|Definitive Technology Mythos ST Super Towers/Mythos Ten Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Ken Taraszka, MD|
|Tuesday, 01 January 2008|
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Speaker technology is growing and designs are constantly evolving to adapt to the changes in display technology and lifestyle. Definitive Technology has been breaking the price point of full-range sound for decades, and now comes to the table with the new Mythos ST Super Tower, a speaker promising to exceed all of our expectations. A tall, slender speaker designed to fit into any décor yet offer sound beyond reproach, the Mythos ST has a built-in powered subwoofer, eliminating the need for a separate one in a home theater system. They are available in a brushed aluminum or gloss black finish and cost just $1,999 each. For my review system, Definitive was kind enough to send me four of the new Mythos STs and one of the new Mythos Ten speakers, designed as an L/C/R. The Mythos Ten retails for $899, bringing the total system price reviewed here to $8,895.
The Mythos ST uses a D’Appolito array, consisting of two five-and-one-quarter-inch cast magnesium basket polymer midrange drivers with a one-inch pure aluminum dome tweeter between them. The lower section of the speaker houses a powered subwoofer, comprised of one six-by-ten-inch “racetrack” driver powered by a 300-watt Class D amplifier coupled to two similarly-shaped long-throw passive radiators. The speaker measures 51-and-one-half inches tall, but just nine-and-a-half inches deep and six-and-three-quarters inches wide. The pillar mounts to a beautifully polished black granite base with five adjustable leveling feet. The base is 11 inches by 15-and-a-half inches, giving the ST a remarkably small footprint for a full-range speaker. The top slopes down towards the rear; the speaker is somewhat hyperbolic from the top, with the front edge slightly curved out. The IEC outlets for the subwoofer power cord are near the bottom, while in the middle of the lower rear are the binding posts, a line level RCA input, bass level adjustment and indicator light. Definitive says the frequency response of the ST is 14 Hz to 30 kHz, with a nominal impedance of four to eight ohms and efficiency of 93 dB. They recommend amplifiers with 20 to 350 watts per channel.
The speakers I received came in gloss black and were beautiful from every angle. The tall slender nature of the speakers let them blend into the room easily and their narrow faces made them seem small. The build quality, fit and finish were excellent. The granite bases were perfectly polished and the cabinets were rock solid. I had wondered how the long sides would hold up, but rapping on them was akin to hitting my Great Dane on the head. It hurt the knuckles and they never budged.
The Mythos Ten is versatile, designed to be a left, right or center channel, utilizing the same mid/bass drivers and tweeter as the STs. However, in this speaker, the drivers and tweeter occupy the center of the 34-and-a-half-inch wide cabinet and are flanked by two five-by-eight-inch passive low bass radiators. The cabinet of the Ten is just over six inches tall and four-and-three-eighths inches deep, rated at 93db sensitivity, with a frequency response of 31 Hz to 30 kHz. The Ten does not have the powered subwoofer of the STs, so no power cord is present. The binding posts are similar and the speaker comes with wall-mount brackets to allow you to mount it either vertically or horizontally, as well as rubber feet and a rear leveling device for shelf placement.
Definitive was kind enough to break in all the speakers for me, so when I got them, they were ready to run. They came packed in boxes that were tall and slender, like the speakers themselves. Unpacking them was pretty easy, as the STs only weigh about 70 pounds each. I was able to remove them and, by laying them over a chair, attach the polished black granite bases, using the supplied hardware and an Allen wrench. Small plastic washers go on both sides of the granite, and at first it took some finesse to get them into place, but it wasn’t difficult. Five sites on the bottom of the granite base accept plastic tipped feet or spikes, which are included, as well as an attachable cable guide for the power cord. As I have tiled floors, I chose the plastic feet and managed to unpack and assemble all four speakers in about half an hour. I added the feet to the front left and right edges of the Mythos Ten and placed the speaker under my TV, using the leveler to aim it toward my listening position.
Prior to receiving these speakers, I had the pleasure of hearing them at both the CEDIA and CES trade shows, where they took the 2007 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Showcase Honors and left a great first impression. I had no question about where to place them for my review evaluation and connected them to my reference rig. This system utilizes a Meridian 861v4 AV preamp, Meridian G98DH transport, Teac Esoteric DV-50s universal player and Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray player, as well as a PS3 and a Toshiba HD XA2 HD DVD player, all run through a Mark Levinson 433 amplifier for the front three speakers and a Proceed HPA-2 for the surrounds. The system is wired with Transparent Reference balanced interconnects and speaker wires. Each speaker’s binding posts are recessed into deep grooves in the rear, which made it difficult, if not impossible, to connect my spaded speaker cables, so I used some spade-to-banana adaptors to connect them.
I initially placed the Mythos STs where my last speakers had been. Rarely do I expect a speaker to sound good where I initially place it, but the Def Techs surprised me. What normally plagues speakers is bass response and this often needs to be adjusted by varying the distance from the rear wall. The inclusion of a powered subwoofer with level control, front-firing drivers and a sealed design solved this potential problem, regardless of where I placed the speakers. When I put them close to the rear wall, I could turn up the level control and bring the bass into balance. When I pulled them off the wall, I could lower the bass. The further from rear wall I placed them, the more the sound opened up in the midrange, producing a greater sense of air throughout the treble. This is likely due to my TV, which sticks out some 26 inches from the rear wall. I finally settled on placing the speakers about 40 inches off the wall, which cleared them off my TV and produced an open midrange with spacious highs.
The degree of toe-in seemed to have more of an effect on the sound of these speakers. If aimed directly at the listening position, the sound became brighter than when straightforward or slightly toed in. I found the imaging to improve with more toe-in, while the soundstage seemed to benefit from less toe-in. I settled on having them toed in, aiming slightly behind the listening position. This created a wide soundstage and excellent imaging. I positioned the rears off to the sides and slightly behind the main listening position.
Once I placed the speakers in what seemed the best position for my room, I re-leveled them both physically and on my AV preamp, reset their distances, turned off my subwoofer and set out for some critical listening. I turned off my subwoofer, as the Mythos STs are designed to eliminate the need for an external subwoofer; with a powered subwoofer in the left and right mains as well as the rear speakers, I didn’t think it would be necessary. Later, for the sake of comparison, I ran line level subwoofer outputs to all four speakers. This allowed me more flexibility with control of the LFE channel.