One of the more impressive success stories of high-end audio, Definitive Technology, headed by Sandy Gross and founded 1990, steadily rose through the ranks of the loudspeaker category with its unique blend of high performance design, targeted marketing, and superb consistency. Definitive rightly latched onto the then-budding concept of home theater and not only tailored its designs toward that market, but invented a number of innovative, and sometimes patented, technologies that would forever change it, such as the side-firing powered subwoofer. Eventually, in late 2004, Directed Technologies, the world’s largest vehicle-security and remote-start company and owner of the Viper, Clifford, Orion, a/d/s, Precision Power, and Python brands (among others), bought Definitive as its entry into home audio and home theater and has kept the brand’s standards high.
Part of its BiPolar series featuring five “Supertower” floorstanding designs with built-in powered subwoofers, three passive floorstanding bipolar designs, and four surround designs, the BP7004 ($849.00 each, MSRP) is the second smallest of the five Supertower models. As a bipolar design, it features one front and rear driver array, each utilizing one high-definition cast-basket 5.25-inch bass/midrange driver coupled to a 1-inch annealed Pure Aluminum dome tweeter. For the low end, the BP7004 employs one patented 10-inch side-firing subwoofer driven by a 300-Watt class D amplifier, and two pressure-coupled 10-inch Low Bass passive radiators. The tweeters and midranges are mounted on a slim baffle to reduce diffraction, which is lowered further by the BP7004’s rounded, grill-less monocoque cabinet covered by a black sock. The rock-solid cabinet, made from medite, features extensive bracing and damping to reduce internal standing waves. The cabinet is topped by a thick top plate finished in gloss black. Measuring 42.25 inches high by 6.625 inches wide by 13 inches deep and weighing 59 pounds, the BP7004 stays stealth due to its slim and not too deep profile but is still a relatively big speaker that weighs even more than its size would suggest. The back panel integrates beautifully into the cabinet and features a pair of five-way, gold-plated binding posts, a single RCA input for LFE signals, and a subwoofer volume control. The BP7004 provides stabilizer bars and a spiking kit to facilitate placement on most floor surfaces. The fit and finish of the BP7004 is amongst the best in its class, and the parts quality is equally superb. Watch out for the sock covering the cabinet, however – it’s a little on the thin side, and could wear out fast in high-traffic environments. It also doesn’t come off, which may not appeal to those wanting the last shred of fidelity.
The BP7004 was evaluated with no LFE input and the subwoofers facing inward, using only music sources. Even with the powered subwoofers handling the low bass, the BP7004 still needed good quality power to sound its best. Average quality power sources didn’t come close to driving it properly.
The BP7004 immediately impressed with its extremely wide, spacious soundstage offering exceptional depth and solid imaging. The typical big Definitive sound seemed even bigger with this speaker, with lots of air and ambience. The top end provided a nice complement to the big, spacious sound, with terrific attack and presence with rock and electronic material and just enough detail and speed to keep things musical with large scale classical tracks. While acoustic material sounded a bit light and recessed on the top, the BP7004 still got the job done overall here, mainly because of its very good soundstaging and imaging. The BP7004 transitioned very well into the midrange, keeping things detailed and meaty on heavy rock vocal tracks and more aggressive piano material. Vocals overall had great bite and attack, especially with harder material, with opera and classical piano needing just a bit more warmth and substance. As with the BP7006, the BP7004’s bass is simply fantastic, with oodles of power, punch, depth, and warmth. Its self-powered nature is very evident as it effortlessly just ticks off bass parts with ease, never seeming to struggle. This part of the design sums up the essence of the whole. Clearly designed for home theater and more electronic material, it easily absorbs the dynamic requirements of that type of material and flourishes. While it also sounds very good with acoustic material within critical listening, it imposes on it its overall character that almost requires force to position everything properly. With only smaller, more intimate material to reproduce, it tends to lack speed, pacing, and the last bit of musicality, especially if the amp is lacking…certainly enjoyable in these situations, but just not entirely natural. The BP7004 sounds much better with space around it, and, while it could play very loudly with little breakup, the amp required to do so needs to be of high quality.
• The BP7004 sounds positively huge, with terrific soundstaging and imaging.
• The BP7004 sounds good over all types of material, but excels with
rock and electronic music, where its blend of light, crisp treble,
smooth midrange, and mountains of thudding bass fit perfectly.
• The BP7004’s bass easily ranks with the best in its class, with power, speed, and punch to spare.
• The BP7004 offers build quality, parts selection, and cosmetics on par with speakers costing much more.
• The BP7004’s top end and midrange are a bit laid back and shallow and
sometimes get lost amidst the fabulous bass, the end result of which
matches well with rock and electronic material but makes classical and
jazz material lack the last bit of musicality.
• The BP7004 needs space around it to sound its best.
• The BP7004 needs a good quality power source to perform optimally.
Above all else, the BP7004 offers a tremendous amount of value. At
considerably less than $2k, you get sound way bigger than its size would
provide with most other designs, superb low end that wonderfully
complements the huge sound, and a powered subwoofer that should save
some dollars and maybe even raise the bar on the power side. As with
its little brother, the BP7006, it isn’t the last word in transparency
or musicality, but neither is anything else at its price. More
importantly, its sonic signature sounds good over all types of music and
will likely handle home theater and multimedia with gusto. It’s
affordable, versatile, and looks great. After that, it comes down to
personal taste and budget constraints. Given the variety of source
material making its way into home entertainment command centers these
days, the BP7004 will not be running out of customers anytime soon, and
that’s what successful products are all about.