Thiel ss2 Volantino

Pagina di 6
Subwoofers have become standard equipment in home-theater
systems. The boom and crash of big-budget movies require
additional bass output (I'm not sure why explosions have to be
f e l t
as well as heard, but such is the way of the A/V world), and
home-theater receivers and processors have built-in functionality
specifically for subwoofers. Very rarely is a home-theater system
sold without a subwoofer, and very rarely does a speaker
company not have a subwoofer—or three—in its product lineup.
Bass, it appears, is a gr o wth sector of the audio industry.
However, subwoofers are still considered add-ons for music-
only stereo systems, perhaps because so little music requires
subterranean low-frequency reinforcement, more likely because
we audiophiles  are so  picky that  we won't accept poorly
i n t e grated bass. We still try to extend  the response  of our
speakers downward, often with mixed results. For every audiophile
who thinks highly of the bass he gets with his subwoofer there
is another— or three — whose results are decidedly unmusical.
The reason for this is simple: setting up a subwoofer is a job for
someone with expertise. The control panels of many subs look
as daunting to consumers as the control panel of an airplane to
someone visiting the cockpit for the first time. And in both cases,
pushing buttons and turning knobs haphazardly only leads to
poor results— or worse.
With all of this as background, Thiel Audio decided to rethink
the subwoofer. The outcome of literally years of work is the
company's line of SmartSub subwoofers, passive crossovers, and
the innovative SI 1 Integr a t o r, the first such products from Th i e l .
All aim at simplifying the process of integrating a subwoofer
P r o d u c t   R e v i e w
Review Summary
" What most defines [the SmartSub system's] performance is the
inability to discern the subwoofer's position
localization effects
are nonexistent." "Tremendous low-frequency power and extension,
but also...exacting finesse and bloom. There was more bass
a n d
better bass." "One thing the SmartSub did that other very
good subwoofers also accomplish is spreading the soundstage
laterally and imbuing it with a more physical presence."
"The SmartSub  lineup comprises  four subwoofers that  range in
price from $2900 to $8900 USD," all of which "can be connected
at the line or speaker level." "But this is where the similarities
to traditional subwoofers end. Gone from the SmartSubs are
the standard adjustments for phase, crossover slopes, output
and the like. These are replaced with a few adjustments on
the SmartSub itself, and either a passive crossover for use with
various models of Thiel loudspeakers or the SI 1 Integr a t o r, w h i c h
tailors up to 16 (!) SmartSubs for mono or stereo use in home-
theater and audio-only systems and with any main speakers."
When using the Integrator, 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 less-than-perfect results."
"The SmartSub SS2 and SI 1 Integrator are expensive," but "on
grounds of setup or performance…[they] are beyond reasonable
Thiel Audio
SmartSub SS2 Subwoofer 
and SI 1 Integrator
by Marc Mickelson 
November 2004
Thiel has 
"re-engineered the status quo."