Thiel CS.5 loudspeaker Page 2

The CS.5's supplied spikes, unlike the binding posts, are as user-friendly as they come. Instead of the usual fiddly screw-in models (complete with lock nuts), you get three slip-in spikes per speaker. Just insert spike A into hole B, and you're done. They form a pretty tight fit; every time I picked a speaker up, they stayed firmly seated. Of course, my listening-room floor is flat; if yours isn't, well, maybe you should consider a new home.

Finally, each and every audio manufacturer (hell, any manufacturer) should study what the Thielfolk do for user documentation. If you pay attention and open the end of the carton that says "open this end," you'll be greeted by unpacking instructions. Also included are repacking instructions (should repacking become necessary). Furthermore, the four-page "Owner Information" guide's helpful suggestions assist you in achieving optimal setup.

Naming names
I played LPs on a Linn Axis 'table with a Basik Plus arm fitted with a Shure V15 5MR cartridge. A Bright Star Audio Big Rock 3 was under said 'table, and an Arcici Superstand was under that. The stand also held a Magnavox CDB-560 player used as a transport, feeding bits through an Illuminati Data/Video Flex digital cable to an Audio Alchemy DTI, then via an Illuminati Data Flex Studio digital cable to an Audio Alchemy DAC-in-the-Box. The preamp was an Audible Illusions Modulus 2A. The Audio Alchemy Overture OM-150, with two PSU-150M power supplies (see my Follow-Up elsewhere in this issue), sat on one shelf of my homemade amp stand (I'm big on "homemade"); a PSE Studio Two sat on another.

Interconnects included AudioQuest Ruby, Aural Symphonics As-One, and Synergistic Research Alpha Sterling and Kaleidoscope. Speaker cables were Goertz MI-1 and Synergistic Research Signature No.2. A pair of Vandersteen 2Cs on Super Vanderstands were used for comparative purposes. Everything except the amp was plugged-in to an Audio Power Industries Power Wedge 116; the amp was plugged-in to an API Power Wedge VI (forerunner of the current 110). I broke-in the speakers with the Sheffield/XLO Test & Burn-In disc and plain ol' music before doing any serious listening seshes.

Can I play?
I let the CS.5s burn in for part of a day, then gave 'em a quick listen that night, cueing up old fave Dave Alvin's King of California (Hightone HCD 8054). Ms. LB (the Missus) listened in with me.

"Dave Alvin's voice sounds funny," she said, "" She was making a gesture with her arms like you'd make to indicate a barrel.

"Like he was in a barrel or a tunnel?" I suggested.

"Yeah, that's it...kinda hollow or something."

So we let them break in some more. Actually, a lot more, as we went away for a week-long vacation, during which time we left the radio playing.

Upon return, things were better. Much better. Dave had come out of the barrel and was sounding more like the Dave we knew and loved. That's a good sign, as Dave's is a voice I know well—and an indication that the time for some serious listening had come.

Set 'em up, bro
But first I futzed for a while with placement and setup. The user's guide claims that the CS.5s are relatively noncritical with respect to room placement, but suggests that a bright future will be secured by those who allocate at least 3' between the CS.5s and the back wall and 5' to the side walls.

I started by putting the CS.5s in the same place my Vandersteens normally sit—5' from the back wall and 4.5' from the sides—and I'll be darned if I didn't end up with them right back there after trying several other locations. This setup also results in about 8' between the speakers (center to center) and just a smidge over 8' from each speaker to my fuzzy little ears. I found that toeing them in just slightly led to somewhat more solid imaging, so that's what I went with.

Speaking of imaging—yeah, buddy! The precision with which the CS.5s placed things in the soundstage was uncanny, Manny. You all have Roger Waters' Amused to Death album, right? The Q sound extravagonzo? Me, too; but unlike most of you, I have it on vinyl (Columbia import 468761 0) [said with nose held high].

1026 Nandino Blvd.
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(606) 254-9427