Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's happening with Thiel?

Rumors of Thiel Audio's demise are surfacing online, from a usually reliable source, but their website shows the company still in business. The trouble is, the business they are now in seems to be quite different than the one the late Jim Thiel bequeathed.

I don't object to lifestyle speakers, but I sure do miss the old look and feel of Thiel products.  You decide....

A quick examination of the company's current site seems to suggest they have done away with all the old lines, and the official history of the company makes no mention of the Thiel most audiophiles know. 

A friend once visited the old Thiel company when considering speakers. He was allowed inside and given a tour of the factory. He said that during his tour, Jim Thiel made an announcement and called everyone together to explain a particular assembly issue that required extra care on a new line. By his account, the staff working there were all attentive and interested in what Jim was explaining,  asking questions about the process, and generally into the products they were building. One imagines it's not quite like that anymore.


Paul said...

In 1999 a friend and I were in Lexington. Many times on our way into town we had crossed Nandino Blvd, where Thiel was tucked away in an industrial park. Without invitation we pulled into the parking lot and walked in. We were warmly greeted and a manager gave us a complete guided tour. Two middle aged mid-fi types who would never buy their product and we were treated like the Asian distributors Jim was somewhere entertaining. We saw skilled workers winding voice coils, building crossovers, assembling drivers, precision cutting cabinet pieces, slicing the veneer, applying them to the cabinets, working in the paint shop. We saw them running tests in the anechoic chamber. This was an amazing example of a turn-key business...everything in house...nothing off the shelf. At the conclusion we were invited into the listening room and blown away by exquisite sound. I'm no engineer or audio critic. I won't criticize the new Thiel or their products. After Jim's death the company was in deep trouble. Its rescue by investors did not go well and the company Jim built went in a different direction. His drive and commitment great sound were legendary. He walked with the giants of the high end community.

PatrickD said...

Paul -- what a wonderful story....confirms what my friend experienced. Adds to the poignancy of Thiel's decline, sadly. Thanks for sharing. Best, Patrick