Definitive Technology has a storied reputation for building some of the finest full range loudspeakers costing not all that much. From their new Mythos line of products to their famous Bi-Polar towers, I can think of no other loudspeaker manufacturer who has been more consistent then Definitive Technology. Their C/L/R 3000 reviewed here continues Definitive's track record for greatness.
Retailing for $1,099 each the C/L/R 3000 is billed and sold mostly as a center channel to complement Definitive's line of bi-polar super tower loudspeakers, though it can also work as a stand, table or cabinet-mounted left and right channel main thanks to its symmetrical driver array and internal powered subwoofer.
The C/L/R 3000 measures in at 25 inches wide or tall by nearly nine inches high or wide by 16 inches deep. It tips the scales at a robust and solid 62 pounds and comes clad in a black grill cloth with gloss black end caps. Inside the C/L/R 3000 features a one-inch aluminum dome tweeter sandwiched between two six and a half inch bass/midrange drivers coupled with a single, 10-inch powered subwoofer that is located on the top or side of the speaker depending on how you have it configured. The C/L/R 3000 has a reported frequency response of 19Hz to 30kHz and boasts a sensitivity rating of 91dB into a stable eight Ohm load, making it ideal for today's feature laden receivers or mid-fi home theater separates. The C/L/R 3000's internal sub is powered by a dedicated 150-watt amplifier that requires a standard 110-volt wall outlet nearby to pull power from. The C/L/R 3000 features three sets of five-way binding posts as well as a low level RCA input if you want to run the sub as an LFE channel from your home theater receiver. You can run a single speaker cable to the back of the C/L/R 3000 and tell your receiver to treat the C/L/R 3000 as a full range loudspeaker and then dial in the internal sub via its rear mounted volume pot.
In terms of sound performance I can think of no other smallish loudspeaker that sounds bigger than the C/L/R 3000. If you're a bit tight on space or have a thing against floorstanding loudspeakers, then the C/L/R 3000 is quite possibly the perfect speaker for you. The coherence between all four drivers is incredible and seamless. If using the C/L/R 3000s as your front three speakers you'll be treated to one of the most dynamic, larger than life yet incredibly refined performances you're bound to run across this side of stupid money. The aluminum dome tweeter is implemented beautifully; that is to say it suffers none of the shortcomings I usually associate with such a basic design, retaining all the air, extension and detail while doing away with the harsh, brittle sound of dome tweeters of yore. The midrange is lush and rich though still quite agile and nicely detailed and blends with the C/L/R 3000's low-end capabilities beautifully. The C/L/R 3000's bass performance is almost unrivaled at its price point and when heard through three identical speakers takes on a life of its own that is simply good fun and perfect for large orchestral works and blockbuster movie soundtracks. In terms of soundstage performance the C/L/R 3000s are amazing, casting a wide, cavernous sound field that is natural in both size and scale and supremely enjoyable.
• The C/L/R 3000's fit and finish may be a bit plain but the build quality is superb, letting you know that it's a speaker built for the long haul and a very solid investment.
• The C/L/R 3000's high frequency performance is so smooth and refined for a simple aluminum dome tweeter that it almost begs belief.
• The midrange, especially the lower midrange where a lot of smaller or compact speakers suffer, is tremendous carrying the appropriate amount of weight and extension without sounding too lush or bloated.
• The bass performance is where the C/L/R 3000s really shines for I can think of no other speaker capable of reproducing such depths with such control in such a compact chassis.
• Dynamically, thanks to its full range design, the C/L/R 3000s can swing with the best of them and can energize a room with sound levels normally reserved for large, cumbersome floorstanding speakers.
• Because the C/L/R 3000s have a power subwoofer you won't have to worry about having a large black box taking up valuable real estate in your living room. That is unless you want to.
• The C/L/R 3000s are large speakers and require substantial stands to sit atop, which does add to the system's overall bottom line, not to mention compact nature, for once stand-mounted they do feel and look a bit more like floorstanding speakers than large monitors.
• Because of their internal amplifiers the C/L/R 3000s do require an outlet or two nearby, which may or may not be a problem but at the very least will add an additional cable that you're going to want to try and hide.
For a little over $1,000 a pop - the C/L/R 3000 is the perfect solution for the home theater enthusiast looking for that full range Definitive sound without having to figure out how to talk your significant other into allowing you to park a pair of super towers in your living room. The C/L/R 3000s sound utterly amazing across the board and make movie soundtracks come to life with such ease that they will have you scratching your head in awe every time you fire them up. If you can accommodate their power requirements and slightly larger size, then the C/L/R 3000s from Definitive Technology may just be the best, semi-compact home theater monitor speaker available today.