Teufel is by far the best known exponent of direct sell loudspeakers and has been steadily raising its profile in the UK over the last couple of years. The big difference between Teufel and other brands is that they’re not available from hi-fi dealers, cutting out the middleman, which means lower selling prices, so to an extent you have to take its qualities on trust. But you do get a generous eight-week trial period, during which the speakers can be returned for a refund if you find you can’t get along with them.
An additional confidence builder, is the astonishing twelve-year guarantee period, yes that’s right, twelve years!
The T500 is one of the latest from Teufel, a classic three-way floor- stander which, thanks to their distribution model, sells for a very attractive price and pitches Teufel into direct competition with some of the more popular mainstream brands, including Monitor Audio and Wharfedale.
Although essentially conventional in design, there are some noteworthy features, which are not quite by the numbers – see Our Verdict below.
The drive unit complement includes a 28mm fabric-dome tweeter, two 170mm bass drivers and a similar size midrange unit, the size chosen to provide the compact footprint and svelte lines that ensures the speaker will not be intrusive in most rooms.
The bass drivers uses Kevlar mesh diaphragms, with long-throw suspensions, while the midrange unit has a sandwich pulp cone. Bi-wiring or (even) bi-amping are both supported. Finally the tall slender reflex loaded enclosure is fitted with a cleverly integrated platform base.
A lot of effort has gone into optimising dispersion and minimising phase error, as well as improving time alignment at the point where the tweeter takes over the reins, which is the reason for the stepped- baffle and the deeply recessed tweeter dome. But even leaving this to one side, the T500 is impressively constructed, the sturdy woodwork being made from 18mm MDF with a dark vinyl-wrap wood-effect finish. The price doesn’t allow for a real-wood finish.
More impressive than build quality is the T500’s high-value rating, which is largely attributable to the fact that the speakers are sold direct to the end user.
The T500 is ready to accept spikes or isolation pads. They don’t come in the box as standard, but isolation pads are available optionally, costing around £25 for a set and you can get spikes from various third party sources. Don’t economise on this: the tall, narrow form factor places stability at a premium.
This is a high-value package, with a grown up performance, but – and inevitably there is a but – there is more quantity here than quality.
The T500 is well made and presented and the bass is moderately deep and powerful, but it is also uneven. The polar response from the tweeter is odd: you need to line up fairly accurately with the tweeter’s main axis to achieve a smooth, well- extended response and something similar happens in the low and middle-frequency range too. In this case the effect has little to do with the listening axis, but the bass and midband are similarly uneven, a little wooden and lumpy if you will.
If this sounds like damming criticism, it must be seen in the context of value. There is no questioning that the Teufel offers good value for money and with some care over details like spikes, as well as room positioning, you can achieve a good working balance.
There is no denying that you get a real bang for your buck here and the ability to audition the speakers in your home for a long period. But we never felt completely comfortable with this speaker, which seems to have been designed more by the numbers, rather than real inspiration. There is nothing objectionable about the sound, but it is more workmanlike than inspired.
Of course, if funds are limited, there are bound to be trade-offs, but from the audiophile perspective we would gladly sacrifice a little of the bass extension for greater overall refinement.
LIKE: Good value, solid build, extended warranty
DISLIKE: Not quite directionally uniform in output as expected
WE SAY: Strong value for money and excellent trial period and warranty take most of the worries out
of buying direct
TYPE: 3-way floorstanding bass reflex
WEIGHT: 26kg each
DIMENSIONS: (WxHxD) 1050x195x325mm
• Twin bass drivers
• Integrated platform support
• Base vented reflex port
• Phase compensated tweeter