Teufel Concept E 400 Digital review
All-in-one Blu-ray home cinema systems are perfect for those don’t want the hassle of choosing a player, AV receiver and speakers separately, and they tend to work out cheaper than separates, too. The downside is that, if you decide to upgrade your player at a later date, you’ll probably have to buy a new amp and speakers too. All-in-one systems aren’t very attractive for anyone who has recently invested in a Blu-ray player, either.
That’s why we decided to take a look at this home cinema speaker system from Teufel. It includes a decoder box and amplifier built into the subwoofer and five satellites. There’s no Blu-ray player, but with our favourite stand-alone player, the Sony BDP-S370, available for just £130, this combination of player and speakers comes in at less than many all-in-one systems.
Sadly, the E 400 Digital’s decoder has no HDMI inputs, so it can’t accept Blu-ray soundtracks in the highest quality Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio formats. Instead, soundtracks are piped in Dolby Digital or DTS format to the decoder’s S/P-DIF input. These formats are compressed – the difference is equivalent to MP3 versus CD Audio.
The satellites are small and discrete but the subwoofer is enormous, and about the size and shape of a full tower PC. With eight inputs on the decoder, there’s no chance of running out, and the volume knob is much better than the buttons commonly used elsewhere.
Sound quality is exceptionally high for the price. Music and film soundtracks were solid and focused, and there was plenty of volume to do justice to action sequences. The LG HB965TZ – which at £550 with a Blu-ray player included is comparably priced – had the edge for music with its bright, open high-frequency response, but the Teufel performed better in films with more focused and full-bodied dialogue from its centre speaker.
The lack of HDMI inputs keeps the E 400 Digital from winning an award, but it’s still an excellent choice for those who don’t want to buy a new Blu-ray player or a separate set of speakers and a home cinema amplifier.
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