Compact or 'bookshelf' speakers are a great option if you hate clutter, but anyone who's serious about home cinema needs to invest in floorstanding speakers - that's the best way to get the required punch and power for large-scale movie sound. Trouble is, you can end up paying through the nose for the privilege, but not when German brand Teufel is involved. Its Columa 200 system gets you a full 5.1 system with tower speakers for well under £500.
Teufel Columa 200: Design
The system includes four CL 200 FR columns for the front and rears, and surprisingly for towers they're not imposing in the slightest. Their 24cm width gives them only a small footprint, while the sturdy, walnut-finished cabinets exude retro charm. Some may hanker for a little more excitement and elegance but the gloss black panel on the front grounds the design in today's design tastes and complements the wood finish nicely. You also get square plinths that need to be screwed onto the bottom of each speaker. You also get a horizontal centre speaker (CL 200 C), designed to match the towers. It can be wall-mounted thanks to the brackets on the rear, or placed on your TV stand. And on bass duties is the surprisingly attractive Theater 800 SW subwoofer, which is bulkier than you might expect given the skinniness of the columns, but that's because there's a 150W amplifier and 250mm bass driver lurking inside.
Teufel Columa 200: Features
Columa 200 is designed to fill rooms of up to 30m² and does so using two 70mm midrange drivers and a 19mm tweeter inside each tower. The same drivers can be found inside the centre speaker, hopefully helping the system to deliver a cohesive soundstage. They cover a frequency range of 100Hz up to 20kHz. The subwoofer's bass level can be adjusted using the volume control on the back, but the lack of crossover control and other tweaks means you may have to leave low-frequency fine tuning to your AV receiver. There's a mono RCA input on the back.
Teufel Columa 200: Performance
Fire up the Columa 200 and its sound is detailed and pleasingly smooth at high volumes. It really digs deep into busy action scenes and drags out detail that not every speaker system is capable of resolving. That comes in useful during quiet scenes too - you can hear every little background detail, and Teufel builds atmosphere and tension beautifully. High frequencies sound smooth, the speakers and subwoofer are tightly integrated and there's reasonable power on tap, helped in no small part by the sterling efforts of the tight, punchy sub - all of which allows the system to communicate the required sense of drama during feisty action scenes.
Teufel Columa 200: Verdict
Yet it didn't really blow our socks off in the same way as some of the more powerful and dynamic systems elsewhere in Teufel's range - the step-up Columa 300 being one. But in terms of dialogue clarity, detail reproduction, bass depth, agility and expansiveness, the Columa 200 is an excellent performer for the money.
Teufel Columa 200 launch date: Out now
Teufel Columa 200 price: £479, Teufel