When German speaker and headphone specialist Teufel decided to launch in the UK late last year, several floors of an exclusive west London hotel were vacated for the occasion. Given that they brought THX - the organisation that puts booming audio into the world's cinemas - with them and proceeded to demonstrate the possibilities of such immersive sound, we were quite relieved.
Later, PC Advisor was found in decadent style rocking out to AC/DC and other rock gods courtesy of some rather less over the top Teufel personal speaker kit. Teufel, it seems, delights in providing the maximum boom for your hard-earned cash, so we didn't expect its first headphones to be a trivial experience.
So it proved. Boxed in anonymous black packaging, the Teufel AC 9050 PH headphones are supplied as separate headphones and cables. You get a choice of hardwiring yourself straight to the hi-fi with a standard audio jack, or plugging yourself in to your laptop or PC audio via a 3.5mm headphone jack. The spiral hi-fi cable extends to 3m while the headphone cable is 2.5m long.
The Teufel AC 9050 PH headphones themselves fit tightly but not uncomfortably. The ‘cans' are very well cushioned and the broad headstrap is also slightly padded. The earphones have some industrial-looking bolts that are used to clamp the swivelling cups themselves in place. Because of the hinges, though, we found ourselves doing our darndest to spin them all the way round, something that they weren't actually designed to do (though it wouldn't take much to force the plastic hinge into submission).
These oversized Teufel AC 9050 PH cans ensure your ears are highly protected from outside interference but, unlike in-ear earphones, you don't get the discomfort of something vibrating close to your ear canal. It's a matter of personal preference, but we're headphone fans. We used the free music-streaming service Spotify to serve us up a selection of decidedly mellow and complex tunes to see how well these beasts of headphones coped with subtlety.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised. The Teufel AC 9050 PHs offered rich and warm listening experience, though sometimes we felt some of the original was slightly muted - choruses didn't always seem to build to the crescendo we were expecting. In general, though, Teufel has done a great job with these headphones and we're not about to argue with the way they tended to the heavy and bassy on fairly average pop tunes. After all, headphones on, you probably want to crank up the volume and rock.
While the sheer weight and size of the Teufel AC 9050 PH headphones probably means you'll only take them with you on your travels if you've plenty of luggage space, if you want to plug in and tune out while surfing the web or tapping out a report, we can testify to their efficacy. We wrote the whole of this review while being assailed by the industrial vacuum cleaner worrying at us around our ankles.
The Teufel AC 9050 PHs are very well constructed headphones that are priced to please. We’ll be sticking with our fold-up Sennheisers for on-the-road listening though.