Crystal Audio TX-T2-12 - Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Crystal Audio TX-T2-12

Summary

Our Score:

9

So the TX-T2-12 system looks pretty special on paper, but real world listening is a different kettle of fish. Thankfully it delivers on the spec sheet’s promises, producing a sound that’s simply sublime. Having tested a few budget all-in-one systems recently, it’s a refreshing change to hear a high-quality set of speakers going to work on the Avatar Blu-ray, which really highlights the benefits of spending this sort of money on dedicated home cinema speakers.

Skipping straight to Avatar’s Battle For Pandora, the TX-T2-12 conveys the thrilling action with a wonderful sense of scale and immense power. As the Na’vi cavalry charges forward, the fierce-yet-agile sub musters taut, visceral bass tones – you don’t need to turn that volume dial very high to make an impact.

There’s an overall richness, fluidity and cohesion across the entire system that makes it hard to tear yourself away. Equally compelling is the crisp high-frequency reproduction, with the front and rear speakers picking out every last detail in the soundtrack, from the delicate crunch of forest leaves to half-heard background chatter in the control room. They may look strange but those free air tweeters clearly do a great job.

The natural bass extension of the front speakers is also impressive. We turned off the sub and there’s still plenty of low-end punch. The dipoles offer gorgeous, immersive surround sound, spreading effects and ambience around the room like butter on toast. Some may prefer their effects with more directional precision, but we think these dipoles’ diffuse sound is perfect for home cinema. Meanwhile the centre speaker reproduces dialogue with warmth and directness, clearly cutting though even the busiest of Avatar’s action scenes.

And if you’re used to hearing music through an iPod dock or crappy kitchen hi-fi, get ready for a revelation when you play it through these speakers. Whether it’s Blu-ray or CD, they’ll shed a whole new light on your favourite songs, exposing details that you never knew were there but with wonderful warmth and a perfect sense of rhythm. Outstanding.

Verdict

Although £1,299 might seem like a lot of money, in the world of audiophile speakers it’s fairly affordable – particularly for a THX certified system. And as we’ve discovered with the TX-T2-12, its performance is so good that it could have come from a much more expensive system, which makes it a real bargain in our eyes. The stunning build quality, unusual-but-effective tweeter technology and stylish looks are further reasons why we think it’s money well-spent.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 9
  • Features 8
  • Design 8

Tobeman

July 7, 2010, 5:37 pm

Nearly stumping up for a pair of used Linn Komponents... now you throw this under my nose! Arrrrgh!

Tobeman

July 7, 2010, 5:50 pm

Ah - my newly purchased Onkyo TX-SR608 only outputs 160w p/ch. Reading the specs of these here: http://www.crystalaudiovideo.c... , is the Onkyo sufficient enough to drive these?





Thanks.

Jmac

July 7, 2010, 6:33 pm

Very tempting! Would be good to know what components you test with, just for reference - amp, source, interconnects, speaker cable? You mention biwiring the fronts is possible - did you do this? Some 7(/9/11).1 amps allow you to repurpose unused inputs to bi-amp the front channel of a 5.1 setup - did you try that?

Jmac

July 7, 2010, 7:01 pm

@Tobeman - yes, you won't have any problems. In fact it is generally considered good practice to have speakers rated to at least the maximum output wattage of your amp - this means the amp should be able to drive the speakers as hard as you like without the speakers being over-driven and introducing distortion, or (worse) blowing their drivers. Trust me, unless you have an absolutely vast listening room, or you are planning a music festival, or you are profoundly deaf, 160W per channel into a decent set of speakers will go hard enough to make your ears bleed.

stranded

July 7, 2010, 8:33 pm

Nice review about a company with a purpose.

alchobot

July 9, 2010, 11:42 am

@john mclean - it is better to have the amplifier more powerfull than the speakers, sometimes up to twice the rating, because if the amplifier 'clips' the output will be a square wave and will probably fry your tweeters. speakers are very robust & will take short term peak overlords easily especially if they are meant for sound re-inforcement, i.e. PA use. professional users such as DJ's etc usually have limiters to stop the amplifier being driven into overload and clipping.

Jmac

July 9, 2010, 2:13 pm

@alchobot - I stand corrected. Interesting to know. Still, 160W per channel into a decent set of speakers in a home environment is more than enough to fry your eardrums before you get anywhere close to overloading the amp.

PoisonJam

July 9, 2010, 5:18 pm

Looks strikingly like an older B&W package! I didn't have much hopes for the centre...

Musician

July 10, 2010, 10:24 pm

@Tobeman.It is a great combination thanks to THX. My friend uses this Crystal system with Onkyo 3007. With THX and Audyssey processing the sound is amazing both for movies and music.Onkyo 3007 offers 200Watt instead of 160Watt of yours. Taking account that every doubling of power equals 3db, yours TR3007 offers only 1db more maximum power than yours TR 608.The power Difference is calculated in db by 10log(160/200)=0,97db

Musician

July 10, 2010, 10:37 pm

@poisonjam. I had similar thoughts with you especially because the towers use 2 woofers and the center uses only one. It is probably because towers are designed to meet THX Ultra2 Sound levels and the Crystal THX Center is designed for lower THX Select sound levels. But the main difference according to THX is the lower maximum Sound levels and not the sound quality. According THX both Select and Ultra2 speakers should offer similar response above 80Hz. We know that it is easy to have similar excellent midrange with pure design of 2 drivers, than using 2 woofers, 2 midranges and one tweeter as in most Ultra 2 center speakers. And the small size sometimes is more important than the lower price benefit.

martin gillespie

July 17, 2010, 2:34 am

YE im kind off considering these myself, to go with my onkyo nr906 in 7.2 guise of course, centre could be a problem space wise. and why mix the two THX specs.

Martin Gillespie

June 3, 2013, 6:55 pm

Looking at getting the 7.2 system in dec ,maybe with the larger fronts, to go with the onk 906, this will be upgraded nxt year ? maybe

comments powered by Disqus