Technical & Editorial

Thiel's New SCS4T Floor Standing Speakers

Specifications

Bandwidth (-3 dB): 47 Hz - 20 kHz

Frequency response: 48 Hz - 20 kHz ±2 dB

Phase response: minimum ± 10°

Sensitivity (2.8v - 1m, true anechoic): 88 dB

Impedance: 4 ohm (3 ohm min)

Recommended power: 30 - 200 watts
Current MSRP $3,690

Back around 2007 Thiel Audio introduced a monitor sized two-way speaker in the SCS4 that proved to be more than an audiophile quality stand speaker. Five of them make a great surround sound package. It has a beautiful veneer in cherry and it is affordable at $1,190 each. Still available today, the SCS4 boasts some amazing features; a rigid cast aluminum baffle, a 6 ½" woofer and a 1" metal dome tweeter. With a frequency response down to 47 dB, on its own it provided a versatile use for the video and audiophile alike.

Roll the time forward and one of the many projects on Jim Thiel's desk before his unfortunate passing last year was a response to the demand from dealers for a floor mounted version of the SCS4 and just out of the prototype phase is the SCS4T. I had the distinct pleasure to spend an afternoon listening to them in Micah Sheveloff's home in Connecticut.

Micah of WIRC Media has been representing Thiel Audio for some time, in fact he's been very close to Jim Thiel and company president Kathy Gornik, for some 25 years. Micah is such a warm and hospitable person and someone I'd like to call a friend. I'd visited his home several years ago specifically to "spin some vinyl". I remembered how wonderful his system sounded with his VPI turntable and a pair of Thiel CS3.5's. So when he offered to host me to hear the brand new SCS4T's, I was chomping at the bit to visit him again.

Micah didn't want to disturb his finely tuned setup in his main listening room which hadn't changed aside from replacing the CS3.5's with a colossal pair of C6's. The SCS4T that I was there to audition sat in his living room instead. The room offered a bit more "intimacy" and acoustically sounded excellent.

Although Micah's pair of SCS4T's was the last of the prototypes, the units look beautiful. In light cherry wood, (also available in dark cherry and black) the veneer is stunning and book-matched. If you're at all familiar with the SCS4, you'll recognize the similarity aside from the fact that it has been stretched to meet the floor.

The other obvious feature is the (supplied) speaker stand assembly, also beautifully machined.

The SCS4T offers the identical setup with a 6 ½" woofer housed in a cast aluminum baffle, Thiel claims helps reduce vibration and unwanted noise. The 1" tweeter is also used in the greatly reviewed current CS3.7's. The price is currently set at a target of $3,690 for the pair.

The second reason I was anxious to hear the new Thiel's was for what was powering them. I've never had Bryston gear in my home but I've been hooked on their sound for quite some time, spending as much time listening to them at CES. Micah had on hand the powerful 14B SST² 600wpc amplifier, accompanied by the new BP-6 preamplifier and the amazing BCD-1 CD player. As much as I think the Thiel SCS4T's sounded amazing, I must consider the Bryston gear brought out the very best in the Thiel's.

Lastly, for those who care about cables, (I do), the system included cables from Goertz.

I love hearing new music, and especially from artists I'd never heard. After a nice lunch of marinated beef tips and risotto, Micah's first selection was from a singer he'd just heard at a club in Chicago, Patricia Barber. Her 1998 CD Modern Cool portrayed a stylish and grand voice capable of subtlety and introspective. Her lips puckered and smacked and her voice clearly from deep within her.

For comparison, Micah played a live Bryan Adam's CD that I admit blew me away. His rendition of Summer of 69 was never a particular favorite of mine, it simply always sounded too popish. Being live Bryan Adams lets us in on a soulful rendition with a mixture of acoustic guitar and a healthy backup from his band for the chorus. His voice was raspy and throaty and so "there".

The Tony Purrone Trio's CD entitled Electric Poetry offered an instrumental version of the Beatle's Norwegian Wood that exposed the huge and wide soundstage from the Thiel's that I swore the guitar was 90 degrees to my right. A tight and relatively deep bass surprised me, no hidden subwoofer present Micah joked..

We chatted about some of the rock bands from the 70's and his fondness for Boston, both the city and the band. Their first self-titled record had been re-released on vinyl as a half-speed master and Micah transferred it to CD. Playing Foreplay Longtime, I was struck by the impact from the SCS4T's, the drumsticks stuck to the skins and the guitar riffs sprung off the speaker plane. The song has quietness especially in the beginning and the clear blackness or lack of sound was impressive leading through the buildup to the hammering intro.

Our last listen was completely opposite, Johnny Hartman whom I believe is under rated in the scheme of things. His voice is unmistakably deep and rich and the Thiel's nailed it!

I think the new SCS4T's will prove to be a great addition to their lineup - wonder what the black version would look like in my living room?