Definitive Technology BP9000 series review

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PROS

  • Huge, immersive 3D soundstage
  • Excellent detail and beefy bass
  • Solid build and minimal, modern design
  • Easy to install, cuts down on clutter

CONS

  • Can’t place subwoofers separately
  • Bass can be overpowering without careful tweaking
  • Tone could have more bite

KEY FEATURES

  • 5.3.2 Dolby Atmos / DTS:X speaker system
  • Powered BP9040 floorstanders with integrated 300W subs
  • A90 upfiring Atmos modules & SR9040 bipolar surrounds
  • Intelligent Bass Control
  • Balanced Double Surround System
  • Forward Focused Bipolar Array
  • Manufacturer: Definitive Technology
  • Review Price: £3,994.00/$5,997.00

WHAT IS THE DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY BP9000?

The BP9000 is a high-end speaker system that delivers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X without turning your living room into a sea of black boxes.

To achieve this, the system has some clever tricks up its sleeve. The front floorstanding speakers are equipped with built-in subwoofers, while upfiring Atmos modules attached to the top deliver 3D height effects without the need for additional wires. The idea is to remove the hassle and clutter involved when setting up an Atmos system, which can be complicated.

However, there’s more to the BP9000 series than 3D audio. It’s also blessed with gorgeous build quality and tons of audiophile tech, which helps justify its bank-busting price tag.

Definitive Technology BP9000 series

DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY BP9000 – DESIGN AND CONNECTIONS

This system includes a pair of BP9040 floorstanders (£949/$1423.5 each), the CS9060 centre speaker (£749/$1123.5) and a pair of SR9040 bipolar surround speakers (£399/$598.5 each). The setup is completed the Dolby Atmos certified A90 modules, which will set you back £549/$823.5 a pair.

With 8-inch subwoofers inside the BP9040 and CS9060, it’s effectively a 5.3.2 system, although I doubt many people will employ the subs in all three speakers. You can supersize the system by swapping the speakers for the larger BP9080 or BP9060 floorstanders, and upgrading to the CS9080 centre and SR9080 surrounds.

If there was a speaker version of Tinder I don’t think many would swipe past the BP9040. It’s a tall, dark and handsome tower, covered from top to toe in a whole-body cloth sock with a chamfered front baffle. These design features not only lend it an appealing visage but also help to reduce cabinet diffraction.

Some lovely touches elevate the BP9040 above the norm, like the illuminated ‘D’ logo at the bottom and the angular aluminium base. This is snazzy, modern speaker design, a far cry from the woods and lacquers used by most floorstanders in this price bracket.

Also pleasing is their slender width – 152mm to be precise. Aircraft-grade aluminium construction makes the cabinets feel rock-solid, as you’d expect for the money. On the back you’ll find large binding posts for the main and Atmos speakers, and an RCA input that receives LFE info from your AV receiver.

Definitive Technology BP9000 series

Each floorstander has a built-in powered subwoofer, so you’ll need to connect each one to a plug socket. As a result, there are more cables to deal with than usual, which might limit your placement options, but that’s offset by the lack of an external subwoofer.

The CS9060 centre is styled to match the BP9040 with its striking combination of metal and black cloth. Large and hefty, it’ll require plenty of shelf space in your AV rack, but it’s beautifully made and easy on the eye. It also sports LFE and mains inputs should you want to take advantage of the built-in subwoofer.

An ideal Atmos speaker installation would involve ceiling-mounted speakers, but that’s simply not practical for everyone, so upfiring modules are the next best thing. Their angled drivers fire sound at the ceiling, which reflects back towards your ears and gives the impression of height.

But unlike some Atmos modules, which clumsily perch on top of the main speakers, Def Tech’s A90s are more seamlessly integrated. They slot into dedicated terminals under the floorstanders’ removable top plate.

Because the modules share the same shape and styling as the BP9040s, they look like a natural extension of the speaker. It’s an elegant, neat solution.

The SR9040s look nothing like the other speakers, but you’ll be too busy appreciating their sumptuous piano black finish to care. Black cloth covers the angled drivers, which emit sound in a bipolar dispersion pattern – the result being diffuse, enveloping surround sound.

Definitive Technology BP9000 series

DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY BP9000 – DRIVERS

The BP9040s use Def Tech’s Forward Focused Bipolar Array (FFBP), which is designed to replicate how sound is generated in a natural environment.

The drivers fire in opposite directions to create a spacious soundstage and a wide sweet spot. Two 4.5-inch midrange drivers and one 1-inch aluminium dome tweeter fire forwards, while another midrange driver and tweeter fire backwards.

Meanwhile bass punch is provided by an 8-inch powered woofer and dual 8-inch passive radiators. The woofer is driven by a 300W Class D amp with a 56-bit digital signal processor that maintains a smooth balance as you increase the volume. It’s called Intelligent Bass Control.

The CS9060’s array includes two 4.5-inch midrange drivers, a 1-inch tweeter and an 8-inch active woofer, which receives half the power of the floorstanders (150W). The SR9040s use two oval tweeters and two 3.5-inch midrange drivers.

Definitive Technology BP9000 series

Finally, the A90 uses a 1-inch tweeter and 4.5-inch midrange driver, mounted on a sloping baffle. The use of identical driver tech across the entire system helps to keep it tonally consistent, while Def Tech’s Balanced Double Surround System (BDSS) increases the output and dispersion to that of a larger driver.

DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY BP9000 – PERFORMANCE

Hooked up to the Atmos-ready Denon AVR-X1300W receiver, the Def Tech delivers an astonishing performance. Highly detailed, articulate and powerful, it’s everything you expect from a high-end system, but most impressive is how skilfully it handles 3D audio tracks.

I started with Crimson Peak’s 7.1-channel DTS:X soundtrack, and the Def Tech instantly immersed me in Guillermo del Toro’s eerie Gothic soundscape. The system’s clarity, placement and scale blew me away.

As the camera glides around Allerdale Hall, the A90s evoke a clear sense of height and space, filling its huge soundstage with crystal-clear whispers, creaking floorboards and creepy ambience.

Switching to the DTS 2016 Demo Disc, the BP9000 system handles the variety of DTS:X clips with aplomb. Sci-fi short Dust shows a CG alien leaping around a dark cavern; as it jumps into the rafters, the creature’s rustling and snorting clearly move upwards. When it explodes into pieces, shattering glass rains down around you with a crystal clear tone.

Definitive Technology BP9000 series

Skip to the scene from The Last Witch Hunter and we find Vin Diesel trying to avert a plane crash. Not only do the A90 modules brilliantly convey the scale of the aircraft with clanking and shuddering overhead, but it also nails the forceful roar of the engine with big bass notes.

Switch to a non-Atmos disc and the Def Tech continues to dazzle. With Jurassic World, the BP9040s snap keenly as the Indominus Rex attacks the kids in the gyrosphere, every jab of its jaws on the glass dome sounding forceful. There’s room for more even bite perhaps, but the smoothed off top end prevents it sounding bright when you crank up the volume.

It’s massively powerful too, with bass that’s every bit as thunderous as an external sub. I powered up the woofers in both floorstanders (leaving the centre passive) and dinosaur footsteps slam hard. The Indominus/T-Rex face-off at the finale is a solid wall of sound, where deep bass notes meld seamlessly with the robust midrange.

The subs are subtle when need be, as evidenced by the rich murmur that underpins voices and the chunky chug of jeep engines.

At other times, however, the combined might of the subs threatens to overpower the other speakers – you might find yourself fiddling with the individual volume dials a little more than usual to find the right balance. And obviously, you don’t have the luxury of choosing where to place them, which could be a problem in acoustically fussy rooms.

Another big selling point is the SR9040s’ superb surround performance. Their enveloping, gapless soundfield spreads right across the back wall. Effects moves between them – and from front to back – without any obvious shifts in tone, while keeping channel-specific effects clear and precise.

Jurassic World also reveals the Def Tech’s exquisite detail handling. The tension before any dino attack is cranked up by the clarity of rustling bushes and ominous growling. It’s enthralling stuff. It picks out lots of detail in human voices too.

In a stereo setup the BP9040s prove their musicality with sweet treble, well-defined bass and a rich, detailed midrange that lends body.

But star of the show musically is the Forward Focused Bipolar Array, which harnesses sound reflections in the room to widen the sweet spot. Its spacious soundstage and masterful organisation makes recordings feel like a live performance. What’s more, I could happily move around as the music plays without hearing a major drop in quality.

Definitive Technology BP9000 series

SHOULD I BUY THE DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY BP9000?

Although the £3k/$4.5k price tag will be a stretch for many, the BP9000 system really is worth the investment. With integrated subs and seamless height modules, it’s an elegant, hassle-free Atmos solution that doesn’t compromise on sound quality. The scale, power and detail on offer beggars belief, plus its Atmos/DTS:X soundstage is wonderfully immersive.

Yes, the inability to position the subs in the optimum spot might be an issue, and perhaps a slightly edgier tone would have made things even more exciting. But none of this alters the fact that the BP9000 is a ridiculously good speaker system that delivers 3D audio while keeping clutter under control.

VERDICT

It’s expensive, but this stealthy, space-saving Atmos system justifies the price with powerful, immersive sonics and superb build quality.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/tFwFvw)

 

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