Teufel's Theater 200 system follows in the heritage of its Theatre 2 system, which first appeared in the mid-1990s and is described as 'legendary' by, er, the company's own website. So it has a lot to live up to.
It's a cute 5.1 system, which can easily be expanded to a 7.1, 9.1 or 11.1 package, if you want.
Changes over the original Theater 2 speakers include new drivers and rare earth neodymium magnet technology, and an optimised design.
The front three speakers use what the maker describes as staggered tweeters (otherwise know as 'time aligned'), meaning they are set back from the main low-frequency drivers. Indeed, with the T 200 C centre cabinet, the tweeter is mounted in a housing on top of the main enclosure for all to see and touch, including inquisitive young children; the two T 200 F front speakers mount the tweeters on the baffle, set back from the plane of the main drivers.
The effect is similar in the two cases, which is that when heard at ear height in a normally adjusted system, the path is the same from the drivers in each speaker to the ear, giving a more focused and more consistent soundfield and better stereo imaging.
The T 100 D rear speakers work in a different way acoustically. Although the drive units seem related to those of the fronts, they're clearly different in detail, not least because they're not the same size. Also, there's no off-setting or time alignment of the tweeters.
The surrounds can be used as dipoles, in which the front and rear sections work in anti-phase and give a more diffuse, larger scale sound, or, at the flick of a switch, the back-facing section can be switched off, leaving on just a single mid-range unit and tweeter for a traditional direct dispersion.
Advice about which radiation pattern to use, and how to set the speakers up is given by Teufel in its straightforward set up notes. That said, it fails to point out that there are so many variables in practical systems that 'suck it and see' is almost certainly the best advice.
The last part of the package, the T 2000 SW subwoofer, is a bruiser. It has an impressive 13in drive unit in a needlessly big enclosure. Such enclosures are physically hard to control structurally, and this one is far too lively, especially when the volume's high, or the low pass filter is set too high. I couldn't justify setting it anywhere other than its lowest setting, which indicates that it's not behaving as it should.
The sub has all the controls you need, but it can only be driven at line level. The enclosure is bass-reflex loaded, but while reflex ports often yield impressive LF extension, they tend to add noise and distortion when air is being squeezed in and out of it. Here, the sound's character changes with volume.
Bold and big
Despite some limitations, the Teufel Theater 200 turns out to be an impressive system, though it leans firmly in the direction of boldly painted home cinema FX, and is much less convincing when used playing high-quality audio recordings in stereo, despite claims to the contrary from the brand.
With Cloverfield (Blu-ray), it delivered an impressive, if not always the most subtle, soundfield. It's unusually good value, and the satellites are expertly fine-tuned. So, even while the subwoofer imposes some firm limits to system performance, at moderate volume the results are highly commendable.
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