Video: Definitive Technology Bipolar Speakers Demo
Julie Govan is the Brand Manager at Crutchfield, and has been writing about consumer electronics since 1999. Her areas of expertise include home theater, surround sound, digital cameras, and HDTV. In her spare time, she also writes book reviews and fiction. She earned a B.A. in English from Davidson College, and went on to receive a master's degree in English literature from the University of Virginia.
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Mike Lang, a trainer from Definitive Technology, visited Crutchfield to show off their new bipolar floor-standing and center channel speakers.
Julie: Definitive Technology came to Crutchfield today to show off some new speakers for us and we got a chance to ask Mike Lang some questions about what made them special.
Mike: What's a little different about this product here is that, number one, it's a bipolar design. And by that we mean that you have information coming out of the front and the back of the speaker. That makes them a little bit more like a live acoustic musical instrument might be. It also gives you more ability to place them where you would like to put them, not where you have to put them to make them sound good.
Julie: Mike, do you need a subwoofer with these to get the full effect?
Mike: No actually you do not. We incorporated a powerful built-in subwoofer here, basically for three reasons. Number one, we wanted to blend the drivers together more easily. Also, two subwoofers always sound better in a given space. And thirdly, you don't have the cosmetic challenge that people don't like about "what do I do with now that third box I have to buy and where do I have to put it?"
Julie: What about connecting them? Does having that amplifier built in make it harder?
Mike: No, we've actually tried to simplify it as much as possible. If you want, let me show you what I mean. If you look at the back here, this is the amplifier connection. You have your normal red and black speaker terminals like you do with everybody else's speakers. We have only one knob to adjust and that's volume up or down. We realize some people may want their subs working a little harder than others, like salt and pepper for food. There also is a power cord and it's very simple and it's a detachable unit. Some people like to actually upgrade power cords. I know you guys sell upgraded power cords which is a great thing for better performance. And we've done that so you can disconnect them and upgrade.
Julie: That's great. So we talked about the towers. What about the center channels that are matched to these towers?
Mike: Most people will acknowledge that the center channel is the most important speaker in any home theater set up. Anywhere from 50 to maybe as much as 80% of the information can go through this. It is not just a dialogue speaker. So you want to have the same kind of dynamics and clarity and output that you do with a main speaker like this. When you have to set a speaker in a small setting because they have small drivers, that's a challenge in getting that performance level up to where you want it to be so we do a couple of different things besides our driver quality components and building good cabinets. We also put some drivers in the top. In the case of this one, it is not an active driver that's powered, but it's a big high mass passive bass radiator that gives us the ability to set this on a large setting so you get all the dynamics and power you need to get out of that setter. We have two models above this that use a powered woofer in the top of the product that exaggerate that effect even further. Bottom line benefit is that you get a full range center channel experience that will keep up dynamically with big loud speakers like this in any presentation.
Julie: So you mentioned that the bipolar design makes it kind of easy to set up in tricky rooms. What's the trickiest room you've ever had these guys set up in and had it work out?
Mike: Well, one of the trickiest rooms for me is my own home. First of all, it's a very bright room. It also has a canted ceiling, so it's not consistent in how it deals with sound waves. And one wall is all brick. It has a lot of windows in it so they're very hard surfaces. They tend to sound very brash, but they also give you a hard time with bass anomalies. So there are two things that this speaker does to solve that. First of all, by having two subs, as I mentioned earlier, that deals with the bass anomalies or hot spots and dead spots a lot better. It tends to smooth out the overall response in the room. The second thing is because of the bipolar technology, it has a big forgiving sound stage because you have information coming from the back and you have information coming from the front in almost a 360-degree radiating pattern so no matter where you sit you get nice big fat natural sound. We like to say "life-like big natural sound everywhere in the room."
Julie: Thank you so much for explaining these to us, and giving us a little extra time today.
Mike: My pleasure.
Julie: It's been very helpful. And that's Definitive Technology and Mike Lang.Mike: Thank you very much.