Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lana Ruth - Musical Gifts

Lana Ruth is the Sales Coordinator and the 'real boss' at THIEL. She's been with us for more than 10 years, and if you've ever called, you've probably spoken to her at least once.

Music has always been an important part of my life thanks to my father’s musical influences when I was child and then into adulthood working for THIEL. My father’s love of music was intoxicating. While growing up I remember him playing every kind of song imaginable. He loved all kinds of music whether it was country, rock, R & B, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. My Dad even chose my name after a song he liked on the B- side of a Roy Orbison 45 record titled, Lana. I guess it would be safe to say that my love for music was inevitable from birth. My father taught me that music has the power to move you. Depending on the song, music can put a smile on my face, bring tears to my eyes, make me laugh out loud, make me feel happy, sad and mad or simply make me want to move my hips and feet to the beat.

I started working for THIEL back in 1998 and since I have always loved music, I thought it would be really cool working for a loudspeaker manufacturer. When I walked into the office for my first interview, I immediately heard Steely Dan playing in another room. I had heard Black Friday many times before and could even belt out most of the lyrics. The song sounded so different this time, better much, Much, MUCH better. The sound I heard was as if Steely Dan were in the next room putting on a live concert for this company, Wow! My love for music would be forever changed. I found that it was no longer satisfying to listen to my car radio or cheap S*ny home speakers of which I never before thought were really bad speakers. I realized that I had been missing something for the first 33 years of my life – perfect sound reproduction. THIEL taught me that a good recording coupled with a high performance speaker can move you equally, if not more, than the music itself.

My father passed away 3 short years after I started working for THIEL not having heard music through THIEL speakers. I often wonder how he would react after hearing a few of his favorite recordings through the THIELs, and as I wonder, a smile creeps to my face, knowing one would be on his face too. I would love to have taught Dad a few things I learned about music while at work.

I proudly became a THIEL owner in 2010, purchasing the CS1.6s and SS1 subwoofer. I find my listening experiences just as intoxicating as my father’s love of music. I’m now able to share and teach my own daughter all that music and my work with high performance loudspeakers have taught me. My 16 year-old daughter, Casey, can easily listen to a song on our THIELs and can tell you if she doesn’t like the song because it’s bad or because it’s a bad recording. I only hope this realization for her leads her to better music but that’s another story for another time…

The amazing thing about music is its ability to touch that place deep inside you, and the wonderful thing about good sound is that it allows the full emotional impact of the music to reach you. I might never have loved music as much as I do if it were not for my father, and I might never had heard perfect music if were not for THIEL.

Thanks Dad and Jim Thiel for the wonderful gifts of music and sound that you left behind, my life is richer because of you.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Awake at Night

Guest Blog from Ken Dawkins - THIEL North America Sales Vice President

What keeps THIEL staff awake at night? Bad sound (sirens, barking dogs, thunder claps) and scratching our heads over how to better serve our customers.

THIEL has thousands of customers, pretty much in two piles: wonderful end users and hardworking dealers/distributors. There is one important benefit we provide with every THIEL speaker: a full 10-year, transferable warranty. I cannot come up with another high performance loudspeaker line with such coverage on their product. Can you? We think our customers are best served by continuing to offer such a warranty.

The attention to detail, build quality and superb customer service that Jim Thiel and Kathy Gornik established as our company culture 35 years ago enables THIEL to offer this piece of mind. Now more than ever I think it is important to sing the refrain, wave the flag and flash the lights about our warranty. This 10-year, transferable warranty is valid through THIEL authorized dealers only, whether it is the initial purchase or a used purchase down the road. This authorized dealer requirement is to protect you and our loyal dealer base. Of course the warranty is meant to cover defects in materials and workmanship only, not abuse or misuse. More warranty coverage info can be found elsewhere on our website

THIEL speakers are an investment. We hope you will choose our speakers first because they sound and look so special. But we are just fine if another reason to choose THIEL is that we protect your investment with a 10-year transferable warranty. And whether you choose new THIEL speakers or decide on a previously loved set, be sure to contact and consult with an authorized THIEL dealer. There are over 100 of them in the US (with distributors in 33 countries around the world!) and they come in all shapes and sizes. Start at thielaudio.com. under “where to buy”.

What keeps you up at night? If its good sound it must be your THIEL system. The comfort of knowing your investment is protected will let you sleep soundly when the listening is over.

Friday, March 18, 2011

THIEL and SOAF ('Significant Other' Acceptance Factor) Guest blog from Rob Gillum -

I have found that the SOAF can sometimes play an important role in the audiophile world. From my years of experience in manufacturing high-end audio loudspeakers and performing service repairs, the vast majority of my clients have been male, and in no way do I mean disrespect to females who also buy and enjoy high performance audio. An important factor when purchasing a premium audio product for most consumers is that it fits into their home decor. Many men and women alike have fallen in love with a particular high-end product, only to find out their SO (significant other) doesn't feel that the product is attractive in their home. So, the product ends up in the basement or an auxiliary room with poor sonic qualities and possibly even back to the store!

We here at THIEL have been working for 35 years designing beautiful speakers that will meet the challenges of the SOAF. We are pleased and proud to provide you with many finish choices from wood veneers to grille fabrics. Did you know that THIEL can build your favorite Classic collection model with your choice of real hardwood veneer and grille fabric? We can manufacture your speaker with virtually any wood veneer on the face of the earth. If we do not stock the finish of your choice, we can obtain it. Not only doe this allow you to select your veneer, but we can also stain or paint the speaker cabinet to match any existing furniture or decor of your choosing. If that's not enough variety, we also offer six colors of grille fabric to match your upholstery, carpet, drapes and/or anything else in your home. Grille fabric colors include black, white, gray, cream, beige or brown.With the endless combination of possibilities, we are sure to be able to complement any home interior.

There is an up-charge for custom finishes and colored grille fabrics, so please check with your THIEL dealer or give us a call, and we will be glad to discuss pricing and special finishes with you personally. The next time you fall in love with a THIEL loudspeaker, know that you don't have to let the SOAF keep you from placing the speakers in the room of your choice and theirs as well.

Robin Gillum
Director of Manufacturing, THIEL Audio

Rob has been with THIEL 23 years and the following is his THIEL mission statement:

"Over the years, audiophiles and music lovers from around the world have come to expect a high level of quality from THIEL. With that always in mind, my goal here at THIEL is to consistently produce a product that exceeds our customers' expectations."

To learn more about Rob, click to the following link: http://www.thielaudio.com/THIEL_Site05/Pages/THIELrestore/mastertechRestore.html

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nothing's Easy about Cone Making

We've been working non-stop on CS1.7 development since before Jim passed away. It's a super fun but really hard project. The bulk of the work has been developing the CS1.7 woofer (which in turn will be used for a variety of other new products, but lets be suspenseful for now, shall we?). Not surprisingly, we wanted to use a star diaphragm for the new woofer since it's working out so well in the CS3.7, but improving upon the CS1.6 woofer isn't so simple.

The star diaphragms each have to be engineered on their own to suit specific design goals, and can't simply be scaled up or down from previous iterations. Jim had developed a calculator to simplify the base modeling of these diaphragms but it only gets us started. From there, we do some solid modeling and finite element analysis to predict resonance behavior, but even that only gets us halfway there. Once we find a geometry that models well, we machine a mold from hard plastic on one of our CNC machines. We can then press prototype diaphragms, build drivers and measure.

Jim probably went through 60 diaphragms on the CS3.7 project before he finalized them. Granted, he was just learning whether the geometry would work, so a lot of trial error was in order. We're not even to 10 yet on the CS1.7. So many prototypes and drawings get chalked up as "learning experiences". This begs the question - what happens to all the failed diaphragms? I make pinwheels for my daughter to paint!

Friday, July 09, 2010

"THIS is what we're all about."

I wish I could take credit for those words in the title of this post, but I can't. Those words belong to Kathy Gornik, our fearless leader, after she read an email that I forwarded to everyone here from a customer who kindly wrote me a play by play of the day his brand new CS2.4s were delivered to his home. It's such a great story, I wanted to share it with anybody and everybody. He also kindly gave me permission to do just that. So with permission from Mr. S., here it is …

The speakers arrived yesterday.

Quite the event as my wife reports it.  A giant tractor trailer partially blocks our little country road, so the neighbors come out to direct traffic.  I'm not sure they are as interested in making sure the John Deeres can get by as much as they're interested in gawking at the giant "THIEL" (?) boxes rolling up the lane. 

My wife calls to report the arrival. I can tell she's not happy with all the attention.

I suffer through the rest of the day at work, calling to "check" on the boxes several times.  "They're not in the sun, are they?"  My wife finally sends an iPhone pic labeled:  "baby picture".

I want to text back asking if she can pose my two real children in with the boxes as well, but I think better of the idea.

My wife suffers through my distraction that evening as I clear out "her" room to serve as a testing room.  My intention is to "break-in" the speakers here, and it's clear that my spouse is hoping they break-in quickly, very quickly.

It is interesting then, that it's my wife who is running her hand over the dark cherry finish as they're freed from the cartons, "They really are beautiful." 

And when they're finally set up (although I've long ago decided what track to play first) she's again in the room, this time with a CD containing McCartney's Mull of Kintyre. 

I frown, I don't recognize the CD, it's probably a poor recording.  "Would it be ok to play this one?," she asks, "I went to this concert with my mum and sister."

As the first notes come through these new speakers, my mind's preoccupied with critical observations.

Meanwhile, tears are running down my wife's face.

And, as I tried to retell the story to my honey last night, tears just about streamed down mine as well.

You're right, Kathy. THIS is what we're all about.

'til next time.