- Written by Ross Jones
- Published on 26 February 2013
Introduction to the Crystal Acoustics TX-T2 SE THX ULTRA2 Certified Speakers
Crystal Acoustics is a niche-within-a-niche kind of company. It sells high-value speaker systems directly to customers through the Internet. Not just any speakers, though. Crystal specializes in THX certified home theater systems. I've reviewed several Crystal Acoustics speakers, ranging from smaller THX Select certified floor-standers, up to their THX Ultra2 certified TX-T3SE. Now comes the TX-T2 SE, a mid-sized floor standing speaker that carries the THX Ultra2 badge. Are the TX-T2 SE's the best of both worlds, combining a smaller size with Ultra2 performance?
CRYSTAL ACOUSTICS TX-T2 SE THX ULTRA2 CERTIFIED FLOOR-STANDING SPEAKERS
- Design: Two-way, Ported Enclosure
- Drivers: One 1" Silk Dome Tweeter, Two 7" Crystal Fiber Woofers
- MFR: 35 Hz - 22 kHz
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 91 dB/2.83V/m
- Recommended Power: 150 Watts
- Maximum Power: 300 Watts
- Dimensions: 39" H x 7.9" W x 11.8" D
- Weight: 42 Pounds/each
- MSRP: $1,699/pair
- Crystal Acoustics
- SECRETS Tags: Crystal Acoustics, Home Theater Speakers, Speakers, Floorstanding, Audio
Design and Setup of the Crystal Acoustics TX-T2 SE THX ULTRA2 Certified Speakers
The TX-T2 ES's, like the other Crystal Acoustics' floor-standers, use a one-inch silk-dome tweeter that sit on top of the enclosure in a swivel-mount. The idea is that having the tweeter sits outside of the main enclosure reduces reflections from the back of the tweeter that would otherwise cause resonances inside the cabinet. The main enclosure sports two identical seven-inch mid-range/woofers, made from a yellow, woven fiberglass material that Crystal calls "Crystal fibre." Combined with a shiny metallic bullet-cone phase plugs, the drivers bear a passing resemblance to those of a certain British high-end speaker company.
The TX-T2's have two front-mounted ports, a 1.75" port that sits between the two midrange/woofers, and a larger four inch dimpled port located below the woofers. The two woofers sit in their own separate damped enclosures within the cabinet.
Physically, the TX-T2's, at just under 39 inches height, are shorter and shallower than the top-of-the-line TX-T3. I consider this was more of a virtue than a vice. Although I really liked the TX-T3's ability to be used full-range without a subwoofer, I thought that their outsized height and size made it a challenge to seamlessly integrate with the smaller center and surround channel speakers in the Crystal line-up when used in a 5.1 system. Here, the 39 inch height of the TX-T2's means that the tweeter sits directly at ear level, which resulted in smoother pans across the soundstage.
The rear of the Crystal Acoustics have two sets of binding posts for bi-wiring, along with jumper cables if you're not inclined to passively bi-wire the speakers. Fit n' finish were excellent for a value-priced speaker such as the TX-T2's, with a glossy piano black finish on front and back with rounded wooden side panels. An unscientific rap of the knuckles on the enclosure resulted in a solid thunking sound, a good sign that the enclosure is properly braced.
The Crystal Acoustics TX-T2 SE THX ULTRA2 Certified Speakers In Use
I matched the T2's with Crystal's THX-Center and THX-Dipole speakers, which are both THX Select certified. I used the bi-wire connections on the T2's, driving them with two channels of my Emotiva XPA-3 amplifier and using the preamp outs of an Integra DTR 50.3 receiver.
If I thought the larger T3's were just a little too large to integrate with the rest of the Crystal Acoustics speakers, then like Goldilocks and the Three Bears the T2's were just right. Marvel's The Avengers was a pleasant surprise, somehow melding the different themes of the superheroes into a cohesive and enjoyable film. The Blu-ray disc gave the Crystal's a real workout, the fast panning of the flying characters zooming around the room in the manner one expects with a THX speaker system. Dialogue across the front channels was more seamless than I experienced with the larger T3's, although some subtle timbre differences between the T2 and THX-Center speaker were still noticeable.
When I reviewed the T3's two years ago, Tom Petty's superb re-issue of Damn The Torpedoes had just come out on Blu-ray audio, so I thought it appropriate to check out the album again on the T2 speakers (not that I ever need an excuse to break out that disc). The T2's really shone on the high-quality recording, with quicker transient response than I remembered from prior Crystal Acoustics' models. The T2's had an almost studio monitor-like quality to them, apparent from the clear cymbal ringing and decay. The vocals sounded accurate, although imaging on the T2's, like any THX speaker, is generally reduced as a trade-off for the wider soundstage it provides. Overall, I was taken by the clarity of the T2's on the variety of music I played through them.
The Crystal Acoustics TX-T2 SE THX ULTRA2 Certified Speakers On The Bench
As usual, all measurements were taken with the speaker in the middle of the room, to avoid interaction with corners and walls. Except as noted below, measurements were taken at one foot at a height equal to the driver being tested.
Distortion at 1 kHz is 2.13%, with even-order harmonics predominate.
At 10kHz, distortion is down to 0.6%.
The T2 is rated by the manufacturer as capable of useable output down to 35 Hz. As shown, the Crystal can indeed put out significant power at 35Hz, while remaining under 9% THD+N. Quite impressive for a modest-sized floorstander.
I was curious to see what the distortion characteristics would be at a slightly higher frequency, 50 Hz. THD+N is all the way down to 0.48% at 100 decibels. I've tested dedicated subwoofers that didn't measure this good at 50 Hz.
In-room response is show at one foot, one meter, and two meters. Because these measurements were taken with the microphone positioned between the two woofers, the high frequency response becomes more susceptible to room reflections at longer distances.
The T2 is rated at 8 ohms, with a minimum impedance of 3.2 ohms. The pink impedance trace shows a minimum of 3.8 ohms. Phase above the characteristic double-hump of the speaker port shifts a maximum of 70 percent. The impedance-phase angle around 1.4 kHz probably explains the higher distortion reading at 1 kHz.
Conclusion about the Crystal Acoustics TX-T2 SE THX ULTRA2 Certified Speakers
The Crystal Acoustics' TX-T2 hits the sweet spot, providing a well-balanced foundation (front left and right speakers) for Crystal's THX certified surround speaker system. The TX-T2's integrate seamlessly with the THX-Center and Bipole, resulting in an immersive home theater experience. Crystal Acoustics has a knack for producing high quality, high value speakers at bargain prices, and with the complete TX-T2 system selling for only $1,699, they've done it again!