To check performance, we turned once again to Inception, played on a Samsung Blu-ray deck through the Onkyo TX-NR807. The Columa signals its intent right from the off – the huge, blast of brass that starts the movie is deep and punchy, plus it puts plenty of force behind the whooshing waves as they hit the shore without making them sound harsh.
Further into the scene as Cobb attempts to extract an idea from Sato, the scene is played out by the Columa 100 with gratifying crispness and vibrancy, although it comes dangerously close to brightness at times. As the building collapses, the soundstage is awash with detail – tinkling glass, cracking timber and swishing water are crystal clear. It copes admirably at loud volumes too, with gunshots blasting around the spacious soundstage with real snap while big explosions and rumbling earthquakes are fulsome. Credit for the latter goes to the subwoofer, which as we noted in our Consono 25 review is a magnificent performer, relaying low-frequency sounds with control and punch as opposed the boomy character of the Impaq 3000's passive sub.
The decent high frequency handling of the columns means there’s a delightful energy and clarity to rear effects, projected into the room with real purpose and great timing, although again they’re just a touch on the bright side to completely blow us away. The centre speaker’s dialogue handling is fine, making Inception’s verbal onslaught perfectly audible, although it relies on the sub to give it the extra body needed to make it sound realistic.
Although these are clearly superior performers to the Consono 25 and Impaq 3000, they’re not up to the same standards as other speaker packages we’ve tested of late, lacking the authoritative richness and depth of the EMP Tek Impression or Acoustic Energy Aegis Neo V2 for example, but at this price the sound quality you get is highly enjoyable.
With music, that top-end sharpness gives hi-hats a light, perky feel, while the solid midrange and taut bass make for a nicely rounded sound. It lacks the flat-out refinement of the best systems but compared to some similarly priced all-in-one packages its musical performance is far superior.
The Columa 100 is another great-value speaker system from the Teufel stable that might not have managed to blow us away but still reached parts that most budget all-in-ones simply can’t. Pair it with a decent AV receiver and you’ll get crisp, dynamic movie sound out of them, plus we like the unusual aesthetic approach and the impressive subwoofer, which is much better than you’d expect from such an affordable system.