Teufel are newcomers to the UK, enjoying more of a following with our European neighbours. The Concept E range covers a number of options for those looking for a set of speakers. The Concept E 200 is a 5.1 amplified set. But is this the answer to your surround sound problems?
Teufel suggest that these speakers might appeal to a PC user wanting to get the most out of their sound card. The main reason for this suggestion is because the Concept E 200 doesn't have a decoder of its own.
To really get the best performance from the speakers, or a true surround sound stage, you'll need to have a device that either decodes the source information for you, such as some Blu-ray players, a soundcard, or pair them up with a header unit to do the processing, such as the Decoderstation 3 from Teufel, reviewed recently here on Pocket-lint.
The amplifier is built-in to the substantial 250mm subwoofer, giving a sizeable lump measuring 24.7 x 50 x 42cm. For a PC connection that might be just a little too large, especially if you have to hide it under a desk, but if you have a media PC hooked up to a large display for watching movies, then this will provide the sort of bass that makes your internal organs quiver (200 watt RMS).
On the front of the unit are three controls, bass, standby and volume. The central standby button provides on/off power, glowing red when in standby, and illuminating all three controls in blue when on. Having a separate bass control is great as it means you can directly control the bass output at a hardware level, rather than at the input end.
Around the back of the subwoofer you'll find all the connections. As this is simply an amplifier, you'll find inputs for your five channels and one for the subwoofer, and corresponding connections for speaker cables heading out to the satellite speakers.
The satellite speakers feature an 80mm driver, but all five are identical, delivering 100 watt RMS. Some might like this sense of unity, but we found ourselves looking at the centre speaker and wishing it was in some way different, as they often are. You can remove the front mesh for a more industrial look if you prefer. You also get a stand and brackets so you could wall-mount the speakers if you wish.
In the box you don't get any cables other than the power supply, so you'll need to get yourself a drum of speaker cable and the audio cables to hook up to the source.
Set-up is simply a case of plugging everything in and off you go. The result from a DTS source was excellent, but you will have to consider control of the source (the Decoderstation provides a good deal of control that you don't get on the speakers themselves).
The subwoofer is plenty powerful and the satellite speakers, although small, do pack a punch, instantly enhancing your audio output. The 200s sit in the mid-range of Teufel's offering, so you'll find that higher up the range the satellites also feature a 19mm tweeter. In all fairness, however, for general surround sound gaming and movie watching, you'll probably not notice the difference, but if you are going to listen to a lot of music, you might want to consider stepping up a level.
So overall the results are great and there is plenty of volume to create that great surround effect. If you want to connect to a stereo source (such as straight from your TV or an MP3 player) then you'll still benefit from great quality sound, including the subwoofer.
Complaints? Well, you don't get any form or remote, so you'll either have to change the volume at the source or get off the sofa and change the controller on the front of the subwoofer. Depending on how you connect to the speakers, you might not be able to remotely change the volume (such as connected to an audio output on the TV), so this is something to bear in mind.
The speakers will also power off when they don't receive a signal for some time, and we found that on one occasion during a tense (but quiet) moment in a movie, the speakers shut down.
But overall we found the performed well, delivering great crisp surround sound, and come in at a fairly competitive price too. Should you have a PC with 5.1 soundcard, this is an easy way to really exploit it, while paring it with a Decoderstation might appeal to those with a projector setup looking to avoid a full AV receiver.