Onto performance and given its killer specs and THX Ultra 2 badge, the System 8’s incredible performance comes as even less of a surprise than England’s early departure from South Africa. This is almost as good as home cinema gets – playing Hellboy II’s ferocious Blu-ray battle with the Elemental (one of our favourite scenes as regular readers will know) will make your hair stand on end with its immense power and awe-inspiring sense of scale.
The fronts and centre make a formidable trio. Perfectly matched and working with stunning congruity, they create a front-room soundstage as crisp and expansive as we’ve heard. Such is the richness and clarity of speech that it sounds like the characters are in the room, while smashing cars and gunshots snap from the speakers with invigorating force. During quiet scenes the S 800 FCRs tease out subtle details with a deftness of touch missing from many a budget speaker.
The rear dipoles fill the rear of the room beautifully and although they’re not being fired directly at you, spot effects are sharp and detailed. These speakers’ most impressive quality however is the warmth and richness they lend to ambient soundscapes, all thanks to that bassy woofer.
The engine room of this exceptional performance is the subwoofer. Low frequencies are every bit as muscular as you’d expect, but they’re conveyed with pleasing tautness and agility. The Elemental’s thumping footsteps are eminently powerful.
So a stunning performance then, but the only slight negative is that it’s not quite the quantum leap up in quality from the much cheaper Crystal Acoustics TX-T2-12 as we expected. Having spent time in the company of both this week, it’s clear that the Teufel is the better of the two with its greater power and presence, but we don’t see that it’s £1,600 better. That probably says more about the quality of the TX-T2-12 than anything.
Anyone with £3k to splash on speakers would do well to take the System 8 THX Ultra 2 for an eight-week test drive – with its unbelievable sound quality, classy looks and uncompromising build quality, we reckon the phones in Teufel’s refunds department will stay pretty quiet.
That said, be sure to check out some of the cheaper competition too, just to be sure in your own mind that it really is worth paying the extra premium for that THX Ultra 2 certification. We’re not entirely convinced, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the System 8 THX Ultra 2 is an astoundingly good system.