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We all love subwoofers for their earth-shaking bass capabilities, but let's face it - they can be a right pain to integrate into your living room. Not only do they demand to be placed in the optimum position in the room, but without careful Feng Shui that big black box can end up sticking out like a sore thumb.
But with a (stereo) typical slice of German practicality, Teufel has hit upon a great idea for its latest home cinema speaker system - why not incorporate the sub into the front speaker column? In fact, why not shove a sub in BOTH front speakers and really keep the neighbours on their toes?
The result is the Theater 3 Hybrid, a surprisingly affordable 5.2 speaker system with a 150W subwoofer amplifier built into each of the floor-standing M 320 F front speakers, allowing each column to act as a passive stereo speaker and active sub simultaneously.
Teufel reckons that the use of two subwoofers improves the bass response of your system, and it's an idea that the company has already used on its more expensive Theater 4 and Theater 5 Hybrid systems - but the Theater 3 brings the technology to a lower price point and the smaller speakers are easier to integrate into your home.
The M 320 F front columns stand at just over waist height (940mm) and like all the other Teufel speakers we've handled recently they're impeccably built and reassuringly heavy - you certainly get a lot of speaker for your money. Both are styled in a very alluring gloss black finish, which covers two thirds of the front panel, while the top third houses the speaker that uses a 130mm fibreglass woofer and 25mm neodymium tweeter. On the side is a 200mm bass reflex subwoofer, which is separated from the other drivers by an acoustic partition.
To get the full benefit of the active subwoofer in each speaker, they both need to be plugged into the mains - good luck keeping your electricity bills down - but because they can also be used as a passive stereo pair you don't necessarily need to plug them in when used with a stereo amp.
There's quite a lot going on round the back of each speaker. There are switches to change between ‘Stereo Amp' and ‘AV Receiver' modes, set the bass level at either -3dB, 0 or +3dB and choose between ‘On' and ‘Auto' power settings. As well as a pair of gold-plated binding posts, there's a cinch pre-amp input, which lets you connect the sub output from your receiver. It does however mean that you'll need a Y adaptor to feed both subs at the same time (unless your amp has two sub pre-outs of course).