Skip Navigation

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65

Bookshelf speaker

16 Reviews | 2 questions - 7 answers


Our take on the Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65

The StudioMonitor 65 is chock full of technology that's also found in Definitive's top-of-the-line speaker models. Its twin 5-1/4" mid/bass drivers use the 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 '65's mid/bass drivers also get 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.

Big-speaker sound in a compact package

Definitive Technology's StudioMonitor 65 gives you the kind of high-end performance you'd expect from a much larger floor-standing speaker, but in a smaller, more versatile bookshelf design. You'll hear a wide, deep soundstage with realistic imaging backed up by surprisingly deep bass — even without a sub. Each rock-solid cabinet features two of Definitive's advanced 5-1/4" mid/bass drivers pressure-coupled to a top-mounted bass radiator for high-impact sound. Together, they provide more total bass radiating area than a 12" 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.


High-tech driver design for impressive performance


Definitive's second-generation patented BDSS driver with Linear Response Waveguide™ technology gives this speaker exceptional sound quality.

The StudioMonitor 65 is chock full of technology that's also found in Definitive's top-of-the-line speaker models. Its twin 5-1/4" mid/bass drivers use the 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 '65's mid/bass drivers also get 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 pure aluminum dome

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

Crisp, sparkling highs

Definitive also equipped the StudioMonitor 65 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.

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 65 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 '65'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.

Got wire?

Most speakers don't include any. Learn about choosing and installing speaker wire at the Crutchfield Learning Center.
Shop our selection of speaker wire.

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.

The best bookshelf speakers I have ever owned. I am using them through an expensive early 1960's tube system, and the clarify and range are amazing. My "old" speakers are now my rear surrounds.

Andy C, California

What's in the Box:

  • 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 Highlights:

  • two second-generation Balanced Dual Surround System (BDSS) 5-1/4" mid/bass drivers 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 baskets resist 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: 30-30,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 92 dB
  • impedance: 8 ohms
  • recommended amplifier power: 20-300 watts
  • dual 5-way binding post speaker terminals for bi-wiring and bi-amping options
  • 16-3/8"H x 7-7/8"W x 15-3/16"D
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

16 Reviews

Definitively Technology Studio Monitor 65

Written by: Raymond from fresno, CA on March 29, 2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speakers are absolutely incredible in every way. The built quality and the sound quality of these puppies are to die for. Beautiful to look at and a pleasure to spend time with. Crisp clear highs, amazing mids, and mind blowing lows. I have my 2 SM65's as my 2 fronts and paired with a CS8080HD. Pro monitor 800's as 2 surrounds and Denon AVR-X4200W AV Receiver. Klipsch R112SW for my subwoofer. Sound is just unbelievable. I love everything about them.

Pros: Crisp clear sounds, amazing built quality, beautiful to look at and a fair price.

Cons: No cons for def techs, EVERRR


Written by: Eugene from brooklyn, NY on February 19, 2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

For the price range speakers is a awesome. Clean crisp sound deep base. Even if you like techno or hi hop you dont realy need a sub. On my onkyo rz900 when i put in audiophile mode and only two front speakers wofking the floor is rumbling from a base. But in the same time this speakers have clean crisp sound you can hear all details like sounds of fingers going from string to string


Cons: non so far

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65

Written by: Andy C from California on December 19, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The best bookshelf speakers I have ever owned. I am using them through an expensive early 1960's tube system, and the clarify and range are amazing. My "old" speakers are now my rear surrounds.

Pros: Price, Range, Clarity, Ease of Installation

Cons: NONE

The SM65 Is Amazing.

Written by: Fsuholley from St.Petersburg, Florida on September 16, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Sm65 is a very high quality speaker that is solid and well built. Friends and family are impressed by the sheer Volume the guys an handle. The bass is very full and will satisfy many without the addition of a sub. I am playing these through my new Marantz SR5010 and the sound stage is incredible. These speakers are best when you take the time to position them just right. Also Bi-wiring them seemed to produce a slightly warmer sound as well.

Pros: Soundstage and depth. Quality build (even though they are built in China).

Cons: None so far. They are a bit deep but that is not an issue for me.


Written by: Anonymous from Iowa on August 30, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

No need for a sub. I have them bi- wired to a onkyo mr-808. Using Apple TV to play iTunes. They sound amazing.

Pros: Everything

Cons: None

Mythos 7 Center Speaker

Written by: Jazz Afficianado from Naperville, Illinois on July 8, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Needed a "shorter" center channel speaker to fit between the top of the fireplace mantle and the bottom of my wall mounted Sony TV, and the Mythos 7 fit that bill. I actually took advantage of Crutchfield's 60-day return policy to return a MartinLogan Motion 8 because of it's height - even though I loved its breadth of sound it was too tall. The Def Tech Mythos 7 sounds terrific, but clearly its bass response is less than the Motion 8 due to the smaller sized mid-range/woofers used although I feel the Def Tech's passive radiator design does bring it very close to the MartinLogan.

Pros: "short" height

Cons: Gives up a bit of bass - but I feel this is made up by the side bookshelf speakers.

Don't be afraid!!

Written by: Timmy from Memphis on April 2, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have been putting off upgrading my front speakers for 20 years. I have a pair of 89 model Advent Legacy II's that have been living in a 5.1 world. I bought those Advents(before home theater) because of the bass and that's why I couldn't let them go!! The Def Tech's are killing it. I'm hearing things that I have never heard before. If you are an old school person that likes BIG speakers don't be afraid to go to the Def Tech World!!! I'm pushing them with a 2011 Sony ES 5600, it takes all she's got in 5.1 but they sound awesome. Two channel for music is incredible. I'm thrilled with the purchase!!!

Pros: Size and clarity

Cons: If you like to listen to concert DVD's as loud as the concert was you can bottom out the drivers. But I mean LOUD!! Don't let this con scare you!!

Great Choice

Written by: mdog from Kansas City on November 9, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Clean sound. Great highs and mid range. I have them connected to my TV with a NAD 356 amp and the clarity of sound is awesome. My ears are 70 years old so I needed some help and got that from these speakers.

Pros: Clean, Crisp, Good Highs and Mid Range

Cons: Not as much base as I wanted but really didn't expect it from 5 1/4" woofers. I will probably add a Sub-Woofer and that will completely make this system awesome!

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65

Written by: Anonymous from Alexandria LA on September 1, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Clear sound. Sound enclosed and needed more break in time.

Pros: Clean sound and solid construction. When compared to McIntosh, it sounded harsh and sound is not open. Perhaps the wires and the speakers needed more break in before one can really judge the sound quality.

Cons: Sound too enclosed

Great sound-need lots of power

Written by: leest from Oxnard Ca on May 14, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Speakers are compact, easy to place. Excellent bass. Stereo imaging is good. I tried running them with my Sony DA5700ES (allegedly 130 watts/channel) going thru the crossover on my Pro Sub 800. Not nearly enough power. Sound fine through my old Hafler 500. The Pro Center 2000 matches them we;;

Pros: Good sound, good price. Lots of bass

Cons: Need more power than most AV receivers can deliver

good luck finding a better speaker for the money

Written by: B Hans from Dallas on April 22, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I used the StudioMonitor 65s as my front speakers in the media room of a new house that had cabinets built for bookshelf speakers. I chose the Def Techs after listening to dozens of speakers. I was drawn to them for thier balanced sound and ability to play loudly without distortion. They lack the harshness of some brands. Some may describe the harsh sounds as crisp, but I found that many "crisp" speakers distorted the human voice, especially male voices, to the point of hurting my ears. I would put the sound of the StudioMonitor speakers on par with the mid-level Martin Logan speakers, but the Martin Logan speakers cost about 50% more. The speakers have a significant amount of bass, but you will still need a subwoofer for room-shaking bass levels.

Pros: play loudly, balanced sound

Cons: depth of speaker cabinet may limit placement


Written by: Brian S from Metro Boston, MA on March 25, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I was looking for a set of smallish speakers for my smallish home office. After reading some good reviews about the Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65, I wanted to go to my local Definitive Technology dealer to audition a pair. I was very surprised to learn that I couldn't find one in the Boston area that not one carried them. I did find a local dealer carry the 55 and 45 siblings, but they for some reason could not even special order the 65's. I was able to audition a pair of 55's paired up with a SuperCube 4000 and was impressed. Crutchfield had the 65's in stock that included 2-day free shipping. Two days later, they were delivered as promised. I have had them now for almost three weeks, and I absolutely LOVE these speakers. I have them paired with a SuperCube 6,000, and the sound experience is fantastic for both 2 channel stereo and 5.1 surround for movies. The dynamic range is impressive with crisp and detailed highs and tight bass response. The build quality is top notch with huge bi-amp ready binding posts. You really can't beat the performance of the StudioMonitor 65s for the price. I have several other Definitive Technology speaker systems, and have been very happy with price, performance and build quality of all of them.

Pros: Reference quality sound with crisp and detailed highs and tight bass response.

Cons: None that I have found.


Written by: Chatte from Birmingham AL on March 17, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Tremendouss performance. I was considering a floor standing speaker such as the Definitive Technology Mythos series and then decided to go with these paired with a couple of ProSub1000 subwoofers. The performance is phenomenal powered by Peaxhtree 220 and Peachtree Nova Pre. My CDplayer is a NAD C565BEE. I have an old Panasonic SL N-15 turntable and a JVC TDW 534 cassette player. My music from 8 decades and 2 continents sounds magnificent. The sound of these speakers leaves little to be desired.



Great sound - great value

Written by: Bob from White Plains, NY on February 8, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Purchased 2 - Studio Monitor 65, 2 - Studio Monitor 45 a CS8040HD and the SuperCube 6000 - receiver is an Onkyo TX-NR809. S/W with DefTech and they said 45's are good choice if rear/surround are just used mostly for movies. 65's are fabulous (as is whole system) - great bass and could be used without a sub-woofer. Excellent crisp sound. Normally use the 65's (with sub) in stereo mode for music, very impressed and great value!

Pros: strong bass, great sound and value

Cons: None

Solid Small Speaker

Written by: Ajarjay from Riverdale, UT on June 4, 2012

I have these wall mounted with two supercube I's to fill in the bass. These are the biggest speakers I was able to get mounted to the wall. All the punch and volume of towers without the footprint and child tipover liability. Excellent sounding speakers but fairly expensive. I think this is a better route than buying towers with built in subs.

Pros: Lots of volume and power handling, excellent sound, full midrange, loud crisp highs, high quality crossovers. All the full tower sound, able to mounted on the wall, (just barely).

Cons: More expensive than many other bookshelf speakers that will likely cover most people volume needs just fine. Requires serious amp power to reach full potential, (250 watts RMS per email from Definitive Technology).

These things ROCK!

Written by: Steve S. from Allentoen, NJ on April 25, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I can't believe the sound that comes out of these speakers! Despite their small stature, they sound 100% percent better than the floor standing Paradigm Monitor 5 that they replaced!!! Detail and clarity like I have never heard before from such a small footprint. An engineering triumph!!




Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download the Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65 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

Features and Specs

Enclosure Passive Radiator
Video Shielded No
Tweeter Type Dome
Tweeter Size (inches) 1
Midrange Size (inches) N/A
Woofer Size (inches) 5.25
Woofer Composition Polymer
Woofer Surround Rubber
Power Range 20-300
Sensitivity 92 dB
Impedance (Ohms) 8
Frequency Response 30-30k Hz
Connector Type 5-way post
Bi-amp Inputs Yes
Height (inches) 16-3/8
Width (inches) 7-7/8
Depth (inches) 15-3/16
Weight (pounds) 22
Mounting Bracket Included No
Recommended Stand Height (inches) 28.5
Parts Warranty 5 Years
Labor Warranty 5 Years

Product Research

Driver Technology
Enclosure Design
Mounting Options

Driver Technology

StudioMonitor Series: The Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65 is a compact bookshelf loudspeaker designed for use in audio/video entertainment systems. Because the StudioMonitor 65 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 65 loudspeaker is ideal for use as front, center, or surround speaker in a home theater environment.

2-Way Loudspeaker: Each Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65 loudspeaker features a D'Appolito array consisting of two 5.25" second generation BDSS cast-aluminum basket midrange drivers surrounding 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 dual 5.25" BDSS midrange drivers are pressure coupled to a top-mounted 6"x12" racetrack bass radiator to extend and amplify bass frequencies. The total bass radiating from a StudioMonitor 65 is substantially greater than that of a single 12-inch woofer but with far greater control, definition and speed than a single sluggish large woofer. The StudioMonitor 65 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 65 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 65 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 65 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.


Bi-amp/Bi-wire Binding Posts: Each StudioMonitor 65 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 65 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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

I bought Definitive Technology speakers at Christmas and have been extremely satisfied with my purchase. Customer Service and Sales Representatives know their stuff. I have been thinking of adding more speakers and decided I like the design of this bookshelf speaker the best. Now I'm officially a repeat customer. Thank you Cructhfield. [ MIKE  May 14, 2016 ]
Very pleased with pro 2000 center channel and I am upgrading my 16 year old Boston acoustics micro 90s [ Sean  Mar 23, 2016 ]
Home theater center speaker [ Milton  Feb 05, 2016 ]
One of the BEST book shelf speakers for home theater. AMAZING quality in every way [ Raymond  Jan 04, 2016 ]
The sound fills the room. Amazing lows and crisp highs. Would definately recommend. [ Robert  Dec 14, 2015 ]

2 questions already asked

If they even have a scratch or blemish, it will be small and purely cosmetic. Here are the details for Scratch & Dent Inventory: "These are open-box items that have minor cosmetic damage. They may be missing non-essential accessories. In some cases the manufacturer's accessories have been replaced with generic equivalents. The manufacturer's warranty applies." I hope that helps! My Bio: [ Ryan  Apr 15, 2016 ]  Staff
We'll let's say I was so impressed by the def speakers I bought the 55, and the 45 also! The 65 which I bought first have a natural sound for music of all types, again all types! There definition,detail,presence, and positioning of instruments is on par if better than most more expensive speakers. I will say the lower end is there also not in the sense of towers with power amps or 10/12 inch woofers, but close to that presentation.if you close your eyes you are in performance, the cost is really a reflection of the sound, don t second guess yourself, today you get what you pay for. P.S. Wait till you have them for a while and the seat/ break in the sound becomes better and smoother if you can believe that. Good luck in your decision, best regards j Pulito [ JOSEPH  Mar 14, 2015 ]
You better believe it. I've had these speakers for a year now. They are part of my home theater, but I listen to a lot of music. When I'm listening to music I turn the sub off and let the 65's do all of the work. They are power hogs, I'm driving them with a Sony 5600ES and it takes a lot of power but they sound GREAT!! The clarity of the bass is unbelievable. I've been very pleased. [ TIM  Mar 14, 2015 ]
Hello, These speakers are incredible !! They are a very musical speaker, and the bass is surprising !!! Hope this helps you! Peter [ Peter  Mar 13, 2015 ]
I would say they are better for movies and tv. The woofers are a little small to really blast music. Unless you keep the bass lower into them. They have good bass response just not made for that crazy loud music style. They sound good for any type of sound tho! For music I would definitely go with a floor standing speaker or something with a bigger woofer. The SM 55 would be better for music play. [ BRIAN  Mar 13, 2015 ]
They are ABSOLUTELY ideal for music listening. I am using them only for music in a 2 channel system and they sound fantastic. I am driving them with a Peachtree 220 amp. My "Listening Room" is down in my finished basement and these speakers do a nice job filling a big area with great sound. I can't wait to move them to a better (acoustically) room and watch these things shine. [ STEPHEN  Mar 13, 2015 ]
Yes they are great for music. [ JoeKada  Mar 13, 2015 ]