Creating a great-sounding home theater is a surprisingly challenging feat. It requires careful auditioning of speakers, preamplifiers and amplifiers. Some consider the electronics the most important link in this audio chain, but I would argue that the speakers have the most difficult job in the room – to create the proper amount of bass, clear dialog and effects and also reproduce music properly in your theater environment. Definitive Technology, maker of high-quality speaker systems, is easily up to the challenge. As innovators of loudspeaker design, and the first to offer speakers with built-in powered subwoofers, there's no question that their new PowerMonitor system deserves a listen.
The system that Definitive Technology sent us is built around a pair of PowerMonitor 900s, their top of the range monitor speaker. When it comes to speaker design and layout, there really are two types of speakers (with many, many iterations inside these categories): tower loudspeakers and monitor loudspeakers. You've all seen towers – they are speakers that stand on the floor, but don't require stands. Monitors are meant to sit on stands or fit into bookcases or cabinets. The PowerMonitor 900s were created to either sit on stands or in a bookcase. But something very special sets them apart from conventional monitors. They feature a built-in 250-watt powered 10-inch woofer, a 1-inch pure aluminum dome tweeter and a 6.5-inch cast-basket upper-bass/midrange driver. As you can probably tell, this speaker is designed to rock. Whether you place it on
stands or in a cabinet, you can tailor the subwoofer's output with the included dial on the back of the speaker.
Coupled with the PowerMonitor 900s, Definitive Technology also sent us their CLR 3000 center channel. This also features a 150-watt powered subwoofer, a 10-inch woofer and similar tweeter and midrange drivers that will integrate it seamlessly with the PowerMonitor 900s.
For the surround speakers in our 5.1 demo system, we used Definitive Technology's BPVX/P bipolar on-wall speakers. Since it's a bipolar design, it spreads sound around the rear part of the room, giving a diffused type of surround sound. Also featuring powered bass drivers, it blends with the front speakers quite well.
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For some additional low end (like we need any more), Definitive Technology sent us their brand new SuperCube 1 powered subwoofer. Featuring a long-throw 10-inch front mounted woofer mated to a 1,500-watt amplifier, it's sure to make my test theater convulse like a person with a violent seizure.
Installation issues/Setup - Setting up the system didn't take long at all. The PowerMonitor 900s went on speaker stands I had on hand, and the CLR 3000 center channel went atop my TV. The BPVX/Ps went behind the listening position, on each side. Now, the only thing to remember when setting up these speakers is that all need to be plugged into the wall to get some juice. This is important when planning a home theater with these speakers in mind. Also, since Definitive Technology is into high quality, there are gold-plated heavy duty binding posts on each speaker. A nice touch, to be sure.
Final Take - Connected to my reference Sunfire gear, I was astounded by what I heard. These speakers are some of the most powerful and accurate speakers I have ever heard (and I've heard hundreds of speakers). The PowerMonitor 900s defines musicality with a sense of space, richness and power that I've never heard combined in a pair of speakers under $5,000 per pair. You have to pinch yourself to remember that these speakers are only $1,600 per pair. It's truly incredible. The bass is smooth and refined, blending perfectly with the midrange and highs when listening to music or watching a movie. On the Superbit releases of Desperado and Vertical Limit, the soundtracks were so exciting and filled with punch, that it makes you feel like you're in the middle of the action. In the bar scene shootouts in Desperado, you hear the "thud" of the gunshots and the metallic jingle of the shells hitting the ground with equal ferocity and vibrancy.
Blended with the CLR 3000 and the BPVX/Ps, the PowerMonitor 900 system is unmatched for power and precision. Add in the Supercube 1 subwoofer (see sidebar), and the party's over.
If you're looking for an incredible speaker system that will make any home theater room come alive, look no further than Definitive Technology's newest speaker system. It will rival even the biggest and baddest tower loudspeaker system, to be sure.
Suggested Retail Price
PowerMonitor 900: $799 each
CLR 3000: $999 each
BPVX/P: $749 each
SuperCube 1 Subwoofer: $1,199