The Crystal Acoustics TX-T2SE fronts are a two-way design, with two 7in Kevlar/ fibre woofers – each housed in its own separately ported chamber – and a 1in silk dome neodymium tweeter in the separate enclosure on top. Their frequency response is quoted as 35Hz - 22kHz.
The two-way centre speaker uses just one of those 7in woofers, achieving a frequency response of 45Hz – 22kHz. As mentioned the rears sport two reverse facing silk dome tweeters and a 7in Crystal Fibre woofer, with the same frequency response as the centre.
You can optimise the performance of the two subwoofers using the controls on the back. These include a choice of ‘variable’ mode, which lets you adjust the volume using the dial, and ‘THX’ mode which meets the THX spec and sets the amplifier gain 4.5dB lower.
Fire up a ferocious film like Clash of the Titans and it’s immediately clear that T2-5.2-UL was born to play movies. As you’d expect from a system rocking two 200W subwoofers it’s enormously powerful, delivering sound on a massive scale and attacking effects with aplomb. Your neighbours won’t thank you for it, but the T2-5.2-UL offers a movie viewing experience the likes of which you wouldn’t expect from a system costing well under £2k.
The scene in which Perseus and friends are attacked by giant scorpions is a great showcase for the system’s talents. The boom of the creatures bursting through the ground and stomping around the desert scenery is truly thunderous, yet the scene is relayed with tightness, coherence and an understanding of effects placement that stops it sounding like a loud mess.
The subs’ deep bass fills the room without compromising the clarity of the other sonic elements. Meanwhile scorpions lash their tails and fling people around with a crisp, decisive swish, and when noises pass between speakers the transition is smooth thanks to the system’s uniform tonality. High-frequency reproduction is also impressive – it easily picks out the delicate crunch of gravel and the rustle of leaves underfoot.
The rears do a fabulous job of dispersing surround effects and ambience in a way that wraps you up in the action – it’s nigh on impossible to tell exactly where each effect is coming from, and that’s just how THX likes it. And we’re also impressed by the clarity with which the centre speaker articulates speech. Voices cut through the most frenetic of scenes, and during quieter passages the hammy dialogue has real presence.
This masterful, exhilarating performance has only one caveat. The overall sound isn’t quite as open and detailed as it could be, particularly when compared with the Jamo D 600, another 5.2-channel THX Ultra 2-certified system that we were able to test out at the same time as the T2-5.2-UL (look for a full review soon). At times the soundstage can seem a little crowded.
The Jamo draws out more sonic minutiae and presents its soundstage with greater clarity and transparency, but that’s only to be expected from a system that costs twice as much as the T2-5.2-UL, and that really is the key point here – despite its sonic inferiority to the Jamo, Crystal’s system still delivers exceptionally good sound quality for the money, which will be music to the ears of anyone looking for maximum bang for their buck.
Tell someone you can buy a THX Ultra 2-certified speaker system with two huge subs, floorstanding fronts and dipole rears for under two grand and they’d call you a mentalist. Tell them about its fantastic sound quality, which is almost as good as systems costing twice as much, and they’d reach for the straightjacket.
But as unfeasible as it sounds, Crystal Acoustics really has worked miracles with the T2-5.2-UL, offering a beautifully built, super-specced system for just £1,700. It’ll rock your room to its very foundation thanks to the subs’ potent bass work, backed up by clear detail, excellent dialogue and a sense of scale that belies its price.
Other systems, like the Jamo D 600, offer a more insightful sound, but judged purely on value for money the T2-5.2.UL is pretty much unbeatable.