The matching, slimline, wireless SoloCinema XTR sub, in turn, features a long-throw 8-inch woofer, a built-in 250-watt Class D amplifier, and wireless receiver functions. Definitive claims low frequency extension to 30Hz. By design, the same remote that controls the main soundbar also controls the sub.
What sets the SoloCinema XT system apart? Performance, pure and simple, just for starters. This is one of very few soundbar systems I’ve heard that actually sounds like a performance-minded speaker system and really does produce a convincing illusion of full-on surround sound over a very broad listening area. But the other aspect of the product that will win friends is Definitive’s “we’ve- thought-of-everything” thoroughness in developing the design—thoroughness that in this case yields a clean, simple, straightforward user experience. Would-be home theater enthusiasts who’ve been intimidated by overly complex 5.1-channel systems in the past should love this elegant two-box solution.
Hailing from Sweden, DLS specializes in manufacturing slim-line on-wall speakers for serious audio enthusiasts—speakers collectively known as the Flatbox series. While many of you might feel the phrases “on-wall speakers” and “serious audio enthusiasts” don’t belong in the same sentence, the DLS products might change your mind, in part because they have been designed by people who earnestly believe that a properly designed on-wall speaker can potentially outperform its freestanding in-room counterparts.
To drive home this point, the DLS team played for me a neat little 2.1-channel package comprised of a pair of DLS Flatbox XL main speakers and a Flatbox Flatsub8 (~$1900 for the package), which I felt was thoroughly competitive with many of the equivalently priced floorstanders I’ve heard. But the real piece de resistance cam in the form of the firm’s larger and all-new M2 on-wall speakers (~$3000/pair), which a company spokesman described as a three-way, on-wall studio monitors. Although the M2s tend to blend into the walls in a visual sense, they produce a dramatic and impressive sound—open, articulate, dynamic, and possessed of taut by potent bass.
As I see things, the whole point of the DLS speaker family is that it offers solutions that are visually unobtrusive (good news for interior designers), offer sound quality on a par with if not better than that of freestanding in-room speakers (good news for audiophiles), and are equally well-suited for music and movie applications (good news for us all).
Note: if you have any difficulty finding further information on DLS, it helps to know that their products are distributed through Simplifi Audio (www.simplifiaudio.com), which is the same firm that also distributes Gradient, Klangwerk, and PSI loudspeakers, audio electronics from Bladelius and Resolution Audio, and critically acclaimed room/subwoofer correction systems from DSPeaker.
Earlier this year, GoldenEar’s founder Sandy Gross gave high-end audio-minded enthusiast a preview of an upcoming product, which—as of CEDIA—is now ready for production: the SuperCinema 3D Array ($999). Here again we have a product that seems at first to be yet another soundbar, but just one listen will convince most listeners that there is something markedly different and better about this product—something that sets it far apart from its competition. That elusive “something” is real live, no-jive audiophile-grade (and I do not use that term loosely) sound quality.
When you first see the SuperCinema 3D Array you might have a reaction something like this (at least if you’re a committed audiophile): “Hmmm, it appears to be an attractive little slimline soundbar, but seriously, how good could one of those possibly sound?”
Once you hear the SuperCinema 3D Array in action, however, my bet is that you’ll be singing a different tune—something along these lines: “Holy bleep, this SuperCinema 3D Array sounds like three high-performance studio monitors playing in unison, and in a good room! A soundbar that can actually kick butt in high-end music applications? Who knew?”