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Product Review
 

Thiel PowerPoint 1.2 Wall-Mounted Speakers

Part I

November, 2005

Ed Mullen

 

Specifications:

 

● Design: On-Wall (450 Firing Plane)

● Driver Complement: Two-way Coincident
    Driver with 6.5" Woofer and 1" Tweeter

● Housing: Aluminum

● MFR: 75 Hz - 20 kHz ± 3 dB

● Sensitivity: 89 dB @ 2.8 v-1m

● Impedance: 4 Ohms

● Recommended Power: 30-200 watts

● Dimensions: 6.5" H x 12" W x 21" D

● Weight: 16 Pounds/Each

● MSRP: $1,450/Each

Thiel Audio

www.thielaudio.com
 

Introduction

Founded in 1977, Thiel Audio designs and manufactures speakers and subwoofers for home audio applications. Industry legend and co-founder Jim Thiel is responsible for the variety of technological advancements in driver design, crossovers, and acoustical construction techniques found throughout Thiel’s award winning line-up. Jim’s academic background in physics and mathematics is clearly embodied in his design principles of time and phase accuracy, achieved through the use of sloped baffles, coaxial driver mounting, and phase coherent crossover network design.

By the early 80’s, Thiel speakers had found their way into many high-end audio salons and boutiques across the country, and were quickly embraced by discriminating audiophiles. My own experience over the last two decades with Thiel speakers has been one of remarkable consistency – they are all unflinchingly accurate, but are also unforgiving of poor source material and substandard upstream equipment. When fed high quality source material through decent gear, Thiels will reward the listener with a coherent soundstage, fantastic imaging, and exceptional sonic accuracy.

Read on to learn how the new PowerPoint 1.2 (PP1.2) loudspeakers remain faithful to the Thiel legacy, while at the same time setting new standards of fidelity and accuracy for wall mount speakers.

The Design

The PP1.2 is designed primarily for 5.1 or 6.1 home theater applications where discrete speaker mounting on the upper walls and ceilings is desired.

The aluminum speaker housing is smooth-contoured and wedge-shaped, with a flat back side and recessed input cup. The coincident woofer/tweeter driver is mounted at a 450 angle from the mounting surface. There are two mounting tabs at the top and bottom of the housing.

Dimensions are about 21" long, 12" wide, and 6.5" tall. Weight is approximately 16 pounds, and the enclosure feels substantial. The stock color is white, but the housing can be painted to match any décor. An expanded metal grille protects the speakers, and is held in place by the magnetic forces of the woofer magnet, cleverly eliminating the need for pins and grommets. At first I was worried that the metal grille might color the sound, but I could not detect (nor could I measure) a difference in sound quality with the grille removed.

The PP1.2 is probably best suited for new-build installations, where the speaker wiring can be run as part of the room construction. However, post construction installation is certainly possible, and a competent electrician or HT installer should be able to fish the speaker wires.

Since this speaker weighs 10 pounds, I would strongly recommend anchoring the PP1.2 to a wooden mounting plate which is attached between two wall studs. This would provide a very secure connection, and allow for the speaker wire to be fished to the input cup between the wall studs. As a less desirable alternative, the user could mount the PP1.2 only to the drywall, but metal locking anchors that open and expand behind the drywall would be mandatory, as the PP1.2 in my opinion is too heavy to mount with plastic drywall anchors.

Shown below is a typical left, center, and right speaker channel mounting arrangement for the PowerPoint 1.2.

The PP1.2 was designed to significantly exceed the performance of other on-wall and in-wall designs. As discussed in detail in their white paper, a few of the more salient design highlights are summarized below.

Time Coherent Topology

The PP1.2 utilizes a coincident mid-bass woofer and tweeter mounted in the same axial plane. This ensures that the outputs from both drivers arrive at the listener’s ears at the same time, and eliminates the horizontal off-axis lobing and comb filtering typically encountered in more conventional speaker mounting arrays.

Custom Tweeter and Woofer Mounting

In conventional coincident woofer/tweeter designs, output from the deeply recessed tweeter will be diffracted and reflected by the woofer cone, its forward mounted surround, and the cabinet edges. In comparison, the PP1.2 design uses a very shallow tweeter recess and a unique woofer cone profile which acts as a flared baffle to minimize tweeter diffractions. In addition, the PP1.2 woofer surround is rear mounted, and the cabinet edges are chamfered to further reduce the potential for tweeter diffraction.

Click Here to Go to Part II.

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