THIEL How To Listen FAQ

 

Q. How should I approach buying the best speaker for me? What should I listen for?

A. Imagine walking down the aisle of a local street fair and hearing a brass band playing up ahead. Most everyone could recognize that the sound is coming from a live band rather than being played through a stereo system. Although the average person may not be able to expertly describe the differences they hear, the live music has easily recognizable qualities that make it seem much more real than reproduced music. You do not have to be an expert to hear these qualities, but just be made aware of what they are. These are the same qualities you listen for when auditioning components for your home sound system. How close does what I am hearing sound to the live event?

When you visit a THIEL dealer, they will have the speakers available for you to hear in the store. The dealer will have several well-made recordings to play so that you can hear a variety of music types or video soundtracks played though the speakers, and appropriately matched system components. The speaker can only reproduce the signal it's given, so the recording and associated equipment also need to be good in order for you to make accurate value judgments about the speaker.

To help you in your auditioning of the different models, or other brands, we have divided the sound you will hear into four different areas. By evaluating each area of performance and how well the speaker faithfully captures the qualities of live music in that area, you can select a speaker that will give you the most satisfaction and allow you to enjoy great sound in your home for many years.

 Tonal Fidelity

Good tonal fidelity is the ability of the speaker to reproduce the complete musical spectrum without an over or under emphasis of any part. Correct tonal balance allows the music to be heard without the speaker imposing its own tonal coloration. Voices should sound natural, not nasal or constricted. Listen to the instruments. An alto saxophone should not sound like a tenor, nor a violin sound like a viola.

Many people find it helpful to divide tonal performance into three parts. The high frequencies, the treble; the middle frequencies, the midrange; and the lower frequencies, the bass. Good performance in all three is required for a truly good loudspeaker.

Treble: If the sound is dull and lacks life, the speakers frequency extension may be limited. If the sound is overly bright, then the high frequencies may be overemphasized by the speaker. Listen for a natural, but realistic quality.

Midrange: If the midrange is colored, a voice may sound like someone is singing with their hands cupped around their mouth, or holding their nostrils closed. Uncolored midrange will sound open and unrestricted. There should also be a lack of harshness in instruments and voices. Listen for the speaker's ability to allow the texture of these sounds to remain clear and natural sounding.

Bass: The strength of the bass should not overwhelm the rest of the sound. An overemphasis on the bass can make the sound seem boomy and out of balance. Good bass performance displays distinction between the bass notes with a definite start and stop, rather than sounding like one continuous note. A lack of bass will give a thin, weak quality to the sound. Good bass performance adds weight to the sound giving it a realistic quality that you feel as well as hear.

The use of THIEL-designed drivers with uniform amplitude response and unusually complex crossover networks ensures excellent tonal fidelity in THIEL loudspeakers.

The use of THIEL-designed drivers with uniform amplitude response and unusually complex crossover networks ensures excellent tonal fidelity in
THIEL loudspeakers.


 Spatial Fidelity

The ability of a speaker system to re-create the position and feel of instruments in three-dimensional space is called imaging. Many speakers can produce a "soundstage" between the two speakers, but a speaker with good spatial fidelity gives the illusion of sounds coming from beyond the speaker boundaries--to the outsides of the speakers, and from in front of and behind the speakers.

The speakers themselves should seem to disappear if they possess good spatial performance. A speaker that images well will allow you to close your eyes and sense that the performers are in your listening room.You should not be able to sense where the speakers are located.

Listen to a recording made outside of a recording studio, such as in a concert hall, nightclub, or auditorium. A good speaker will reproduce the feel and ambience of the venue. But be wary of speakers that give a false sense of space. Dipole type loudspeakers that produce out-of-phase, rearward energy can make all recordings sound artificially ambient or large. A large orchestra in Carnegie Hall may sound correct, but a soloist setting on a stool in a small club may appear 10 feet tall! Listen to a recording made in a small venue with just a few performers to test the accuracy of that aspect of the speaker's spatial performance.

THIEL's time and phase coherence, achieved by proper driver alignment and phase correct crossover design, preserves the music's natural spatial clues. In addition, THIEL's cabinet design eliminates diffraction (delayed energy radiated from the enclosure's edges) and so, reduces false spatial cues.

THIEL's time and phase coherence, achieved by proper driver alignment and phase correct crossover design, preserves the music's natural spatial clues. In addition, THIEL's cabinet design eliminates diffraction (delayed energy radiated from the enclosure's edges) and so, reduces false spatial cues.


 Transient Fidelity

Transient fidelity refers to the clarity of the speaker. The clarity of musical details and the faithful reproduction of the attack and decay of transient sounds is very important to realism. The pluck of a guitar string, the crash of a cymbal, or the way a sound reverberates and decays in a concert hall or nightclub contains subtleties that allow you to distinguish the individual instruments in an orchestra, or the difference between a Steinway piano and a Yamaha.

Listen to the way the speaker allows the individual instruments to remain separate from one another and individual voices in a chorus to be heard distinctly. Listen for the proper length of the sustain of a single piano note, or to the sharp attack of a drum head being struck.

Can you still hear details at lower volume levels? A speaker with good transient fidelity will not have to be played loudly to hear the musical details.

When the output from all the speaker's drivers are in synchrony and there is an absence of unwanted energy, the music's detail and authenticity come through. THIEL's time and phase coherence, extremely rigid cabinets, non-resonant driver diaphragms, low distortion, and very high quality crossover components, all contribute to increased clarity and transient fidelity.

When the output from all the speaker's drivers are in synchrony and there is an absence of unwanted energy, the music's detail and authenticity come through. THIEL's time and phase coherence, extremely rigid cabinets, non-resonant driver diaphragms, low distortion, and very high quality crossover components, all contribute to increased clarity and transient fidelity.


 Dynamic Fidelity

Dynamic range in sound reproduction is the ability to accurately portray the full range of differences between loud and soft sounds, and gives music its sense of both impact and ease. These contrasts provide emotional power and contribute to the music's excitement.

Dynamic fidelity is more than just the speaker's ability to play loudly. High output capacity and high power handling contribute to a speaker's ability to reproduce loud passages without distortion, yet how well the speaker resolves subtle detail at low volume levels is equally important to add contrast.

Listen for how well the speaker presents the music's impact with orchestral crescendos or a bass guitar pluck. Or are the loud passages compressed? Listen to how well a complex piece of music retains its 'clean" quality during musical climaxes. Or does the music sound congested? Does the speaker allow the music to become involving through its ability to go from soft to loud? Loud to soft?

THIEL speakers' high output capacity, high power handling , low distortion, and exceptional clarity all contribute to their excellent dynamic range.

THIEL speakers' high output capacity, high power handling , low distortion, and exceptional clarity all contribute to their excellent dynamic range.


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