Definitive Technology 5.0.4 Dolby Atmos Speaker System Reviewed

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,530 22 9
#1
There are two main traits that separate Definitive Technology speakers from the competition. The first is their bipolar speaker design. Definitive's bipolar speakers have drivers positioned in both the front and rear of the speaker, radiating sound in phase in both directions. Definitive's bipolar design has the distinct advantage of creating a huge, deep sound stage that most direct radiating, traditional speaker designs just can't match. That feature alone has an addictive, realistic quality that has entrenched Definitive Technology’s status in enthusiast circles. The second distinctive trait of Definitive speakers is that they have built-in subwoofers powered by a Class D amplifier. This is a huge advantage that can't be underestimated. We know from the pioneering research done by Todd Welti at Harman International that multiple subwoofers deliver smoother and more consistent bass response across multiple seating positions.

This system under review features: 2x BP9080x Front Towers with built-in Atmos A90 modules, the center CS9060, and the BP9060 rear towers with built-in Atmos A90 modules. All 5 speakers feature built-in powered subs for extended bass. No external subwoofers are needed in this system. This review discusses the set up and configuration and how it was able to pull off the immersive experience in a home theater environment.

def-tech.jpg


Read: Definitive Technology 5.0.4 Atmos Speaker System Review
 
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Pedro Alvarado

Pedro Alvarado

Audioholic
Ratings
26 1 1
#2
i for one am surprised to see this review of the most hated speaker company on this forum.

i don't hate them. I'm sure the guy tweeking the components could have done a better job for my audition though.
 
8

8OhmsHolmes

Audiophyte
#3
I cannot believe Theo used these speakers with Autosetup. I guess the software has come a long way? My BP9060s sounded horrible when I ran Audyssey on my Marantz SR7010 back in 2016. Very thin sound. No bass. I had to do my AVR setup fully manual with the SPL meter and measuring tape. Thanks to Gene, Hugo and Marshall for all the videos to help me through that. I was new to any receiver with an on screen menu, or even an HDMI connection. I came from a pair of Mission 703 floor standing speakers from the late 90s and a cheap Technics stereo receiver to the modern world.
I went back months later and tried Audyssey again hoping maybe a second roll of the dice would not come up snake eyes. I wanted room correction to magically flatten out some horrible 50Hz room issues, but the same results. Even Def tech tells you right in the owners manual that autosetup does not work on speakers with integrated powered subwoofers. They are right. I also tried using the LFE connection for a while, and running the towers as small, but the BP9060s definitely sound better with just speaker wire like the manual and customer service recommends. I even tried an advanced method, suggested by Gene in his video on setting up speakers with powered subwoofers, to run the speakers full range AND use the LFE connection. In the video Gene claims that most receivers limit the amount of Bass being sent from all your speakers set to small to the L&R speakers set to large, in the absence of any subwoofer with an LFE connection. Unfortunately the Marantz SR7010, in its infinite wisdom, keeps insisting on a crossover point for my towers when they are set to large, if you indicate you have 2 subwoofers. I was hoping I could trick my system into sending a more complete amount of Bass from the other channels for movies to the towers through the subwoofer out to the LFE input on the towers. Not because I thought the Bass is lacking in movies, but Gene put the seed of doubt in my mind that I might be missing out on something. Maybe Optimus Prime crushing a Decepticon behind me in my dining area. Not wanting to have to pick a crossover of 40Hz or higher for the towers, turning my speakers into a 4 way crossover design, I scrapped the idea.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
4,421 33 17
#4
i for one am surprised to see this review of the most hated speaker company on this forum.

i don't hate them. I'm sure the guy tweeking the components could have done a better job for my audition though.
Definitive Technology is the most hated company on this forum? That is news to me. I have always thought their speakers were fine. Their subs leave a bit to be desired, but they are only responding to market demand for small subs, and there is only so much you can wring out of a small form factor for subwoofers.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
929 2
#5
i for one am surprised to see this review of the most hated speaker company on this forum.

i don't hate them. I'm sure the guy tweeking the components could have done a better job for my audition though.
I think it comes off that way because they tend to have a reputation of overinflating there specs. But they are not the only company to do that to be fair. But it's fair to say they may be one of the more ambitious ones which is where they get some strong criticism from me. Not sure about others.

But hate would be a strong word critical of them yeah I'll go with that.

When I was first starting out on this hobby and being a baller on a budget Id find and use older definitive speakers for cheap on Craigs list all the time I enjoyed them not bad speakers at all.

You do give up some imaging though and you do need good placement away from walls. But overall they sounded pretty darn good although I was young and can't back that up with measurements. I didn't know how to do that way back then or even it's importance as much as I do now. I just remember them being a lot of fun to listen too but that could be youth and youths overenthusiasm coloring my perspective but I have fond memories of them

There biggest weakness for me is the fact if the sub section goes out man your whole speaker is compromised not just the sub until it gets repaired.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
929 2
#6
There are two main traits that separate Definitive Technology speakers from the competition. The first is their bipolar speaker design. Definitive's bipolar speakers have drivers positioned in both the front and rear of the speaker, radiating sound in phase in both directions. Definitive's bipolar design has the distinct advantage of creating a huge, deep sound stage that most direct radiating, traditional speaker designs just can't match. That feature alone has an addictive, realistic quality that has entrenched Definitive Technology’s status in enthusiast circles. The second distinctive trait of Definitive speakers is that they have built-in subwoofers powered by a Class D amplifier. This is a huge advantage that can't be underestimated. We know from the pioneering research done by Todd Welti at Harman International that multiple subwoofers deliver smoother and more consistent bass response across multiple seating positions.

This system under review features: 2x BP9080x Front Towers with built-in Atmos A90 modules, the center CS9060, and the BP9060 rear towers with built-in Atmos A90 modules. All 5 speakers feature built-in powered subs for extended bass. No external subwoofers are needed in this system. This review discusses the set up and configuration and how it was able to pull off the immersive experience in a home theater environment.

View attachment 28108

Read: Definitive Technology 5.0.4 Atmos Speaker System Review
Great review!
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
960 1 1
#7
I think it comes off that way because they tend to have a reputation of overinflating there specs. But they are not the only company to do that to be fair. But it's fair to say they may be one of the more ambitious ones which is where they get some strong criticism from me. Not sure about others.

But hate would be a strong word critical of them yeah I'll go with that.

When I was first starting out on this hobby and being a baller on a budget Id find and use older definitive speakers for cheap on Craigs list all the time I enjoyed them not bad speakers at all.

You do give up some imaging though and you do need good placement away from walls. But overall they sounded pretty darn good although I was young and can't back that up with measurements. I didn't know how to do that way back then or even it's importance as much as I do now. I just remember them being a lot of fun to listen too but that could be youth and youths overenthusiasm coloring my perspective but I have fond memories of them

There biggest weakness for me is the fact if the sub section goes out man your whole speaker is compromised not just the sub until it gets repaired.
I’m not as huge of a fan as I once was but the BP10B is a fun old school 90s bipolar home theater speaker without all the built in subs to worry about. There is a big wall of sound. Not my first choice for critical music listening as imaging is not what it could be and there are better tweeters out there.

I don’t mind the exaggerated specs on any brands, as long as I know what the real specs are and plan accordingly. :)

For the record, I still would add a pair of subs even with $50,000 tower speakers. :)
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,267 9 16
#8
I’m not as huge of a fan as I once was but the BP10B is a fun old school 90s bipolar home theater speaker without all the built in subs to worry about. There is a big wall of sound. Not my first choice for critical music listening as imaging is not what it could be and there are better tweeters out there.

I don’t mind the exaggerated specs on any brands, as long as I know what the real specs are and plan accordingly. :)

For the record, I still would add a pair of subs even with $50,000 tower speakers. :)
I just dont like their sound and massive fanboyism with I dont need subs as they are built in. The published specs only hurt the purchaser if they are uniformed.
 
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snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
960 1 1
#9
I just dont like their sound and massive fanboyism with I dont need subs as they are built in. The published specs only hurt the purchaser if they are uniformed.
Anyone not using quality dedicated subs, doesn’t have a system appropriate for home theater. There is no shortcut. :)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,044 18 47
#10
Definitive Technology is the most hated company on this forum? That is news to me. I have always thought their speakers were fine. Their subs leave a bit to be desired, but they are only responding to market demand for small subs, and there is only so much you can wring out of a small form factor for subwoofers.
Seems TLSguy has a lot of disdain for their products (along with many other products of course). Their spec fudging never sat well with me with their "subs". I would like to hear this particular setup but that's not too likely....
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
929 2
#11
I’m not as huge of a fan as I once was but the BP10B is a fun old school 90s bipolar home theater speaker without all the built in subs to worry about. There is a big wall of sound. Not my first choice for critical music listening as imaging is not what it could be and there are better tweeters out there.

I don’t mind the exaggerated specs on any brands, as long as I know what the real specs are and plan accordingly. :)

For the record, I still would add a pair of subs even with $50,000 tower speakers. :)
If I was going to go with these I would still go with a minimum of 2 subs plus all there towers as my base 7. But that would take a lot of eq to get those towers and multiple subs to blend well if I'm not mistaken.
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,267 9 16
#12
As the article noted, setting up bi or dipole speakers correctly is the key. You just cant thrown them in a room where they are close to the walls. Having owned Logans, I can attest.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
929 2
#13
As the article noted, setting up bi or dipole speakers correctly is the key. You just cant thrown them in a room where they are close to the walls. Having owned Logans, I can attest.
Yeah I was going to throw in that room issue as well good point especially if I really wanted to run all bedlevel 7 speakers with those towers
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,029
#14
My auditions with Def Tech, after listening to KEF Q950 and R900, were... interesting.

I used an analogy the other day from my Fine Dining experience and Wine training... some may be familiar with Turning Leaf... a very mundane grocery store brand that always seems to win competitions with mediocre juice... A Somm I knew explained that the judges for these competitions are tasting way more wines than their palette can handle (3 is the usual number for critical tasting... and we're talking 20 wines here!). The trick is leaving a bit of residual sugar in the wine after killing fermentaion. So somewhere in the process of tasting 20 some-odd wines, well after their palettes are shot, when the judges look back on what stands out they remember the one with a little sugar in it!
To me, that is what def tech is. Powered woofers sound way better than any other speaker in the room! And anybody not in the know gets snookered in!
Like I said, I had just come from auditioning KEFS, and had another KEF R Series, ML Motion 40, B&W 603, and the DefTech 9060 in this case. The KEF sounded OK... not as expansive as in the other shop... The B&W sounded anemic... the Motion 40 sounded good, and then the Def Tech was like, "Oh Wow!" Then I asked, and he said they were the DTs and the woofers were on and powered. Night and day! So I let him switch through a couple more times and neither the B&W nor DTs sounded good, the more I listened.
Went into another room and was blown away by the Motion 60XTs. No competition. I still didn't buy them. ;)

And those two brands, Def Tech and B&W bedevil me! @everettT nailed it with the Fan Boy comment. Frankly its true for both. I haven't listened to the upper echelon of the B&W offerings, but that 600 tower had nothing to offer [me]. I don't 'hate' either, but they don't make sense. I had a separate opportunity to listen to the 9080 and felt the same way after listening to it.

Not my glass of wine! *shrugs

(Oh... and that claim that the 9080s hits 16Hz??? Was it Stereophile? Bench tested -10dB @ 20HZ IIRC? According to the graph they posted, that might be generous, assuming it was plotted accurately.)
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
960 1 1
#15
My auditions with Def Tech, after listening to KEF Q950 and R900, were... interesting.

I used an analogy the other day from my Fine Dining experience and Wine training... some may be familiar with Turning Leaf... a very mundane grocery store brand that always seems to win competitions with mediocre juice... A Somm I knew explained that the judges for these competitions are tasting way more wines than their palette can handle (3 is the usual number for critical tasting... and we're talking 20 wines here!). The trick is leaving a bit of residual sugar in the wine after killing fermentaion. So somewhere in the process of tasting 20 some-odd wines, well after their palettes are shot, when the judges look back on what stands out they remember the one with a little sugar in it!
To me, that is what def tech is. Powered woofers sound way better than any other speaker in the room! And anybody not in the know gets snookered in!
Like I said, I had just come from auditioning KEFS, and had another KEF R Series, ML Motion 40, B&W 603, and the DefTech 9060 in this case. The KEF sounded OK... not as expansive as in the other shop... The B&W sounded anemic... the Motion 40 sounded good, and then the Def Tech was like, "Oh Wow!" Then I asked, and he said they were the DTs and the woofers were on and powered. Night and day! So I let him switch through a couple more times and neither the B&W nor DTs sounded good, the more I listened.
Went into another room and was blown away by the Motion 60XTs. No competition. I still didn't buy them. ;)

And those two brands, Def Tech and B&W bedevil me! @everettT nailed it with the Fan Boy comment. Frankly its true for both. I haven't listened to the upper echelon of the B&W offerings, but that 600 tower had nothing to offer [me]. I don't 'hate' either, but they don't make sense. I had a separate opportunity to listen to the 9080 and felt the same way after listening to it.

Not my glass of wine! *shrugs

(Oh... and that claim that the 9080s hits 16Hz??? Was it Stereophile? Bench tested -10dB @ 20HZ IIRC? According to the graph they posted, that might be generous, assuming it was plotted accurately.)
What were the speakers you owned before the BMRs? :)
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,029
#16
What were the speakers you owned before the BMRs? :)
Nothing of consequence, to be certain! :p Since the days of my PS3 and Metal Gear Solid, I've been on an old Onkyo HTIB, model HT-S5100. Other than that, my pre-chef days were spent as a musician. Lots of good audio and real musicians back in Music School, and my dad still owns some well reviewed Boston Acoustic 2.5 way towers ca. 1991, and is on his second (I think) NAD Integrated Amp. Those, I listened to just this past November. For the cost then, they are most definitely punching above their weight class in todays market! I was impressed... and not by the nostalgia. I would put them on par with speakers in the $500-750 club today. The setup could use a lot of help, but he listens on headphones mostly.

;)
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
960 1 1
#17
Nothing of consequence, to be certain! :p Since the days of my PS3 and Metal Gear Solid, I've been on an old Onkyo HTIB, model HT-S5100. Other than that, my pre-chef days were spent as a musician. Lots of good audio and real musicians back in Music School, and my dad still owns some well reviewed Boston Acoustic 2.5 way towers ca. 1991, and is on his second (I think) NAD Integrated Amp. Those, I listened to just this past November. For the cost then, they are most definitely punching above their weight class in todays market! I was impressed... and not by the nostalgia. I would put them on par with speakers in the $500-750 club today. The setup could use a lot of help, but he listens on headphones mostly.

;)
Bostons... I had low end Bostons bookshelves back in the 90s. Think I had PS2 and Resident Evil Nemesis?. :) They were a little better than the Polk Audio bookshelves I had prior. I originally moved the Polks to be my rears for 5.1 until I saved up for Boston bookshelves for the 2 rears. LOL :)
 
TheoN

TheoN

Audioholics Contributing Writer
Ratings
44
#18
I cannot believe Theo used these speakers with Autosetup. I guess the software has come a long way? My BP9060s sounded horrible when I ran Audyssey on my Marantz SR7010 back in 2016. Very thin sound. No bass. I had to do my AVR setup fully manual with the SPL meter and measuring tape. Thanks to Gene, Hugo and Marshall for all the videos to help me through that. I was new to any receiver with an on screen menu, or even an HDMI connection. I came from a pair of Mission 703 floor standing speakers from the late 90s and a cheap Technics stereo receiver to the modern world.
I went back months later and tried Audyssey again hoping maybe a second roll of the dice would not come up snake eyes. I wanted room correction to magically flatten out some horrible 50Hz room issues, but the same results. Even Def tech tells you right in the owners manual that autosetup does not work on speakers with integrated powered subwoofers. They are right. I also tried using the LFE connection for a while, and running the towers as small, but the BP9060s definitely sound better with just speaker wire like the manual and customer service recommends. I even tried an advanced method, suggested by Gene in his video on setting up speakers with powered subwoofers, to run the speakers full range AND use the LFE connection. In the video Gene claims that most receivers limit the amount of Bass being sent from all your speakers set to small to the L&R speakers set to large, in the absence of any subwoofer with an LFE connection. Unfortunately the Marantz SR7010, in its infinite wisdom, keeps insisting on a crossover point for my towers when they are set to large, if you indicate you have 2 subwoofers. I was hoping I could trick my system into sending a more complete amount of Bass from the other channels for movies to the towers through the subwoofer out to the LFE input on the towers. Not because I thought the Bass is lacking in movies, but Gene put the seed of doubt in my mind that I might be missing out on something. Maybe Optimus Prime crushing a Decepticon behind me in my dining area. Not wanting to have to pick a crossover of 40Hz or higher for the towers, turning my speakers into a 4 way crossover design, I scrapped the idea.
Over the years room correction has morphed into something it’s not intended to be: a panacea for poor speaker placement. One thing we’ve tried to emphasize here at Audioholics is that there is no substitute for proper speaker placement in a room. Your speakers and room need to be viewed as complementary parts of the music chain. Misplacing speakers in a room can make exceptional speakers sound mediocre. Proper placement of mediocre speakers in a room can make them sound their best.

Bipole speakers can present some challenges to room correction systems. Let’s also remember that not all room correction systems are the same. As far as Definitive Technology goes, there needs to be some care because for one thing, room correction can potentially alter crossover and the phase of the subwoofer and then put things out of whack with the midrange driver. These are side conversations we had with Definitive Technology during the review period but didn’t get into super detail in the review.

It’s important to mention one thing: Every Audioholics review goes through not one but two internal peer reviews and gets an additional technology review by the manufacturer as well. There are three rounds of review before an Audioholics article goes online.

In the section of connecting speaker level and LFE with a Y connector, Definitive states, “We recommend that you do not use your receiver’s auto setup function as they can be ineffective in setting up and adjusting speakers with integrated powere subwoofers.” In light of the aforementioned comments of course that makes sense. However the manual also states, “For advanced instructions on Intelligent Bass Control including integrating with room correction software (ex. Audyssey),please visit our website or give us a call.

I’ll point you to this Q&A on that topic and Definitive’ Technology’s response is quoted below with the relevant sentence highlighted:

Quite often, we find that auto-calibration systems built into most receivers get confused with bipolar speakers and integrated subwoofers. In our testing, the distance and delay settings are often incorrect. Additionally, an out-of-phase error is common. The reason is that some of the sound has already been reflected from several room boundaries before it gets to the AVR’s microphone (as is the nature of bipolar speakers),which doesn’t allow the receiver to provide the best settings.

However, while auto-calibration can be problematic with bipolar speakers, we have done some internal testing that suggests Audyssey running from Denon or Marantz receivers works really well with the BP9000 series in auto-calibrate mode, even in unfavorable rooms. Our recommendation is to use a Denon or Marantz receiver with Audyssey and give it a try. If you encounter problems, you can always resort to manual setup.”

As you’ll note in my review, I indeed used only Denon and Marantz AVRs. When I have the ability to use the Audyssey mobile app, I don’t apply EQ aggressively and focus primarily on lower frequencies letting my ears be the final judge.

I’m glad you found Gene’s and Hugo’s videos helpful. That’s why we have Gene’s video linked in the article. There are other considerations that we feel are important for our readers to know about. Remember, all our articles on the site are complementary with one another. We don’t oftentimes have room to talk about everything in one article—setup and options of bipolar speakers and powered speakers being great examples.

Also, it’s worth repeating that for Audioholics reviews, when we do 2-channel listening tests, all EQ is turned off!!!

Thanks for the comments!
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
7,387 19 6
#19
I can see the appeal for certain people. For most rooms, they look pretty sleek and don't "require" additional subwoofers for strong bass.

The DefTech BP7000SC (for fronts) and BP7001SC (for rears) were among the first speakers I owned. They were placed like the 1/4-corners sub placement.

With no other external dedicated subs and using LFE/Sub inputs, these 4 towers produced bass that shook every wall in my old 3,000 SF house like an earthquake.

True they won't match big subs. But many people don't need extreme sub outputs for most rooms that are smaller than 18'x20'.
 
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VonMagnum

VonMagnum

Full Audioholic
Ratings
175 2 41
#20
The review said Auro-3D does not work with Dolby enabled speakers. ("Dolby Atmos enabled (ceiling-bounce) speakers are not compatible with Auro-3D layouts. Auro-3D requires discrete on-wall or in-ceiling speaker channels.")

That is simply not true with newer AVRs (my 7012 manual says they DO work with Auro-3D). Peer reviewed twice you say?
 

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