This Teufel 5.1 system is a rarity.
The System 9 THX Ultra2 is one of the few THX Ultra2 certified speaker systems available in Europe.
At its best when partnered with THX post processing, found in many mid-to-high-end AVRs, it promises a dramatic audio experience perfectly targeted at cinephiles.
The THX speaker specification has proved controversial over the years. Inspired by the sound designers and mixers at Skywalker Ranch, THX engineers developed a home loudspeaker specification that mirrors how studio speakers are designed and perform.
The idea is straightforward; THX helps loudspeaker manufacturers develop consumer products that perform as good as the equipment used to create movies. That way, you get to experience the movie, video game or music just like it was produced in the studio.
So how do THX speakers compare with conventional designs? Well, THX front speakers must feature Controlled Directivity, both vertically and horizontally, ostensibly for balanced on-axis and smooth on-to-off-axis transitions.
The aim is create a large soundstage that delivers consistent dialogue to every seating position. So does this pan out in practice with the Teufel system?
Firstly, I swear that one of the reasons I get sent the big speakers to review is my sheer size. If I hang on to something and lean back, it tends to comes with me. However, I have met my match with the subwoofer which ships with this Teufel System 9 THX Ultra2 5.1 array. It is the single biggest thing I have ever had in my home. Indeed, it's so ruddy huge that Teufel actually provides a roller tray to trundle it into position!
So, yes, it's very big, but that's because there is some real function breeding- form going on with this system.
The FCR M 950 front speakers are really for mounting on walls in a big room. The company sells appropriate wall brackets called L-Locks, for €30 apiece. Alternatively, floor stands will set you back an extra €109 each.
Teufel also offers packages of wires, banana plugs and stuff to suit its speakers, helping taking the effort out of working it out yourself (and forgetting bits) and the site brings up the likely packs you might want when you select anything for purchase.
The fronts use flat diaphragm 6.5in drivers for all but extreme highs and the LFE throb, which is taken care of by two tough 12in drivers neatly enclosed vertically in the aforementioned M 9500 SW subwoofer. This has a slot-port at the back, low down. Any mice going in will be barbecued by bass if they stay. Or implode.
The rear M 950 Ds are dipoles bristling with drivers. There are eight transducers per enclosure, each with two mids and tweeters on each face.
The main three front speakers have D'Appolito arrays of mids above and below a single, potent textile dome and more and bigger diaphragms hidden under the grilles. Looking smart in industrial and glossy finishes, they evoke Audi cars and Bechstein pianos all at the same time in a very reassuring German solidity-of-engineering sort of a way.
Human voices are second only to pianos for our musical senses to be able to tell if they are artificial or just plain 'wrong'. So to find out how the Teufel's managed, I plugged in, messed about with the remote for the woofer (one of the simplest ever) and fired up my Boyz II Men DTS 5.1 CD.
Now, I know what you're thinking, but this disc has massive bass and remains valued reference material in my evaluation tools. Heard via the Teufels, it was awesome; the sound was fast and sweet and, while it didn't have the absurd ting and tinkle that the horns on recent Tannoy and Klipsch systems have exhibited, it was deliciously detailed. And that THX Ultra2-certified bass is still insanely loud.
Structure-borne bass that nothing short of a recording studio-style floating floor will stop from upsetting the neighbours. Never, ever buy a Teufel M9500 if you share a party wall with anyone (Also, if the 20Hz subwoofer feels overpowering, it's probably worth engaging a feature called Boundary Gain Compensation, found on compliant AVR ranges.
As for the dipoles and fronts, they are easy on the ear to listen to at high levels (where horns can occasionally be tiring) and go amazingly loud. No surprise. The THX loudspeaker certification is designed to work at Reference Level, the industry standard SPL setting of 85 dB.
To really drive these speakers I selected Transformers, a movie which guarantees a real frequency workout from top to bottom. The bass is devilishly deep and used at the beginning of many Chapters as part of the soundtrack music for effect, like Chapters Four, Six and Eight's first moments.
Even the opening synth drops and swirls before the credits are worth savouring; this Teufel system felt quite at home, delivering a tight chest impact in appreciation. A big vocal ('Before time began, there was the Cube…') comes from the centre somewhere, but it's pleasantly divorced from the location of the Teufel cabinets themselves and vast in scale. Despite being only 20cm deep, these L/C/Rs offer astonishing dynamic range.
Skipping to Chapter 10, and the famous car chase is equally impressive. All the busy sounds are well separated and defined – the soundscape refuses to descend into mush.
In fact, every 'bot transformation scene in the flick is delivered with aplomb, all clicks and thuds and creaks. At 81 minutes in, the line 'Optimus, incoming!' signals the beginning of a glorious ruckus, starting with a change-back-to-vehicle form. This is wonderful fun and so huge in scale it lifted me out of my seat.
The Teufel System 9 THX Ultra2 is surprisingly good with music and devastatingly visceral with movies. Even though a full system requires investment in some extras, the package genuinely represents crunch-tastic value-for-money due to it's direct sale nature.
Having lived with a set I now want one. And I suspect you will too.