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Crystal Audio TX-T2-12
Greece may be deep in financial crisis and out of the World Cup, but at least Athens-based Crystal Audio is giving the country something to cheer about. Its latest speaker system is here to provide some much-needed escapism from all the doom and gloom, but the best news is that, according to the blurb, it offers 'high-end home cinema at a fraction of the usual cost' – a phrase that will be music to the ears of recession-ravaged audiophiles everywhere.
The TX-T2-12 is a 5.1-channel system with THX certification, which means it satisfies a list of requirements that’ll get the best-possible performance from your system. The front speakers boast THX Ultra 2 certification, which is THX’s top honour and suggests they’re capable of some pretty special movie playback. The rears, centre and subwoofer are THX Select certified, which has a less demanding but equally strict set of requirements.
As well as knockout sound performance, you should expect nothing short of rock-solid build quality when spending over £1,000 on a speaker system, and that’s exactly what you get. Fondling each speaker reveals impeccable construction and elegant, understated looks. Tasteful use of high gloss and black ash across the entire system makes them a stylish presence in the room without sticking out like a sore thumb. All of the speakers come with a sturdy removable grille that fits snugly into holes on the front. The only downside of their substantial build quality is that you need two people to haul some of them out of the boxes.
At the heart of the system is a pair of THX Ultra 2-certified TX-T2SE front floorstanders, worth £549 a pair when bought separately. These are a re-tweaked version of Crystal Audio’s original TX-T2 speakers, using a shorter cabinet and increased volume. Despite being shorter they’re still remarkably deep, which enables them to deliver gut-wrenching low frequencies, plus the cabinets have been heavily braced to create an 'acoustically dead' enclosure that helps convey soundtracks as cleanly and dynamically as possible.
The most distinctive design aspect of the front speakers is the 'free air' tweeter, which sits on top of each cabinet and looks like a webcam. The benefit of placing it on top is to deliver high frequencies directly to your ears without unwanted diffraction, and the clever part is that you can rotate them to find the best angle according to your listening position. It’s an interesting idea, but plonking those little spheres on such big cabinets does look a bit odd.