- Review Price: £349.00
As the name suggests, the main characteristic of this system is that it comes with four 108.9cm-high column speakers (CL 100 FR), two for the front and two for the rear. You can, however, choose a different configuration that includes two shorter satellites (CL 100 FR, 35cm high) that can be used at the front or rear, which is great if you like them to be a little more discreet. We were supplied with the full-fat tall-column system.
(centre)”’One of the four column CL 100 FR speakers we were given for testing”’(/centre)
Whichever you go for, their de rigueur glossy black lacquer finish is deeply stylish and their unusual shape is very distinctive – the middle section containing the speaker drivers is flanked by two pointed side strips with a curved rear section, and the whole thing screws onto an oval base. What’s more they’re only 8.6cm thick, which is ideal if you’re installing them next to a slim flatpanel TV. It’s safe to say they won’t be to everyone’s taste but it’s always good to see a company trying to shake things up a bit.
(centre)”’ The optional shorter satellite CL 100 FR speakers”’(/centre)
Inside the column CL 100 FR speakers are two newly designed Klippel-optimised 70mm midrange drivers and a 19mm mesh calotte tweeter, with an optimised crossover smoothly balancing frequencies above the sub’s upper limit. These highly efficient speakers don’t require much power to make them sing, but if your AV receiver is fairly powerful their 100W power handling will be a blessing.
On the back of these columns (and all of the speakers in fact) is a pair of sturdy gold-plated binding posts that can accommodate cables up to 4mm thick, but because they’re housed in a small recess it’s quite difficult to slip the cables into the holes, so some patience may be required.
(centre)”’ The centre CL 100 CR speaker”’(/centre)
They’re joined in the set by the CL 100 C centre speaker, which is designed to sit under the TV screen on the supplied cradle, or it can be mounted on the wall if you prefer. It has the same drivers and enclosure volume as the columns in a bid to ensure that the sound is as homogeneous as possible across the entire soundstage. They’re also designed to match the columns, albeit a horizontal version.
The subwoofer is the same one that comes with the Consono 25 system. The US 5108/1 SW is a powered affair, fitted with a newly developed 100W amplifier and a 200W long-throw cellulose woofer. It delivers bass tones down to 38Hz, and an internal limiter prevents it from overmodulation and distortion.
(centre)”’ The US 5108/1 SW subwoofer”’(/centre)
Like the other speakers, the sub is immaculately styled in a lustrous gloss black finish and features a button on the front that makes it easy to turn on and off – although the auto power mode means you don’t really have to bother with it. The sensitivity of this can be controlled using a dial on the rear panel. Also on the back is a volume dial, a single cinch input and a switch that flips the phase 180 degrees.
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.
Score in detail