Notes from Berlin: ULTIMA bookshelf speakers go active

They are the youngest members of a truly legendary Teufel speaker series and they are perfectly suited to a wide array of applications: the ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE. We paid a personal visit to Mateusz in the Teufel Electronics Team to see just how versatile the new active bookshelf speakers really are.

A set of ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE speakers
The ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE

The ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE can do it all straight out of the box because they’re equipped with an integrated AV receiver. And they come packed full of the highly popular and award-winning ULTIMA sound.

A system design that delivers the required feature set

Mateusz testing the ULTIMA 25 active in the Teufel Electronics Lab
The ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE in the Teufel Electronics Lab

Teufel Blog: Matheusz, can you give our readers a quick idea of your involvement in the development of the ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE?

Mateusz: Hi! My role on the project was that of electronics engineer, meaning I was responsible for coming up with a system design that delivers the required feature set. This was done under constraints like the project’s budget (so that we can deliver an attractive price for the customer), acoustic requirements (so that the audio chain meets our high quality standards), regulatory requirements and so on.

Teufel Blog: Some of our fans are familiar with the already successful ULTIMA 40 ACTIVE, our active floorstanding speakers. What was the intent behind developing a set of active bookshelf speakers? Was this something a lot of our customers were asking for?   

Mateusz: We were mainly receiving demand from ULTIMA 20 users who appreciate the small form factor but were looking for a sound system that they could connect directly to their PCs or TVs, without an additional receiver.

Focus: A comfortable mode of interaction regardless of where the product is positioned

Teufel Blog: What was the focus in the development of the ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE? Was there any particular customer feedback from the ULTIMA 40 ACTIVE you incorporated?

Mateusz: We always look at customer feedback from various products already in our portfolio. In this case, we knew the ULTIMA design was well-loved, so we focused on keeping the design language and heritage. Given the broad range of use cases, we also focused on offering a comfortable mode of interaction, regardless of where the product is positioned in the customer’s home.

Mateusz tests the internal amplifiers of the ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE
Testing the internal amplifiers

Teufel Blog: You brought in Dynamore Virtual Center from previous models. How exactly does that work?

Mateusz: Dynamore Virtual Center is a signal processing technique that lets a pair of stereo speakers deliver the illusion of a center speaker. This works by making human voice appear from the central point in the middle of the soundstage, while keeping effects wide. It can help make dialogue in movies or online content clearer.

A formidable all-rounder

Teufel Blog: The ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE offers extensive connection options and directly integrated features that are rare (HDMI) or never-before-seen (FM/DAB) in comparable products. Does the ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE pull double duty as a radio?

Mateusz: Yes indeed. It is a formidable all-rounder that should cover many use cases. You can use it in your living room during the day to listen to your favorite DAB station and then in the evening watch a movie using HDMI ARC or one of many other supported inputs.

Teufel Blog: How did you make the two speakers sound identical? Because obviously the passive one has more internal volume.

Mateusz: That is an accurate observation. The speaker employs state-of-the-art digital signal processing techniques and is tuned to compensate for such differences and effects. 

Mateusz turning a knob on some testing equipment

Teufel Blog: The ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE can also be expanded with the EFFEKT 2 or subwoofers from our T series. What use cases did you have in mind when you built that in? How does the ULTIMA 25 sound for movies or TV? What was the first movie you would watch with them?

Mateusz: The EFFEKT 2 or T series subwoofers are excellent extensions to the “default” stereo pair, turning it into a formidable living room system. I would recommend Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), a modern action classic with great sound design.

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Teufel Blog: What features does the integrated USB-C sound card provide from an acoustic perspective, and which operating systems are supported?

Mateusz: The USB-C sound card is a convenient way to connect your computer to the speaker with no additional hardware required. You also get the benefit of not having your audio signal go through multiple stages of digital to analog (and vice versa) before it reaches the speaker. This is good for the quality. We support all common OSes like Windows, MacOS, Linux.

Teufel Blog: Thank you for the interview and peeks behind the curtain.

A man using a computer with a set of ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE speakers on the desk
Enjoy great sound while you work from home: the ULTIMA 25 ACTIVE

All phots: Teufel

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