One of the biggest home audio trends that characterized the 1990s beyond the massive growth of the home theater category was the emergence of bipolar speakers.
One of the leading companies that helped to popularize this speaker design was Definitive Technology. Throughout the 1990s and well into the 2000s Definitive Technology released several bipolar products that were reasonably priced and delivered on the promise of fun, enveloping sound stages.
Fast forward to early 2023 and Definitive Technology is back at it with its most advanced bipolar speaker design to date: The newly announced Dymension Series of loudspeakers.
The goal of bipolar speakers is to fill a room with an immersive sound experience from just a pair of speakers. In the 1990s as home theater continued to grow in popularity several manufacturers, including Definitive Technology merged what was arguably the two biggest trends in home audio by releasing surround speakers that employed bipolar dispersion patterns and tower speakers that incorporated built-in, active subwoofers.
Bipolar Speakers Deliver Third Dymension
With the pandemic taking precedence throughout 2020 and into 2021 Carl Jacobson, brand director for Definitive Technology, points out the speaker company was in a period of R&D (research and development).
During this period the company did release it Demand series back in 2020 that included features such as its Linear Response Waveguide and BDSS driver technology. In 2021 the company introduced its Descend Series of subwoofers, which incorporated more efficient amplifier designs, along with Definitive Technology’s 3XR technology that combines passive radiators and traditional subwoofer drivers. These product developments he continues paved the way for the just announced Dymension Series of speakers that feature several of the design developments that were a part of the Demand and Descend series of products.
Not only does the Dymension series incorporate those recently introduced technologies, but Jacobson notes the speakers have refined the concepts that made bipolar speakers a popular solution throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s.
“Traditional speakers typically feature a set of drivers [woofer, midrange and tweeter] located on the front baffle, which provides a focused soundstage and sweet spot,” says Jacobson.
“What distinguishes bipolar speakers like Definitive Technology’s Dymension Series from traditional front-firing models is that they feature both forward and rear firing drivers. In Dymension Series, these drivers are in-phase, which means sound emanates from both sides simultaneously, creating a wider sound stage and greater depth of field than what you hear from a single set of drivers. These speakers are designed to create a larger than life, omnidirectional sound for a more room-filling music listening experience and add new dimensions to surround sound for movies and TV.”
Jacobson boasts that back in 1995 Definitive Technology took the additional step of adding powered subwoofers to its bipolar speaker products through the release of its BP2000 series. With the addition of powered subwoofers to its tower speaker products the company was able to provide homeowners with a more seamless low-frequency experience throughout their listening spaces.
The other benefit of adding a subwoofer to its tower speakers was that it eased the amount of work a connected amplifier had to perform. This allows an amplifier or AV receiver to deliver more power to the midrange and high frequencies to provide improved sound.
“Dymension series takes this concept to new depths with new subwoofer and amplifier designs, that are further paired with passive radiators that use the 3XR technology introduced in our Descend subwoofers. The sound of our bipolar arrays has developed too in the Dymension Series, which the first speakers from Definitive Technology to offer a fully balanced bipolar driver array, creating an even greater sense of ambient realism, a broader soundstage, and incredible depth-of-field,” says Jacobson.
“And now, as previously mentioned—Dymension series can be optimized to accommodate for room placement. The Dymension DM40, DM60, and DM70 feature tweeter output attenuation. The flagship DM80 enhances this further through a flexible input configuration, enabling enthusiasts to power the rear-facing drivers with a separate amplifier to achieve limitless variability and thus perfect room integration.”
Immersive Speakers for Today’s Smart Home Public
Looking back at the evolution of the company’s bipolar speakers, Jacobson notes that over the years Definitive Technology has worked hard to keep pace with the trends that have developed in the home audio market.
This work includes the continued improvement of the driver used for its bipolar speakers, as well as the bipolar configuration of its designs.
“One area where we’ve seen the most philosophical debate has been in how forward or rear focused the bipolar array should be. Honestly, we have gone back and forth on that from series to series,” admits Jacobson.
“Today, Dymension Series settles the debate with our first fully balanced bipolar array, which also allows adjustment of the focus of the array for greater flexibility in placement of the towers through its ability to compensate for proximity effect.”
Moreover, he stresses that unlike other bipolar designs, the new Dymension series addresses some of the criticisms of bipolar speakers by ensuring the speakers image well using the company’s Linear Response Waveguide. This technology in combination with Definitive Technology’s new ceramic-coated aluminum oxide tweeter deliver smooth off-axis dispersion and smooth, extended high frequencies with definition.
These technologies are augmented by the company’s Balanced Double Surround System Technology (BDSS) composite driver cones. Tying everything together he adds is the company’s crossover networks that employ premium components such as metal-film capacitors and air-core inductors.
The benefit for integrators is that regardless of whether they are installing a whole-house system that includes multiple zones or a state-of-the-art immersive audio system, dealers can mix-and-match the Definitive Technology product line to achieve results that will make homeowners happy.
“We pride ourselves on creating a unified Definitive Technology sound for in your home, whether you are listening on through component speakers like Dymension, in-ceilings or in-walls like our Ultimate In Wall [UIW] or DI Series, or even out of your home with or All-weather AW6500 and AW5500,” asserts Jacobson.
“While Dymension series represent the most evolved and best sounding speakers Definitive Technology has ever produced, all of our speakers are timbre-matched so integrators and A/V professionals can feel safe in recommending a system that mixes and matches between our lines to deliver the best solution possible.”
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