Definitive Technology BP7002 Home Theater Speaker System Page 3

No system would pass muster if it failed to convincingly reproduce voices. The Definitive Tech passed admirably. Voices sounded smooth, natural, and believable, although during Master and Commander I sometimes wished the center speaker gave them more of an edge to compete better with the distracting effects .

MUSIC PERFORMANCE After winning the battle of standing up to an action movie, the BP7002 system faced a more musical challenge, starting with two-channel stereo. (Though I should note that the violin and cello music in the movie - the two main characters play these instruments for relaxation - also sounded natural and authentic.) From Ron Carter's first bass notes in McCoy Tyner's New York Reunion, I knew the system had mastered music, too.

PLUSMagnificent sound field and imaging. Wide dynamic range with low distortion. Full frequency range including deep bass. Built-in subwoofers save wiring, simplify setup.

MINUS Looks best in a large room. Requires three AC outlets.

The bass sounded big without being bloated, the strings taut but not thin. The high hat sparkled but never sounded metallic under Al Forster's brushes. I'm no piano expert, but I could tell that Tyner was playing a more defined, tighter, somewhat cooler keyboard than an ordinary Steinway. The CD's liner notes revealed that it was a Hamburg Steinway. The piano came from the left side in a deep and wide stereo image that placed the quartet in just the right positions in the soundstage.

For music in surround sound, I spun the DVD-Audio release of Neil Young's classic Harvest. While the weird mix puts the listener in the center of the action and makes Neil's vocals sound a little off to the side, the BP7002 system brought this 30-plus-year-old recording to life. The acoustic guitar was crisp, Neil's voice was full and natural in all its nasal glory, and the kick drum in "Heart of Gold" sounded like it was in my room.

THE BOTTOM LINE The Definitive Technology BP7002 system played at realistic volumes with plenty of reserves, accurately reproducing any music I fed it and bringing movies to life. Other than taking up some real estate (especially the large center speaker) and requiring a trio of wall outlets to power the built-in subwoofers, it's hard to fault. If you want speakers that handle surround sound and stereo equally well, put this system at the top of your short list. And while its sound would make any TV seem bigger, it's especially well suited for use with a big-screen projection system or plasma display.

PDF: Fast Facts PDF: In the Lab