Floor-standing Speakers

THIEL SCS4T Floor-Standing Speakers

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Setup

The SCS4T use a very low distortion, high output, metal diaphragm 6.5-inch woofer that is coaxially mounted with a 1-inch, metal dome tweeter. This is the same high performance tweeter that is used in Thiel's flagship model CS3.7. The woofer's short coil/long gap, copper stabilized motor system is designed to reduce distortion, and the metal diaphragm is specially shaped to reduce diffraction of the tweeter's energy.

In addition, this type of coaxial driver mounting allows greater placement flexibility by ensuring that every listener hears the sound from both drivers at exactly the same time, regardless of what orientation the speakers are placed (see diagram). I am a big fan of coaxial drivers, mainly because of the superior imaging properties and simpler crossover configuration. The crossover for the SCS4T is a true first order acoustic type that provides very good spatial and depth imaging performance, as well as overall realism. This type of crossover provides better accuracy of amplitude, phase, time, and energy, and prevents distorting the musical waveform. I have recently reviewed this design in speakers from Pioneer and Kef and was consistently impressed by the wide soundstage this coaxial design was able to cast.

Aesthetically, the SCS4Ts are slim both in width and depth and look beautiful with or without the grilles. Each speaker has an outrigger designed to provide stability and lift the tower off of the floor. The outriggers are infinitely adjustable, so getting each one perfectly level (on my not-so-level floor) was a snap. Once adjusted, they can be tightened down to prevent loosening or rattling.

I liked the look of them without the grille, so all of my listening was done in that fashion. The grilles were metal and I usually don't find them to be as acoustically transparent as a cloth grille. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I did my reviewing with them off.

The finishes come in black, dark cherry and natural cherry. The towers look exactly the same as the SCS4 bookshelf speakers, but for that new extended cabinet, which has been sealed from the rest of the speaker. That base has been well-braced to prevent cabinet resonances. The five way binding posts can be hand tightened or a wrench can be put on them for the ultimate "death grip". The front aluminum face plate provides a distinguished look, with ports located directly above and below the drivers. The centers of the drivers are approximately at ear height. For my listening tastes, I toed the speakers in ever so slightly and achieved good results. To assist in the toe in procedure, I set the speaker spikes on a tile rather than let them sink into my carpet and be locked into place. To prevent my tiles from getting etched, I put coins under the spikes.

This is a good trick if you are planning on placing these on a wooden floor, too. I was asked to give the speakers about 100 hours for break-in. I'm not sure I am a full believer of mechanical break-in, but most of my comments will be about the performance after about 80 hours. (Hey, I have to eat and sleep sometime and 100 hours is a lot of time!).