- Written by Piero Gabucci
- Published on 12 March 2009
Definitive Technology made a big splash with the introduction of the innovative Mythos ST tower speaker back in 2007 - its sleek elegant design and proportions along with some serious technology and integral powered race-track shaped subwoofers made it an instant hit. And oh boy it sounded smooth! Of course this was nothing new for current President Sandy Gross who founded DT back in 1990 and introduced one successful speaker after another. The Mythos ST however was special and it represented some new thinking with cutting edge, space-saving design consumers wanted and thankfully because of Sandy's audiophile sensibility, they sure sounded amazing.
Rest is for the meek and Definitive Technology of Owings Mills Maryland slightly scaled down the Mythos ST and creates the Mythos STS. I'd first heard it in a grand room during CES in Las Vegas last year and did a double-take before realizing it wasn't the ST. Without exaggeration it was probably one of the best sounding rooms at CES.
- Design: Three-way, Sealed Enclosure
- Frequency Response: 16 Hz - 30 kHz
- Efficiency: 93 dB
- Nominal Impedance: 4 – 8 Ohms
- Built-in Subwoofer - 300 watt Digital-Coupled Class D amplifier
- Weight: 61 Pounds/Each
- Dimensions: 47.5" H x 5.5" W x 8.5" D
- MSRP $1,499/Each USA
- Definitive Technology
So when offered a pair for review and a personal visit from VP of Marketing, Paul DiComo to set them up and have dinner I eagerly accepted - such a deal! Paul arrived, we unpacked and bolted the granite base to the bottoms, sat around and listened for a few minutes pushing the speakers around a bit before heading out to dinner.
Over the next several weeks, by the time I had them set up using the proper gear I was smitten, I heard transparency at one end and deep bottom at the other. The sad part is Paul knows where I live.
Innovation lives top to bottom in the Mythos STS towers. As I mentioned the body is an elegant sculptured extruded aluminum monocoque with a high gloss black finish, also available in polished silver. The non-parallel sidewalls taper front to back – the cross-sectional shape is as much about beauty as it is about standing waves, and performance. Certainly the sleek styling is meant to attract those design conscious consumers. In fact the Mythos series includes on-walls, and on-stand, and center channel units for a complete surround package.
Although space-saving slender the STS stands a half inch shy of 48" on the granite base. Looking at them you'd think they'd tip easily but these are hefty speakers and the 10.5" wide x 14" deep base anchors them solidly. 5.5" wide and 8.5" deep, the STS weighs, well, a lot as my swollen right foot will testify or 61 pounds to be specific.
Somehow knocking your knuckles on a wood cabinet is one thing, but the inert deadness when bouncing your knuckles on the STS is quite something else.
Before I describe the compliment of drivers, the rear sports not only a pair of speaker posts but also a volume knob and a 12 ft long AC cord for a 300 watt "digitally coupled class D amplifier" for the 5" x 10" racetrack subwoofer - so find an outlet nearby. On the STS, the SuperCube® powered driver is coupled with two similar sized and shaped passive radiators resulting in what Definitive Technology claims is equivalent to a 12" subwoofer (on each speaker). In fact the compliment of woofer drivers takes up ¾ of the front real estate.
The upper range is handled by a 1" pure aluminum ceramic coated dome tweeter with a pair of 4 ½" cast-magnesium drivers with polymer cones, housed in an "acoustically sealed" independent enclosure – aka, D'Appolito array. The mid-range drives boast DT's BDSS (Balanced Dual Surround system) which supports the cone on both the inner and outer edge.
As I mentioned Paul and I played around a bit from setting the speakers about 7 feet apart and toed in to merely 5 feet apart and square to the listening chair. Not surprisingly imaging remained consistent and I found the STS forgiving in its placement and I ultimately settled on about 65" apart and the slightest toeing in – old habits die hard. Although my room isn't that large, I was able to keep them a good 3 ft from any side or rear wall as I wanted to evaluate the SuperCube® subwoofer on its own merits, well as best I could.
Paul didn't bother placing the grilles; they still sit in the corner.
The 93 dB efficient STS were used with both my Onix tube integrated and the McIntosh solid state integrated amplifiers and sources were from digital files stored on my laptop via a Benchmark DAC, an Oppo universal player and a Marantz turntable. For a quick demonstration of Blu-ray music, I used the new AVR-5308 Denon receiver. Cables were from Wireworld and Goertz.
To skip ahead just a bit I ran the pair in stereo mode for movies and I was absolutely blown away! Holy smokes! As much detail and definition existed in just a pair, I would have loved a full surround compliment of STS's, (the new Mythos Nine center channel using the same drivers as the STS is now available at $799). It didn't take long for me to be totally influenced by my experience with music on Blu-ray with Dave Mathews live performance at Radio City Music Hall. This mostly acoustic duet with Tim Reynolds has amazing clarity and dynamics and the STS immersed you in the show, front and center.
My mind kept telling me I should hear edge and brightness yet my ears knew I heard the warmth of acoustic guitars and Dave Matthew's unmistakable voice is solidly clear, silky and gravelly.
As much as the volume control for bass is convenient, I found myself constantly tinkering with every source - a bit less for some and a bit more for others. Is that good? Absolutely but it sure kept me jumping out of my chair for the slightest adjustments until I was satisfied for all inputs. The huge advantage is that of placement - the STS is very forgiving as dialing up gain on either speaker is simple. I ran some mono low test tones switching between left and right until I achieved what was best for my room, moving them around continuously. Does this compensate for the imperfections in my room, certainly not but it sure gave me options. Add to the fact that the STS is said to dip down to 16 Hz, and bass never became an issue, in fact a supreme bonus.
Not to overemphasize bass, but it's rare at any price range that such deep low impact is heard and felt and with such control. And yet just as you begin to lose yourself in the lower frequencies, you're jolted by a sparkle in the upper highs or the warmth and color in the midrange.
I've never been a huge fan of Norah Jones yet with so much new vinyl coming out I couldn't help pick up a recent release of her 2007 performance Live in Austin that I've seen on DVD. My impression from the STS was intimacy – not to say soundstage was not open and wide, but her voice, piano and guitar playing were immediate, centered perhaps involving the close microphone setup.
It's rare that during a review I'll play a full selection as I did listening to Mozart Requiem, K 626, Concentus Musicus Wien, with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting on SACD, I was immersed in the dynamic range of the chorus and the wonderful scaling of voices. The Supertowers were every bit so.
So warm it felt over the top lush playing Harry Connick Jr.'s CD, Blue Light. All horns sounded lively, brassy, and fat. Connick's voice is soft and mellow, yet articulate. The conventional big band sound stage is elegantly present, with the orchestra spaced well behind the crooner, except during those explosive trumpets and lively clarinets.
Marta Gomez's CD Cantos De Agua Dulce beautifully recorded by Chesky Records is still a wonderful demonstration disc for its musical simplicity. Chesky recognizes that her voice is first and foremost – although she is hardly forceful, her voice is soft and sultry and the recording could easily be a small ensemble in your living room. The Mythos STS captures this essence of delicacy and intimacy by beautifully placing her voice amongst the distinguishable instruments of the acoustic guitar, electric bass and small percussions.
Living with the STS in my system for as long as I did, I was awed with the flexibility of music sources, and genres for that matter. As my tastes vary dramatically, I'm happy to report the Mythos handled it all confidently. Especially important and impressive is that ability to reproduce without imposing a signature –guitars sounded full and woodsy without stringy brightness. Horn instruments sound crisp and vibrant, but not raspy or colored. Vocals, both male and female are natural and full without sounding boxy or chesty.
The Mythos STS Supertower floorstanding speaker is unique enough to be considered in a class by themselves – rich fine detail, full-bodied mid-tones, and adjustable self-powered bass, in fact considering what you get, these are value-priced speakers. Modest receivers as well as high output amplifiers easily drive the STS's suggesting an easy integration into most any system – 2-channel, or surround.
I really grew to appreciate the nuances and sophistication of the Mythos STS, and would easily be thrilled to keep them around for a long, long time.