Go big or go home, that's my motto. But what happens when the loudspeaker(s) you crave are too big to come home. Sure, we'd all love a pair of Wilson Audio MAXX 3 loudspeakers but few of us have the room to accommodate their substantial girth, never mind their retail price. What if I told you there was a speaker that could re-create the scale, dynamics and SPL of the MAXX 3 yet didn't need more than a few feet of floor space, would you be interested? Oh, and this loudspeaker costs less than $3,000 a pair, $2,998 to be exact. Interested? Of course you are.
Say hello to the Definitive Technology BP-8080ST or SuperTower loudspeaker. The BP-8080ST is the largest among Definitive's newly redesigned SuperTower line, measuring in at 48 inches high by seven inches wide and 16 inches deep. While the BP-8080ST may look like the SuperTowers of yore, there are some subtle design changes that prove that the update isn't just in a name. The BP-8080ST's are a bi-polar design meaning what fires forward must also fire backwards. The BP-8080ST has two, five and a quarter inch midrange drivers flanking a single, one-inch aluminum dome tweeter in a D'Applito style array in the front and a midrange and tweeter around back. The BP-8080ST also features a 455-Watt powered 12-inch subwoofer with two, 12 and a half inch passive bass radiators giving the BP-8080ST a reported frequency response of 18Hz to 30kHz. The BP-8080ST has a sensitivity of 92dB into a nominal impedance of eight Ohms, making it ideal for virtually any two-channel or home theater receiver/amplifier on the market today.
You can connect the BP-8080ST to you stereo or home theater system in a variety of ways, starting with its robust five-way binding posts, which accept bare wire as well as banana and spade terminated speaker cables. There is also an LFE input if you wish to connect the BP-8080ST's sub to your AV receiver or processor via an LFE cable and treat the large floorstander more like a subwoofer-satellite speaker combo. Of course you can adjust the BP-8080ST's internal sub when playing them back full-range using the subwoofer level control, also located on the back of the speaker. Regardless of how you treat the BP-8080ST's internal subwoofer, you'll have to power them using the included, detachable power cord, which means you'll have at least two types of cables, speaker and power, to contend with when placing the BP-8080STs in your room.
The BP-8080ST's sound is larger than life, capable of filling even the largest of rooms with ease. But don't think that the BP-8080STs are nothing but brute force, for they aren't; they too possess a delicacy not often found in loudspeakers costing less than $3,000 a pair. The BP-8080ST's midrange is sublime and though it possesses a hint of artificial warmth, still manages to sound natural and organic. The BP-8080ST's bi-polar design makes for an enveloping soundstage, one that is both seductive as well as nicely appointed. The BP-8080ST's high frequency performance is also quite nice, possessing surprising extension and air. The BP-8080ST's low-end is insane, managing to be both raucous yet refined when need be. The BP-8080ST can reach the lowest of octaves with ease and thanks to its capable built-in amplifier manages to achieve such feats without sounding bloated or slow.
Read about the high points and the low points of the BP-8080ST loudspeaker on Page 2.
• The BP-8080STs may be plain looking at first, but closer inspection
reveals subtle design cues that overall really help "dress up" their
• The BP-8080ST can be driven by just about anything this side of a
nine volt battery to true concert levels, making them ideal for even
modest AV receivers.
• The BP-8080STs are as capable with two channel music as they are with
movies, possessing the delicacy and detail required for both, yet
capable of explosive dynamics and incredible impact when necessary.
• The BP-8080ST's bi-polar design is capable of creating one hell of an
enveloping soundstage not unlike what you'd hear from costlier MartinLogan designs as well as Magnepans, though neither of those two brands possess the bass prowess of the BP-8080ST.
• The BP-8080ST's built in subwoofers make it easy to integrate bass
properly into your room without having to worry about "hiding" a
separate subwoofer or worse, corner loading one.
• The BP-8080ST's narrow and tall design make them prone to tipping
when bumped; thankfully the included outrigger feet help curb this
problem but they do not fully cure it.
• Those of you with small children or curious pets should take extra
caution to avoid unwanted tears or snags from occurring on the
BP-8080ST's speaker grill covered cabinet.
• Because the BP-8080STs use powered woofers, you're going to have to
do a bit more cable management with the BP-8080STs than you would with
other floorstanding loudspeakers.
• In order to sound their best, the BP-8080STs need to be placed a fair
distance from the front wall, meaning they may intrude further into
your living space than non bi-polar loudspeakers.
Competition and Comparison
At just under $3,000 a pair the BP-8080ST are affordable references for
sure, but not alone, for there are several speakers including one
designed by the BP-8080ST's original creator, that can more than hold
their own against the SuperTower loudspeaker.
GoldenEar Technology's Triton Two loudspeaker
at $2,500 a pair features a D'Appolito style driver array as well as a
built in subwoofer, though unlike the BP-8080ST, the Triton Two has a
folded ribbon tweeter which is capable of producing a decidedly
higher-end sound than the BP-8080ST's aluminum dome tweeter.
Furthermore, the Triton Twos are more compact and more elegantly
designed yet still capable of similar SPL output - at least in my experience.
For more information on floorstanding loudspeakers including the latest news and reviews please check out Home Theater Review's Floorstanding Loudspeaker page.
At a hair under $3,000 a pair retail the Definitive Technology
BP-8080ST SuperTower bi-polar loudspeakers are nothing if not
incredible, for few speakers can manage to be both truly full-range yet
musical. There are loudspeakers costing three times as much that claim
to be, yet fall short. For the enthusiast looking to recreate the true
theater experience at home, the BP-8080STs are a great place to start
and for many they'll be the last stop as well, for if lifelike music
and movie reproduction is what you crave - few do it better than