Definitive Technology ProMonitor800 Bookshelf Loudspeakers Reviewed

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Founded in 1990 by Sandy Gross, Don Givogue and Ed Blais, Definitive Technology developed a winning formula by combining technical prowess and versatility, aggressive pricing, superlative PR, and lean and mean operations to rise to the top of the upper mid-fi loudspeaker world in relatively little time. Later on, Definitive would expand its offerings in both pricing directions, and add a layer of sheen to its brand in competing with the absolute kings of the loudspeaker hill. 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.

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Part of its ProCinema series, which contains small, ergonomically friendly models and complete systems designed for stereo, multi-channel music and home theater applications, the individually-sold ProMonitor 800 can be wall-mounted, shelf mounted or used on floor-stands. It utilizes Definitive's exclusive BDSS (Balanced Double Surround System) technology in its single 4 � inch bass/midrange driver, and couples it to a 4 � inch passive radiator firing upward. BDSS utilizes custom waveguides, voice coils, die-cast baskets, and magnets for improved linearity, stability, and power handling. The upward-firing passive radiator allows for increased space behind the active driver without increasing the size of the enclosure, improving the midrange and bass. The ProMonitor 800 employs a 1 inch aluminum dome tweeter.

The ProMonitor 800 allows for multiple placement options. It offers a pre-molded tri-lobed base for shelf mounting, a built-in keyhole mount, optional pivot mounts (ProMount 80), and optional floor stands (ProStand 600/800). It also comes in Gloss Black or Gloss White finishes. Fit and finish was typical of Definitive products: excellent. Smooth seams, shiny surfaces, nice hardware, attractive logo placements all indicate top notch production.

Reviewed here strictly within a two-channel music system and driven by a variety of power sources including high and mid-level receivers and a very high-end amplifier, the ProMonitor 800 delivered excellent sonic performance with each one. At 89dB efficiency and an 8 ohm impedance, the ProMonitor 800 presents a fairly easy load to drive, but the mid-level receiver did struggle a bit to get it performing optimally, and the speaker did perform noticeably better with better quality power. The ProMonitor 800 threw a deep, wide soundstage with very good imaging. The highs had an appealing crispness and a smooth blend into the midrange, which had some typical very low level coloration but an overall very good and natural level of detail and fluidity within the presentation. For a small speaker, the ProMonitor 800 offered surprisingly deep and tight bass, but its real strength showed in its blend into the lower midrange. Combined with the excellent mid to high blend, I found the ProMonitor 800 to offer a very even-handed and listenable sonic signature. Speakers like this cause you to start reaching for other CDs to hear how they sound. The ProMonitor 800 seemed to excel with electronic music, although its classical, vocal, and jazz performance also earned good marks. With its ability to maintain an even-handed sonic approach even at higher volumes, rock and metal material seemed easier to enjoy than with other bookshelf models that tend to show their flaws when things get ramped up a bit. Of course, this quality also helps on large scale classical material, but I found myself listening to more modern electronic music with these speakers.

Read about the high points and the low points of the ProMonitor 800 on Page 2.

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