Definitive Technology 9000 Series Loudspeakers - Hands On

Definitive Technology's 9000 Series Speakers Elevate The Home Theater Experience

Definitive Technology 9000 Series Speaker Line
Definitive Technology 9000 Series Speaker Line. Image by Robert Silva for Lifewire

There are hundreds of loudspeaker manufacturers, and thousands of speakers, to choose from, so to be successful, you have to stand out. With that in mind, Definitive Technology, which is part of Sound United, offers up a line of loudspeakers that incorporate several technologies to improve sound reproduction for both serious music and movie listening, as well as flexible add-ons that can provide a complete home theater speaker setup. Check out an overview and hand's on observations of this innovative speaker line.

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BP9000 Series Floor Standing Loudspeakers

Definitive Technology BP9000 Series Loudspeakers
Definitive Technology BP9000 Series Loudspeakers - The tallest speaker on the right (BP9080x) actually has a sliver top - the one shown is a pre-production model. Photo of Loudpeakers © Robert Silva - Cutaway Image Courtesy of Definitive Technology

First up are the Definitive Technology BP9000 Series floor standing speakers. These speakers incorporate two core foundations: Bipole (that is what the BP stands for) Midrange and Tweeter arrays, and each speaker has its own built-in powered subwoofer.

Bipole Speaker Implementation

The Bipole configuration in the BP9000 Series consists of two speaker arrays, one facing forward towards the listening position, and the second, facing rear, towards the wall or corner. This solution results in a more natural listening experience in which your ears hear both direct and indirect sound, resulting in a wider soundstage, and more room-filling sound.

Built-in Powered Subwoofers

Usually, the subwoofer is a separate unit that you place in one of the room corners, or along a side wall, but Definitive Technology takes a different approach with its BP9000 series loudspeakers by incorporating a powered subwoofer in the same cabinet as the Bipolar speaker arrays.

Definitive Technology's reasoning for this is that not only is the need for a separate space-hogging unit eliminated, but you end up gaining two subwoofers (one in each BP9000 enclosure) in the front of the room that provides a more even distribution of the low bass frequencies by eliminating "standing waves" and dead zones. In other words, more precise, impactful bass when you need it.

Each subwoofer features "Intelligent Bass Control" - Any changes to subwoofer volume do not change the balance between the subwoofer output and of the rest of the speaker array. This eliminates issues such as excessive upper-bass/lower-midrange boominess.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that the presence of a powered subwoofer in each BP9000 series loudspeaker does require connection to both AC power and a subwoofer line-out connection from a compatible stereo or home theater receiver. Many home theater receivers do have two subwoofer outputs, but if you are using a receiver that only has one, you will have to use an RCA Y-adapter which is easily available from any local electronics retailer or Amazon.com.

Cabinet Design

Of course, you can have great speaker drivers, but if you have poor cabinet construction, it is a waste. With the BP9000 Series, Definitive Technology employs sturdy MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) construction, and, in addition, seals the front facing, rear facing, and subwoofer drivers in separate internal enclosures to minimize unwanted vibration between the internal elements, as well as with the rest of the cabinet. This adds to the cleanliness and accuracy of the sound that listeners hear.

The BP9000 series also includes an attachable cast aluminum base with attachable feet for use on carpet or bare floors.

BP9020 Feature Highlights

  • Front Firing Speakers: Two 3.5-inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Rear Firing Speaker: One 3.5-inch midrange.
  • Subwoofer: One 8-inch driver supported by a bass vent. Power output: 80 watts.
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $649 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon

BP9040 Feature Highlights

  • Front Firing Speakers: Two 4.5--inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Rear Firing Speaker: One 4.5-inch midrange.
  • Subwoofer: One 8-inch driver supported by two 8-inch passive radiators. Power output: 200 watts.
  • Frequency Response: 29Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $899 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon

BP9060 Feature Highlights

  • Front Firing Speakers: Two 4.5--inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Rear Firing Speaker: One 4.5-inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Subwoofer: One 10-inch driver supported by two 10-inch passive radiators. Power output: 200 watts.
  • Frequency Response: 28Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $1099 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon

BP9080X Feature Highlights

  • Front Firing Speakers: Two 5.25-inch midrange and One 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Rear Firing Speaker: One 5.25-inch midrange and One 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Subwoofer: One 12-inch driver supported by two 12-inch passive radiators. Power output: 375 watts.
  • Frequency Response: 25Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Added Feature: Dolby Atmos/DTS:X elevation speaker built-in:
  • Initial Suggested Price: $1749 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon
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Definitive Technology BP9000 Series Loudspeaker Setup Kit

Definitive Technology BP9000 Series Loudspeaker Setup Kit
Definitive Technology BP9000 Series Loudspeaker Setup Kit. Photo © Robert Silva For Lifewire

In order to get up and running, all BP9000 series speakers come with a complete setup kit, which includes a floor stand, two types of support feet (for both carpet and floor use), and a power cord for the built-in subwoofer. Also, on the inside lid of the setup kit is an illustrated diagram on attaching the stand, additional documentation, including illustrations on speaker placement and adjusting the subwoofer.

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Definitive Technology A90 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Elevation Speaker

Definitive Technology A90 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Elevation Speaker
Definitive Technology A90 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Elevation Speaker. Image provided by Definitive Technology

Next up is the Definitive Technology A90 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Add-On Module.

The BP9000's shown and discussed in the first slide can be used as a pair for two-channel stereo, or incorporated into a home theater setup as the front left/right speakers in a standard 5.1 or 7.1 channel setup.

However, another feature included with all BP9000 series floor-standing loudspeakers is the ability to add a vertically firing Dolby Atmos speaker module. The A90's are designed to direct Dolby Atmos/DTS:X height surround information to the ceiling. The sound then bounces off the ceiling and is redirected down to the listening area, resulting in a sensation of sound coming from overhead.

The BP9020, 9040, and 9060 discuss previously all have top plates that are removable, revealing a built-in speaker terminal docking station.

NOTE: The BP9080x does not have a removable plate as an elevation speaker for Dolby Atmos/DTS:X use is already built-in.

Each Dolby Atmos/DTS:X speaker module can then be attached, via the built-in dock, to the compatible BP9000 series speaker in a seamless fashion so that the slim, stylish profile of the entire setup is retained.

Also, the signal path for the Dolby Atmos modules actually run down the interior back of the BP9000, so that the exterior access speaker terminals are located at the bottom rear of the BP9000, along with the main and subwoofer speaker connections. This eliminates the unsightliness of running speaker wire to the top of the BP9000, where the A90 Dolby Atmos module is located.

A90 Feature Highlights

  • Vertical Firing Speakers: One 4.5-inch midrange and One 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Frequency Response: 86Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $499/Pair - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon
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Definitive Technology CS9000 Series Center Channel Speakers

Definitive Technology CS9000 Series Center Channel Speakers
Definitive Technology CS9000 Series Center Channel Speakers. Photo Montage © Robert Silva and Definitive Technology

To further support home theater application, Definitive Technology also offers CS9000-series center channel speakers.

There are three choices in this series, the CS9040, CS9060, and CS9080.

CS9040 Feature Highlights

  • Front Firing Speakers: Two 4.5--inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Passive Bass Radiator: One 8-inch.
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $499 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon

CS9060 Feature Highlights

  • Front Firing Speakers: Two 4.5--inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Subwoofer: One 8-inch.
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $699 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon

CS9080 Feature Highlights

  • Front Firing Speakers: Two 5.1/4-inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter.
  • Subwoofer: One 8-inch driver supported by a 10-inch passive radiator
  • Frequency Response: 26Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $999 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon
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Definitive Technology SR9000 Series Surround Sound Speakers

Definitive Technology SR9000 Series Surround Sound Speakers
Definitive Technology SR9000 Series Surround Sound Speakers. Image provided by Definitive Technology

To round out the surround sound experience, Definitive Technology also offers up two surround speaker models, the SR9040, and SR9080.

The two models both feature a bipole design, which provides wide-dispersion.

SR9040 Feature Highlights

  • Speakers: One 3-inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter on each side.
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-30kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $249 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon

SR9080 Feature Highlights

  • Speakers: One 4 1/2-inch midrange and one 1-inch dome tweeter on each side.
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz-30kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
  • Initial Suggested Price: $349 Each - Official Product Page - Buy From Amazon
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Hands On With The Definitive Technology BP9000, A90, and CS9000

Definitive Technology BP9000, A90, and CS9000 Demo Setup
Definitive Technology BP9000, A90, and CS9000 Demo Setup - For the purpose of this photo the speaker on the left has the A90 module removed, while the speaker on the right shows the A90 module attached. Photo © Robert Silva for Lifewire

Now that you have a rundown on the what Definitive Technology has to offer for your home theater, the question is "How Does It All Sound?".

During a visit with Definitive Technology, samples of movies (in Dolby Atmos), as well as several musical recording in standard two-channel stereo were demonstrated.

The speakers demonstrated were impressive, especially considering that the front channel speakers used for the demo were the "entry-level" BP9020's.

The clarity of the speakers was excellent. Normally, using a separate subwoofer(s) for better placement options is desired, but the integrated subwoofers of the BP9020's provided excellent results. Low frequencies were very deep and tight, with just the right amount of punch - the lack of any unwanted boominess in the upper bass/ lower-midrange definitely added to the overall clarity of the sound, especially for music.

As far as surround sound goes, unfortunately, the SR9000 series surrounds were not available for the demo, so Definitive Technology set up an extra pair of 9020's to the job - so no opinion is offered on how well the SR9000's would integrate into the system.

With Dolby Atmos soundtracks, the combination of the four BP9020's, and one of the CS9000 series centers, delivered horizontal surround stage, and the vertically firing A90's attached to the 9020's in the front did the job better than I expected.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether vertically firing speakers can deliver good overhead result for Dolby Atmos, as opposed to ceiling mounted speakers, but let's face it, most consumers, including most reviewers, don't want to put holes in the ceiling and wires through the walls if they can avoid it.

Fortunately, the A90's, although not delivering a perfectly balanced overhead experience, delivered better vertically firing results than most - but, of course, the room is also part of the equation, and the ceiling was just the right height for the ceiling bounce back in the room.

The Bottom Line

If you are in the market for a good set of speakers, the Definitive Technology BP9000, CS9000, A90, and SR900 series offer an excellent home theater or music listening solution, and are definitely worth checking out. Also, even if you aren't interested yet in Dolby Atmos or DTS:X capability, that is OK, as when you opt for the 9020, 9040, or 9060, the A90 model is an optional add-on anyway - which gives you future upgrade capability.

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