He started Thiel Audio Products in Lexington, Kentucky in 1976, and the company has grown into one of the world's most respected speaker manufacturers.
His interest in music and its reproduction stemmed from his early childhood, when he began to learn piano, and he was soon building and repairing radios and other electronics. He studied physics and mathematics, and this led to his work on time and phase accuracy in speaker design.
More than 30 years on, the company is still making speakers in its Kentucky factory. having expanded from Jim Thiel's garage to a 3250 sq m dedicated plant.
Over the years, Thiel's design work incorporated innovative engineering techniques in order to reduce cabinet diffraction and resonances through the use of rounded baffles, heavy internal bracing, and the employment of such materials as aluminum, concrete and marble.
Innovative driver design and assembly techniques have also been used to reduce distortion and give more accurate overall frequency response.
Of his own work, Thiel said "Since 1976, all my efforts have been directed toward designing and manufacturing loudspeakers that translate electronic information into sound as accurately as possible, with the goal of faithfully rendering all the tonal, spatial, and dynamic information on the recording.
"I believe this approach is the only way to preserve all the sonic characteristics, both broad and subtle, that makes listening to music and experiencing movies so enjoyable."