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Thiel TM3 Loudspeaker Review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Article Index
Thiel TM3 Loudspeaker Review
Set Up and Listening

Now to the nuts and bolts. The two-way design utilizes a proprietary 6.5-inch cast basket woofer and 1-inch tweeter, both customized specifically for the TM3. Thiel says they also paid particular attention to cabinet construction and rigidity. Grilles are supplied, and I was told they are essentially transparent. Crossovers have always been a topic of conversation with Thiel products, and the new speakers employ a multi-slope crossover network with slopes finitely adjusted to achieve the desired performance. Slopes range between 12-24dB per octave. This design has enabled Thiel to fine-tune the network in order to achieve the linearity, accuracy, low distortion and durability sought after by the engineering team.

Thiel TM3

Set Up & Listening

I used the TM3 extensively in two separate systems. My listening impressions are a composite of both set ups. First, in my main rig consisting of a Simaudio NEO 380D DAC and MiND streamer, a Revox A77 reel to reel, a Coffman Labs G1-A tubed preamp. The speakers sat on Sound Anchor stands. Cabling was Transparent, Stager, and DH Labs. The TM3 was driven in this system with a Simaudio 760A power amp.

System two was comprised of the CLONES Audio 25p power amp, a Belles Soloist 3 preamp, a Musical Fidelity V90 DAC, a Simaudio MiND 180D streamer, and a Sony TC 350 reel to reel. Cables were Transparent, Stager, DH Labs, and Shunyata. Stands were sand filled Atacama. It should be noted that Thiel produces a $500 stand specifically for the TM3, so they can be bolted in. The TM3 definitely need some break in out of the box. Initially the speaker sounded a bit tightly wound. At around the 25-hour mark it really began to hit its stride, and the speaker opened up. (Interestingly, even previous generations of Thiel speakers needed break in, but far longer.) Once settled in, I was treated to impeccable three-dimensional sound, with excellent integration of the drivers.

After streaming about a dozen or so albums, I noted how pleasing, yet ultimately neutral sounding, the overall balance of the speaker is. The bass and midrange were absolutely seamless in my listening rooms. While the TM3 can’t possibly move the kind of air or produce the lowest bass notes when compared to a large floorstander, it performed superbly within the parameters of a two way monitor set up properly in a small to medium sized room. I must note also that the TM3 seemed to have the ability to play at high volumes without a hint of strain and they consistently sounded bigger than their appearance would suggest.

I found myself listening to a lot of jazz music during the review period. It may have had something to do with the TM3’s transparent and smooth midrange. Piano, percussion, and horns were just so natural sounding. I dug into some vintage 7.5 ips reel-to-reel tapes and spun a variety of recordings, including the fabulous soundtrack to the film I Want To Live, featuring Gerry Mulligan, Shelly Manne, and Art Farmer. Enjoying this analog goodness via the TM3 was a sheer delight.

I also plowed through a bunch of Elvis Costello recordings, as I am intimately familiar with his voice, and the TM3 was totally spot on. Later period releases like North, The Delivery Man, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane were presented in a cohesive way, despite being stylistically varied. Whether Costello chose string sections, an Americana-style backing band, or countrypolitan flourishes, the TM3 was on the money at every turn.


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