Definitive Technology Mythos Gem Home Theater Speaker System

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Coincidence struck when Disney released The Incredibles on DVD the same week Definitive Technology sent me its Mythos Gem home theater speaker system. I sought a soundtrack that would determine if the Mythos Gems were superheroes or just retiring speakers leading a bland existence. The Incredibles, which is THX-certified, punched, stomped, beat, kicked, pummeled, and detonated the Gems, but this stylishly diminutive subwoofer/satellite system met the challenge with poise.

Def Tech has wedged the $2,048 Mythos Gem system between a plethora of smaller sub/sat systems and larger, floor-standing systems in its lineup. The Gem joins the company's full-size Mythos offerings, which are designed to mate cosmetically with flat-panel TVs (reviewed in "Speaker, Speaker on the Wall," January 2004).

The Gem satellites, used here for both the left/right front and surround channels, are about the size of a standard loaf of white bread. Their contoured, brushed-aluminum enclosures seduce the eye with a fashionable high-tech appearance. Underneath the black fabric grille, dual midrange/bass drivers, with the tweeter in between, point slightly to the left and right rather than straight ahead. That means the Mythos Gems must be used in a vertical orientation, with those drivers firing away from the central tweeter axis, which creates a spacious sound field. The Mythos Seven center speaker is about the size of two Gems end to end. Besides its forward-firing drivers, it has a pair of passive radiators - speaker cones that extend deep bass but are not electrically connected to the system.

You may want to hide the SuperCube III subwoofer that was specifically designed for this system. Why? Because 1) it's so small that you can, and 2) it's nice to fool your guests with its big-sound illusion, and seeing the pint-size module too soon would only spoil the fun. At slightly larger than a 10-inch cube, the SuperCube III is one of the smallest subs I've used. That doesn't keep Def Tech from cramming a 650-watt Class D amplifier inside along with a 10-inch woofer and a pair of passive radiators.

SETUP Stands are usually a necessary evil with small satellites. But the optional aluminum pedestals Definitive Technology offers (for $270 a pair!) become an integral part of the Gems' styling. The heavy, tempered-glass bases give them a classy look while providing stable support. Def Tech provides a wall-mounting bracket with each Mythos Gem or Seven satellite, and optional pivoting wall brackets are $35 a pair. The center speaker also has a built-in stabilizing foot that lets you angle it up or down.

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