When we say the speakers in this 5.1-channel system are bipolar, we don’t mean in a Stacey Slater from EastEnders way – it means they emit sound in two directions in order to achieve wider sound dispersion than ‘direct radiating’ speakers, creating the sort of immersive atmosphere you get at your local multiplex.
This particular package from Greek manufacturer Crystal Acoustics – previously known as Crystal Audio before their recent rebrand – includes four of these slimline tower speakers (BPT2.0-BGL) for the fronts and rears, all of which use this bipolar technology. A pair of these will set you back £179 when bought separately.
Also in the box is the LCR-BGL centre speaker (£89) and on bass duties is the £269 THX-10SUBT-BL subwoofer. As you’ve probably worked out, buying these speakers as a package directly from the Crystal Acoustics website gives you a £100 saving over the combined price of separates.
Unpacking the various components from their boxes, we instantly got a sense of the system’s impressive build quality. The 1,050mm tall towers, for example, are weighty and rigidly constructed like any good speaker should be – not light and hollow like many all-in-one system speakers. At 80mm deep they’re some of the narrowest floorstanders we’ve encountered of late, and this slender shape is also said to have sonic advantages like reduced diffraction and wider dispersion.
Crystal has done a nice job with the styling too. They’re coated in a dreamy high gloss black finish all the way down the front and back, although the dappled leather effect finish down the sides is a little tacky. Each tower comes with a circular gloss-black base that screws onto the bottom.
Whip off the cloth grille on the front and you’ll see a pair of high-power 75mm mid/bass drivers and a 25mm tweeter with a neodymium magnet and electronic protection for extra safety when listening at high levels. Under the rear grille lies another 75mm mid/bass driver designed to add that extra sense of ambience and spaciousness.
Turning to the centre speaker, it’s designed to match the towers both in terms of styling and timbre. It’s fairly compact too, which is always a help when it comes to fitting it under your TV, but if that’s not possible then there’s an ‘invisible wall mounting system’ on the back (a couple of holes, in other words). It can be used horizontally or vertically, and like the towers there’s a 25mm aluminium tweeter and a pair of 75mm mid/bass drivers behind the removable grille.
The THX-10SUBT-BL sub is big and burly but not as heavy as its size suggests, plus the minimal black styling stops it sticking out like a sore thumb. The sturdy, heavily-braced cabinet is designed to be as ‘acoustically dead’ as possible, while the rigid paper cone inside aims for a fast response with no distortion. Frequency response ranges from 35Hz up to 200Hz and there’s a 120W amplifier lurking inside – neighbours beware.
On the back of the box you’ll find a volume dial, phase switch and subwoofer input. The THX-10SUBT is THX Select certified, which makes it suitable for medium-sized rooms up to 2,000 cubic feet, and for that reason you’ll find another switch on the back that lets you choose between THX and Variable modes. The former meets all of the THX specs, while the latter does the same except that the amplifier’s internal gain is lower and it lets you change the output level using the volume dial.