Crystal Acoustics’s native Greece might be feeling the pinch but there’s nothing austere about the T2-5.2-UL system’s spec. The company’s THX Ultra 2-certified 5.2-channel package comes with floorstanding tower speakers, dipole rear speakers and two enormous subwoofers – pure audio affluence.
The price, however, is a different matter. All these boxes can be yours for just £1,700, which looks like remarkable value when you consider some rival THX Ultra 2 systems sell for as much as £4,000.
But as you might have guessed it’s not the sort of system that’ll casually slip into your living room unseen. With massive 1011mm high front towers and subs the size of small freezers it’ll gobble up space, making it best suited to enthusiasts with a dedicated cinema room. Conversely if it’s not big enough for you, then you can step up to the £3k, 7.4 channel T2-7.4-UL with, yes, four subwoofers.
The Crystal Acoustics T2-5.2-UL system comprises a pair of TX-T2SE floorstanders for the front channels, a THX-CT-BLA centre speaker and two THX-D-BLA dipole surrounds. The subs in question are the TX-12SUB-BLA, and Crystal Acoustics has supplied two of them in order to meet the criteria laid down by THX for optimum bass performance in rooms of up to 3,000 cubic feet. That criteria includes the ability to reach the THX Reference Level (85dB with 20dB of headroom) without distorting.
It also means that bass is evenly distributed throughout the room, making it sound rich and fulsome no matter where you’re sat, plus it helps rectify boomy resonances and reinforces bass in areas where the waves cancel each other out.
We won’t pretend that the TX-T2SEs are the prettiest speakers we’ve ever seen, but they’re remarkably well made for the money. The cabinets are bulky and robust, with straight lines, a luxurious gloss black finish on the front and black ash side panels. On top of each one is Crystal’s ‘free air’ tweeter, housed in its own sphere-shaped enclosure that can be rotated to the optimum angle. Not only does this have sound quality benefits (firing high frequencies at your ears unimpeded by diffraction) but it’s also a quirky visual touch.
Pull off the grilles on the front and you’ll uncover orangey cones with silver phase plugs in the middle, which look sexier than they sound. On the back are high quality binding posts to hold your wires in place.
The centre speaker is identically styled, even down to the free air tweeter on top, and its build quality is superb – robust and rigidly bolted together. Likewise the rear speakers, which are a dipole design as mandated by THX and offer a more diffuse sound than traditional ‘direct radiating’ speakers, with the idea being to mask where the effects are coming from.
For that purpose their two tweeters are placed at opposing angles, with the woofer on the outward-facing middle panel. They’re primarily designed to be mounted on the wall using the supplied brackets, just like you’d find in the cinema.
The subwoofers measure 350(w) x 471(h) x 470(d)mm and weigh a ton, so don’t even think of lifting them on your own. They’re housed in sturdy cabinets, finished in high gloss black on the front and black ash on the side panels. On the inside they’re extensively braced to make them as acoustically dead as possible, with a 12in woofer and 200W amplifier doing the low-frequency donkeywork.