Thiel CS2.3 Loudspeaker Page 5

The Thiel CS2.3 and Magneplanar MG1.6/QR are both outstanding speakers, and I'd unhesitatingly recommend either one. Both show how far and how successfully their designs have evolved. They have refined their inherent strengths, and their traditional weaknesses have been largely ameliorated—so much so that the tradeoffs between their performances aren't as clear as might once have been the case with two comparable designs from these companies.

Each offers a different set of attributes, both outstanding. The Maggies, for example, now offer the more vivid, dynamic presentation, while the Thiels have the more softly articulate voice. But the MG1.6/QR offers an incredible amount of performance and musical enjoyment for the money. You could build a killer system around the Maggies for under $3000 and either live happily ever after or upgrade around them to your heart's content.

On the other hand, the more expensive Thiels are more neutral and more transparent. Bonnie and I spent many delightful nights with the Maggies, digging out record after record, but when it was time to work on a review, I always turned to the Thiels for their neutrality. This isn't to say that the Thiels weren't engaging—quite the contrary. After the serious listening was done, I was never in any hurry to replace the CS2.3s.

The bottom line is that both are excellent loudspeakers, and a listener won't go wrong with either. If you're in the market for speakers at either of these price points, I strongly urge you to give these two a listen. If you haven't listened to Maggies or Thiels in a while, you might be surprised.

Summing up
The Thiel CS2.3 is a superb loudspeaker, and an eloquent testimonial to Jim Thiel's design expertise and his company's manufacturing skills. So many loudspeakers for which technical or theoretical accuracy is claimed don't, in practice, come close to the CS2.3's clear, uncolored sound. Other manufacturers may brag about designing for the most musical presentation, measurements be damned, but their speakers can't deliver nearly the sheer musical enjoyment I got out of the little Thiels.

As much as I liked and admired the CS3.6, the CS2.3 is definitely a step forward on the evolutionary path. Instead of Bonnie's raucous '73 911S, the CS2.3 is more like a new Carrera—smoother, more sophisticated, but with even higher performance in almost every way. It's a wonderful speaker, and I recommend it highly. In fact, the only possible reason to pass on the CS2.3 is because you just know that, somewhere down the road, Jim Thiel's next design will be even better. But that's always going to be true. Why wait?

1026 Nandino Boulevard
Lexington, KY 40511
(606) 254-9427