Teufel has modified its successful System 5 to create the world's first THX Select 2-certified speaker package, which means it's designed to meet the exacting sonic standards laid down by George Lucas and his band of hardcore home cinema crusaders.
The idea behind THX Select 2 is to deliver the best possible sound quality in rooms where the distance from the listening position to the screen is between 10 and 12 feet. To that end, THX Select 2 certified speakers must feature controlled directivity, in order to achieve "a full soundstage with precise imaging for all types of audio content", and that's one of the things Teufel has tweaked to earn this certification.
Another is the inclusion of two subwoofers, which helps the system reach THX's bass requirements (105dB continuous output at 25Hz minimum frequency, at -3 dB). To get that sort of performance from a single sub it would have to be absolutely massive, so instead Teufel has opted for two reasonably-sized bass boxes, which make the system more 'living room-friendly'.
For the front and centre channels, you get three S 500 FCR speakers, an upgraded version of its predecessor, the M 550 FCR. It's the first speaker ever to get the THX Select 2 seal of approval so we're deep in uncharted territory here. Key to their performance is their newly-developed flat diaphragm midrange drivers, which radiate mids from the entire effective surface area and avoid pesky phase shifts that conventional cone drivers can suffer from.
Teufel also reckons that the drivers' rigid sandwich construction ensures a balanced frequency response, while the central placement of the dome tweeter improves sound radiation and lets you hear full-range sound outside of the sweet spot. And because they fit flush into the enclosure, you don't get any detrimental diffraction effects off corners or edges.
Unsurprisingly, the build quality of these front/centre speakers is phenomenal. Weighty, robust and clad in a fetching old school dark wenge finish, they really look the part. The speaker grille is a removable hood that fits over the front without the need for bolts, another measure designed to keep the distortion wolf from the door.
At 16cm deep, they're surprisingly compact compared with Teufel's other high-end speakers, and can be mounted on optional M 4002 P stands or on the wall using the pre-attached brackets on the back. Also on the rear is an alcove housing a pair of sturdy gold-plated binding posts, found on all of the system's speakers.
Because this is a movie-centric system through and through, you get dipole speakers for the rear-channels, in this case a pair of S 500 D's - again the first of their type to be THX Select 2 certified. As opposed to direct radiating speakers, which fire sound towards the listener, these three-way dipole speakers create a diffuse, enveloping effect, as if the sound is coming from the rear walls, which is preferable for movies.
Again they're beautifully constructed and effortlessly elegant. Each one features 100mm midrange drivers and 25mm dome tweeters on the front and back, while the speaker grilles on each side also slip on without any bolts or clips.
The sub charged with the task of delivering THX's tricky bass demands is the S 5000 SW, which boasts a 300mm neodymium woofer and musters 200W of firepower. As mentioned, you get two with this system, removing the need for one massive back-breaking box, but their 37 x 54 x 47cm dimensions aren't exactly compact either - it could still take some serious reshuffling to squeeze two of these bad boys in your front room.
They're built like a tank, dressed in dark wenge and sport a fetching silver blob on the front that makes them look a bit like Star Wars droids. On the back of each one you'll find a phase switch, volume dial (with a mark helpfully showing THX's recommended level) and RCA input and output.
But enough of its features, how does the system sound? In a word sensational. First of all, it's earth-shakingly powerful - feed it any of the loud, chaotic action scenes from Transformers on Blu-ray and the ferocious sound could strip wallpaper. But the beauty is you don't need an amp the size of a house to make them sing - the system's high efficiency means you get decent results even from modestly-rated amps.
The potent soundstage is boosted in no small part by those two subs, which work in perfect harmony and dig down to the very depths of the frequency range. When Megatron and Prime lock horns at the movie's denouement, there's lots of deep bass rumbling and the enormous explosions really thumb you in the chest. There's no flab to the low frequencies - they're tight and forthright, which allows them to respond to sudden bangs and pops without any delays that could upset the rhythm of a scene.
But it's not all about brute force. The sound is incredibly detailed too, and therefore the Teufels are able to explore the finer nuances of the movie's few quiet scenes with real finesse. This also lets voices come through clear and natural at all times, even when robots are clattering around the soundstage.
The system is also admirably cohesive - the fronts, centre and rears are beautifully matched, and don't reveal any tonal variation as sounds sweep from front to back. The subs contribute to this unified front, blending seamlessly with the other speakers - all of which results in massively entertaining movie playback.
Despite its home cinema credentials, System 5 is also a dab hand with music, handling DVD-Audio, CDs and Blu-ray music discs with the level of refinement we've come to expect from Teufel speakers. The smooth, elegant and insightful sound is pure aural seduction.
Overall then, the System 5 really delivers on its promises, providing a fast, feisty and well-integrated sound that lives up to its Select 2 certification. We can't even quibble with the price, as it's a reasonable amount to pay for such an accomplished system, which not only comes with George Lucas' seal of approval but now ours too.
• Design: 8 / 10 stars
• Features: 9 / 10 stars
• Performance: 9 / 10 stars
• Value: 9 / 10 stars
Overall Results: 9 / 10 stars