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Significantly, the Impaq 3000 system sounds better than the Consono 25 system, with a little more oomph supplied by the extra woofer in the satellites. They handle the astonishing action scenes in Inception on Blu-ray with invigorating energy and expansiveness, most notably as the building crumbles to the ground towards the start of the movie. The sound of rubble hitting the ground is deep and impactful, while the waves of water flood the soundstage with a crisp powerful whoosh without greatly troubling the speakers at high volumes.
Dialogue is clear and the surround speakers do a good job of projecting the sound into the room. Only the staunchest audiophiles would listen to this system and not find something to enjoy.
That said, despite our positive first impressions, the system’s performance still doesn’t have the stamp of Teufel quality that we expected. The sound isn’t quite as airy or incisive as we hoped, it occasionally sounds harsh and the subwoofer is too overpowering out-of-the-box – even after turning the level right down to find a more harmonious balance, it wasn’t quite the tight and punchy foundation we were hoping for. Nothing serious, but not up to Teufel’s usual standards.
There can be no complaints about picture quality though. With Blu-ray, the Impaq 3000 produces sharp detail, lavishly saturated colours and a cinematic depth that makes films look like films, not watercolour paintings. It also manages to make upscaled DVD pictures look clean and punchy without introducing many artefacts. It does, however, like to have a long hard think while loading Blu-ray discs – Terminator Salvation took close to a minute to load.
As much as we love its build quality and AV performance, which despite its shortcomings is still a cut above the vast majority of cheaper Blu-ray systems, the Impaq 3000 feels like a relic from another time, when 3D was only watched in the cinema and networking was just something you did at parties. The USB port and decent format support are pleasing, as are the ease of use and plentiful connections, but those with an eye for a bargain can get a lot more for their money elsewhere.
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