Definitive Technology Mythos ST-L Loudspeaker


Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,499 ea

AT A GLANCE
Plus
1,200-watt Class D subwoofer amplifier
IR remote control for woofer level adjustments
No support grid behind grille cloth to block midrange/tweeter array
Minus
They’re pretty heavy
Remote control coverage too narrow to reach both speakers simultaneously

THE VERDICT
Def Tech’s updated flagship is an uncannily neutral, disappearing speaker and an amazing value.

It’s hard to believe that the original Definitive Technology Mythos ST was introduced seven years ago. At the time, the Mythos styling ethos—svelte, curved-back, extruded-aluminum cabinets—had already been around for a while, so the sleek, silvery design of the Mythos ST wasn’t a dramatic departure. Sure, it was the largest Mythos speaker to come out to that point, but what made it especially buzzworthy was that the ST was the first Mythos speaker to include a powered woofer section.

Def Tech helped pioneer the concept of tower speakers with built-in powered woofers earlier, in its BP series of bipolar speakers. But, in the eyes of a lot of people, even the slimmest BP towers—deep, rectangular, cloth-covered, with gloss-black caps and bases—didn’t look aesthetically appropriate next to a plasma TV. Rather than being solely Def Tech’s problem, though, it was an issue for nearly every speaker company. Sadly, everyone simply accepted the fact that, unless you were willing to spend extremely significant amounts of money, you could have either great-sounding speakers or great-looking speakers—but not speakers that were both.

The Mythos speakers broke that paradigm, and with its powered woofer section, the Mythos ST absolutely pounded it into the dust. A reviewer I know well (a.k.a., me) opined: “You’d have to spend gobs more money to get anything else that offers this combination of performance and beauty. The Mythos STs are an audiophile’s speaker wrapped in an interior designer’s cabinet that sells for much less than you’d expect to pay for either.” But that was in 2007. Seriously, Def Tech dudes, what have you done for us lately?

The Mythos ST-Lately
According to Dave Peet, executive VP at Sound United and Definitive Technology (but really just a guy who pretends to work by sitting around listening to music), the new Mythos ST-L is the company’s long-awaited answer. Although it has taken seven years, the people at Def Tech made good use of the time (plus advances in technologies and materials) because, as Peet told me, they tweaked and tinkered with damn near every aspect of the original speaker’s design in order to “re-imagine the ST” and “really kick some ass.” (Crap, I think that last part was supposed to be off the record.)

I won’t go into everything (you’re welcome), but there are a few technical aspects of the ST-L that deserve mention. First of all, instead of a granite pedestal base, the ST-L stands on a solid, cast-aluminum, X-shaped platform with four top-mounted knobs used to adjust the spikes or footpads installed underneath. Rather than hanging off the back of the tower like a stubborn, skinny turd that refuses to drop, the detachable power cord attaches underneath the speaker through a central hole in the base and is cleverly prevented from inadvertently falling out by a small wire tie.

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Then there’s the almost nonexistent difference in size. At 53 inches high, the ST-L is only 1.5 inches taller than the ST, while the extruded-aluminum cabinets of the two speakers have the same 6.75-inch width and 9.5-inch depth. I’d have thought that for $1,000/pair more, the ST-L would have been taller or fatter or deeper—or all three. It’s a good thing the ST-L isn’t any larger, though, because its current size puts it very close to the border between coexisting within a room and totally dominating it.

Was Ist Das “Klippel”?
If the name Klippel rings a bell, it shouldn’t. That’s because the Klippel R&D System is “a collection of loudspeaker measurement tools that precisely analyze various large-scale (large-movement) performance parameters.” In other words, it’s used for pinpointing ringing and other types of distortion when designing speakers. Def Tech says the new-school Klippel System differs from old-school methods of measuring speakers in two ways: 1) It uses both high- and low-amplitude test signals to more closely simulate real-music requirements, and 2) Klippel uses a laser to “map” the surface of a cone or enclosure and identify causes of distortion. Although other companies do these sorts of tests, Def Tech claims to be “one of the few loudspeaker companies” that uses every tool in the Klippel chest.

OK, so the new Mythos ST-L is totally Klippel-icious. That and a dollar (plus tax) will get you a large iced tea at McDonald’s. What’s the big deal about some German dudes who sit in front of computer screens looking at graphs all day?

COMPANY INFO
Definitive Technology
(800) 228‐7148
ARTICLE CONTENTS
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COMMENTS
jca332001's picture

Hi there
I have been eagerly waiting to read this review, since the one about the Golden Ear Technology Triton One´s appeared acouple of weeks back.
I would like to know how you compare the speakers from each brand soundwise. Both have identical rating as Top Picks.
Do you perceive both models as performing similarly for both music and HT?
And thanks for keeping the scatological references to the minimal this time!
Thanks,

Winefix's picture

Time for an in depth comparison since both scored perfect scores, which one is the pair to buy for <5k ?

goodfellas27's picture

Well, we all know that what sounds “best” is up to you ear. I would love them to produce an article comparing both GE Triton One & DefTech Mythos ST-L; but recognize the magazine will be hard press to produce such article –since their revenue stream also come from ads from these companies.

The little information I could scrape from both reviews; in addition to what people added on the comment section, is that both speakers are great; however, the build quality and specs looks to favor the Mythos ST-L.

The Mythos ST-L has what many would consider a better cabinet, since it’s made out of aircraft grade aluminum. In contrast with GE Triton One MDF engineered wood cabinet. Also, you have the comfort of having to control the bass with a remote control that comes with ST-L. The Triton One doesn’t provide this. In addition, the ST-L allows you to adjust the speaker’s level without moving it, thanks to redesigned footing whereas Triton One can’t.

The Mythos ST-L bass roll off at 26 Hz at -3db, weigh against to Triton One 27 Hz at the same -3db. The tweeter starts to roll off at 18 KHz with the STL traded off ultra-high-frequency output for “vastly lower distortion and smoother response at more relevant and audible frequencies.” The GE Triton One’s GoldenEar's High Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeter has “limited” vertical dispersion; not idea for a room with theater style stadium seating.

The GE Triton One Sensitivity: 90.5 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz
DefTech Mythos ST-L: Sensitivity: 91 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz

All of the above for the same price.

Winefix's picture

Some good points, but keep in mind the tweeter in the GE is on another level vs the dome model used in the Mythos. So, might be ok to lose some vertical dispersion to gain much better high end. I have the Triton ones on pre-order and previously had the Triton two's and never had an issue with the tweeter and height or placement. Far easier to set up GE speakers than Magnepan , Martin Logan, etc..

So really would be great to have a true comparison done with same equipment material, etc..

Love to see a head to head shootout like how car magazines compare an MB E class to a BMW 5 series point by point and even announce a winner. By the way, those car manufacturers advertise in the same publications.

BobHD1's picture

It seems to me that S&V has provided us with enough information in the two reviews to draw some key conclusions save for the final listening acid test. There are always trade offs for any design decision. I can confirm this having worked a good part of my life as a design engineer. For example, the ST-L is smaller and more attractive which should provide easier spousal approval and perhaps a better fit based on where the speakers will be located. The Triton 1 has to have more 'kick ass' base just looking at the base driver compliment comparison (3 active, 4 passive on the Triton vs 1 active, 2 passive on the ST-L). The performance charts support this supposition with the Triton 1 only down about 6db at 20Hz vs 25db for the ST-L. The trade off at the high end has already been discussed. It's time for the real fun: listening to both of them.

BobHD1's picture

The ST-L is down about 15db at 20HZ not 25db.

true audio's picture

First of all If I wanted to compare, I don't know of any dealer who would sell both brands. It would be a conflict of interest and no quick sales. For the same price,the salesmen would have to favor one or the other and leaving the customer confused. All I can say is I'm 150% thrilled with these speakers. HD tracks sound fantastic and with a CLR-3000 for my center channel,Hometheater brings down the HOUSE! I'm waiting on some Audioquest rocket 88's for all 3 to Bi-wire,should be no disappointments.No time to go into detail,you have to listen to them yourself.

Winefix's picture

Available at your local Best buy, as we all know the place for true Audiophiles to audition high end speakers with the appropriate set up !!

chrisheinonen's picture

Best Buy Magnolia sections also sell JVC projectors, OLED and 4K displays, Martin Logan and B&W speakers and more. Just because an item isn't only available at a boutique dealer doesn't mean the performance is worse.

johnywad's picture

Best Buy doesn't sell Definitive Tecnology. Magnolia AV does. A few of the local Best Buy stores in the twin cities redesigned a bit ago and carry some amazing product in their listening rooms. Unfortunately they still have a few Magnolia's that don't carry the same gear and they don't have the same well trained staff. From what the system designer( that's what his name tag said) told me, they are on commission and trained by all their vendors. And there are some amazing ones at that! Mcintosh, Sonus Faber, Diamond series Bowers and Wilkins, Arcam, and Electrostatic Logan's. I'm not saying all the stores that they incorporated Magnolia's in are perfect but the designer I spoke to has been in the industry for over 10 years and was very knowledgable on all the brands and answered all my questions accurately. You may not be as lucky as us unfortunately but the rooms were all acoustically treated and very well done. It was a treat to bring in my own discs and listen to the new Olympica III's from Sonus Faber with Mcintosh powering them. Oh, and you can also listen to these Definitive ST-L speakers as well since they have them in one of the listening rooms. If you have one of these upgraded stores in your town I think you would be pleasantly surprised!

simp1yamazn's picture

Still not quite correct. Best Buy has 3 different versions of their home theater department: 1) Best Buy regular home theater 2) Magnolia home theater 3) Magnolia Design Center (Magnolia AV depending on the part of the country you are in but VERY few are not Design Centers now).

Best Buy standard HT does not stock or display any Def Tech or other higher-end brands like B&W, martin logan, etc. However, they can order them for you if you know what you want.

Best buy Magnolia HT will have 1 or 2 listening rooms, mostly with entry level products from the better companies. Magnolia HT is just a slightly nicer version of the best buy HT and is nothing more than another department in the store. Any best buy employee can go into MHT and sell their products. There is nothing that Magnolia HT can sell that a regular best buy store can't sell.

Magnolia Design Centers are a separate sub-company fully owned by Best Buy. They are separate to the point that their system designers are commission based (unlike the rest of best buy), they do not report to the general manager of the best buy store, separate corporate management, separate vendor relationships, different inventory and POS system, different warehouses, and even separate tax ID. That's why they get to carry McIntosh, Savant, Lutron, B&W Diamond, etc. They can order virtually anything from the distributors they represent, even if the product is not in their systems as they can have product SKUs created for one-off purchases.

Reference: I worked for Best Buy for almost 5 years including standard HT, best buy MHT, and was one of the original System Designers when the Magnolia Design Centers were brought to the DC area.

Winefix's picture

To each is own, of course.
But, if I am spending 5k on speakers, I insist on a home audition, or at the very least serious critical auditioning of several brands with a proper set up and in a private room. Also, knowledgable salespeople.Good luck getting that at a big box store like Best Buy. (I have nothing against those stores for other items, just in the case of Audiophile purchases)

mikem's picture

A few years ago I had 4 2006TL and a 2500 center channel (it's been awhile re: model numbers)in my 12X14' theater room. From the first time I heard them in my room I was not impressed and I know this must sound heretical to def tech owners. Some time after I had them the amp in the center blew. Fortunately under warranty. If I had a penny for every time I re-positioned them I could pay off the national debt. At the time I also had, collecting dust, a THX Atlantic tech sub-sat system. After pulling the def techs out I replaced them with the AT system and then wondered why I ever replaced them. Just some thoughts.

tnargs's picture

Fundamentally compromised by the fact that the ideal location for bass drivers is where the wall meets the floor. As the wall is not a good location for the mid and high frequency drivers, they are ideally separated. So, the Mythos is compromising sound for good appearance. Why not mention this?

And the peak in the response at 10 kHz needs attention.

PollyChan's picture

The tweeter in either GE Triton One or DefTech Mythos ST-L is way too high above the ear level, making it less ideal for 2-channel music.

true audio's picture

I'm sure that Def-Tech's engineers keep tweeter height in mind when designing the ST's and the ST-L,s.Maybe you haven't noticed but they do have an adjustable base. Poor excuse for two great speakers.

DJV1972's picture

These speakers sound great! I have a pair, love them. One complaint. How the hell did engineering overlook the fact that the long throw woofer will push off the grill covers?? DF changed the grill from the ST to include an oval cut out for the mids and tweeter but no oval cutout for the long throw woofer! WFT DF? That is a let down! I don't want to run my speakers without the grill!

nicolo's picture

Hi,

There is currently a clearance sale on monoblocks where i live. How many should i get for each ST-L speaker. Is 150W into 8 ohms fine?

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