Definitive Technology ProCinema 600 review: Definitive Technology ProCinema 600

The 3.25-inch midrange driver is acoustically coupled to a 3.25-inch pressure-driven planar low-frequency radiator on the top panel (so when the midrange driver moves in, the passive radiator moves out, and vice versa). The passive radiator effectively doubles the bass radiating area of the tiny satellites' midrange driver. The same technique is employed on the center channel speaker; it has a pair of 3.25-inch midrange drivers flanking a 1-inch tweeter--and there's a 3.25- inch pressure-driven planar low-frequency radiator on each side of the speaker.

The speakers' all-metal, gold-plated connectors accept bare wire, spades, or banana plugs.

The sub's 8-inch polymer cone woofer driver is acoustically coupled, just like the satellites and center speaker, to a bottom-mounted 8-inch passive radiator. The combined radiating area of the driver and low-bass radiator is almost equivalent to a single 12-inch woofer. However, Definitive's design gambit can be pulled off in a much smaller cabinet. Definitive uses a 250 watt amplifier to power the 8-inch woofer.

To accommodate the unusual wiring configuration, the subwoofer's connectivity is above average: choose between the RCA LFE input or the speaker level stereo inputs and outputs.

Performance
Starting with the Independence Day Blu-ray Disc, we had immediate respect for the ProCinema 600's capabilities. The little speakers easily handled the sounds of buildings crashing down and cars and trucks hurtling through the air and smashing into the ground--the sounds of the onscreen devastation were visceral in ways that few tiny satellite-subwoofer systems can match.

Next we played the Blue Man Group's concert DVD, How to Be a Megastar Live. The band's percussion instruments were incredibly dynamic, and--wow--the bass was deep and pitch perfect. We felt every drum thwack, the system's little subwoofer is an amazing performer. The surround mix of the audience was well portrayed, so we could pick out individual claps and audience cheers.

Moving to CD didn't alter our opinion of the subwoofer's prowess on Cat Power's Jukebox release. The ProCinema 600 was just as satisfying in stereo as it was in surround.

All of the above comments were based on listening to the ProCinema 600 setup as we normally would (the Denon AVR 3808CI AV receiver's bass management was set with all the speakers running as "Small," and the crossover was set to 150hertz). The sound was lively and very detailed, but movie dialog didn't sound as full-bodied as we'd like, and the treble detail was accentuated. Clearly, the sub and satellites weren't blending as well as they should.

We tried Definitive's recommended setup approach to see how it affected the sound quality. The differences between the first and the second setup weren't dramatic, but the second one did sound a little better. DVD dialogue and vocals on CDs were better developed, and acoustic bass instruments on jazz CDs had more body. The little satellites also sounded a bit bigger.

However, it doesn't sound as big as the somewhat larger Cambridge SoundWorks Newton Theater MC155 speaker system. That one was less detailed and lively than the ProCinema 600, but it aced the review system with its warmer sound. The Newton Theater MC155 played louder and its surround sound was even more spacious than the Definitive Technology system. However, the larger Cambridge speakers are a bit more intrusive than the tiny Definitive ones, and the system retail price is 25 percent more than the Definitive ones.

In sum
We are mightily impressed with the ProCinema 600's detail, imaging, dynamics, and bass. It's a great system, especially for buyers who need to get the smallest possible satellites and subwoofer.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Speaker System Type home theater speaker system
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 250 Watt
  • Speaker System Configuration 5.1-channel
  • Color glossy white
  • Amplification Type active subwoofer, passive satellites
  • Connectivity Technology wired
  • Type Home theater speaker system
About The Author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.