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Teufel Concept E 400 and Decoder Station 5
Teufel may be a relatively new name in the UK, but the German speaker specialist is already building a strong reputation for itself. In the Home cinema arena, Teufel has proved that it can compete with the best whether in the value sector or the high end, with its Motiv 3 and System 9 THX Ultra systems respectively. But those sets require a separate amplifier or receiver to drive them, and not everyone wants to go to that extra expense.
If you're looking for great surround sound for your games and movies, but haven't got a huge wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, Teufel has you covered. The Concept E 400s are the latest addition to Teufel's Multimedia range, sitting at the top of that particular tree. And even though the price of £283 might not seem that cheap to some, the Concept E 400s produce sound that's far more impressive than that price suggests.
These speakers produce big sound, far bigger in fact than I would have expected from an all in one system. The key to that big sound is the truly massive subwoofer that's the cornerstone of the whole setup. I've seen bigger subwoofers, but not as part of a multimedia system like this, and certainly not at this price point. Of course it's not just a subwoofer, since that big black box also houses the amplification for all the satellites, as well as for the sub itself.
If you want numbers, the CE 400 SW subwoofer has a 500W amplifier hiding inside it, but 250W of that power is dedicated to driving the sub, leaving 50W per channel for each of the satellite speakers. That's a pretty generous spread of power, and the decision to funnel half of it to the low frequency channel pays real benefits when you're watching an explosive action scene, or playing a through a particularly hairy fire-fight in say, Halo 3 or Gears of War 2.
As is usually the case with Teufel speakers, they look good as well as sounding good. The subwoofer is finished in glossy black, which will no doubt complement the majority of high definition TVs that it's likely to share a room with. There are, what looks like, three dials on the front of the sub, although the centre one is actually just a button that toggles between standby and on. The right dial is the master volume for the whole set, while the left dial controls the amount of bass, which can be set from a mild atmospheric rumble, to window shaking earthquake levels!