Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55

Bookshelf speaker

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Item #: 735SM55

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SM55 grille off

Get rich sound from a compact bookshelf design

Don't let the StudioMonitor 55's size fool you — this compact bookshelf speaker belts out big bass that adds depth and richness to your movie soundtracks and stereo music. Each rock-solid cabinet features an advanced 6-1/2" mid/bass driver that's pressure-coupled to a top-mounted bass radiator for high-impact sound. Together, they provide more total bass radiating area than a 10" woofer, but with greater control, definition and speed than a single large cone. A 1" pure aluminum dome tweeter serves up crisp, extended highs that blend in beautifully with the mids and lows. The StudioMonitor 55 is the result of more than 20 years of research and development by Definitive in their quest to create speakers with a perfect balance of style, utility, and performance.


BDSS driver

Definitive's second-generation patented BDSS driver

High-tech driver design for impressive performance

The StudioMonitor 55 is chock full of technology that's also found in Definitive's top-of-the-line speaker models. Its 6-1/2" mid/bass driver uses their latest Balanced Dual Surround System (BDSS) driver design, which places a surround on both the outer and inner edge of the speaker cone. This helps the cone remain more stable as it moves, resulting in clearer, more accurate sound — even at high volume levels. The '55's mid/bass driver also gets Definitive's second-generation Linear Response Waveguide™. This mushroom-shaped post in the center of the cone smooths off-axis frequency response for broad, even sound dispersion and a more realistic sonic "image." That means every listener in the room gets to hear balanced, open sound with lifelike vocals and instruments.

sm55 tweeter

A second-generation pure aluminum dome tweeter yields smooth, extended treble.

Crisp, sparkling highs

Definitive also equipped the StudioMonitor 55 with their latest 1" pure aluminum dome tweeter. This advanced driver is first heat-treated to relax the crystal structure of the metal, then coated with a ceramic that helps produce clear, sparkling highs without a trace of edginess. You'll easily hear the subtle high-frequency details in your music, like the sound of wire brushes gently sweeping the snare head, or the bell-like ring of a brass cymbal.

SM55 bass radiator

A top-mounted bass radiator provides outstanding low-frequency response.

It's all in the details

Definitive paid close attention to other important design elements, too — both visible and hidden. At its heart, the StudioMonitor 55 uses a sophisticated crossover network with audiophile-grade components that include over-sized inductor coils and Mylar film capacitors. These give you a smoother, flatter frequency response, more powerful dynamics, and faster transients, for sound with real presence and immediacy. Sturdy, vault-like cabinet construction also plays a big role in this speaker's performance. The '55's well-damped, cross-braced enclosure features a specially contoured front baffle with tapered sides to minimize diffraction and vibrations that can color your sound and reduce accuracy.

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Did you know?
Your new speakers will probably sound better after several weeks of use than they do right out of the box. That's because the material surrounding the woofers will loosen up, allowing the drivers to move more fully. Definitive Technology estimates a break-in period of 24 to 48 hours of playback before the speakers will deliver optimum sound quality. For more information and helpful tips, check out this article from Definitive's website about conditioning your speakers.


Product Highlights:

  • second-generation Balanced Dual Surround System (BDSS) 6-1/2" mid/bass woofer for clear, accurate sound at high volumes
  • Linear Response Waveguide technology smooths off-axis frequency response provides broad, even sound dispersion and more realistic imaging
  • rigid die-cast aluminum driver basket resists vibration and twisting for lower distortion
  • top-mounted bass radiator for outstanding low-frequency response
  • second-generation 1" pure aluminum dome tweeter delivers clear, extended highs
  • crossover network features oversize inductors and premium Mylar capacitors for audiophile-grade sound quality
  • non-resonant braced enclosure ensures clean, uncolored sound
  • wood grain matte black enclosure with high-gloss, anti-diffraction baffle and detachable cloth grille
  • frequency response: 32-30,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 90 dB
  • impedance: 8 ohms
  • recommended amplifier power: 20-225 watts
  • dual 5-way binding post speaker terminals for bi-wiring and bi-amping options
  • 12-15/16"H x 7-7/8"W x 12-1/2"D
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Why choose bookshelf speakers?

Bookshelf speakers may be small in size, but they can deliver surprisingly big sound. Some ultra-compact models even fit on a desktop. Most are right at home in tight spaces like shelves, so they're usually good choices for your home theater's rear channels. For the best performance, try placing bookshelf speakers on solid speaker stands to help the sound really "open up." If you want full bass impact, add a powered subwoofer and enjoy punchy sound that's as deeply satisfying as that of floor-standing speakers.

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Black bookshelf loudspeaker
  • Detachable black cloth grille
  • 2 Jumpers (attached to speaker terminals)
  • 4 Self-adhesive rubber feet
  • Owner's Manual
  • Online Product Registration card

Product Research

Driver Technology
Enclosure Design
Connections
Mounting Options

Driver Technology

StudioMonitor Series: The Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55 is a compact bookshelf loudspeaker designed for use in audio/video entertainment systems. Because the StudioMonitor 55 is a true full-range speaker with extended low-frequency response, it delivers superb performance both as stand-alone speaker and when combined with a separate subwoofer. Due to its compact size, wide-range, high-power handling, and natural articulate clarity; the StudioMonitor 55 loudspeaker is ideal for use as front, center, or surround speaker in a home theater environment.

2-Way Loudspeaker: Each Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55 loudspeaker features a 6.5" second generation BDSS cast-aluminum basket midrange driver and a 1" pure aluminum dome tweeter.

  • 2nd Generation BDSS Midrange: The 6.5" cast-aluminum basket midrange driver features Definitive's patented Balanced Double Surround System (BDSS) technology that supports the speaker cone at both the inner and outer edges allowing longer, more linear excursion for greater clarity and finely textured inner detail.
  • Pure Aluminum Dome Tweeter: The 1" tweeter is a pure aluminum dome, which has been heat-treated to relax the crystal structure and then coated with a ceramic to produce smooth, extended highs. A new patent pending Linear Response Waveguide smoothes off-axis frequency response and disperses sound over a wider area for crystal clear intelligibility for every listener in the room.

Pressure Coupled Radiator Design: The 6.5" BDSS midrange driver is pressure coupled to a top-mounted 6"x10" racetrack bass radiator to extend and amplify bass frequencies. The total bass radiating from a StudioMonitor 55 is substantially greater than that of a single 10-inch woofer but with far greater control, definition and speed than a single sluggish large woofer. The StudioMonitor 55 speaker's bass performance offers depth, detail, and musicality.

Note: Due to the top-mounted racetrack bass radiator, there should be at least 2" of space above the bookshelf loudspeaker.

Phase-Coherent Crossover Networks: The crossover network is the real heart of a loudspeaker as it is responsible for perfectly blending together the sound of the various drivers into a musically seamless whole. The sophisticated crossover network design used in the StudioMonitor 55 loudspeaker features premium audiophile-grade components; such as oversized inductors and Mylar capacitors for audiophile-grade sound quality, with linear phase and frequency response. An integrated Zobel network flattens the impedance of the system so that even budget amplifiers will be able to drive the StudioMonitor 55 loudspeaker (although a premium amplifier will bring out all the performance it has to offer). As a result, the audio signal's phase coherence, transient response, and dynamic integrity is preserved for absolutely lifelike music and home theater reproduction in your home.

Enclosure Design

Non-Resonant/Low-Diffraction Cabinet: The Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55 bookshelf loudspeaker employs a non-resonant MDF braced enclosure that ensures pure, uncolored performance. The specially contoured high-gloss baffle around the drivers and the tapered enclosure sides enhance sound quality by minimizing diffraction distortion.

Connections

Bi-amp/Bi-wire Binding Posts: Each StudioMonitor 55 bookshelf loudspeaker has two sets of heavy-duty, all metal binding post speaker terminals (connected by metal jumpers) to attach your receiver's speaker wire. Using the dual binding posts, you can bi-amp or bi-wire the speakers for even better sound. The binding post speaker terminals will accept bare wire (up to 10AWG), pin-connectors, spade-connectors, and banana-plugs (single only).

Color-Coded: The speaker's binding posts are color-coded (red/black) for easy identification between positive and negative.

Mounting Options

Table-Top Mounting: The StudioMonitor 55 loudspeaker can be simply placed on a bookshelf, table-top, or speaker stand (such as the Definitive Technology StudioStand, sold separately ). Four self-adhesive rubber feet are included to protect your furniture's surface.

Wall Mounting: The optional PinPoint heavy duty side-grip wall-mounting bracket (121AM41B, sold separately) can be used to wall mount the speaker.

Note: The speaker does not include any type of wall-mount bracket, threaded inserts, or keyhole slots.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

16 reviews
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Great Monitor Speaker

Written By Walt B., California on Monday, December 15, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My Def Tech SM 55's are not fully broken in yet but they are already sounding fantastic. I upgraded from the SM45's which are terrific speakers in their own right, but these are a definite step up. They already compete quite well with my other speakers, Monitor Audio Silver RX6 tower speakers, and when they're fully broken in I believe they will best them.

Pros: Just about everything.

Cons: Nothing at this price point.

I Love This Speaker

Written By DaveG, SLC, UT on Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Awesome value and fills up my room with great sound better than I could have imagined! Great buy on a great speaker!

Pros: Fits nicely on a standard bookshelf. Looks great!

Cons: None

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55

Written By supermax, Kokomo,Indiana on Thursday, October 09, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Moniter55 speakers have exlent sound. The highs and lows are produced very well. Very fine speakers.

A Good Speaker

Written By Andy, Colorado Springs, CC on Thursday, October 02, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is a decent speaker, but when I compared to my older JBL T100 speakers it was no contest. The older JBs had all the highs etc. of this speaker, but way more 'body'. I carefully AB'd these 55s with the JBLs they just did not make the cut, even with my sub.

Pros: Size evidently still matters leaving these speaker woefully thin.

Cons: Great size and possibly sound for much smaller room.

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55

Written By Judge Tom, Olney Maryland on Sunday, May 18, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is an outstanding product . I replaced two 30+ year old Infinity 48" high tower speakers each with double 10" push pull woofers with these mini monitors, in a 12 by 20 ft room with openings to a dining area and a hallway, and did not expect too much. I was astounded by these little gems in tandem with a MartinLogan Dynamo 700 sub. Even without the sub the bass was deep and room filling. With the sub they easily surpassed my old infinity monsters. I especially liked the fact that they are not ported and have a passive top radiator so my bass does not shoot out into the dining room and hallway as with a rear ported speaker.. Critical listeners have confirmed my evaluation. Delivery by Crutchfield was within 23 hours of my order.

Pros: Outstanding quality and value for money.

Cons: none

SM 55

Written By Antonio, Guaynabo, PR on Saturday, April 05, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Rediscovering my very well-recorded and extremely eclectic music collection on my new small(a bit less than 12' x 9') listening room. Paired to a quite nice turntable(on a solid wall mount), a beefy (150w/ch @ 8 ohms) made in Japan receiver and two very good cd players. Nothing "high-end"(marketing bull).just perfect placement (spikes on shelf, tweeters at ear level, seated, slight toe-in). Proper break-in. Attained the ideal of music reproduction: total intelligibility, a big soundstage, extended dynamic range and more than the occasional,watery-eyed goosebumps. These babes are mind boggling. Deep-flat bass, holographic presence of voices and instruments, sweet decay of cymbals and guitars... oh my...if music is a drug, as it is for me, these machines are akin to intravenous delivery devices.

Pros: Premium floor-standing speaker sound for the size and price of merely good bookshelf's. (If that is not for you a breakthrough, my friend, consider sitting down and wait for cold fusion or world peace.)

Cons: Kind of ugly without grilles, but the magic seems unaffected by them, they seem acoustically transparent. Anyway got the SM 55's for function, not form.The black finish on dimmed light makes them to visually disappear, which is good. Anyway I do not go out with them, but with my wife. Now, she not only looks good, but she LOVES our new small room. Was that kinky? You bet ! Remember college dorm? There you go. A good music room is the ultimate time machine.

def tech studio monitor 55

Written By Houn, Bk on Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great sound, tight looking speakers

Pros: Size, look, and they kick they make love to your ears

Cons: None

Great Sound

Written By Anonymous, S San Fran, CA on Thursday, January 23, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speakers are worth the money, great sound for such a small speaker

A bargain

Written By gnakasato, Louisville, KY on Sunday, December 08, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Outstanding speakers. Great sound reproduction with lots of bass. Very neutral without sounding too bright or too boomy. Absolutely no distortion even after cranking the volume of my amp all the way up (rated at "130W" per channel). I'm using them as free standing speakers on stands, and after using the amplifier microphone to use the Audyssey MultiEQ system to calibrate them, it detected them as "Full Range" speakers. Impressive. I still set the crossover at 60Hz, though, per the manufacturer recommendations, since I have a dedicated subwoofer for the lower frequencies (relieving the main amplifier from having to run those power hungry lower frequencies). Nice craftmanship. For the price, they are extremely hard to beat. Even more so if you get them at open box price.

Pros: Great sound reproduction. For music and movies. Even when used as freestanding speakers.

Cons: Size. A little deep for a standard "bookshelf". But form follows function. And that extra depth allows it to accomodate the top 10" passive radiator that gives it the capabily of full bass reproduction. So for "full range" speakers, they are actually "compact".

Studio Monitor 55

Written By Carlos Danger, New Mexico on Saturday, October 19, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I tested several bookshelf speakers to be used with a McIntosh Reciever area B stereo rated at 100W/channel. The DR set has a fuller range sound than any of the new Martin Logan and B&W offerings. For a set to be used with no sub the DR is it for me.

Pros: Full sound

Cons: None for a small room stereo application.

studio 55

Written By ronq, phoenix, az on Thursday, August 01, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speakers are relatively small in my opinion, but deliver terrific sound. I am using them as front right and left speakers and I am very pleased with them. Crutchfield had them at them at the going price. They delivered them very quickly. They were packaged safely and arrived without damage, and I had the peace of mind of having Crutchfield's guarantee.

Pros: great sound, small package

Cons: none

Super performer, period.

Written By VictorA, San German,PR. on Monday, June 03, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is a great performer, I`m using the SM-55 as my mains. The partner in crime for surrounds the sm-45, and together the SM`s work as one and with authority...not only has the bass response of a much larger speaker, it's a great-sounding speaker. The StudioMonitor 55s didn't seem to mind playing loud enough to rock out in my large loft space.... Great dynamics, imaging and soundstage. 100000 thumbs up

Pros: Well Built, Heavy but still a beauty...

Cons: None

Solid Performance, expected quality

Written By rwwaters, Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These babies are exactly what I am looking for. I became acquainted with Definitive several years ago at Best Buy of all places... the 55s are great for the user who doesn't have a lot of space, but still wants room-filling, rich, and bright sound. I have these powered off a dinky NuForce Dia running in tandem with an older Definitive pair of ProCinemas for fuller sound space. Also have a Definitive sub powered from the Dia's line out.

You could easily run these 55s by themselves, but the sub works for my taste.

Pros: design, build quality, style, suave

Cons: maybe a little large, but not really that large considering the sound you get from them

Good in Price Range, Not Great

Written By Mike W, Knoxville, TN on Saturday, December 15, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Overall, these are very good speakers in this price range. I planned to use them for music only in a 2-channel system in my bedroom. I was pleased with the midrange and treble tonaility and detail. Bass extension was very good for this size of bookshelf speaker, due to the passive radiator on top, as other reviewers have mentioned. However, I was somewhat disappointed with the imaging and soundstage. Regardless of placement, it would never quite snap into focus. I had the entire short wall of the room to play with, but never found an optimal placement. I have replaced these with a pair of small floorstanding speakers that were very easy to place, and provide excellent imaging and soundstage depth. I'm going to try these as front speakers in my home theater system, a Def Tech Pro Cinema 600. Hopefully they will work well as an upgrade to those speakers.

Pros: Excellent bass extension for bookshelf speaker, very dynamic, good mid and treble detail.

Cons: Bass a little muddy, soundstage and imaging disappointing.

impressive sound

Written By JWS, San Luis Obispo, CA on Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My old speaker towers needed replacing after a room remodel. Working with a Crutchfield adviser helped me get past my concern that the bookshelf speakers would not be an adequate substitute. These speakers are phenomenal. The 6.5 inch woofer provides plenty of bass (I do not have a subwoofer, and don't feel that I need one for classical music), and the aluminum tweeter gives ample high range, although I have to boost the treble on the amp to get a good balance. The design of the speaker produces bass from the top as well as the front, possibly explaining the remarkable force of the bass range. These speakers more than fill a large living room with cathedral ceiling and easily take the power beyond what is a comfortable listening volume. Top-notch performance at a reasonable price.

Pros: compact design; excellent sound; reasonable price

Cons: caution needed when handling to avoid damaging the front and top

Great bookshelf speakers

Written By BillW, Eugene, OR on Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I spent quite some time looking at a variety of bookshelf speakers prior to picking up a pair of these. I wanted a non-ported design that had decent lower end extension and these certainly fit the bill. While probably not suited for bass heavy Rap, electronica or dubstep they work great for the Jazz, Classical, Blues, Metal and Rock I've played through them. While there was some slight harshness initially to the highs but that mellowed after about 15 hours of use. Overall a great bookshelf speaker and I'm pleased with my choice.

Pros: Beautiful cabinets, look great with grills on or off. Accurate with great sound and surprising low end from a bookshelf speaker.

Cons: Not so much a con as a warning, be careful when removing the speaker from packaging. These speakers ship with the grills off, and the top grill covers the bass radiator. Recommendation when removing from packaging is to lift on the sides to avoid possible damage to speakers.

Get everything you’ll need to enjoy your new Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55

You'll need speaker wire to connect your speakers to your amp or receiver. No wire is included with this speaker.
Add connectors to your bulk speaker wire for a neater, easier, and more reliable installation.
Cut your speaker wire to the exact length you need.
Get your speakers off the floor and at ear level where they are meant to be.
Mount your speakers safely on the wall.
Original Monster Cable

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Monster Cable SuperFlat™ Mini

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AudioQuest Type 4

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AudioQuest Rocket 33

AudioQuest Rocket 33

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Monster crimp-on mini bananas

Monster crimp-on mini bananas

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Monster crimp-on banana connectors

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AudioQuest X2 Speaker Cable

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AudioQuest G2 Speaker Cable

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Definitive Technology StudioMonitor Stand

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor Stand

StudioMonitor all-metal speaker stands

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Pinpoint AM-41

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IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R155 Monitor Stands

IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R155 Monitor Stands

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Questions & Answers Ask the community. Share your knowledge.

1 question already asked

"Definitive ProCenter 2000 (BK) Center Channel Speaker Item #: 735PCTR2KB" This is the speaker I used. I like it. Definitive may have some better speakers, but this is all my pocket book would stand at the moment. I use a Yamaha receiver to run my speakers. [ JAMES EDWARD  May 06, 2014 ]
As you should always match brands on all speakers for a multi-speaker setup, I suggest going to the Definitive Technology website and check out their center channel speakers. Something like the CS-8080HD, CS-8060HD, or CS-8040HD should blend nicely with the SM55 speaker, all which are available at Crutchfield. [ PHILIP  May 05, 2014 ]
I am using the Def Tech CS 8040 HD in my set up. I have SM 65's for the mains and SM 55's for surround. All work in perfect unison. [ ERIC  May 05, 2014 ]
Use the SM-65 in horizontal position. That's what I do and it sounds perfectly matched. [ Grisha Goryache  May 05, 2014 ]

Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.

Definitive StudioMonitor 65

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Experience even more bass impact

The Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65 offers these features:

dual 5-1/4" mid/bass drivers for greater bass output and accuracy

higher power handling