting this review. It made my day.

Jikester's picture

Great equipment that also got me started in high-end audio as well. I still have the D940 (best receiver I've ever used) and Adcom GFA-535 and GTP-500.

BradleyP's picture

I recommended these to opera-loving friends in 1998 or so to upgrade their system to actual hi-fi status, and they loved them. What a terrific value they were and probably still are.

tonykaz's picture

I sold scads of these, back in 1984-5.

They performed way over their weight class with good solid State electronics. They even worked ok with Harmon Kardon stuff.

I could never get any of the Thiel range to work well with the Conrad-Johnson Tube Gear including the MV-45a ( my favorite ), the MV-75 or the Premier Amp.

I was a Huge Monster Cable Dealer ( I carried every single thing they offered and had a complete 40 foot wall featuring the stuff ). Monster was my most financially successful line. Phew!!

Still, Bruce Brisson's MH750 speaker cables ( $500/pr. ) were able to take the Thiel stuff to wonderfully addictive heights. I was a Cable denier for engineering reasons but those big MH750s were superb. go figure!

I'd like to have a pair of Thiel speakers now, perhaps these 1s or maybe the CS3s but Jim is long gone and his Nandino Blvd place is gone too. I'd order a pair in Teak.

Sad Memories

Tony in Michigan

ps. I never realized that JA actually reviewed Thiel stuff, I'd kinda thought that it was Tony Cordesman's exclusive territory.

RH's picture


I'm surprised by your comment about Thiels not working with Conrad Johnson tube gear. Over the years I've found Thiels a particularly synergistic combination with CJ gear. It started with the old Thiel 02s (before Jim moved to time coherence) and a CJ MV55 amp which was a match made in heaven. I later on upgraded to CJ Premier 12 mono-blocks, 140Wside which I used to drive (among many other speakers) the Thiel CS6. The premier 12s have the CJ magic midrange with enough grunt to drive many speakers, including the Thiels. It was an incredible combination, giving me the strengths of the Thiels - precision in imaging, density of images, tonal density and neutrality, transient precision, bass pitch, etc...but with just enough CJ character to render it all just that much more smooth and organic sounding.

I went through many different speakers since then and have gone back to Thiel. Currently I own both the CS 3.7 and the 2.7s and both are gorgeous on the CJs. I fact, I have never heard sound so coherent, and bass so in control and tonally articulate, anywhere else. (So sad that Jim passed away!!! Such a loss).

All that said, I don't have experience driving many of the older 80's/early 90's Thiels which may be different. Though I do know that I've often seen Thiel 3.6 owners laud Thiel with tubes, including with CJ amps.


tonykaz's picture

I carried the entire CJ line because it was reputed a success with Thiel, I liked the people and I favored tube gear.

I also carried Electrocompaniet which was Superb or even beyond Superb.

I had CJ's better stuff & Electrocompaniet both in my Main Room, able to play those deep impacting CS3s. The Electrocompaniet Ampliwires consistantly crushed every other Amp, phew.

I tried to carry a successful option to the CS3 Thiel but never found anything, the big Thiels would stagger everyone, I sold loads of them.

I also had the Quad 63 and various Magnapan ( I loved the MG2 & MV45 ) but they didn't sell well against any Thiel/Electrocompaniet system. go figure.

Loudspeakers & Electronics were not my/our main venture, we were a Turntable Shop offering Belt Drives & MC Phono carts & Arms.

When Vinyl died I went back to the Transportation Industry and (mostly) GM Corp. I didn't look back till I met Tyll at RMAF 2011. Now Audio is only an Old Hobby.

Tony in MichIgan

ps. Because I was importing from England, at the time, I brought a wide range of British Gear into my Esoteric Audio Salon, we had loudspeakers from nearly every British manufacturer. The British Small loudspeakers were wonderful with the Pro-Ac Tabletts being the consistent best!!
I also liked the B&W 801s but even they couldn't sing & dance compared to those Big Thiel CS3s!!!

Ahhhhh, the good ole days

Allen Fant's picture

Another +vote for Thiel loudspeakers. Thanks! for sharing this historic piece- JA.

How do I get a copy of your HFN/RR cd ?