Thiel ss2 Brochure

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also store up to six groups of options, presumably for using
the same subwoofer in multiple configurations with multiple
speakers. The rear panel is packed with RCA and XLR inputs
and outputs along with a set of five-way binding posts for
speaker-level connection. The unit measures 17"W x 2"H x 9"D
and weighs 4 pounds.
I also want to point out that the manuals that come with the
SS2 and Integrator are comprehensive and very useful. They
don't go into too much detail (Thiel saves its white paper for
that), but they do give you all of the information you'll need
to  connect and configure  the products. Thiel took its  time
b r i n ging the SmartSub lineup to market, and it shows. The SS2
and Integrator have the earmarks of mature products even
though they are new.
Configuration and use
Testing a subwoofer system of the sophistication and claimed
broad applicability of the SS2/SI 1 Integrator is not quick, easy
work. Therefore, I used both products with four very different
pairs of loudspeakers. Floorstanders included Thiel's own CS2.4
(which I also used with a Thiel passive crossover specifically for
the CS2.4; see comments below), Paradigm Signature S8 and
Wilson Audio MAXX 2. The one minimonitor I had on hand was
Merlin's TSM-M, which sat on 24" Osiris Audionics Osiris sand-
filled  speaker stands.  Amplifiers  were  Lamm  M1.2  Reference
and  ML2.1  SET  monoblocks.  Preamps  were  a  Lamm  L2
Reference, Classé Audio CP-500 and Mark Levinson No.32
Reference. Digital source components were an Esoteric DV-50
universal player, Audio Research CD3 Mk II CD player, and a
Zanden Model 5000 Mk III DAC fed by either a Mark Levinson
N o . 37 transport or the Audio Research CD player. Interconnects
and speaker cables were from AudioQuest (Air and Volcano),
Analysis Plus (Solo Crystal Oval and Solo Crystal Oval 8) or Cardas
(Golden Reference),  with either an Audience Au24 or i2digi t a l
X-60 BNC-terminated digital cable connecting the Zanden DAC
and its transport. Power cords were from Shunyata R e s e a r c h—
Anaconda Vx, Anaconda Alpha, Taipan, Diamondback and
Pyt h o n— as  was  power  conditioning,  via  the  mighty  Hydra
Model-8,  which was plugged into a Shunyata Silver Ve n o n
AC outlet.
The first step to setting up any Thiel SmartSub is situating it in
the room. I used the SS2 in the left-hand corner of my 20' x 29 '
listening room and between both stereo speakers, although
offset slightly to the left or right to test for directionality issues.
While other subwoofers have problems with room boundaries,
and especially corners, to various degrees, the SmartSub is
configurable in order to alleviate boundary aberrations. Once
you've figured out where you want to place your SmartSub,
you measure from the walls nearest to the side and rear of
the subwoofer and enter the distances into the SmartSub
itself. This is done in fractions of a meter, so you'll need to
convert measurements in inches and feet.
Next, you need to figure out how you will use the SmartSub,
which is determined by your system and main speakers. Any
of the SmartSubs can be used  simultaneously in a home-
theater/stereo system. The main speakers, however, determine
whether you'll use the SmartSub with the SI 1 Integrator or one
of Thiel's model-specific passive crossovers. If you have only
Thiel speakers, you should opt for either a PX02 stereo ($350)
or  PX05  multichannel  ($500)  crossover,  which  make  setup  a
breeze and mate seamlessly with the SmartSub. I tested this with
a pair of CS2.4 speakers, and the results were very impressive,
extending the low-end reach of the CS2.4s and making the
speakers and sub sound as one — and as one of Thiel's larger
speaker systems. The Integrator will work with Thiel speakers,
of course, and does afford greater adjustment flexibility. Jim
Thiel admitted that in some installations with Thiel speakers the
I n t e grator may be a better choice than the passive crossover. I
found the two to offer no sonic advantage over each other, but
your wavelengths may vary.
If you've purchased the Integrator, you will connect it to your
system and enter the data that will mate the SmartSub to your
main speakers. This involves, first, determining in which mod e
you'll use the Integr a t o r. As a rule of thumb, if your main speakers
are floorstanders that have nearly full-range sound, you will
use augment mode. If you have minimonitors or floorstanding
speakers with limited bass and output capabilities, you'll use
crossover  mode. After  determining  this, you connect the
I n t e grator to your preamp/processor or amplifier and the
SmartSub. At a minimum, you will need an additional pair of
stereo interconnects for connection to your preamp or processor
and a single interconnect that will reach the SmartSub. You may
need extra speaker cables as well. 
Most of the data that you will enter into the Integrator doesn't
invite or require experimentation, but some of it, like the voltage
gain of your amps and sensitivity of your main speakers, must
be gleaned from the manuals of those products or perhaps a
phone call to the manufacturer. Entering data is a snap— four
buttons on the Integrator's remote control or front panel allow
you to move among the various parameters and increase or
decrease their values. However, as you can probably guess,
the results you achieve are only as good as the data you enter,
and if the maker of your main loudspeakers, for instance, pads
sensitivity and bass-extension figures, you will end up with
l e s s - t h a n - p e rfect results. If this is the case, check our speaker-
measurements archive,, to
se e  if we've measured your speaker. You can get accurate
data t h e r e .
There are three parameters that you will need to enter into
the Integrator that may require a little extra understanding than
the others: Low Frequency Extension, Low Frequency Level
and Crossover Frequency. These three adjust exactly what
their titles suggest, and they can greatly affect the outcome of
your setup, either negatively or positively.
P r o d u c t   R e v i e w