|Definitive Technology Mythos Eight On-Wall Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers On-wall Loudspeakers|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Monday, 01 January 2007|
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Music And Movies
I mounted the front two speakers to my wall beside my projector screen, with one positioned horizontally beneath for my center channel speaker. I then positioned the two surround speakers to my rear sidewalls. After a break-in period of over 100 hours, I was ready to evaluate. I started with one of my all-time favorites, Jimi Hendrix Axis: Bold As Love, Original Recordings Remastered (Experience Hendrix). This 1997 re-release has good qualities as well as challenges that can frustrate some speakers. “Castles Made of Sand” is perhaps one of Hendrix’s most seductive tunes, which nicely showcases his infectious guitar tone. The Mythos Eights handled this piece amazingly well. The melodic strumming had a surprisingly natural timbre and provided a huge amount of information. I found the Mythos speakers to be both detailed and musical. I listened at high volumes without becoming fatigued or irritated by any aspect of the music.
In the song “Up from the Skies,” Noel Redding’s bass lines had impact and immediacy that most speakers in this price range fail to capture. I focused on Mitch Mitchell’s delicate brush strikes to his snare and heard the necessary decay and edge transients to make this recording sound truly realistic. Although most Hendrix recordings are far from audiophile quality, a good speaker can make them sound very pleasing and the Mythos speakers did just that. This was a good start. If a speaker can’t handle Jimi, it will likely struggle elsewhere.
Getting into more progressive hard rock, I cued up Rush’s 2112, Original Recordings Remastered (Mercury/Universal). I first saw Rush back in 1978 in San Francisco and was blown away by both their raw energy and their mastery of fine musical detail. I remember being in absolute awe of Neil Peart’s thunderous drumming, something that comes through in their studio recordings. In the opening cut, I: Overture, I was surprised by the clarity of the opening synthesizer. It had good focus and a lot of musical energy. As the guitar, bass and drums descended on me, I felt compelled to turn it up. Although the Mythos Eights are rated up to 200 watts, I gave them every bit of my 350-watt Mark Levinson No.436 amplifiers and they just thrived. They were incredibly loud, yet the music remained solid. I heard very little dynamic compression, catapulting these speakers to the top of their respective heap. Geddy Lee’s vocals were well formed and came together sharply in the soundstage. For the record, there is no need to pair $699 speakers with $10,000 Mark Levinson amps. They will get up and dance on a mid-level AV receiver, which is more price-relevant.
In the song “Lessons,” the acoustic intro displayed a rich and natural timber. The Mythos speakers reproduced the guitar with natural weight and texture, not an easy feat for a speaker at this price. What I found most notable was how well the subtle guitar held up in the presence of the powerful drums and bass to follow. The Mythos Eights managed to remain agile and open amid the considerable thunder they were subject to by this track.
One of my all-time favorite recordings is Genesis’ Trick of the Tail (Atlantic/WEA). The album was the beginning of the band’s modern era. In 1976, faced with the departure of Peter Gabriel, the future of Genesis was uncertain, to say the least. Drummer Phil Collins stepped up to the plate despite Gabriel’s huge popularity, and hit a home run with his first attempt. In the first song “Dance on a Volcano,” the synthesizer and bass were tight and well-focused. This was another challenge for the Mythos, in that this cut is pretty complicated, which can confuse many speakers. The Mythos held well, keeping great separation between the instruments. The song “Squonk” has a huge intro that I like to listen to at concert levels. The Mythos Eights not only reproduced the music well, but also conveyed the emotion of the event. When listening to this recording, I am either swept away or frustrated by junk in my music. The Mythos performed impressively.
Overall, the Mythos Eights have a very dynamic and detailed sound. They produce a lot of powerful bass and have very detailed highs. They could lack some upper midrange sweetness at times, but otherwise have a very balanced range.
Off to the movies with the epic adventure Black Hawk Down (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment). This movie is a great action-adventure that finds its way into my personal evaluations quite often, due to the over-the-top helicopter scenes. To support the low frequencies, I am currently using the new Definitive Technology Trinity Signature Subwoofer, which can provide a huge amount of low-frequency thump. BHD relives the 1993 U.S. mission to liberate Mogadishu, Somalia from a warlord. This mission goes from a routine Ranger maneuver to a sudden fight for survival. The helicopters in this film were portrayed with huge impact and the Mythos Eights captured the action well. I initially ran them without the support of a subwoofer and was impressed with how well they captured the low-frequency growl of chopper blades as a helicopter comes in for a rescue. Even at high volumes, the Mythos Eights held together and remained smooth. So often high frequencies can become brittle as volume increases, but these babies stood like champs. I am quite impressed with the amount of energy that this little package can produce. I concluded that much of their accuracy is due to their solid enclosure, a feature that is responsible for much of the accuracy of a loudspeaker. Most speakers in this price point come with cheap plastic or poorly supported wood cabinets. The Mythos Eights stand above the pack.
2001 yeilded the breakout hit Training Day (Warner Home Video), an underdog that netted Denzel Washington a well-deserved gold Oscar statue. This movie provided the perfect platform for this great actor to excel. This flick delivers a great mix of low-key dialogue and abrupt action sequences that keep you on the edge of your seat. In the scene where Ethan Hawke’s character, Jake Hoyt, is left to play poker with the guys that Washington’s Alonzo has paid to kill him and the ensuing mayhem that follows, the Mythos speakers did a very good job of conveying the sequence’s emotion. From the punches to the bottle falling to the floor, there was plenty of detail to envelop you in fear. I paid close attention to gunshots, which provided both high- and low-frequency information, and found the Mythos Eights again did a way above-average job. In fact, I got lost in the movie and forgot that I was evaluating the speakers. This speaker makes for a very exciting and involving theater experience.