THIEL Viewpoint Speakers and Smart Sub Reviewed

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Very few companies in today's flooded C/E world actually have the engineering or manufacturing capability to push the boundaries of high-end high performance audio or video. Thiel has not only pushed the boundaries with the introduction of the ViewPoint custom-built flat-panel speakers, they have redefined what true custom high-end is. When matched with the SmartSub and SmartSub Integrator, the ViewPoint system is absolutely light years ahead of anything in its category.

Those who appreciate true audiophile-quality products know that it is the subtle nuances that separate one from the other. Thiel clearly understands this philosophy and offers several avenues of separation. First, the packaging of each component is remarkable, and opening each I had the impression that someone at the factory took pride in sending each component out into the world. (If I sound sentimental, I am. Spend some time with this system for yourself and you'll understand why.)

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Second, each component, including the Integrator remote, have some heft to them. Again, weight on such a simple item that is often overlooked has value to it beyond dollars spent -- it's about effort.

Third, each component in this system has an extreme attention to detail in design, philosophy and application. This truly is one of the most impressive systems I have reviewed in my years in C/E publishing.

The ViewPoint system from Thiel is designed for those discerning consumers who do not want or need the complexity of a multi-channel audio system and yet demand the very best two-channel audio can offer in a "lifestyle" application.

This is most clearly recognized in the superb audio quality from this system. During listening evaluations, both male and female vocals were delivered with breathtaking clarity, while instruments reached new heights and depths. I felt as though I could see the words at times. The mid-bass was tight and snappy and the SmartSub anchored the finesse of the ViewPoints like a big brother waiting to beat up the bully for pinching his kid sister's butt -- rock solid and intimidating at times.

The SmartSub and Integrator weren't just smart -- they were genius. We placed that sub in an unthinkable location in the room just to test its capabilities to correct and were amazed with the seamless results. Brilliant. When our evaluation was completed, I sat there just staring at the system and realized that the ViewPoint speakers and SmartSub aren't just fun to listen to, they're just plain fun to look at.

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