Earlier this year we tested the Definitive Technology ProCinema 600 six-piece satellite/subwoofer system and came away impressed, but with reservations. This time we're looking at the ProCinema 800. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that it's a near twin of the earlier system; however, it doesn't share any satellites or even the subwoofer with the smaller system. While the ProCinema 600 is the entry-level system, the step-up ProCinema 800 system we're looking at here comes with four ProMonitor 800 satellite speakers, a ProCenter 1000 center speaker, and a ProSub 800 subwoofer. The speakers are currently sold separately, for a total of $1,200 (in piano black or gloss white finishes), but Definitive should soon be offering them as a single package to make for a more convenient purchase.As we unboxed the system we noted the satellites' injection-molded mineral-filled polymer cabinets had more of a high-end feel than your typical plastic or even medium-density fiberboard cabinets. The Definitive Technology cabinets feature internal ribs and a curvy shape to enhance sound quality. Removable form-fitting cloth grilles cover the front and top panels of the satellite speakers, and the front and sides of the center speaker. All of the speakers feature solid-metal binding posts. With its grille on you might think the 8.3-inch-tall ProMonitor 800 satellite has just a standard woofer and tweeter. Remove the grille and you'll see the monitors have something extra; in addition to the 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter and 4.5-inch mid/bass driver there's also a 4.5-inch "pressure-driven planar low-frequency radiator" on the topside that increases the little speaker's bass output. If you'd like to expand the system to a 6.1 or 7.1 configuration, the ProMonitor 800s are sold separately for $145 each. The 14.25-inch wide ProCenter 1000 center speaker doubles up on the satellite's sonics, with two of the 4.5-inch drivers and a pair of the matching bass-boosting passive radiators--one on each side. The 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter is located in the speaker's center, directly between the two midrange drivers. The ProCenter 1000 is available separately for $220. Each of the four satellite speakers comes equipped with a removable tripod table stand, and the center channel speaker has an adjustable rubber-tipped support foot for shelf mounting. The speakers can also be wall-mounted with their keyhole slots or with Definitive's ProMount 80 ($40/pair) wall brackets. Alternatively, they can be used with Definitive's ProStand 600/800 stands ($100/pair). The ProSub 800 subwoofer is a more conventional, matte-finished (black or white) medium-density-fiberboard box. It measures 12.8 inches high by 10.3 wide by 15.75 deep. The side-mounted volume control is more conveniently placed than the usual rear-mounted control. The sub is available separately for $400. The ProSub 800 has a front-firing 8-inch woofer, ably assisted by a down-firing 8-inch "infrasonic radiator." The built-in 300-watt, high-current amplifier uses costly metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect output transistors (MOSFET). Connectivity includes one rarely seen feature: filtered high-pass speaker-level outputs that can be used with Definitive Technology satellite speakers. There are also speaker level inputs and an LFE input.
The Good Beautifully finished, six-piece, 5.1 channel home theater speaker package with advanced driver technology; amazingly potent dual 8-inch, 300-watt powered subwoofer; compact size.
The Bad Compared to the sleek-looking satellite speakers, the subwoofer appears a little drab.
The Bottom Line The powerful Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 satellite/subwoofer package redefined our expectations of what a small surround speaker system can do.