£1,399 inc VAT • From www.teufel.eu
Teufel’s Latest 5.1 speaker system is designed as an all-in-one upgrade to turn any TV and Blu-ray player into a full-blown home cinema setup, without the need for a separate home cinema amplifier. The Cubycon 2 has a decoder box with a full range of inputs for all your separates, games consoles and set-top boxes, but doesn’t skimp on sound quality.
As the system doesn’t rely on a third-party amplifier, Teuful has managed to move all the speaker inputs to the subwoofer, letting you hide most of your cables with only a few inputs going into the decoder box. This takes up less room, and should keep clutter to a minimum. All the inputs are on the back.
The Cubycon 2 has three HDMI inputs, all of which support version 1.4a for 3D video playback, and there are two stereo RCA inputs, two digital coaxial and one optical input, a 3.5mm auxiliary input and radio antennae for FM and AM stations. There’s also a USB port here, but it’s only for service updates – you can’t play media through the decoder.
The subwoofer connects to the decoder using three stereo RCA cables, which are included in the box. These are pretty thick and it can take some planning to hide them effectively, but they’re easily long enough to position the subwoofer out of sight. The sub’s as large as a carry-on suitcase, but is well made and looks gorgeous in gunmetal black. With a little cable management, we’d happily show if off rather than hide it behind the furniture. It’s powered, and has a separate power cable to the decoder box, plus binding post terminals for connecting each satellite speaker. It also has power and volume controls, should you want to reduce its rumble potential.
The speakers are compact satellites that look like smaller versions of the subwoofer. The fabric driver covers are non-removable, but they look great. Each satellite uses binding posts, letting you use your own speaker wire if the bundled spool isn’t long enough, and has mounting points for fitting to a wall.
Once set up, we put the Cubycon 2 through its paces with our comprehensive set of test discs. It coped well with surround sound video, bringing Harry Potter’s dragon confrontation in The Goblet of Fire to bone-crunching life. Out of the box, the system was well balanced, with each satellite heard when the 5.1 soundtrack demanded it. Surround-sound effects were clearly defined in Avatar, too, giving real depth to the opening scenes as helicopters fly overhead and creatures rustle through the jungle. There was plenty of subtle detail, even in quieter scenes, and we were always able to hear speech clearly thanks to accurate positional audio.
The subwoofer had just enough presence at its default setting, but we lowered the crossover point slightly to give it even more rumble. At high volumes and during intense action sequences, it proved extremely capable at delivering room-shaking bass that remained clear and distortion-free. We couldn’t hear any distortion across the entire frequency range throughout our film testing, which is a good indication that you shouldn’t need to do too much setup to get fantastic sound.
We weren’t quite so impressed with music playback from an iPad through the 3.5mm auxiliary input, though. Unlike films, audio was bass-heavy and had a weak mid-range that let the top- and low-ends dominate. We switched to a digital optical input and changed from direct 5.1 to Dolby NEO:6 Music, which helped decrease the dominance of low-frequencies slightly, but we couldn’t reign it in completely, even when changing crossover levels and subwoofer volume. If you use your home theatre setup only for films, this may not be an issue, but we expect a £1,400 system to cope comfortably with any input.
Teufel bundles a comprehensive remote control to let you fine-tune the system, and it has all the features you expect, including tone, balance and level control, plus source selection and volume buttons. It’s a good thing you won’t be too reliant on the onscreen interface, as it’s a basic menu system that pales in comparison to many big-name home cinema packages, although it has plenty of customisable options. We especially liked the option to set alternate audio outputs when playing HDMI video sources, which could be useful if you’re running a computer through your TV.
With its incredibly easy setup, fantastic sound quality in films and gorgeous minimalist appearance, we were impressed with the Cubycon 2. It’s not without its flaws – chiefly the basic onscreen interface and the sheer number of cables needed to connect the decoder to the subwoofer – and it lacks the Smart TV systems you’d find on a big-name brand all-in-one, but it’s a great piece of kit.
We aren’t sure it warrants its price. You could buy the phenomenal Q Acoustics Q7000 speaker set and a mid-range amplifier, with change left over for a Smart TV-equipped Blu-ray player. Still, if you value space and ease of use, we can see the Teufel kit’s appeal.
INPUTS: 3x HDMI, 2x stereo phono, 2x coaxial S/PDIF, 1x optical S/PDIF
OUTPUTS: 1x HDMI
POWER CONSUMPTION: 281W on, 1W standby
WARRANTY: 12-year RTB speakers, two-year RTB electronics
PART CODE: CUB 2