Thiel PowerPoint 1.2 Ceiling Speaker System Page 3

Adding the sub immediately produced near-perfect bass integration and impressive extension. A PBS-HD Great Performances concert of the Vienna Philharmonic celebrating Mozart's 250th birthday (in quite fine Dolby Digital 5.1) provided very believable extended sound from the small-section basses and cellos, with no hint of "hand-off," bloat, or response-gaps between sub and sats. Bigger-bass music proved the SS1 goes plenty deep and holds its own up to moderately kickin' levels: Pressed hard, the woofer didn't clack or snort, but distinctly stopped getting louder, which I take to be well-implemented limiting circuitry at work.

MOVIE PERFORMANCE Performance on film sound was also unexpectedly high-end, "for a ceiling speaker." With the psychoacoustic aid of a video image to "anchor" the sound, I had a hard time noticing that the sonic image was slightly above the screen; only when I turned off the TV did the sound seem to shift mysteriously upward a couple of feet. Front-stage cohesion was extremely good - not surprising, given the coincident-driver design. When troop trucks and tanks moved across the screen in The Great Raid, the smoothness and stability of their accompanying roars, rattles, and whooshes were impressive. (Sounds panning extreme left or right do seem to move up a bit as well, but again, you simply don't notice this unless forced.)

As with music, the SS1 proved a stellar small woofer, with surprising low-end potential well below 30 Hz. Favorite deep-bass effects such as the sliding stone door early in Stargate reproduced with all their foundations intact, though as I increased the system volume, the Thiel sub fell well shy of first-run-cinema reference-level performance. This should be an excellent sub for small rooms or systems where higher-volume playback isn't necessary.

BOTTOM LINE The Thiel PowerPoint 1.2 ceiling speaker system delivers truly elevated performance (ouch!). At $1,450 per speaker, it's obvious overkill for casual multiroom applications. But where serious audio reproduction is desired and ceiling speakers are the only acceptable option, demanding (and well-funded) listeners will find these an impressive and highly livable solution. Under those conditions, I recommend them enthusiastically.

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