With the release of the Ultima 40 Active Teufel has refreshed it’s entire Ultima family. For that reason the Teufel blog team and press team sat with the Technical Director and Teufel veteran, Markus Romeis, to talk about the legendary Ultima family, their development history and to look at the future for the Ultima series.
Teufel veteran Markus in interview
Blog Team: Hello Markus, you’re already known throughout Teufel, you really are a veteran and together with your team you have already brought a range of amazing products onto the market. Please introduce yourself to our blog readers!
Markus: With pleasure, I am Markus, and have been with Teufel Audio for over 30 years. I am responsible for the entire technical side of any new product. Once the Development Head Simon Schiessl and his team have finished the creation and specification, I then take over the responsibility for the products in the execution phase to the creation of the first samples and then finally to mass production.
To learn from feedback, was and is a pillar of Teufel’s success.
The legend behind the Ultima series
Blog Team: Teufel recently reworked it’s most beloved product the Ultima. When you look back, how did the Ultima actually come about?
Markus: Now, I really need to think. At the end of the 1990s and thet start of 2000s Teufel had their biggest ever sales – which today is still successful – for the satellites and subwoofer systems. When it came to the standing-speaker industry we didn’t really make our stamp on it. We wanted to change it and tried out a few things.
It was a long, hard way because the first Ultima speakers, Ultima 5 and Ultima 7 optically and acoustically have very little relation to today’s models – in that they weren’t straightaway a success, like wished. However, to learn from feedback, was and is a pillar of Teufel’s success.
So, after the first setback we sat together and thought about what we could do, to be a success in the loudspeaker market. In this process the foundations of the – now legendary – design came to be – that we can all recognise today. Since then, it’s typical for the Ultima the unique toner arrangement and – of course – the copper-coloured middle toner. So through this process came the first “real” Ultima, the Ultima 60. And we hit the nail on the head for our customers, just like the success shows.
The Ultima’s special arrangement
Blog Team: You have just mentioned a special arrangement of the toners, what does this do for the Ultima sound exactly?
Markus: Floor-standing loudspeakers need to have a certain arrangement, so that the loudspeaker sounds good. When it came to the Ultima 40 we changed this. Firstly, the order of the drivers: two woofers in the bottom part and directly above the tweeter, then the mid-range drivers. This means that the sound waves don’t get sent down, but instead straight ahead.
Even today it’s still a significant acoustic quality issue.
However, we are getting closer to the ideal of the point source by arranging the the toners in reverse.Even today it’s still a significant acoustic quality issue. Stage reproduction and the reproduction of the mid-range and treble seem authentic. With the new version we worked hard on sound optimisation and installed an improved tweeter. This ensure for a better spread of sound waves, by developing a better lens. So all in all, through this process, the tweeter improved.
Blog Team: How did the Ultima maintain its success throughout the years?
Markus: We really analysed what our customers loved the most about the loudspeaker. This includes the sound character, the design with the round edges, and of course, a fair price.
With the intention is go ahead with the series we were very careful to change these aspects with the greatest caution. As a result, aspects that were already loved by our customers in the first generation are still available two versions later.
The new Ultima 40 Active
Blog Team: A now there is a new family member in the Ultima series…
Markus: Yes, in the end of 2016 we extended the Ultima series with the active loudspeaker Ultima 40 Active. It was the logical reaction to the growing trend towards active loudspeakers, to create a speaker that can be controlled directly from a smartphone or other players – in our case even through the television – and without the necessity of a stereo or AV receiver. This concept has been well received by our customers. Of course, we have paid particular attention to offering the same high sound quality in the active version as our customers are used to from the passive Ultima 40.
Blog Team: If you look at other active loudspeakers on the market, you notice that they don’t have a HDMI port to improve TY sound, unlike the Ultima 40 Active….
Markus: The HDMI port is the result from many conversations with our customers, who just wanted an easy way to connect active speakers to their televisions. In the first Ultima 40 active version there was already a HDMI port available – probably a premier for this class. With the new version we’re taking a step further. You can now connect the Ultima 40 Active with our rear-loudspeakers Teufel Effekt to create a 4.0 system. And if wished, you can connect an extra subwoofer.
Dynamore Virtual Center
Blog Team: The possible set up of the 4.0 or 4.1 system actually means that for the home cinema the voice intelligibility, which is very important, is missing….
Markus: Not really. With the new design for the Ultima 40 Active we worked intensely with the topic TV and film sound, so we decided to create a simulated centre channel. This removes the need for an extra speaker in the room, which isn’t always easy to set up. Our own software solution Dynamore Virtual Center simulates the centre channel. The experience is so good, that you don’t even miss the 5th loudspeaker.
It always has to sound good – that’s the genius of Teufel, our DNA
Blog Team: Markus, why does the Ultima 40 remain a success?
Markus: Because they have a high-quality Hi-Fi sound and an impressive design – and all this for a fair price. It always has to sound good – that’s the genius of Teufel, our DNA. Of course, our speakers should look attractive, too, but we only spend as much money on them as necessary. That’s why our customers receive amazing loudspeakers – which always surprises them – for such a small investment. And of course word always gets around.
Blog Team: Thank you for the detailed interview, Markus!