- Review Price: £468.00
We recently reviewed Teufel’s System 9 THX Ultra 2 speaker system, which delivers extraordinary sound quality but at over £3k it’s one for serious (and seriously rich) audiophiles only. So we thought it was worth finding out what the company is capable of at a price that mere mortals can afford, and as a result we got our hands on the Motiv 3 system (for a UK exclusive review, no less). This 5.1 speaker package will set you back under £500 but hopefully Teufel (pronounced Toy-full) can retain some of the superb sound quality we heard from the System 9.
In the box you get five MO 3 FCR satellite speakers and the A 300 SW powered subwoofer, which measures a mere 258 x 265 x 320mm (W x H x D) and is styled in an alluring gloss-black finish. But the MO 3 FCR satellites are the real star of the show – their spherical shape and black finish makes them look the business, supplying the sort of cutting-edge cuteness that’s guaranteed to draw admiring looks from anyone in their presence.
What’s more, their build quality is also superb, with the sheet steel cabinets giving them a sturdy and robust feel – always an encouraging sign as far as sound quality is concerned – while their petite size lets you easily integrate them into a small room.
The satellites can be mounted on the wall or on top of the optional M 50 P stands, but for tabletop placement you get some ingenious magnetic bases in the box, which snap onto the bottom of each speaker and let you position them at the desired angle. It also makes them effortless to install, with nary a screwdriver nor Allen key in sight.
Each MO 3 FCR features an 80m full-range driver, flared cellulose cone and a low distortion neodymium magnet, which enables them to reproduce frequencies from 120 to 20,000Hz. The spherical cabinet also has the advantage of minimising diffraction and delivering even radiation. Around the back of each satellite are sturdy binding posts for the speaker cables.
The cubic subwoofer features a closed 10-litre cabinet that houses a ‘long-stroke’ bass driver, 200mm cone and low-loss suspension – all driven by a 150W amplifier. Around the back is a mono phono input, a volume control and a phase control switch. The on/off switch also has an Auto setting which enables the sub to fire into life when it detects a signal.
In action the Motiv 3 system doesn’t disappoint, delivering a surprisingly smooth and persuasive sound with a variety of audio sources. The size of the speakers proves not to be an obstacle at all, as they fill the room with a much grander sound than we were expecting. In fact, rooms up to 20m² in capacity are comfortably catered for, which puts most one-box system speakers to shame.
Our first port of call was ”The Dark Knight” on Blu-ray, whose brutal Dolby TrueHD track provides the perfect showcase for the system’s talents. Throughout the movie, the satellite speakers prove to be admirably eloquent and versatile, teasing out plenty of detail and delivering the complete frequency range with coherence and control.
Busy action sequences like the car chase or the opening bank robbery reveal surprisingly deep bass capabilities, giving the subwoofer less to do than you might imagine, plus it’s distinct in the midrange and treble is conveyed without sounding tinny or brash.
It’s complemented by well-rounded and strident dialogue, giving The Joker’s creepy monologues an extra air of menace, while transient sounds like gun shots and crashes make a resounding impact – for example, you feel each and every punch that Batman lands on the Joker during their interrogation room showdown.
As for the A 300 SW sub, it’s a real revelation. We’ve tested a few one-box system subs recently and have criticised their loose control and flabby output, but this is in a different class – low frequency effects are clean and muscular with a pleasingly dry tone, but it keeps them under firm control and merges them seamlessly with the satellites. It may not reach the fiery, foundation-shaking levels of the System 9’s monster bass-box, but this is a really impressive effort nonetheless.
Music playback is equally impressive. Corinne Bailey Rae’s ”Since I’ve Been Loving You” on CD is a thing of beauty, lending a beautiful tone to Rae’s delicate voice and conveying the double bass with pleasing solidity and admirable timing.
If you’re looking for a speaker system that doesn’t make demands on your precious space but musters a big, sophisticated sound, then the Motiv 3 should be at the top of your shopping list.
Not only do the spherical satellites boast a distinctive design and robust build quality, but they’re also assured performers, producing a surprisingly mature, neutral and full-bodied sound that belies their diminutive dimensions.
It’s also pleasing to discover that the subwoofer has the ability to reinforce the bottom end without dominating the soundstage, a trait that ruins many a one-box system. Overall, this is a top-notch speaker system that’s worth every penny of its price tag.
Score in detail
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