Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.
When you think back to the original high-end loudspeaker manufacturers going back twenty plus years few brands have enjoyed the success THIEL has. However early THIEL designs were big, cumbersome and expensive not to mention difficult to drive and place in anything but a dedicated listening space. In 2002 THIEL set out to change that with the introduction of their newest speaker the CS1.6 reviewed here. Fast forward eight years to today and the CS1.6 is still going strong and is being introduced to a whole new crop of budding audiophiles courtesy of its newest sales channel, Crutchfield.com, the online electronics giant.
Retailing for $1,195 each or $2,390 a pair in black ash or natural cherry and $2,590 in dark cherry the CS1.6 is THIEL's most affordable floor standing speaker option to date. The CS1.6 is a small floor standing loudspeaker measuring in at nine inches wide by 11 and a half inches deep and 35 and a half inches tall. Each speaker weighs in at 38 pounds making them easy to move and thanks to their small footprint easy to integrate into almost any living or listening environment. The CS1.6's slightly tapered shape only adds to the speaker's elegance and slim stature. The CS1.6 is a two way bass reflex speaker utilizing a one inch dome tweeter resting above a six and a half inch midrange driver in time and phase coherent configuration due to the speaker's crossover points and angled baffle design. The most striking thing about the CS1.6's design (with the grills off) has to be its slotted bass reflex port which runs from the bottom of the speaker to just below the midrange driver. Unlike other ported designs the slotted reflex port is also time and phase aligned with the drivers and cuts down on port noise and grille loading effects.
Read More About THIEL
• Read a story about THIEL speakers being sold at Amazon.
• Read Jim Thiel's obit from September 17, 2009 from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Read dozens more audiophile floorstanding speaker reviews from the likes of MartinLogan, Bowers & Wilkins, PSB, Paradigm and many others.
The CS1.6 has a reported frequency response of 48Hz to 20kHz and a sensitivity rating of 90dB into a fairly stable four Ohm load making it an ideal speaker for integrated amplifiers or mid-fi separates with as little as 50 watts on tap. However, like all THIEL speakers the more power you can push to the CS1.6 the more open, dynamic and natural it's going to sound.
Speaking of sound the CS1.6 is one smooth operator, possessing a slightly laid back, seductive sound that manages to be spacious and nicely detailed and sound much larger than the speaker's size would have you believe. The CS1.6's bass performance is rather incredible considering its design and driver complement, though for true full range performance you'll want to mate the CS1.6 to a capable subwoofer. That being said, audiophiles with small to medium sized rooms might be able to get away with relying solely on the CS1.6's bass capabilities. The CS1.6's midrange and high frequency performance is first rate and very smooth and refined. The tweeter is virtually glare free and never fatiguing while the midrange is extremely agile, provided you have the proper power, and free of excess bloat or artificial warmth. What I like most about the CS1.6 is its soundstage, which is deeper and wider than most anything in its class and very tightly and naturally defined. I wouldn't call the CS1.6 the most dynamic speaker in the world but it's far from the worst; again it's a somewhat laid back presentation.
Read The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2
• The THIEL CS1.6's compact footprint and solid finish make it an easy speaker to live with and integrate into virtually any environment. While the black ash and natural cherry finishes are nice enough, the dark cherry finish, complete with up charge, is probably the look most consumers will go for.