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Definitive Technology BP-9080X

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This is a very handsome speaker and, although large at 131 x 31 x 40 cm (H x W x D), offers a diminutive presentation as the 31cm width is less imposing than many so called compact floorstanders. Sonically however, it’s a giant. The speaker itself is designated as a Bipolar unit having a rear facing tweeter and midrange driver combination to give a spatial effect by bouncing the sound from the wall behind the speaker, the output from the rear drivers is attenuated by around 6dB so as not to interfere too much with the primary audio feed. Bipolar Speakers are an interesting concept and one embraced by the Electrostatic Speaker community as offering a more “open” sound (Potato, Tomato…). One of the more interesting aspect of these speakers is the built in Subwoofer. Using a 12” driver, two passive radiators and a 455 watt (RMS) amplifier, these subs offer amazing bottom end. RRP on the BP-9080x’s is $6995 pair. Now to the actual performance - Firstly, I tried them as a stereo pair. My test disc is Joe Jacksons “Rain” which has to be one of the best recorded/produced albums I’ve heard. I have two Reference Speakers, the Paradigm Signature S8’s ($16,000 pair) and the Martin Logan ML60XT’s ($5500 pair). The BP-9080x’s on initial impressions were more impressive than either. I’m not saying more accurate (they’re not) but if I were looking to buy a speaker on comparative listening and didn’t live with them for a day or two, I’d buy the Def Techs in a flash. This has to relate to the Bipolar design giving a more “live” feel and the built in Subs offering a bass response no other speaker I’ve ever heard could come close to. “Exciting” is the best way to describe their performance. The only way to get my reference speakers to better the Def Techs was to add a subwoofer when playing them (which, incidentally, I always prefer) then the ballpark changes with the S8’s having a better “presence” and the 60XT’s more “open”. Remember however, there are no absolutes in the HiFi business as performance has to be related to price and by the time we add a decent musical sub to the mix, the Def techs are substantially cheaper than the S8’s (by over $10,000) and just match the Martin Logan 60XT’s (albeit with one, not two subs). Next - Movie time. There are matching Centre’s and Surrounds which I’ll test at a later date but at this stage I’m concentrating on just the L+R. I used “Interstellar” as my test Movie. Bad move! The prodigious bass from the BP-9080x’s was such that when the spaceship launched, my wife (three rooms and two stories removed) complained of furniture and fittings moving around her. I have NEVER experienced sub bass like this before, the one thing Definitive Technology are world famous for is their subwoofers and all that R&D shows via these speakers. On to Terminator Genisys, this shows the little extra that comes with these speakers - the built in Dolby Atmos module which is integrated (and handsomely so) into the speakers. This module bounces the Atmos signal up to the roof and it actually works well. Ideal for someone like me who has no access for installing in-ceiling speakers. This feature alone would be the deciding factor in recommending these speakers if used in a Home Theatre environment. I could rave on for pages and pages about the excitement and experience generated by the Definitive Technologies BP-9080x’s but you should get my drift by now. As a stereo music speaker I’d toss up between my ML 60XT’s (with sub) and the Def Techs, the DT’s offer a smaller footprint however and you don’t have to find a spot for the subs. For a Home Theatre/Music speaker however, these things just nail it. There is nothing on the market that gets close given the price, I’d recommend them wholeheartedly given their performance, built in subwoofers and Dolby Atmos Module. You may be even more enticed if you decide on a pair and call me for our special pricing given I’ve now decided to stock the DT 9000 range of speakers.
As Speakers are the most important determinant of the overall sound of any system, and with over 220 different brands on the market, it’s extremely important that any HiFi retailer takes the utmost care and does due diligence in regards to the speakers that are ranged in the store. Unfortunately, there is a fair bit of bias out there as most retailers also import their own product so the chances of getting an unbiased opinion on speakers (and indeed Electronics) can be pretty slim. Here in Eastwood HiFi Land, we don’t import any products directly or indirectly so we tend to stock whatever takes our fancy.
The problem is, we’re pretty well set in our ways when it comes to speakers and have been happy with our current stable of Paradigm, Martin Logan, Yamaha, Tannoy, Triangle (limited range) and a few recalcitrant KEF’s. Over the last 37 years, I’ve sold and stocked just about every brand you’ve ever heard of so it takes something special to lead me to consider putting in a new range. Welcome to the Definitive Technology 9000 Series. We’ve sold DT’s previously but were somewhat disenchanted with their 8000 series so the love was lost. When Mike Di Meglio (Nation Sales Manager of Importers Advance Audio) offered to lend me a pair of the new BP-9080x Speakers to trial, I was fairly ambivalent but after reading some glowing overseas reviews, I relented and set up a pair in Chez Neil. You’ll notice I didn’t base my review on a pair set up in store as that’s akin to testing a car in a car- park. Unless it’s in the real world, the results mean bugger all. Now to the nitty gritty (technical term)
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