Subs with Smarts
According to Thiel, all four of the new subwoofers, the SS1 ($2900), SS2 ($4900), SS3 ($6900), and SS4 ($8900) use Thiel's "innovative short coil/long gap motor systems to achieve extremely low distortion" while "the drivers' aluminum diaphragms contribute outstanding tonal response." Large magnet structures coupled with high-excursion suspensions allow the subwoofers to move large amounts of air "for effortless, realistic reproduction of the most demanding sources." Each model above the SS1 is powered by an internal 1,000-watt high-efficiency switching mode amplifier with thermal overload protection. The SS1 incorporates a 500-watt amp. Thiel's SS4 packs two long-throw 15-inch woofers and electronics in a 290 pound cabinet that's 51 inches tall, 19 inches wide, and 26.5 inches deep. Thiel claims that this over-four-foot-tall tower of power can blast out 20 Hz at up to 113 dB of output. The SS3 utilizes two 12-inch woofers in a cabinet that's about 40 percent smaller (34 x 16 x 20.75). Almost two feet tall, the SS2 (23.5 x 11 x 20) includes two 10-inch woofers; and the downright diminutive SS1 (20 x 11 x 15.5 with its 500-watt amp) does its thing with only one 10-inch driver. The SS4 and SS2 are available now. The availability of the SS3 and SS1 will be announced soon.
Designer Jim Theil says, "The SmartSub Integrator takes the guesswork out of subwoofer crossover adjustments. Rather than you telling the subwoofer how to perform by setting the controls for crossover frequency, level, and phase, the Integrator's SmartSub circuitry automatically calculates the ideal settings once you enter information about your main speakers. The result is sonic performance as balanced and seamless as a full-range speaker with extremely high output capability." The Integrator ($4400 with availability to be announced shortly) can be used one of two ways. It can be used in "augment mode" to extend the bass range of the system's main speakers, or it can be used in "crossover mode" to transfer bass from the mains to the sub. Either way, the Integrator's microprocessor automatically determines the ideal subwoofer response for the most seamless integration.
The passive subwoofer crossover models PX02 ($350) and PX05 ($500) are designed for those who already own Thiel main speakers. Specific versions of each crossover will be available that are exactly tailored to blend the new Thiel subs with Thiel mains. The PX02 is a two channel version; the PX05 is a five-channel version that's custom made to match different models of front, center, and rear speakers. Both passive crossovers are available now.