Given that the raison d'etre of the Impaq 40 is CD playback, it's fortunate that in that task it excels. The set-up has a neutral balance pushing out any CD track you feed it in a well-controlled and untainted way. Bass and treble adjustment is available, though, should you want to skew from the norm.
And no matter what CD I slotted into the Impaq 40's tray it was delivered with aplomb. The system offers excellent stereo separation and an expansive soundstage that can be pushed easily to what any home user will consider loud. Loud enough, in fact, to elicit complaints from the neighbours, but such is the hazard of testing a system which simply sounds better the higher you turn up the volume - no distortion, just forceful, deliciously unadulterated audio.
Having spent so long listening to iPod speaker docks the Impaq 40 system is a refreshing reminder of why I still buy CDs. Detail resolution, such as this set-up has on offer, simply doesn't come from compact systems. On side note, it's also a galling reminder of the compromises that have to be made to make audio equipment portable that this £312 CD player sounds so much better than the 64GB iPod touch I'm currently using, which costs close to that by itself, before adding the cost of my Shure SE420 earphones.
Don't go thinking this system isn’t going to compete with more expensive equipment. Even hooking the Impaq 40's own CD-receiver up to a set of Ferguson Hill speakers we have knocking about the office elicited even better audio performance. But you'd hope so from speakers costing significantly more than the entire Impaq 40 set-up. For those constrained by realistic budgets the difference in quality probably won't be worth the difference in pric, which makes the Impaq 40 a great solution, no matter how you slice it.
The excellent performance that Teufel's Impaq 40 mini stereo system offers relative to its price is impossible to ignore. Pedantic audiophiles will no doubt claim that £300 is hardly enough money to spend on a CD system to get proper, high quality reproduction but they're missing the point entirely.