Definitive Technology Mythos Eight On-Wall Loudspeakers 
Home Theater Loudspeakers On-wall Loudspeakers
Written by Bryan Southard   
Monday, 01 January 2007

Over the last few of years, the AV industry has enjoyed an enormous boost in enthusiasm, with much of its momentum due to the recent advancements in video technology. Though they once seemed like sci-fi or something from a Jetsons’ episode, flat televisions that hang on the wall are becoming commonplace in home theaters across the country. With the flat TVs’ increasing size and quickly dropping prices, mainstream America can walk into a Best Buy or Costco and pick up a mighty fine HDTV that can be the centerpiece of a respectable home theater system for $2,000 or sometimes even less.

Once you invest in your flat HDTV, you now have to deal with another issue: how do you get speakers to match? In many rooms, the advantage of a flat HDTV is the fact that it is actually flat. Traditional speakers are generally anything but flat, so in order to remove all of the clutter from a room that once had, say, a big-screen rear-projection TV in it, you have to look at replacing the speakers with something either very physically flat, something in-wall or something on-wall.

Enter the Mythos Eight on-wall loudspeaker from Definitive Technology. It is a two-way speaker design that measures 28-and-a-half inches in height, is just over six inches wide and is four-and-three-eighths inches in depth. It has two five-and-one-quarter inch midrange drivers, mounted above and below a centered one-inch pure aluminum dome tweeter, with two five-and-a-quarter inch passive sub radiators mounted at the top and bottom of the speaker. The Mythos Eight has a rated frequency response of 38 Hz to 30 kHz and is an easy load to drive at 91dB efficiency rating.

The exterior of the Mythos Eight is made from extruded aircraft grade brushed aluminum and is available in either silver or black finish. It has a modest retail price of $699 per speaker.

Upon unpacking, the Mythos Eight impressed me as a solidly constructed speaker. Weighing a hefty 15 pounds, this speaker feels substantial and is quite heavy for its size. A wrap of my knuckles against the enclosure yielded nothing but a sore hand. The connections on the rear of the speaker are nice gold-plated connectors. However, these are set into a pocket, which makes installing your speaker wire a challenge. Because of the limited space, it is pretty important to have your speaker cables exiting your wall at a relatively precise location.

The Mythos Eights can be mounted either vertically or horizontally, allowing for those like myself to use one as a center channel, which is the common condition for mounting beside and below a flat-screen TV. They come with a handy and simple mounting bracket that installs to your wall and provides a rock-solid connection. Overall the Mythos Eights are a slim and sexy package, whether.

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.

The Downside
The Mythos speaker has a solid enclosure, which makes it heavy, indeed heavier that most on-wall speakers. When you hang the Mythos Eights, you will want to either have them installed professionally, or pay close attention to insure that they are mounted securely both for safety and for best sound. This should not be too egregious an issue since, in most cases, they will be installed beside a flat display that will need equal care in installation. My advice is to make your dealer earn his install money by doing your installation for you.

The speaker terminals on the back of the Mythos Eights are a pain to access. There is a very small pocket where you need to make a secure connection. By default, you will need to use bare wire, since I had no success with spade lugs. I don’t see this as a big deal in most installations, because you will be using in-wall wiring and not fancy terminated cables.

There are hundreds of options for low-profile on-wall speakers to compliment today’s growing flat display market. In fact, at recent trade shows, this market segment dominates much of the floor, yet many companies are pushing low-quality alternatives. Definitive Technology is a company that has built its reputation on speakers that perform above their price class and the Mythos Eight is no exception. I was repeatedly surprised with how friendly these speakers are. They are easy to drive, meaning that you won’t need a huge receiver or amplifier to run them. They play extremely loud without dynamic compression, which will make your movies powerful and realistic, and they’ll produce a solid soundstage for those serious music enthusiasts in the household. The Mythos Eights are the complete package. They are, in my view, the best value on-wall theater speakers that I have heard. I can easily recommend them to everyone who wants dramatic performance in a small package. Best of all, they won’t break the bank. Perhaps not the least expensive in their class, they are, however, the best.
Manufacturer Definitive Technology
Model Mythos Eight On-Wall Loudspeakers
Reviewer Bryan Southard

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