Starting out with stereo, I listened to "Barfly" from neo-folkie Ray LaMontagne's Till the Sun Turns Black. The singer's hushed, plaintive vocals sounded richly textured, with the STS pair floating a full-bodied image between them. I was immediately struck by the crisp presentation. The speakers realistically fleshed out treble details like a lightly brushed snare drum and ride cymbal, conveying a satisfying sense of presence without sounding either too forward or too tizzy.
Switching from intimate to epic acoustic music, I next cued up Calexico's new Carried to Dust and listened to "El Gatillo," another of the band's trademark spaghetti-Western instrumentals. This track's dynamic percussion and brass sounded fantastic, with a kick drum coming across low and clean, and the mariachi horns sounding airy and unrestrained when the song swelled to a climax. The STS towers cast an image as expansive as a widescreen frame from a Sergio Leone film, but I was also impressed by their ability to convey subtle details in the song, such as a softly played accordion and a lonely, high-pitched whistling.
Calexico put me in the mood for movies, so I next watched a few choice scenes from the Spider-man 3 Blu-ray Disc. When Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) unknowingly leaps into a particle accelerator while fleeing the cops, the impact of his body slamming against the chamber's bottom had a deep, potent envelope - the system's LFE performance proved to be every bit the match of the separate 12-inch subwoofer I usually use. Its handling of soundtrack ambience proved equally effective, with the Gem surrounds realistically conveying the resonance of the criminal's breathing as he hid in the sprawling metal chamber. And when the accelerator started spinning - initiating the cellular fusion of flesh and sand that turns Marko into the Sandman - the machine's 360° turns sounded solid and continuous as the effect panned from speaker to speaker.
The Nine turned out to be a fine center-speaker match for this system. Slightly larger than the company's Mythos Three center model, it's also designed to reach down a bit deeper. During a scene where Peter (Tobey Maguire) and his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) discuss his getting married, dialogue sounded clean and extended. And the Nine also sounded natural over a 45° arc, which more than covers your average sofa-width listening window.
Def Tech's $3,000-a-pair Mythos STS SuperTower is one of the best values going in high-end speakers. Its built-in powered subwoofer lets it deliver dynamic, full-range performance from a compact, strikingly good-looking package. And its clean, coherent, detailed sound will make easy friends of all who hear it. When combined with the company's Mythos Nine and a pair of Gems, it all adds up to an elegant, space-saving, seriously kick-ass system. Which just goes to show that Def Tech is still one step ahead of the curve.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.