Thiel CS6 Loudspeaker System and Setup

Sidebar 2: System and Setup

The big Thiels were auditioned both in my dedicated listening room and in the Stereophile listening room. In my room, the speakers ended up about 36" from the rear wall (which is faced with books and LPs) and approximately 60" from the side walls (which also have bookshelves covering some of their surfaces). The speakers were toed-in slightly, but not all the way to the listening position. In my room, the digital source was either a Mark Levinson No.30.5 HDCD D/A processor driven by a Mark Levinson No.31.5 transport via an Illuminati AES/EBU cable, or Wadia 850 and Rega Planet CD players. In the Stereophile room, the digital source was a dCS Elgar D/A processor driven by a Meridian 500 transport. In both rooms, LP playback was from either a Sutherland PH-2000 or a Linn Linnto, both used to amplify LP signals from a Linn Sondek/Cirkus/Trampolin/Lingo/Ekos/Arkiv setup on an ArchiDee table.

Line preamplifier in both rooms was the Mark Levinson No.380S (with the Mark Levinson, dCS, Rega, and Linn gear), or none with the Wadia. Power amplifiers included a Krell KSA-250 or a pair of Mark Levinson No.20.6 monoblocks (Stereophile room), and a Mark Levinson No.333 or a pair of No.33H monoblocks (my room).

Other than for the phono preamp connection, for which I used single-ended AudioTruth Diamond, the interconnects used were all balanced: Madrigal's CZ Gel-1. Speaker cable was initially AudioTruth Sterling, then MIT CV-770 (with short extenders to make up for the fact that MIT spades are incompatible with Levinson binding posts). All source components and preamps used in my listening room were plugged into a Power Wedge 116 Mk.II, itself plugged into a dedicated AC circuit and fitted with the Power Enhancer option. No line conditioning was used in the Stereophile room.

The speakers were broken-in by being placed face to face and driven out of phase with the "Special Burn-In Noise" track on Stereophile's Test CD 3 (footnote 1). The measurements (footnote 2) were performed using a DRA Labs MLSSA system used with a calibrated B&K 4006 microphone, an Audio Precision System One, and an AudioControl Industrial SA3050A spectrum analyzer.—John Atkinson

Footnote 1: $9.95 plus $3.50 S&H. See the secure "Recordings" page on this website for details.

Footnote 2: For full details of how I measure loudspeakers for Stereophile reviews, see "Loudspeakers: What Measurements Can Tell Us—And What They Can't Tell Us!" reprinted in three installments in this website's "Archives." Part One of "Measuring Loudspeakers" was published in November 1998, Part Two in December 1998, and Part Three in January 1999.