The Columa 300â€™s sound quality is very impressive indeed, more compelling and authoritative than the Columa 100 â€“ and many other similarly priced systems, for that matter. The first thing we noticed is how powerful the system is, which gives epic action scenes the sense of scale and drama they require.
That means sequences like the opening to Inception are an absolute thrill ride â€“ fast, detailed and expansive, with plenty of punch in the lower frequencies. Loud explosions and deep rumbling as buildings collapse are relayed with a deep, hearty thump. Likewise the thunderous noise of the rioting crowd outside Satoâ€™s apartment, which is every bit as menacing and tension-building as the director intended.
This is largely down to the extraordinary efforts of the subwoofer, which delivers tight blasts of raw, concentrated bass that never sound flabby. Bottom-end effects hit you where it hurts, but donâ€™t overpower the other speakers, and itâ€™s this balance and cohesion that makes for such an enjoyable listen.
And at the other end of the sonic spectrum, high-frequency reproduction is a delight. The lightest, most delicate effects can be heard filling out the background of talky scenes, such as Cobb and Ariadne walking the Paris streets, but detail also shines during lively scenes â€“ for example, smashing car windows break through the frenzied cries and rumbling footsteps of the rioting crowd.
The centre speaker has no trouble making itself heard, projecting dialogue with a clear, forceful tone and refusing to strain when charactersâ€™ tempers get the better of them.
Of course, this richness, detail and surprisingly impressive bass handling is in evidence all around the soundstage thanks to the matched speakers. Despite the budget price tag, this certainly isnâ€™t a budget performance, sounding a lot more mature and distortion-free than you might expect at this price. Itâ€™s also surprisingly musical, delivering a smooth, warm and confident rendition of Incognitoâ€™s Transatlantic RPM CD, even when using the columns as a straight stereo pair sans sub.
Listening to movies and music through Teufel's Columa 300 speaker system is an exciting, absorbing experience. Itâ€™s the sort of performance youâ€™d expect from a more expensive setup, and thankfully irons out the flaws we noticed with the Columa 100.
We love the solid aluminium construction, which again is better than you have any right to expect for 500 quid, and with a wide range of packages to choose from, thereâ€™s something for everyone. The only slight disappointment is that it doesnâ€™t look quite as stylish or distinctive as the Columa 100, but even so these slender columns are still sure to appeal.