Teufel C 200 USB is a 2.1 speaker system featuring a large subwoofer and USB digital input

Teufel is a German-owned brand that now sells only through its online shop, and specialises in designing speakers for PCs and home cinema. Among its latest products is a 2.1 sub/sat system that is aimed at PC and multimedia users. The Teufel Concept C 200 USB is a one-stop, if somewhat large, solution for playing sound from any computer or MP3 player

Sub-sat systems are popular for bringing sound to PCs, as the speakers responsible for midrange and treble sound are small and easy to site on the desk. Meanwhile, the bass ‘sub' (the so-called subwoofer) may be large and ugly, and can be hidden out of sight, leaving just the prettier ‘sat' (satellite) speakers on view.

In the case of the Teufel Concept C 200 USB, we have a pair of small two-way speakers finished in gloss black lacquer, with detachable stands to raise them from the desk. These are more functionally styled than especially attractive. A relatively enormous sub-woofer is provided to reproduce the low notes.

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All the Teufel Concept C 200 USB electronics are housed in the sub box, namely three channels of amplification and a USB digital-to-analogue converter (DAC). With this USB DAC, you need only plug the bass unit into a Mac or Windows PC's USB port to enable digital audio to be piped directly into the system, avoiding the computer's own analogue audio outputs.

Alternatively, there's a single pair of RCA phono plugs which will accept the regular output of a PC, iPod or other MP3 player.

There's no switch to select between these inputs. Instead, the Teufel Concept C 200 USB system seems to prioritise the digital input if both are connected at once. To save you from groping down below to make adjustments, a backlit wired remote control unit is included on a short cable. This weighted unit rests on the desk and allows you to put the system into standby, set volume, as well as adjust the relative level of the bass speaker to the satellites.

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Build quality of the Teufel Concept C 200 USB is mostly satisfactory even if the styling is uninspiring. We were less impressed with the satellite stands, all flimsy and bendy plastic, painted to look like real aluminium.

Some may gasp at the size of the Teufel Concept C 200 USB subwoofer unit, nearly half a metre high and with a 10in bass driver, although the use of a reflex-loaded (that is, ported) bass speaker in a large volume box does typically allow a system to ‘breathe' more easily. We found the Teufel Concept C 200 USB sound quite flowing, with less of the usual gap in the upper bass/lower midrange frequencies that many sub/sat systems suffer.

When tiny satellites are used, they are often simply unable to reproduce sound low enough in frequency to meet the upper frequency limit of the subwoofer. These CE 20 FCR speakers, on the other hand, include separate midrange and treble units to allow a wider frequency response.

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In our listening tests, we found the sound of the Teufel Concept C 200 USB via the USB input to be solid enough in the bass, with useful clarity to vocals in the midband. There was a spacious three-dimensional sound to the satellite speakers, although they could sound congested and a little messy when presented with complex, harmonically rich music. And over-riding the sound was a certain graininess, so that even uncompressed audio seemed a little robbed of cleanliness. As the volume was wound up, this edginess became more apparent.

Turning to the analogue input, the same music played from an iPod 5G was much smoother and more enveloping. While bass from either input could still be somewhat overblown - helped by turning down the bass level to about a halfway setting on the remote control panel - the overall effect here was tidier and more natural to listen to than through the USB digital input.

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Teufel C 200 USB: Specs

  • 2.1 sub-sat speaker system with USB input
  • three channel amplifier, total specified power 135W rms
  • cable remote control with standby, volume and bass level, mic input and headphone output
  • CE 20 FCR satellite: 125x98x90mm, 0.53kg
  • CC 200 SW sub unit: 247x430x380mm, 13kg
  • 2.1 sub-sat speaker system with USB input
  • three channel amplifier, total specified power 135W rms
  • cable remote control with standby, volume and bass level, mic input and headphone output
  • CE 20 FCR satellite: 125x98x90mm, 0.53kg
  • CC 200 SW sub unit: 247x430x380mm, 13kg

OUR VERDICT

This system is capable of playing quite loud with a conspicuously fullsome bass-rich tone, although this can be tamed somewhat by turning down the sub level from the default setting. The USB input is useful, but not the outstanding feature it could be. In overall build they are competent but rather generic of Far East-made speaker systems. And note that no cables are included in the box, so add on about £8 for Teufel's 2.1-speaker cable pack. When buying audio components we would encourage an audition first, but with online sales only available, Teufel offers a completely free two-week sale-or-return policy. This is extended to eight weeks, if you don’t mind paying the return postage to Germany.

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