Definitive Technology BP9080X 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos Demo at CEDIA 2016

The Definitive Technology BP9080X is a speaker that stands tall and commands your attention with it’s modern, industrial, minimalist, geometric good looks. It’s a refined design that, to my aesthetic sensibility, screams Bauhaus—the school of design, not necessarily the band. At CEDIA 2016, the BP9080X was demoed to the public for the first time.

In the Omni Hotel, a series of large rooms hosted the high-performance audio demos, and this is where I found DefTech. A pair of BP9080Xs headlined the demonstration of a 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos system that also featured the CS9080 center channel, and the company’s BP9040 speakers outfitted with A90 Atmos-enabled modules. The ceiling was not exactly optimal for taking the bounced/reflected sound approach to elevation channels, and yet the system was able to create atmospheric overhead effects.

DefTech BP9080X
A90 Module in foreground, BP9080X and CS9080 in background. Photo by Mark Henninger

Notably absent from this rig was an external subwoofer, which is simply unnecessary when all four towers and even the center channel feature powerful, integrated active subwoofers.

The BP9080X ($1750 each) has Atmos-enabled capability built-in. The striking towers contain an impressive complement of drivers including a 12-inch subwoofer coupled to dual 12-inch passive radiators, and powered by a 455-watt amp. Then there are the bipolar arrays, one with dual 5.25″ mid/bass drivers plus a one-inch aluminum-dome tweeter that’s facing forward, and the other with a single 5.25″ driver and another one-inch tweeter facing the rear that plays at -6dB as compared to the front array.

Sensitivity for the 8 ohm-rated towers is spec’d at 92 dB/W/m and the frequency response is listed at an impressive 16 Hz to 40 kHz.

Even the CS9080 ($1000) center brings deep bass firepower to the table. It’s integrated 8-inch sub works in conjunction with a 10-inch passive radiator and has access to 300 W of power. This is a 8 ohm speaker with 91 dB/W/m sensitivity, and Definitive Technology claims a frequency response of 24 Hz to 40 kHz. The center is not a dipole design, but it does feature dual 5.25″ forward facing mid/bass drivers plus a one-inch aluminum-dome tweeter.

Surround channel duties were handled by a pair of BP9040s ($900 each) equipped with A90 Atmos modules ($500/pair). Like the center, each of these Towers sports an 8-inch subwoofer with 300 watts of power available to it, but in this case it’s coupled to a pair of 8 inch passive radiators. These 92 dB/W/m sensitive speakers can play down to 22 Hz and up to 40 kHz. It has the one-inch aluminum dome tweeters shared by it’s siblings, one front and one in the back. This speaker features two forward-facing 4.5 inch mid/bass drivers and a single rear-facing 4.5-incher. As with the other BP9080X (and other BP models), the rear array plays 6 dB lower than the front array.

As I mentioned earlier, I took note of the fact that I could hear height effects quite clearly in the notably sub-optimal acoustical environment of that fancy-ceilinged private function room. The bulk of the demo was Batman versus Superman, which includes plenty of hard-hitting sound effects. I had no complaints with the performance I heard, and I’m sure the system had plenty of additional power in reserve. But what I really enjoyed was listening to the BP9080s playing in stereo, rendering Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” quite deftly.

The not-awesome-for-Atmos-enabled ceiling at the Omni hotel at CEDIA. Photo by Mark Henninger

From aesthetics to performance, definitive technology’s latest speakers appear to have a lot going for them. I have a considerably more modest system based on a pair of BP9040s in for review, I’ll let you know how that 5.1.2 system sounds soon enough.