Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 Home Theater Speaker System Page 2

MUSIC PERFORMANCE A brief session with the ProMonitors playing full-range alone confirmed that they don't produce enough bass for satisfying sound on their own - but that nonetheless they play amazingly loud without obvious distress. These are strictly satellite speakers, but they do go lower and louder than I'd have guessed on sight.

With the system tweaked and tailored, I started as usual with stereo listening, finding a generally neutral, open sound with a slightly warm cast to male vocals and a pleasant, easy-to-listen-to treble that was open and fairly airy without any excess bite or sizzle. Clean, well-recorded CDs like Ani DiFranco's Reprieve were very pleasing and surprisingly high-end-sounding, with modest depth, some genuine transparency, and considerably more weight and impact from the below-50-Hz region than I'd expected. The solo acoustic bass that opens the disc ("Hypnotized") was tight and realistically woody but still had plenty of heft for its occasional ventures below 60 Hz or so. The Definitive system also displayed arresting clarity on stuff like the explosively compressed, crystalline Dobro (or whatever that is) that enters, startlingly, a bit later.

The ProMonitors (and ProCenter, for that matter) could play cleanly far louder than I expected - about as loud as plenty of much larger small-bookshelf speakers I've heard. In fact, their tweeters ran out of headroom (resulting in hardness and "shriekiness") at about the same time as at their woofers (flatulating, and "tup-tupping" on transients), which is quite rare among mini-sats of this size. And since the Definitives' tweeter is no slouch, this was rather loud indeed.

MOVIE PERFORMANCE The little Definitives' performance on even demanding movie soundtracks was, if anything, even more pleasing. Collateral may be no Citizen Kane, but it's an expertly made movie in technical terms, and the ProMonitors handled it with relative ease. From moderate to fairly loud volume - say, about 6 dB below commercial-cinema reference level - I never once came out of the story because of a sonic shortcoming.