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To wit, the SCS4 handled this fare rather more graceful than its bigger sister. U.N.K.L.E's second track sports some forward hi-hat work that's unpleasantly hissy and close to annoying. The SCS4 unexpectedly reduced that effect without defaulting into artificial beautification or soft focus. I thought the treble was flawlessly balanced and perfectly integrated. This impression held after various other discs did their Simplicité spin. Very promising.

Subtleties like the mixed-in background vinyl noise of the killer "Bloodstain" with Alice Temple on microphone seemed more relaxed and a mite more realistic without invoking hyper-analytical comparison. Something quickly become clear that evening and confirmed itself over subsequent days: The SCS4's self-assured realism of vocals should be called grand cinema. A poster child for that was how Alice Temple's song outlined precisely and transported into the room texturally complete yet remained nicely warm, rich and silky. The mids rang out again when, a few days later in peculiarly intimate and immediate fashion, Edward Caspel (The Legendary Pink Dots' 2008 Plutonium Blonde) serenaded me impressively on the psychedelically ironic cut "An Arm And A Leg". The banjo of "Mailman" was no less impressive, organic and realistic in timbre, perfectly fleet-footed, microdynamically nuanced and musically persuasive. Hat off.

So the mid/treble rendition of the SCS4 was distinctive versus the bigger CS2.4. Both speakers clearly crystallize out specific sonic events with sharp outlines and image lock. Never do these two engage in washing out, softening or blurring. But whereas the bigger Thiels render sonic body and sustain leaner to result in more hardness or greater presence depending on your point of view, the SCS4 paints what happens within those outlines fuller and more nuanced. Despite -- on suitable ancillaries -- combining effortless naturalness with precision, the SCS4 does remain a pretty uncompromising transducer however. It will single out less than clean amplification, source or cable components in obvious ways.

On the already mentioned Fonel gear, the small Thiel's transparency and microdynamic nuances in the mid and treble range edged out my highly rated Sehring S703SE (ca. €5.600). Deliberately downgrading the ancillaries afterwards shifted this balance. The far more affordable €530 Abacus Ampino integrated was still handled surprisingly well even though the
Fonel Emotion's higher bass energy and treble sophistication were obvious by comparison. Swapping in my long-in-the-tooth Audiomeca Obsession II spinner for Fonel's Simplicité however crossed the line. Questionably recorded albums quickly got grating and no longer were fun.

This leaves three noteworthy items. As expected, the soundstaging of this speaker is fabulous. Well structured, open, clearly localized without laser focus as well as impressively tactile and working from the ground line between the boxes backwards, the small Thiel is beyond any criticism. Outright rock fitness isn't in the cards though as the two next points cover. Down low, the SCS4 is just as perfectly timed and articulate as everywhere else. Yet pressure and
extension are solid but not stupendous. Quadral's Rondo, a compact monitor with good bass performance, showed somewhat more power and reach on Celebrations' "Holiday". There bass drum and bass run ideally permeate the piece quite forcefully. Plus, the SCS4 plays the quiet stuff very well. And at room levels. When your neighbors begin complaining, you're still okay. But when you mean to force your neighbors into a groove, it won't be truly pleasant for them or you. Clearly, this speaker is no party animal.

The flexibility of Thiel's SCS4 is impressive. Its gymnastic split between precision and pleasure is unusually acrobatic but does rely on appropriate electronics. Here this 2-way monitor is somewhat choosy. It prefers clean ancillaries without hardness but ideally with a hint of sonorous earthiness. Valve amps should make for sporting results. If you cater to the electronics and require neither rave levels nor gut-pounding bass attacks, then (and this is not the habitual hyperbole) the smallest Thiel is amongst the speaker which will satisfy the highly demanding detail listener. I was personally very impressed. Last but not least, the SCS4 is of course ideal for small rooms and short listener distances but even spaces above 25m² remain suitable. This is an exceptionally accurate and neutral transducer further characterized by:

• Finesse - the SCS4 is fundamentally highly resolved and micro-dynamically advanced.
• Impeccable rhythmic fidelity i.e. full bandwidth timing.
• An ultra-transparent midband with very good enunciation, vocal intelligibility and a seamlessly integrated treble.
• Combining monitor virtues with long-term comfort when appropriate electronics are selected.
• Exemplary soundstage accuracy.
• A very clean articulate bass (quality) with respectable but not genre-defying power and reach (quantity). Ditto for SPL stability.

• Model: Monitor Thiel SCS4
• Concept: 2-way bass reflex monitor
• Trim: natural and dark Cherry, black Ash real wood veneers
• Sensitivity: 87dB / 2,8V / 1m
• Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
• Weight & dimensions: 44.7 x 21.3 x 29.6cm (H x W x D), 11.5kg/ea.
• Other: in-house developed dual-concentric drive unit, single-wire terminals, Aluminum/Magnesium baffle
• Warranty: 10 years
• German distributor's website
• Company website

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