Thiel 3.5 vs Klipsch Forte IV Speaker choice

I am weighing the choice between the Thiel CS 3.5 and the newer Klipsch Forte IV.   My  budget for this is $3600.  If I get the Thiels, I would need to upgrade my amp to accommodate them.  Some possible choices would be a new LKV Power 3 Purifi amp or a used Jeff Rowland 525 amp or a Mark Levinson 23.5.

If I opt for the Klipsch, I do not need to upgrade from my tube amp based system.  The two choices are pretty equivalent in price.  

I have never heard the larger Thiels but had the smaller Thiel CS 1s for many years and still use them to compare with other speakers. They sound good in my music room until I compare them to others.  So far I have cycled through Spatial M3 triode masters and Vandersteen 3a.  Both sounded good but needed a larger room to truly shine.  Currently, I am using Kef 105 speakers and really enjoy the base they produce but think they are lacking in clarity and imaging.  I have only heard the Klipsch in a large showroom, but they sounded very good.  I understand these are very different choices and am hoping the wise Audiogoners can help me with this considering my room constraints and budget. 

My room is 14 x 17 x 8ft., with speakers on Long wall due to constraints. Floor is carpeted and room has some sound treatments. The rest of the system is Don Sachs preamp with Bob Latino modified ST 120 push pull tube amp.  Source will be streaming with Bluesound Node 2i and Schiit Modi Multibit DAC.  Next upgrade after speakers will be a better DAC.





@soix thanks for the Verity suggestion. It does look like best of both worlds. @roxy54 ​​​​@arafiq thanks for further confirmation of Verity as something I should consider. @carlsbad I originally switched to tubes to try out high efficiency speakers -so I am leaning toward the Klipsch. @mrdecibel  the Thiels are around $500 but the amp needed to power them is going to be around $3000.  But my first good set of speakers were the little Thiels so I have had the bug to try the bigger ones.  Thanks everyone for your input.




Since you own Thiel CS1 speakers, feel free to join Us over on the Thiel Owners thread.  There you will find many 3.5 fans and owners on the Panel. I agree, the 3.5 will require a SS power amp. And yes, the Vandy 3A requires a large room to bloom properly.


Happy Listening!

Thanks @jafant , I will check out the thread. The vandersteens and Spatials were great when I had them in a 500 sf room but unfortunately, my new music room is only 238 sf. 

I have owned a number of Klipsch speakers - KLF-30, CF-3, Heresy, and currently Quartets, which are like the little brother to the Fortes. 

I went down the Thiel rabbit hole recently.  I bought a pair of CS 2.3 speakers from a friend at a great price.  I liked almost everything they did, but for me they were too detailed and had a brightness to them that I just couldn't get past.  I heard great things about the 3.6 and found a pair of those at a reasonable price.  They had more presence and body and the imaging and soundstage were great, but the sound signature was almost identical to the 2.3.  I bought some high powered solid state amps to see if that would tame them, but they didn't.  The brightness wasn't there on everything I listened to, it was recording dependent, which is not necessarily a flaw of the speakers, just them revealing whatever is there in the recording.

I believe that I'm more sensitive to brightness than most.  I know many people love the Thiel sound.

One of the knocks on Klipsch speakers is that they can also be bright.  They can sound great with a warmish tube amp and are only going to be bright if you like to listen at rock concert volumes.  People tend to think of Klipsch as "rock speakers" because they can play really loud effortlessly, but where they really shine is with jazz, vocals, acoustic stringed instruments and the like.  I don't really agree most of the time when people say that a certain speaker is best with a certain type of music, but in the case of the Klipsch I think they do better with some types of music than others.  They are also very revealing, but are not going to be the imaging / soundstage champs that the Thiels are.

If you like the sound of the KEFs, I would consider getting some better ones.  You might be able to find a pair of Ref 1s at or near your budget.  You might eventually need to upgrade your amp and add a sub or two, but if you want imaging and clarity, they are hard to beat in that price range. 

@big_greg sounds like you have already walked down the road ahead of me. I do like the Kefs. I will add the ref 1s to my list to consider. I imagine I would need a better amp as well for the Kefs?  However, I did get the tube gear to try out some high efficiency options in my room. Should I also consider an Altec Valencia or equivalent as an option? I am not sure if that would be similar to a more modern Klipsch Forte or too old to compete? If still available, I could get one in good condition for about $2500.