Mythos STS SuperTower / Mythos Nine / Mythos Gem Home-Theater Speaker
Mythos STS SuperTower floorstanding speaker
Price: $1499 USD each
Dimensions: 47.5"H x 5.5"W x 8.5"D
Weight: 54 pounds each
Model: Mythos Nine center-channel speaker
Price: $799 USD
Dimensions: 28.0"W x 5.4"H x 4.2"D
Weight: 13 pounds
Model: Mythos Gem surround speaker
Price: $279 USD each
Dimensions: 10.3"H x 4.1"W x 4.3"D
Weight: 4 pounds each
System price: $4355 USD
Warranty: Five years on loudspeaker
drivers, crossovers, and cabinets; three years on amplifier electronics
- Curved aluminum enclosures
- Polished silver or gloss-black finish
- PolyStone baffle and contoured faceplate for tweeter
- Racetrack-shaped bass drivers and/or passive radiators (STS
- Dual BDSS midrange drivers (STS, Nine)
- 300W powered woofer section (STS)
- Line-level LFE input (STS)
- Polished granite base (STS)
- Wall-mount plates (Nine, Gem)
- Bipolar radiation pattern (Gem)
Last year, for SoundStage!, I
reviewed the outstanding Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower loudspeaker ($1499 USD
each). In fact, the Mythos was so outstanding that we awarded it a SoundStage!
Network Product of the Year award for Aesthetics and Sound. So when the matching Mythos
Nine center-channel speaker ($799) was introduced and it became possible to review a full
surround-sound speaker system based on the Mythos STS, I didnt hesitate to request a
The system reviewed here is rounded out by the Mythos Gem
surround speaker ($279 each), for a total system price of $4355. Granted, thats
still a sizable sum, but many surround-sound systems based on high-performance speakers
cost much more. And, as I found out last year, the Mythos STS wouldnt be out of
place in a super-high-quality two-channel system.
One of the unique features of the Mythos STS is its powered
woofer section, which Definitive Technology claims is equivalent to one of their SuperCube
subwoofers. I can't say for sure -- I didnt have a SuperCube on hand for comparison
-- but I can tell you that the Mythos STS has simply amazing bass output for a relatively
small and moderately priced speaker. In fact, it would take a pretty substantial subwoofer
to surpass the quantity and quality of bass that the Mythos STS provides in
reproducing the additional bass of the LFE or ".1" channel. And that comes with
the advantages of lower price and not having to find somewhere to stash a sub.
The systems curved aluminum enclosures, available in
silver or gloss-black finish, are striking in appearance. None of these speakers would be
out of place in a room fashionably furnished in modern décor, and their small size and
lack of a separate sub means that they wont physically dominate a room, as do many
surround systems. If youre looking for a stylish, tasteful speaker system to
accompany a flat-panel TV, the Mythos system is certainly attractive enough. But
dont let these speakers fine appearance fool you -- theres a lot more to
them than good looks.
The Mythos STS and Mythos Nine center speaker use Def
Techs latest 1" dome tweeter of pure aluminum, which has an acoustically
contoured faceplate to aid dispersion. Both speakers also have two 4.5" bass/midrange
drivers with mineral-filled mono-polymer cones that feature the companys Balanced
Double Surround System (BDSS), a technology in which the cone is supported by surrounds on
its outer and inner edges; this is said to provide greater and more linear
The Mythos Nine also has two 4.5" x 8"
racetrack-shaped passive low-bass radiators acoustically coupled to its bass/midrange
drivers in a sealed enclosure. All of the drivers are mounted on a PolyStone baffle; this
and the heavy aluminum construction result in an incredibly solid and inert speaker. The
Mythos Nine, which can be mounted vertically or horizontally (in the latter orientation it
measures 28.0"W x 5.4"H x 4.2"D), comes with a wall-mount bracket and
adjustable foot. A single set of gold-plated binding posts are provided on the rear panel.
The Mythos STS SuperTower has a similarly solid aluminum
enclosure, but is designed as a floorstander (it measures 47.5"H x 5.5"W x
8.5"D) with an attractive granite base that can be outfitted with metal spikes or
plastic inserts. Its 5" x 10" powered "racetrack" woofer is
acoustically coupled to two 5" x 10" passive low-bass radiators, and all three
are in their own sealed enclosure in the cabinets lower portion. The woofer is
driven by a 300W class-D amplifier with a standard IEC power cord. Theres an
output-level control for the bass on the back of the STS, along with a single set of
binding posts, and an RCA jack that can be connected to the subwoofer output of an A/V
receiver or processor.
The Mythos Gem surround speakers single 1"
pure-aluminum dome tweeter is situated between its two 3.5" bass/midrange drivers,
the upper one angled slightly to the right, the lower angled to the left -- which makes
the Gem a bipolar design. The compact Gem (10.3"H x 4.1"W x 4.3"D) can be
placed on a wall with the included steel mounting plate or optional pivoting brackets.
Matching aluminum and glass stands are available.
The Mythos STS SuperTowers powered woofer section
makes possible several different setups. The RCA line-level input can be used to send an
LFE signal directly to the powered woofer. Using the bass management of your A/V processor
or receiver, you could send the bass from any or all of the channels directly to the
woofer section via the line-level input. You could also ignore the speakers LFE
input and connect only the speaker-level input, sending a full-range signal to the Mythos
STS and letting the speakers crossover shunt bass to its woofer section.
After some experimentation, I found that the simplest
method -- connecting only the speaker-level inputs -- didnt sound much different
from connecting the additional low-level input and sending bass information directly to
the powered woofer section. You may get different results in your room, or simply enjoy
the added flexibility of using the line-level inputs, but I didnt find it necessary.
I also found that setting the crossover at 80 or 90Hz made the system sound its best in my
room: thats when the bass from all the speakers blended most smoothly.
The Mythos Nine was shallow enough to be placed on the edge
of my TV stand, in front of my 56" rear projector. I used its adjustable foot to
angle it slightly upward. I set the Mythos Gems atop my custom-built, 5-high
surround-speaker stands -- they looked minuscule on the stands 1-square bases.
The Mythos STSes were placed just slightly in front of and to the sides of my RPTV and
slightly toed in.
The sound of the Mythos STS-based system was exceptionally
clean and detailed, with a surprising dynamic range well suited to bombastic movie
soundtracks. The opening chase scene of the latest James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace,
immediately plunges you into the action, and the Mythos STS system delivered all the
excitement to be expected from a top-flight home-theater speaker array. The crashes on the
soundtrack of this Blu-ray edition were appropriately loud and jarring, yet the
machine-gun fire remained extremely clear, the firing of each round easily discernible and
sounding realistic, not overblown. The screeching of tires, wailing of sirens, and
shattering of glass all combined in a symphony of chaos that was a thrill to listen to
through the Def Tech system.
Later, in the films opera scene, the Mythos STS
system demonstrated its ability to fully surround me with music. Whether at lower volumes
or at full orchestral level, the music remained well integrated with the sound effects and
was totally immersive. During the closing titles, the iconic Bond theme entered with
startling intensity but remained crystal clear. These speakers power handling, even
with the very vigorous horn section and strings, was amazing, and the instruments imaged
precisely within the soundstage as individual entities. The multitrack mix of this
recording is undoubtedly totally artificial and unlike any live orchestral recording
Ive ever heard, but it was nonetheless captivating and precisely reproduced by the
The soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire doesnt
have quite the visceral impact of Quantum of Solace, but through the Mythos STS
system the films music was effortlessly integrated and immediately involving. Even
without a separate subwoofer, the system exhibited an impressive tautness on the drums in
"O . . . Saya." Each drumstroke was well defined, and emanated with equal
authority from each speaker. A plane roars overhead at the beginning of this song, and the
seamless pan from the front to the back of the soundstage was impressive in its realism,
even from the tiny Mythos Gems. The flowing vocals of "Latikas Theme" and
"Dreams On Fire" were absolutely dazzling; the Mythos system made this exemplary
soundtrack sound like an audiophile multichannel music recording.
The Mythos STS SuperTowers performance with
two-channel music recordings is nothing less than spectacular -- this, after all, is why
we gave it a SoundStage! Reviewers Choice Award. In Cassandra Wilsons
covers of Yess "Fragile" and Van Morrisons "Tupelo Honey,"
from Closer To You: The Pop Side (CD, Blue Note 5099969608728), her voice was full
of the expressiveness that can be conveyed only by a genuinely high-performance speaker.
The arrangements on Bruce Springsteens Working on a Dream (CD, Columbia
41355) can sometimes sound a bit congested, but the Mythos STS was able to unravel even
the muted vocals and instrumentation on "Life Itself," and simpler arrangements
-- such as the acoustic guitar and piano on "The Wrestler" -- were joys to hear.
No matter what I played, the Mythos STS-based system always
provided a satisfying and articulate musical experience, with sound that was incredibly
smooth from top to bottom. It lacked only a touch of sparkle and liquidity in the treble,
and a slight bit of bass extension, both normally found only in far more expensive
systems. Other than that, the Def Tech system was nearly impossible to fault.
The Mythos STS SuperTower / Mythos Nine / Mythos Gem trio
is probably the only lifestyle system that I would even consider using without a
subwoofer. If you dont have the space for a sub, or simply dont want one in
your living room, this system is for you. That said, the Mythos STS-based system would
still benefit from the addition of a good subwoofer. Although its bass was always tight
and well defined, there were times when I thought it could have used some more bass
extension and volume.
My reference system comprises much larger and more
expensive (when still available) speakers from Paradigm Reference -- the Signature S8
mains ($6000/pair), Signature C3 center channel ($1500 each), two Servo-15 v.2
subwoofers ($2500 each) -- as well as Mirage Omni 260 surrounds ($1000/pair). The opening
scene of Blade II on DVD contains an ominous subsonic tone that the Mythos STS
system could not reproduce at room-filling levels. My Paradigm-Mirage system was better
able to energize my room with this tone. However, in chapter 10, "House of
Pain," the bass of the techno score is more in the audible range, and the Mythos STS
system believably re-created the rock-solid beat of this macabre dance-club scene.
I found the coherence of the entire Mythos system to be at
least as good as or better than that of my reference system. The timbral matching of the
front and rear speakers was especially notable in scenes from The Wrestler in which
the crowds cheers and jeers created an especially enveloping effect. I was very
impressed by the ability of the tiny Mythos Gems to keep up with the much larger Mythos
STS mains and Mythos Nine center. Closing my eyes, I would never have guessed that such a
big, enveloping sound was emanating from such small surround speakers. The Mythos STS
speakers were also slightly more transparent overall than my references. Their midrange
clarity, especially, made voices particularly enticing; I often found myself preferring to
listen to two-channel music recordings through the Def Tech system.
And lets not forget just how compact the Mythos STS
system is. The Gem surround is much smaller than most bookshelf or surround speakers, and
the Mythos Nine center is only a few inches high and deep. Even the relatively tall Mythos
STS SuperTower has a very small footprint. This system will almost disappear in a room,
both visually and aurally; it sounded way bigger than it looks, with a coherent and
seamless soundstage that must be heard to be believed.
The Mythos STS speakers comprise a compact system with
striking looks and astonishing performance at a reasonable price. To my mind, there is
currently nothing else on the market quite like the Mythos STS SuperTowers, or this
surround system based on them. These eye-catching loudspeakers give up very little in the
way of performance to more conventional-looking designs, and in most respects are at the
pinnacle of performance for speakers in this price range.
|Speakers -- Paradigm
Reference Signature S8 (mains), Paradigm Reference Signature C3 (center), Paradigm
Reference Servo-15 v.2 (2 subwoofers), Mirage Omni 260 (surrounds)
processor -- Anthem Statement D2
|Amplifiers -- Bel Canto
e.One REF1000 and eVo6
-- Oppo DV-970HD SACD/CD/DVD-A/V player, Sony PlayStation 3, Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB
|Cables -- Analysis Plus, DH
Labs, Essential Sound Products
suppressor -- ZeroSurge 1MOD15WI
|Display device -- JVC