This is a C/L/R channel speaker from Definitive Technology, a USA manufacturer that is not very well known over here in the UK but is very popular for home theatre in the USA. Their stuff is quite hard to find over here and usually costs an absolute fortune, even second hand but there are sometimes some good bargains to be had. This particular model is not made any more and the one I own is about 4 years old now. It originally won an award for Audio Video Magazine Grand Prix Product of the Year Award for centre channel loudspeakers. I bought it second hand for £100 and at that price consider it a steal considering the original US retail price was ~$400 the original UK price was probably ~£500. It is a big centre speaker, wider than normal 17" Hi-Fi width, 12" deep and 8" high so most TV stands are not very accommodating. You have to consider if it is worth the extra effort!
This is the best sounding centre speaker I have certainly ever heard or owned. The bass goes very deep and loud while the treble is remarkably clear and gives everything that extra high pitched touch that Definitive are so good at. I used to have a Wharfedale Valdus centre speaker before this and the difference is like the difference between mini-systems and Hi-Fi. It delivers excellent sound quality for effects, voices and music that never sounds thin, strained or boomy and sonically matches other Definitive speakers very well indeed. In my experience the newer Definitive speakers with aluminium dome tweeters sound a lot better than their older ones with silk dome tweeters; the treble does not get harsh on the ear when turned up.
I think it is made of some kind of laminated chipboard about 12mm thick (from peering in through the bass ports) and has an MDF/HDF front baffle that is very thick possibly up to 25mm thick. It's lined/stuffed with fluff and the speaker grill fits perfectly. It doesn't come with the logo fitted to the grill so you can fit it where you want depending on if you are going to use it as an L or C or R channel speaker you might mount it horizontally or vertically.
The woofer cones are made of mineral filled homopolymer material. The woofer surrounds and dust caps are butyl rubber. On mine these surrounds are "inverted" by which I mean that the rubber surround roll that usually sticks out is sticking in instead.
The tweeter is ferro-fluidic cooled and damped. It's looks like and sounds like the same one that is used in all of Definitive's "B" series speakers and all of the BP2000 and 3000 series. In reality they have many model numbers of tweeters so it is unlikely that this one has exactly the same part number as used in anything else. In mine it must be a newer model as it has a metal jacket covering the back of the whole tweeter and is fixed on with a screw.
It has a Linkwitz Riley crossover to blend the outputs of woofers and tweeters. There is quite a lot of maths involved in this kind of crossover but it basically allows the maximum efficiency of sound output around the crossover point so you lose as little as possible. Also it takes into account acoustic properties of having the woofers spaced away from the tweeter as there are phase differences between different length paths that low and high frequency sounds will take to your ears. The crossover design is therefore unique to the speaker design to correct for any nasties and get the most out of the speaker. You can actually see the crossover in this speaker by looking through the bass ports and it is surprising that they used ceramic insulated resistors (which can generate a bit of noise) and electrolytic capacitors (which have reliability issues). One reason they went for ceramic insulated resistors is probably because they offer high power handling. I haven't had any of these components fail but for very long term reliability it will be interesting to see how it fares.
This speaker will handle a lot of power and does a have a slightly lower than average impedance especially at high volumes. If you used this speaker with a low power amplifier you might damage your amplifier! Having said that it is a very efficient speaker and seems to be much louder than other centre speakers I have owned (I had to reduce centre channel volume by 4 dB to get the levels right!)
If you play music through just this speaker on its own the bass (with tone controls on flat) will shake your room easily. The amount of bass this thing pumps out is unbelievable for its size. It has a very nice sound for music and I would love to have a system that used three of these speakers across the front so it really matched. The treble is as good as on all Definivite's newer speakers and really brings out the sparkle in music.
MATCHING WITH OTHER DEFINITIVE SPEAKERS:
I use this with a pair of BP10B's bought at the same time and they have exactly the same woofers and tweeters. This gives a big improvement in treble response across the room. However, since the BP10B are floorstanding bipolar speakers they do sound quite different anyway. So, at first when you switch between listening to a CD say or watching a DVD in stereo and then go to surround sound you notice straight away that the centre speaker is much more directional (as its not bipolar). Once you are into the film though you just don't notice the difference anymore. Effects move around the room and you just get used to the way it is more directional. People's voices sound so realistic most of the time you forget the speaker is there and sometimes people with deep voices sound so good you just think wow! With smaller centre speakers people's voices always sound thin to me and it draws attention to the speaker when people with different voice tones are talking. So, by getting a really big centre speaker you solve this problem.
The D'Appolito Array mentioned below in the specifications means the woofers are symmetrically placed either side of the tweeter so it sounds like the bass and midrange are coming from where the tweeter is. This is supposed to dramatically improve imaging and I can vouch for it! Wherever you are in the room you always get the correct amount of bass and treble.
It does have shielded drivers, which probably means there is a big iron bar in the front of the cabinet to draw the magnetic field of the woofers magnets to it rather than ruining your CRT TV. However, it does look like there is some kind of metal jacket on the back of the woofer so I wouldn't be surprised if this has something to do with the magnetic shielding too as one of these jackets is also on the back of the tweeter.
Due to its age and availability if you are looking for one of these, you might not find one. If you have found one and want some info on it then this review will be invaluable. There are alternatives such as the CLR2000 or CLR2002 which since they are newer are generally more available. These newer ones also have gloss black end caps like the floorstanders so if looks are important to you then this is worth knowing.
8"H x 21.5"Wx12"D (203mm H x 546mm W x 305mm D)
25Hz - 28 kHz
Compatible with 8 Ohm output
Recommended Associated Amplification Power:
Two 17cm cast magnesium basket bass/midrange drivers, One 25mm Alumniium dome tweeter in a D'Appolito Array
Ease of use given 4/5 due to large size it might be difficult to install or find a shelf big enough.
Features given 4/5 as it's not bi-wireable