Bookshelf Speakers

Harman Kardon and Definitive Technology

ARTICLE INDEX

Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 System: 4-ProMonitor 800 (Main Channels and Surrounds), 1-ProCenter 1000 (Center) and 1-ProSub 800 (Subwoofer)

Specifications

Model: ProMonitor 800 (Main Channels and Surrounds)
    • Design: 2-Way, 2-Driver Bass Reflex (Passive Radiator)
    • Tweeter – 1" Pure Aluminum Dome
    • Woofer – 4-1/2" Balanced Double Surround System (BDSS)Cone
    • Bass Radiator – 4-1/2"
    • MFR: 57 Hz -30 kHZ
    • Sensitivity: 89 db
    • Power Handling: 150 watts
    • Nominal Impedance: 8 Ω
    • Dimensions: 4-3/4" (W) x 8-3/8" (H) x 5" (D)
    • Weight: 4 lbs (each)
Model: ProCenter 1000 (Center)
    • Design: 2-Way, 3-Driver Bass Reflex (Passive Radiator)
    • Tweeter – 1" Pure Aluminum Dome
    • Woofers – 2~4-1/2" Balanced Double Surround System (BDSS)Cone
    • Bass Radiators – 2~4-1/2"
    • MFR: 47 Hz -30 kHZ
    • Sensitivity: 90 db
    • Power Handling: 200 wattsv
    • Nominal Impedance: 8 Ω
    • Dimensions: 14-3/4" (W) x 5" (H) x 5" (D)
    • Weight: 6 lbs (each)
Model: ProSub 800 (Subwoofer)
  • Design: Bass Reflex (Passive Radiator)
  • Driver: 8"
  • Bass Radiator: 8"
  • MFR: 20 Hz -150 HZ
  • Internal Amplifier Power: 300 watts
  • Controls: Volume (side), Crossover, Phase (0°/180°), Crossover Bypass and Master Power
  • Dimensions: 10-5/16" (W) x 12-7/8" (H) x 15-3/4" (D)
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • MSRP: $1,199.00/5.1 System
  • MFR URL: http://www.definitivetech.com/

rating criteria

I was a little surprised when the Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 5.1 speaker system arrived complete in one box. This box is about the size that most 12" subs are packed in. So it was with relative ease and substantial pleasure that I hauled it into the theater for unpacking. If you purchase the ProCinema 800 system as a pre-packaged set, then speakers come in black only. The speakers are available in white when you purchase each component separately. The MSRP is the same either way you choose to purchase your speaker system.

The four satellites are the ProMonitor 800's. These roughly quart-sized speakers are very solidly constructed with a high gloss finish. The enclosures' slim, curved shape is said to reduce diffraction to improve dispersion and imaging. The satellites come equipped with small rubber-tipped tripod feet for shelf placement. The speakers have ¼" 20 threaded inserts on the back and can thus be wall mounted using optional articulating wall mounts which are available from you Definitive Technology dealer. The speakers can also be mounted on dedicated 30" stands which are also available as an optional accessory.

The satellite speakers and the center channel speaker, the ProCenter 1000, all have a single 1" pure aluminum dome tweeter. Definitive Technology says that the dome's material is heat-treated to relax the crystal structure and then it's coated with a ceramic material. The tweeter is also ferrofluid damped. Each tweeter is protected by a small plastic frame.

Affordable Systems Reviews; Harman Kardon and Definitive Technology

The ProCinema 800 and ProCenter 1000 speakers' most unique feature are their main drivers: the 4.5" High-Definition Balanced Double Surround System (BDSS). This patented technology includes the typical surround at the cone's outer edge and one near the center of the cone where you would usually find a dust cap or phase plug. This allows a more linear cone excursion and eliminates some of the possible breakup modes that standard drivers might exhibit. These drivers have waveguides that are said to smooth the off-axis response. The cones are made of mineral-filled monpolymer. These drivers are supported by cast baskets and feature oversized motor structures. They are coupled to a flat 4.5" passive radiator. The passive radiator is mounted on top of the enclosure on the ProCinema 800 and on either end of the enclosure in the ProCenter 1000.

The included sub is the ProSub 800. This 8" sub is powered by a 300 watt MOSFET amplifier. The active driver is front-mounted and has a generous surround to accommodate the long throw driver. The sub has a down-firing 8" passive radiator. The ProSub 800's solid monocoque cabinet is said to be heavily braced. This design reduces sympathetic cabinet vibrations. The sub is available in matte black or matte white. The plate amp has an LFE line in. It also has speaker level ins and outs. There is a continuously adjustable low pass crossover as well. This sub does not have a main power toggle, a phase control or a switch to defeat the crossover. The maximum crossover setting is 150 Hz and is said to be a high order design which means it has a steep roll off slope.

The sub's volume control is mounted on the side of the cabinet. I really like this because I usually like to adjust the sub a little for different program material. This is one of the most convenient ways to adjust the sub level, short of a wireless remote.

Setup and Use:

I placed the speakers in the usual locations around my theater. That means that the front ProCinema 800's were placed on my 10" Sound Anchor stands beneath the outer edges of my 100" wide front screen. I honestly did not like the sound of the ProCinema 800's in that position. At this placement, the soundstage was too narrow and the speakers sounded boxy, even in my generous open-backed cabinet. So I got on the phone right away and requested a pair of the dedicated 30" stands for the ProCinema 800's. With the stands in place, I was able to place the speakers farther apart and in an open air environment. I toed them in slightly. Now the ProCinema 800's are free to sound their best. Open, unrestrained and extended on top. The sound from this system is consistently amazing for its size and price point.

All the passive speakers in the ProCinema 800 system have heavy duty gold-plated binding posts. The posts are recessed in an input cup and could prove a bit of a challenge for mounting with bare wire or spades. For the record, I use 14G bare wire for my rear speakers and I had no problems connecting the rear speakers.

The ProCenter 1000 can be wall mounted just like the ProCinema 800's, only it requires 2 mounting brackets. I did not wall mount it. Instead, I placed it on a shelf perfectly centered beneath my display. The center speaker has an adjustable rubber foot in the back of the cabinet. You can use this foot to vary the speaker's vertical orientation by screwing it either in or out. I naturally adjusted the speaker to aim toward my head (and the heads of other adult audience members.)

I tried three different crossover settings for the satellites – 120 Hz, 100 Hz and 80 Hz. The 80Hz setting made the bass sound detached from the rest of the music. At 120 Hz, the bass was much better integrated, but it was way too localized. 100 Hz proved to be an excellent compromise between the two. The bass rarely became detached from the music and it was pretty diffuse in the room.

The ProSub 800 is remarkably powerful. When I first approached the sub to adjust the volume as it was playing, the vibration of the sub was so forceful, I actually flinched at first. It seemed like it was going to blast off! I never really got used to the sensation of adjusting the sub when it was playing at normal levels because of its high output. This translated into a reasonably clean, balanced and tuneful performance that did an incredible job filling my large theater with the sounds from all manner of movies and music. I think I can safely say that the good people at Definitive Technology have not yet solved the mystery of intergalactic travel. But I did get the feeling that the ProSub 800, if properly motivated, might be able to generate enough energy to achieve the necessary escape velocity and vault itself into a geosynchronous orbit around the Earth. Or maybe it just seemed that way.

ProCinema 800 Speakers on the Bench

All measurements shown are in-room response. The first series of measurements were taken at 1-foot on axis.

I tested the ProCinema 800's 4.5" BDSS main driver at 250Hz and 1kHz at 90db at each point. The speaker has a very clean spectrum at both of these frequencies.

I tested the tweeter of the ProCinema 800 at 10kHz. Its THD measurement at 90db was only 0.18%.

The on-axis frequency response result at 1 meter was acceptably flat between 150Hz and 20kHz. The bass rolled off starting around 150Hz.

The frequency response of the ProCinema 800 at 30 degrees off axis shows some roll off of the upper frequencies starting at about 16kHz and its down about 8db by 18kHz.

I measured the ProSub 800 at in room at 1m. I was thoroughly amazed at the clean response the sub produced at 35Hz and 90db.

The response was also very clean at 100Hz. There was a little more distortion at 50Hz. This is most likely due to cabinet resonances. But this level of distortion is really inaudible at this frequency.

The frequency response of the ProSub 800, also measured at 1m, shows that the sub generates strong response down to about 40Hz at which point it begins a gentle roll off.

All in all, these are mighty impressive tests results for compact speakers at this price point.