Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 review: Definitive Technology ProCinema 800

The smaller ProCinema 600 required an unconventional hookup method (through the subwoofer) to sound its best, but we didn't need to experiment with the ProCinema 800. We just hooked up all the speakers directly to our Denon receiver and the LFE input on the sub. We set the Denon's bass management/crossover to 120 Hertz. The ProCinema 800 was super easy and sounded fine without any extra fiddling on our part.

The Prestige Blu-ray starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as rival magicians cast quite a spell over the ProCinema 800 when a daring trick with a woman submerged in a glass water tank went wrong. The men use an ax to smash the tank and the sounds of the repeated strikes were startling. When the glass finally breaks and the water sloshes out, the ProCinema 800 captured every detail, including the dialogue. Male and female voices sounded natural, without a hint of the "boxiness" we sometimes hear from small center speakers.

Next, we popped on the House of Flying Daggers Blu-ray for a shoot-out between the ProCinema 800 and the Boston Acoustics MCS 130 5.1 speaker package. The now famous circle-of-drums scene packed a healthy wallop over the MCS 130. The bass was plenty deep and powerful, but switching over to the ProCinema 800, the bass definition was more taut and clean. Also the sat/sub blend was seamless over the ProCinema 800 system. Its dynamic oomph was superior to the Boston system's.

The movie's sword fights were plenty exciting over the MCS 130, but we felt the metal-to-metal clangs and clashes sounded just a little dull; the ProCinema 800 resolved more of the detail of the treble sparkle, so the swords sounded more realistic. We also noted we could hear the sounds of the sword clashes reverberating in the palace with the ProCinema 800. The MCS 130 was less clear on that score. (To be fair: the Boston system is available for about a third the cost of the Definitive set.)

We finished up with the Rolling Stones' Black and Blue CD. This mid-1970s record has a mix of raunchy rock and ballads, and the ProCinema 800 handled both with ease. Some of the smaller sat/sub systems sound under-nourished in stereo, but ProCinema 800 was just as full-bodied in stereo as it was in Pro Logic II.

Editors' note: This review originally stated that the ProCinema 1000 center-channel speaker had 5.25-inch drivers and passive radiators. It has been changed to reflect their proper 4.5-inch diameter.