Teevy 6 MR is the multiroom version of Crystal’s Teevy 6 soundbase, which not only enhances your TV’s sound quality but also streams music to and from its other audio systems such as the Cuby 9 speaker. The built-in Wi-Fi connection also lets you stream music from online services such as Spotify and Deezer using the WiSound smartphone app.
Apart from Wi-Fi, this version is essentially the same as the original Teevy 6, with a feature list that includes WiSound technology and Bluetooth streaming. But since multiroom functionality adds a £100 premium, we thought it was worth taking another look and assessing whether it’s worth the extra cash.
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Nothing new to report here – the MR version is identical to the original Teevy 6. But that’s good news, as we’re fans of the unit’s discreet and quietly elegant design. Little touches such as the silver logo on the front and silver rings around the circular feet help to break the black-box monotony. At 95mm it isn't slim, but it's not outrageously chunky either. In short, it should slip right into your existing setup with minimum fuss.
Build quality is excellent. The rock-solid MDF enclosure is covered in a black cloth grille around the front and sides, which hides the six front and side drivers (hence the name). With its slightly plasticky top finish, it isn't quite on a par with the luxurious – and pricier – Geneva Model Cinema, but for the money it’s a well-engineered soundbase.
It’s designed to support TVs weighing up to 60kg, with a stand no larger than 720 x 280mm. It provides a perfect pedestal for our 55in Samsung set, but if your TV’s stand overhangs the edges then you’ll need to think about placing it on a shelf lower down.
On the front you’ll just about spot an LED that glows in different colours to indicate which input is selected. Understanding the functions of a soundbase is hardly rocket science, but we’d definitely have liked a text-based display for absolute clarity. There are no buttons on the unit at all, so you'll be stuck if the remote goes AWOL.
HDMI sockets are notable by their absence on the rear panel. So connecting devices such as Blu-ray decks and TV receivers, and using the Teevy as a switcher won't be an option. Plus, there’s no ARC of course. There is, however, an optical digital input that lets you connect your TV and listen to whatever’s on-screen, as well as a set of analogue RCA inputs and 3.5mm mini-jack input.
One socket not found on the original Teevy 6 is an Ethernet port, which provides a more stable connection to the built-in Wi-Fi. You’ll also find a WPS button for easy Wi-Fi setup and a USB port that lets you play music from storage devices. Bluetooth apt-X completes Teevy’s impressive connectivity.
Multiroom will be seen as the key feature here, but of greater significance perhaps is Crystal Acoustics’ WiSound technology. Using multiple speaker drivers firing in different directions, WiSound aims to deliver an enveloping "dome" of sound that maintains the same sonic qualities no matter where you are in the room. It uses a combination of direct dispersion and reflections from walls and ceilings to fill the room with sound.
Teevy 6 MR uses six drivers, including four 2in mid-range ones and two downward-firing subwoofers. Two of the mid-range drivers face forwards, while the other two are placed on the sides. The multiroom Teevy 6 uses 6.5in subs, compared with the original’s 5.15in cones. Power-wise, the amp delivers 2 x 25W to the mid-range drivers and 50W to the subs.
On the multiroom front, you can send music to and from other Wi-Fi-enabled Crystal Acoustics speakers, whether it’s the same song in every room or different tracks in different rooms. It’s worth noting that, unlike some multiroom speakers, Crystal’s units can also retransmit music from Bluetooth or USB storage to other Cuby or Teevy speakers.
Everything is controlled via the WiSound app for iOS and Android, which provides access to a variety of sources – DLNA/UPnP devices on your home network (PCs, servers, NAS drives), music-streaming services, and even iOS devices with AirPlay (which is strangely underplayed in all the bumph). The unit supports Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer and TuneIn Radio – as well as Pandora, which isn’t available to UK users.
Using the Teevy 6 MR on a day-to-day basis with your TV is child’s play. Crystal Acoustics has included a much better remote than the blister-button affair that's supplied with the original Teevy 6 – this one has real rubber keys. The lack of a text-based readout will be a problem only the first few times you use it.
The volume controls are located in a circular pad at the top, with Bluetooth play and track-skip keys close by. The oft-used input key could have been clearer – in fact, dedicated buttons for each input would have been even better – but on the whole it’s easy to use.
Multiroom setup is simple. There’s no need for a hub or network bridge – just fire up the app and press the WPS button on the back. It’s detected within seconds and then you’re ready to go. To add more devices, just hit the plus sign at the top and follow the instructions.
The app keeps things clear, laying menus and icons over a simple black background. You can explore the various pages by swiping the screen.
The first is the Device List, which shows all connected Teevy/Cuby speakers in your system. Each speaker is represented by a panel, which contains a volume slider and a cog icon that lets you tweak the settings. You can group speakers together by dragging one panel onto another – the speaker you moved becomes the "slave" and starts playing the same music as the "master". This includes Bluetooth and music from USB devices. It’s pleasingly slick and flexible.
You can create multiple groups of speakers in the same way. To play different music on different speakers or groups of speakers, just tap the one you want and select a source.
The next page displays the current playlist, and another lists all the available sources. DLNA/UPnP content is found in "My Music", while Bluetooth, optical and line-in can also be accessed. Sadly, the only streaming services listed are Pandora and TuneIn – to use the others, you have to fire up the respective apps elsewhere on your smartphone. While this isn't a major hassle, this lack of joined-up thinking makes rival multiroom apps such as Samsung’s seem more sophisticated.
The Search mode looks for music by keyword in a huge database of music supplied by TTPod, a free cross-platform streaming service from China that’s like a subscription-free version of Spotify Premium. At present, it displays music only from TTPod, but Crystal Acoustics is working on a more unified version of the search tool that shows results from local content as well as TTPod.
Fundamentally, the Teevy 6 MR delivers superb sound quality, making Blu-ray soundtracks sound big, bassy and exciting. Your TV’s pathetic speakers will hang their heads in shame as the Teevy 6 MR belts out movies with impressive scale and volume.
The explosive opening scene from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, in which Spidey thwarts Rhino’s attempt to nick a truck-full of plutonium, is bursting with energy and bristling with detail.
As the truck thunders through the streets, the Teevy 6 MR fills the room with the pounding rock soundtrack, screeching cars, tinkling glass and clattering metal. The trumpet fanfare is clear and incisive, plus Spidey’s snarky comments are clearly heard through the chaos.
High frequencies are crisp yet natural, with enough punchy bass to suggest depth without drowning out the other elements. There’s a pleasing balance as the action rattles along, which immersed us in the movie without wishing we had some tone controls to play with. This sense of balance also pays dividends when listening to music – the smooth, even-handed presentation made our test tunes sound terrific.
You don’t need to crank up the volume to make an impact – at around half way it’s perfectly loud enough. Push it towards maximum and it starts to sound a little brash, but its clear and dynamic output at lower volumes means you shouldn’t need to.
So far so good, but similar to the original Teevy 6 we were a tad disappointed by the impact of WiSound, its big selling point. There are no upward-firing drivers – as you’d expect from a product designed to have a TV plonked on top – so you don’t get the same sense of height and envelopment as the WiSound-equipped Cuby 7 and 9 speakers.
Admittedly, Teevy’s side-firing drivers do conjure up a wider soundstage than most soundbases, which is a big bonus when you’re sat watching a movie, but when moving around listening to music, you aren’t surrounded by a "dome" of sound as you are with the Cuby systems. However, the sound’s tonal characteristics offer even levels of bass and treble – provided you don’t stray too far off-axis.
It’s a minor complaint, since the Teevy’s sound is impressive even without WiSound firing on all cylinders, but having heard the difference it makes on the Cuby speakers, it feels like a missed opportunity.
The Teevy 6 MR offers plentiful features, a tasteful design and enjoyable sound quality – just like the first version, in fact. Its powerful, cohesive and detailed presentation brings any audio source to life, and WiSound works well with movies, offering a wide spread of sound. You don’t get the same sense of envelopment as Crystal’s Cuby systems though, and the lack of HDMI sockets might be a deal-breaker for some.
But the real question is this: does the addition of Wi-Fi and multiroom functionality merit spending an extra £100 over the price of the original Teevy 6?
If you already own, or plan to buy, some of Crystal’s other Cuby or Teevy Wi-Fi speakers then it’s worth the expense. The units work together seamlessly, forming a slick and flexible multiroom ecosystem orchestrated by a user-friendly smartphone app. It’s not a patch on Samsung’s latest app, but it gets the job done.
Similarly, if you want a soundbase that lets you stream music from your DLNA/UPnP devices then you might think it’s £100 well spent – after all, it’s the only soundbase we’ve tested that can do it.
If none of that is important, then you could quite happily opt for the cheaper Teevy 6 and enjoy the same TV-boosting benefits, while using Bluetooth to stream Spotify and other music from your smartphone. The choice is yours.
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The Teevy 6 MR is worth the added premium if you own other Crystal Wi-Fi speakers or want to stream music over your network. Everyone else should settle for the cheaper Teevy 6, which offers similarly impressive sound quality and design – although WiSound still doesn’t fulfil its potential and the lack of HDMI is a pity at this price.