Great Small Speakers from Definitive Technology and KEF

Definitive Technology ProCinema 1000 surround speaker system

Definitive Technology and KEF have new 5.1-channel speaker systems that not only sound terrific, but will be available at very affordable prices. Both are evolutionary, based on wildly successful speakers that have been around for a while (a long while in the case of the DefTechs). Having heard these systems in their original versions, I can say that the redesigns have yielded significant improvements.

Definitive Technology originally launched its ProCinema line in 1995. Although it has received some upgrades over the past 10 years - added subwoofer power, new cabinet finishes - Definitive felt it was time for a total overhaul. So say "goodbye" to the ProCinema 80 and 100 systems and a big "hello" to the new ProCinema 800 and 1000 systems. All the speakers incorporate new passive radiators for extended bass response while lower distortion. Complementing them are completely revamped drivers that Definitive says deliver smoother response and wider dynamic range. The ProMonitor 800 satellite ($250 per pair) features a 4.5-inch woofer coupled to an equally sized passive radiator. The larger ProMonitor 1000 ($398 per pair) steps up to 5.25-inch units. Center channels are the ProCenter 1000 ($200) and 2000 ($349), which feature dual woofer/passive-radiator complements in 4.5- and 5.25-inch sizes, respectively. Definitive has also upped the subwoofer ante by building 300-watt digital amplifiers into the 8-inch ProSub800 ($399) and 10-inch ProSub1000 ($499). Look for all of these models in April, and listen for great sound, because that's what you'll hear.

KEF's new 3000 series replaces the best selling speaker in the company's history - the 2000 series. Originally launched in 2000, its egg-shaped satellite speaker featured KEF's patented Uni-Q concentric-driver technology and quickly become a huge success. The new models incorporate an improved tweeter and superior magnet materials that allow for more internal cabinet volume. The resulting increase in bass output yields fuller sound and smoother integration with the subwoofer. The subwoofer looks a bit like a giant M&M, but with its 10-inch driver, matching passive radiator, and 250-watt amplifier, it packs quite a wallop. More impressive is the sub's seamless blending with the satellites, which combine for marvelous sound. I closed my eyes during the audition, and it was easy to imagine that I was listening to full-range towers - an impressive feat. Available in high-gloss black or silver, the KHT3005 system should be available in March at a price of $1,500.

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